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Home Theater Design & Calibration for a NC, USA client

Client Profile

Mr. Parvathaneni is a computer executive with a young family from North Carolina.

Project Overview

Mr. Parvathaneni came to Acoustic Frontiers mid-way into his home theater build. The home theater was in an existing basement and had already been sheetrocked and wiring run. The client had a preliminary layout and finished aesthetic in mind as well as some provisional thoughts about equipment.

Acoustic Frontiers Solutions

We provided the following services on this project:

  • Design Review
  • Equipment
  • Acoustic Treatment Design
  • Baffle Wall Design
  • Audio Calibration

 

Our Home Theater Design Review is a thorough analysis of a client’s plan that includes comparison to best practices / industry standards and preparation of a written report. The report scores the plan against the design standards and suggests options to improve the performance of the space. Our recommendations are discussed with the client over a phone call and the path forward agreed. The Design Review differs from our Home Theater Layout process in that it includes no design work – it is purely a review of a client’s design.

Theater Front Wall
Front of theater at the time of client’s engagement with Acoustic Frontiers

Theater Rear Wall
Rear Wall of Theater

 

Theater Floorplan
Client’s floorplan

 

Following on from the Design Review we made some amendments to the layout and finalized the equipment list together. This included the following set of high performance, high value components:

  • Procella Audio speaker system, including P6 and P5
  • SVS PC-12+ subwoofers
  • Yamaha RX-A1040 AVR
  • Sony VPL-VW40ES projector with Lumagen 2020 video processor for lens-less widescreen projection
  • Seymour AV 2.35:1 screen

The next step in the process was completion of the Acoustic Treatment Design. The depth available for acoustic treatment on the side and back walls was minimal, and budget was tight, so the design process was a little more challenging than usual! We specified the following products, carefully placed to balance absorption and reflection characteristics of the room:

  • Kinetics Versatune used for side and back wall absorption. This product is a multi-density fiberglass panel that offers a consistent absorption of 0.7 above 100Hz or so. We really like this panel because it has some reflectivity  and absorbs lower than an equivalent thickness plain fiberglass panel
  • Kinetics TAD hybrid absorber / diffuser, used on the sides and rear of the room
  • Vicoustic Multifuser DC2 on the ceiling

Theater Acoustic Treatment Plan
Acoustic Treatment Plan for one side wall in the theater

 

We also created a baffle wall to improve the room acoustics and provide optimal support for the Procella Audio P6 speakers. Most of the walls we are designing now a “hybrid” type, meaning they include some solid areas and some open areas. The solid areas provide a diffraction and speaker boundary interference free environment for the speakers and provide increased low frequency output. The open areas allow air to circulate into the area behind the baffle wall which is filled with a deep layer of pink fluffy insulation. Experience has shown this approach works exceptionally well at controlling room mode resonances.

Baffle Wall Design
One of the views of the baffle wall design that we created for the client

 

The final step in the process, after the room was finished and the equipment installed, was to perform the Audio & Video Calibration. Our techniques for this very important phase of the project allow us to work effectively with clients that are not located locally.

The Video Calibration was performed in our shop before the projector was shipped to the client. We performed a comprehensive calibration to THX standards using the controls available in the projector as well as the greyscale and color cube controls in the Lumagen.

Gretyscale projector calibration
Greyscale, pre and post calibration.

Color Cube Calibration
Pre and post calibration color accuracy

 

For audio we sent an acoustic measurement kit (laptop, mic, cables) to the client. We accessed the computer via the internet and over the course of two sessions with the client adjusted the settings in the AVR (levels, delays) and EQ’d the system.

The Results

Home Theater towards scren

Home Theater towards rear

In the Client’s Words

“My initial plan was to build out a basic HT room with off-the-shelf AV equipment without any intentions to treat/tune the room acoustically. After doing a bit of research and speaking to a few local AV dealers (unsatisfactorily), I felt the need to take the extra step and speak to an acoustic professional. I came across Nyal Mellor on one of the AV forums where he is very active, and felt from his comments / feedback that he knew what he was doing.

Nyal started out with a design review (since the room work had already begun) and after a couple of interactions I was comfortable enough to let him plan/guide the rest of the build, and purchase the AV equipment from him. He took the time to understand our requirements, discuss equipment options and budget considerations, and was able to provide his recommendations without any over-selling. Nyals build/acoustic plans have been very thorough, and he always took the time to explain the details and ensure that the plans were properly executed. After the build and equipment install, Nyal was able to complete the room by calibrating the equipment remotely.

Everyone that has been to the room have had good things to say at how well the room looks and sounds. The room has turned out beyond our expectations, and it would not have been possible without Acoustic Frontiers’ home theater products & services.”

Mr. Parvathaneni, North Carolina, USA.

7 thoughts on “Home Theater Design & Calibration for a NC, USA client”

  1. Superb project!
    Small question on the baffle wall hybrid!
    What type of absorption is used behind this wall? To avoid this makes sounding!

    Best

  2. Hi Nyal,
    earlier on and on another page (THX baffle walls – design, build and benefits) a person already asked about the “tradeoffs between the benefits of baffle walls and the benefits of broadband or low bass absorption on the front wall”. ^Now you’re stating that “Most of the walls we are designing now a “hybrid” type, meaning they include some solid areas and some open areas.” so I am assuming that you are seeing a great advantage of the hybrid design. That said, if you would now have to make a recommendation to somebody who builds a complete new cinema, would you say that we should definitely go for the Hybrid design and move away from the fully close baffle wall design?
    Thx a lot in advance

  3. how was the insulation arrange behind the screen? Was it from the speaker supports up to the ceiling with the area between the subs just open space or did you have treatment between the subs also. Is the area between the subs and the speaker open or a closed space?

    1. I believe area behind speakers and subs was open with rest of area filled including between subs and above / below the drywall / MDF covered part of the wall.

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