Three years ago, Ram Ragulan, owner of Astrum Entertainment Group in Ridgewood, N.J, got started on dual home theater projects for two clients. Both clients are friends and movie lovers, watching flicks several times a week.
“Some clients don’t even go into their home theaters once a month, but these guys love movies, and that made this a very special and passionate project for us,” says Ragulan.
While the two theaters look different—one has a grey and black interior, the other uses an orange and red color scheme—the core technology is nearly identical.
Back-to-Back Tri-Stack o' Speakers
The highlight of both theaters is the audio. The two clients were very particular when it came to audio, and they specifically requested Meridian after having a positive experience with the company's speakers in their Range Rovers.
The speakers chosen for the project are the Meridian Tri-Stacks, which consist of nine DSP520 in-wall Meridian loudspeakers.
Each left, center, and right channel has three loudspeakers stacked up in a column in a wall specially built by Astrum to go behind the 14-foot 2.35:1 Display Technologies screen.
The wall is four inches deep, and all nine loudspeakers come with their own backboxes, so Ragulan and his team were able to mount them in the wall and put the screen directly in front of it.
“The staging of the front was elevated to a sweet spot in the center row, with the third row being a bench with a bar. We’ve done quite a few Meridian theaters, but this one is the best,” says Ragulan.
Complementing the nine DSP520 in-wall loudspeakers are two subwoofers located in the front stage, giving the room plenty of bass response to complement the Meridian Tri-Stack system. Thanks to its DSP design, no external amp was required.
“From the cost side of things, doing a system like this versus traditional loudspeakers is a wash,” says Ragulan. “Because with a traditional system you have to buy conventional speakers and spend money on amplifiers.
“Meridian’s built-in amplifiers simplify everything, and it’s also the best approach using the Meridian DSP technology to elevate the soundstage. We can bring it to whatever the client wants it to be. That’s normally not easy to do unless you purchase a very expensive audio processor.”
As far as the sound goes, the clients are just as impressed as Ragulan. They feel like even though the power is present, it’s subtle and neutral, even at high decibels. “The advantage of the Tri-Stack system is that there is more power to the front stage, and also more isolation when the sound moves smoothly between the left and right side of the screen.
“The vocal clarity is the best I’ve ever heard. The soundstage is also big, which would not have been able to be accomplished without a coning effect from traditional speakers and amplifiers,” says Ragulan. “It’s the first time I’ve experienced a sound like this in 20 years being in this industry.”