The Future of Retail?

Jon Summer started Cyber Sound and Security in 1995 and understood from the beginning the importance of creating a showroom that allowed customers to experience what they were about to buy. However, when he and Jason Beatty, Cyber Sound’s VP, visited the Savant Experience Center in downtown NY, they decided to completely revamp their showroom to demonstrate residential installations in the most realistic way possible.

When you enter the Cyber Sound Experience Center you instantly feel comfortable in this smartly decorated home,” says Jason Beatty. “We hired a local interior designer, Est Est Inc, to help us get that loungy, mid-century vibe.”

The idea behind the new center is to actually show how products can be seamlessly integrated into the decor. It’s one thing to tell a customer what’s possible and another for them to experience it themselves. They show how it’s possible to have all sorts of technology –multiple TVs, iPad controllers, docked iPods, speakers in every room, etc – without compromising the interior design.

“All of our TV’s are hidden behind panels that move out of the way, or they’re on a lift that allows the TV to drop into a cabinet,” explains Beatty. “Sonance speakers are all over but they are either completely hidden or designed with such an extremely small footprint, they virtually disappear.”

Styled after Savant’s Experience Center, the heart of Cyber Sound’s design is around Savant and Apple technologies. Savant makes the only home automation system using the Apple platform because of their quality products and it’s stable and powerful eco-system. iPads and iPods are used throughout the facility on desktop docks or mounted in the wall. In fact, they are so simple to use that when customers pick them up they just know what to do. Intructions aren’t required.

Other features include Savant’s surface [coffee] table with an embedded touch screen, a 24” touch TV in the powder room, and various TV’s with Savant’s On Screen Display that allows full control of of all devices and systems in the Experience Center – just like it would be in someone’s home. The bar area has four Runco TV’s that can independently display it’s own program or all can be used to display one large picture. The high-end theater is uncompromising featuring the most up-to-date technology and products available today including Digital Projection’s Titan Reference 3D projector and Stewert Filmscreen’s Directors Choice screen that allows masking for any size image. Our line of Crestron Control Systems are a leading provider of home control systems, building control systems, and campus control systems.

Most homeowner’s want dual purpose room’s and the Cyber Sound Theater is more than it appears when you first walk in. Finish the movie and press a button on the iPad. A seperate screen and projector drop from the ceiling. Grab a club and some golf balls and start playing on one of 65 plus courses around the globe using the TruGolf simulator from a company called The Konstruct.

You can’t just pop on over to the Cyber Sound center and get the full VIP treatment. However, when you set up an appointment, you’ll meet with the sales team and project managers. Customers are given a tour of the building and all the operations so they can see the extent of the services provided. With a staff of 57 people, Cyber Sound distinquishes themselves from other custom integrators with a fully integrated support team that includes their own electrical company, Cyber Electric, and an IT company, Cyber Technology. Saving the best for last, customers are finally lead into the Experience Center, where they are encouraged to just “go play”.

“In our experience everyone that walks away from our new center is amazed by the quality of our work, the simplicity of our systems, and, ultimately, they just get it,” concludes Beatty. “They finally understand what a great system would be like, and are far more motivated to make it a reality in their own homes.”

Photography by Tony Hernandez

Company Info

Cyber Sound
Jon Summer, President Jason Beatty, Vice President
16559 N 92nd ST, STE 115
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
480.483.6900
www.cybersound.tv

Wide Open Spaces

Coming up with a unique, never seen, theater design takes some creative genius, and the folks at Woodbridge Stereo along with the homeowner and theater fabricator, HTL, delivered this one-off theater that is both eye-catching and surreal. Circling the theater are custom printed fabric panels of locally photographed images of the Jersey Shore, creating the effect that this home theater is sitting right in the middle of the beach.

While this 3-story home is 10,000 square feet, the theater space is actually very modest (13.5’ w x 16.9’ L x 8’ h). “The smaller dimensions made it challenging to fit eight full seats and the necessary equipment,” said Tom Altobelli, President of Woodbridge Stereo. “We placed the projector behind a lighthouse photo and shot the lens through a special glass element to open up the space. It also eliminated projector noise that would have seemed extremely loud in such a small room.”

Even in this tight space they were able to install a 42” x 99” 2.35:1 cinemascope screen with 2-way motorized masking for 1.78:1 content. It was coupled with a Runco projector equipped with an anamorphic lens. Powered by a Marantz receiver, a Triad 7.2 (two subwoofers) speaker system was mounted in-wall. An AMX touchscreen was Integrated into a motorized dock in the center console between the rear seats. The final touch is the picturesque ocean view, created by the fabric panels, which makes the room appear far larger than it is in reality.

“With the collapse of new home construction, large, dedicated theaters are simply less common,” says Altobelli. “With more clients choosing to integrate theaters in smaller spaces, effective acoustical design and noise isolation techniques are more critical that ever. Moreover, improvements in broadcast, disc, and streamed content, as well as lower cost video projection hardware, allows us to create very compelling theaters and possibly a home automation system in a wider range of applications and at price points not previously possible.”

In addition to the theater, Woodbridge Stereo installed a 14-zone whole-home audio system that is expandable to 20 zones, which is controlled by 12 AMX touchscreen controllers located throughout the house. Architectural and outdoor speakers from Triad, DALI and Stealth are mounted throughout every living space making it possible to listen to music from any location. There are nine independent video zones with various size NuVision flat panel TVs installed in every major room of the house including two family rooms with 5.1 Music and Cinema systems (one is located in the basement), a gym, a playroom, the master bedroom, the master bath and two other bedrooms.

Sources for the whole-home AV include a four-zone Request hard drive DVD/music server with a storage capacity of 1000 DVDs or 15,000 CDs, however, it is expandable should the homeowner exceed it’s current capacity. There are five globally-accessible HD/DVR cable receivers in addition to both satellite and FM/HD radio.

Other systems installed by Woodbridge include a Panasonic cellular phone system with 16 locations and a wireless Internet network, which included three access points. The remotely accessible AMX system is capable of controlling further upgrades for HVAC, CCTV, security, weather and Internet radio.

Personalized Theaters

While always intriguing, one wonders if homeowners eventually tire of highly specific themed theaters. One-off theaters, like those designed by Mario Panelli Studios, never grow old. They are inviting and welcoming spaces that reflect the design and lifestyle sensibilities of the homeowner. You are wowed by the timeless beauty and fine detail, which effectively captures the homeowner’s tastes and personality.

In order to create such a personalized space, it’s necessary to develop a very close relationship with the client. “All our designs are one-of-a kind, which start with an extremely thorough client consultation,” says Aaron Clowes, CEO and Co-Founder of Mario Panelli Studios. “The client reviews 100’s of colors, patterns and textures ect. to help us determine their likes and dislikes. In this case, we discovered the homeowner liked abstract art with an affinity toward modern contemporary stylings.”

This relationship that begins with the consultation, and is carried out well beyond the completion of the project, is paramount to ensure that all aspects of the project are not only visually stunning, but that they met all the acoustical requirements needed to make the room sound as terrific as it looks.

This latest theater from MP Studios was built into a new gaming annex that was added to the backside of the property, with the theater portion being 16’ wide by 19.5’ deep. The unique ceiling concept was presented to the client as a physical scale model. Due to the level of trust developed between the client and designer, many elements were altered on-the-fly during construction without further client approval. The theater’s ceiling is a totally self-supported structure and is not connected to the actual ceiling except at the sides of the soffit.

The room design took a month to design and engineer, with another 10 months to build it out and install all the AV gear. The theater itself is independent of the other home systems, except for the smoke detector and intercom. The equipment rack is hidden behind one of the back wall sculpture panels and contains all the electronics including a NAD 775 7.1 Surround Receiver and several source devices. Axiom Speakers were used throughout with M60 V3’s used for the main left and right speakers, a VP180 for the center and QS4’s for the sides and surrounds.

The passive SVS PB13 Ultra Subwoofer coupled with it’s 1000-watt digital amp was so sensitive that even the slightest adjustment, resulted in drastic changes in the room’s sound balance. “This is where the experts at El Dorado Home Theater made such a difference in the overall performance of the room,” explains Clowes. “Without their knowledge of proper room calibration, the end result would have just been average, rather than amazing.”

The video side of the equation included the pairing of the Runco LS-5 DLP Projector and a Dalite Pro Imager screen with horizontal masking. The screen is 54”x126” and configured in the ever more popular 2:35 format.

The room was outfitted with 54 light fixtures (total of 7000 watts) using Lutron Homeworks Lighting Control system. The fixtures were grouped into 12 dimmer switches for extremely selective lighting control. Creating a more informal atmosphere, only the front row of the theater has four theater seats. The back row is essentially a wall to wall couch, for a more cozy interaction between friends and guests.

Perhaps, the biggest challenge was the entry door, which was designed to disappear when closed and there’s not even a visible handle. A sound dampening panel was hung from the inside of the door. Two lighting fixtures were added to match the other five panels on the sides of the theater. To complete the effect, a down-lit baseboard was placed at the bottom of the door, which was no easy task according to Clowes. Spring- loaded conduit was used to assure the wires would work for many years without requiring maintenance.

“Nothing in the room, including all the light fixtures were purchased out of a box”, concludes Clowes. “Everything is original and hand-made from raw materials and nothing was machine lathed. Every architectural element is a first time, one-of-a-kind design by us, including the 53-feet of down-lit baseboard. Our clients know that what we offer are the most exclusive and unique theaters in the world because each and every one of them is completely personalized.”

Photography – Joseph Ziser

CONTACT INFO

Interior Design
Mario Panelli Studio
Aaron Clowes/CEO
1101 Plumber Way # 103 Roseville CA 95678
1-866-928-4677
aaron@mariopanellistudio.com
www.mariopanellistudio.com

Systems Integration
El Dorado Home Theater
Brian Smith
722 Sutter Street
Folsom, CA 95630
916 933-5777
Brian.smithedht@sbcglobal.net
www.eldoradohometheater.com

European Delight

Beginning with some postcards depicting old european towns and villages, the homeowners of this “French cobble-stone town” wanted a themed area that would lead into their theater. Designed by JP Themed Theaters along with systems integrator Audio Advice, this basement theater whisks you away to an early 20th century French Quarter.
“The whole-street scene idea was taken to another level when the homeowners asked for a unique way to incorporate their private collections,” explained James Potter, owner of JP Themed Theaters. “So, it was decided to create actual shops that you can enter off the street to view these collections.”

Visitors can mosey through the “shops”, chat in the courtyard and loose themselves in this quaint setting. When showtime comes, they enter the theater through two large wooden doors into an ornate and spacious area that seats eighteen. The overall size of the street area is 21 x 43 feet with the actual theater measuring approximately 27 x 36 feet.

In an effort to make the visual experience in the street appear authentic, Potter used a number of techniques. The building exteriors were plastered, then several layers of paint were applied using 3-4 different colors, creating a feeling that decades worth of maintenance and change had taken place. Utilizing a technique of his own, Potter aged the surfaces to imitate the effects of natural weather conditions. Posters were painted to further create the illusion of a specific time period. For a sense of depth, buildings in the front were painted lighter than the buildings in the back. The final touch is five zones of lighting, with the street lighting capable of representing different times of the day.

Larry Lawyer, of Audio Advice, said, “James and I developed this ongoing partnership throughout the entire project to ensure the design of the street space and the theater meshed perfectly.”

Once seated in this grand theater, you’re treated to a no-compromise cinematic experience featuring high-end audio components and a 2.35:1 image. For reference quality 7.1 multichannel audio, all Classé Delta Series products were installed including the SSP-880 AV surround processor along with the CA-3200, CA-2200, and CA-2100 power amplifiers, which drive PSB CW383 reference in-wall speakers and CHS212 reference subwoofers.

On the video side, a Runco VX44D-CWAS 2:35:1 Cinewide 1080p projector was paired with a Stewart 165″ Cinecurve Firehawk cinemascope projection screen. The projector is capable of brightness levels several times that of most projectors and the curved screen rejects ambient light while reflecting the projected image evenly to all seats, providing exceptional corner focus compared to flat screens. Additionally, the curved screen, along with an anamorphic lens attached to the projector, displays movies in their original widescreen aspect ratio while utilizing the full resolution of the projector, ensuring optimum image quality.

To hide the Runco projector from view, a custom mounting system was fabricated to place the projector vertically behind a faux building facade. The image is reflected off of an observatory telescope grade mirror and then through a 5” x 12” aperture in the building door. A custom cooling enclosure ensures silent and cool projector operation.

The theater’s equipment rack was located outside in one of the themed rooms with other whole-house equipment placed in a different room. For simple control from any location, a Crestron’s DM “Digital Media” ADMS Media Server was installed, which shared all the video sources with the theater and the rest of the house. A Crestron TPS-6X wireless RF 5.7” touchpanel is used in the theater to access media as well as control the AV gear, lighting and climate. An auxiliary TPS-6L wall-mounted touchpanel was installed just outside the theater for whole-house control.

“What makes this theater so amazing is the pristine video reproduction coupled with the finely detailed sonic performance of the Classé/PSB gear. It’s about as near perfect as you could ask for in a home theater,” concludes Lawyer. “Plus the operations in this fully integrated, state-of-the art theater are as simple as turning on a light switch. To say the least, the homeowner’s expectations were far exceeded.”

Photography by Jill and William DiMartino

Contact Information

Interior Designer
JP Themed Theaters
James Potter
Kansas City, Missouri
816-739-4534
jamespotter@me.com
www.jpthemedtheaters.com

Systems Integrator
Audio Advice
Larry Lawyer
Tulsa, Oklahoma
918-664-1933
www.audioadvice.com

The Ultimate Demo Theater

Prather Warren, owner of Innovative Home Media (IHM), had no idea what he’d signed up for when he agreed to take Triad’s CinemaPlus demo theater after the 2009 CEDIA Expo. It’s not uncommon for manufacturer’s to sell off some demo gear after a trade show so they don’t have to ship it back to the factory…but a whole room? A long time AV enthusiast, Prather founded IHM in 2006. However, the one thing he needed to take his high-end custom AV business to another level was a demo theater. To that end, he had plans drawn to add a floor to his house for a dedicated theater. As he was preparing to built-out the new space, a fortuitous discussion with Bill Ruark, a sales consultant with Triad Speakers, caused him to alter his plans.

Ruark felt that Triad’s CinemaPlus program might be the perfect solution for Prather’s new theater. CinemaPlus is a partnership between American-based Triad Speakers and PMI, Ltd., the company founded by Anthony Grimani, formerly of THX and Dolby. This partnership provides unprecedented support, expertise and resources for custom installation firms like IHM, allowing them to create theaters with performance levels well above the typical theater. A CinemaPlus system consists of a complete high-end Triad multichannel speaker system that is custom designed for the specific room, including a full one-off plan drawn up by PMI.

At this point, the theater changed in scope focusing on a CinemaPlus system. Again fortune intervened and Ruark informed Prather that Triad and PMI were planning to build a fully-engineered, ground-up, CinemaPlus demo theater room on the show floor of CEDIA in Atlanta, and asked if he would be interested in purchasing “some” of the system after the show was over.

Prather ended up flying into Atlanta a few days early to offer his expertise in what turned out to be an over-the-top demo. With theater seating, this would have cost about $400,000 if purchased at retail. Ultimately, Prather purchased a good deal of the components, speakers, acoustical treatments, cabling and all of the sound isolation materials.

After four days of continuous and impressive demos at the expo, the room had to be taken down carefully, all the gear packed properly, and somehow get it to Prather’s home in Baton Rouge, over 525 miles away. A dozen people worked for two days to unscrew drywall, pack amplifiers and speakers, coil wire, and disassemble the Triad BaffleWalls. The estimate of the total weight was at least 25,000 lbs., requiring an 18-wheeler to make the long haul to Louisiana.

“By now, the project had grown exponentially, and was well beyond the scope of the original demo room I’d envisioned,” recounted Prather. “However, I was confident we’d transform these materials back into a superb home theater again.”

After arriving in Baton Rouge, the shipping crates and pallets were loaded into smaller trucks and transported to Prather’s home. The shipment was large enough to fill his carport, back porch, courtyard, and a good deal of the driveway. Over the course of the next six months the materials were continuously sorted and rearranged to locate the pieces and parts that were needed as the project progressed. Moreover, everything had to be carried up a flight of steps since the theater was upstairs.

The actual construction of the room was anything but typical. In order to achieve a room that was perfectly quiet, the walls ended up being 13” thick including acoustical foam and several soundproofing materials from QuietRock (quietrock.com). The floor consists of 2 x 12s on 10″ centers designed to support the load. Rubber isolating material was placed on top of a 1-1/4″ layer of plywood flooring along with QuietWood and mass-loaded vinyl. All the seams were filled with QuietSeal. The finished measurements of the theater were 16′ 4″ wide and 23′ 6″ deep. An 18″ tall riser, 10′ deep, extended across the room and 50% filled with rock wool. The upper surface consisted of two layers of 3/4″ plywood, then sealed and glued with QuietGlue.

When the frequency response was measured, it was determined that 3/8″ diameter holes (1,523 of them) drilled across the entire top of the deck would naturally attenuate peaks at 45 and 63 Hz. An extensive rattle test was performed, however, absolutely everything had been glued and screwed together, leaving few issues to address.

The air handling capacity of the HVACs supply and return grills was implemented utilizing three times the surface area that would normally be specified for the number of cubic feet in this room, rendering it virtually silent.

Terry Hill of PMI spent a week applying the finishing touches including the projector housing and installation of a 300 lb. QuietDoor. Robbie Burns of Better Acoustic stepped in and installed the acoustically transparent fabric on the walls and ceiling, hiding all the acoustical materials and wall mounted speakers.

The final system consisted of CinemaPlus versions of Triad’s Platinum LCR in-BaffleWalls, six Gold Surrounds, and twelve 12”, 500-watt Silver DSP Subs. The Parasound Halo amplifiers delivered over 12,000 watts, capable of attaining peaks that exceeded 113 dB, however, sound levels outside the room were literally inaudible. Incorporating PMI’s 2.0 video projection solution, a Stewart Filmscreen’s Director’s Choice 2.0 160” wide 4-way masking screen was coupled with Digital Projection’s Titan 1080p Dual 3D projector. (For details about PMI’s 2.0:1 screen concept go to pmiltd.com.)

“I was amazed at the flat response of the room even before equalization,” said Prather Warren. “This really demonstrates how important it is to professionally design a room. When combining science and great equipment, it’s possible to create terrific custom theaters in a wide range of budgets and needs, and not just at the upper end.”

While the CEDIA attendees were wowed by the Triad demo, they missed the truly insane part of the story, which was disassembling an entire room, board by board and screw by screw, transporting it 525 miles, and then re-engineering and reassembling it into a world-class home theater.

Equipment List

Digital Projection TITAN 1080P Dual 3D projector
Stewart FilmScreen’s Director’s Choice 160” wide 4-way masking screen
3 )Triad’s Platinum LCR in BaffleWalls
6) Triad Gold Surrounds
12 ) Triad 12” Silver PowerSubs
12) 500-watt Silver DSP amplifiers
3) Parasound JC1 amplifiers
3) Parasound A21 amplifiers
Crowson Tactile Motion System
MSR Acoustic Treatment
Kinetic sound Isolation and suspended ceiling system
Denon AVP-A1HDCI Ultra-Reference preamplifier
Oppo BDP-83R Bluray player
DirecTV receiver
Lumagen Radiance XS Video Processor
Ashly ne24.24M Multi channel matrix audio processor
Fortress seating
Exactpower 10 kVA Powercore power conditioner
2) Middle Atlantic Racks
3) Middle Atlantic 293 CFM venting system
1) Dedicated 10,000 BTU portable AC unit for equipment rack cooling
Crestron AV2 control system and Crestron C2ENET-1 ethernet card
Crestron TPS-6X touchpanel
Crestron infiNET lighting

Photography by Prather Warren

Company Info

Innovative Home Media
Prather Warren, THX, HAA, CEDIA, ISF Certified
Baton Rouge, LA.
ihm@cox.net
225 766-0885
www.ihmllc.net

A Show House with Dramatic Stylings

Building a theater was part of the plan for a designer’s show house that entailed the complete renovation of an old mansion for community events. Everyone donated their efforts and the two key contributors to the theater were Interior Decisions, who created the design, supplied the decorative appointments including custom cabinetry/millwork and Woodbridge Stereo/Video, who donated their integration services, the AV equipment, acoustical wall fabric and seating.

“For this project it was critical that we had tight coordination with Craig DeAndrea, one of the partners with Woodbridge Stereo/Video. We created the design and then Craig worked with us to provide suggestions for the most effective implementation,” said Karla Trincanello, owner of Interior Decisions.

The theater was placed in the basement, where they once stored coal. The walls and floor were concrete and since it had never been heated, the project included a new Gio-Thermal heating system. The result was ductwork on two walls and the ceiling, which made it necessary to designfalse walls and a drop ceiling to hide them. Threehorizontal steps on the soffit facade concealed the ceiling drop. By continuing the stepped soffit design on all walls, a balanced perimeter was created. The ceiling medallion provides a sense of more room height and the monochromatic aubergine color offered a highly dramatic effect. Interior Decisions designed a custom cabinet/bar unit for the lobby, which also housed the AV equipment.

“We knew this show house would attract a wide range of people from both the design community and general public,” said Criag DeAndrea. “We wanted to demonstrate a modest music and cinema system that provided an emphasis on quality sound reproduction.”

A pair of KEF XQ40 floor standing speakers were selected for the front L/R channels with a matching XQ50c placed on a stand for the center. Rounding out the 7.1 channel system are four KEF CI200.3QS in-wall speakers concealed behind the upholstered acoustical wall treatments, plus two KEF HTB2 powered subwoofers were neatly hidden behind the draperies flanking the screen. The electronics included a Marantz SR8002 receiver and BD8002 Blu-ray player. For video, a Marantz VP15S1 1080p DLP video projector was placed discretely behind the rear wall and projected onto an 82” Da-Lite wall mounted screen. This kept the ceiling free for decorative painting. Rounding out the system is a Lutron Grafik-EYE to manage the 6-zones of lighting and a URC MX900 remote control.

The biggest challenge were the acoustic treatments. Since the space was small, thick ceiling and wall treatments couldn’t be used. Moreover, the acoustical solution had to be economical, yet, capable of isolating the theater from the floor above. For the ceiling, a combination of mineral wool insulation coupled with an isolation method that reduced the ceiling height by less than 2” was employed. For the walls, rather than having fabric-covered acoustical wall panels that were fabricated to fit, they used a ” flexible acoustical material that was laid in place on the walls and then upholstered over with an acoustical fabric, which was also carried into the lobby area. The combination of this treatment and the solid surfaces of the columns and soffits provided the perfect acoustical balance.

Due to the limited ceiling height in the rear and the room’s overall shallow depth, a combination of commercial-style theater seats on a low riser in the back and two sets of high-quality, fully-reclining, leather theater seats for the front, were chosen.

By working closely together and staying open to suggestions from both the design and integration perspective, the end result was a beautiful space that sounded and looked fantastic. Not surprising, it was the hit of the entire show. CONTACT INFO

Interior Design


INTERIOR DECISIONS, INC.
Karla Trincanello
140 Columbia Tpke
Florham Park, NJ 07932
973-765-9013
intdecinc@aol.com
www.interiordecisions.com

Systems Integration

WOODBRIDGE STEREO/VIDEO
Craig DeAndrea
751 Amboy Avenue (Route 35 South)
Woodbridge, NJ 07095
office: (732) 636-7777
craig.deandrea@woodbridgestereo.com
www.woodbridgestereo.com