Custom Programming Switches Theater Between Surround and Stereo Modes

A touch of a button switches home theater speakers from surround to stereo.

Surround-sound systems are a must-have for home theaters. They divide in movie audio into several (5 or 7) channels to wrap movie viewers in sound that’s multidimensional and realistic. Again, it’s the best arrangement when you’re watching video. However, it’s becoming increasingly more popular to also use a home theater as a place to listen to music. And audiophiles agree, direct stereo is better than ambient surround-sound for music listening.

In this project, the custom electronics (CE) professionals at The Sound Vision, Birmingham, Mich., devised a solution that would enable a home theater owner to switch between dipole mode (surround-sound) to monopole mode (stereo) with just a simple touch of a button on his iPad.

The commands (appropriately labeled Movie and Music) are two of several available to the owner via a Crestron control app, and transmit a 12-volt signal from a Marantz AV7005 processor to four GX-FX Monitor Audio speakers positioned on the side and back walls of the theater. While the capability to switch between dipole and monopole is available on other brands of speakers, the GX-FX model is unique in its ability to make the switch via a command from a remote or touchpanel, says Jonathon Anderson of The Sound Vision. The homeowner liked these speakers so much, that we designed the entire theater around them,” Anderson continues.

In addition to being multifaceted in their playback capabilities, the speakers are visually attractive. The four GX-FX units were mounted to the surface of the walls; the three front speakers sit behind a 144-inch acoustically perforated screen from Stewart Filmscreen.

Although they are invisible during a movie presentation, their striking silhouettes can be admired during a music listening session, thanks to a group of strategically positioned wall sconces behind the screen. The owner can turn these lights, as well as all other lights in the theater, via his iPad or Crestron touchpanel.

Lighting control was of particular importance to this theater owner. The removal of a malignant brain tumor had thrown off his equilibrium, especially when in dark spaces. The Crestron control system lets him operate five separate zones of lighting and adjust their intensity levels to his liking. Also, the Movie command slowly fades out the lights, giving the owner and guest plenty of time to find their seats; and intermission command brings up the scones and step lights to a comfortable setting so that people can find their way easily in and out of the theater.

Marantz AV7005 processor
ATI 200×3 amplifier
Rotel 120×5 amplifier
Monitor Audio GX350C speakers (3)
Monitor Audio GX-FX speakers (4)
JL Audio Fathom F112 subwoofers (2)
Triad Bronze Inwall subwoofers (2)
Triad amplifiers
JVC X30 video projector
Stewart Filmscreen 5D acoustically transparent screen
Quest Acoustical Interiors acoustical treatments
Kinetics acoustical treatments
United Leather motorized reclining chairs (8)
Crestron lighting
Crestron TPS-6X touchpanel
Middle Atlantic UPS
Middle Atlantic BGR equipment rack

Also Check Out:
How to Add Lighting Control to Your Home
Great Ways to Maximize Your Great Room
Oceanfront Home Opens up with Motorized Shades


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