April's project - a kick ass dedicated home theater for an enthusiast!

One of our big projects in April was the transformation of a 'club room' in a new home in Dublin, CA into a high performance dedicated home theater.

Seyymour AV screen in custom screen / baffle wallView towards the front of the theater showing the 125" Seymour AV screen in the custom fabricated baffle / screen wall

The client, Mr. Ang, had provisionally selected his equipment but wanted professional help with the overall design with a focus on the acoustics and baffle wall. A baffle wall, for those of you who don't know, is a fancy word for a false wall that holds the left, center and right speakers at the correct height and location behind an acoustically transparent screen. Mr. Ang's equipment included JTR speakers, a BenQ projector and a Seymour AV screen. Of the above we are only dealers for Seymour, but were happy, as always, to work with a customer's pre-existing or preferred components.

This project fit perfectly with our focus on providing services and products for designing, building and calibrating performance home theaters and audio listening rooms.

The project broke down as follows:

  • Review - this phase is all about reviewing the existing / proposed room and equipment against the client's performance aspirations and budget. The goal is to identify issues with that can be corrected before design commences and to resolve any gaps in the project scope. The client's core equipment choices were solid, although we added some of our own products into the mix: SurgeX power protection and equipment / lighting control from Universal Remote Control (URC).
  • Design - in which the theater layout including position of speakers, subwoofers and acoustic treatment is calculated and documented. Core to this phase was an onsite visit to measure the lateral and vertical off axis performance of the speakers and to review the power and room construction. The acoustic treatment scheme should ideally be designed to compensate for each make and model of speaker and the unique way it interacts with the room.
  • Build - where the physical construction and installation occurs. The main tasks in this project were: building the baffle and screen walls, hanging the acoustic treatment and installing the projector.
  • Calibration - this is the final phase, and involves the measurement and setting up of the system including speaker level, distances, sub integration as well as setting up parametric EQ. This PDF describes our home theater calibration process.

As you can see from the description above it is quite a thorough and detailed process. When dealing with a home theater, however, there are a ton of variables that can all impact the final sound and video quality achieved. Careful management of these is the key to success!

IMAX revealThe "IMAX" reveal - lights behind the scren shine up at the speakers

Our client, Mr Ang was ecstatic with the results:

"This past weekend I did demo some movies and I am very, very impressed by the clarity of the dialogue and dynamics! I was grinning ear to ear. I think the treatments made a huge positive impact to the overall sound...thanks for helping me realize my home theater dream!"

For more information please see the project write up on our website which contains many more photos of the construction process and the thread on AVS Forum. If you'd like help on your listening room or home theater please contact us! We love this stuff :)