7.2.4 JBL Synthesis Home Theater Showcase

JBL Synthesis, Stewart Filmscreen, Anthem & more!

In this Home Theater Showcase, we toured a high-performance JBL Synthesis theater with a 132-inch Stewart Filmscreen. While this theater sounds and looks incredible, we focus this showcase on its design since it isn’t a standard-sized theater room. As you can see from the photos below, there were numerous design challenges that our CEO, Scott Newnam, addresses in our video and describes how we solved each one. If you are a home theater designer or want to build a theater yourself, this video will help you think about complex design challenges in a room that was not originally built as a dedicated theater room.


When planning this room, we visited the house during its construction phase. We had a few “must haves” that the customer wanted. First, since there was a bar and gathering area in the back of the room, we needed the largest screen possible to maximize viewing from anywhere in the room, even if you weren’t sitting. Next, we needed to have three rows of home theater seating. And finally, we needed to make this room sound and look as best as it could, given the odd shape of the room.

Our free Home Theater Design Tool mapped out the best location of the speakers, seats, screen, etc., and gave us a great starting point to build off of. From there, we designed a 3D render, taking into account the back gathering area and bar. Based on the viewing sightlines from the back of the room, we built six-inch risers for the three rows of chairs. Because of the dimensions of this room allowed, those risers allowed the front row, middle row, back row, and the area in the back to all have reasonable sightlines without anyone’s head blocking the view. If you’re building your own theater, we highly recommend reaching out to our team of experts to help solve these types of obstacles to ensure you hang your screen in the right location and have the correct riser height.

16:9 vs. 2.4 Screen

The first thing we ask our customers is whether they will primarily be watching movies in their theater room or use it for movies, TV, sports, and other content as well. If the answer is movies, we almost always try to do a 2.4 screen for a better movie-watching experience. If they watch a mix of different content, a 16:9 screen can sometimes allow for a better experience. But at the end of the day, it can also come down to what will work best in that specific room. 

In the case of this theater, we’ve got angles all over the room, and it is not rectangular. So by using the Home Theater Design Tool, we can design the room and switch back and forth between 16:9 and 2.4 and use the sightline feature to help determine if the screen can get high enough for the people in the back to see the screen properly while staying in proper spec. In this theater, due to the angled ceilings, we were more constrained width-wise than height wise. Due to the way we designed the risers, we have more height to work with. Typically, when you’re constrained width-wise but not height-wise, we generally lean towards going 16:9 because you can get the bigger picture for 16:9 without sacrificing width for widescreen movies. Whereas if you’re constrained height-wise but not width-wise, we generally lean towards a 2.4 screen to get the best of both worlds. So we ended up doing a 132” acoustically transparent 16:9 screen which works perfectly in this room.

This can be a difficult decision, so we recommend reaching out to our team of experts if you need additional guidance on this topic. We also have an in-depth video explaining widescreen and all the aspect ratios you might encounter.

Widescreen Explained

How to Mount a Filmscreen and Projector

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to hanging your screen on your wall and mounting your projector correctly. Whether you’re an installer or a DIY person, it’s important to do both of these properly to make your theater perform to the best of its ability and not damage your equipment. 

We have detailed videos on how to properly install a film screen and a projector from the installation of this theater. These are extremely crucial to get right.

How to Hang a Film Screen
How to Mount a Projector


This 7.2.4 theater has all JBL Synthesis in-wall speakers, atmos, and subs. And because the screen is large, we put JBL Synthesis SCL-6 as the left, right, and center behind the 132-inch acoustically transparent screen. The sides and rears are also JBL Synthesis SCL-6s. You’ll see in the video that there is an open area to the right of the seats. This makes the left side speaker right 8 feet.from the main listening position while the right speaker is 14 feet from the main listing position. The Anthem 1140 surround sound receiver allows us to use ARC Genesis room correction to address that issue to be sure the sound arrives at the seats all at the exact same time

And to be sure every seating position can have great audio, we have shifted the sides to be slightly forward and slightly higher while staying within Dolby spec. Our Home Theater Design Tool automatically does this to ensure everyone has a direct line to the speaker from their ears. So no matter what theater chairs or furniture you have, you will have a great listening experience.

Home Theater Audio Tips & Tricks
Home Theater Video Tips & Tricks
Home Theater Lip Sync

Due to the limitations of the room, we placed the rear JBL SCL-6s on the actual bar wall in the back. The Atmos speakers used were the JBL SCL-8 for the front and rear Atmos channels.  For the subwoofers, we used two JBL Synthesis SSW-3 in the front left and right of the room. These were installed in the wall behind the acoustic panels, so you will never see them, but they bring outstanding low-end bass performance to this room.

JBL Synthesis Speakers Overview
JBL Synthesis In-Ceiling & In-Wall Speaker Lineup


We installed custom cut absorptive acoustic paneling on the side and front walls which provides a seamless look without standing out. In fact, the entire front wall is black and is also acoustic paneling. We also used paneling that covers the first reflection points and more all along the sides of the walls and cut out holes for the side speakers so you don’t even see the speakers on the wall.

Guide to Home Theater Acoustics

Lighting & Control

In this room, we have primary can lights in the ceiling as task lighting and to fill the room with bright light from above. The task lights matched up to align with our Atmos speakers to look aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, we added gorgeous linear lighting below each riser to add some accent to the room, which can be left on during movies so you can see the floor if you need to get up without the light affecting the image on the screen.

We then added sconces throughout the room to give more accent lighting if you wish to have the room lit up a bit more but not directly on you if you are watching TV or playing video games and need some light in the room. And all of these lights are dimmable to your exact liking.

To the right is a large window that lets in light during the day. We’ve added a blackout shade that completely blacks out this room, controlled by a button on the wall or directly from your remote. 

And to automate and control all of the lights and shades and act as your remote, we used Control4 automation. With this remote, you can navigate everything you need on your screen, raise the shades, dim or turn off the lights, and even set scenes to automate everything to do what you want when you press play on your remote to watch a movie. 

Best Home Theater Lighting Practices

Home Theater Seating

We installed three rows of the Revolution Home Theater chairs in this theater. Our Audio Advice team developed these chairs as the absolute best for any home theater. You can fully recline and adjust the headrest to angle up and support your neck no matter what recline position you are in. These chairs are also perfectly designed not to block your ears from the speakers in the room, making the listening experience ideal. In addition, you get great back support, which is crucial when you want to sit down and watch a movie for a few hours. 

When it comes to extra features, you also get a USB charging port on the armrest, a cupholder, and storage for a small table in the armrests. We’ve designed small tables that easily pop into the armrest and are used to hold your drinks and food. And these tables are all rubberized with a unique material to make them non-slip. The material helps keep your glass of wine and bowl of popcorn from sliding off and spilling on you. This attention to detail makes this a world-class chair that is a must-have for many theater rooms.

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More Home Theaters with Design Challenges

Build Your Home Theater Today!

If you are thinking about building a home theater or updating yours, be sure to check out Home Theater Central, including our free 3D home theater designer where you can design your system, see lots of videos of complete installations like this one, and browse our inspiration gallery and how-to videos.

At Audio Advice, we've been designing and installing high-performance home theaters & smart home systems for decades. In fact, we've delivered more custom theaters than anyone in the Southeast! We are now offering Home Theater Design no matter where you live in the United States. If you are interested in a custom home theater or upgrading your current system, give us a call at 888.899.8776, chat with us, or stop by one of our award-winning showrooms.

Featured Products

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FREE Interactive 3D Home Theater Design Tool

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