Renovated Home Theater Packs Powerful Audio Punch

Nine speakers and two subwoofers hidden behind walls between the studs help create powerful 9.2-channel surround-sound system inside home theater.

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Big, beefy surround sound systems are usually reserved for dedicated home theaters. But in this multifunctional, lower-level entertainment area, the owners decided to go all-out by equipping it with nine Triad speakers and two subwoofers, creating a 9.2-channel surround-sound system that could blow their socks off.

Nine speakers and two subwoofers do a nice job of wrapping theatergoers in amazing sound, so you’d think they’d be a huge design element of the space. Not so. Stone Glidden in King of Prussia, Pa., mounted all of the speakers between the wall studs as the 2,000-square-foot lower level was being renovated.

The studs were then covered with fabric paneling from Novawall. The fabric is designed specifically for home theaters, allowing sound from the speakers to travel through the weave - while providing an additional 2 inches behind for foam core insulation that helps optimize the room acoustics.

Placing the speakers behind offered yet another advantage for the homeowners: It would protect the gear from the hands of their two young children. “They really wanted a place where they could have fun but not worry about accidentally knocking over a speaker or spilling something on it,” says Tom Stone, president of Stone Glidden.

It takes a large speaker - and lots of them - to fill a space as large as this remodeled lower level. That’s one of the reasons Stone Glidden recommended a 9.2-channel surround-sound arrangement for the theater portion of the 2,000-square-foot rec room. You’d never know there were that many speakers, though … until you hear the audio. The sound seemingly emanates from the walls.

The speakers - InWall Bronze/4 LCR models from Triad - were mounted between the wall studs during the construction of the room and covered completely with acoustical fabric. Designed specifically for in-wall installation, the InWall Bronze/4 LCRs feature a rigid, braced enclosure to prevent sound waves from bleeding into adjacent rooms.

The Control4 system selected as the room’s mode of control is just as kid-friendly. Glidden and his team programmed the system so the entire theater could be revved up by just touching one button on a wireless Wi-Fi-enabled Control4 touchpanel. The command activates the Integra surround-sound receiver and Blu-ray player, while firing up the Runco video projector. In seconds, the movie is displayed on a 119-inch Da-Lite screen.

The touchpanel does other tricks, too. The family can use it to have audio and video signals travel from an A/V rack inside a specially constructed closet to the 37-inch Samsung displays in the exercise room and bar - as well as a TV in the kids’ play area. Each ancillary entertainment space is equipped with in-ceiling speakers from Niles Audio.

These speakers can also broadcast music, as selected by the family from the Control4 touchpanel, from an iPod dock or the Rhapsody music service available through the Control4 processor. The result is entertainment that flows evenly and seamlessly from space to space and technology that helps the family get what they want where they want it, with nothing more than a touch of a button.

  About the Author

Lisa Montgomery has been a member of the CE Pro and Electronic House editorial teams for nearly 20 years; most of that time as the Editor of Electronic House. With a knack for explaining complex high-tech topics in terms that average consumers can understand, her style of writing resonates with people who are interested in addition electronic systems to their homes, but are unsure of the steps involved and the solutions available. From basic lighting control systems to full-blown automation systems, Lisa understands the home electronics market well, and is able to point consumers in the right direction on their quest for a smarter, more convenient, efficient and enjoyable home. Over the years, she has developed close relationships with key manufacturers and seasoned custom electronics professionals, giving her a keen sense of what home technologies are hot now and what is on the horizon. She shares this wisdom regularly through feature stories, product roundups, case studies technology spotlights and comprehensive guides and books. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Lisa at [email protected]

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