HT of the Month: Rustic Retreat - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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HT of the Month: Rustic Retreat



Rob Szewczyk's rustic-yet-elegant home theater offers immense audio power, leather-wrapped speakers, and some serious butt kickage.

When Rob Szewczyk (rms8) was designing his new house, his starting point was a kick-ass home theater. "I wanted the space to be free of any obstacles, like HVAC ducts, support beams and poles, and conduit. Of course, the theater would eat up square footage in the home, and it would have to share walls with the living space—or I could build it under the garage! I chose the latter. A side benefit is that I didn't have to go overboard with any sort of noise-isolation techniques, which helped offset the cost of building under a garage."

Rob had other requirements as well. "I wanted to leave the real world at the door and not have the theater feel like just another room in the home." He also insisted on a projection screen 10 to 11 feet wide and infinite-baffle (IB) subwoofers "for their uncolored sound, since I enjoy listening to music as well as movies. A side benefit of IB subs is that they eat up zero floor space in the room itself." Finally, he wanted two-tier seating on platforms that would accommodate tactile transducers.

After nearly two years of planning, construction finally got underway. A giant hole was excavated, lined with 12-inch-thick concrete, and covered with a layer of Spancrete, which would become the floor of the three-car garage. After that, Rob did just about everything else with his own two hands, except for the masonry, drywall, and carpet.


The shell of Rob's home theater was excavated beneath where the garage would be and lined with 12-inch-thick concrete. Talk about sound isolation!

One of Rob's requirements was the use of infinite-baffle (IB) subwoofers, in which the drivers are mounted in a wall that allows the front waves to enter the room while isolating the rear waves in a separate, relatively large space behind the wall. This prevents the rear waves from affecting the sound in the room, and with virtually no enclosure behind the driver, there is no enclosure coloration. "The walls with IB drivers are all 2x6 studs sheeted on both sides with 23/32" plywood. The actual structure in which the drivers are mounted does not touch any of the framed wall around it." Rob decided to put two 18" FiCar IB318 drivers in each corner near the floor, a well-regarded configuration for smooth bass.


In this view of the rear wall, the IB sub framing is highlighted in red.


Here we see the front (screen) wall with the finished IB-sub baffles in place.

As for the rest of the room, it is framed with 2x4s and sheeted with 23/32" plywood. Noise-isolation techniques, such as staggered studs, Green Glue, clips, and channels, were unnecessary thanks to the location of the room and the 12-inch concrete walls. "All wall cavities were filled with pink fluffy after first being filled with leftover closed-cell polyisocyanurate foam core. The ceiling was spanned with 2x4s laid flat, which gave me a 1.5" space. After running speaker wire for four overheads [if I ever go that route], I filled the voids with 1" Johns Manville closed-cell polyisocyanurate foam core. The floor has an 8-pound moisture- and mold-resistant pad under a pretty standard plush-type carpet."

Another must-have was an extensive tactile-transducer system. Rob designed special "flimsy platforms for each row of seating, which enhance the tactile sensation from the transducers and subwoofers." He placed the isolator feet farther in from the corners than usual, allowing the platforms to flex, then mounted a Buttkicker transducer in diagonally opposed corners of each platform and wired them out of phase with each other. In addition, each seat has its own mini Buttkicker. The solid, permanent second-row tier includes a removable cover that provides access to all wiring in three 2" conduits (AC power, AV and network, and lighting) that were placed before the concrete floor was poured.


There is a raised platform on the floor for the front row and another platform on the solid tier for the second row. Each platform has a pair of Buttkicker transducers that take you for a serious ride!

In order to "leave the real world at the door and not have the theater feel like just another room in the home," Rob created a rustic look with lots of reclaimed barnwood and two large faux beams. Another design element was the use of stacked ledgestone on the side walls. "The stone veneer on the interior of the room is called Black River Ledgestone, manufactured by Eldorado Stone."


The ledgestone facade on the walls is joined by reclaimed barnwood on the ceiling to create a rustic look. The acoustic panels were covered with plastic sheets during construction.

Although no sound-isolation measures were taken, Rob did install extensive acoustic treatments throughout the room. "I placed acoustic panels at the reflection points based on where I assumed my speakers would go, as well as the entire front and rear walls. The material for the panels is 2" Knauf Sonic XP. The treatments were built onto the walls before the stone went up using 1x2s to frame them out. The treatments in the rear corners stop at the top of the subwoofer baffles. The plan was to make the grills so they were flush with the treatments, which would give the illusion of a seamless black treatment starting from the floor. But I actually liked being able to see the drivers, so I never put the grills in place. This is the same reason I did not go with an acoustically transparent screen or try to hide any speakers. I really like to see them, especially those LS-9s and LS-C in front!"


The GR Research LS-C seen here, along with the LS-9s, are wrapped in leather, adding to the rustic feel of Rob's theater.

According to Rob, the ledgestone acts as an effective diffusor as well. "Between the diffusing characteristics of the stone, the absorptive qualities of the treatments, and Audyssey MultEQ XT32, the room sounds remarkable. I know that's completely subjective, and at some point in the future, when the newness of the room fades, I'll spend some time taking measurements."

An added touch of rustic charm is the faux-stone archway that forms the entrance to the theater space, which was completed by Nathan Griffin of Vertical Artisans. Located at the bottom of a staircase, it leads to a small foyer lined with reclaimed barnwood and decorated with mining picks, lanterns, and barrels.


The faux-stone archway encourages all who enter to leave the real world behind.

The door into the theater room itself is notable as well. It's solid wood and measures 42" wide and 8' high. "It's a pre-hung exterior door complete with threshold and weather seal, so when it shuts, there is no sound leakage." Rob spent considerable time distressing it to look old and rustic.


Rob used many tools and techniques to "distress the heck" out of the solid-wood entrance door, going so far as to paint tiny cracks on the surface.

Functionally, Rob's home theater is anything but rustic. A Sony VPL-HW55ES fires onto an 11-foot-wide Da-Lite High Contrast Matte White screen in a Cosmopolitan Electrol retractable housing. Behind the screen is a Vizio E601i flat panel for more casual viewing and navigating his extensive music collection on a 21 TB HTPC server. The 11.2-channel sound system is based on a Denon AVR-4520CI with some additional amps that provide a total of 28.8 kW! The customized GR Research LS-9 front left and right speakers and LC-C center speaker are joined by front wide and height speakers, four side-surround speakers, and two rear-surround speakers along with the eight IB subs.


The projection screen retracts to reveal a 60" Vizio LCD TV for casual viewing and navigating Rob's server-based music collection.


The wiring in the equipment rack is a thing of beauty.

After less than a year of work, Rob's rustic retreat was finished. How much did it cost? "That's a hard one for many reasons. Reciprocating favors, items recycled from prior theaters, items sold to be upgraded, so much DIY, so many trips to Home Depot to return the excess materials I would always buy to prevent multiple trips back—which I always ended up making anyway!" Now that it's done, he gets to sit back and let his amazing theater kick butt—literally!


The mighty GR Research LS-9s and LS-C are so attractive, Rob didn't want to hide them behind an acoustically transparent screen.


Eight Ultimate Home Entertainment Fusion Tribute recliners offer the ultimate in comfort—even as you're being buffeted around by Buttkickers.


Looking down the left aisle, you can clearly see a Buttkicker in the corner of each platform. Ride 'em cowboy!

For much more detail about how Rob'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

Custom HTPC with MediaBrowser3 (Emby) connected to server with 21 TB of media
Dish Hopper satellite receiver/DVR
Samsung BD-H5900 Blu-ray player
Xbox One game console
Xbox 360 game console
Audio Technica AT-LP60 turntable

AV Electronics


Denon AVR-4520CI AVR (powering height, wide, and rear-surround speakers)
Sherbourn PA 7-350 power amp (LCR, front-row side surrounds)
Behringer iNuke NU-1000DSP power amp (second pair of side surrounds to add delay and avoid comb filtering)
Sanyway FP14000 (subs, 240VAC)
Sanyway FP10000Q (transducers, 240VAC)

Processor

Darbee Darblet DVP-5000

Projector

Sony VPL-HW55ES

Screen

Da-Lite Cosmopolitan Electrol retractable screen (11' wide, 16:9, High Contrast Matte White material, gain 1.1, not acoustically transparent)

Television

Vizio E601i LCD TV

Speakers

GR Research LS-9 (LR)
GR Research LS-C (center)
Niles Pro770FX (4, side surrounds)
Phase Tech PC-Surround (2, rear surrounds)
Dayton B652 (2, front height)
Niles PHD42 (2, front wide)
FiCar IB318 18" drivers in IB arrangement (8, subwoofers)

Transducers

Buttkicker Original (2, front platform)
Buttkicker LFE (2, rear platform)
Buttkicker Mini-LFE (8, each seat)

Cables

Monoprice HDMI cables (Redmere to displays)
Monoprice speaker cables
DIY RCA/XLR interconnects

Control

Logitech Harmony 1100 universal remote
Insteon lighting control

Power Conditioning

None

Seating

Ultimate Home Entertainment Fusion Tribute (8)

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Last edited by Scott Wilkinson; 04-08-2015 at 05:09 PM.
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post #2 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 11:58 AM
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This is my favorite home theater, which is really saying something. Especially love those mighty LS9s. I could write a book about the events leading up to acquiring my pair, but that's a story for another day.
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post #3 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 12:05 PM
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Absolutely love this one.
rms8 and ZOOM ZOOM like this.

I love my iPhone, but it will never replace my turntable.

The Cinema 1858 Remodel Thread
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post #4 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 12:19 PM
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LOVE the LS9s! Someday I will get a LS-C to match with my LS9s.

Awesome theater!

LG OLED65C6P / Marantz AV8801 / D-Sonic M2500 / Oppo BDP-103 / PS4 Pro
GR Research LS-9 / GR Research X-Voce / GR Research AV-1RS / Oppo PM-1
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post #5 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 12:27 PM
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Incredibly well put together. Rob, how is the brightness of the Sony 55es on your 11 foot wide screen?
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post #6 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 12:57 PM
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That's right folks, it's not "garbage" or "cheap" or "unfinished"... it's "rustic". Which is wonderful! George Orwell would be proud of how he predicted the idiotic wordplay of today's society.
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post #7 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skimanfz1 View Post
This is my favorite home theater, which is really saying something. Especially love those mighty LS9s. I could write a book about the events leading up to acquiring my pair, but that's a story for another day.

I'd actually be very interested in hearing that story!

The LS's (6 and 9) history is pretty dramatic from what I recall..... Any pics/threads with your 9's? Thanks for the comps!

*DIY ConcreteBunker Rustic Dream Build w/11' screen, 11.2chnl, 8x18" IB subs, 28.8KW*
GR Research LS-9 + LS-C | Denon AVR-4520 11.2 | Sony VPL-HW55ES | DaLite 11' screen | Sanway FP-14000 & FP-10000Q | Sherbourn PA 7-350 | Behringer iNuke NU1000DSP | 8x IB318's | Buttkicker Original(2x), LFE(2x), MiniLFE(8x) | MinDSP 2x4 | 21'W x 27'L x 10'H | MiniSplit
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post #8 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aetherhole View Post
LOVE the LS9s! Someday I will get a LS-C to match with my LS9s.

Awesome theater!
WOW, another 9 owner again? That's two in just the first couple of posts!

Do you have any pics or a thread you'd like to share with your LS-9's?

Thanks for the props too.

*DIY ConcreteBunker Rustic Dream Build w/11' screen, 11.2chnl, 8x18" IB subs, 28.8KW*
GR Research LS-9 + LS-C | Denon AVR-4520 11.2 | Sony VPL-HW55ES | DaLite 11' screen | Sanway FP-14000 & FP-10000Q | Sherbourn PA 7-350 | Behringer iNuke NU1000DSP | 8x IB318's | Buttkicker Original(2x), LFE(2x), MiniLFE(8x) | MinDSP 2x4 | 21'W x 27'L x 10'H | MiniSplit
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post #9 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JVoth View Post
Incredibly well put together. Rob, how is the brightness of the Sony 55es on your 11 foot wide screen?
I can honestly say I'm very pleased. My last setup (in out previous home) was an HW-15 projecting onto a 10' wide 16x9. It was fine, but there may have been times when I thought it could use a smidge more light. That one was rated at 1000 lumens. The 55 is rated at 1700 and despite being a larger screen I can tell the image is brighter than the last. I mounted the projector as close to the screen as the zoom would allow me to fill the screen.

*DIY ConcreteBunker Rustic Dream Build w/11' screen, 11.2chnl, 8x18" IB subs, 28.8KW*
GR Research LS-9 + LS-C | Denon AVR-4520 11.2 | Sony VPL-HW55ES | DaLite 11' screen | Sanway FP-14000 & FP-10000Q | Sherbourn PA 7-350 | Behringer iNuke NU1000DSP | 8x IB318's | Buttkicker Original(2x), LFE(2x), MiniLFE(8x) | MinDSP 2x4 | 21'W x 27'L x 10'H | MiniSplit
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post #10 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WebEffect View Post
That's right folks, it's not "garbage" or "cheap" or "unfinished"... it's "rustic". Which is wonderful! George Orwell would be proud of how he predicted the idiotic wordplay of today's society.

Thanks! (i think? )

*DIY ConcreteBunker Rustic Dream Build w/11' screen, 11.2chnl, 8x18" IB subs, 28.8KW*
GR Research LS-9 + LS-C | Denon AVR-4520 11.2 | Sony VPL-HW55ES | DaLite 11' screen | Sanway FP-14000 & FP-10000Q | Sherbourn PA 7-350 | Behringer iNuke NU1000DSP | 8x IB318's | Buttkicker Original(2x), LFE(2x), MiniLFE(8x) | MinDSP 2x4 | 21'W x 27'L x 10'H | MiniSplit
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post #11 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 01:47 PM
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I like the pegboard that you used for wiring. Very modular and easy to manage. I wish I came up with an easier way to not only make wiring adjustments that easy but also more ways to get new speaker wires to the areas that I care about.

Next time, I think I am going to make the wires actually mounted to the walls while being covered by some sort of decorative trim.

Blazar!
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post #12 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 01:50 PM
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Here you go. My LS9s have a custom external crossover built by the Skiing Ninja.
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post #13 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 01:59 PM
 
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Awesome!

* Would love to see the view, outside; it looks like to be on the beach, of the ocean, lake?
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post #14 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 02:02 PM
 
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Sweet setup!
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post #15 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post
I like the pegboard that you used for wiring. Very modular and easy to manage. I wish I came up with an easier way to not only make wiring adjustments that easy but also more ways to get new speaker wires to the areas that I care about.

Next time, I think I am going to make the wires actually mounted to the walls while being covered by some sort of decorative trim.
+1, I really like the graphical layout of the speaker jacks.
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post #16 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 02:09 PM
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Mother of god that is one beautiful set up. Massive rustic fan myself and this just looks fantastic, even without the awesome gear it's a lovely area.

Great job mate.
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post #17 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 02:33 PM
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Looks like a bondage torture chamber!
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post #18 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 02:39 PM
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Congrats on a great build !!
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post #19 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rms8 View Post
WOW, another 9 owner again? That's two in just the first couple of posts!

Do you have any pics or a thread you'd like to share with your LS-9's?

Thanks for the props too.
I’m jealous of Skiman’s LS set up, as well. Beautiful external crossover set up!

Still, I’ve attached a picture (old) of my satin rosewood LS-9’s. You definitely hit the nail on the head regards to the “drama” that included the LS-6 and LS-9’s. Boy was that a debacle and a half! My pair are actually the very same pair that were used at RMAF by Danny Richie himself, which I bought through *shhhh* AV123. I absolutely adore these speakers and absolutely love the sound even almost 6 years later.

I’ve since moved and my current speaker set up is much less ideal, compared to my previous space (shown in the picture), but it still is an awesome sound and I just could not part with these. They are my end-game speakers.

I mean, how often in our hobby can we say the upgrade itch is gone??? That’s how happy I am with my LS-9!

As for other things, though, there is plenty of room for upgrades! I still need to upgrade my center to the LS-C; a new Blu-ray player; maybe in a couple years another Pre/Pro to incorporate 4K & Atmos/DTS-X; another amplifier for when I need to add more speakers for Atmos/DTS-X; a couple years down the road, if/when OLED 4K TV’s become more mainstream and affordable… I can finally retire my Pioneer Kuro!
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LG OLED65C6P / Marantz AV8801 / D-Sonic M2500 / Oppo BDP-103 / PS4 Pro
GR Research LS-9 / GR Research X-Voce / GR Research AV-1RS / Oppo PM-1
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post #20 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 03:04 PM
 
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Looks like a bondage torture chamber!
That thought did cross my mind, but very quick.
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post #21 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WebEffect View Post
That's right folks, it's not "garbage" or "cheap" or "unfinished"... it's "rustic". Which is wonderful! George Orwell would be proud of how he predicted the idiotic wordplay of today's society.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rms8 View Post
Thanks! (i think? )
Yeah, I'm not sure how to interpret WebEffect's comment, either. There is nothing garbage, cheap, or unfinished about this build, so the word "rustic" is definitely not being used here as a euphemism for any of those words. And I've seen plenty of examples of high-end, high-quality homes and decor that can rightly be called rustic without invoking any sense of being garbage, cheap, or unfinished. So in my view, there is nothing Orwellian about the use of this word in such cases, including Rob's incredible home theater.
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post #22 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 03:50 PM
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Gorgeous home-theater. Love the entryway. Very nice all around. Congratulations to you!

Out of curiosity -- how much time did you end up spending with the engineer or architect to safely locate it under the garage. In my view, that's a stroke of genius.
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post #23 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 04:21 PM
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Nice job!

Being in the "Timber Industry"......reclaimed wood is not only expensive, but a lot of HARD WORK to prepare!!!

Love the wood and thought about doing something similar myself!
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post #24 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 04:24 PM
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Very very nice.
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post #25 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 04:29 PM
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I really took notice of this build. Much applause to Rob for being different on his structure. Many swerve to the Cinemar route ( which also paved a main roadway and is mind blowing) This one was a new eye opener. I hope to come up with a new spin myself on my future build. Thread coming soon. Great job Rob!
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post #26 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 04:34 PM
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I have a question, why are the buttkickers on the outside of the riser? I've always seen them mounted underneath and out of sight. It looks cool but I'd worry about someone tripping over one at some point...
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post #27 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 04:34 PM
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Beautiful theater, BTW, love stone and wood myself.

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post #28 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 04:38 PM
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Looks wonderful! Must be a joy to watch AR-switching movies like Interstellar on that screen
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post #29 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 05:29 PM
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I see he doesn't use a power conditioner. Neither do I.

Nice setup.
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(LCD - Sony KDL -52 XBR4) (Receiver - Yamaha RX-A1040)(Blu Ray - Oppo BDP-83) (PS3)( Comcast X1) Speakers (L & R - Paradigm Studio 20) (Center -Paradigm CC-470) (Surrounds & Back Surrounds - Paradigm SA-15R in walls) (Subwoofer 1 - Sunfire HRS-12) (Subwoofer 2 - Paradigm PW-2100)
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post #30 of 136 Old 04-08-2015, 05:33 PM
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That door is gorgeous! I know it shouldn't be my favorite part of this, but it is. True craftsmanship there - Great job!
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