Dedicated Home Cinema for Penthouse Apartment in Versova(Mumbai)
Pre-Installation and Setup
The placement of speakers in relation to the seating location is one of the most crucial factors in ensuring this room would get a good sense of envelopment and seat to seat consistency. We wanted to ensure every seating location in the room was well within the sound stage. Also that no one speaker was too close to the listener so that he may be able to localize that speaker and his listening experience would be out of sync compared to other listeners in the room.
The dimensions of this room were approximately 11’W x 23’L x 9’ in Height. Our biggest challenge proved to be creating a large enough sound stage to properly envelope the three rows of seating which were planned. Being that the width of the room was quite narrow in comparison to the length, we decided to use in-wall speakers behind a acoustically transparent screen for the LCR to minimize distortion and reverberation. We want to ensure all rows of seating effectively felt they were receiving the dialog and front speaker effects, and did not feel any surround speakers were too localized no matter how far the seating from the LCR. Also because the width of the room was so narrow we decided against in-wall speakers for the surrounds because they would be too close to the listener on either side. With enough height in the ceilings we were able to effectively plan for In-Ceiling Speakers and treat the ceiling and flooring to reduce distortion and reverberation. The customer also wanted fiber optic lighting in the ceiling so the entire ceiling was made out of ply and then treated inside the ply with a 4 inches of fiberglass paneling. In-Ceiling Surrounds were placed between the first and second row of seating and the Rear Surrounds were placed behind the third row of seating to maintain the proper 110 degree speaker angle from the back listeners.
To complete the sound stage we had to determine the best location for the subwoofers being that this system was going to be a 7.2 channel setup. Ideally we would have liked to place one subwoofer in the front center of the room and one in the rear center. This would have helped effectively control the room modes and provide great seat to seat consistency for the bass in the room. But if were to place a subwoofer in the rear center of the room, we would need to remove the last row of seats to keep space for the large woofer. This was not preferred by the client and we compromised a bit on the ideal location by placing the subwoofer in the right corner of the room.It was decided to place the center speaker on top of the AV Unit and directly below the TV as the room would be having low seating and we wanted to maintain the sound stage by ensuring the center channel would be centrally placed between the front two speakers and equidistant to the seating location so that the sound stage remained balanced.
The AV Rack was custom built and placed in a small right corner of the room which extended out an additional two feet. It proved to be the perfect area to create an AV Rack and it received all the ventilation required from the Air Conditioner being near. The rack was custom built to be a 42U height and easily house all the components of the system while concealing all cabling from a closed door to the side of it. For a dedicated cinema experience a Projector and Screen is a must. We were able to use the entire front wall for a perforated projector screen to easily conceal our In-Wall Speakers. The projector position was a bit challenging because a structural beam was coming directly in between the first and second rows of seating. If we mounted the projector in front of the structural beam, our image size would shrink. We had to custom mount the projector stand inside the ceiling and lower the projector to where it fit perfectly below the structural beam. Thus maintaining the screen size we wanted and also not affecting anyone when they stood up in the first or second row of seating.
This Cinema Room was going to be Totally Automated. From the AV Equipment, lighting including Fiber Optic Lighting, to the Air Conditioners and Streaming Audio and Video. The customer wanted everything to be on one touch in the palm of his hand. We ran our wiring accordingly for Wireless Lighting switches by Control4 at the entrance of the room along with a 6 Button Keypad for lighting scene options. We used a Control4 HC-250 as the main controller since only this room was to be automated and ran the necessary cabling to the Projector, AV Equipment and Air Conditioner for complete control.
Media Streaming and Presentations
From the outset of this project the customer informed us this room was going to be used to watch movies almost every night and for training sessions and presentations. We wanted to provide him with the latest technology to ensure he could easily stream media from the internet and access his whole digital library of audio tracks and movies. The best option to ensure all this becomes possible is pairing a Synology NAS with the Apple TV. With a free movie and music organizer like Plex being easily loaded on the NAS directly to file the customer’s entire digital library and sort it along with metadata, this was the simplest way to get everything in one place. Plex can be accessed through the Apple TV and play all the customer’s music and movie files in his cinema room in Stereo or Surround sound and watchable directly on his projector without any buffering or lag issues. We also setup Netflix for the customer so they can easily stream the latest in TV shows and Movies directly to their home cinema in Full HD.
Another MUST for our customer was providing coaching sessions and presentations for his clients in his own personal space such as the Cinema Room. We integrated a 4 channel mixer with Wireless Microphones and connected the Apple TV’s analog outputs to the mixer. That way the customer would be able to wirelessly play and coach through the wireless microphones simultaneously to invoke certain images during these sessions. Using Control4 we were also able to activate lighting scenes to the exact light levels the customer required for his coaching sessions. These lighting scenes would automatically activate with one touch when the customer started a coaching session using his Control4 system.
Components and Cables
Projector: Sony VPL-HW40ES Full HD 1080P 3D Projector
Screen: Crystal Screens 120 inch Diagonal Perforated Projection Screen
AV Receiver: Pioneer VSX-924-K 7.2 Channel Network Home Theater AV Receiver
Front Speakers: BIC America M-PRO6W In-Wall Bookshelf Speakersb 150-watt 2-way 6 1/2″ in-walls with pivoting titanium tweeters
Center Speaker: BIC America M-PRO6W In-Wall Bookshelf Speakers 150-watt 2-way 6 1/2″ In-Walls with pivoting titanium tweeters
Surround Speakers: BIC America MSR-PRO6 125-watt 2-way in-ceiling speakers with pivoting titanium tweeters
Rear Surround Speakers: BIC America MSR-PRO6 125-watt 2-way in-ceiling speakers with pivoting titanium tweeters
Subwoofer: BIC America F12 Front-firing 12″ 475-watt peak powered subwoofer
Blu-Ray Player: Microsoft XBOX One
Media Player: Apple TV
Subwoofer Interconnect: Tributaries Cables 2S-015 1.5 Meter Series 2 Subwoofer Cable
Projector Mounts: Peerless PRG-UNV Universal Projector Mount
Home Automation Controller: Control4 HC-250
Universal Remote Control: Control4 SR-260
Lighting Switches: Control4 C4-KC240-WH
A/C Control: Card Access Z2IR
Network Switch: Netgear GS108NA
WiFi Access Pointn: Engenius ECB350
Before giving the customer a demo and experiencing the system ourselves, we performed a HAA Tubocal Calibration on this system. We time aligned the speakers along with the subwoofer, set the subwoofer crossover as well as the LFE crossover, checked to see all speakers were in phase and also calibrated the projector using the Spears and Munsil HD Benchmark Disc. This exercise takes a little extra time in our setup, but it proves to be so vital in the overall cinematic and music listening experience. Without the proper Audio and Video Calibration this system would not have performed or provided the detailing and clarity which was possible in this customized space. The overall customer experience of the cinema is so unequivocally heightened by these important steps.
We started by testing the system with the 3D Blu-Ray Disc of Mad Max Fury Road. The initial sequence where Max starts his monologue and explains how the future came to be while getting captured was simply electrifying. Every seat in the room came alive and made you feel the action as though you were riding along with Max.
Next we played the motorcycle race/war scene from Tron to test if the subwoofer would really perform down to 25 hz as advertised. The subwoofer reached all the low frequencies in this scene without a struggle and the powerful center really made each dialogue sound like the person speaking was right in front of you.
One of our favorite scenes to test on any system we calibrate is the famous gun shot shootout scene in the middle of the town square from Book of Ei. We have heard this scene so many times on so many different systems, it really helps us determine if we are getting the surround and envelopment the sound stage deserves from the current setup. We were not able to localize the speakers and every dialogue and sound was very clear. The gun shots wizzing by felt real and the neutrality of the speakers allows you to really become a part of the scene.
The last scene we tested was from U-571 where the submarine is getting depth charged by the Germans. We wanted to make sure the bass was not distorting and the surround speakers were not localizing in any of the seats. Dialogue was extremely clear even in the rear row and surrounds and the bass were not localizing. All the depth charges were felt through each seat in the room without any distortion from the subwoofers.
The customer had a digital copy of Edge of Tomorrow and through the Synology NAS and Apple TV we were still getting a great surround experience. The digital copy was encoded in Dolby True HD and it played flawlessly through the AVR. We also tested streaming of several TV shows and movies on Netflix and all played extremely well without any lag or buffering.
The Final Verdict
The BIC America In-Wall and In-Ceiling delivered as promised and were well driven by the Pioneer AVR. Bass Distortion and Sound Reverberation were completely minimalized with these speakers and the listener was able to have a true cinematic experience getting enveloped into the scene. Listener fatigue was not a factor at all with these speakers either and the audio/video decoding was done seamlessly by the AVR and Projector.
The automation made the room so much easier to use with the lights programmed to dim over 5 seconds once the projector comes on, and programmed to raise up again over 5 seconds once the projector is turned off. It made the entire room feel like a private home theater. Especially inviting were the fiber optic lights which remained on above while the movie was playing, giving a sense of watching the movie with the open night sky above you.
Our customer was thrilled with the final results and felt it completely exceeded his expectations of his a Home Cinema Room would sound. The Home Automation and Lighting Control made everything very easy to operate from the customer’s Tablet, Smart Phone, or the Universal Remote Control. The treatment and speaker choice and placement of speakers really helped maximum the performance and overall satisfaction of this Dedicated Cinema Experience.
Thoughts from the Client