Grand Illusions in a Small Home Theater

Providing an inviting environment in a small theater room was of utmost importance to the client. 7/02/2007 8:00 AM Eastern

Grand Illusions in a Small Home Theater

Jul 2, 2007 12:00 PM

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The following information is courtesy of the 2006 CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Designers' Choice Awards. For more information on how to become a member of CEDIA, or information on its awards program please visit or call (800) 669-5329.

2006 CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Winner
Designers' Awards: Large Home Theater
Bronze Technical Design, Level VII ($40,000-70,000)

Silver Screen & Sound

Providing an inviting environment in a small theater room was of utmost importance to the client. The custom-built theater entrance extends this space into the open recreation room and creates the illusion that the room is much larger. The installation of classic columns and angled subwoofer enclosures create a unique screen wall. This design ensures the optimal viewing distance is obtained. A combination of backlit pilasters, rope lighting, and recessed lights provide optimal lighting for movie viewing and entertaining.

Due to the room dimensions and seating requirements, the theater equipment was installed in a closet adjacent to the theater entrance. This location allows easy access to the DVD player prior to entering the theater. A handheld touchscreen provides one-touch operation of the audio/video components. Additional menus select preset lighting scenes from the lighting controller.

Since the Silver Screen & Sound design team was involved from the start, they were able to incorporate a moderate amount of acoustic treatments without affecting the aesthetics of the room. Varying surfaces such as the alcoves, tray ceiling, risers, and proscenium help to diffuse sound in the room. The carpet and seating absorb excess reverberance without making the room too dead. Additionally, absorption materials were used inside the tray ceiling, which floats below the main ceiling. The inside of the backlit polisters were also lined with acoustic foam. Non-foundation walls were constructed with staggered studs on separate headers/footers. Drywall was hung on sound channel with viscous dampening material mounted behind to help isolate explosive movie scenes from the rest of the house. To ensure the best sound, the front speakers are framed in acoustic foam to simulate a free-space condition and reduce unwanted reflections from the proscenium.

Of course, no theater is complete without calibration. Pink noise measurements were taken at several locations and averaged for the most uniform response. Video calibration was performed using test patterns from various DVDs. Fine tuning of the picture was done by the customer's taste.

Equipment list

  • 1 Da-Lite Screen 90257V 119in. screen
  • 1 Elan Home Systems IR system
  • 1 JVC HRS-3902U VCR
  • 1 Lexicon MC-8 music and cinema processor
  • 1 Lexicon CX-7 power amplifier
  • 1 Lutron GRX-MR-6 Grafik preset lighting control system
  • 1 Marantz DV4500 DVD player
  • 1 Marantz RC9200 touchscreen remote
  • 1 Middle Atlantic Prodcuts Slim-5 KD rack
  • 1 NHT Evolution X1 Active Crossover control center
  • 1 NHT Evolution A1 amplifier
  • 2 NHT W2 subwoofer
  • 1 Sharp XV-Z10000 HDTV DLP home theater projector
  • 3 Snell AMC 760 monitor
  • 6 Snell SR5 surround sound speakers

    Time and Expertise Worksheet
    Task Hours
    Client Interviews 6
    Electronic Design and Engineering: 4
    Proposal and System Documentation Preparation: 4
    Project Management: 18
    Pre-wire/Rough-in: 4
    Trim-out: 2
    Shop Time for Racking and Testing: 12
    Programming: 6
    Final Installation and Calibration: 12
    Client Instruction: 2
    Interior Design and/or Architecture by your Company: 14
    Interior Design and/or Architecture by Others: 0
    Project Management by Others: 0
    Other time: builder's interior designs, drawings done on paper: 0
    Total Hours to Complete: 84

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