How They Did It: The Cavern

Ed Wenck | Aug 06, 2020

630133aThis theater, with its futuristic angles and plush, custom appointments, was born from a previous 12-seat home cinema that was under-used and outdated. In August of 2018, The Pyramid Group was visited by a representative of the client who was researching an upgrade for the homeowner, and as the firm explains, the rep was “very keen to understand the various approaches to speaker types and form factors, processing and calibration approaches, as well as speaker counts and the resultant effects that are possible in terms of immersion.”

The design of the Pyramid showroom paid off: “Our room is capable of recalling various presets (2.1,5.1,7.1 and Atmos) which allow demonstrable performance and speaker configs to be experienced,” including “a 7.2.4 Atmos managed by a Trinnov Altitude 16, as well as a perfectly designed acoustic environment.” The latter experience was the ticket, and the client’s representative began asking how the theater could even surpass what he’d heard in the showroom.

From there, the discovery process revealed that the family was terribly interested in using the room for music, but rather wanted the best audio available within their budget to really bring home the cinema experience – without sacrificing image quality in the balance.

630133bThe Specs

The Pyramid Group lays out what went into the room:

“All of the cinemas speaker and audio designs are in alignment with the guidelines for Dolby Atmos configurations as well as incorporating the CEDIA whitepaper guidelines for loudspeaker placement for immersive audio. We designed a 9.2.6 Atmos system utilizing split left/right mid channels, and front and rear subs;

Audio performance objectives were set to achieve 102db reference level at the listening position;

Video performance was designed to provide a minimum of 15 ftL for the 2.35:1 front projection system in relation to the video image, post calibration using a 4k projector, and;

Viewing angles are designed to meet with THX/CEDIA/SMPTE cinema standards.”

A Control 4 system runs the room, with a controller that monitors core devices and runs a staged power- down in the event of any outage. There was room for the rack to live outside the cinema, too: “The AV rack is housed in an adjacent plant room where existing power outlets were present,” explains Pyramid. “One dedicated supply handles power for the audio systems (amps) and the second runs the UPS, which in turn powers the C4 and network items, as well as all sources and DSP elements.”

630133eThe Room

The angled, baffled walls belie the look of the home that houses this cinema. “The property is a period mansion built primarily of stone circa 1750s. The room replaced a previous basement cinema that had been placed within a well-considered envelope constructed for the previous fit out. We designed a wall construction that ensured we created as controlled an acoustic space as possible.” Layers upon layers of materials ensure that the room’s isolated and tuned properly -- from plywood to fibrous wool wrapped in silk to an upholsterers’ foam, every square inch of the walls and floors are designed for maximum sound quality.

The seats are custom-made, and the front part of the staging contains an extremely effective two-by-one-meter bass trap. The layout of the room presented a few challenges, including speaker location, as the position of the door and height restraints between the ceiling and seating prevented perfect placement.

Contractors, designers, and architects all kept a close eye on the project, but Pyramid always ensured a consistent look: For example, the integrator was able to provide custom speaker grills to match the décor finish. CEDIA’s judges awarded this project the Best Home Cinema Award for 2019 (Level II, EMEA), calling it “a really high quality room,” and the client couldn’t be happier, declaring that the cinema is “outstanding and beyond expectations.”

For a complete equipment list regarding this project, check out their entry at the CEDIA Awards site.