The Greatest Show on Earth!

Kipnis' outer limits theater, or what $6 million will buy.

When it comes to home theaters, I thought I'd seen it all. But nothing's come close to this. First, I'm going to try to describe the sheer magnitude of Jeremy Kipnis' theater. His Stewart Snowmatte laboratory-grade screen is the biggest I've ever seen in a home, and in the back of the theater, there's a Sony ultra-high-resolution (4,096-by-2,160) SRX-S110 digital projector. I'm looking everywhere, jotting down questions, and Kipnis sounds almost giddy talking about his theater's capabilities. He refers to his baby, the Kipnis Studio Standard (KSS), as "The Greatest Show on Earth." And from the looks of it, he may be right.

While the KSS is technically an 8.8-channel audio system, it uses a lot more than eight speakers and eight subwoofers. Kipnis felt that a lone center speaker sounded a tad undernourished compared with the eight Snell THX Cinema & Music Reference towers, so he opted for three Snell LCR-2800 center-channel speakers. The original contingent of eight subs sounded "really good" but, unfortunately, didn't deliver the full earth-moving-under-your-feet effect he wanted. So, he wound up with 16 18-inch Snell subs! To balance the other frequency extreme, and for the ultimate in transient speed and transparency, the Snell speakers' treble has been augmented with MuRata ES103A super tweeters. Thus, from the deepest deep bass (10 hertz) up to the extreme high-frequency range (100 kilohertz), the KSS is the most full-range system I've ever heard—and felt. The speakers are fed by a well-balanced combination of audiophile solid-state and vacuum-tube amplifiers. The KSS is astonishing in the way it delivers power, but with 11,315 very high-quality watts on tap, that's hardly surprising. Not only can it play ungodly loud, the KSS sounds phenomenal while doing so and never hurt my tender ears. The theater is big but far from huge. Its vaulted ceiling ranges from 8 feet high at the rear end to 16 feet at the screen end of the room (which is 26.5 feet wide and 33 feet long). The 18-foot screen fulfilled my IMAX fantasies, and the projector's va-va-voom color and brilliant light were transformational. I just tried to take it all in as I scribbled notes, afraid I might miss some of the juicier details.

AC power conditioning for the KSS is, again, done to the max. Next to the garage, there are two mammoth General Electric 13,800-volt/800-amp step-down transformers; all of the cabling is audiophile-grade wire, and every aspect of performance and presentation is scrutinized, even down to the 40-amp cryogenically treated circuit breakers for each and every component in the system.

How It Came to Be
I first met Kipnis in the early 1990s when he worked for Chesky Records as an engineer/producer. And later in the decade, I followed his exploits when he started his own classical music label, Epiphany Recordings Limited. Hooked on video at an early age, he was the first on his block to buy a laserdisc player in 1980 and went on to amass a huge collection of players and discs. He watched them on one of the very first projectors in the market, the Kloss NovaBeam Model 1, with a 6.5-foot curved silver screen in his Redding, Connecticut, home, where he still resides. The projector's legendary inventor, Henry Kloss, was a neighbor and good friend of Kipnis' parents, so you might say the seeds of the KSS were planted long ago. The man's passions run deep. Kipnis tells me, "I've been watching movies since I was four on really big screens in movie theaters, and three years ago, those experiences inspired me to design a home theater with the absolute best picture and sound."

But it's more than that. Kipnis sees the KSS as a laboratory, an ongoing experiment to advance the state of the art. And it's not just for himself; he's dead serious about selling the KSS to movie-industry professionals and wealthy home theater aficionados. He sees his huge screen as an intrinsic part of the experience. "It's an unprecedented level of immersion that I'm looking for." The mix of brands and models for his customers' KSS systems will be site specific, and he imagines that, unlike his installation, the componentry and speakers will be stealthily deployed. The KSS pictured here is Beta Ciné, so yes, there's an even bigger KSS, the Alpha Ciné, in the planning stages. It's intended for much larger venues, such as screening rooms or perhaps even actual movie theaters. The Gamma Ciné will be a scaled-down KSS for smaller living rooms, bedrooms, or kitchens. The Gamma Ciné will likely utilize rear-projection techniques. (When not in use, the screen will look like a wall, and all of the equipment will live behind the screen.) The philosophy of all three KSS systems is the same—nothing but the best picture and sound. Price estimates will be site specific, but the cost of Kipnis' home system would be in the $6-million range.

Scaling the Heights
Setting up the Sony SRX-R110 digital cinema projector is a demanding job, and Kipnis has invested a lot of time into maximizing its potential, all in an effort to advance the state of the art. He's an Imaging Science Foundation–certified technician and studied with video-tweaking legend Joe Kane.

The Sony projector doesn't have HDMI inputs that are HDCP compliant, but it upscales Blu-ray and HD DVD players' component outputs to its native 4K resolution. So sure, it might look even better if he could use his HD player's digital outputs, but Kipnis feels the picture quality he's getting right now is "far more outstanding and realistic than any other movie theater I've experienced on the planet." Pressing the question about keeping the KSS' video all digital, he admits that he's also considering commissioning a custom-built scaler from Silicon Optix or Snell & Wilcox. The ultimate goal is to produce a picture that's an open window to the world.

With a bit of luck, Kipnis will get to play the KSS for the likes of George Lucas, Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, and Martin Scorsese. And who knows—they each might be so thrilled, they'll buy one on the spot. That would be great, but I wonder out loud, "Would you have done all of this if you didn't hope to turn it into a commercial enterprise? Would you have done it just for yourself?" Without hesitating, Kipnis says, "Just to see what's possible? Yes, I would."

For more information about the Kipnis Studio Standard, please visit or call (203) 938-3767.

Partial Equipment List for the Kipnis Studio Standard Beta CinE:

Picture Elements:
Sony SRX-S110 Professional Video Projector
Stewart 18-by-10-foot Snowmatte 1.0 Gain Laboratory-Grade Motion Picture Screen

Players and Sources:
Sony BDP-S1 Blu-ray Player
Sony PlayStation 3 Gaming Console
Toshiba HD-XA1 HD DVD Player
JVC HMDH-5U D-VHS Recorder
SATA Drive (72 HDTV Hours Total)
Mark Levinson N° 51 DVD/CD Media Player
Pioneer HLD-X0 Hi-Vision HDTV MUSE Laserdisc Player

Surround Processing and Decoding:
Theta Digital Generation VIII 32-bit 8x Oversampling Dual Processors (13)

Mark Levinson N° 33h Amplifiers (2)
McIntosh MC-2102 Amplifiers (30)
Crown Macro Reference Gold Amplifiers (3)

Snell 1800 THX Music & Cinema Reference Subwoofers (16)
Snell THX Music & Cinema Reference Towers (8)
MuRata ES103A Super Tweeters (10)
Snell THX Music & Cinema Reference LCR-2800 Center-Channel Speakers (3)

jl's picture

Yikes! This is a for profit venture as well as an exercise in doing your best. It is not your "average" $50k home dream theater. However, I would not mind seeing a few tweaked Minimus 7's strategically placed..... ;-)

ozer's picture

He might acidently send himself back in time if he's not careful. :p

joeschmo's picture

Wow...I am amazed at the difference in opinions here. I only wish I was more of an audiophile to argue some of these brands and technologies.As for the craziness of this system, I believe as much as everyone criticizes this guy, he is the one listening to this setup. Something tells me this guy didn't walk into a store with 6mil and say, give me one of everything! I'm sure he researched all of these components and they make the system sound the way HE likes it! I'm sure he's also considering the opinions of others like George Lucas, etc. when building this, but come on...There's a reason there are multiple products available in every market. Each person puts a different aspect of a product at a different priority. It's just sad to see so many people giving this guy crap for enjoying his money.For everyone who said donate to charity, I bet you'd buy your $50,000 system, then buy $5,950,000 of other stuff! What a bunch of crap people.As for the creator of this,

Yop's picture

I was not aware that Mc Intosh was doing wi-fi amplifier...

tomas's picture

I'd like to see frequency response chart. I really wouldn't be that much surprised if it is a complete disaster/mess.

JF's picture

I actually like the way the room looks. Cracks me up how lot's of people here like to tell others how to spend their money. Earn your own money and spend it how you like.

Pooka's picture

I'm betting a good portion of that money went in to the construction of the space.... 2250 Sq/Ft. Custom Designed, Two-Story Concert Hall with Vaulted Ceiling & Balcony - 1" Solid Maple Flooring on 4" tall Pine studs - 12" spacing, sitting on a solid 16" reinforced concrete foundation, itself isolated on 4 - 156' solid steel girders all the way down to bedrock. Features non-parallel walls, ceiling, and floor, with dedicated installed noise isolation system, and acoustic treatments designed to supersede ANSI, SMPTE, AMPAS and AES/EBU noise specifications for professional movie theaters, mixing stages, and anechoic test chambers.Seating for 3-6 (Arizona Leather Curved Couch & Director's Chair) or up to 24 (Premium Leather Theatrical Recliners).

Father Time's picture

Obsolete in 5... 4... 3...

Angus's picture

Wow. Is it even possible for you people to comprehend that somebody can look at unbelievable, ridiculous excess and disapprove without being "jealous"? Probably not. Sorry guys, I look at this and feel disgusted, and it has nothing to do with wishing I could have it myself. I guess if you spend your days smelling your own farts and congratulating yourself on how far above the masses you are, everybody else in the world is just a 'whiny, jealous bitch'.

Fred DeRosa's picture

I feel so inadequate.

Tim in Phoenix's picture

Fascinating....I do not see any power cords or wiring off the back of the this rig wireless?

Bill's picture

it is sad that one even has not enough money for proper digital camera or this is product of photo enhancement. Perspectives, lighting, shadows, anything doesn't seen to be at place.

Kevin's picture

I wish I could "hear" this system through the pictures like so many other posters here so I too could comment on its audio quality. Unfortunately my .jpg to .mp3 codec isn't working properly. I'm sure during normal operation the components aren't in picture perfect placement (photo op). Regardless of how it may look aesthetically, the ultimate goal is if you feel immersed and like a part of what you are watching. And until the posters sit on that couch (one at a time, for size limitations of course), no one has a reason to criticize or comment on how poor the picture or sound may or may not be. Now, I'm gonna go watch a movie on my $400 Home Theater in a Box and envision what it could be with a KSS.

Rick's picture

All of you people who think you're better than all, do you know this guy for telling that he can actually give that money in charity instead of building that system? When you walk the street and someone ask you for charity, why don't you give him your 20$ instead of going to cinema? Maybe this guy already give some millions in charity and this is his 20$ to go to cinema... Think before bashing..

Mitch's picture

Nice Nautilus

andr's picture

Muito Show!!!!Valeu, tamb

Evil's picture

He should have spent 10 million more on equipment, then throw it all into an incinerator, in full view of starving children and poor people in general. This would let them know its their fault they're poor and that he's not going to give one red cent to them as they lay dying at his feet. Then laugh as he steps over their frail bodies.

doc's picture

Its Fake, computer generated; there are no cables to the amps that are obviously powered on, the lighiting in the room especially the shot with the sub picture is just a bit off, the shadow on the couch is to sharp in the over head pic and the most telling evidence is on their own website "Dedicated scaling technologies are available to provide photo realistic 3D presentations"Well done even down to the dog on the couch.

Mike's picture

One thing that is quite evident, is the lack of any if not all cabling...hmmm must be using that new wireless power technology as well! look at the picture of the equipment, there is no interconnects, the only device that seems "on" is the cable box. The second picture down you can clearly see the speaker terminals without a wire attached. Funny

Jeffr's picture

Personally I think it's a bit much. But as some other people have posted, it is HIS money and he can do what he wants with it. I just hope that someone with that much money is also giving some of it to charitable organizations. I think if you are a multi-millionaire you should be obligated to share the wealth. Ya, it's a capitalist society, and he should be able to spoil himself once in a while, but I hope he's not a greedy bastard.

Eldrecko's picture

Six mil to watch a cartoon. Sad little man.

Silverio's picture

Ah vai se fuder meu!

Chode's picture

screw charity...they worked hard for that money...just give it away your crazylets see you give up your hard earned money

Deano's picture

well i have to say, that is amazing , truly amazing, i would love to experience that system, i beleive you would not ever want to watch another movie anywhere after that.To the muppet who had a wah because this system cost 6 mill and he shoul fed the starving, grow up you have no clue what this gentleman does behind the scenes, maybe feeding the starving is his other passion, either way dont throw stones at people just because they have money and by the sounds of it earned it.On the cabling theres at least 3 pictures there showing cables and the amps in the ring actually have the cables fed thru the stans into the floor, not rockrt science.

Mike's picture

Wow, doesn't invest it or anything....that's just plan stupid to spend that kind of money on something like that...just stupid...

PsiClops's picture

Hey I've got an 8-pak o Guinness I can bring over!

Ken's picture

This guy could charge 10-100 bucks to let people come in and listen and watch for 10 minutes and make his money back and more in no time.

George of the Jungle's picture

What a waste. He should've only spent 50K on his theater and donated the remainder to the poor starving children in Dharfur. I hear they're also in desperate need of some acoustical treatments and PS3's over there. I read they don't want any Xbox360's.

Your mom's picture

Wait, wait, he blows $6M on his home theater, and yet he's UPSAMNPLING the video?!?I am going to laugh for days over this one. What an idiot.

Waderider's picture

Your either part of the problem or part of the solution. And this is most definitely part of the problem.