These high-end installations show off the best of today’s home theater technology.
Fall is here, which means its time to head back indoors and fire your TVs and home theaters for football and movies.
For some, that means returning to the comfy confines of luxurious, high-end home theaters. The home theater installations in these pages, borrowed Electronic House’s Home of the Year Awards – represent just what can be done when cinema buffs with virtually limitless budgets collaborate with imaginative electronic system integrators to build cutting edge theaters that push the technological boundaries of the CE industry.
Whether it’s a simultaneous 2D and 3D presentation, a ‘floating’ room built on rubber isolators, or a theater that required cracking the home’s foundation, these theaters of over $150,000 will blow your mind – and your ears, if you ever get the chance.
Best Home Theater $150,000+ Gold Winner | Cantara – Costa Mesa, Calif.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and this elegant, reference-performance home theater certainly wasn’t either. Nor was it built in a few months or even a couple of years. From build-out to final tweaking this 45-seat cinema took four years to complete, to the tune of more the $3 million. Admittedly, that’s a lot of cash to commit to a single room of a house, but according to Jason Voorhees of Cantara in Costa Mesa, Calif., this home theater has seen more use in one year than most do in a lifetime.
“They haven’t even had the theater for a year, and we’ve already had to replace the lamp on the projector, which is rated for 2,000 hours of use,” he says.
After the room had been constructed, as part of a new 8,000-square-foot addition to the existing 25,000-square-foot house, the owners had no clear idea of how they wanted their home theater to look or perform. But a meeting with Slayman Cinema changed all of that, when the home theater design rep held up a piece of lush, red fabric that inspired the homeowner to have his cinema built to feel as luxurious as that fabric. If the goal was to design an environment as luxurious as that swatch of material, Cantara had to go just as sophisticated on the equipment.
Best Home Theater $150,000+ Silver Winner | Rectech Rooms, Toronto, Ontario
Rectech Rooms not only custom builds the theater room, but in cases like this it will also work with a local partner to custom build the speakers and subwoofers. Fed by RAM Audio amplifiers and an Integra preamp/processor, 10 speakers comprise the surround channels to go with three front-channel speakers that reside behind a 14-foot wide Screen Research screen. The stage below the screen houses eight (yes, eight) 8-inch woofers—two sets of four on the left and right sides.
Another aspect of the audio installation, led by Rectech’s Chris Tedesco, stems from a design laden with wooden flooring and millwork (eco-friendly reclaimed lumber from the Great Lakes region) throughout plus stonework in the rear. Rectech tamed these reflective surfaces by creating an arched column framework that works as a diffusion system to help scatter the sound more uniformly. Rectech custom-faced the grilles in mahogany to complement the theme of the room.
Those arches are a multipurpose force, too, essentially playing a four-in-one role: they house the surround speakers as well as the HVAC system’s air supply to the room; they incorporate the many diffusion slabs to aid the acoustics; they include built-in LED lights; and on the whole are a major architectural element.
Best Home Theater $150,000+ Bronze Winner | World Wide Stereo, Montgomeryville, Pa.
What does a person do when the home theater they envision is larger than the concrete room they have to put it in? Why, call up the heavy equipment, of course. In this case, the heavy equipment meant an excavation crew to dig down past the existing foundation nearly another three feet.
But busting through the foundation was just the first of several great lengths this Pennsylvania homeowner and installers went to in creating this $1.3 million personal movie palace. To accommodate the size of the screen the owner wanted – a 193- inch Stewart GrayHawk with full four-way masking – the room required more throw distance for the Runco projector than was available.
The first idea was to actually build an additional projector booth, which would have meant excavating into the front yard. All parties decided that might be going a bit too far, so World Wide Stereo engineered a smaller projector booth and mounted the Runco SC60 (a 3-chip DLP projector with two lamps) on the floor, pointed the lens toward the ceiling and bounced the light beam off an angled mirror that then shoots the image though a projector booth window and across the room at the screen.