Interview with an enthusiast: Sébastien’s 7.2.6 Focal personal theater


Sébastien has designed a superb private home theater with two rows of seats, 13 Focal speakers driven by two Denon receivers and 4K projection with a 3 meter image. The speakers are supported by two Focal subwoofers. The guarantee of an exceptional performance at home with movies and concerts!

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

My personal movie theater is 54m² bare and 34m² with treatment. A 1m10 wide by 60cm high homemade piece of furniture made from metal tubes and wooden shelves is located on the left side of the room to accommodate all the equipment except for the projector.

My private home theater is 34m² and uses a 7.2.6 Focal speaker system powered by a Denon receiver.

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

This room was made by 2 people over the course of 11 months on weekends and during my time off, that is to say about 650 hours of work.

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

Passionate about home theater for almost 25 years, I started at my parents’ house in a corner of the attic with a mono DLP projector and a 5.1 kit. Then, when I was living in an apartment a few years later, I realized that I could only fully satisfy my passion with a dedicated room. So I waited patiently until 2016 when my partner and I decided to build our house. I immediately considered the possibility of integrating a private home theater. As I did not want a basement but a mezzanine above the living room, the room had to be located in a space above the garage. This was also a way to shut out the outside world, a totally unique room in the house that was far away from reality.

As soon as we decided to build our future home, I immediately looked into the possibility of incorporating a private theater.

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

The hardest part was designing the room, knowing in which direction we should go… But I guess all construction work is the same, you work in stages: thermal insulation, installing technical ducts, assembling the structure, electricity, heating, air conditioning, home automation and finishing touches.

What was the overall budget for the system and construction?

Approximately €11,000 for the electronics (without counting the equipment that I already had for a long time like the speakers) and €9,000 for the room fittings (armchairs included).

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

  • Denon AVC-X6700H A/V receiver: numerous features, decoding, connectivity, number of channels and Audissey calibration.
  • FOCAL JMLAB COBALT speaker set that I’ve owned for over 20 years and that I still love. I completed the set with a second SW800 and a third pair of second-hand SR800s.
  • DENON AVR-3805 A/V receiver used as a power amplifier via its pre-inputs in Pure direct mode for the LCR, allowing the 6700 to manage 3 pairs of Atmos speakers.
  • Panasonic DP-UB820 4K Blu-ray player for its excellent image quality and price/performance ratio.
  • Pioneer DV737 DVD player that I’ve owned for many years and use only as a CD player.

How do you control the system (applications, remote controls, etc.)?

I use a Logitech Harmony Elite (bought at son vidé and for the lighting I use a Futronix P400 manager also controlled by the Harmony allowing me to create different lighting scenarios according to the functions.

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

I used an acoustic treatment with glass wool and diffuser panels based on the Live End Dead End principle, which I plan to refine in the future with more precise measurements using the Room EQ Wizard software.

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

I let my partner choose the first movie, so it was a romcom on Blu-ray and not in 4K: The Vow, not very demonstrative, but we enjoyed ourselves and I have made up for it since (Tenet, 1917, Marvel..). The movie that gave me a taste for home theater and that I own in many different editions, from VHS to 4K Blu-ray, is Terminator 2.

The combination of the Xtremscreen and Sony 4K projector works wonders!

How often do you use you home theater installation?

Almost daily, between 3 and 4 times a week at least.

The Panasonic DP-UB820 4K Blu-ray player provides great picture quality and really interesting price/performance ratio.

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

I really enjoy concerts with good soundtracks like Hanz Zimmer live in Prague, David Gilmour live in Pompeii, Chris Botii live in Boston, Sting… A genre that is unfortunately losing ground, especially in 4K.

How would you like to upgrade your system?

First, I’d like to fine-tune the acoustic treatment and maybe calibrate the projector, which is about a hundred hours old now. Later on, I would like to dematerialize my Blu-ray collection while keeping the same level of quality for a better viewing experience. In terms of equipment, I would like to replace the subwoofers with more powerful models and be able to hide them completely behind the screen, passive models perhaps, we’ll see.

Passionate about home cinema for almost 25 years, Sébastien started in the attic of his parents’ house with a mono DLP projector and a 5.1 kit.

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

If you are lucky enough to have a space that can accommodate a dedicated room, then you need to optimize it as much as possible. The preliminary study is the most important, do not rush headlong into it. Gather information on specialized forums, from manufacturers and professionals… Take your time. Equipment evolves and can be changed more easily than redoing a poorly designed and disappointing room. Do not neglect the budget of the construction compared to the audio and video equipment.

Discover Sébastien B’s personal movie theater.

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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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