Man Cave Metamorphosis
Pennsylvania-based World Wide Stereo serves consumers on both the custom integration and retail fronts, and its talented staff’s expertise in teaching buyers about the pleasures of a connected home when they may be in the market for something more modest in the way of entertainment can be chalked up to the wealth of experience World Wide has garnered in a storied 40-year history.
Such was the case with a movie-buff homeowner who came to these experts vaguely knowing about surround sound and wanting a big screen to outfit an unfinished basement with audio and video entertainment. “They were not aware of Dolby Atmos,” explains Tommy Gillanders, system designer for World Wide, “and I don’t think they were thinking as large as I was” about the screen size.
After the clients were presented with some preliminary design concepts, though, they were totally on board with the inherent entertainment potential of this multi-use basement space. “We brought them into our showroom and let them experience Dolby Atmos, and they couldn’t have anything less once they heard it.” This exposure led to the installation of a 10-foot-wide screen and a super-immersive theater.
Although not originally designed as a dedicated theater, the client has now dubbed the space as ‘The Man Cave,’ featuring a Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 sound system, a Sony 4K projector, and a 133-inch 2.35:1 aspect-ratio, acoustically transparent screen by Stewart Filmscreen.
“We went with a clean design, where products could be heard but not seen, to support the multi-function space,” he says. All electronics are hidden in one centralized, easily accessible closet location and wirelessly managed by a single controller. Other elements in the theater include Focal 300 series in-wall front and rear speakers and Dolby Atmos in-ceiling speakers. URC’s MX-9990 remotes, Marantz’s SR6013 receiver, a Sony Blu-ray player and a Klipsch in-wall sub.
The design “is super-immersive,” says Gillanders. But he emphasizes that it was worked out to be without compromise in performance but also, to meet the desires of the homeowner’s wife that the equipment “not be obvious, or ‘present.’”
One challenge expertly surmounted was working with limited ceiling height, this being a basement. “There wasn’t room in the budget to excavate, and the tolerances were really tight for the drop ceiling that was installed, so we had to work closely with the contractor to make sure that, where things needed to be placed, there weren’t pipes or duct work in the way. So there were quite a few on-site meetings and a lot of measuring twice and cutting once. It was a cooperative effort between us and our project manager and the contractor.”
Gillanders stresses the importance of in-person dialogue and close cooperation with other disciplines such as contractors. “You can read emails all different ways, but being onsite and able to say, ‘Look at this – if we put this here, it won’t work,’ is a totally different thing.”
Gillanders also worked with the homeowners on choosing the room’s color palette. “The wife has a talented eye, but I advised on colors to avoid, suggesting they stay away from primary colors. With a projection system, because the light is passing that toward the screen, it can shift the final image on the screen and you have to compensate by removing that added color electronically in the projector. You would have to correct for it, and it lessens the projector performance because of all the additional calibration. Ideally, it would have been nice to have the ceiling black but in such a large, open floor plan, it would have looked bad, and that’s why I agreed to white. But we did have the wall painted a darker tone around the screen.”
Gillanders says the end result was that “it’s a really pretty room, feels very spacious and open even though the ceilings are on the lower side. There are no windows down there, but it doesn’t feel like a basement.”
And the ‘man cave’ aspect of the space was fully realized, making all parties content.
Gillanders was told that the client’s favorite thing “is coming home, walking down there, turning the system on and forgetting everything from the day and completely immersing in it, and feeling the stress leave. It truly is an escape for him – probably the biggest compliment I’ve ever been paid.”
- Equipment List
- Sony VPL-VW695ES 4K HDR Home
- Theater Projector
- Stewart Filmscreen CIMA Screen
- Focal 300IWLCR6 3-Way In-Wall Speakers
- Focal 300ICW6 In-Wall/In-Ceiling Speaker
- URC MX-990 Complete Control IR/RF Remote With Color LCD Screen
- Marantz SR-6013 9.2-Channel 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver with HEOS
- Sony UBP-X1000ES 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Player
- Klipsch RW-5802-II In-Wall Subwoofer
- AudioQuest Carbon HDMI Cable
- AudioQuest Forest Active HDMI Cable
- Panamax MIW-SURGE-1G In-wall Surge Protector