The Best of All Tech Worlds
Downsizing a home – particularly a connected home - is a daunting enterprise from so many perspectives, but it becomes an easier task if the occupants engage a group of experts like the team at Montgomeryville, Pa.’s World Wide Stereo. The couple whose installation we are profiling here had decided to relocate from an expansive Pennsylvania property with a basement to a new home in North Carolina. But the move posed a bit of a dilemma – namely, how to fit all their entertainment options in a space whose open layout meant rethinking and consolidating.
“In the previous home,” explained Austin Marvel, who handles World Wide Stereo’s sales and system design, “he had two separate rooms: a two-channel listening room and a home theater in his basement decked out with Atmos. In his new home, he was not going to have the luxury of two separate rooms to use; it was because of space, and the new home did not have a basement. A major concern for him was he didn’t want to use a surround sound receiver, home theater processor or multi-channel amp as his two-channel configuration. He wanted his nice McIntosh preamp, two-channel power amp – basically, what he had. So we had to be creative and come up with a solution on how to integrate a first-class home theater system with a first-class stereo system. That led us to the configuration we came up with.”
So Marvel, along with techs Noah Mastin and Brian Sowden, created a multi-purpose, hybrid media room that combines Bowers + Wilkins Diamond Series speakers with McIntosh and Marantz components for a world-class two-channel music listening setup that doubles as a Dolby Atmos multi-channel home theater for movies. The room even has the added bonus of IMAX Enhanced processing – cutting-edge technology, for movie content that is formatted with that data.
The space has been dubbed “The van Gogh Room,” as it is filled with original artwork whose centerpiece is a van Gogh portrait by the contemporary Impressionist artist Duaiv – offering visitors an aesthetically fulfilling visual for when two-channel music listening is the order of the day.
About the System
The star of the show is the pair of gloss-white Bowers + Wilkins 802 D3 speakers. The entire system is powered by iconic McIntosh components, and the McIntosh MC462, a 450-watt by two-channel solid-state amplifier, proved to be the perfect partner for the 802 D3s.
“Due to the client’s love for vinyl records and their sound,” explained Marvel, “we wanted to introduce tubes into the system.” So the McIntosh C2600 vacuum tube pre-amp was selected to produce nuanced, warm sound, even at high volumes, without losing dynamics, which satisfied this client’s discerning ear.
To keep the shape and layout of the room from hampering system performance, Marvel said, “we used what I like to call our ‘ace in the hole:’ the McIntosh MEN220 room correction system.” He noted that the system was so valuable to the overall performance that “it was the difference between just listening to a stereo system and transforming the room into a live concert and studio session with [the client’s] favorite artist.”
This was achieved, added Marvel, without sacrificing one iota of system performance when watching films – and with the addition of the Marantz AV8805 13.5-channel full 4K Ultra HD network processor and a McIntosh MC8207 seven-channel power amp. That powered center, rear and in-ceiling Dolby Atmos speakers. “We engaged the home theater bypass mode of the C2600 so the MC462 would power the 802 D3s when watching movies. This is a great feature, and a way for those who what to have an awesome stereo system and surround sound system.” When the client wants to listen to vinyl, or stream music, he simply presses ‘Music’ on his remote or iPad, and to switch to a movie, he simply presses ‘Movie.’ One button press, and it’s seamless for the client - the perfect harmony of a high-fidelity stereo and a world-class home theater system in one room.
Since the new home was far from the previous home in Pennsylvania, project logistics were a challenge, and precise coordination of resources was a must. “Certainly, the products we used were very important, because we needed something we could service remotely,” said Marvel. “We had to have the ability to log into the system and service it.” So URC’s Total Control network-based solution was selected as it allows logging in remotely for program updates.
Marvel added that the client “is a very loyal customer, and he didn’t trust the job to anyone else. We needed to do our due diligence. We had many phone meetings, emails, texts, product delivery coordination – there were a lot of moving parts and fortunately we have a great, resourceful staff here that allowed us to make the project happen… We’re also lucky because the client knows how to use the system and could self-service it, but where he cannot, we can help him out from up here.”
Marvel said that the relationship led to the creation of another client: the person who bought the original client’s Pennsylvania home. “That client had not really had the experience of stereo, so based on his friendship with the gentleman who he bought the house from, he got to experience two-channel and absolutely loves it! We created a two-channel fan – and it was an automatic referral.
“We always enjoy sharing our passion with other people.”
The client professed his love of the installation as follows: “The best things in life are those you can share, and the van Gogh room will allow us to share our love of movies, music, and art with all of our friends and family.
I continue to be astonished by each record we spin, each digital song we play, each 4K UHD we watch. A big, comfy couch, our dream gear, our beloved artwork and a flawless installation. Perfect! We are happier than we can express!”
- Equipment List
- Bowers + Wilkins 802D3, HTM1D3, 707S2, CCMCINEMA7 Speakers
- JL Audio E112
- Pre-amp/Amplifiers: McIntosh C2600, MC8207, MC462, MEN220, AV8802
- McIntosh MT5 Precision Turntable
- Bluesound Node2i Wireless Music Streamer
- Sony UBPX800 4K UHD Blu-ray Player/CD Player
- Marantz AV8805
- URC Total Control MRX-8, TRC-1080 Remote
- Speaker Wire and Interconnects:
- Audioquest Rocket 88 Speaker Wire; Sydney RCA Cables; Saturn Ground Wire;
- MacKenzie XLR Cables; NRGZ3 Power Cables; Monsoon 20-amp Power Cable; Forest
- Optical Cable; Forest High Speed HDMI Cables; Cinnamon Coaxial Digital Audio
- Cables; Black Lab Subwoofer Cable
- Sony XBR85X900F 4K Ultra HD Smart TV
- Salamander Chameleon Quad Miami Cabinet
- Furman Elite 20 PF i Ultra Linear AC Power Conditioner
- Fortinet FS108E Network Switch
- Panamax BlueBOLT System