After buying a new home, a client who had owned many high-end hi-fi systems decided that he wanted to experience surround sound without losing the quality he had become accustomed to. The client also requested the image to be big and punchy enough to watch during the day, a difficult task given the screen would need to be mounted in a bay window with no way to fully block out daylight.
After a discussion to identify the level of quality the client was looking for, he confirmed “simply the best”. The room in question would not be a dedicated space but a living room, which needed to remain as such when not used for films. The room had some very nice cabinetry that the client wanted to keep, making positioning of equipment difficult.
We commenced by looking at what type of hi-fi the client already had – a Meridian. The choice became obvious; we would add more speakers to match what he already owned and put together a fully active Meridian 5.1 DSP surround package. Projector choice proved to be difficult as it needed to be very bright for daytime viewing, have a very long throw (we had decided to build it into cabinetry to hide from sight) and offer a picture performance to a similar level of the sound system. The choice was a Runco LS10, with a comprehensive range of lens options, being a 3-chip DLP model and discreet enough to mount into cabinetry. We also decided to motorise the cabinet to enable a panel to hide it completely from sight when not in use. We selected an 80” wide Solidpix in-ceiling projector screen from Screen Research for optimal picture quality. Installation of a Kaleidescape Blu-ray/DVD/CD media system, Sky HD and a BT Vision box allowed the client to enjoy all the media formats they wanted, as well as an input plate to allow games consoles/cameras to be connected when required.
We decided to mount the centre speaker high up to maintain optimal positioning, housing it in the ceiling giving space uncluttered by speakers when not in use and given the length of room from screen to seating position, this was the perfect solution. Given the client already had a perfectly good pair of active speakers, we sourced a matching centre to give a completely balanced sound on the front soundstage. The rear speakers and subwoofer were also built into the cabinetry, as was the equipment rack. To keep the control of the system as simple as possible we selected a mixture of RTI controllers to work alongside a Crestron control processor, as control with this method meant we could offer as much functionality as the client required but with a robust handset the whole family could operate.
We had to use and utilise existing cabinetry, into which the clients had previously spent a considerable investment. The nature of the room meant that high levels of natural daylight throughout the day was an issue for projection viewing.
The Follow Up
Upon completion we powered up the system to demonstrate it to the client and his family. Throughout the project the client had joked “remember, you have promised me the best so I will hold you to it!” the silence in the room seemed to last forever.