Interview with an enthusiast: Florian’s 5.1.4 home theater


Passionné de cinéma et de musique, Florian a profité de la rénovation totale d’une grange pour aménager le home-cinéma de son rêve dans son salon. L’objectif principal était de dissimuler autant qu’il le pouvait les éléments et de choisir des équipements qui s’associaient avec l’ambiance générale de la pièce. Le résultat est un home-cinéma 5.1.4 avec TV et vidéoprojecteur, intégré de manière discrète et élégante.

Florian’s home cinema system is integrated discreetly and elegantly into his living room, without compromising on image and sound quality.

How big is your home theater? From the technical area (electronics)?

The installation is integrated into our living room, which is just under 30 m². Almost all of the electronics are in the cabinet under the TV and screen, only the NAS is in another room (too noisy). The cabinet is in fact made up of three Ikea Besta cabinets, covered with a glued laminated oak plank and which is 420 cm long by 65 cm deep, which leaves air behind the cabinets to ensure passive ventilation for the amps.

How long did it take you to build this home theater?

The house is an old renovated barn, and since we started from scratch, we took the opportunity to redesign everything. I already had the two B&W CM6 S2 front loudspeakers and the JVC DLA-X3 video projector. Everything else was purchased accordingly (built-in speakers, projection screen, electronics, etc.). We can therefore say that everything was done in a few months, design and installation included.

When did you decide to design a room dedicated to home theater? Why create a dedicated room?

The room is not dedicated, but it was obvious that the design of the living room would revolve around this installation dedicated to films, series and video games. So even if it’s a living room, everything had to be optimized for sound and image, as much as we possibly could (no acoustic treatment, bay window, no transparent screen, etc.), and with discreet equipment by using in-wall speakers and an electric projection screen, as well as hiding the electronics, etc. It is out of the question to have huge and unsightly speakers in plain sight, visible cables, wobbly mounts, etc.

How did you organize the construction work? What was the most challenging aspect?

For the construction work, I made the plans and calculations myself before we started working on the room, then I left the instructions to the craftsmen (electrician for the passage of the cables, plasterers for the cutouts, etc.). I had to redo the cabling of the subwoofer so it would go behind the sofa, because I had almost no lows (room acoustics, square shape, large bay window among others) where it was firts placed (on the front stage). I recommend testing the subwoofer placement before moving forward with the construction work if possible. Otherwise no particular problem. It was not my first home theater installation and when you anticipate as many possible issues as possible you can avoid a lot of problems!

What was the overall budget for the system and construction?

It’s impossible to give a precise budget, the construction work for this room was part of the renovation of the whole house.

Can you list the equipment used and tell us why you chose these brands?

The goal was to have an efficient audio video installation for both films and music, or at least to get as close to it as possible.

For the front speakers, I have been a huge fan of the brand Bowers & Wilkins for years. I love how their medium range reproduces voices so well with jazz for example, and since floor-standing speakers would be useless to me due to the issue with the lows in the room, I opted for the excellent B&W CM6 S2 compact speakers from the previous range (today the B&W 705 S2 ).

The center speaker is the B&W HTM72 S2 from the current range.

For the in-wall and in-ceiling surround speakers, the Definitive Technology DI8R perfectly fulfills their role with very good dynamics, low recess depth and a very fine and aesthetic grille.

The subwoofer is also a Definitive Technology, a Supercube 6000. It is compact (barely more than 30 cm sideways), extremely powerful (1500W peak amplification) and performs really well in hi-fi. Unfortunately, it is no longer available, otherwise I would have surely bought a second one.

All these speakers are powered by a Denon AVC X-8500H (replacing my Marantz SR-7011 ), which is surely the best A/V reciever I have owned and heard so far and it can easily go head-to-head with more exotic brands. It has 13 channels (only 7 used in my installation), it is built like a tank, it can decodes all the formats that exists and offers an extraordinary immersion. It is a real powerhouse that never falters. Moreover, it offers numerous adjustment possibilities and can handle very large systems.

The Denon is used with a Class Sigma Amp2 power amplifier. Listening to music sounds just as good as it would with a hi-fi amplifier.

I am using a Denon AVC X-8500H (replacing my Marantz SR-7011) which is surely the best amplifier I have owned and heard so far.

For the image part, I recently upgraded the TV by acquiring a 65′ Samsung The Frame, to switch to 4K and HDR on the TV part at least, and always for the sake of aesthetics for the living room.

I am more attached to the sound part in the installations, but I must admit that the image in 4K / HDR when a source uses it well, is really superb.

For the video projection, I still have my JVC DLA-X3 Full HD projector which I find absolutely satisfactory, especially since the installation of a new AV Concept projection screen with an Infinity canvas which brings even deeper blacks without sacrificing the lighter colors. .

For video projection, I still have a JVC DLA-X3 Full HD projector which is completely satisfactory to me, especially since the installation of a new screen which brings even deeper blacks.

The sources are an Nvidia Shield running Kodi and a NAS, as well as an Xbox Serie X.

Did you use an acoustic treatment if not, do you plan to use one in the future?

Since this is a living room first and foremost, I won’t, even though some elements can visually fit in, I don’t really want to. In addition, I redid all the calibration with the Audyssey application (20 €) and it completely transformed my amp and my installation (without doing as well as an acoustic treatment would of course).

Since this is a living room first and foremost, I do not want to use acoustic treatment, even if some elements could be easily integrated.

What is the first movie you watched in this room? Which one gave you a taste for home theater?

The first film I watched on this installation, I think it must be Mad Max or Ready Player One, in Dolby Atmos of course. The one which gave me a taste for home cinema is undoubtedly Armageddon. I saw it when I was a teenager at a friend’s place, I found it mindblowing at the time. My father is a musician and had already passed on his passion for music and Hifi to me from a very young age.

How often do you use this home theater room?

Every day, since the TV is connected in CEC to the amplifier, everything turns on and we watch series several times a week … And when it comes to lowering the screen and turning up the volume for a movie, I would say once a week.

I use the home theater every day since the TV automatically turns on the amplifier. For the projector, I would say once a week, for a movie.

Do you watch anything other than movies? Sporting events? Series? Video games? Concerts?

Many Netflix, Prime Video or Disney + series that allow you to enjoy multi-channel sound and a 4K HDR image (even if the image and sound are still compressed, it does the job), some video games on the Xbox X Series, for which you can enjoy immersion beyond measure. Not too many concerts, although I have the excellent Live in Prague by Hans Zimmer (in Atmos) which I watch often or The Up in Smoke Tour with Eminem, Dr Dre or Snoop Dog, even if the quality of sound and image has aged.

How would you like to upgrade your system?

I will one day change my projector for a 4K model, although I’m not sure it’s worth the investment compared to the JVC X3 (unless spending a colossal amount of money). Perhaps also change the two B&W CM6 S2 compact speakers to switch to the B&W 805 and take this system to the next logical step. For the rest, I’m not planning on changing anything!

I may one day change the two B&W CM6S2 compact speakers to switch to the B&W 805 and take this system to the next logical step

What piece of advice could you give to someone who wants to enjoy the same type of home theater installation?

Calculate everything in advance, plan everything, follow the progress with the construction work if you’re not working on it yourself, anticipate future uses by leaving a few inlets or running a few extra cables for example, take the time to do a real calibration / acoustic correction once the room finished (with the Audyssey App if you have a Denon or a Marantz), go and listen to the products in store and make up your own mind if possible. The Internet is full of opinions that say everything and its opposite and the important thing is that we personnaly like.

Discover Florian’s home theater installation

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DJ à mes heures, grand fan de musiques Soul, Funk, Disco j’aime aussi le rock, le hip-hop, le reggae et la musique latine. The Temptations, Millie Jackson, Cerrone, Donald Byrd ou Hamilton Bohannon... Cinéphile à mes heures, je voue une passion aux westerns (Le bon, la brute et le truand, Jango unchained...), aux films de sciences fictions (Interstellar, District 9...) et films de guerre (La ligne rouge, 1917, Le soldat Ryan...). J’ai hérité de la chaîne hifi de mes parents que j’ai progressivement remplacée dès 2000 lors de mes débuts chez Son-Vidé Aujourd’hui je suis équipé avec un ensemble Elipson Planet alimenté par un ampli Yamaha en 5.1. Pas de TV mais un projecteur Epson et un écran Lumene motorisé. Deux platines Technics SL1200 avec table de mixage Ecler, platine cassette TEAC et Blu-ray Onkyo complètent mon système audio.

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