February 16, 2010
by Arlen Schweiger
These Michigan homeowners wanted their theater to fit in at least somewhat with the overall Tuscan theme of their home. If that means lounging about in true comfort, then consider it accomplished.
Well, actually custom electronics pro Integrated Smart Technologies worked with a local builder and carpenter to craft some stunning raised wood panels with coffered ceiling and custom cabinetry that really ties this theater room together.
But for movie nights, we’re more curious about the Tuscan-like relaxation provided by the two Panasonic full-body massage chairs that were incorporated into the room’s 10 seats. Oh, and the other eight are pretty cool, too, with attached ButtKicker motion effects that really make you feel the bass in soundtracks.
“We kept the front speakers hidden behind an acoustically-transparent projection screen and the rear and side in-wall speakers are covered with custom-made acoustical wallpanels; even the subwoofer is hidden behind a wood-matched fabric covered panel under the screen,” says Integrated’s Troy Cuvelier. “Further, to keep the equipment ‘behind the scenes,’ custom cabinetry was built to conceal a custom pull-out rack to give us access to install and service all the room’s gear. We were able to keep all the equipment concealed behind cabinetry, automate lighting and gain control over the equipment exhaust fan, and operate the entire system with a single remote and onscreen user.”
The theater features a Control4 controller to provide digital music from the house-wide HC500 controller, as well as integrate an AppleTV, HD Cable Box, Sony PlayStation 3, and Integra DHC-9.9 preamp/processor and DRA-9.4 amp. The system powers on all appropriate gear, exhaust fan and projector when the red “4” is pressed, then dims the lights when a source is selected, says Cuvelier.
“When the pause or stop button is pressed on the system remote, the lights slowly come back up to an intermission scene, then return when ‘play’ is pressed,” he says. “One of the things we also did was to have the cooling fan monitored by programming a condition to make sure the switch was never accidentally turned off during system use. If the switch is turned off for any reason while the projector is on, an announcement comes across the speakers to let the owners know the fan had been shut off and that it will be turned back on momentarily. They told me that it nearly scared them the first time it happened, because they had forgotten about the feature, but thought it was ‘really cool!’”
There’s even a hidden door that covers the entrance to the room, which also serves as a precursor for the out-of-sight speakers and equipment inside.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.