So this past weekend, my girlfriend and I traveled to Ottawa to visit michelmia and his new theater. Michelmia’s family was incredibly gracious to invite us into their home for three days, to show us around Ottawa, and to allow us to watch movies and eat popcorn in their theater.
I thought I would pass along a few of our impressions…
First, the theater is beautiful; the colors blend perfectly and it is a cozy and inviting room from the moment you walk in (I’m giving michelmia’s wife the credit for that one
). And the cherry wood trim is the icing on the cake. The HVAC is also done right – silent and the room was always a cool comfy temp.
Another thing I noticed before even firing up the equipment…the seats are AWESOME. They have buttery soft leather, great support and an awesome adjustable headrest. The seats get a huge thumbs up. The hidden door to the equipment room is also really cool – you would never know it’s there if you weren’t specifically looking for it. And I think that you can see based on the previous pics that all of the gear in that room is seriously top notch.Video
The video setup is the Runco VX-11d (with DHD controller) and ISCO IIIL anamorphic lens from an Oppo BDP-93. In short, it was the best front projection I have ever seen. The picture has plenty of brightness (michelmia said they actually had to turn the PJ down because it was too bright) and amazing contrast, and of course the lens speaks for itself. That thing is a monster. We watched two very different movies and both showed off the projector’s capabilities. Battleship had plenty of fast moving action scenes and there were absolutely zero instances where I perceived any sort of picture degradation. Very very cool. War Horse was a sharp contrast with plenty of wide landscape shots. Once again, everything was beautifully reproduced – color and clarity were just amazing. Watching the trees move in the wind in that movie is quite incredible. I can’t find a single thing to say I would improve upon with the image.
The Stewart auto masking screen was also very cool. We didn’t watch much 16:9 content but we played with the masks for a few minutes and they were really impressive. Finally, I found that the projector hushbox is a must-have in my theater in the future. The feeling of true silence during suspenseful scenes (also due to the Quest Acoustics panels I’m sure) really helps to draw you into the movie. The projector is not audible at all in the theater.Audio
Where to start? The gear is ADA Cinema Rhapsody Mach IV-B to QSC BASIS EQ’s to QSC amps to Triad and Procella Audio speakers. Couple that with acoustic design from Dennis Erskine, Quest Acoustics panels, and an expert calibration by Adam Pelz and I don’t think I need to say much more.
I have the same Triad surrounds, but no acoustical panels yet. The difference is immediately noticeable - panels and EQ/calibration make a world of difference. The imaging in michelmia’s theater is incredibly precise – we could tell exactly where explosions came from during War Horse and localize the bullets whizzing from one side to the other. But the surrounds can also create a diffuse field that made me feel like the room was 15 feet wider and deeper than it actually was – super cool.
The front speakers are Procella Audio P610 with P18 main sub and two balancing subs. The highs and mids are just awesome. No ear fatigue whatsoever. Comparing these speakers to mine really highlights the shortcomings of a 1” metal dome tweeter. And the imaging and spoken word was amazing. Voices were so crisp and clear at any volume. I didn’t move around the room too much, but from where I sat the sound was just breathtaking. After hearing them, they are at the top of my list for future theater upgrades.
The bass…the P18 could obviously hurt you if it wanted to. War Horse had scenes to show off the fact that there’s enough bass in that room to rattle your glasses off of your face. But we watched a scene from the latest Underworld movie where Selene shoots some automatic handguns that are firing a TON of bullets in very rapid succession. This was the best part of the bass for me. It had super power, but the articulation was the amazing part – I could hear each shot from the gun and feel the decay of the bass before the next round went off. Again, I’m sure that’s partly due to the acoustic strategy and calibration, but the subwoofers really hit it out of the park.Overall
It was the best home cinema experience I have had. In fact, it puts everything else I have seen to shame. From the design by Dennis E. to the implementation by michelmia and calibration by Adam Pelz, it’s just an incredible experience.
Michelmia - thanks again for opening your home to us and congratulations on a truly outstanding theater! Hope to see you in Albany soon!