When designing his new home, Sime imagined a living room that would ideally combine a living space with his passion for movies. A project that resulted in a sublime cinema installation with a 4K UHD projector and a 5.1.2 channel Klipsch system.
How big is your home theater and technical area (electronics)?
The room is 4.75m deep. The width of the hi-fi wall is 2.94m. However, the room opens onto the dining room, making the acoustics a challenge.
How long did it take you to build this home theater?
It was built progressively (for lack of means to buy good equipment in one go). We moved into the house at the beginning of the 2020 lockdown. I immediately connected the equipment I had at the time, namely a BenQ TH-530 projector and a Yamaha RX-V681 receiver with two B&W 686 S2 speakers. However, the lack of surround and center speakers was noticeable.
When and why did you decide to design a room dedicated to home theater?
I had this project from the time the house plans were made in 2018. Being a lover of good movies and music, it was a given from the start that this space would house a projector and a home theater.
How did you organize the construction work? What was the most challenging aspect?
The idea was to prepare the room as best as possible and add the equipment gradually. To do this, I had electrical, audio and RJ45 cables run to the important points where the projector, front and surround speakers, and projection screen were going to be placed. There is also a sleeve built into the “projection” wall to run cables through in case we decide to install a TV one day. The most complicated part was to include all the equipment in the room while keeping the style clean and minimalist.
What was the overall budget for the system and construction?
Since it is a new build, it is not easy to estimate the price we paid just for the home theater. Aside from the cables and outlets that were placed in the right places, the room is a standard living room. The equipment was clearly the most expensive part of the project.
Can you list the equipment used and tell us why you chose these brands?
My home theater and hi-fi system consists of the following elements:
- 1 x Yamaha NS-AW392 (outdoor Speakers)
- 1 x Numark TT250USB (USB turntable)
- 1 x Kordz PLX-HDB.2 (audio-video transmitter)
- 1 x Instaal Insmot 240C3 (motorized projection screen)
- 1 x Jamo S810 Sub (subwoofer)
- 1 x Klipsch R-41M (bookshelf speakers)
- 1 x Klipsch R-52C (center speaker)
- 1 x Klipsch RP-600M (bookshelf speakers)
- 1 x Onkyo TX-NR696 (A/V receiver)
- 1 x Epson EH-TW7100 (projector)
I only recently switched to Klipsch speakers and a 4K UHD projector. Originally, I used B&W 686 S2 speakers and a B&W HTM6 S1 center speaker. All with a Yamaha RX-681 receiver. Following a lightning storm, some of my equipment (amp, transmitter, projector) was damaged.
Musically, the B&Ws were slightly better and more balanced, despite the smaller size. On the other hand, for film soundtracks, the punchy sound of the Klipsch is amazing. The 6.5″ cone versus the previous 5″ is a big part of it, I think. The sound is impressive, even with bookshelf speakers.
How do you control the system (applications, universal remote controls, etc.)?
To control the system, I usually use the Onkyo receiver’s smartphone app, as well as the source remotes. In the future I’ll probably use a universal remote control.
Did you use an acoustic treatment? If not, do you plan to use one in the future?
With the living room opening onto the dining room, the acoustics are a real headache that I’m still working on. The elements that usually help to absorb vibrations in a living room, such as curtains and carpets, are not to my wife’s taste, nor in the style of the house. To complicate things further, the two openings on either side of the wall lead to a large hall that serves as a sounding box for the subwoofer. I am looking for a modular wall to separate the living room from the dining room for the duration of a movie and to absorb as many vibrations as possible. “Acoustic” frames will also be placed on the wall in certain areas.
What is the first movie you watched in this room? Which one gave you a taste for home theater?
I think it all started during my childhood, when I connected the stereo to the TV. It was when the movie Armageddon was released on VHS. I still remember the joy I felt at the shaking of the windows as the asteroid approached.
The first movie I viewed with this setup was “Mad Max Fury Road”. A must! In addition to being an excellent film, it is ideal for testing the equipment, whether it is the image, the surround effects or Atmos.
Do you watch anything other than movies? Sporting events? Series? Video games? Concerts?
As we have decided not to put a TV in the living room for the moment, we use the projector almost every night, but only for quality content like movies, series and sports for the kids who are soccer fans.
Music is constantly playing on the speakers, a lot of chillhop, trip-hop, nujazz or lo-fi as background music. Otherwise, for the more “hi-fi” listening, I turn to blues, jazz and rock.
How would you like to upgrade your system?
For the moment, it is especially the center speaker which is not quite to my taste. The bass lacks depth to properly reproduce the raspiest voices. Work on acoustics is also needed. Lastly, I’m working on a small “Hi-Fi” vinyl cabinet. The idea is to build the turntable into the top shelf and integrate the amplifier and the B&W speakers.
What piece of advice can you give to someone who wants to make a room like this?
It’s important to lay the groundwork for your home theater installation from the start. It is necessary to think carefully about the desired configuration and to run the cables to prepare the room to accommodate the future system. Everything else is simply upgrades and modifications…