The installation's centerpiece is the 60 x 26-foot great room, a soaring space with 30-foot ceilings and exposed wood beams. The room's focus is a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace with a large painting mounted above the extensive wood mantel.
Great-room Gear List
|NEC 42-inch plasma HDTV ($5,000)
Sony 400-disc DVD changer ($400)
Comcast HDTV receiver/DVR
Denon AVR-3805 7.1-channel receiver ($1,199)
2 SpeakerCraft MZC66 6-zone controller/amplifiers ($2,400 each)
2 SpeakerCraft DBB12100 12-channel digital amplifiers ($2,300 each)
2 Middle Atlantic equipment racks ($950 each)
This space presented several challenges. Besides its sheer size, the room is abutted by a kitchen without a separating wall. Mounting a plasma TV over the fireplace (a place frequently chosen by installers because of its central location) was out of the question because of both the mantel's 8-foot height and the couple's desire to keep the artwork the focal point of the room. Additionally, the husband wanted a surround sound system there, in case the dedicated theater - pre-wired but on hold - is never completed. Also, while the installers wanted to have most of the equipment in the basement, the delay in finishing the theater meant it would have to be located unobtrusively within the great room. The solution to all these problems was a custom-built entertainment center to the right of the fireplace (see the gear list at right).
Deciding on the speakers - and finding the right locations for them - was another challenge. "During construction, we suggested putting speakers in the wall, but the owners wanted them on a shelf," David recalls. "Later, though, they realized having speakers on the mantel wasn't aesthetically pleasing." Since the owners didn't want to pay to now install in-wall speakers and have a faux painter refinish the walls, King Systems used a pair of Mirage OmniSat v2 satellites ($500 a pair). These small, omnidirectional speakers actually use the room's acoustics to their advantage (and are barely visible atop the mantel on either side of the fireplace). "We tested several bookshelf speaker models, but the OmniSats have a very low profile, and can still deliver enough sound to fill the massive room," David explains.
To handle the center channel, the installers chose a Pinnacle Quantum Plasma 3 speaker ($400), mounted vertically between the equipment racks. While acknowledging that mixing speaker brands isn't ideal (using a same-brand center speaker with a similar "voice" avoids distracting shifts in timbre when sound moves from speaker to speaker), Adam Zatorski says the bigger issue was getting the speakers to "sound the way they should" in that space, and he believes the speaker system "delivers the sound needed for that room."
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