How They Did It: Stealth Media

Ed Wenck
Jul 26, 2016

Dell Smart Home Solutions had a very specific task when designing this media room: the client only wanted to see the screen — NOT the speakers.

Or the projector, for that matter.

Everything had to be hidden.

Aesthetics ruled all in this installation — that’s why the front projector (a dVision30 Scope with a native 2.35:1 aspect ratio — hooray, Cinemascope!) disappears into the ceiling when it’s not in use. When it is running, masking panels automatically frame the image to size. The clean, open approach with no visible sound sources required the integrator the stash the subwoofers behind acoustic panels (including a bit of artwork) and hide the front speakers behind the 138-inch Electrimask sound-transparent viewing surface from Stewart Filmscreen.

Drink It In

Rear speaker placement presented another challenge — you’ll note a glass-enclosed wine bar occupies the back of the room. The Pro Audio speakers went into the ceiling as a result. Admittedly, the placement wasn’t optimum, but after the tech crew had determined to shift the room’s orientation by 90 degrees from the original plans to open up the space and give a better view to the oenophiles at the bar, the homeowner was more than willing to make do.

The room’s gaming console and Blu-ray player are tucked just outside the media room door, and since the room does multiple duties — not the least of which is a game-space for the kids — the seating’s a mix of casual sofas and traditional theater chairs.

Picture This

Since concessions to the look of the room had to be made in the sound department, the homeowner and the integrator agreed that fine-tuning the images on the screen was key. The Dell crew calibrated the video system to exacting THX specs, and "the results were near perfect .313-.329 from 20%-100% on the grey scale, and produced 25fL of reference white level," according to the integrator. Manual toe-in of the front speakers added to a realistic effect at the front of the room, and Kinetics Isoclips were used to decouple the drywall and keep exterior noise nonexistent.

The room can be isolated with a large, barn-style soundproofed sliding door, and shares audio and video, lighting, and control systems with the entire home. The home’s HVAC system can also detect when the room’s in use and make the proper adjustments. And since the family had grown accustomed to handheld RF remotes, the integrator used the same “simple and durable” controls the client had used before. In this case, familiarity breeds contentment.

(NOTE: This project was a finalist in the CEDIA 2015 awards.)



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

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