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Award Winning Designs

We design and install award winning Home Theaters for less than you might expect. This particular one won 'Best Home Theater Installation for under $75,000 at the CEDIA Electronic Lifestyle Awards.

Home Theatre Installations

An Award Winning Installation

  • Sound & Image Awards 2014 - Home Cinema Installation of The Year

This project was a collaborative effort between the client who was an AV enthusiast, design elements by Dennis Erskine a CEDIA USA member and ourselves.

The installation of the theatre commenced very early in the construction of the client’s residence. There was real advantage in this approach as the theatre actually sits atop of a double garage and is an entirely separate structure from the rest of the house. Particular care and regular site inspections were required to ensure that there was NO connection whatsoever between the two structures to assist with sound isolation.

The building contractor was responsible for the installation of the acoustic isolation shell and the main carpentry work inside the theatre, being the riser, the baffle wall, the screen wall, the ceiling diffuser, the perimeter bulkheads, the columns and the equipment room / storage room / LF baffle at the rear.

The L/C/R speakers and the main subwoofers are flush mounted in the baffle wall which required accurate positioning and precise sizing of the speaker cut outs. The baffle wall was covered in 25mm thick black polyester insulation using insulation stick pins and washers to hold it in position. 

The side and rear walls are covered with acoustic panels constructed from a bullnose profile timber perimeter frame, filled with various combinations of fibreglass insulation and covered front and back with stretched fabric. The construction of the panels required tight tolerances on mitre cutting and glued assembly of the frames using a custom made assembly jig. Segmenting the acoustic panels where they are fastened to the four doors within the room (one entry and three at the rear) required particular care and so these were constructed as typical large panels, internal stiffeners were added at the segment locations and then the large panel could be cut into the required segments with matched ends.

The screen frame is constructed from an extruded aluminium box section with a bullnose timber profile fastened to the outside edge. The aluminium section provided accuracy, stability and rigidity, whilst the timber profile allowed the woven screen material to be stretched and stapled into position.

Let’s take a look at the specifics hardware behind the install:  

Audio System:
The three identical L/C/R speakers and the main subwoofers are optimally positioned and flush mounted in a baffle wall hidden behind a woven acoustically transparent screen and use high output compression drivers to provide low distortion reference level sound over the large listening area. The main subwoofers are asymmetrically placed to minimise room modes. Three balancing subwoofers are located in columns to the sides and rear of the listening position to further reduce the effect of room modes and to provide a smooth bass response over the listening area. The six surround speakers use the same high output compression drives as the L/C/R to provide consistent sound quality for all channels. There are a total of four side speakers located on each side of both rows of seats, and two rear speakers. Sixteen channels of EQ and amplification are used for the L/C/R speakers, surround speakers and balancing subwoofers.

Control System:
All the equipment in the theatre is controlled using the iRule application for iPad. GlobalCache gateways convert the iRule network commands to either RS232 (projector, anamorphic lens slide, screen masking, C-Bus lighting and power, Blu-ray player) or IR (Foxtel). The processor is directly IP controlled. The iRule application user interface has been custom designed to provide activity based control, with single button start up and shut down macros for all activities. Various feedbacks are displayed in iRule including volume, mute and surround mode from the processor, audio type, track number and elapsed time from the Blu-ray player, power status and aspect ratio mode from the projector.

Room Design:
Room design was undertaken by Dennis Erskine a CEDIA USA member.

Background noise is reduced by an acoustic isolation shell consisting of two layers of 16mm gypsum board separated by Green Glue (a visco-elastic dampening material) to the walls and ceiling. The floor is constructed from 22mm particle board, overlaid with 12mm thick AngelStep, and two layers of 12mm plywood separated by Green Glue. Carpet with foam underlay completes the floor construction. The theatre is also structurally isolated from the rest of the house to prevent vibration transmission.  The A/C system uses oversized flexible acoustic ducts feeding oversized diffuser outlets to reduce air flow velocity. The background noise level with all the equipment on and the A/C running is less than 20dBA. The rear seating riser is used a bass absorber. The slatted timber ceiling baffle is used as a broad band absorber / diffuser. Beside the equipment room at the rear is a large bass baffle. Three types of wall panels provide varying absorption / diffusion. 

Video System:
The theatre has total ambient light control and with all the equipment being located in a separate room, it is completely dark. The projector is a high output, full HD, 3LCD chosen for its ability to provide sufficient light for the 4m wide screen. The screen is a woven acoustically transparent material with a gain of 0.9 which provides a wide viewing area. The native aspect ratio of the screen is 3:1 and a horizontal masking system is used to close the screen to any aspect ratio required from 2.35:1 to 1.33:1. For 2.35:1 content a cylindrical anamorphic lens is used to maximise light output from the 16:9 projector. The anamorphic lens is mounted on an electric slide mechanism. The walls adjacent to the screen are covered with dark grey acoustic panels. The carpet is dark grey and the ceiling and bulkheads are a combination of dark grey and black.