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)

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COMMENTS
crank's picture

talk about hypocritical - how many idiots are talking about poverty from the comfort of their comfy leather chair with their big gut hanging out of the t-shirt scoffing down a burger and fries.ps3 hahaha don't make me laugh, a guy has a $6M setup and you mention that glorified jap toaster in the same breath - too many envious morons in the world.

Brain Dead Hippie's picture

> 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

duder's picture

To the guys whos say that he shouldn't have a 360, but should have a PS3, you guys are complete bozos. If he has that much money invested in a system, he could afford both. Not to mention a pretty damned good PC, (or Mac, or both....)

Dacon's picture

Gotta love all the ignorant comments.The man is obviously VERY wealthy, and most wealthy individuals donate more money then you will be worth in your entire life. It's also a great tax write off.For the people complaining about his the "investment" ... who cares ? You dont buy a Ferrari to make money, and you dont buy a Yacht to make money. You HAVE money and you want the BEST>If his set up is worth $2million in the future, is he gonna care ? Probably not. Might be upset he lost 4 million over several years, but he has the BEST in audio and video technology to show for it.

SeK's picture

wooow crayz man what are you doin..maybe i can give you some advice about $6 million...$6 million = 28 ferrari modena,2,7 bugatti veyron :) etc....

Sniper882's picture

Wai il sait ce qui est bien tous sans une Ps3 sa l'aurais pas fais mais y'en a une donc ce truck est magnifique jouer a Cod4 la-dessus.....

Marc's picture

I am running an "older" 7.1 loudspeaker system, and the WAF (wife acceptance factor) is quite low. A snapshot of the rack where the media PC, the playing devices and the amps are located looks a little like a setup at a rock concert. Great for tech lovers, not so great for a living room. I would like to see how this rig looks like having all wires connected to the amps, loudspeakers, etc.There is a reason why this isn't shown in those pictures. If I had 6 million to spend, I would build a house that has all the gear (players, amps, etc.) in a separate room and runs the cables invisible in a separate sandwich floor similar to office or server buildings. That way, you can still have lots of loudspeakers around you, but not have to deal with cables cluttering your home cinema room.

joe toast's picture

Everyone who condemns his spending his money on something he likes is just plain jealous. Why should he give it away to charity? He earned his money, he can spend it as he likes. Good for him. I bet his system is fantastic in every respect. He obviously has had time to research all the components. Besides, I know his musical background, and he knows what he is doing.

Rovers North rips people off's picture

I don't understand how people don't realize that it's supposed to be over the top. Like when they build a custom Lamborghini to use in an ad to sell you tyres for your minivan... or show a million dollar house in an ad to sell you a $14 gallon of paint. Just so happens he's trying to sell something upscale, but admittedly he said it would be more stealthy.For the hippies looking for their handouts- go get a job and donate that to charity. Have you seen how much the execs at those charities make? They could afford this system...

dabcad's picture

Some of you guys are so bitter about something very cool I can't believe it.. it's his dream. Seems like you are the ones hung up on cash, to him it wasn't the main issue.

ScrapeGoat's picture

Two best Comments so far:Posted Thu Feb 7,2008, 8:58 PM

KuduzCivciv's picture

Akl

scott's picture

the thing that really stands out about most of the comments above is the envy and the lack of any sort of social grace by a lot of the posters.it's an unfortunate reality that the internet has now become a cesspit of negativity from people with the deportment of an ADD angst ridden teenager who can't enjoy something for what it's worth.personally I might not have built such a system, but damn that's impressive.

lucky's picture

When I hit the Powerball tonight, I'll probably give the guy a ring.Go for a scaled-down version (the "gamma"); don't want people to think my new wealth has changed me.

genghis's picture

Costco has that system for $150.00 less.

Cuteek's picture

wow this is redonkulous! I would love to watch Ratatouille at their house.

mrpetep's picture

Kewl!The jealous, bitter people commenting need to get a life.

KSS Insider's picture

To address a few points:1.the absence of the cables was an artistic decision made jointly by Kipnis, Robert Wright, photographer, and Steve Guttenberg, writer. The equipment had recently been taken apart for the installation of the acoustic foam and lighting system. They all felt that the photos would come out looking better without cables.2.The image from Ratatouille was a choice by the Home Theater Magazine editors. In these magazines, the images displayed on the screens in the photos are NEVER "live." They are usually inserted in post.3.The number of speakers is maximized in order to maximize overhead and minimize stress of any single driver. Think of it like a team of people carrying a heavy object. The more people you have, the less effort each person will have to make, accomplishing the task with a minimum of strain and fatigue. That is one of the keys to the transparency of sound in any room. It's not about loudness, it's about dynamic RANGE.5.A small group makes a bet

PMAN uk's picture

Any one trying to say they could build a better system for less will never find out. I would like the chance though. Maybe Krell Mono One's and Evo 707 with Focal Grand Utopia III's?

MacKrell's picture

I think some of you like to critize more than trying to understand others like Kipnes... The one who might have his taste that none of you can ever have so either you are showing your jealous attitude or b/c you can't afford it and you make fun of others?... Again, anything about musics are personal preference and their equipments as well. Kipnes could be a collector of what he owns there, that none of you in this forum might not even have a chance in this life to have what he has, so what is the point of making the critics about his spending?... What would I say that I think people collecting cards are the most ridiculous species on earth, what do you think? Show people some respects and if you dont have one, learn it....

Arf com's picture

It's ugly but it's better than anything I'll ever have in my lifetime, so good on you! Enjoy the heck out of it.

Jason's picture

"Wow...someone has a lot of cash, and needs to be donating it to charity, not spending it on rediculous "entertainment" systems."So, David, do you prefer Socialism or Communism?The man has the money and the desire. More power to him. Welcome to the Wonderful World Of Capitalism, comrade.

Kipnis - Studios's picture

Thank you, all, for your comments.They are most appreciated! If anyone (even you naysayers with professional credentials) would like to join us, here at KSS, for a complete, hand-tailored demonstration of your favorite music, film, television, video games - You Name the Source! - - -PLEASE - contact us for an appointment, now.Our formal demonstrations conclude at the end of August 2008!We look forward to seeing you :-)Cheers -Jeremywww.Kipnis-Studios.comPS - I don't want to hear anymore negative and or vitriolic comments on this (otherwise) very well received blog. The author & I intended this as opportunity to share knowledge and experience with those interested.If you having nothing constructive to say - please just say nothing!It's better that way!

Isaac's picture

A work of art. Looks amazing and I bet sounds unbelievable.

Cyprinodon's picture

I read a SciFi story last year where the speaker cables for a rich man's home system were made out of the brain and spinal cord of criminals who had ripped off intellectual property. Apparently, this type of cable was unsurpassed for clarity. The "criminals" who had been processed for this application where still alive and cognizant of their fate. Now, that is what is needed for a system of this cost! But really, why should we be critical of how rich people spend their money? I would probably build a pyramid. Oh, and I DO like the Nautilus. Is it a Totalimmersion model or the Disney 50 year celebration issue?

AntiIdiot's picture

Applaud the spirit of capitalism? LOL!

Gary Pearl's picture

I was fortunate enough to hear Jeremy's home theater today. It was the most amazing "home theater" I've ever been in. I have a good system at home consisting of Wison Maxx 2's for main speakers, Revel center, sub, and rears a Krell surround sound processor and Krell amps. My system doesn't come close to Jeremy's. The sound is better and more enjoyable than you hear at most concerts. It is incredibly lifelike. Jeremy is a genius and a very gracious host.

JDUBB's picture

corticon floccinaucinihilipilification

Chris Stefan's picture

Hmm, for that kind of money I'd probably gone with something a bit more theater like. You want to be able to bring 20 or 100 of your closest friends over and have them experience your setup while sitting in comfy recliners.As others have said you can build something that rivals the best THX certified commercial theaters for less than $6 million and have room to seat more than 3 people.Given his goals for the system having all the equipment out where you can see it is probably intentional.Does make you wonder what Lucas has in his house though.

Julien's picture

This is just ridiculous....beautiful equipment but just ridiculous. It makes me think of the guys who barely know how to play come as you are but show off their 62 stratocaster on youtube...just a total cunt.

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