In brainstorming the basement, the family wanted it to be appropriate for both their entertainment and for socializing with friends. They designated separate areas for the home theater, children's game room, and wine cellar, but the home theater itself was designed to be a multi-use space. A stage would be built in front of the screen and a wet bar added to the back of the room so the family could have karaoke nights and the kids could dance and perform plays.
But first, there was a more immediate challenge to tackle. Once the concrete was in place, there was less room than originally intended. This meant that freestanding speakers weren't an option since they'd take up too much floor space. And right in the middle of the room was a large wood pillar, built to hide a load-bearing steel post.
Baumeister took advantage of the awkward pillar by placing a Barco CineVersum 120 front projector up against it near the ceiling, almost completely hiding the projector from view. The high-definition three-chip DLP projector was mated with a fixed 8-foot-wide Da-Lite screen.
Baumeister used in-wall speakers from Genelec, a brand better known for its professional studio monitors. The sleek AIW26 satellites (bass-reflex models with a 3/4-inch tweeter and a 7-inch woofer) need just 3 inches of space behind them and come with their own power amps (120 watts each for the woofer and tweeter), which reside in the main component closet. The two front speakers flank the micro-perforated screen, while the center speaker is placed behind it. Two surround speakers are mounted on either side near the back of the seating area with two more in the ceiling of the bar area at the back of the room, creating a 7.1-channel system. Bass thrills are delivered by a pair of 10-inch Sunfire Solitaire subwoofers, which Baumeister hid in pockets beneath the stage and covered with fabric.
Lexicon's sophisticated MC-8 surround sound preamp/processor serves as the brains of the system, which is controlled by a Wi-Fi-enabled Crestron TPMC-10 tablet. Besides operating the home theater, the family can also use the tablet to access their computer network.
FUN AND GAMES
The sophisticated karaoke system is fed by discs stored in a DVD changer. The audio is routed to the surround sound system (with reverb!) while the lyrics are sent to an LCD TV atop a cart near the stage. Wireless microphones make it possible for performers to move freely about the stage, and a digital camcorder mounted near the ceiling captures all the antics so guests can leave with DVD mementos of the evening. The camera also allows the karaoke shows to be seen live on any TV in the house.
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