Surround Sound System Brings Arizona Family Together for Movie Night

Carlos from Arizona

Nothing brings the family together like movie night, especially when your home theater sonically demolishes what the locale cinema has to offer. Carlos from Arizona had this in mind when he built a dedicated space (a bunker really) in his new house to provide the most immersive audio experience possible.

At the heart is a 7.2.8 SVS surround sound speaker system with dual subwoofers and eight Dolby Atmos height speakers delivering sound from every direction with room-energizing bass. His room is also a blank slate for sonic perfection. It’s an acoustically transparent space with no windows, 5-inch concrete walls, sound absorption, treatments, and perfect calibration.

Best of all for Carlos, his home theater played a role inspiring his children to pursue careers in cinematography and communications, and continues to create memories.

The Setup:

  • Projector - LG CineBeam HU810PW 2700-Lumen XPR 4K UHD Smart Laser Home Theater
  • Screen - Stewart WallScreen Deluxe WSDQ135HST13G4EZMX Fixed Frame - 135" (66x118) - HDTV [16:9]
  • Panasonic DP-UB9000P1K 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray player
  • Apple TV 4k media streaming player
  • DirecTV medial player
  • Alexa and LED light automation controls
  • Remote automation controls provided by Savant Pro Remote

Questions And Answers:

When/Why did you first get into high performance audio and home theater?

I got into high performance audio when my two children were very young about 25 years ago. When we were building a new house, we designed a section of the house with a dedicated room for a home theater. It was a wonderful experience for our family to spend time together on the weekends, and with our children growing up with movies such as Toy Story. Later they would invite their school friends as teenagers to watch movies and I would invite my neighbors to see special sporting events. So the Home Theater was the catalyst to spend quality time with friends and family for more than 20 years and build great memories together.

What was the impact of upgrading to SVS vs. what you had previously?

My first home theater was great, but we made a lot of mistakes which we attempted to fix later. Not only did we use speakers from various manufacturers, but the installation was with in-wall speakers, and at that time, the selection was limited. Also, the room had a very large sliding glass door and a very large window, which made the acoustics challenging. While the 7.1 system was good, it could have been better since we had a dedicated room, but the glass door and window were not the right application for optimum sound.

When we designed our new house, we planned it to ensure that we learned from previous experiences. We avoided windows and doors in this dedicated room in our new house and the selection and installation of high-end speakers all exposed to optimize their sound by the exact placement. At the same time working on the design of the acoustics before we purchased any equipment and started the construction.

The walls of my house are built of 6 inches of solid concrete covered by 5 inches of EPS insulation and 4 inches of acoustics custom wall and ceiling panels designed for this room by GIK Acoustics with sound diffusion, reflection and absorbent including corner bass traps vertically and horizontally on corner walls and ceiling.

Since I was the general contractor for my home, I was able to optimize every area to have the best sound with the lowest cost possible, so the room design was key to ensure the bass traps would absorb low frequencies along the corners of the walls and ceiling, and the panels on the walls would absorb the mid/high frequencies and also diffuser locations to scatter the remaining frequencies.

I am very happy with the results especially with the sound when I play something on 3D audio or for example Top Gun Maverick 4K Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound. While the room is concrete there are scenes where you feel like you are inside the jet as the room shakes you out of your seat.

What was the biggest challenge in setting it all up?

The construction was during Covid so the availability of some of the equipment and labor was challenging, so my wife and I did most of the construction ourselves. We even had to purchase a scaffold to be able to do the high ceiling work, running nearly 1000 feet of SVS speaker wire all along the ceiling for the mid/high level and ceiling speakers in such a way that if I want to replace or install an additional speaker, I will be able to do it easily because all the wire runs inside plastic channels since my walls are concrete I couldn’t install them inside walls very easily.

We did 95% of the installation, building the frames to install the acoustic panels, and installing the covering fabrics on all the walls. That was challenging. The only outside support was from a local automation company called Planet Geek that came in for one day to install the screen and program the Savant controller and fine tune the electronics. They did an exceptional job to ensure all the equipment was operating at optimum performance.

How did the SVS support team help you on your journey?

Ed Mullen was my primary contact, and he was very helpful in deciding which speakers were best for each location in the room. Also, when I had to return and replace some speakers the process was simple and fast. Ed even helped me with my outdoor speaker for the patio and based on his recommendation I now have a great patio Sonos system with 6 speakers and sub. Ed always showed that he was committed to help me design and build the best sound for my money so that we could have the best outcome.

Why is having an immersive home theater important for you and your family?

It’s a great experience to spend quality time and enjoy a few hours together immersed in high quality video and sound (better than movie theater quality) in a safe environment without any distractions. My home theater makes movie night into special family time, just like when our children were small.

But now when they visit, we always make time for a couple of hours to watch a new movie or something of interest. This experience had such an impact on my children that one has received his degree in cinematography and moved to Los Angeles and is already working in the film industry. My other child is the head of communications in a local art museum using many of the creative insights she learned as a child growing up with a home theater.

Anything else you’d like to share with the SVS community?

I believe the quality for the price of SVS speakers is the best and the SVS team really cares about customer satisfaction which means the best outcomes. It’s not just about selling speakers, they are more interested in selling the right speaker for the right application.

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Apr 10, 2024