How They Did It: Roman Way

Jan 11, 2016

These homeowners wanted to transform their sitting room with glazed windows and doors into a luxurious cinema room. The Big Picture put sonic and visual performance at the forefront without neglecting the sophisticated signature design of the installation.

This project won The Big Picture the award for Best Home Cinema Under £40,000 in the 2015 CEDIA EMEA Awards.


The original intention of the home was for a constant-width system. A recessed screen would have been small considering the viewing distance. The speaker locations were also far from ideal and the speaker cable was only 1mm CSA. The stud partition wall was made up of several resonant chambers; no attempt had been made to fill them.

The Big Picture opted for a 410cm wide screen in the end as the client wanted the ultimate visual experience from the back row.

The design and first fix cabling allows for 13.4 fully immersive 3D Auro sound (or Atmos/DTS-X) for a future-proof upgrade path. The storm processor was specified and fitted but did not perform as required, so a Datasat RS20i, which processes Auro codec and also Atmos, was issued, giving the homeowner a choice of either.

After ripping out the original front wall, The Big Picture rebuilt a stud configuration using rubberized decoupling fixings. Apart from lessening sound transmission beyond the main wall, this creates a damping effect. The idea was to create a diaphragmatic wall to absorb reflected bass energy, giving a more controlled sound in the room.

Each speaker location was enclosed using the manufacturer's (Pro Audio Technology) recommended enclosure cubic capacity data to ensure optimum performance.
Subwoofer drivers were placed on the cross-section of first axial null in the vertical plane and second axial null in the lateral plane. This necessitated inverting the subs.
The LCR speakers' acoustical-center-axes were placed at the vertical center of the screen.

All original speaker cable had been replaced within Van Damme Ultra-Pure OFC LC 4mm CSA four core speaker cable.

Dimmable LED RGB ribbons were installed in the room and are controlled with Control4-compatible DMX drivers - fully dimmable and color-changing. The front half of coffer LEDs and front halves of skirting LEDs are independent circuits that are off during movies. The rears are dimly lit to not only give some ambiance but also to enhance safety should one want to leave the room. The floor is also adequately lit for safe ingress/egress during movies.

If the homeowner pauses a movie, lighting ramps up to an intermission scene, which will then dim again upon pressing play. Should the gate doorbell be pushed, LEDs at the front of the coffer pulse to alert the movie watcher of the visitor, and the gate cam will then come up on the touchscreen. This allows the viewer to continue watching without the dialogue being interrupted.

A multi-format side-masking acoustically transparent screen with 4K fabric was installed with a 4K model projector. The projector is in its own housing to limit noise to the audience, increasing aural dynamics.

The sliding rotating rack was hidden by the diffuser panel doors, which are stretched with fabric to blend into the room. A micro switch fires when the rack is pulled out, and that in turn puts on two cross-light fluoro-tubes, ensuring shadow-free servicing.

An acoustic fan was installed in a nearby roof space. Twin wall acoustic ducting was used with a number of gentle turns to limit noise further. It is totally silent within the room. This takes air from both the rack space and projector housing and turns on a thermal switch that is programmed to run for 20 minutes after the system is shut down.

The 2016 CEDIA Awards competition is now accepting entries! Learn more at cedia.net/awards.



CEDIA blog posts are intended to provide general information and should not be regarded as legal opinions or advice.

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