Table for two?
If you have never experienced a great home cinema before, what should you expect? What is the difference between an average system and a great system? Well, you could just take our word for it I guess but we thought it would be a lot more fun if you could experience with your favoured installer. That is one of the reasons that we built this fantastic cinema.
Modelled on most average garage or loft conversion spaces, this room was designed to give you an insight into how a great cinema should be designed and built. To start with, we wanted to explore the two main types of speaker layouts that are commonly used; in wall and in ceiling. So we decided to build both systems into the same room, that way we could simply switch between the two layouts.
Let’s start with the in ceiling system first as that is the one that takes most people by surprise. The front sound stage is looked after by the excellent Triad In Ceiling Bronze 8 LCR. Don’t let the “bronze” tag fool you, these LCR’s offer incredible performance at their relatively modest price point. High efficiency means that they are an easy load for most receivers to drive and also means that they can play surprisingly loudly on a modest amount of wattage.
They give a very open, wide sound stage and the angled baffle design means that the sound is direct straight to the listening position, just where you’ll be sat enjoying the system. One other unusual feature of the in ceiling system are the in ceiling subwoofers. Many people shy away from in ceiling subwoofers but they can offer some of the most well integrated bass performances you will hear. Located above the Fortress cinema seats, you don’t have any issues with standing waves.
The Triad In Ceiling Bronze 10 subs perform brilliantly well in this system. The perfectly matched Rack Amp 350’s have a DSP profile dedicated to the Bronze 10 to ensure maximum depth, output and speed without distortion. The result is brilliant, the subwoofers are so well integrated with the LCR’s and surrounds that you have no idea that they are installed in the ceiling. This system is finished off by the matching grill size Silver 4 Surrounds which are placed near the back of the room. That completes an incredibly immersive, cost effective and discrete system.
The second system has been installed behind the acoustically transparent ClearPix 4K screen. This in wall system was designed to offer a significant step up in terms of performance and is based around the popular Procella Audio P6. The P6, as with all Procella loudspeakers, has been designed to work in a specific room space/listening distance. The very high output compression driver that Procella use instead of a dome tweeter allows us to achieve incredible SPL (sound pressure levels) from a compact loudspeaker.
We are talking 122dB peak output without distortion, easily enough to deliver the THX reference 103dB at a listening distances of around 4m; perfect for our small cinema. We have used a further four P6 for the surround speakers to keep perfect timbre matching (or Identical Voice as Procella call it), the wide dispersion characteristics make ideal LCR and surround channels. It also means that this system has serious head room which, in basic terms, means it can play loud. Very loud indeed and without any hint of distortion or harshness. Perfect for those big block buster films and music concerts alike!
The LFE channel is looked after not one but two P10 subwoofers. These very compact woofers (just 185mm deep!) feature a pair of long throw 10” woofers and a beefy on board 700W amp to play comfortably low and loud with real punch. It is for good reason that the P10 has been one of the biggest selling subwoofers, they really do work fantastically well in this room.
The P6’s are hidden behind a ClearPix 4K THX and ISF certified woven screen that sets a new reference for this type of material. Unnoticeable audio loss, no moiré effect and support for 3840x2160 resolution and beyond, this really is as good as acoustically transparent fabric gets. So good, in fact, that they use it at the Cannes film festival!
The ClearPix 4K material is stretched, ripple-free and held in the E Mask frame to give perfect geometry. The E Mask frame supports both 1.78 and 2.40 aspect ratios by using motorised masks that move in and out to change the shape of the screen. These masks are also acoustically transparent so that the sound from the speakers can pass through the masks undisturbed. It really is a great system and very slick in operation.
The contrast ratio boosting masking limits any stray light reflecting onto the surrounding area and this really shows when looking at the black level detail the Runco X-200i resolves. As well as being fantastically bright at 1500 ANSI Lumen, the X-200i also scores highly with sharpness, detail, colour and contrast ratio; for the “baby” in the Runco 3D range it really is very difficult to fault. The cylindrical Rainier anamorphic lens maintains perfect optical clarity when viewing 2.40 movies so the image remains crisp and sharp regardless of aspect ratio.
The powerful onboard video processor produces very smooth motion and entirely eliminates cross talk (often seen on projectors with poor video processing) when watching the absorbing 3D content. Whether its Call of Duty or the latest 3D blockbuster, you can’t help but be drawn into the wonderful depth of the 3D images.
The two different systems, whilst very different in terms of performance, show exactly what can be achieved in smaller room sizes. High performance, high fidelity and a highly absorbing experience, what more could you ask for?