Unsuited Room Becomes Gem of a Media Haven
Credit: Jim Schmid
SI Black Diamond Zero Edge screen, MartinLogan speakers steal the show.
Many homeowners have the misguided notion that to obtain the perfect media room, the A/V gods have to consecrate that perfectly shaped, windowless, soundproof chamber. If so, then Bryant Moore, president of Moore Audio Design, Matthews, N.C., performed an act of sacrilege by sanctioning this second-floor bonus room as a media haven.
Far from the A/V ideal, the room features six luminous windows, nearly square dimensions, and the naughtiest of hardwood floors. What’s even more shocking is that all these features still exist. Instead of gutting the room entirely and renovating, Moore transformed the space from a solutions-oriented perspective, using strategically selected components and gear to find remedies for every anomaly.
First, the six windows ushered in a daunting amount of light during the day, which meant that either daytime viewing would have to be done under crypt-like conditions or the image would need to outshine all that ambient light. Because the room is used for many daytime diversions, such as playing poker, watching sports and entertaining, total darkness was out of the question. This made finding that perfect screen/projector combo vital. Moore selected a powerhouse of a projector—the Runco Q750i Ultra LED—to pump brute luminosity to the screen. A 97-inch Screen Innovations Black Diamond Zero Edge screen takes all that light and amplifies it while rejecting ambient light, allying with the projector to create an image that performs under any conditions—bright, semi-dark, or dark. Aesthetically, the custom screen is really slick, fitting the allotted space exactly with a wall-to-wall, bezel-less image. Aside from the main screen, homeowners and friends can peep two 40-inch Samsung LED TVs if they’re playing poker or getting a snack in the back of the room.
While the video is certainly boast-worthy, the audio performance is equally remarkable. “The homeowner required exemplary sound reproduction for music listening, but the square-shaped room created a host of dead spots that we had to overcome for that to be accomplished,” says Moore. Killer sound in this sonically quirky room is largely attributable to the MartinLogan electrostatic speaker array (see sidebar), which the homeowners can enjoy in either a two-channel music mode or a you-are-there 7.2-channel surround mode.
(View images of this media room here)
To help fix the acoustic problems in the room, Moore worked closely with Kinetics Noise Control to create six custom acoustic panels that were wrapped with fabric that matches the wall. In fact, Kinetics and Moore used the paint code from the wall color to dye the fabric, ensuring an exact match and a seamless aesthetic. “The acoustical panels simply disappear,” says Moore Audio Design’s installation specialist, Adam Sito. “Now, the room has the ideal combination of both reflective and absorptive materials.”
In the end, we think Moore Audio Design dispelled any doubts about creating a mega multipurpose media room under devilish conditions—the reflective floors, blinding dormer windows, unfavorable dimensions. Moore and his team managed to take a room that on paper would make any acoustician or video guru shudder and turn it into something that the homeowners will love for years to come and that any pro would be proud to have in his own home.
MartinLogan eschews the traditional “hide it” loudspeaker mentality in favor of a bold monolithic statement that would be shameful to disguise. But aside from their towering beauty, MartinLogan’s electrostatic wonders actually provide a design solution for this particular room. “Because the Martin Logan’s are a line-source speaker, they have very little vertical dispersion so we can essentially take the floor and the ceiling out of the acoustic-management equation,” says Bryant Moore of Moore Audio Design. “The sound produced isn’t adversely affected by reflections from these two surfaces as the sound travels outwards, towards the listener, in a very linear fashion.” Considering that audio engineers prefer absorptive surfaces, MartinLogan’s electrostatic technology opened up the room’s design considerably, allowing the homeowners to have their hardwood floors without the room sounding like, as Moore puts it, a basketball court.
Return to full story:
Light Matters: Tips for Maximizing Your Home Theater
Projector Tips for Multipurpose Rooms
Ten Features for Your Next Audio/Video Receiver