Building a Little Home Theatre

Building a home theatre is refined expression of art. The engineering as well as aesthetic endeavor that integrates technical knowledge with creative interior design, all combined with the idea of developing a room that amazes the homeowner regardless if the lights are off or on. The end game of a breath-taking theatre room can be synthesized in one single word: Elegant.

Home theater

Elegant is the description for the project images you see here. It was built as part of a full attic renovation. Surprisingly, given the beauty that surrounds it, it’s not a the biggest home theater since the homeowners settled on a 22 x 26-foot room. But that didn’t stop designers from Multimedia Tech, of Houston, TX. from going huge—really huge—with the audiovisuals. Despite of the smaller dimensions, the home theater features a panoramic 180″ Screen Innovations Screen.

I personally visited the site repeated times, watching the construction team from Multimedia Tech negotiate through the various stages of the build.

How Big Can One Go?
When Multimedia Tech project consultant Francisco Hernandez first sat with the owner of this home theater to discuss the specs and parameters, he posed the same question he asks everyone.

“When we met,” says Hernandez, “I asked, ‘When you go to the commercial movie theater, where do you like to sit?’ Right away, the client said ‘Middle row. I wanna be right there!’ His immediate priority was getting the largest possible screen in his room and a sound system that could deliver a Dolby Atmos experience”

Of course right off the bat, the homeowner was in loved with the idea of a full width, floor to ceiling screen. However due to the given the number of viewers he wanted to seat, Mr Hernandez knew that such a low and wide reaching panoramic wouldn’t be possible without overpass sight lines specs not to mention that projector throw distance could also be a nightmare when trying to display such a huge picture across a descriptively small space, and design requirements had already established that the projector screen had to be on the larger of the 2 room dimensions. This was to accommodate a movie theater ramp entry-way that would assist isolating sound and light during a movie.

Mr Hernandez idea’s was to help the homeowner visualize what was really plausible and how amazing the image could be. So, very early during the design process, when the media room was still only open studs with no sheetrock work, he decided the unusual step of trying a test run. He brought in an Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema LS10000 intended for the job, along with an Apple TV and a full size home theater seat from Elite Home Theater Seating. The projector was temporarily installed in the intended location, the custom seat placed in the middle of the room, and a large painter’s drop cloth was hung up to act as a projector screen. Without a doubt the appropriate screen size was immediately obvious, and the client was fully satisfied. “Have You heard the expression about a picture is worth a thousand words?” says Me Hernandez. “Well, a projector and a painter’s tarp functioning as a projector screen is worth a soup opera.”

The initial plan was a drawing for an 9.2.2-channel system, but this was immediately scaled up to a 11.2.4 channel setup with high-performance Martin Logan Speakers used for the main and surround channels.

A Marantz AV7701 preamp/processor and a pair of Marantz MM7705 five-channel amplifiers rated at 140 watts per channel drive the surrounds and mains; and a pair of Martine Logan Subwoofers. The equipment rack is located behind all the action happens in its own utility room and houses a cable Apple TV streaming media player and a set-top box. Other source components that require local access, including a Appo Blu-ray player and both PS4 and Xbox One game consoles, are hidden in a compartment behind a spring loaded hinged panel at the back of the theater’s entry ramp. Lighting and automation control are provided by a Control4 remote and tablet app integrated to a dedicated processor.