How do you fit a surround-sound system in a bedroom that has concrete floors and ceilings—plus walls of glass?
“The homeowner wanted a 5.1 surround system with a large screen plasma, while making the entire installation as clean, as simple, and as subtle as possible,” says Shane Seira of custom electronics company Sensory Environment Design (SED). The homeowners also didn’t want gear like the speakers to hang on the walls.
SED had to come up with a novel solution, so the company designed and manufactured unique steel-supported cabinets that fit by compression between the concrete floor and ceiling. The frames, supporting custom-milled knotty pine cabinets, were put into place with tension screws that fit the frames snugly to the concrete.
In the front, three James Loudspeaker 62-SDX shallow-depth in-wall speakers for the front channels are housed in the cabinet below the Pioneer commercial-grade plasma TV. Even better, the top cabinets on either side of the bed swing out and contain James Loudspeaker 32-SDX surround speakers to enable true side surround sound.
The bed even serves as a piece of A/V equipment. A low profile James Loudspeaker 110-SDXP subwoofer was designed into the custom bed to keep the room free of any large boxes and to supply some thump for movies and music. A slight physical rumble is an added bonus.
The bed is also an acoustical treatment. A custom headboard was created to absorb the most dominant frequencies found by a thorough acoustical analysis of the room. The headboard appears as a standard upholstered headboard, but is actually a well-engineered acoustical absorption panel.
The Pioneer commercial-grade plasma was chosen, Seira explains, because of its clean lines. The equipment rack containing a Denon receiver and an audio/video distribution hub is located downstairs. And all of the equipment, including a Lutron lighting control system and motorized ESI shades, is operable from the AMX Mio Modero R-4 handheld remote control. A simple touch of a button can lower the shades, change the switchable glass wall to opaque, start a movie, or slowly turn the house and the room down for a good night’s sleep.
Although cables for the rear speakers were prewired during the construction, SED fabricated some metal chases that matched the existing trim to get the cables from the main rack to the bedroom wall.
“The fact that it looks like a nice plasma on the wall, but sounds as good as any theater is a hidden bonus that only the owner will appreciate,” Seira says.
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates