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How They Did It: Spinney Home Cinema

CEDIA | May 20, 2021

 

Cyberhomes’ challenge for this job was to design the room from an empty shell and to create the “wow factor” in a comfortable and relaxing environment that is visually different from other cinema rooms.  

 The husband-and-wife duo that commissioned this cinema love future technology and have a passion for supercars, so they wanted this incorporated within the design, but for the style to have both masculine and feminine elements so that it suited each of them. 

With the room to be used for both movie watching and game playing, the clients’ wish list included the biggest cinematic screen and the best audio possible to provide a great experience for the six family members.  

Design 

Before any room concepts were developed, Cyberhomes assessed the technical requirements of the room.  

“CAD and 3D visualization enabled us to fully design the room, make adjustments, check the symmetry, and double check every technical aspect relating to audio, video, and acoustics before we produced the final design,” comments Chris Morley, Lead Designer at Cyberhomes.  

After researching several design concepts, Cyberhomes settled on a futuristic look which they presented to the client, along with other similar room ideas.  

AV Set Up 

A Dolby 7.1.4 set up was installed, with three in-wall LCR monitor speakers, four in-wall bi-polar surround sound speakers, four in-ceiling speakers, and four on-wall subwoofers from Triad. Cyberhomes matched these with Anthem processors and power amplifiers, while ARC room correction fine-tuned the finished room acoustics to perfection.  

Cyberhomes installed a Sony 4K laser projector in a custom designed enclosure. The decision to do so presented a potential overheating issue due to the confined space, but required careful structuring and design for easy airflow and cooling with a removeable front section for access. 

“We integrated the heat flow from the projector with the main VAV central cooling system, which blows cooler air across the top of the enclosure, helping to disperse and draw out the projectors warmer air,” says Chris. T”o make sure the projector was working efficiently, we included a temperature monitoring IP sensor which reported the enclosure temperature through Domotz, which was also programmed to provide an alert should the enclosure get too hot.” 

To satisfy the request for a very large screen, the integrator installed an electric side masking 2:40:1 acoustically transparent screen. The screen allowed the team to position the front speakers behind the screen, optimizing the front audio soundstage.  

To maintain the best picture and sound source for the room, a Kaleidescape system was installed along with Apple TV and Sky Q. A local games input gave the option to add future games consoles for an immersive games experience in Ultra-HD. 

 

Acoustics and Design 

Cyberhomes used futuristic looking acoustic treatments to tick the wow factor box, whilst also addressing first order reflections and room mode issues. 

“Whilst the cinema isn’t near any noisy or sensitive rooms, we constructed the room to STC52 Level 1 and included an STC50 Rated Acoustic Door,” adds Chris. “Resonance was greatly reduced using a three-layer front baffle wall construction to support the front LCR speakers and subwoofers, whilst also improving clarity and detail.” 

Bespoke features such as the stage, side speaker grills, and the projector housing were designed to complement and mirror the shapes of the acoustic treatments. 

For the desired masculine and feminine feel, a common theme of curves and angles were adopted, adding balance and symmetry combined with neutral colours for a hint of warmth. Ambient blue lighting was added to give the 3D structures a strong dynamic look, with contrasting warm white to soften and balance the room.  

“We were mindful of the image quality on the screen,” says Chris. “Taking care not to have any lighting shining on it, we chose dark acoustically transparent material for the front and rear walls, which gives a clean matte finish that avoids light reflections and viewing distractions to get the maximum image contrast ratio available from the projector.” 

In addition to the aesthetic appeal, safety was also important. Cyberhomes incorporated large steps, highlighted by LED strips and downlights with emergency lighting to cater for servicing and a clear exit strategy. 

When it comes to seating, Cyberhomes tends to include an MLP or “money seat” in the center of the room for optimized audio and video performance. However, with this room, great emphasis was placed on everything being equal and balanced, so following discussions with the client, ‘his’ and ‘her’ seats were chosen with both offering excellent performance. Cyberhomes opted for fully electric incliners with Premium Soft leather and contrasting blue piping, while the front seats added a further dimension to the experience with D-Box motion actuators.  

 

Control 

Savant Pro was the chosen control provider for the cinema room (as well as the whole house). The programming incorporated a clever use of macros for the room, allowing for simple lighting scene changes, changes in aspect ratio, and for protection features such as allowing the projector to cool after use before being switched on again. 

Racking 

The position of the main AV Hub was originally designed to be in the plant room. However, due to a large upgrade of the swimming pool and related equipment, Cyberhomes no longer had the space required to get the whole racking system in the room with clear access and ventilation. 

In order not to compromise their racking system, the team agreed with the client to redesign part of the basement, adding a new dedicated AV rack room with a glass rack viewing area, large screen TV and audio system, plus a small office area. The space had cooling and ventilation integrated and easy access to the back of the racks for simple servicing. 

“We are absolutely thrilled to have won the CEDIA Award for this project — it’s been a great team effort,” comments Andy Mack, Director of Cyberhomes. “Since all the design and fabrication was completed in-house, we maintained complete control of the final result.” 

“We could not fault Cyberhomes. When they came up with their 3D design of what our cinema room could be we never expected them to deliver the finished product exactly like the concept,” explains the homeowner. “We never expected the cinema room to be as good as it is and it’s become the showpiece of the entire property -- an exceptional thanks to Cyberhomes.” 

Cyberhomes 

cyberhomes.co.uk 

CEDIA Member Since 2006 

For a complete equipment list for this project, see its page on the CEDIA Awards site.