April 14, 2008 by Rachel Cericola
This homeowner wanted a balance of state-of-the-art sound and video within a designer-inspired environment—all without breaking the bank.
To make the magic happen, Media Design Associates calculated modal frequencies based on the initial room dimensions. The builder also accommodated slight changes to the envelope to insure that modal frequency overlap was minimized and seating placement was optimized. “Because of the build-out and equipment chosen, it is optimal for 2-channel sound and for theater,” says Michael Wohl, founder and CEO of Media Design Associates.
As with many installs, the projector also posed a problem. A quick solution was a floating soffit, which creates a visual break on the walls, allowing both proper projector offset and placement for four surround speakers.
Speaking of speakers, all of them were located behind a baffle wall—a sound transparent fabric wall constructed of wood frames. This adds a visual boundary to hide reference-quality speakers, yet audibly, they are still part of the room. After placement was completed, channels were adjusted to within +1dB of 75dB at normal listening levels. This allows the speakers to peak at approximately 105dB during peak output.
Other tweaks included constructing the room’s walls for sound attenuation to the adjacent family room. “This helped even out the frequencies so that the sound was perfect and not distorted from any particular place,” says Wohl. “This way the client got the perfect balance between acoustic and aesthetic considerations.” The addition provides a sifting of the walls to enhance bass response. The end result was that the homeowner was ecstatic with the balance between acoustic and aesthetic—who wouldn’t be?
When it comes to keeping cool, the room has a 1.5-ton air handling system with four incoming vents and one return air vent, both of which were incorporated into Starlight fiber-optic ceiling panels. “It has an incredible ‘wow’ factor and truly makes the room feel special,” says Wohl.
The cherry on top of this sound sundae is how the ergonomic joystick and backlit buttons allow users to easily operate the Crestron MT-1000, which provides control for the entire room.
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Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.
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