Rarely do we get emotional about equipment lists. We realize that a home theater is far greater than the sum of its electronics parts. A theater’s true worth is measured in how those electronics work together as a whole—and even more important, whether they bring big, wide grins to the homeowners’ faces.
But as we scanned this room’s inventory and saw items such as very high-end Halcro monoblock amplifiers (meaning one hugely powerful amp per speaker), a THX- Ultra-certified Lexicon 7-channel amplifier, a Faroudja reference D-ILA (direct-drive image light amplifier) projector, some studio-grade equalization, a Crestron control system, and a bevy of Triad speakers (including 20 custom-made subwoofer drivers), we couldn’t help but smile.
Top it off with acoustic analysis and treatments by audio guru Anthony Grimani of Performance Media Industries (PMI), and you can be pretty sure this home theater not only has a system that can blow your socks off but that it sounds great, too. And best of all, it’s exactly what the homeowner wanted. “He wanted big, big powerful bass,” says Mark Ontiveros, president of custom electronics installation firm Audio Images. “Over 9,000 watts of power deliver earth-moving bass via 20 custom-built, 10-inch subwoofers.”
Actually, 12 subwoofers contain the 20 drivers (eight have dual drivers). But does this room really need that many, when most home theaters get by on just one or two? As Ontiveros explains, the numerous subs were precisely placed to smooth out the sound and remove room noise. We won’t get into the science of that here.
The homeowner also wanted all the electronics hidden from view. Hence, the Faroudja D-ILA projector is located behind the screen in a rear-projection configuration that employs a large mirror. D-ILA is a variant of the LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) video display technology that can provide colorful and bright images that appear filmlike smooth. The only electronics accessible in the theater are a DVD transport and processor. Ryan Forgy of Audio Images selected the electronics.
All the speakers and acoustic treatments, including QuietRock soundproof drywall, are set behind acoustically transparent fabric that Grimani’s company tested to assure optimal performance. Because this theater had already been constructed, Audio Images and lead technician Lance Felice had to cut into the wall fabric in various locations to install the acoustic treatments a foot deep. Audio Images also used the floor riser step as a bass trap (to reduce excess bass) by drilling and filling it in various locations per PMI’s specifications.
The equipment list sure whetted our appetite, but now we really want to see a movie in this space.
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