Interior Designers, Architects, Builders, and even Homeowners are aware that in order to create a truly special home, you have to use the very best raw materials and products. An inspiring kitchen with culinary-grade high-end appliances and hand-crafted tile. A serene bedroom with sumptuous fabrics and one-of-a-kind furnishings. Right down to the bones of the home, including the foundation, walls, doors, and flooring.
The same goes for the home theater. Experienced home technology integrators know that one compromised product in the audio/video chain can bring a system to its knees in terms of performance. And while there are many private cinemas that excel at performance, some are lacking in the design department and vice versa. In fact, many HTA Certified integrators are often brought into such high-design projects that fail at performance to fix the situation.
Having the right manufacturer partners that create products that are both best of breed in performance and design makes a huge difference for the custom home integrator. Apex Technologies US, for example, sources high-end European solutions that not only offer top-tier performance, but are distinctive, offer immense design appeal, and are supported by Apex’s free design services. This includes Meridian Audio, Light Walls, Display Technologies, TPI Sound, and HD Anywhere, among others.
Shown here is an example of the culmination of Apex Technologies products in a single room creatively executed by HTA Certified Cyber Technology Group, located in Scottsdale, Arizona. The builder, Schultz Development, brought Cyber Technology Group into this project, a remodel of a sprawling 10,000-square-foot home in Paradise Valley. For Cyber Technology Group’s part, the clients needed their existing open-air ramada to be transformed into an enclosed 16x30 foot dedicated home cinema room.
“At the time this project came to us, Ryan Donaher from Apex had just visited us with new product lines, and fortunately this client’s budget allowed us to use many of those products in the specification,” says Brad Zoerb, Project Manager at Cyber Technology Group. For example, Cyber Technology Group had just experienced Light Walls at their showroom—Apex Technologies’ dynamic LED lighting brand for creative residential and commercial applications. Cyber Technology Group was so impressed by it that they sent it to the client as a concept, and the rest was history.
“What was unique about the project was Ryan helped us to specify a lot of ‘firsts’, including a Display Technologies Screen, Light Walls, Barco video projector, and millwork from Sculpform Australia,” says Zoerb. It’s a testament to Ryan and his experience in our industry that we were able to do so many new things, so effectively.”
The Light Walls RGBW LED strips work in conjunction with Sculpform millwork, a modular wall and ceiling system that can adapt to any design intent thanks to a track click-on design that does not require the help of a professional millworker. Incidentally, Cyber Technology Group was the first in the United States to install a collaborative residential theater solution from Sculpform and Light Walls. The Light Walls RGBW LED strip ‘channels’ into the wood system and serves as the theater’s only lighting source. Meanwhile, the millwork acts as a diffuser and the bare parts act as reflectors. Almost as exciting as the stunning and modern look that the millwork and Light Walls system create together is the ability to create scenes and ambient motion with light.
“Each strip is divided into sections and each is addressable, so the lights can change and present motion in the lighting fixture, such as gradients side to side or floor to ceiling,” says Jonathan McNabb, Director of Technology for Cyber Technology Group. “It allows you to get really, really creative. For example, there are no step lights in the theater. We simply take a section of the strip by the feet and program step lights there via software.” The clients can control Light Walls via a Lutron keypad on wall, the Savant control system, or the Savant app.
With a budget of $500,000 for the audio and video, the homeowners opted for TPI Sound speakers using a Lyngdorf MP-60 for surround sound processing. “We heard the TPI speakers first auditioned in our showroom and were blown away by the performance,” says McNabb. “We felt very confident that if the TPI Studio Monitors were that amazing, the TPI Cinema speakers would be that good or better.” TPI speakers are used for the left, right, and center speakers, plus two 18-inch subwoofers below the screen, two balancing subwoofers, and two rear channels. “Giles Smith, CEO of TPI Sound, was very hands-on during the specification process. He’s a home cinema enthusiast himself and wanted to make sure we got the best result from the theater,” says Zoerb.
Acoustic design and adjustments were done by Alex Otto of Otto System Works out of Tempe, Arizona. He measured the room and the frequency response characteristics and made appropriate adjustments for stunning end results: “This home theater audibly outperforms anything I have ever heard,” says Zoerb. “It has the tightest and quickest bass that we’ve accomplished in a private home theater, all while attaining high SPL (Sound Pressure Levels) of 128 DB with zero distortion at about 16 feet. You just don’t get such great performance numbers like that in a residential environment.”
For video, the client wanted the biggest screen that would fit in the room with a larger-than-life wall-to-wall image. Cyber Technology Group used a 16:9 aspect ratio 160x90-inch acoustically transparent masking screen from Display Technologies. DT employs its Mask Position Logic to precisely position the screen's masks at any aspect ratio from 1.33 to 2.76:1. “They have some awards and patents on this screen, it’s a hand-woven screen that tucks a lot like acoustic fabric, it’s very high-performance,” says McNabb. A Kaleidescape movie server tells the control system the correct picture aspect ratio so that the motorized screen masking goes into effect to match it. A Barco Njord video projector and madVR video processor create a spectacular onscreen image. The theater also features an impressive amount of AudioQuest power-conditioning, cable, and wiring.
“We were thrilled to work on this project where so many of Apex Technologies brands were represented. The proof is in the pictures and the design is absolutely breathtaking, with equally impressive performance,” says Donaher. “We’re honored to work with manufacturers that allow integrators like Cyber Technology Group to flex their creativity and deliver projects that wow clientele, interior designers, architects, and builders while delivering performance that’s second to none. Truly impressive!”