Le Praz Theater Named 2011 Electronic House Home of the Year Winner
“Experience AV is very proud to have received this award. Each project is more than just a job to us; it is a collaboration with the client to create something really special.” said Experience AV owner, Sean Greer. “The ‘wow’ factor of this room is something to behold. As you open the double mahogany doors to the theater, the lights slowly come up to reveal the rich wood and soothing colors. As you sit in a luxury leather chair and use the iPad controller to browse the movie library, the lights slowly dim once you make a selection and the extra-large star field opens the ceiling of this basement room to create a wonderful illusion of space as the 2.35:1 cinema scope screen displays movies as they were meant to be seen. As additional family members come in, the floor lighting subtly illuminates to guide them to their seats in order to preserve the movie theater environment. It’s just a stunning room to be in a high end rental.”
Le Praz Theater
A 12 Seat Theater in a 5 Story Ski in/out
Colorado Rental Property
View From Master Suite
The Le Praz theater project presented several interesting challenges being a rental and in a condo.
First and foremost, a theater was never in the original contract with Experience AV. The basement level of this 5 story ski in ski out property was a very poorly designed and irregular shaped room. The traffic pattern to the ski room passed from one corner to the other preventing even a comfortable media room layout. Second, the property was to be a luxury rental so the system had to be easy to use without any training or reading a manual. The house sleeps up to 12 guests so the theater had to be large enough to accommodate everyone. As an additional challenge, the condo was an end unit and sound transfer to the neighbors unit was an issue.
The theater was envisioned during a meeting with the homeowner as we were discussing options on the new Control4 based A/V system for the house. The designer had a real challenge using the room as it was because of the need to maintain a clear traffic pattern from corner to corner in a small room. As we discussed the proper size TV for the game room with the designer and owner, a flippant comment was made that we should knock out a wall and turn the basement into a theater in order to get a bigger screen installed. The client indicated that if the theater was going to be done, it had to be a done right so a roll of blue masking tape played the role of a proper 2.35:1 cinema screen and a couple of borrowed chairs from upstairs acted as the first row.
Shortly thereafter approval was given to proceed with the design and installation. After checking for load bearing walls, the media room was enlarged to the maximum size possible, the ski room was redesigned, and an oddly located laundry closet turned into a snack bar.
With the unit being used as a rental, durability of the theater and ease of use was a concern. Leather seating from Salamander and acoustic panels from Kinetics Noise Control and iSky were selected to trim the theater in luxury and proper acoustics. Extra fabric was purchased from Kinetics of the same dye lot to ensure easy repairs of the rental property and for creation of the false acoustical panels in the rear portion of the room.
The real challenge of the project was the location of such a grand theater in a condo environment. The condo had been built with some degree of noise control but additional measures would need to be taken to ensure the theater did not become an issue with the neighbors. There was minimal headroom, and every inch of space from wall to wall had to be used to squeeze in 12 seats and a full size isle in order to have a path to the ski room from the main house. Between the size limitations and the budget, a full double isolated room was impossible.
The solution was to seal the room properly to reduce as much sound transfer as possible, install the new vibration canceling RVC series of in wall subwoofers from Paradigm, and use under-seat tactile transducers from Clark Synthesis to enhance the feeling of bass in the room. Audiophiles will hate the tactile transducer approach, but as we deal with condos and close living conditions on a regular basis, this has been the best solution we have found to “trick” people into thinking the sound is louder and better than it actually is. Without the ability to install a fully isolated theater system in the walls, floor and ceiling, the only choice left is to compromise in a way that has the minimal impact on the end user.
One of the best lessons in the THX home theater training programs is that every part of building a home theater is a compromise. As nearly all projects have budget constraints and/or size constraints, compromises must be made. We have found that for the average condo owner, a system with well balanced tactile sound units in the chairs is actually preferred to just artificially rolling off the bass to prevent sound transfer to other condos. We have actually received compliments from clients on several projects as to how the bass seems to rumble the room every time a jet flies over or something blows up on the movie screen.
Ease of use was accomplished through the use of a Contol4 control system and an iPad interface to control the entire theater. Theater control and movie selection are controlled with a simple tap on the on the easy to operate iPad app. The lighting control is also Control4 and features 7 loads of lighting all set to function with minimal interaction from the user.
When you first walk through the double mahogany doors to the theater, a Card-Access motion sensor detects your entry and the lights are ramped up to a preset welcome scene. Once you sit down and select a movie, the theater equipment turns on, the lights slowly dim and are timed to turn completely off just as the projector has warmed up and projects the first image on the SMX screen.
Once the movie has started, the motion detector changes modes to only illuminate the LED stair lighting with a slow fade up and a minute later, as slow ramp down so as not to disturb the movie. The pause command on the iPad pauses the movie and slowly ramps the lights to a low level for the refreshing of popcorn and drinks and disables the motion detector. Once you hit play again the lights slowly dim to off as the movie starts again. Lastly, when you press the off button on the Control4 iPad app, the lights come up slowly over several minutes to allow your eyes to adjust as you discuss the experience you have just had. A simple touch of the lights off button by the door and the theater once again goes to sleep to prepare for the next movie experience.
Best Dedicated Home Theater - Bronze
6x Paradigm SA-ADP in-wall Dipole Surround
3x Paradigm Esprit Series Front Speakers
2x Paradigm in-wall RVC-12SQ Subwoofer
2x Paradigm in-wall RVC-12SQ Subwoofer backbox
1x Paradigm X-850 Subwoofer Amp
1x Paradigm PBK-1 Perfect Bass Kit
1x Anthem AVM 50v Preamp
1x Anthem LTX500v Projector
1x Anthem BLX 200 Bluray
1x Anthem MCA20 Amp
1x Anthem MCA50 Amp
1x Sony BDP-CX7000ES 400 Disc Bluray
1x SMX 2.35:1 - 137” Screen
1x Panamorph FVX200J JVC mount Vertical compression lens
1x Tributaries Series 9 15 meter HDMI cable
3x Tributaries Series 9 2m HDMI Cable
Planet Waves Custom RCA, F and 1/8” Interconnects
iPad with Charging Dock and Control4 App
Control4 HC1000 (House Controller)
Control4 HC300 (Theater Controller)
Control4 SR250 remote
Motion Control of Lights – Roughly a $300 to $1000 add on to any Control4 System
5x Control4 Dimmer
2x Control4 Outlet Switch
Card Access Motion Sensor
Netgear WNDR3700 Router
4x Salamander Matteo Chairs
8x Salamander Alex Chairs
12x Clark Synthesis Platinum Series Tactile Transducer
Custom Kinetics Noise Control Panels and Fabric
2x 40’ Flexible Conduit to Projector for Upgrades
Middle Atlantic ERK Rack
FatCat Rack Shelves
iSky 8’x16’ Star Panel System
Nora NUTP1-16LED Blue Light tape
Nora NUTP1-16LED White Light tape
Nora NMT-60/24C2 Dimmable LED Driver
Panamax Max 5300 (Audio)
APC 1500 Smart Ups (Network Gear)
Experience AV Home Theater (www.experienceav.com)
Design Studio of Telluride (www.designstudiooftelluride.com)
Bergman Built Custom Woodworking (bergmanbuilt.webs.com)
This was our first major theater design project with Design Studio of Telluride and it was refreshing for our engineer to work with a designer who appreciates acoustics. The fusion of design elements and a proper audio video system was easy when everyone works towards a compromise that benefits both goals.
Our wood craftsman Mike from Bergman Built, went above and beyond doing most of the general construction and all the final woodworking of the theater. After the enormous success of this project, all three companies have formed a dream team alliance to promote a one stop shop for home theater installation throughout Colorado.
All visitors to www.electronichouse.com during the month of May will not only be able to view all the winning installations, but they will also have the opportunity to participate in the first annual Electronic House Homes of the Year Scavenger Hunt, with great prizes awarded weekly. To view all the prize giveaways and to enter each week, visit www.electronichouse.com/sweepstakes/hoty11.
How much does it cost to install a full theater
Experience AV has full theater systems including 5.1 audio, powered subwoofer, a 100" projection screen, projector and full cables for under $5000! That even includes a bluray player and full control4 system with onscreen control. For an extra $150 you can even control the light in the room from your TV or remote.
Starting at $10,000 we even include a FREE iPad to get you controlling your theater or movie room like a pro.
The Le Praz theater was in the $160,000 range for the total project cost, from design to completion.