Contemporary 7.2.4 Home Theater System Tour

Featuring Sony, Bowers & Wilkins, Anthem, JL Audio, & Kaleidescape

An immersive 7.2.4 home theater system can be as unique as the homeowner itself. In this tour, we are excited to share a  home theater system with many cool custom elements, including backlit acoustic paneling & unique smart home integration.

While the original plans for this home did not include a home theater, there was an empty space in the floor plan that connected to a larger game room. We worked closely with a great builder who was able to help convert this space into a killer home theater room for movies, music, and gaming. 

Home Theater Video

Top-Of-The Line Sony Home Theater Projector

For the front projection system in this room, we chose the Sony VPL-VW915 4K HDR Laser Projector. This projector has three key advantages:

  • A laser light engine, so there’s almost no maintenance, and a 20,000-hour life
  • 2,000 lumens combined with the incredible Sony video processing
  • Motorized zoom, so it can automatically switch between projecting a 16:9 image and a 2.4 image 

Home Theater Projection Screen

The screen is a 144” acoustically transparent 1.3 gain Cinemascope screen from Stewart Filmscreen. The end result is an incredibly immersive video experience with the sound coming straight from the picture on screen.

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Home Theater System Audio

At 17 feet, 4 inches deep, and 12 feet, 7 inches wide, the room is a bit too small for box speakers, so we used a variety of in-wall speakers & subwoofers to maximize the space.

LCR Speakers

The front three speakers are Bowers & Wilkins Custom Wall Mount (CWM) 7.3 S2 In-Wall Speakers. These are terrific in-wall speakers that sound a whole lot like the Bowers & Wilkins 703 S2 Tower Speaker, but with the added benefit of hiding them in the wall behind the screen. One of the challenges we ran into while working in this theater room was a shared wall with one of the bedrooms. We had to pay very close attention to ensure sound didn't escape through the shared wall into the bedroom, so we could effectively contain sound in the theater room. The CWM 7.3 S2s come with an integrated back box that optimizes performance and cuts down on sound transference through the walls, which makes these a perfect fit for the LCR speakers we used.

Atmos & Surround Speakers

We matched the CWM 7.3 S2s up with the B&W Custom Wall Mount CWM 664 6" 2-Way In-Wall Speakers for the sides and rears. Then, we used four B&W Custom Ceiling Mount 684 In-Ceiling Speakers. These speakers are ideal for atmos since you can pivot the tweeter toward the main listening position. It also has an equalization setting that we set based on the angle of the tweeter. If you are thinking about installing your own speakers, you can check out our video on how to install wall and ceiling speakers and get them pointed in the right direction on the first try.  

In-Wall Subwoofers

To keep the clean look and maximize space, we installed two in-wall 8” JL Audio Subs. These are high excursion subs that fit into a standard 16” on-center studbay, making them ideal for situations like this where we have a smaller room. They are powered by a 600-watt amplifier with built-in bass equalization.

Surround Sound Speaker Receiver

With 140 watts per channel of super-clean power and really good DACs, the Anthem MRX 1140 Surround Sound Receiver was perfect for this room. Plus, with Anthem Room Correction, we were able to really dial in the sound so that we could use the maximum advantage of each speaker while adjusting for the room impact.

Home Theater Acoustic Panels & LED Lighting

We wanted to be intentional about sound transference, as the room opened easily into the rest of the house and was adjacent to a bedroom.

There are a host of ways to isolate a room, including double sheetrock with Green Glue. In this case, the construction team used QuietRock instead of standard sheetrock, which is a great alternative if you want to reduce sound transmission outside of the room.

We then designed the interior with floor-to-ceiling acoustic paneling to improve both the room acoustics and sound transference. Aesthetically, the panels all look the same, but we used absorptive panels at the first reflections and for most of the room while using diffusion panels in the back that we strategically placed on the sides as well. The interior looked incredibly sleek because we installed the linear LED lighting, and then designed the acoustic panels to fit perfectly flush around the linear lighting for a modern, custom look.

The end result was a contemporary look with the LED lighting flush with the acoustic panels. 

For those of you thinking about designing or building your own theater, one thing to note in this design is that you don’t see all of the individual LEDs like you would if you just bought an LED strip from Lowes or Home Depot. These are higher-end, premium LEDs strips that we installed into a diffuser channel that distributes even light from the channel. This creates a much more luxurious look. To keep the look contemporary and clean in this room, we hid all components in the rack room, and hid the LED drivers from this cabinet in the adjacent wash closet.

Home Theater Rack Components & Sources

The homeowner wanted to be able to watch high-resolution movies as though they were in the theater, host football gatherings, and have a high-level gaming sound system.  

We used a Kaleidescape Strato as the movie server in this room. Without hyperbole, this is the best movie server in the world with bit-perfect video and lossless audio. We love the design of the Kaleidescape movie store and the ability to browse all the major titles, and then either purchase a movie or for some movies, rent it. In either case, it downloads the entire movie to the server in the rack, so that you get a much better experience than if you streamed it. 

We also installed an AppleTV for streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, etc. However, what made this theater really unique was the central video distribution we installed throughout the house, which lets this room access the same DirecTV box and camera feed at the same time as other televisions in the house. When the homeowner has a football party, they can have the television in their adjacent game room and in the theater perfectly synced together and with all other televisions around the home. Plus, the homeowner can pull up all of the smart home capabilities of the home in the theater, including seeing all of the home’s cameras. We even hid an HDMI port in the room so the homeowner or guest can easily plug in a computer or gaming console on the fly. 

Home Theater Automation

Obviously, with so many input options and control needed over sources, receiver, projector, and lights, we needed a very simple way to control it all. The theater is controlled with a Control4 Neeo remote, and this can also be controlled by the Control4 app on the homeowners’ phones. One button is pressed and the Kaleidescape turns on. You hit pause, and it goes into intermission mode with the lights coming back up. Hit play again and the lights go back down. 

Just outside of the theater room, there’s a new Control4 contemporary keypad. It looks super sleek, but more importantly, it is incredibly functional. One button press will set your lighting scene for the theater room and another turns everything off when you leave. These keypads also have their own ambient light sensors, so they automatically change the backlighting based on the lighting in the room.

Motorized Shades

Another really cool feature in this room was the large window bank in the back. The homeowner wanted to have the best of both worlds with great sunlight coming in, but also a dark room for watching movies. We installed custom Lutron blackout shades, and we used both side channels and a bottom channel to blackout the room. We then automated these shades so that when the room goes off, the shades go up during the day. At night, the shades stay down. If you’re interested in learning more about motorized shades, check out our full video breaking down the best motorized shade options.

Final Thoughts

If you are thinking about building a home theater or updating yours, be sure to check out 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 theater & smart home systems for our customers in Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina, and surrounding areas 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. 

We can't wait to help you build your ultimate home theater!

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