First, and most importantly, thanks to the hosts for opening up their homes and sharing their enthusiasm, home theater builds, and food with others in the hobby. And a big hearty thanks to
for organizing the crawl. It was enjoyable and I’m glad there was a spot for me to attend! The KC guys made a stop on the way up and spent the night with
, and then made a stop on the way back at
’s – so we were fortunate to get a bonus two home theater showings! Also thanks to
for letting me butt in with he and
for one of the legs between stops.
thanks for driving – even though I think it was a ploy so that you’d have control over the radio, and could listen to metal music.
thanks for sharing your delicious deer jerky, and
your cookie platter – I’m sorry my shrek hands wrecked it.
I’m known for giving a frank, honest opinion when asked, and by my own admission – sometimes offering it when not asked --- I could probably use a muzzle on occasion, but those of you who know me probably shouldn’t expect this post to be any different than those I’ve offered in the past. Be assured, my intent isn’t ill – simply that every coin has two sides, and I as a home theater host many times in the past always appreciate honest subjective constructive criticism alongside any compliments/praise. The KC guys are friends enough now that we are pretty perfectly frank with each other – which I like. For instance, Carp dislikes my speakers for music, but likes them for movies, and wouldn’t hesitate to tell me openly. I appreciate that, but safely ignore his individual preference in regards to music, because A) his music preferences suck 😉 , and B) I like my speakers very much for music (otherwise I certainly wouldn’t keep them). Early on in this hobby I was more of the mindset to try to please all my guests so for another example when carp (years ago) said he heard a buzzing in my amp (that I couldn’t hear unless I was 2 foot away), I switched amps, so as not to offend my guests with that bit of buzzing. That was a fix for a problem I didn’t know I had, that I didn’t benefit from, and served no real purpose. So, fortunately, I’ve learned somewhere along the way to not account for one person’s subjective opinion that doesn’t align with my own opinion. So, PLEASE, take my comments in stride -- and weigh any opinion I produce in the balance of heavily favoring your OWN subjective tastes. It is your theater space after all, and I'm just some random internet guest.
Thanks for offering to hotel the KC guys on the way up to the crawl Friday night. Those Cheese Curds at the local tavern were quite good – first time I’ve ever had anything like that. It was fun to catch up, and watch a movie that evening, and talk shop! Tell your wife thanks for making us those tasty blueberry muffins for breakfast! What a treat!
Theater Space Pros
– Excellent and comfortable space, your Berkline chairs were as good as it gets, your room looked excellent, your rack wall was perhaps the best I’ve seen and you did a great job on the custom rack faceplates and overall look! Your JVC 500 picture was excellent. The space was a treat and worth the storied long years of effort you put into it! You claimed not to be handy – but after seeing your space – I don’t believe you. Also, thanks for showing us that documentary about the steam trains. I’d like to watch it at my place, though I know my aging Panny’s contrast wouldn’t hold a candle to your JVC’s picture. Your image was fantastic, and the sound good as well!
Potential Improvement Opportunity (in my subjective opinion) - recalibrate subwoofers to eliminate hotspotting in the room. Consider using both subwoofer outs if your AVR actually has two outputs so you can adjust time delay uniquely for each bank. I’m not on board with the single subwoofer output controlling subs in disparate locations. You have three DTS-10 subs for balance (2 front/1 rear), but there was a variance in bass as you walked around the room or sat in the different rows. First row great, second row, a bit louder and a bit boomy, third row louder yet. I suspected a phase issue very quickly after moving from front row to second row, and then confirmed after sitting in third row and then walking to the front of the room. The phase swap we tried for the rear DTS-10 seemed to help in our short time fiddling, but it can likely be tuned in even better than the simple 180* phase switch that occurred when we switched polarity. Feel free to pm me if you want to discuss further. There are different thoughts on this – I only speak for my own preferences I’ve acquired through tweaking my own two banks of subs. Also, perhaps - if you haven’t already – consider angling up the center channel a little bit (lean it back), just a bit of tilt to keep the speaker center angled up through your three rows. Overall, I recognize it is tougher to calibrate for three rows, and if push came to shove, since your first row sounds spot on - perhaps just leave well enough alone! One final thing, I’ve read that having rich colored walls near the front of the room, immediately near the projection screen can provide a hint of that rich color hue on the projector screen, and I believe there is some truth to that. I didn’t notice it on movie clips but when the screen was just white I think I might have noticed a hint of red glow on the screen. I debated mentioning it – because…nitpicky. Don’t take these notes too harshly - I really enjoyed your room! It was overall truly excellent.
Theater Space Pros
- Wow! Fantastic basement area – game room, theater room, game TV wall, arcade, etc – and such a nice outdoor view to boot! Carp and I had some fun playing hockey and foosball while we waited for our demo session! Your home theater was very comfortable, and you had a great picture (especially after
brightened the screen setting a bit with opening up the iris). The Eagles concert disk you played sounded truly fantastic on the Kef speakers. I can absolutely see why your teenage son and his friends (and your family) love the space! I like that you designed the room dark to get the most out of your projector! Your subs sounded good and balanced and they had plenty of headroom for your space! It’s a good job on converted bedroom theater, and a great space to play a game, movie, or some music! Thanks for sharing your home!
Potential Improvement Opportunity (in my subjective opinion) - consider lowering the physical height of the projector screen a foot or two. I felt like I was looking “up” at the screen from your seats a bit more than my subjective preference. Don’t be afraid to cut loose the brightness on that fine JVC projector vs. relying solely on what the Spyder tool recommends. If there’s a common theme any more, especially since HDR introduction, it seems projectors are calibrated too dimly for my tastes. Perhaps a reference vs. preference thing though on my behalf.
Theater Space Pros
– A comfortable space with the poker table in the back, and the theater integrated to the kitchenette and bar. Good use of available basement space! Your sound treatment panel on the side walls with the completely hidden surround speakers is a good idea, and seemed to work well. I like the idea of matching speakers all around (definitely my preference to match all speakers), and I agree with your decision to move the screen wall to face the front of the house, as that allows all the guest in your basement area to watch the action onscreen! Thanks for showing us the two screens, and showcasing how a grey screen helps rejects ambient light, as compared to the white screen behind. Having two tensioned screens that drop down to represent 16x9 and 2.40.1 is a solid idea. I also appreciate that you tried to get some high end projectors for us enthusiasts to demo. I can tell it’d be a great place to hang out on a Friday night with friends!
Potential Improvement Opportunity (in my subjective opinion) - Consider painting the home theater nook/area -- as dark as you can stomach. You can leave the rest of that area light colored as is. You’ve got a lot of ambient light in your basement. Darkening that front area --- even at night (with lights on for the poker game going on the back table) would help tremendously with your screen contrast. Blackout shades for the windows for daytime movie watching is a must. Contrast is one of the most important aspects of a good image, and it was lacking. Frankly, my buddy’s $1000 Optima budget projector in his light controlled blacked out basement room looked better than the $30,000 laser projector we saw --- because of that ambient light in the room. In contrast I’d expect we’d all have been blown away by that laser projector in a blacked out room. Here’s a site I’ve found trusty information at in regards to wiring testing and myths. It all boils down to speaker impedance, wire resistance/distance with copper wire runs. No need to spend on boutique cables.
Theater Space Pros
– Excellent. What a fantastic finish on the speakers and subs!!! Such that I’m looking into trying that with my Epique CBT24 line array speaker system that I’ve been dragging my feet on. What router bit did you use to make that work? I’m not nearly handy enough, darn it. I’ll have to employ
to show me how to do the first few cuts so I can proceed to make fewer (though certain) mistakes when I try my hand. I loved the 893 speakers, and thought they both looked and sounded the part! I too own Ultimax UM18-22 subwoofers, with sealed cabinets, so we have similar tastes there! Your bass preference was hot, but not overbearing – and pretty much matched my personal tastes. I thought your space was so well executed that you could sell that entire setup direct as a high priced “boxed home theater kit” to rave reviews. Basically budget DIY/AIY components, but put to use with great effect! I really like what you did!
Potential Improvement Opportunity (in my subjective opinion) - Frankly, none. I didn’t get to spend much time here because our group was so large, and there were just two primary seats, but from what I witnessed…great job! Integration with a 5.2.2 AVR and single pair of ceiling speakers while lowering your side surrounds to better segregate the sound from the installed Atmospheric audio speakers would be my personal path forward if I owned that space.
Luke I appreciated your hospitality and conversation. I’ve liked you since we started talking years ago. You always seem down to earth, even if your home theater portrays a different wild side! [IMG class=inlineimg]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/IMG] Thanks for hosting the KC guys overnight on Saturday, and for providing the food and drink to such a huge crowd of people. I’ve been looking forward to visiting your place for years and I wasn’t disappointed. 7 kids makes me wonder how you do it, but it seems your kids have a great father --- as you strike me as one of the “good guys” in this world.
Theater Space Pros
– Fantastic mains, effortless, incredible, imposing to the point of installing fear in the listener (me anyway – having done calibrations/testing where something went wrong and a test tone or sine wave went off at incredible full amplifier volume – I was afraid I’d be left with blood running from my ears if such happened to occur in your room!!?!!). Sound from everything was pure – effortless – especially from the L/R and subs! Let’s face it, you have more bass from just the L/R than a ridiculously high percentage of all of AVSforum subwoofer enthusiasts. But that’s not all – mix in TEN 21” subwoofers… wowzers!!! The amount of bass that room is capable of is not something I need, crave, or even want – but it is stupidly fun to experience! The DTS-X Cymatics clip was the best/cleanest I’ve ever heard it. It seemed limitless. The majority of demo clips we ran later that night were easily +2 or +5dB over reference (which we did measure your reference to be accurate with my own omnimic simply as a third party confirmation of your SPL settings) and there was not only zero noticeable strain on the speakers at volumes above reference, but you could seemingly turn it louder than reference without immediate noticeable pain/concern for your ears. In fact on some of the +5dB demo clips, notably the DTS-X Cymatics clip, I wanted to turn it up higher! I’ve been in three rooms now where I could clearly listen to reference level (or louder) demo material for over an hour without pain or discomfort. dlbeck (JTR 212HT), Craig John (Triad Platinum) , and now lukeamdman (DIY “MOAS” – Mother Of All Speakers). I don’t know what causes this ability to ignore high SPL levels in regards to discomfort – but my immediate theory is exceptionally low distortion from the audio system. The videos will confirm to all that we had a lot of fun experiencing all that bass.
and I measured 104dB outside, on the back deck, during one of your demo clips. Then again 125dB measured in the kitchen. That’s probably enough said. Your bass was 10dB over THX reference peaks (2x’s as loud as commercial IMAX cinema) IN THE KITCHEN. Finally, I loved the look of your theater room. The ceiling turned out great, the higher middle and channeled sides give the ceiling a personality, while the front soundstage commands you to sit down, shut up, and be utterly impressed.
Potential Improvement Opportunity (in my subjective opinion) - Surround placement not ideal for first row (primary row?), and surrounds were not level matched MLP. I couldn’t really even hear the surrounds when playing clips I was familiar with during the demo section while seated at the front row. (I had some demo time on my own in the room later in the evening). In the back row the surrounds sounded great. It’s probably a limitation of the room/door position. The mismatched center, fault of using a big HDTV, along with Washington Monument sized L/R, meant I didn’t appreciate some particular concert clips as well as when compared on audio systems where the L/C/R channels all match -- which seems like lost potential for such amazing L/R. In particular the Katherine McPhee/Chris Botti concert clip which is one of my favorite clips of all in my own room sounded unfamiliar/off in the first row (with the lack of surround sound presence and the slightly mismatched front sound stage). In the end, it’s all a series of tradeoffs right? Luke has the best L/R I’ve heard, and out of this world clean, limitless bass, but that esteem comes at the penalty of size -- and overall cinema presentation in a limited size room. Pick your poison. Best L/R and subs, or balanced cinema sound. As to subwoofers, I’m personally a fan of nearfield subs, and won’t give them up willingly – not even to crowson transducers, or 140-150dB of bass. An 18” firing into my back is still my preference, and a 24” firing into your back at d_c’s is every bit as punishing without the high accompanying SPL. All the above said --- it’s still an absolutely Excellent room for many reasons – and a benchmark especially for bass levels and quality of L/R stereo sound!
Theater Space Pros
– Best theater I’ve ever visited – and by a full letter grade over anything else I’ve experienced. If I could watch a movie anywhere in the probably 100 home theaters I’ve visited all over the U.S., or any of the commercial theaters I’ve ever visited – there is absolutely no question it would be David’s. Perfectly black room when the lights dim, huge comfortable room with tiered stadium seating, ultra-comfy seats, unbelievably refined, balanced sound. This is what happens when you build a new house with the house secondary to the home theater plans!
Clean, Balanced, Amazing!
Thanks for hosting us for a quick stop in on the way home! When we had our KC crawl last year in 2017 we KC hosts joked we should just cancel our crawl and get a big bus to drive up to David’s because everybody would like that more than our theaters.
Potential Improvement Opportunity (in my subjective opinion) - MOAR bass (not a flaw, because David could simply turn it up!) – It’s just my subjective preference vs. David’s preference for reference reproduction. I’d say Atmospheric audio (ceiling speakers) is on the dance card too – but it’s so good as it is (without) – who cares!!!
In summary, thanks to everyone who made the trip possible, hosted us, fed us, tolerated us. This type of event is what makes this hobby most enjoyable!