May 09, 2009
by Steven Castle
This is one of those “are you kidding us?” rooms. The gold columns, ornate capitals and trim, faux-painted rock walls, red velvet drapes and upholstered walls are meant to recall opulent movie theater palaces of the past.
The equipment is anything but old-fashioned, however. A JVC 1080p D-ILA (Direct Drive Image Light Amplifier) and a superwide Stewart CineCurve screen provide smooth and filmlike CinemaScope-wide pictures, while an Anthem Statement D2 processor and A5 multichannel amps pump out 3,000 watts of power to nine Paradigm Reference Signature speakers (three for the front and six surrounds). In addition, two Velodyne subwoofer amps provide another 6,000 watts for two Velodyne subs.
The Anthem processor, says Tyler Worthington, a theater designer and A/V installer at Worthington Entertainment Systems in Lancaster, Calif., does a fabulous job not only as a surround-sound audio processor for the powerful 7.2-channel system, but as a great video scaler, eliminating the need for an outboard processor to upgrade lower-resolution images to Full HD 1080p resolution. That’s what’s often needed for the stardard-def DVDs in the 400-disc changer and accessible through an Escient FireBall media server interface. There are high-definition Blu-ray and HD DVD players as well.
A Panamorph anamorphic lens is used with the JVC projector to provide the CinemaScope-wide images, and the motorized draperies are used to mask the sides of the screen when regular-old 16:9 widescreen is viewed instead.
It’s all very 21st-century and operated by an RTI T4 touchscreen remote that provides confirmation with a female voice.
One would think the designer of this room had carte blanche—and he did with the design—but Worthington encountered plenty of obstacles.
The original room was much larger and had a vaulted ceiling and an elevator in the middle of the space. So Worthington lowered the ceiling, used the back of the elevator as part of the right side wall—the elevator now exits to the theater’s lobby—and sectioned off a window dormer in the rear to house the projector and the equipment racks.
In addition, all the walls were acoustically isolated. The walls consist of a layer of acoustic soundboard, a layer of QuietRock acoustic drywall, another layer of soundboard and then regular drywall, each layer separated by elastometric glue, an industrial adhesive. Acoustic absorption and diffusion panels top off the wall treatments.
The front and side speakers were painstakingly placed inside the columns, along with the front subwoofers. There are other goodies as well, such as an invisible door to the lobby on the right side and plug-ins for game controllers and other devices on the steps. There’s also a starfield in the ceiling with 800 lights and 16 different lighting modes. It’s just one more element that adds to the opulence of this well-thought-out entertainment space.
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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