A Perfect Blend
by Rebecca Day
Some clients just don’t want to give up their trusted treasures, no matter how enticing the latest technology might be. This New Jersey homeowner clung faithfully to his audio- and videophile roots with a stash of cassette tapes and a high-end tape deck, a reference-level FM tuner and even a workhouse laserdisc player and supporting library of 12-inch videodiscs. His prized Wilson Audio WATT Puppy speakers rated the status of man’s best friend so they had to remain a prominent part of any future A/V mix.
At EDG, it’s all about balancing homeowners’ wishes and needs with the latest technology, so accommodating analog gear in the digital age was nothing new to the EDG crew. What EDG brought to this discriminating homeowner was an understanding of multi-room audio, home theater and integration. Not only was the client able to hold on to his venerable gear when the project was completed, but it became much more accessible when matched with a Crestron multi-room audio system.
The wood-paneled media room in this Garden State home served multiple entertainment purposes. Live entertainment comes by way of a grand piano. A near-live experience comes by way of the Wilsons, the only A/V gear allowed to be prominently displayed in the home. The Wilsons provide two-channel sound when the client is in audiophile mode and they connect directly to their own dedicated Krell amplifier located in the garage directly under the floor. Since the client had invested a tidy sum in a pair of audiophile cables for the Krell-Wilson marriage, EDG tunneled a passageway through the floor to accommodate the 12-foot pair of audiophile cables.
The media room is also the home’s theater, and the Wilson speakers play a starring role here, too, as the front-channel surround-sound speakers. The rest of the supporting cast of electronics are cleverly hidden in and outside of the room. Additional side- and rear-channel speakers were built into the paneled soffit that circles the top of the room.
Theater design required careful cooperation between millworkers and installers. The owner wanted the projector to be hidden from view and had a specific location in mind for the couch. In addition, construction details had to be considered as well as screen size. With all that in mind, EDG designers selected a Runco VX-5000 DLP projector for its image quality and vertical offset capability. The latter allows installers to position the projector higher than the top of the viewable screen, which allowed the projector to be placed out of the way in the crown of the cabinet at the rear of the room. The 117-inch screen rolls up into a crevice in the ceiling when not in use.
The owners’ video sources, in addition to his laserdisc collection, include cable boxes and a cutting-edge DVD player. Components requiring access are stored in the cabinet and additional A/V gear is hidden in a ventilated utility room adjacent to the media room. When the temperature of the gear hits a specified reading, fans kick in to keep the equipment cool, meeting manufacturer’s operating recommendations and preserving the life of the electronics.
TV is part of the living room, too, but only when actively engaged. The client didn’t want to see a large black screen above the fireplace so EDG sent the image of artwork the client selected to Media Decor, which designed a retractable screen and frame mechanism to cover the plasma panel during off hours. When it’s time to view TV, the client presses a button on the remote control: the canvas rolls up into the frame housing and the TV powers on.
Music frequently plays throughout the 12-zone home from a variety of sources including FM radio, tape, cable music and CDs. It’s not just about analog sources, though. EDG’s designer stepped the client into the digital world, too, with a Request Multimedia digital music server, which stores music according to artist, track, album and genre. The client can create his own playlists, too. All music sources are available via keypad or touchpanel throughout the house and in the outdoor entertainment area.
Here in New Jersey, contemporary and classic come together in perfect harmony.