Some people spend years planning their dream home theater, measuring their room, contemplating gear specs and plotting the best time to take the plunge. Others dive right in. The owners of this northern New Jersey home barely had the front door key in their possession when they took the first step.
Ryan Herd, owner of One Sound Choice in New Jersey, said he first met the homeowners the day they settled on the house. However, it wasn’t actually a rush decision. Herd said the clients had been dreaming of a home theater for years and were waiting until they had the right house to put it in. They’d seen plenty of great examples as avid readers of Electronic House, so they knew exactly what they wanted.
There was one stipulation—it needed to be done in four weeks in time for a party. The clients were in a hurry, so if Herd was going to get the job, he had to make sure he could deliver in record time. “I have the best crew in the world,” says Herd, “we excel in project management,” so the deal was struck, and work began.
Aside from the time constraint, the clients had a few other requests. First, they’d just plunked down a lot of money into the house, so they couldn’t go overboard on esoteric gear for the theater—quality and value were the themes. Second, they wanted a stage. With a little girl in the family who likes to sing karaoke, a small stage would add to the family enjoyment. Finally, they wanted to make sure sound from the theater didn’t leak into the rest of the house. The theater room was directly below the kitchen, so the clients didn’t want a movie or sports game in the theater to drown out conversations upstairs.
To help corral the sound, while working within the owners’ budget, Herd tore down the original ceiling of the 288 square-foot room. He doubled the insulation, and used QuietRock sheetrock, plus acoustic treatments on the walls to both keep the sound inside and make it sound great when you’re there.
The sound the owners heard was going to come from a Denon AVR3312CI, a seven channel receiver with 125 Watts per channel, plus bonus features like 4K upscaling and Apple AirPlay. The receiver feeds a set of Episode ES-HT900s and ES-HT700s in-wall and in-ceiling speakers plus two ES subwoofers for a full 7.2 system. The speakers include high-performance ribbon tweeters and MDF backboxes, making them stand out from a lot of other in-wall speakers. “Huge kudos for quality,” is how Herd describes them.
To give the room a true cinema feel, and to maximize the space in the room, the front speakers were all installed behind a Stewart Directors Series acoustically perforated screen with four-way masking.
Lighting up the screen is a JVC DLA-RS40 LCoS 3D projector. With 1,300 ANSI lumens (before calibration), it’s best with a light-controlled room like this theater, but can also be viewed with some ambient light in the room. The RS40 was last year’s model, so the nearest equivalent now would be the DLA-X30 that includes almost the same specs and runs about $4,000. The projector is hidden in a soffit in the back of the room, which helps make the room look elegant and keep the projector’s fan noise from intruding on the movie.
The whole system is run by a Control4 HS300, which can be accessed either with a Control4 remote or an iPad.
The theater was completed last summer, and Herd still sees the owners from time to time as he returns to add audio or TVs to other rooms in the house. “They love it,”he says. “He (the homeowner) will tell me about the latest movie the family watched.” The official unveiling was for the daughter’s birthday party, and the client noted that guests were impressed. “I was doing demos all day. I had to wipe everyone’s chins off the floor,” Herd was told.
Check out some before and after pictures of the home theater here.
Design and Installation: One Sound Choice
Total Cost: $55,000
1ea JVC DLA-RS40 Projector
1ea PKEM1P JVC IR emitter
1ea Projector mounting plate, pole, and adapters
1ea Used Stewart Directors 3-way Perforated masking screen
3ea ES-HT900-IWLCR-6 Front LCR Speakers,
4ea ES-HT700-ICLCR-5 Surround Speakers (in-ceiling)
4ea ES-SUB-IW-DUAL8 Subs
2ea EA-AMP-SUB-1D-500 rack Mount Sub Amps
1ea Denon AVR3312CI Receiver
1ea Sharp DBHP90U BluRay player w/3D
1ea HC300 Control 4 Home Theater Controller
1ea Control4 MyHome Site license A site license
1ea 1 year subscription to Control 4 4Sight service
5ea Dim1Z Control4 Wireless Dimmer
1ea Key digital Black bull powered HDMI 30’
3ea Key digital Black bull HDMI 3’
1ea Surround Sound speaker Prewire for 7.4
1ea RE27 OnmiMount rack system
7ea Side walls acoustic panels (FR701 Style 2100 418 claret Accent ) sides and rear made by us
2ea Door Theater Side acoustic panels (FR701 Style 2100 418 claret Accent ) sides and rear made by us
4ea Front Wall in black material ( FR701 Style 2100 408 Black) entire front wall made by us
8ea Custom Round 1/2 Columns for theater (Gold Paint)
1ea Front Stage approximate 14’w x 3’d x 8"h
1ea rear seating riser approximate 14’w x 6’d x 8"h
1ea Tray ceiling to match outside wall by windows approximate 40 LF
1ea paint Theater 3 colors, Ceiling Black, walls color and accent color
1ea dedicated 20A circuit for AV Equipment and 3 additional lighting circuit for;
Tray Rope Light
Riser and Stage rope light
Stage down lights
Column accent lights
118lf Rope lighting for crown molding, Riser, and Stage
75lf Base Molding for theater (OSC931) in Accent Color
75lf Crown Molding (OSCLWM-49HD) in Accent Color
210lf Frames around Acoustic treatments (OSC163HD) in Accent Color
1ea Remove ceiling sheetrock replace with:
R30 Fiberglass Insulation
Tape, Spackle, and sand
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.