A Basement Home Theater Transformation
The best way to upgrade an unfinished basement? Transform it into your very own movie theater.
After finishing our client's family room system a year ago, they mentioned to me that they were looking forward to transforming their basement into a home theater the following year. Fast forward to a completely reinvented space, with state of the art equipment and a cozy, but impressive ambiance.
From concrete slabs to acoustically treated walls.
An unfinished basement meant we were starting with a totally fresh canvas, and anything was possible. When we first got started, concrete walls lined the basement perimeter. To ensure any equipment we installed for the theater sounded great, we had to make sure the room was acoustically ready to handle it. We meticulously planned the layout of the room with detailed measurements and drawings - reviewing speaker, furniture, screen, and projector placement. From there, using software by our friends at CinemaTech, they provided a report of the tangible improvement with and without acoustics, and we were able to determine proper placement for the absorption, diffusion, and reflection acoustic panels.
Our client reviewed acoustical treatments fabric samples with his designer to achieve the aesthetic he wanted. After all of the key decisions were made, we brought in our own approved contractor to complete the construction required.
Projector and screen worthy of any Hollywood movie premiere...
To handle the video components, we went with a Sony VPL-VW385ES 4K HDR Home Theater Projector and a Stewart 110” 2.35:1 FireHawk G4 Film Screen.
When it comes to 4K projectors, Sony’s top-of-the-line selection is difficult to beat. The first manufacturer to create a 4K projector back in 2005, Sony’s home theater projectors also contain the same 4K technology found in their professional projectors used in movie theaters. The result = an incredibly crisp, detailed, and realistic at-home viewing experience for your favorite content.
As for Stewart Screens, well, their legacy is rooted in the company’s rich 70-year history. A couple of noteworthy facts: Many Hollywood films have been color corrected on Stewart Screens, and the company has won two Academy Awards (they're the only screen manufacturer to hold that claim).
Bowers & Wilkins behind the audio.
The CWM8.3D3 from Bowers & Wilkins are world renowned in-wall theater speakers that exceed the standards of the most discerning listeners. With incredible dynamic performance at theater volumes and unbelievable clarity at lower volumes, the front soundstage is nearly flawless.
Accompanying the Bowers and Wilkins CWM8.3D3 in the front is a pair of in-wall JL Audio 13” Fathom subwoofers to handle the low-end. When watching fast-paced action movies, for example, these woofers mean the difference between simply seeing the action and feeling it.
As for the final touches, we added side surround and Dolby Atmos speakers from the Bowers and Wilkins 800 Diamond series. In the end, the client had a complete 5.2.2 Dolby Atmos surround sound system.
And not just that. Our client loves his Audeze LCD-2 over-ear headphones, so we connected his Marantz HD-DAC1 headphone amp to the entire setup so that he had the flexibility to hook up his headphones at any time and still experience the same incredible audio from the full system..
Incredible McIntosh power and convenience.
At the heart of the system lies a McIntosh MX160 4K Ultra HD AV Processor and McIntosh MC207 Power Amplifier. With this kind of equipment running the show, our client will always get the most out of his equipment during every scene.
To handle the video sources, we connected a Verizon FiOS cable box, Roku Ultra, Oppo Blu-ray player, and an Auxiliary HDMI input so he can connect a laptop or peripheral device at his convenience.
All of the equipment is stored in a Middle Atlantic rack, and the wiring is hidden throughout the walls. For easy access, it comes through a wall plate behind his couch.
Bowers & Wilkins CWM8.3 3-Way In-Wall Speaker System
Bowers & Wilkins CWM8.5 2-Way In-Wall Speaker System
JL Audio Fathom IWS-SYS-2 Dual 13.5” In-Wall Powered Subwoofer System
Roku Ultra Streaming Media Player
OPPO UDP-203 Blu-Ray DVD Player
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 uncontrollably), McIntosh Amplifiers
Quirks: I like to share my elaborate, creative, but unrealistic thoughts and ideas. Ask Gavin, I have some great ideas.
Home Equipment: Klipsch R15-PM (My neighbors love the sound), Samsung UN46C7000 (it might be time for an OLED... Bob?), 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.