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A 9.1 Channel Media Room Powered by Bowers & Wilkins, McIntosh, and Marantz

So often clients approach us thinking they have to choose between a killer home theater system or a dedicated 2-channel stereo system. But you can in fact have the best of both worlds in one space. Our client went from a home with enough room to create two entirely separate spaces for his music listening and for his dedicated home theater, to a new home with a large open layout that would only be able to accommodate one entertainment area. World Wide Stereo System Designer, Austin Marvel, along with techs Noah Mastin and Brian Sowden, created a multi-purpose media room that combines Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Series speakers with McIntosh and Marantz components for a world-class 2-channel music listening set-up that doubles as a Dolby Atmos multi-channel home theater for movies. The client was so happy with the outcome that he wrote his own project profile. The profile below and the photographs are all provided by the client.

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In The Client's Own Words:

“In our last home, we built a wonderful home theater and a separate 2 channel listening room with World Wide Stereo. Over a period of three years, we enjoyed both of these rooms tremendously.

Recently, we moved and left behind the two fantastic rooms for the new owners to enjoy, leaving us to once again start planning a new setup. This time, we decided to do things differently:

1) Combine the spaces into ONE room, with a “hybrid” rig that would allow world class 2 channel music listening, as well as Atmos multi-channel listening for movies.

2) To utilize the best components possible, and get our “dream gear”; the stuff that leaves little to no room for “wanting more”, and allows for decades of enjoyment.

I wasn’t going to trust the work to anyone else other than World Wide [Stereo], and Austin stepped up (as he always does) to make sure that this new, and rather massive undertaking, went flawlessly.

Installs are never straight forward, especially since I had to plan this one remotely. Nonetheless, through a series of phone calls, voice chats, emails, and texts, the World Wide [Stereo] team mobilized and made every step of planning and logistics as smooth as possible for me. Not an easy thing! And I am excited to report that after all of the planning and strategizing, we have an incredible space to listen to music and watch movies, with the finest audio gear we could imagine, utilizing every latest bit of technology. Heck, we even have IMAX Enhanced capability!

As always, the installers were amazing. Professional, respectful, going above and beyond to ensure we were happy. Over a period of 4+ days, the team worked tirelessly to install, program, and fine tune every last piece of the system.

Music and movies in the space are beyond description. The Bowers & Wilkins 802 D3 Diamond series speakers are breathtaking, and I expect we will be listening to them for decades. Built like a tank, they are exquisitely functional artwork. As for movies… add in the surrounds and the in ceiling speakers, and it’s better than going to the theater. Just incredible.

For fun, we like to name our theaters, and so we affectionately named this one “The van Gogh”, after one of our favorite artists, and painting of him that we have hanging in the space. The whole room is filled with original artwork, another passion of ours, and the van Gogh portrait (by Duaiv’) that we have sits in a prominent position in the room; A colorful accent to the monochromatic design by my wife.

My favorite things about the space are that it is multipurpose, utilizes the gear I always dreamed of having (it’s powered exclusively by McIntosh), and unlike so many things in life, can be shared and enjoyed by so many others. The best things in life are those you can share, and the van Gogh Media Room will allow us to share our love of movies, music, and art with all of our friends and family.

I continue to be astonished by each record we spin, each digital song we play, each 4K UHD we watch. A big comfy couch, our dream gear, our beloved artwork and a flawless installation. Perfect! We are happier than can we can express!

Thank you to Austin and the whole team for making our vision a reality. It’s just AWESOME!"

Bowers & Wilkins 802D
Bowers & Wilkins 802D
Bowers & Wilkins 802D

About The System

The star of the show is the pair of gloss white Bowers and Wilkins 802 D3s. Bowers and Wilkins is truly one of the most iconic speakers out there, with the famous Abbey Road Studios using a pair of Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series speakers as their studio monitors.

The entire system is powered by McIntosh - an American amplifier company founded in 1949 and based out of in Binghamton, New York. McIntosh has stood the test of time as the face of high-fidelity amplifiers. The McIntosh MC462 a 450 watt by two-channel solid state amplifier was the perfect partner for the 802D3s. 

Next: the pre-amp selection. Due to the client's love for vinyl we wanted to introduce tubes into the system. The McIntosh C2600 vacuum tube pre-amp is a great way to introduce the delightful tube sound without introducing noise at high volumes or losing dynamics. With a vacuum tube pre-amp and a powerful solid-state amplifier this system was destined to satisfy the clients ear for nuance.

When building a two-channel system, assessing for room correction is key. To avoid the shape and layout of the client's room from hampering the performance of his system, we used what I like to call our "ace in the hole": the McIntosh MEN220 room correction system. This ensures the speakers are positioned in the optimal location without using room correction software. The purpose of room correction software is to remove the peaks and nulls that cancel out soundwaves and remove reflections that the listener hears instead of the speakers. The MEN220 was so valuable to the system that, when engaged, it was the difference between just listening to a stereo system and transforming his room into a live concert and studio session with his favorite artist.  

Even though the 2-channel stereo system is the heart and soul of this client’s system he did not want to sacrifice performance when watching movies. To achieve this, we installed a Marantz AV8805 13.5 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD Network AV processor (also equipped with HEOS technology) and a McIntosh MC8207 7-Channel power amp to power the center channel, rear speakers, and four in-ceiling Dolby Atmos speakers. We engaged the home theater bypass mode of the McIntosh C2600 so the MC462 would continue to power the 802D3s when watching movies. This is a great feature and tip for those who want to have an awesome stereo system and surround sound system.

Here's how it works:

When the client wants to listen to some vinyl on his turntable or stream music from his Bluesound Node 2i, he simply presses "music" on his Universal Remote TRC-1080 or iPad (or any of his devices that have the URC Mobile 2.0 app loaded onto it). To switch over to a movie, he presses "movie". It's that simple for the client: one button and the system takes care of the rest.

What the client doesn't see is that when they press the "movie" button, the Universal Remote MRX-8 engages system power on his Marantz AV8805, a 12v trigger turns on the McIntosh MC8207, McIntosh C2600, McIntosh MEN220, and McIntosh MC462. The volume control on the C2600 becomes disengaged and the audio signal flows through the pre-amp to the MEN220 and then MC462. When the client presses "music", the system turns on the McIntosh C2600 and a 12v trigger turns on the MEN220 and MC462. The perfect harmony of a high-fidelity stereo and a world-class home theater system in one room.

Sources: McIntosh MT5 precision turntableBluesound Node2i wireless music streamerSony UBPX800 4K UHD Blu-ray player (also used as a CD player),  Marantz AV8805

Control system: Universal Remote Control Total Control MRX-8, TRC-1080 remote.

Speaker wire and Interconnects: Audioquest Rocket 88 speaker wire, Audioquest Sydney RCA cables, Audioquest Saturn Ground wire, Audioquest MacKenzie XLR cables, Audioquest NRGZ3 power cables, Audioquest Monsoon 20amp power cable, Audioquest Forest optical cable, Audioquest Forest High Speed HDMI cablesAudioquest Cinnamon Coaxial Digital Audio Cables, Audioquest Black Lab subwoofer cable

Additional Highlights: Sony XBR85X900F 4K Ultra HD Smart TVSalamander Chameleon Quad Miami cabinetFurman Elite 20 PF i Ultra Linear AC Power Conditioner, Fortinet FS108E network switch, JL Audio E112 12" 1500W subwoofer.

To view additional projects with this client, check out our profile on his Wee Coo Bar & Cinema here.

Meet the System Designer: Austin Marvel

Started at World Wide Stereo: 2013

Favorite Movies: Inception, Heat (1995), The Lion King

Obsessed With: Buffalo Chicken (Cheese-steaks, fries, wraps, anything buffalo chicken will make me smile), McIntosh Amplifiers    

Home Equipment: Klipsch R15-PM (My neighbors love the sound), Samsung UN46C7000, and a PS4 (any gamers out there? Add me on PSN).

Favorite part about what I do: Every piece of equipment that I sell to someone I believe is making their life better in some way. Whether it is improving their lifestyle, bringing their family closer together or for pure enjoyment, I cannot pick one experience over the rest of them for this exact reason. However, I really enjoy challenging projects; the projects that most integrators are hesitant or reluctant to take on. I have always learned the most from these projects and people seem to really appreciate the dedication and determination that you are willing to put into your work for them.

Interested in talking to Austin about an upcoming project? Send him an email or call him direct: 215-368-8343, ext 232.

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