It’s not easy living with massive floorstanding speakers in a living room when you’re not into the technology. But because speakers hold their value so well, they’re not the type of item you can so easily discard. So, why not use them in a different area? Better yet, why not build a room where they’ll be fully appreciated.
When the man of the house finally agreed to his wife’s request to move a trio of cherished Definitive Technology tower speakers out of the living room, he was given the green light to build a home theater in an unfinished basement, where the BP3000TL towers and C/L/R 3000 center-channel would finally have a happy home.
“Those speakers were a great building block for the overall design,” says Luke Pawlus, part owner and president of Avidia, Winnetka, Ill. There was just one problem, Pawlus adds: Finding rear surround-sound speakers that were “timbre matched” to the towers. Definitive Technology had stopped making the particular model years ago, and there was nothing in the company’s existing lineup that would pair up nicely with the owners’ existing speakers. “The closest match we could find were dipole speakers from SpeakerCraft,” says Pawlus. Connected to an Integra DTR-70.4 receiver and calibrated for the imperfect room acoustics, the piecemealed surround-sound system, which also includes two 12-inch Episode powered subwoofers, delivers expansive audio to the large, open, approximately 220-square-foot entertainment area.
The video part of the home theater equation came together more easily than the audio. Noted for its high level of contrast, the 120-inch diagonal Screen Innovations Black Diamond Zero Edge screen would ensure a bright, vivid picture even when the family chose to watch a movie with the lights on and the window shades open. Plus, its nearly frameless design resonated with the homeowners’ aesthetic taste.
(View images of this home theater here)
“They had originally wanted simply to hang a 92-inch TV to the wall,” says Pawlus, “With a bezel that measures only 6 millimeters wide and a profile that protrudes just 3 inches from the wall, this video screen closely resembles the look of a flat-panel TV.” The display’s 2.35:1 super-wide format aspect ratio would also ensure the optimum viewing experience, says Pawlus, filling in the otherwise empty screen space that shows up as black bars when super-wide movies are displayed on an HDTV’s 16:9 format screen.
Avidia accessorized the screen with an optional LED lighting kit from Screen Innovations. Tucked behind the TV, it frames the screen with gentle, colorful illumination. Although hundreds of color options are accessible through the system, the owners stick with their two favorites: blue and light purple. These lights, as well as the fiber-optic stars overhead, a few recessed can lights, motorized Lutron Sivoia shades, a JVC 4K-upscaling video projector, and a rack of A/V components are controlled easily from a Crestron MLX-3 handheld remote (see sidebar). It’s a final touch that ties the entire theater together—even those speakers that still manage to rattle the rafters from their new home.
Automation Building Block
This 220-square-foot home theater marks the beginning of a much larger project. According to custom electronics (CE) professional Luke Pawlus from Avidia, the family plans to eventually use the Crestron system that runs the theater to automate other aspects of their house. The Crestron MC3 processor that occupies a shelf in an equipment rack with the theater’s A/V components, as well and the theater’s Crestron MLX-3 remote can be reprogrammed by Avidia to allow the family to operate thermostats, additional lighting and a security system, for starters. A Crestron Mobile Pro iPad app would also be custom-designed by Avidia to control other aspects of the home.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.