At Home with Joe Clayton of Sirius Satellite Radio
Sirius' chairman uses multiple A/V systems to surround his family with entertainment.
Joe Clayton's great room
Joe Clayton’s great room has a 55-inch Fujitsu plasma screen recessed over the fireplace, dual center-channel Sonance in-wall Virtuoso speakers on either side, and Sonance left and right channels over the flanking shelf-area arches. Photo credit: Joe Hilliard. “Glory Road” © Disney Enterprises Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer. All Rights Reserved
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November 27, 2006 by EH Staff

For Joe Clayton, Sirius Satellite Radio’s chairman, content is everything.

Since Clayton began working with Sirius in 2001, the satellite radio provider has added National Football League broadcasts and lured big names like Howard Stern. Now it’s set to eclipse the 5 million subscriber mark. But the radio isn’t the only place where Clayton likes his content.

Just look at the content of his house, a 16,000-square-foot English mansion set on 5.5 acres overlooking the 18th hole of a golf course outside Indianapolis. Inside the brick and Indiana limestone manse is an expanse of cherry wood that gives it that old English feel. But this home isn’t just a throwback; it has nearly every modern electronic convenience. There are 20 zones of audio in the house and another eight on the manicured grounds, pool area and tennis courts. There’s an art deco home theater with a 96-inch screen and D-Box motion simulator seats that move to the action in a movie.

There’s a Kaleidescape video server that stores DVD movies to a hard drive and two Escient FireBall music servers that do the same with CDs. There are four plasma screens with surround-sound systems, eight security cameras that Clayton can check on from any TV in the house, six Dish Network high-definition satellite receivers with HD DVRs, a Crestron whole-house control and audio/video distribution system, a computer network, a player piano, Sonance Symphony in-ceiling loudspeakers throughout, a Panasonic phone and intercom system, a pool house with its own surround-sound system, a music room, a dance room, a sports bar, a wine cellar, and even a gun room/safe room. Oh, and there are six Sirius Satellite Radio receivers, including the three-tuner Antex Triple Play receiver.

“I put a lot of extra money into the landscaping, audio/video [systems] and cabinetry,” Clayton says. “It’s all about the detail. I wanted it to look like an English manor, so the landscaping is important. And you know, if it’s wood, it’s good in merry old England. And there are high ceilings like [in] the old homes. Then you want the latest conveniences. I wanted to be able to watch the latest movies and make it simple and easy.”

That’s where Jason Barth and his team at Premier Custom Audio & Video in Carmel, IN, came in. The company was recommended to Clayton, and Premier was able to take this gigantic project and tie it all together in a user-friendly Crestron system. Each main TV or theater area has a 6-inch color Crestron ST-1700 touchpanel with easy to use icons for selecting whatever the family wants to see or listen to.

In addition, each room with audio has an in-wall 5-inch touchscreen with the same controls as the touchpanels. And despite the size of the house, only the theater contains electronics other than a video screen. A rack of source components such as the satellite radio, TV tuners and media servers are located in an equipment room.

The size of the house and grounds allows Clayton, his wife, Jan, and their five kids ranging in age from 9 to 20 to enjoy movies with friends or find a place to be alone. The theater room is popular, and so is the family room/great room for watching something together.

“I almost live in my office,” Clayton adds. “I watch CNBC and the business news.” With a 42-inch Fujitsu plasma screen and Canton compact speakers, why not spend ample time there? “And the pool house is big enough so when my wife gets mad at me, I can go out there and live.” Fortunately, the pool house has another 42-inch Fujitsu plasma and Sonance Virtuoso loudspeakers.

Joe Clayton, chairman of Sirius Satellite Radio

Joe Clayton, chairman of Sirius Satellite Radio

Multiple Sirius satellite receivers also help smooth any strife. “We don’t listen to the same stuff,” Clayton says. “We have a JOE’s button and a JAN’s button. I listen to bluegrass, ‘60s and ‘70s music, jazz, CNBC and Fox News. My wife will not listen to any of those. She likes swing music, ‘80s and ‘90s music and more rock. And the kids like everything from new country to Top 40.

“I rarely listen to CDs any more,” he goes on. “I get better variety [from satellite radio]. “I can’t get [as much] bluegrass in [my native] Kentucky, and it makes me happy to listen to it. First thing I do in the morning is turn on bluegrass to listen to while showering and shaving.”

With so much available in the house, Clayton is hard-pressed to pick his favorite conveniences. “The sound systems are spectacular, both the in-ceiling and in-wall [speakers] and outside with the rock speakers,” he says. “And the phone system is cool. You can page throughout the house, and that’s nice with five kids, because you can really get lost in here. I also really like the light-dimming system in the office and pool house but didn’t put them throughout the house. I didn’t know enough about it then.” Now, of course, he wishes he had a lighting control system for his whole house.

But as Clayton knows from being with Sirius, technology isn’t everything. “You can always catch up with technology,” he says. “The key is having the best content. If you have that, you win.”

Systems Design and Installation
Premier Custom Audio & Video
Carmel, IN,

More Photos

Joe Clayton's great room

Joe Clayton’s great room has a 55-inch Fujitsu plasma screen recessed over the fireplace, dual center-channel Sonance in-wall Virtuoso speakers on either side, and Sonance left and right channels over the flanking shelf-area arches. Photo credit: Joe Hilliard; “Glory Road” (c) Disney Enterprises Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer. All Rights Reserved.

Outside shot of Joe Clayton's pool house

Clayton and his family extended their entertainment systems to all areas of their home, including this pool house. Photo credit: Joe Hilliard.

Inside view of Joe Clayton's pool house

Clayton’s pool house has a 42-inch Fujitsu plasma screen, in-ceiling Sonance speakers, and a Velodyne subwoofer. Photo credit: Joe Hilliard.

Joe Clayton's home office

The cherry-paneled study sports a 42-inch plasma display, four Canton bookshelf speakers (top-shelf) and dual center channels in the ceiling. Photo credit: Joe Hilliard.

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