When the owner of this home theater decided on having an audiophile-grade system, he went all out—to the tune of more than a million dollars.
The room consists of super-high-end Wilson Audio loudspeakers, FM Acoustics amplifiers, a Meridian surround processor and DVD player, a Halco preamplifier, dCS SACD transport and digital-to-audio converter, ReQuest Multimedia hard drive servers, about $200,000 worth of Transparent Audio cable, and a Faroudja D-ILA (direct-drive image light amplifier) video projector and processor—and those are just the highlights.
“It’s nothing like I’ve experienced, and I’ve been in the business 25 years,” says audio/video installer Don Krasen of Krystal Clear Audio-Video. To say this system is powerful is a huge understatement. FM Acoustic amps can pump out 350 watts into 8 ohms of impedance and almost 900 into 2 ohms of impedance, and the Wilson loudspeakers will go down to 3 ohms, according to Krasen.
In addition to the tall Wilson Alexandria speakers in the front and the Wilson Maxx speakers in the back, Krasen used a Wilson Watch center channel and five Wilson Watchdog subwoofers. “One sub is in front under the center channel, because Wilson doesn’t have full-range center channel,” says Krasen. The sub provides the low sounds for that speaker.
Bass traps built into the corners with MDF board and filled with insulation absorb excess bass and help hide three of the subwoofers. Another is visible in the back. Krasen, an acoustic consultant himself, designed the room and bass traps in conjunction with Reiss Audio. “There’s prodigious bass, but it’s extremely tight,” says Krasen.
The sound doesn’t go outside the area. “The room is designed like a recording studio,” Krasen explains, with room-within-a-room construction and a decoupled floor, so it’s not joined directly to the walls and susceptible to traveling vibrations. Acoustic foam and a space between the two perimeter walls also help isolate the sound.
This room, with its adjacent bar area and two-story wine cellar, is actually in the back of the offices for the owner’s several investment businesses. He knew when he bought the lot and rebuilt the historic-area structure that it would include the audiophile room of his dreams. “I love music, and this combines everything I’ve wanted,” he says. “I can use it to hang out with my friends and enjoy the wine cellar. I have also used it to entertain clients, which is fun. Everyone has their favorite music and bands, and we have an extensive selection of DVDs. We’ll pop in the Eagles DVD, and it’s like you’re there.”
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates