Very Unique AV Experiences Curated for a Unique High Rise Apartment at Mahalaxmi Mumbai
We usually get the opportunity to enter a project before the construction starts. In the case of this project, though, our clients visited our showroom and asked us to customize the residential space with some very specialized AV Solutions midway through their project. This posed a unique set of challenges on how we can run the necessary wiring to ensure our solutions are implemented in the best way now, and for the future.
The first and most important part of our design is where we will place our centralized AV rack to ensure our components are neatly stored, with proper ventilation and easy access for service requirements. Apartments in Mumbai always pose their own challenges with space. In this apartment with most of the design already being finalized, we had to be far more creative with our solutions to ensure the final results would not be compromised in any way.
Our clients had two major requirements they wanted to fulfill in their AV integration. The first was a Projector with a Screen for the Living Room, and the second being an Immersive Surround Sound Solution for their cozy lounge room. The challenge was to place the speakers correctly to not interrupt the Architect’s Design but also ensure we receive the best listening experience. Not to mention the Projector and Screen being placed in the Living Room meant that everything must neatly hide away when not in use. Imagine walking into someone’s Living Room and seeing a large projector hanging there on a rod and a projection screen with large speakers. Not ideal for the modern aesthetic design the architect wanted to approach this space with.
One major challenge we faced in hiding the projector was how to accommodate a lift small enough to conceal the projector and the lift body inside 9 inches of depth in the ceiling. We reached out to our good friends at Tono Systems and they were able to give us a customized slim mount solution which would measure only 2 inches when closed.
Since this was a hall and ambient light would be a constraint, we had to choose a projector bright enough and powerful enough to throw from a 14-foot distance but achieve the gold standard of 40 ft/Lamberts to adequately project a 4k resolution. After a lot of research we finalized the Optoma UHD50X. Its compact size and 3400 lumens of brightness would ensure we are not going to compromise the viewer’s experience.
For the screen we chose to use our staple brand for Projection Screens, Screen Innovations. The height of the ceiling was quite high so we chose a Solo Pro 2 Motorized Screen with 24 inches of drop and Slate 1.2 Fabric to ensure the best picture quality even in ambient light settings.
For the Audio we filled the ceilings of both the Dining and Living Room with Gray Sound C50 Pro speakers. The Gray Sound speakers have an amazingly small footprint with an amazingly large soundstage. They can be easily calibrated with Audiocontrol Multi-Zone Network amplifiers which is exactly what we used to power them. Since the Living Room would be used to watch sporting events and movies we wanted to add a bit of low frequency response. Did we mention how space was a commodity in this project?
Well we managed to hide the Gray Sound S80 In-Ceiling/In-Wall Subwoofer inside the cupboard in the bedroom sharing a wall with the living room and pass the bass through the powerpipe of the S80 Subwoofer through a small 5 inch cutout in the front wall. Needless to say the architect was more than impressed!
The lounge room would also prove to be a challenge. The architect did not want any speakers to be jutting out or visible and the room had an odd shape. Our clients decided they wanted to have a large 75 inch Television and we had limited space to work with for our main channel speakers and subwoofer. After a lot of careful planning, we finalized the RBH VM-553 In-Wall Speakers for the main Left, Center and Right speakers. With everything so meticulously hidden away we did not want the subwoofer to be an eyesore either. We chose the RBH SI-10 subwoofer which was also neatly concealed away in the wall. Don’t let the 10 inch size and in-wall demeanor fool you, it delivered thunderous bass to deliver a generous low frequency response in addition to the surround sound. To round out the rest of the system we chose the RBH Signature Series In-Ceiling speakers for the surround and RBH Visage Series In-Ceiling speakers for the immersive audio.
We know the cardinal sin is not to keep in-ceiling surrounds and in-ceiling immersive audio channels because it is difficult to differentiate between the surround channels and the immersive audio channels. Unfortunately, we had to create this compromise to our sound stage to appease the design because there were no side walls to conceal or mount our speakers on.
For amplification we used Audiocontrol for our Multi-Zone Audio requirements and Marantz for the Surround Sound System in the Lounge Space.
AV Control and zone selection was all accomplished by a Savant Home Automation System.
Networking and Wifi
As you can imagine, a project of this level with the amount of integrated devices, requires a strong and stable network as its backbone. We provisioned the entire network backbone using Engenius Networking Switches and Access Points. For the Access Points we used the Ubiquiti U6-LITE strategically placed throughout the residence for maximum coverage and bandwidth. We had several devices using POE so we required a 24 port POE gigabit switch, the US-24-250W for speed interconnectivity between the local IP devices. On the routing side, we chose the ER-X by Ubiquiti to facilitate all routing duties in the project.
The gigabit network was fast and ensured that the clients did not face any delays when issuing commands to their automation system or streaming any media throughout the residence.
Ubiquiti is our preferred brand because of their unique technology and robustness. We find almost 100 percent up time with Ubiquiti and that includes their security solutions. We felt it was a no-brainer to use the UVC-G3-Flex cameras for our clients in this setup along with Ekey Biometric and Keycode Access solutions for the main door. Both Ubiquiti and Ekey offer minimalistic design and the latest in technology which pleases the client technically and the architect aesthetically.
This project was one of our most challenging with the late stage we entered the project in, the final rack position, and the seamless integration of so many challenging solutions in difficult spaces. We learned a lot from the entire process and how to efficiently manage our rack equipment in a tight space, how important ventilation is for all our systems, and took away some valuable lessons on how to conceal our solutions without sacrificing on the final product.
Our clients were thrilled with the final results and only wished we could have been involved at an earlier stage so that would have integrated the lighting control and window shadings with the solutions we were already providing them with.
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