Some people plan their home theaters around a dream projector, a favorite set of speakers or a special movie theme or design concept. The piece of gear that drove Sam Manessis’ home theater was one that many enthusiasts hardly even think about—the screen.
The screen Manessis had his heart set on is Screen Innovation’s Black Diamond Zero Edge (see the Electronic House review here). He’d seen it featured in past Electronic House articles and read about it online. He was attracted to idea of having a cinema-sized screen that looked cosmetically like an LCD panel and could be viewed in normal room lighting. In his months of research about the screen, he asked manufacturers to recommend the best installer for his new system, and time after time the same name came up: Todd Anthony Puma of The Source Home Theater in New York City.
Manessis had a contractor gut and redo his bonus room with guidance from Puma, and then Puma and his team (including star technician Jason Johnson) came in to install the electronics and turn the extra room into a media-centric hangout. The room’s build-out included some soundproofing and planning for the speaker and subwoofer installation.
There was one obstacle to making the perfect room—a large HVAC duct runs along the ceiling. Since that couldn’t be moved without major changes, Puma worked carefully to select a projector and mounting option that would fill up the room’s 115-inch screen without light path problems from the duct work.
He and Manessis settled on a Wolf SDC-12 projector, also called the Gray Wolf. It’s a DILA projector, based on a JVC e-Shift 4K light engine, and produces deep blacks while still being very bright.
Sound was also a major consideration for this room. The owner wanted powerful bass, but didn’t want to see a big subwoofer. Puma installed an SVS PB12-NSD subwoofer in a front wall as well as a Paradigm MilleniaSub behind the second row of seats. Being up against the seats, the Paradigm adds a bit of impressive rumble to movies. Manessis said he used to be a big Bose fan. “After listening to this Paradigm system, it’s just unbelievable, such a difference,” he says.
Another key component of the room is the automation. Manessis had decided on a control system until he visited Puma’s home, which also doubles as a demonstration space, and saw Puma’s Crestron system. The simplicity of operation and the system’s iPad app sold him on it. Puma installed a Crestron MC3 processor and three Crestron dimmers. One iPad, mounted outside the room in an iPort allows the family to turn the system on before they even enter the room. Once inside, an iPad Mini serves as the main controller. The easy-to-use GUI was designed by Rich Fregosa of Fregosa Design.
Speaking of design, because sports viewing was going to be a major part of the room, the homeowner filled it with his favorite sports memorabilia. That helps get visitors in the mood when they come over for a game.
Since the room is more of a family room than a man cave, Manessis didn’t want the walls to be too dark. Puma suggested making the front as dark as he could to help the screen pop, so they went with a dark chocolate paint. The walls and ceiling are painted a lighter brown. Even though the white wainscoting does reflect some light and brighten up the room when the projector is on, the Black Diamond screen’s ambient light rejecting qualities prevent light from degrading the picture. Manessis also really likes how the screen’s color LED lighting kit outlines the image. It’s a showpiece of the room.
So now that the room is done, what do you think will be the first thing on screen? Probably a kids’ movie, says Manessis. “My daughter beat me to the punch. She invited seven or eight girls over to watch a movie.”
Wolf SDC-12 projector
Screen Innovations Black Diamond Zero Edge
Crestron MC3 processor
3 Crestron dimmers
Pakedge 8 port POE switch
Marantz 7008 receiver
Oppo BDP-103 Blu-ray player
Middle Atlantic Rack
Paradigm Signature LCR speakers with built-in wall box
Paradigm SA30 speakers
Paradigm Millennium One subwoofer
SVS PB12-NSD subwoofer
Also Check Out:
Screen Savers: Home Theater Screens for Any Situation
Understanding Home Theater Screen Selection
Front Projection Basics
Great Basement Home Theaters
Planning a Home Theater the THX Way
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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.