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 www.kipnis-studios.com 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)

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

Speakers:
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)

Share | |
COMMENTS
Nobody Knows's picture

The article clearly states it's a business venture. Sony spent far more than $6 million developing the PS3, yet few of you (ok, maybe the Xbox 360 fanboys would) would call for Sony to donate all of their R&D money to charity. A likely equal few, if any, would forgo buying home theater equipment until every last starving child is fed.As previous posters have observed, the hypocrisy here stinks. You may not be the customer for this particular system but that makes it no less a viable product for the free marketplace than any other luxury good or service you buy for yourselves.

Rick's picture

I'm sorry, but I have to agree what a waste of money. As times are so tough for people throughout the world, I find it a bit arrogant of someone to brag on such a venture as this.Yeah, it cool but how much does a man really need?And you know the resale has to be crap on such equipment.

paul's picture

why do you people care what he does with his money? why dont you start with the government's misuse of OUR money before you go ranting on about someones private ventures. his theater is boss.

the p's picture

nice system guy! absolutely ridiculous and if i had 6-million dollars to spend i'd do the same.i disagree with many of you self-proclaimed 'audiophiles' - or should i say haters - on many levels: that his system could be that great with less money, or that his acoustic environment is bad, etc...etc...that system is the greatest sounding system money can buy.

david blows's picture

Hey David its his money and he can do whatever the hell he wants with it. Just because someone has money means they have to donate it to charity? He worked for it, he has every right to enjoy it.

dstone's picture

It's overkill and purely for entertainment.No practical purpose at all.A few wireless headphones would be just as good.

Bo Eriksson's picture

So... Where is the cables?I first assumed they were routed into channels beneath the floor, but There is nothing on the Amps speaker-terminals. The only hint of any cable is in the closeup of the McIntoch amp.I hate when articles like this removes cables for pictures. The cable-management issues are not unimportant! Especially in a setup like this.And about the setup in general. There is Overkill, six uninvented degrees over that, and then there is this.

Shintock's picture

Please, no more comments on costs, focus on the instalation, it's about art, not finance. The only thing that is not clear to me is the incomplete addition of the MuRata to the Snells (10 on 12), why 2 missing?

shad's picture

thats what i call sweet how much did evory thing cost nice...

Nono's picture

I think the owner is wearing a blue Filipino dress shirt. The "Barong Tagalog." :-)

Viscount's picture

One word alone can describe this..."Overkill"

Paul's picture

seeing this system makes me drool so much...I'd be buying every action movie ever to test out with this baby.Can you imagine.. Terminator 2 on that thing?! Saving Private Ryan?!! The original Matrix! The Kill Bill films/Pulp Fiction?!

Andrew's picture

Well good luck to him I say. I have seen/heard something similar. Peter Jackson built a private 250 seat cinema in his post production facility Park Road Post in Wellington. No I don't know the technical details etc... I wasn't allowed to take photos of the interior so guarded in PJ about the design. I bet this guy doesn't have an Oscar on display in the the trophy cabinet in the foyer ;-)If I was going to go all out like this guy I would go all Goldmund. Yes there would be change from $6 million but that's not the point. There is nothing wrong with the pursuit of the absolute best! But if he wants to impress Peter Jackson? Not sure that he's starting out at the right place here.

Robert's picture

I bet this theater setup is amazing during the silent moments of a movie... SINCE THERE ARE NO WIRES or POWER CORDS!!!

The FLAP's picture

I have never seeen more money wasted for such a small return in performance, given that the most important things where wholisticly ingnored. Bravo, this should be a government theater!!!

whatev's picture

Why can't i see any cables coming from any of the amps or SPKRS? I would love to see a real pic, cables and all.

Julie's picture

Having passion about something, and having the funds to make your dream come true, who has the right to criticize that? I wonder what many of you would do with that kind of money?

Eddie Murderer's picture

Where's all the wires?

Morgan Talley's picture

Some of the posts seem to suggest that the crying out for this man to donate his money to charity are from liberals, well let me tell you, I am a liberal and I couldn't care less wether he donates his money to charity or not, that's not really the issue. All this talk about how he should have spent the money and on what is completely irrelevant. Having read the article, the system is an experiment in excess. Does it work? The gentlemen who wrote the article seems to think so, and unless you're willing to believe he's lying about what he experienced all we can do is take his word for it. Without experiencing the system first hand anything said about the system are just uninformed opinions, and like assholes everyone's got one and most of them stink.

Kristine's picture

Awesome! Life is so short, indulge while you can!How does anyone know whether or not he donates to charity, and honestly, what business is it of yours?I say good for him!! What a fabulous "blow your hair back" experience it must be to watch a movie in!

Andrew's picture

If anyone actually thinks that is going to sound anything more than a total mishmash of crossed over soundfields then they need help.I thought it was a photoshop job at first since nothing actually seems connected but if that is real and all powered and working at the same time with those things all toed in and crossing over like a rats nest then it's really sad.I'm not jealous. As many of the sane ones here have already pointed out, what he has done is just basically blow a whole wad of cash and could have achieved a better result by spending a fraction of that.Do you honestly think the soundfields from all that moving, criss-crossing air is going to be anything other than a mess?

pman uk's picture

Lets face it. This system has given the owner a lot of pleasure (I hope). And its up to them what they spend their money on. People can be as high and might about thier lifestyle but dont preach about AV. The responce to this system is fantastic. Its like winning the lottery, everyone would spend their money differently. Personally my ultimate system ideas change monthly(but often based around Krell,Wilson Audio and Runco).

Miroslav Vujovic's picture

B R A V O O O O O O! ! ! ! !

undamned's picture

The Captain Nemo ship (coffee table) is worth the price of admission.-ud

Ken Asbury's picture

I think the projector needs an upgrade to the Sony SRX-R220.

doctronic's picture

At the risk of verbal regurgitation, the system is very much overkill - but isn't that the point in the first place? The comments about 'spending it more wisely' need to be taken with a grain of salt - the economic spinoffs readily speak for themselves. The room may also have been set up differently, though the intended visual reaction has obviously been acheived. Would 'A man's reach must exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?' sound appropriate here? This is a great 'pushin' the envelope' demonstration, with electronic sugarplums in mind. Good work, Mr. Kipnis!

Devji's picture

if anybody knows where i can find this man let me know, please. all i want is to smoke a J and jam COD MW2 with those THX speakers making it real 4 me-and whoever else wants to come. Please Jeremy, i'm a nice guy i promise. my mom makes a mean spicy chicken n chocolate eclairs. I'll bring em, just let me play, let me play Jeremy, please let me play = )email's devanpatel1987@hotmail.com

Guy's picture

I doubt anyone he mentioned would spend 6million on this, they have better things to do with their money. But maybe he will find a sucker to make an investment. Also, I notice some people complaining about the comments that judged his system without even hearing it. Well I hate to break it to you but there are people who are experts (and are actually pushing state of the art every day) and then there are people who name drop/have a load of money (who are just trying to get over their midlife crisis). I would make the smart move and call up an expert before I brag about it on the internet.

deffekt's picture

charities are pointless, let the man do what he wants with his money. I for one would love to come home to a home entertainment system that is even a fraction as godly as his.

Jackie's picture

Despite all those hatred comments on criticism: that system is not childproof. It's for bachelors and childless couples. Would love to see a children friendly setup.

Pages

X
Enter your Sound & Vision username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.
Loading
setting var node_statistics_97631