When AVS member Vikram Rao (vikgrao) and his wife Vasu, both physicians living near Indianapolis, IN, decided to build their dream home theater, they looked at many examples here on AVS Forum for ideas. Vikram wanted a modern look, and Vasu was partial to a color scheme with red, black, blue, and a bit of gray, hinting at the theme that was to emerge as the project progressed. But most important was sound isolation—Vasu is an emergency-room doctor who returns home at odd hours after a 12- or 24-hour shift and needs to sleep, even if Vikram is blasting the audio at reference levels or beyond.
The entrance to Vikram's home theater hints at the theme that eventually emerged.
To integrate these requirements, Vikram turned to installer and fellow AVS member Jeff Parkinson (BIGmouthinDC), who knows a thing or two about building and acoustical isolation. Starting with a basement room measuring 28 x 14 x 9 feet with 12-inch-thick concrete walls on three sides, Parkinson specified double-stud walls and ceiling along with three layers of 5/8-inch drywall separated by Green Glue noise-damping compound, all of which is decoupled from the studs using whisper clips and hat channels. The walls and ceiling are further insulated with R19 and R25 material, and the floor consists of OSB (oriented stranded board) and acoustical rubber matting on a concrete foundation. After all that, the theater now measures 22 x 12.8 x 7.8 feet with a 2.75-inch-thick soundproof door.
Double-stud walls help keep the theater sound in and external sounds out.
The next step was building a stage for the front speakers and a riser for the second row of seats. Aside from providing unobstructed sightlines for the second row, the riser also serves as a bass trap designed by Dennis Erskine of The Erskine Group, a custom-design company that helped with the installation. The stage was filled with sand to stabilize it no matter how loud the speakers might get.
Vikram lugged over a ton of sand into the theater.
In keeping with a modern look, Vikram wanted curves everywhere, which presented Parkinson with additional challenges. For example, he found himself crawling under sheets of OSB to mark the curves of the platforms.
Parkinson marks the curves of the front stage on OSB that will form the top layer.
The soffits in the ceiling also had to be super strong to withstand the shaking that was to come from the finished audio system.
Parkinson demonstrates the strength of the soffits above the stage. I wonder if he used Crazy Glue?
Speaking of the audio system, Vikram decided to use three Seaton Catalyst 12C self-powered speakers for the front left, center, and right channels, each of which is triamped with a total of 2000 watts. Also placed in front is a JTR Orbit Shifter LFU subwoofer with an 18" driver, 14-foot folded horn, and 4000 watts of its own amplification.
Parkinson stands like da Vinci's Vitruvian Man between the left and center Seaton Catalyst 12C self-powered speakers. A JTR Orbit Shifter LFU subwoofer stands between the center and right speakers.
The front speakers would soon be hidden behind a fixed Seymour AV Center Stage XD acoustically transparent (woven fabric) screen measuring 140 inches wide with a 2.37:1 aspect ratio and a gain of 1.2. In addition, the screen exhibits a slight concave curve, just like a commercial cinema and in perfect sync with the curvaceous design elements throughout the rest of the room.
Vikram, Vasu, and their son Rishi sit on the unfinished stage after the screen has been installed.
For the surrounds, Vikram settled on six Procella Audio P6Vs, though only four are being used as of this writing until he can install a QSC Q-Sys Core 250i DSP. The surrounds are powered by a Denon AVR-4520CI receiver, which also serves as the preamp/processor for the system. It has nine channels of amplification, so all six speakers could be used now, but according to Dennis Erskine and Shawn Byrne of The Erskine Group, the multiple side surrounds wouldn't sound right without the DSP, which will be used to control all speakers and the sub.
Six Procella Audio P6V speakers are mounted in the walls, hidden by acoustically transparent cloth after this photo was taken.
Vikram chose the Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 6020UB for his projector. To accommodate the 2.37:1 screen, he installed a Panamorph UH480 anamorphic lens on a motorized sled so it can move into the light path for widescreen movies and out of the way for 16:9 HDTV.
The Epson 6020 is ceiling mounted with a motorized sled for the Panamorph anamorphic lens.
Once the theater was complete with blue accent lighting and red carpeting, a theme naturally emerged. What superhero dresses in those colors? The Man of Steel, of course. And there can be no better symbol of this theater's power, especially when you consider that its audio system delivers a total peak output of 15,000 watts.
The color scheme of Vikram's theater naturally suggested a Superman theme, which is entirely appropriate given the superpowers of this amazing room.
The price tag was equally impressive—right around $100,000. But thanks to the skill and dedication of Jeff Parkinson, calibrator Jeff Meir of AccuCal, The Soundproofing Company, and The Erskine Group, Vikram Rao has his Fortress of Solitude, in which he can play movies at ear-splitting levels while his wife slumbers peacefully or joins him for family movie night in one of the best home theaters for many miles around.
Six black-leather Fusion Jive 1013 seats let Vikram and his family and friends enjoy movies in the lap of luxury.
For much more detail about how Vikram Rao's home theater came together, check out the build thread here.
Oppo BDP-103 Blu-ray player
Sony PS3 game console/Blu-ray player
Microsoft Xbox 360 game console
Dish Network satellite receiver
Popcorn Hour A400 media streamer
Denon AVR-4520CI receiver
Darbee DVP 5000 Darblet video processor
Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 6020UB
Panamorph UH480 anamorphic lens
Seymour AV Center Stage XD (140" wide, 2.37:1, 1.2 gain, acoustically transparent, curved)
Seaton Catalyst 12C LCR (internally triamplifed, 2000 watts each)
Procella Audio P6V surrounds (6 in place, currently operating 4 since DSP gear not yet purchased, powered by AVR-4520CI)
JTR Orbit Shifter LFU subwoofer (4000W RMS, 7200W peak internal amplification)
Canare L-4E6S Star-Quad balanced XLR cable with Neutrix connectors (LCR, subwoofer)
Monoprice 12AWG CL2-rated speaker wire (surrounds)
Monoprice HDMI etc.
Insteon ISY994i with dual band PLM & IRule Pro module
Global Cache WF2IR WiFi-to-IR adaptor
Global Cache IP2IR IP-to-IR adaptor
Monster HTS 5100 MK2 (2)
Monster HTUPS 3700
Netgear N900 gigabit Ethernet router
Fusion Jive 1013 (6)
Planning to Add
QSC Q-Sys Core 250i DSP