May 27, 2011
by Steven Castle
Say you’re an avid sports fan and you want the biggest and loudest theater possible. Check. Home system design and installation company Audio Video Interiors (AVI) of Middleburg Heights, Ohio, will tune up a rockin’ JBL Synthesis speaker system that will make you feel every bone-crunching gridiron hit.
Say you want the best HD video possible, with superwide CinemaScope capability and the ability to produce an image that will pop even when the room lights are on? Check. AVI will mount Digital Projection’s monster Titan Reference 1080p projector with an anamorphic lens to produce those superwide pictures. On the other end of the room will be a 14-foot-wide Stewart Filmscreen CineCurve display to show those CinemaScope movies in all their glory.
Say you want a multiscreen theater, but don’t want to compromise on the size of a big screen. No problem there, either. AVI will utilize Crestron’s powerful DVPHD video processor that can produce up to eight separate images to display simultaneously on one screen.
And if you think that’s cool, you’ve seen nothing yet. When there’s a great play or a break in the action, this sports fanatic can pause the DVR and use the telestrator feature to diagram a play on screen—just like John Madden and other sports analysts do to explain what’s happening at certain times.
By pressing a TELESTRATOR button and running a finger or stylus over a Crestron touchpanel, he can overlay the image with one of his own. This “annotation” feature comes with Crestron’s DVPHD, and AVI just had to write some programming to get it onto the Crestron touchpanel as an option.
That’s sweet. But even sweeter is the ability to watch several games at a time—on one screen. AVI provided the theater owner with a number of different presets, so he can watch just one game on the big screen, or go to two screens as large as possible or four sources with one screen larger, or more.
In the multiwindow mode, the audio comes from whatever is being displayed on the window in the top left, called Window 1. If the homeowner wants to switch the audio to another window he can just switch the sources on Window 1.
And what great audio it is. According to Jason Spence at AVI, the JBL Synthesis system is a hybrid of sorts, using the K2 S9900 front-channel floorstanding speakers placed behind the screen and three pairs of S4Ai in-wall surrounds, all located behind some of the fabric squares the make up the sides the theater. Six Synthesis subwoofers were also installed to fill the room with serious bass thumps.
For the amps that drive the speakers, AVI opted for four 3-channel No. 533H amplifiers from premier high-end line Mark Levinson—along with the Mark Levinson No. 502 preamp—and added oomph with 800-watt subwoofer amps from Synthesis. Nothing against the Synthesis amps that in many cases are used with the JBL speaker package, but “with the Mark Levinson electronics, the dynamics and amplification really stand out in clarity of the sound,” says Spence.
After all, the owner wanted the biggest and best theater. AVI worked closely with the architect for speaker placement in the cubist wall design, and some of the rectangles conceal acoustical treatments to help tame the sound. To top if off, an iSky fiber-optic starfield shines down on the room’s occupants. With everything else going on in this room, we wonder if they notice. –S.C.
Getting It Just Right
How do you get the sound right in a room with nine speakers, six powerful subwoofers, and varied ceiling heights? Fortunately, the JBL Synthesis speaker system comes with a calibration kit that includes 10 microphones and a digital signal processor (DSP) to calibrate the sound perfectly. It took electronics design and installation company Audio Video Interiors (AVI) of Middleburg Heights, Ohio, two days of tuning, but the effort convinced the crew to move two subwoofers from behind the screen to below it to preclude boomy sounds in some parts of the rooms and nulls in others. “Bass is hardest aspect of a room to get right,” says Jason Spence of AVI. EH
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