Interview with an enthusiast: Steve’s personal theater room with Focal and McIntosh Electronics


Mis à jour le 29 November 2021.

Steve is a cinephile who is also very much intersted in advanced design and electronics. This is why he naturally turned to McIntosh equipment and Focal loudspeakers to create his own cinema in his basement. This exceptional installation required more than 360 hours of work and an investment of €70,000, which was amply recouped by the pleasure of watching movies in his own theater room.  

What is the surface area of personal theater room? How big is the technical area (electronics)? 

My home theater room is about 30 square meters and includes a technical area of 8 square meters. 

How long did it take you to build this home cinema room?

It took me about 6 months to design this room in my spare time, after work and on weekends. I estimate the whole thing at about 360 hours of work. 

When and why did you decide to design a room dedicated to cinema? 

I already owned a McIntosch MC205 power amplifier and McIntosch MX122 preamp with the Focal loudspeakers, as well as the Sony VPL VW320ES video projector. When I moved in with my girlfriend I warned her right off the bat that cinema was my passion (watchin movies). So, the question was : where will I install my system?. Luckily, there was a large empty basement available.

I’ve alwas loved cinema, and the main question was : where will build my cinema room?

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

The construction work was carried out in several stages. The first one was to to learn as much as I could about how to build a dedicated room: what materials should be used, how to carry out the work, ask for estimates from many suppliers, etc. The second was to have all the materials delivered to our home and the last step was the actual building part. I didn’t have many problems, everything was well planned.

What was the budget for materials and construction?

I already had the electronics (amplifier, preamplifier, projector, speakers, etc.). I had a very precise idea of the room I wanted, so the budget was exceeded by €2,500.

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

When I was younger, I had AV preamp from a brand named Vincent. It was used to power Focal speakers (Focal Chorus 715 floorstanding speakers, Focal Chorus 705 compact speakers and a Focal CC700 center speaker). After ten years of good and loyal service, my preamplifier broke down. I wanted to get it fixed, but it was too expensive, so the best course of action was to buy a new one. 

After spending a lot of time researching the best options, I knew I wanted to buy a preamp and power amplifier that looked good in the living room and that they should be made by a manufacturer that offers good after-sales service so that they would be easy to repair if ever needed. This is why I chose McIntosh whose electronics are visually stunning and whose after-sales service is perfect. For the choice of the electronics, I chose the McInosh MX122 preamplifier and the McInosh MC205 power amp. The latter is associated with Focal Aria 948 floorstanders, Focal Aria 906 compact speaker, a Focal CC900 center speaker and a Jamo D7 SUB subwoofer.

How do you control the system? Do you use an application or a universal remote control?

The remote control of the McIntosh pre-amplifier allows me to control my entire setup, including the projector, motorized curtains, Apple TV and PlayStation 5. 

Have you used an acoustic treatment or do you plan to use one in the future? 

I have have done some research to find the most suitable material in terms of acoustics, and the difference in sound rendering is impressive compare to how it was before the work. I intend to fine tune it with acoustic measurements.

The materials used in the construction of the home cinema room optimize the acoustics and the sound is infinitely better compared to before.

What was the first movie you watched in this room? What movie gave you a taste for home cinema?

The first movie I watched in this room was Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The one that gave me a taste for home cinema is Twister. 

How often do you used your cinema room? 

I use this room twice a week. It is important for me that it remains a special treat.

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

Mostly movies and occasionally I play video games on PlayStation 5. 

I use my cinema room once or twice a week to watch movies and sometimes to play video games on Playstation 5.

How would you like your system to evolve?

J’ai déjà upgradé mes enceintes Focal Chrous 715 que j’ai remplacé par des Focal Aria 948, Focal Aria 906 et Focal CC900.  

I upgraded my home theater installation with the Focal Aria 948, Focal Aria 906 and Focal CC900 speakers which offer an incredible result.

What advice can you give to someone who wants to build a room like this?

It is important have a well prepared project and not to rush into it. It is necessary to correctly do your research before starting and to take your time. It’s only fun from there onwards.

Discover Steve’s personal cinema room.

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