May 01, 2006
| by EH Staff
Remember hitting the disco with your friends on a Saturday night? There were probably times—face it, lots of times—when you thought the night would entail settling back with some tasty cocktails and enjoying a few hours of great music and some of the best people watching on the planet. But those flickering strobe lights, the heart-pounding bass and the slick-as-wet-grass dance floor had different plans for you. Before your pals could pin you to your chair, you’d hit the dance the floor, shakin’ your groove thing and doing the electric slide with the best of them.
After years of seeing firsthand how much fun dance music can be, a retired mobile disc jockey decided to convert the basement of his 5,000-square-foot Somerset, NJ, home into a sensational entertainment mecca where his friends and family could dance the night away, see a blockbuster movie, chill at the bar or shoot a round of pool—all without paying a cover charge.
The focal point of the elaborate 2,000-square-foot space, coined the Mega Sounds Lounge, is a 15-by-22-foot hardwood dance floor, polished and primed to handle plenty of pounding feet. Based on his years of experience spinning records at weddings and other occasions, the homeowner knew it would take more than a great surface and catchy tunes to get people moving. Letting his imagination and DJ experience take over, he incorporated multiple disco lights that move to the beat of the music; a 106-inch video screen that drops from the ceiling; 2,000 watts of head-banging bass; and an authentic DJ booth packed with commercial-grade mixers, turntables and other equipment. “He really went all out,” says Gregory Mizerek, president of Advanced Media Systems, the Morris Township, NJ based firm that was hired to design and install a combination of residential and commercial-style electronic systems.
As sophisticated as the audio and video setup is, it’s a cinch for anyone—not just the DJ in the family—to operate. A high-end Philips Pronto touchscreen-style remote helps get the room ready for dancing, singing, relaxing, taking in a movie or whatever else the homeowners have in mind for the evening. With one press of a button labeled all on, the Da-Lite video screen descends from its hiding spot in the ceiling, the lights throughout the space dim and all the audio and video components turn on. From this point, the homeowner is in charge. Inside his own custom-designed DJ booth, he can call up a music video to display on the screen or play his own compilation of dance tunes through the 7.1 surround-sound system consisting of seven Jamo speakers and an EAW subwoofer. The front three speakers and the subwoofer are recessed into the front wall of the dance area. Even when they’re covered by the display, the sound still fires into the room though the acoustically transparent fabric of the screen. The remaining four Jamo speakers are mounted to the walls. When the mood strikes, guests can grab a wireless microphone and sing karaoke, and on special occasions, the homeowner can use his PC to present custom graphics on the screen complete with text messages from his video mixer to fit the theme of the night. Four built-in Delvcam LCD screens allow him to cue up video from two JVC karaoke/DVD players and a digital cable TV receiver so that the transition from one video presentation to next is smooth.
Whatever source is chosen, the commercial-grade subwoofer driven by its own 2,000-watt Crown amplifier pounds out the bass. “We designed a higher-output audio system for the room when it’s in nightclub mode,” says Mizerek. To prevent the sound from seeping into other rooms of the house, Ed Yurasek of New Jersey Home Maintenance based in Kendall Park, NJ, constructed the walls of double-layered sheetrock and placed sound-absorbing insulation inside the walls and the ceiling. Just as quickly and effortlessly as the Pronto remote pulls together a dance party, it can shut down the nightclub and fire up the home theater equipment for a night at the movies. The transition from club to theater takes only a few seconds as the Leviton control system dims the lights and the Sim2 DLP video projector activates. The only thing left for the homeowners to do is to push the couches back onto the dance floor and pop a DVD into the player.
Any movie looks breathtaking on a 106-inch screen, but for more casual gatherings at the Mega Sounds Lounge, guests can watch the show on the 42-inch Samsung plasma TV at the eight-seat mahogany bar. The screen sits in a custom-built recess in the back wall so that everyone seated around the bar can see it. A pair of Niles in-ceiling speakers fills the area with audio. A few controls are available at the bar, including a Leviton keypad for setting the lights and the Pronto remote for selecting the mode of entertainment. For example, pressing the bar button on the Leviton wall-mounted keypad activates the neon accent lights and a series of individual pin light fixtures to illuminate the entire bar surface. And just because there’s a movie playing on the big-screen doesn’t mean that people at the bar have to watch it, too. Using the remote, they can watch a ball game or just listen to a CD instead. Or, if they want to create the effect of an honest-to-goodness sports bar, they can watch the game and listen to music at the same time. It doesn’t matter where the Pronto remote is pointed—at the TV, toward the mini fridge, even at the back of someone’s head. Because its commands travel over radio frequency airwaves, they can pass unaffected through walls and other structures to ensure that the signals always reach the equipment inside the DJ booth.
A pool table sits next to the bar area. Even here, guests never miss a beat of the action. Built-in speakers can pump out music or audio from a movie, giving visitors to the Mega Sounds Lounge just one more option for fun without feeling disconnected from the rest of the party.
With a high-energy dance floor, a top-notch home theater, a music- and video-filled sports bar and a cool billiards area all under one roof, this lower-level party pad is ready for anything. The electronic systems that make the magic happen are so easy to operate that everyone can truly enjoy the space without breaking a sweat—unless they feel like dancing all night, that is.