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post #1 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
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HT of the Month: Deadwood Cinema



Audio-industry veteran Roger Dressler created a spur-jingling home theater that no one from Deadwood could ever imagine.

Roger Dressler is a well-known, highly respected member of the AVS community. He spent a quarter-century at Dolby Labs helping to develop seminal surround-sound technologies such as Pro Logic II and Dolby Digital, and he holds no less than six US patents in the audio field. After leaving Dolby, Roger joined the Advisory Board of SRS Labs as that company was creating its MDA (Multi-Dimensional Audio) object-based immersive-sound system, which is now part of the DTS portfolio. These days, he consults on audio technology and has become active in SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) working on object-based audio systems for cinema.

With all his experience in multi-channel audio, it was a bit surprising to learn that Roger only recently built a dedicated home theater for himself. "After years of small-screen family-room surround sound, it was finally time to have a dedicated home theater. Our new house in Bend, Oregon, happened to have a small bonus room measuring 17 x 11.5 x 8 feet on the second floor, which is where the new theater would be installed.

"The main goal was to be non-invasive—no tearing down sheet rock, no removing windows. I didn't even run any wires inside the walls, and the whole system runs on a single 15-amp circuit. It was 2008, so the original plan was 7.1, with an emphasis on music playback—no speakers behind the screen."


The "front" of the bonus room (where the screen would be) has three windows that would have to be completely blocked with custom-made inserts.


The rear of the room has two windows that would also have custom-made inserts to completely block any light.

After six months of planning and research "at the University of AVS Forum," it was time to get his hands dirty—in fact, Roger did all the work himself except for the HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) and carpet. "Three walls and the ceiling are all exterior, so only the floor and one wall are common with the rest of the house. In order to reduce the room dimensions as little as possible, the sound isolation was confined to those two surfaces. I applied layer of QuietRock 510 over the existing sheetrock wall with Green Glue. The original 1 1/8" OSB subfloor is now covered with a sandwich of the original carpet (pad removed), 3/4" T&G OSB, Green Glue, 5/8" plywood, a layer of 1/8" MLV, felt pad, and finally the new carpet. A 300-pound door with rubber gaskets effectively seals the room."


A massive door seals the sound inside the theater. The movie poster at the entrance reveals the origin of the theater's theme and name—Roger is a big fan of the HBO series Deadwood.


Inside the theater, the door happened to be in the same location as the first-reflection point, so Roger installed a Quest Perf-Sorber on the door itself, with a cutout for the handle.

Of course, with two rows of seating, the second row needed a riser. "The riser is floating on its own foam carpet pad, which really helps transmit bass into the rear seats. And it doesn't hurt that two of the four subwoofers sit right behind those seats!"

Controlling noise from the HVAC system is critical for any serious home theater. "Room temperature is controlled by a Mitsubishi Mr. Slim mini split mounted in the attic space at a sufficient distance from the room to keep it inaudible. The air rolls in at low velocity from the front and rear soffits."

Speaking of the soffits, they provide an ingenious means of running cables around the room without breaking into the walls. "The rear and side soffits are hinged to allow easy access and serve as raceways for speaker wires and the projector HDMI cable. Line level signals run along the side wall behind the baseboard, which is offset from the wall to form a deep channel. The cables are easy to access while remaining invisible."


The soffits are hinged for easy access to the cables that run through them.


With the soffit closed, the cables are invisible behind an attractive architectural element.

The screen presented its own set of challenges. "I wanted the screen to have some sort of variable masking to frame the picture with black regardless of the image aspect ratio. I thought about motorized drapes, but using a CIH (constant image height) approach would have meant that the left and right speakers would be well outside the screen in 1.85 mode.

"So I went with a DIY CIW (constant image width) setup. I ordered the motorized screen with an extra two feet of blackdrop at the top. This allows the screen to be lowered behind a 3-foot-high masking panel that spans the full width of the screen. The screen has a stop for 1.85:1, which exposes the entire white surface, and another stop at 2.40, which drops the top edge and lowers the bottom edge behind the masking panel. That keeps the left, right, and center speakers near the edges of the screen in either case. If I ever need a 2.70:1 ultra-wide aspect ratio, I can dial it in." The JVC DLA-RS10 does not use an anamorphic lens; instead, Roger uses the projector's motorized vertical lens shift to keep the image at the bottom of the screen. Focus and zoom need no adjustment in either aspect ratio.


Roger's clever CIW screen system adjusts the height of the screen for different aspect ratios, leaving the LCR speakers near the edges of the screen in all cases. The center speaker sits atop two power amps, an Anthem MCA 50 and Classe CAV-150, which provide a total of 11 channels of amplification. Flanking the amps are two Hsu ULS-15 subs.

As Roger recounts, the biggest challenge was horrible sound. "It was pretty disheartening to hear the initial results of a year's work. The Aerial SW12 subwoofer that had served so well in the previous family-room system could not be persuaded to offer smooth bass in this smaller room no matter where I put it. After lots of reading and experimenting with JBL's BassQ processor, I learned the value of multiple subs and tuning."

Even though he achieved very uniform bass response with the BassQ, he eventually discovered that the system had more impact at the main listening position without it and decided that was a worthy tradeoff. "I also get better headroom running the front pair as one sub and the rear pair as another sub, as there's no peaky EQ being applied to individual subs."

Given his work in immersive, object-based audio, it's only natural that Roger would want to add height speakers to his original 7.1 setup now that such systems are available for the home. To that end, he installed four Tannoy Di6 DC speakers in the corners of the ceiling.


The four height speakers are aimed at the seating area to provide a 3D soundfield from the Dolby Atmos, Auro, and any other immersive formats that become available. All 12 of the acoustic diffusers are also visible in this shot.

Of course, the new immersive-sound systems require a new preamp/processor, and Roger settled on the Marantz AV7702 for its ability to decode both Dolby Atmos and Auro. But he kept the Classe SSP-800 for music listening.


A DIY switching system lets Roger select the Marantz AV7702 for Dolby Atmos and Auro soundtracks or the Classe SSP-800 for music listening in Pro Logic IIx.


Two Ekornes Arion Lowback sofas provide the perfect seating in this Western-themed theater without blocking the rear surrounds.

After more than a year of planning, building, and revising—and about $50,000—the room is now complete, at least until the next immersive-sound format comes along. Meanwhile, Roger and his wife can enjoy state-of-the-art audio and video in a delightful Old West setting. It's the best of both worlds, pardner!

For much more detail about how Roger Dressler's home theater came together, check out the build thread here.

If you'd like your home theater considered for HT of the Month, PM me with the details and a link to your build thread if available.

EQUIPMENT LIST

Sources

Oppo BDP-93 BD player
Sony BDP-S3200 BD player
Sony CDP-X55 CD player
Apple TV Gen1 for music files
DirecTV Genie

AV Electronics

Classe SSP-800 surround processor
Marantz AV7702 surround processor
Classe CAV-150 6-channel power amp
Anthem MCA 50 5-channel power amp

Projector

JVC DLA-RS10

Screen

Da-Lite High Contrast Cinema Vision (106" wide, 1.85:1 native aspect ratio, CIW masking, not acoustically transparent)

Speakers

Aerial Acoustics 7B (front LR)
Aerial Acoustics CC3B (center)
B&W CWM-8180 (4, side & rear surrounds)
Tannoy Di6 DC (4, heights)
Hsu Research ULS-15 (4, subwoofers)

Cables

Canare 4S11 (mains), Rapco 12/2 (heights) speaker cables
Blue Jeans interconnects

Control

None

Power Conditioning

None

Seating

Ekornes Arion Lowback 3-seat sofas (2), ottoman

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Last edited by Scott Wilkinson; 01-04-2015 at 10:43 AM.
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post #2 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 09:50 AM
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To be honest, this is a little 'meh' in comparison to some of the other HTOMs
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post #3 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 10:17 AM
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It has an interesting vintage feel to it. I'd image once the lights are lower before off for primetime it'll be very cosy with all the warm lighting.
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post #4 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 10:33 AM
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A long time favorite. I love the wood timbers and aesthetic integration of visible acoustic treatments. Given Roger's background I can't imagine that there is anything "meh" about the presentation whatsoever.
In a hobby that thrives on extremes of monster screens, multiple refrigerator sized subs and pro-audio hi-output speakers it is refreshing to see a more sensible build implemented with precision.
Congratulations!
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post #5 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 10:35 AM
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Love that there's actual sofas since I'm not a fan of the recliners. Soffit idea looks like it worked out really well.
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post #6 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 10:50 AM
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Congrats Roger! Your room is and has always been one of my favorites. It is wonderfully put together with high quality components and speakers. It's a benchmark theater build for those with smaller rooms.
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post #7 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahands View Post
To be honest, this is a little 'meh' in comparison to some of the other HTOMs
Give me "meh" anytime. Nicely done Roger.
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post #8 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 11:22 AM
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I am really impressed with what you have done with your smaller space, it gives me hope than one day I will be able to bring my 10.5' by 15.5' room into the same realm as your room.

Looks good to me, nice hardware!
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post #9 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahands View Post
To be honest, this is a little 'meh' in comparison to some of the other HTOMs
HTOM is about what makes each HT unique, NOT a money contest
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post #10 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snyderkv View Post
HTOM is about what makes each HT unique, NOT a money contest
True but this room has some very expensive items in it. Ekornes seating, Classe processing and amplification, Aerial Acoustics & B&W speakers, 4 Hsu sealed subs, Quietrock drywall and Quest acoustic panels. If this award were in fact a money contest, The Deadwood would still be in the running.
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post #11 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 12:42 PM
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This is classy. I love it.

Definitely taking notes.
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post #12 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 12:55 PM
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Nice change of pace, with couches instead of theatre seating and room treatments as part of the décor (in bold red, no less) rather than being hidden.
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post #13 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 01:12 PM
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Greetings,

Thanks for sharing Roger. It looks great!


Regards,

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post #14 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 01:19 PM
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Very nice use of a smaller existing room....love the soffits/routing, very nice.

Why the big prepro/amp units sitting on top of the furniture, and what's with the large remote collection?

Any demos for us sort of close Oregonians?
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post #15 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 01:36 PM
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Why hasn't anyone tried a home replica of the IMAX Dome screen covering the ceiling and with seats completely reclined back to create a sense of weightlessness?
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post #16 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 01:39 PM
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Thank you all for the kind comments.

Just to note, these sofas have individual reclining backrests, and with my feet on the ottoman, it's easy to spend hours in there listening to music. Huh? Music in a home theater? Why not a dedicated music room for that? Unlike most (maybe all) other builds seen in this forum, this system was aimed first and foremost at music playback, then movies. Having long ago abandoned the idea that music should be heard from 2 speakers, I reject the notion that a superb music surround system cannot also form the basis of a compelling home theater. Hence the Aerial speakers sitting outside the screen. (No "AT" screen is actually AT! I'm not even sure grill cloth is acoustically transparent, but for movies I need the black cloth to minimize distractions.)

I've seen much more elaborate, stylish, and expensive builds that are obviously wonderful for movies, but I fear are "meh" for music, which was clearly not part of the agenda, so it's no mark against them in the least. That's what's so wonderful about building a home theater -- it can be whatever you want it to be, and I wanted something rather different.

Aside from the choice of speakers and the screen issue, there's the EQ, and again it was music that drove the choice of the Classe processor. Not only is the signal path really well done (clean DACs and the whole chain runs 96 kHz full time), it puts me in total control of the EQ. And that's a critical aspect of the final performance and ultimate satisfaction of the system for the one person who really cares -- me . It's the difference between "sounds good" vs. "I'm emotionally involved."

I've yet to hear an automatic room EQ system as successful for music or movies, the latest being XT32 in the AV7702. Quick , easy , unsatisfying . Maybe the Pro kit would allow sufficient tuning flexibility, but since the 7702 chose to omit PLIIx, it's a moot point, that's my music surround drug of choice -- Auro-Matic and Dolby Surround both missing the mark to varying degrees. Perhaps Dirac Live or Trinnov with their flexible target curves could be the ultimate EQ solution, but thus far the hardware for a 7.2.4 system is much too expensive.

ETA: I should add that one room where I heard superb music quality from an automatic EQ system was with the Anthem Statement at Kris Deering's room. Now that was ! I never had the opportunity to try an Anthem processor in my room.

Deadwood Atmos theater [HTOM]
AV7702 Atmos 7.4.4, SSP-800 PLIIx 7.4
Aerial Acoustics 7B/CC3B fronts, B&W CWM8180 surrounds, Tannoy Di6 DC heights, Hsu ULS-15 subs

Last edited by Roger Dressler; 01-04-2015 at 02:10 PM.
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post #17 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post
Very nice use of a smaller existing room....love the soffits/routing, very nice.

Why the big prepro/amp units sitting on top of the furniture, and what's with the large remote collection?

Any demos for us sort of close Oregonians?
Thanks!

One of the remotes not shown in the pile is a Harmony, which was never put into use . In spite of the plethora, I only use 2 remotes at any given time: Once for volume, the other for the source. Since my hands have memorized these controls, no need to look at a touchscreen, I just do it by feel. Is there a simpler way?

The two prepros could indeed be situated side-by-side on the cradenza (the amps are both under the center speaker), but as I do product testing, I need that space for yet a third processor and other test gear. Those DB-25 switches can handle up to 4 processors.

I was looking forward to a visit from fellow Oregonian Doublewing, who has a superb home theater. If you are keen to visit, drop me a pm.
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Deadwood Atmos theater [HTOM]
AV7702 Atmos 7.4.4, SSP-800 PLIIx 7.4
Aerial Acoustics 7B/CC3B fronts, B&W CWM8180 surrounds, Tannoy Di6 DC heights, Hsu ULS-15 subs
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post #18 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 02:08 PM
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Congrats... I've seen pics of this before I believe... pretty cool space
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post #19 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 02:08 PM
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Wonderfully done, I bet it sounds fantastic. Really cool sofas the entire theater is
One of style. Congrats Roger.




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post #20 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 02:12 PM
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What impresses me is that its not a grandiose display of Home Theater excess, but rather a very practical application of clever engineering to achieve a HT withing the confines of a design goal. Very nice space dude, well done!

The soffits were very clever..
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post #21 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 02:14 PM
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Very tastefully done and a great utilization of the space. I love the sofas and the Aerials.....I have always been a fan of their speakers!!! I almost bought the 10T back in the late 90's, ending up with the Fried C5/D2 instead. I also love PLIIx for music. I have that on my bedroom system receiver and use it for music listening. At this point I'm just listening to music on the 7702 in stereo. Thanks for sharing your theater!

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post #22 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 02:29 PM
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I really like the look of this theater and I agree the soffit idea is great!
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post #23 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahands View Post
To be honest, this is a little 'meh' in comparison to some of the other HTOMs
I'm curious, what exactly is "meh" about it? Innovative design/construction, top-tier equipment, proper sofas instead of those hideous "theater seats," DIY, etc. Well, I guess the screen isn't eleventy trillion feet...

If I were to do a dedicated room - admittedly unlikely, because it's not a priority for us - it would end up a lot like Mr. Dressler's, but with more bookcases/vinyl storage and less room treatment.

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post #24 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 03:10 PM
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Simple and well done. Every home theater doesn't have to be a $100k masterpiece. It is nice seeing some of the smaller conservative builds make it to HTOM.
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post #25 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 03:45 PM
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Nice job Roger. Always admired your theater and the expertise behind it.
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post #26 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 05:05 PM
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Soffits are great idea.
Should "sticky" that idea for future builds...

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post #27 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
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I really like the look of this theater and I agree the soffit idea is great!
It sure made it easy to run the new speaker wires for the 4 height speakers!
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Deadwood Atmos theater [HTOM]
AV7702 Atmos 7.4.4, SSP-800 PLIIx 7.4
Aerial Acoustics 7B/CC3B fronts, B&W CWM8180 surrounds, Tannoy Di6 DC heights, Hsu ULS-15 subs
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post #28 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 06:17 PM
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Roger;
Congratulations on HTOM, we live in a log home so naturally I find you and your HT kindred spirits.

You've brought credibility and rationale discussion to many AVS threads, I'm glad Scott picked your HT for the first one of 2015.

So, what's the story on this desk? I love wood furniture, is it reclaimed or did you make it / have it made for the HT?
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post #29 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 07:01 PM
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I am sooooooo looking forward to visiting Roger's theater!

As usual, I have to hear those Tannoy's for myself......especially Roger' secret sauce added to system.

Hope my invite is still possible Roger........will definitely call and find a time. My plans to visit Christmas break went down the toilet with Daughter's situation relocating to States........but was a really good, hectic week and one-half for sure!

Congrats on HTOM.......so deserving!
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post #30 of 86 Old 01-04-2015, 08:18 PM
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Interested to hear your rationale for locating the height speakers where you did given that ATMOS does NOT recommend placing the speakers there (at intersection of wall & ceiling). Why not just mount on ceiling? Seems prudent if ATMOS is intended.
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