Project Description

Luxurious Powai Lakehome Apartment with Dedicated Media Room and Whole Home Multi-Zone Audio and Video Streaming

 

Pre-Installation and Setup

Speaker Placement

For this full floor apartment we had a lot of space to work with. The client wanted to have quality channel music which could be streamed to any room in the residence and a dedicated media room with a 5.1 Home Theater Setup. The bedrooms and main living room were easily integrated with In-Ceiling Speakers that would work well with acoustical challenges residential spaces present. The BIC America Acoustech series of speakers has an amazing likability and produces a very warm ambient sound which does not produce listener fatigue when listened to over extensive periods. We knew the Acoustech series would be a great fit for the multiple zones we would be providing audio for. With one In-Ceiling in each bedroom and four In-Ceiling Speakers in the living room, we chose to finalize the BIC America HT-8C speakers because of their 8 inch drivers which would be able to easily fill the large rooms in this residence. The client would now be able to entertain or relax with music playable in independent zones in their residence.

The media room proved to be quite challenging though. On-Wall or Floor Standing Speakers for our front LCR were not approved by the architect and did not meet the design requirements they had in mind. Our only option was to use In-Ceiling Speakers for the front LCR of the 5.1 Surround Sound System. This was not ideal because we wanted sound from our front speakers to be directly pointing at our seating position in the rear of the room. Placing In-Ceiling Speakers for the rear speakers would work well because they would provide surround sound directed toward the seating position by being mounted adjacent to the seating position in the rear of the room. For the front speakers we had to consider a speaker option which could be mounted in-ceiling but pivoted or directed towards the rear where the listener would be sitting. After carefully studying the layout and considering the acoustics of the space we finalized the NHT IC2-ARC In-Ceiling Speakers for the front and rear speaker positions along with the NHT Super 8 Subwoofer to complete the 5.1 Setup. The IC2-ARC has a distinct advantage that the tweeters can be pivoted. Although the main driver is still angling down, having a pivoting tweeter allowed us to direct as much sound as we could towards the listening position with the compromises we had to make in terms of speaker placement.

To achieve a good sound stage we would need to place our front speakers at a 45 to 60 degree listening angle from our main listening position. In this media room this would be easy to achieve with dimensions that provided for a larger width and a smaller length. Our front left and front right speakers were placed 12 ft apart and our main seating position was also 12 ft from our front right and front left speakers creating a 45 degree listening angle. Surround Speakers were placed In-Ceiling on either side of the primary listening position 13 and 1/2 feet apart to provide a wider sound stage. The subwoofer was placed parallel to our primary listening position to try and cancel out as many room modes as possible for that single row of seating.

Electronics

When choosing the A/V receiver for this project we wanted to ensure our speakers received the power they required and a clarity and focus were not compromised in the sound stage. In working with NHT speakers in previous projects we have paired them with Marantz and had great success. The client had chosen RTI Home Automation for their residence and would be using a 4-Zone RTI Amplifier to power the multi-zone audio speakers placed in each room. For the media room and living room we had to choose a two-zone AV Receiver which would be able to drive the NHT 5.1 Speaker Setup in the Media Room but also have enough power to drive the additional four BIC America HT-8C In-Ceiling Speakers in the living room. Given the size of the room we knew powering the speakers would not be a challenge for this receiver, but ensuring a neutral sound when paired with the NHT and BIC America setups would be crucial. We finalized on the feature packed Marantz SR5010 with the latest surround sound decoding technologies, seven hdmi inputs and built-in bluetooth as well as airplay. Using the rear surround channels for the second zone would also be more the enough power for zone music in the living room.

The clients wanted their house to be as future-proofed as possible and wanted to integrate 4K Televisions and sources throughout the residence. The Samsung UHD 4K Televisions were purchased for every video zone and Tributaries UHD High Speed HDMI Cables were used to connect all sources for a seamless 4K Experience no matter what the source. For the Media Room the Marantz SR5010 supported 4K passthrough and 4K Set Top Boxes were used along with the Tributaries UHD High Speed HDMI Cables and a 65” Curved 4K UHD Samsung Television for the ultimate movie or gaming experience.

For Multi-Zone Audio we set up Apple TV 4th Generation Media Players in every bedroom and for the Media Room. The Apple TV’s in each bedroom were then connected to the RTI 4-Zone Amplifier which allowed the client to be able to airplay music to any room independently and control volume in each room independently as well. Another Apple TV 4th Generation was connected to the Marantz SR5010 and could be used to airplay music to either the media room or main living room, again each zone with the ability to be played independently and with discrete volume control. Since the new Apple TV 4th Generation no longer has a separate audio output like the 3rd Generation does, we used the ViewHD HDMI Audio Extractors to extract HDMI and Analog Audio outputs from the Apple TV 4th Generation.

Since every zone had an Apple TV integrated with it, Multi-Zone Audio was just the beginning. By adding the Synology DS713+ NAS Server with a Seagate 8 TB Internal HDD Drive we were able to create a central storage center of our client’s favorite Music and Movies. The Synology NAS, in conjuction with Plex Media Cataloger, would allow us to easily stream Music, Movies, TV Shows, Family Photos and even Home Videos seamlessly to any room in the residence. The NAS even supported multiple streams so one member of the family can be watching their favorite tv show in one room while another member can watch the latest movie in the collection in another room. Playlists were also set up for family members so instead of choosing individual songs from the large music library stored on the NAS, they can click on their favorite playlist depending on their mood and have that play in whichever zone they prefer.

 

Network and Media Streaming

Media streaming needed to be flawless with the high res music and movie collection the client wanted to be able to stream. We stuck with one of the most reliable brands we know for solid network throughput, D-Link. The D-Link DIR-816 was set up to serve as an Access Points so that a fast and efficient WiFi Network which can be easily roamed from any location was at the client’s disposal. For LAN distribution we installed three Netgear GS108PE 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch with 4 Port POE.

 

Security

As we continue to perform custom integrations of AV and Home Automation one of the most important factors for our clients has been security. This project in Powai was no different in that regard either. The client wanted to ensure they could remotely view different areas in their residence and high quality video footage was being recorded in those areas. Since the client chose to have their Home Automation solution done by RTI, we had to choose a brand of cameras which was compatible with their system. We were informed by the Home Automation Consultant that Dahua cameras work well with the RTI System and we chose to integrate the 3MP Indoor Dahua Dome IP Cameras with a 2.8mm lens. The cameras could be viewed live through the RTI application and were also being recorded on the Synology NAS through the use of their IP Media Recording Software, Surveillance Station. The Dahua cameras were connected via POE for power and provided a very reliable and clear picture through their 3 MP camera lens.

 

Components and Cables

AV Receiver: Marantz SR5010

Media Room Front Speakers: NHT IC2-ARC In-Ceiling Speakers

Media Room Center Speaker: NHT IC2-ARC In-Ceiling Speaker

Media Room Surround Speakers:  NHT IC2-ARC In-Ceiling Speakers

Media Room Subwoofer:  NHT Super 8 Subwoofer

Multi-Zone Speakers:  BIC America HT-8C In-Ceiling Speakers

Master Bedroom Surround Sound: Yamaha YAS-203 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer

Network Switch: Netgear GS108PE 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet Switch

WiFi Access Point: D-Link DIR-816

Media Player:  Apple TV 4th Generation

Speaker Cable:  Monoprice 16 AWG Speaker Wire

HDMI Cables:  Tributaries UHDP-010B

Stereo Analog Cables:  Tributaries 4A-010B

NAS: Synology DS713+

Hard Drive: Seagate 8TB Internal 3.5” Hard Drive

HDMI Extractor: ViewHD HDMI Extractor

 

The Experience

The 5.1 experience of this setup was much better than expected. We were extremely concerned with using In-Ceiling Speakers for our front and center channels and how that may affect the clarity and focus of the system. The NHT speakers were solid performers and provided excellent imaging and envelopment when watching movies or television in surround sound. and did not distort during in the slightest in scenes which really tested them.

Luxurious Powai Lakehome Apartment with Multi-Zone Audio, Home Automation, Surround Sound, Dedicated Media Room and Video streaming

In two channel stereo the system speakers did not perform as well as we would have preferred. The bass was loose and the stereo imaging was not as defined as we would have liked from the in-ceiling speakers. The room had its fair share of reverberation as well with the extensive glass window in the rear and side glass door which caused a lot of reflections in the lower frequencies. When listening to music in full surround sound in Dolby Pro Logic formats the speakers did provide good clarity and filling sound throughout the room. The reflections were not as noticeable when listening in a multi channel format as opposed to two-channel stereo.

The Marantz SR5010 is a powerhouse and does not leave the speakers under powered for even a second. It provides clean and rich, distortion free power and truly shines when watching movie scenes. The surround experience is vivid and the scenes come to life in Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio formats. The network connectivity with the amp is also very simple and controlling it through the RTI system is very easy and reliable. Any zone can be chosen and music can be sent via airplay directly to the amp for that zone. The airplay quality is impeccable and with the amp wired to the network you do not have any buffering or signal loss.

The Media Streaming was flawless as well and a big bonus for our client. They really enjoyed the huge database of content they could now directly stream through their Apple TV and how user friendly it all was to navigate. The client often tells us they are considering canceling their cable subscription because they watch content from their media subscriptions almost 90% of the time they are watching television. With almost all the channels supporting Dolby Digital the client gets an amazing surround sound experience when watching their favorite TV shows or movies.

 

The Final Verdict

The NHT speakers in the media room definitely impressed with the Marantz Amplifier when listening to them in multi channel, and the performed better than expectations while watching movies. The detailing and dialogue clarity was impressive and envelopment and focus was suprisingly good considering the ceiling placement of the front speakers. Although the surround sound experience was immersive and defined, the finer details which we experience when watching our favorite demo scenes for surround sound was missing. The 8 inch NHT subwoofer distorted in when low frequency effects were required and re-positioning the subwoofer could have improved seat to seat consistency of bass. The sweet spot was able to feel the low frequencies well, when shifting to other seats the bass was not as defined.

When listening to music in stereo the ceiling speakers did not perform well at all. That was to be expected since the speaker was not directly facing the seating position. However, if we listened to music in Dolby Pro Logic mode or even Multi Channel Stereo there was a significant improvement in focus and envelopment.

The BIC America HT-8C ceiling speakers in the living room and bedrooms were great performers. Easily able to cover the larger rooms with clear, distortion free channel music. The home automation system made it very easy to choose which zone to play music and allowed volume to be easily adjusted in any of the rooms.

Our customers favorite part of the system was definitely the Plex setup which allowed them to watch their entire digital library of movies, tv shows, music, home videos or family photos in any room in the residence. With home automation allowing them to easily turn on their Plex app through their Apple TV, Plex allows each member of the household to then enter their profile and informs them what they have watched and what is new.

With 4K Televisions in place and new 4K content so easily accessible, this future proofed home will provide entertainment and ease of use for years to come.

 

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