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1 million Pound Home Cinema

When you really must have the best of the best in Home Cinema entertainment, look no further than this stunning system!

This is a true, money no object project that has grown to incorporate more and more technology and performance as the system has grown. The first thing that grabs your attention is the huge Screen Research screen. How does 250” sound? That’s right, at over 6 meters wide and 2.5 meters high, this is one serious screen!

Screen Research pulled out all the stops on this custom design and we have used the new Reference ClearPix 4K acoustically material so we lose less than 1dB of audio as well, critical in a room of this size where every dB counts. The client can also enjoy a multitude of aspect ratio’s thanks to the sophisticated lateral masking which supports 1.33, 1.78 and 2.40 ratio. The frame is finished in a beautiful suede material to eat up any stray light and of course offers full THX and ISF certification.

With a screen as large as this, we needed one serious projector to light it up sufficiently. After looking at the options available from Runco and remembering the clients brief of “give me the best there is!” we finally settled on not one but two reference projectors! Whilst the remarkable 10,000 ANSI Lumen SC-60 would have enough light output to give us a superb 2D image on a screen of this size, the very nature of its active shutter 3D system would result in a significant light loss (around 80%, common with every active shutter system).

Now this wouldn’t normally be an issue on screens of around 200” wide but the client’s dictionary doesn’t have the word “compromise” in it so we had to think big. Really big. It was time for us to step up to the epic D-113d. This behemoth of a projector starts life as a PAIR of SC-60 stacked on top of each other in a custom built housing. This robust housing allows for perfect alignment of the two light engines to insure that the two images are in identical positions on the screen.

So how does a twin light engine 3D system work? Well, in the case of the D-113d, Runco co-developed a new passive 3D system with industry giant Panavision! This technology is used in commercial theatres and, on home systems, exclusively only on the D-113d! You don’t get much more special than that!

As well as doubling our light output to a staggering 20,000 ANSI Lumen, the 4 lamp light engine has a far more efficient passive 3D system which sees only around 25% light loss, much better! That means that the client can enjoy sensationally bright, colourful and accurate images whether in 2D or 3D; Perfect! Now of course, since we have two projectors, we also need two of the amazing McKinley anamorphic lenses so that the projector can show movies in the far more immersive 2.35 aspect ratio. This pair of hug cylindrical anamorphic lenses are also motorised to maximise resolution and light output by only moving into position when they are needed.

So that was our picture covered (and then some), what we needed to focus on next was the sound. In large rooms like this, the biggest issue is finding a speaker that can play loud enough to reach THX reference levels but without sacrificing quality. There is no point in using PA speakers that can play very loud when they also introduce a huge amount of distortion, we needed high volume at the highest fidelity and there was only one speaker that could do that; The Procella Audio P860.

The P860 is a real brute (during the development, that was the project code name!) of a speaker offering the very highest output from the range but with breathtaking clarity. This is a true full range loudspeaker as well, having a flat response down to 40Hz and, when built into a baffle wall it has a peak output of a staggering 138dB, without distortion! The incredible dynamics that this loudspeaker produces need to be experienced firsthand, it really does fill the room comfortably and feels like it has plenty still in reserve.

Part of this bottomless performance comes from the powerhouse that is the DA-2800 DSP amplifier. We use one of these four channel, 2800W amplifiers for each of the three P860’s that make up the awesome LCR sound stage. One 700W channel is used to drive the scintillating top section of the P860 which comprises of a pair of high efficiency 8” mid range units and a completely unrestricted 1.4” compression driver. The secret to the entire Procella Audio range’s huge output lies with the compression driver. It has far higher power handling characteristics than conventional dome tweeters without distortion, even at high volume levels.

The remaining 3, 700W channels are left to drive the “V6” bottom section of the speaker. The V6 name comes from the 6 x 10” bass drivers arranged in a “V” configuration to maximise output, efficiency and control. Yes, you read that right, the P860 has SIX 10” woofers to look after the low frequencies. Amazing! With such depth and head room, voices sound incredibly natural, music concerts are better than real life and movie sound tracks are handled with ease. This really is a reference loud speaker, with THX volumes achieved at a massive 16 meters listening distance!

Now that our LCR’s are taken care of, we need to look at the surround speakers.  Hidden behind the beautiful acoustically transparent panels are the P8’s. P8’s are often used as LCR’s in midsized systems but in a room of this size, they make an ideal surround speaker. With 128dB output you can see why! Again, these are powered by the monster DA-2800 DSP’s to ensure we have a constant supply of high quality current. We have 10 x P8 surrounds in total to make sure we have really even coverage for maximum immersion.

To take care of the really low frequencies, we went for a combination of subwoofers to give us huge extension as well as a very linear response. We have partnered 3 x P18 with 3 x P15 which, on paper doesn’t sound that big so let’s take look at them in more detail.

Weighing in at 100kg each, the P18 is a reference dual 18” woofer sub and, once again, it is powered by the beefy DA-2800 DSP. This flexible amp has been carefully pre-programmed by Procella Audio to have specific DSP profiles for each of the speakers in the Procella line up. The P18 plays very low (comfortably below 20Hz) and very loud (over 130dB!) so you can imagine the impact that three of them have in this room! To ensure that all of the 26 Fortress seats have great bass, we have positioned the 3 additional P15’s in order to eliminate the standing wave issues, the result is smooth, tight, effortless bass no matter where you sit.

The P15 might be the P18’s “baby” brother but it still packs a pair of long throw 15” woofers and takes two channels (1400 Watts!) of the DA-2800 DSP to drive all the way up to 128dB! Superb.

To get the most out of this amazing speaker setup, we needed an incredibly high performing AV processor. Thankfully Datasat came to the rescue with the epic SSP 16.3D. This represents the latest in AV processing with huge configurability and 16 output channels that can be used to drive any combination of loud speakers or subwoofers. With highly sophisticated processors derived from the professional cinema market, this future proofed processor was a natural choice.

With 118dB signal to noise ratio, it hits the theoretical maximum that it is possible to achieve with this kind of equipment which means no hiss from the speakers at all. We get razor sharp surround speaker steering and access to the gorgeous high resolution DTS HD Master Audio and Dolby True HD sound tracks like never before. But that’s not all. The “.3D” part of its model name doesn’t just mean that it supports 3D video, but 3D audio too. So as we see more content start to become available this upgradable processor will grow with the system.

Auro 3D? No problem. Illsonic? Yup. DTS-NeoX? Comes as standard. This really does represent the cutting edge in next generation AV processors and it is fully controllable via IP as well as offering full remote monitoring. It was an easy choice for this epic system.

All of the electronic equipment is fed with filtered mains via the excellent Furman mains conditioners. Used by broadcast professionals and touring bands alike, Furman protects the equipment from any power surges and provides a constant, clean supply of electricity to ensure peak performance from all of the components.

There is no better way to enjoy this fabulous system than sitting incredibly comfortably in one of the 26 Fortress seats. The good news is that there are no arguments over who gets to sit in the D-BOX chairs; the client went for D-BOX on all of the chairs! Custom finished in premium grade leather, these chairs have been built in a variety of layouts to give total flexibility. It also means that the clients can choose to relax on a day bed with his children or sit up in the excellently supportive chairs to watch the Formula 1 with his friends.

All of the guests will be brought even closer to the action with the amazing and unique D-BOX chairs. This incredible system, which is now also available in commercial cinemas, adds detail and texture to your favourite movies like never before. Feel the impact of every bullet, the pitch and roll of every dog fight and the sense of weightlessness on any space mission. D-BOX really is the ultimate level in immersion and fun, no reference cinema should be without it!

Of course, the best way to enjoy an epic cinema like this is to make sure you a collection of high quality Blu Ray discs. Kaleidescape offer without doubt the best way to store, access and manage your movie content so it will be no surprise to hear that tee client has one installed in this system.

With 3 M700 vaults in the system, the client can store almost 1000 Blu Ray discs and have instant , high definition, full resolution access. Even better than that, they can play the movie straight away and avoid the tedious adverts that blight the start of any movie release. With intelligent aspect ratio support, the Kaleidescape system is the only movie system that actually recognises what ratio the movie has been filmed in and then cues the projector to display the film in the correct ratio, every time. Ideal!

The M700’s are backed up with a 3U server to safely and securely store all of the clients movies, all protected by the proprietary RAID-K backup system. Should any of the hard drives show any errors of if the temperature increases above normal operating levels, the dealer will receive an email alerting them of the problem, long before the client knows anything about it. The hard drives can then be swapped out prior to any failure and the system keeps on running, 24/7 without any delays.

The client also has multiple M300 players installed around the home (including in the “kids cinema”) so that the movies can be accessed anywhere in the house, the only caveat being that any of the zones that the children use have automatically had the access to ratings above PG locked out. It really is the ultimate family movie system.

As you can see, the room is also beautifully finished but the beauty runs far deeper than just the skin. Behind the acoustically transparent wall fabrics, we have the kind of treatment that wouldn’t look out of place in the best recording studios in the world! Acoustics can be seen by some a dark art but with the experience that we have on system design, you are in safe hands. By studying the room layout, speaker positions and their relative dispersion characteristics, we know exactly the areas of the room that require absorption, diffusion, diffraction or bass traps. The acoustic treatment really is the final piece of the puzzle and without it, even the most carefully chosen and considered components, won’t be able to shine.

So they you have it, an incredibly immersive, dynamic, comfortable, beautifully finished and acoustically perfect reference cinema.

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Screen Research Acoustically Transparent Materials

So why do we have three different acoustically transparent materials available from Screen Research? They all do the same thing right?

Well broadly speaking yes; they are all designed to reflect the light back from the projector into the room and at the same time allow the audio from the loudspeakers to pass through the screen into the room.

When we start to look at how the different materials are made, it quickly becomes apparent that the level of performance that the offer vary greatly.

If we look at the entry level SolidPix Sonic, we see that the screen surface is made up of small holes punctured into the solid material. These holes are punctured in a uniform pattern.

The benefit of SolidPix Sonic is the low price point, it is designed to be used on smaller, more budget conscious systems.

The draw backs are that the small punctured holes allow light to pass through the material, reducing the amount of light that is reflected back to the viewer. This light loss is around 10%, which is why as standard, this material has a gain of 0.9, compared to the 1.0 that ClearPix 2 and ClearPix 4K have.

There is also a chance of moiré effect when the fixed pixel grid that makes up a projected image, lines up with the holes punctured into the screen material.

If we look at the measured audio graph, we see that SolidPix Sonic (as is typical with most micro perforated materials) loses around 4.75dB of the speakers output as it passes through the screen.

SolidPix Sonic

If we compare the more expensive ClearPix 2 screen surface to SolidPix Sonic, we can see they are completely different materials. Rather than starting with a solid material and adding holes, ClearPix 2 is an entirely woven material. This woven structure has several key advantages when compared to the micro perforated materials.

1). 3% light loss which means the image will look brighter and with better contrast than the micro perforated material. The non-uniform structure also means that we have great resistance to moiré effect, even on the smallest of screens.

2). Much improved audio performance. As the measurements show, only 1.5dB audio loss which was the best measured performance for this type of screen.

ClearPix 2

Now we move to the new Reference standard; ClearPix 4K. Again, it is a woven screen with the same benefits of ClearPix 2 but now the weave structure is even finer which has two key benefits.

The first is that the finer weave means we can support higher than 1080P resolution (4K and beyond) and have even greater resistance to moiré effect.

The second is near-invisibility to the speakers behind the screen. With just 0.75dB loss, it drops below the magic 1dB level which means that the change is barely perceptible by the human ear.

ClearPix 4K

In our next article we shall look at high gain screens and also the use of grey material.


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