Home cinema install: Look, but don't touch

This projector/7.2 setup offers grown-up AV in a room used by the kids

This elegant media room was designed by Essex company Simply Cinemas, for a movie fan who wanted a space that could quickly switch between bigscreen projection and regular living area. More importantly, inquisitive young children meant that nothing was to be 'on show' when the system was not in use. With that in mind, the finished room features wall-hung speakers, a drop-down projector screen, AV components tucked out of sight in a low-slung cabinet and even two 'invisible' subwoofers.

What the client wants, he gets

The speaker array, which is a 7.2 setup, is all from Artcoustic. On this occasion the owner approached the installer, already decided that this brand was his preferred option. 'We’d used them on a number of occasions before and can vouch for the results,' explains Simply Cinema's MD, Simon Swords, 'but it was unusual for the suggestion to have come from the client, rather than us. It turned out he had seen and heard a colleague’s system and had been blown away by them. I think the reason he loved them so much is that, as the stereotype could have predicted, his wife would otherwise not have allowed such an elaborate system to have been installed in, what is effectively, their main lounge.' 

Knowing the speakers that he wanted didn't extend to model numbers or system specifics, a site visit from Artcoustic and showroom demos were needed to eventually nail down the array, which uses a trio of 65-50 SL 8-4s for the front soundstage, and in-ceiling 2-1 SLs for the surrounds (the room layout precluded on-wall speakers in the ideal position). The seven-channel system was calculated to be capable (in tandem with a Yamaha RX-A1030) to deliver 105dB peak output when needed at the sitting position. 

The dual woofers are Artcoustic Linax Subs. These cunning camouflaged bass bins look identical to the brand's Linax AV cabinet. The front furniture rack is actually two subs flanking the unit that houses the AVR, BD deck and Sky+HD box amongst other components. This storage solution was chosen in favour of a traditional out-room rack as the property didn't have a suitable area for it. Ventilating the hardware was achieved via ducting run down through the stud wall, joining the cabinets to a small loft space above the cinema room. Cooling and extraction fans in the latter space keep the AV hardware at running temp.

Waiting for 4K

The video-side of the equation sees a JVC DLA-X35 PJ firing at the Screen Research drop-down screen. Simply Cinemas' honcho reveals that they'd had good experience with the JVC in the past. 'That said, the owner would have preferred to have increased his spend and opted for a 4K model, but the standard had not really been properly ratified at that point, so we suggested he spent less for now with a mind to upgrading later on when content became available.' 

The projector screen is installed within a new ceiling and was specifically chosen, we're told, 'because of the size of its carcass – it was far smaller than the others available.' The design of the room was conceived in CAD format for approval, before positional information (speakers, projector, screen etc) was added. Then the first-fix electrics were undertaken. The room was completed as part of a year-long whole-house refurbishment.

Swords reports that on revisiting the property he found hundreds of CDs scattered about the floor at the front of the room.' At first I thought maybe the kids had been wreaking havoc, but actually the owner confessed he had been up rather late the night before, enjoying playing some music "turned up to 11" while the kids had been away with their mum!' He's evidently using the system for more than just movies – 'I’ve since installed a Sonos Connect and introduced him to Spotify. I don’t think he’s going to ever leave that room now…'

Installer info

Simply Cinemas
0800 033 7197

Kit list

Artcoustic: 3 x Artcoustic 65-50 SL 8-4 on-wall loudspeakers with grille artwork for L/C/R
Artcoustic: 4 x Architect SL 2-1 in-ceiling loudspeakers
Artcoustic: 2 x Linax Subwoofers and 2 x PA-750 power amplifiers; matching Artcoustic Linax AV cabinet
JVC: DLA-X35 Full HD/3D projector
Screen research: Drop-down projector screen
Yamaha: RX-A1030 AV receiver
Sony: Blu-ray player
Sky: Sky+HD