May 03, 2010
by Lisa Montgomery
Clearly, one of the most exciting elements of this dedicated theater is the screen. Stretching a whopping 153 inches diagonally, it’s hard to miss, even among all the decorative eye-candy.
There’s a lot more to this 560-square-foot space than just a pretty picture, though. A dance floor and a professional-grade karaoke system take this viewing venue to a whole new level of entertainment.
(Click here to view additional photos.)
“The owners love to dance are nuts about karaoke,” says Don Dunn of Merlin Home Technologies, Lutz, Fla. A 20-by-20-foot hardwood floor was installed in front of the room’s four dedicated theater seats, “but they can always wheel in more chairs when there hosting a big movie night,” says Dunn.
While accommodating of jitterbugs and tangos, the smooth, spacious surface wasn’t nearly as considerate of the theater’s audio system. Left to its devises, the sound waves produced by room’s seven James Loudspeakers would have bounced and echoed uncontrollably off the hard floor. Merlin softened up the harsh reflections by hanging beautiful fabric-covered acoustical paneling to the walls.
The karaoke setup would require even more design ingenuity. The speakers would need to sound amazing when the owners played a movie, yet handle the abuse from as many as four people singing - often loudly - all at a time. Furthermore, the display would need to be bright enough so that singers could clearly read the on-screen lyrics when the room lights were on. Lastly, Merlin would need to integrate a specialty karaoke server into the A/V setup, giving the owners the ability to control both their traditional entertainment components and the server from the same Control4 remote.
To tackle the two types of audio, Merlin went with a combination of in-wall and in-ceiling James Loudspeakers - three 83-SDX units for the front and four 62CA-6s for the rear. “The speakers have their own built-in equalization so we were able to tweak them to handle any type of audio that was thrown at them,” says Dunn.
For the display, Merlin went with a rear-projection arrangement, positioning the Runco RS1100 projector in a small equipment room behind the Vutec screen. Situated here, no light is able to interfere with the image as it is projected onto the screen, resulting in a bright, clear video presentation no matter how many lights are on in the theater room. Lastly, Merlin tied the karaoke system to the home’s Control4 automation system and put together a hard-cover song selection book for the owners. Referring to the book, the owners choose the tune they want and punch the corresponding number into the Control4 remote. This one command fires up the karaoke machine, turns on the four wireless microphones and delivers the song lyrics to the 153-inch screen.
So what about playing movies? The theater is sensational at doing that, too, and it just takes one touch of a button to ready the room for the new activity. On command from the Control4 remote, motorized fabric panels open to reveal the entire CinemaScope-size screen (portions of the screen are covered when karaoke lyrics are displayed). The owners can then use the remote to choose from a huge assortment of A/V gear including two DVR satellite receivers, a Fusion video server, a 400-disc DVD changer, Blu-ray player and a European Panasonic DVD player.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.