September 14, 2009
by Arlen Schweiger
What do you do if you want to build a theater in a room that doesn’t have a single decent wall for a screen?
If you’re custom electronics pro Hifi Buys of Nashville, Tenn., you build a wall for that screen and go from there.
That helped solve a bunch of decisions for this bonus room remodel, according to Hifi Buys manager Dave Cooksey. “The main problem with the space is there wasn’t a wall in the room that could be used to mount the screen,” he says. “There was an angled ceiling with four foot ‘knee’ walls all around, which made the layout of the room a problem.”
Originally, the room featured a big screen TV, a small audio system and a gaming area. With three sons in high school, the homeowners wanted to put in a dedicated theater to have movie nights that could seat at least 10 people, and to create a family project out of certain parts of the room’s construction, says Cooksey.
“After discussing options with the homeowner, it was decided to build a new wall and create a new front to the room,” says Cooksey. “This solved a multitude of problems, most notably the overall layout of the room. After the chair and room layout was decided, the homeowner framed the wall and riser based on that design.”
As part of its work, Hifi Buys added and changed the lighting as well as providing the necessary circuits for the electronics and projector.
Hifi Buys went with Control4 equipment because of the easy integration it provides between the audio/video equipment and the lighting control. A 10-inch wireless touchpanel is used to control the theater and conveniently view cover art to choose a movie or TV channel. Six-button keypads were installed at the front and back of the room for lighting access. A Sony projector with a xenon lamp was chosen because of its excellent color reproduction, Cooksey says, and Bowers & Wilkins speakers were chosen because of their superb sound quality.
Because of all the non-parallel walls, the basic sound resonances of the room were pretty good, according to Cooksey. “There was however, and moderate amount reverberation and this was noticeable to the homeowner. Acoustic panels were considered, but because of the dimensions of the walls, there would have to be quite a number of custom made acoustic panels. A more economical and flexible solution was to use the heavy drapes around the room. This solved the reverberation problem and also allow Hifi Buys to fine-tune the room acoustics to a very high degree simply by opening or closing the drapes until the desired room acoustics were found.”
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.