December 09, 2009 by Arlen Schweiger
The screen and speaker configuration left plenty of legroom for tiered seating, which worked well in the room because it has a sunken floor. Rather than build a riser, IMS plopped the first row of seats into the 3-foot drop in the floor to produce the tier. “Sort of a swimming pool effect in the floor,” Wells says.
One thing this theater owner didn’t want was much distraction during movies, but with friends and neighbors always stopping by he had to make sure the doorbell could be heard during loud action scenes.
IMS rigged the house-wide Elan communications system so the doorbell signal would only interrupt one channel of the theater’s 7.2-channel surround setup, that being the left in-ceiling speaker right above the owner’s seat. A relay toggles from the theater’s Lexicon processor to the Elan Com2 system with a chime that’s set 3 to 5 decibels softer than the surround-sound volume.
The volume reduction during loud scenes is noticeable enough to signify a visitor, but the chime makes it official and doesn’t disturb other viewers.
Placing the Subwoofers
Placing subwoofers in a fireplace opening was a first for Wells. Wells offers some other installation options if traditional sub locations don’t work:
Under risers. If you’re building tiered seating, you can stick subwoofers under the higher row.
In the side walls. Wells has used Velodyne and Sunfire in-wall subs successfully.
In the ceiling. Wells favors a James Loudspeaker model that installs like HVAC duct work.
Custom cabinetry. If room dimensions allow, frame the screen wall and bring the millwork out a couple of feet to store the subs behind. They will appear to be built in to the cabinetry.
This theater manages to carry over decor from outside the room, including the woodwork.
A Crestron touchpanel controls the room’s electronic systems.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
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