Building a Theater of Theatrics

This theater was designed based on many specific parameters. Most importantly, Howell and Associates' client is a talented hobby musician who loves concerts, plays in a band, has a state-of-the-art r 10/02/2006 8:00 AM Eastern

Building a Theater of Theatrics

Oct 2, 2006 12:00 PM

The following information is courtesy of the 2005 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.

2005 CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Winner
Designers Choice Awards: Best Home Theatre
Level IV ($103,000-$150,000)

Howell and Associates

This theater was designed based on many specific parameters. Most importantly, Howell and Associates' client is a talented hobby musician who loves concerts, plays in a band, has a state-of-the-art recording studio in his basement, and appreciates accurate pictures and sound performance. Given the client's musical inspiration and the 12ft. ceiling height that was available, Howell and Associates decided to use the height of the room to create a dramatic three-tiered layout with a railing, step lighting, and floor seating for the kids at the foot of the proscenium—making you feel like you have entered a substantial performance venue with a balcony.

The theater had to seat as many people as possible, without losing the comfort of a cozy family room seating arrangement. The installers had to use Autodesk's AutoCad and choose specific seating early on due to the elaborate floor construction needed to create the three tiers and steps. Also, specific wall and ceiling constructions that are often used in recording studios were incorporated to enhance the sound quality and improve the sound isolation characteristics of the room.

To add to the drama, beautiful motorized velvet curtains and artistically detailed woodwork were incorporated into all of the views in the theater. From breathtaking wainscoting to the majestic crown moldings and floor-nosings, no design element in this room has been overlooked.

To ensure that the speakers and electronics did not take away from the beauty of the environment, in-ceiling high performance speakers and enclosures from Triad were used for the LCR and four in-wall surround speakers, and two subwoofers from Triad were also built into the room, the client is very pleased.

Used to house the electronics for this room and the whole-house distributed audio/video systems, two Middle Atlantic ERK racks were flushed into the side wall of the theater, backing into a room specifically carved out of the utility area, early on in the design phase to allow for plenty of media storage and convenient servicing and upgradeability. All in all, for the budget and the purpose of this theater, it just does not get any better than this!

Equipment list

  • 1 Crestron MT-MC2W-PAK Mini Touch 1000 control touchpanel
  • 1 Crestron CNPWS-75 power supply
  • 2 Crestron ST-COM communication module
  • 1 Crestron ST-IO I/O module
  • 1 Denon AVR-4802R AV receiver
  • 1 Denon DVD-5900 DVD player
  • 1 Escient FireBall E-120 music server
  • 8 Front Row Seating Barcelona chairs
  • 2 Middle Atlantic ERK-4020 equipment rack
  • 1 Monster Power Home Theater Reference PowerCenter HTS3500
  • 1 Monster Power Home Theater Reference PowerCenter HTS2500
  • 1 Sony DVP-CX985V 400-disc DVD player
  • 1 Stewart Filmscreen 100in. screen
  • 1 Toshiba W625 VCR
  • 2 Triad Bronze 4 PowerSub subwoofers
  • 3 Triad Silver/6 LCR speakers
  • 1 Sharp XVZ-12000 DLP video projector
  • 4 Triad Silver/4 surround speakers
  • 1 Gefen 2x1 HDTV analog audio switcher
  • 1 Gefen DVI-C30 30ft. copper DVI cable

    Time and Expertise Worksheet
    Task Hours
    Client Interviews 6
    Electronic Design and Engineering: 22
    Proposal and System Documentation Preparation: 3
    Project Management: 24
    Pre-wire/Rough-in: 15
    Trim-out: 16
    Shop Time for Racking and Testing: 0
    Programming: 16
    Final Installation and Calibration: 92
    Client Instruction: 4
    Interior Design and/or Architecture by your Company: 14
    Interior Design and/or Architecture by Others: 35
    Project Management by Others: 42
    Other time: builder's interior designs, drawings done on paper: 0
    Total Hours to Complete: 289

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