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
Patrik's picture

WOW amazing! Wish I had that system. But he should get a better projector and change the design of the room it self, probably expensive but I think he can afford it ;)

Wayne UK's picture

How can anyone attempt to diss this system?This guy obliously lives for this passion that he has in life and knows more about it than (i bet) anyone else on this forum. Those who quote over-kill should ask themselves about the cars they drive and the clothes that they wear etc etc - are they required?If this guy has the knowledge, cash and will to create what must be the worlds best system he should be applauded. The sound is built round a small 'sweet-spot' but why have a larger 'sweet-apot' with lower quality when it will normally be watched by 2-3 people?Come on guys - respect where it is due. This is the ultimate system, not a 'quite good' one and you don't get ultimate by being very specific as to the required results.If i had $6M spare would i invest in one - Where do i sign, and when can you install?

Joel's picture

Goodness,Listen to all of you "Professionals". I would imagine that each of you has had extensive training in all of the areas to which Mr. Kipnis excels at. For those of you who "get it"- Kudosfor the kind words, for those of you who don't,THX was a revolutionary beginning- which has lasted this long. I remember when THX was nothing more than a new concept, all the comments were the same then. Mr. Kipnis has given us a window into the next 20 years worth (and beyond) of standards and development for ultra high end A/V reproduction, pushing beyond even current conceptualism of what's possible. I have been there, I have had the privilage of a personal demonstration, and this is so far beyond any Krell Heat System or Full Meridian Digital sysyem I have ever heard, it's laughable.If the best you have ever experienced is a "Ferrari", this is an F-18 Hornet.Thank You Jeremy.

Oliver Siracusano's picture

No matter what you say...I don't care...All I know is I want to have the same for my own.

Kipnis Studio Standard's picture

Ladies & Gentlemen -I implore you all to stop degrading each other, and using this blog as a source of advertisement! The Kipnis Studio Standard is all about getting the best possible picture and sound into Everyone's home. And how can that be a bad thing if you love movies and television, just to name two possible sources?Best Wishes -

Arthur (Arthurseverythingblog.wordpress.com)'s picture

This is an absolutely intriguing article. The system is beautiful. Worth the money or not? No clue. His money? Well, yes, as a matter of fact it is, or rather, was. Could he have spent it better? I should think one might be rather rude if one presumed to tell a stranger what to do with his property. I shall leave that to his friends, family, and investment consultants, as it should be.Remember: Arguing on the internet is like competing in the special olympics; even if you win, you're still a retard.

Sterling's picture

I agree with most of the posts here. With the amount spent, consideration for room size, design, acoustic dampening, speaker placement, and the science behind how sound travles would have been a key focus of a "SOTA" cinema.All I see hear is focus on some really nice gear and installation. You could have purchased that at a Best Buy. If you're going to spend this kind of money, which I certainly do not disagree with, one should no exactly what they're doing and how to do so.Nemo's sub is pretty cool though. Didn't get ripped off there, no matter what he paid.All in all, it's sad to see someone with the money to buy this stuff but no understanding on how to construct it properly.

joshg's picture

whoever said a $50,000 system would equal this is nuts, whoever said give more of it to charity is nuts...im sure the guy gives plenty to charity and a $50,000 system would be piss to this.people, please think before you comment....FFS

Nate's picture

I think it's brilliant and all the people knocking on the system and claiming that they could build better are just jealous. I mean c'mon obviously he knows what he's doing... The photos show that the amps aren't hooked up and are clearly for show. He isn't stupid... he's made 6 million dollars more then you... and plus he's been able to put that money into a home theater. Now go home to your 2500 dollar setups with your elitism and suck on your remotes.

Cecil's picture

I agree with those of you who dissagree with those who criticize this guy for spending his money on whatever he wants.Some of you on here asked why he doesn't give this money to charity. Did you every stop to wonder how much he already does give the charity before you pass judgment???It is definitely not okay to do so without getting all of your facts straight, or to do it at all. You never know just how much money one make, I guy like him could give half of all his money away and still have enough money to do something like this 3 times over. At some point it is okay to spend your money on whatever you want without guilt.I bet that child in darfur wonders why you (hypothetically) spent $500 on your iphone or just $120 on your shoes, when a couple of bucks could feed him/her all he/she needs to eat for a month.Don't judge people. You do what you want with your means, and letter others do with theirs what they wish! PSU FOREVER BABY!!!!GO STATE!!!!

Oracle's picture

I don't know about you.. the appearance of the setup is pretty messy to my taste.

bob's picture

oh wow there's a lot of jealous people posting on this! major props to this guy, bet it was was worth every penny!

Hard-of-Hearing's picture

WOW!Congratulations Mr.Kipnis for making "This" and good luck with future projects.However,if there is any xxx$ left over please consider making decent website.After all,if money is an issue for you there are lot of free templates on the internet that at least look professional and work great ;).Sometimes less could be more ;).

Mike's picture

So many haters out there. That's a beautiful setup that probably sounds outstanding, I hope you get a lot of enjoyment out of it. Enjoy, Mike

bob hope's picture

So if someone decided to spend 10 billion dollars on audio/visual equipment just so they could have the best home set up in the world, none of you "let freedom ring" folks would care? Capitalists make all that money because the middle class is too stupid to elect representatives that will demand higher wages and a better quality of life for the majority. Middle class like to slave away all day at some crap job, bending over taking it like an orphan.

Martin's picture

Heh people commenting stuff like 'speakers are not near the walls'.. Showing utmost lack of knowledge. The _last_ thing you want is put a speaker next to a wall. It induces early reflections and spoils the soundstage. The small sweet spot is the price to pay for an ultimate sound.

Kevin's picture

Well as a closet audiophile with Magies powered by simple Adcom with Mac switching, I would like to say, you all are wrong, the person listening to the music, or watching the vid, matters, not your opinion, this crass negativity the pours from all of you, is beyond belief. Part of being what we are is too enjoy watching someone else experiment and find what they, not you, but what they think sounds or looks good. Isn't the whole theory, of a audiophile based on this, not what we think is perfect but what can we try, or just do it for the sake of doing it. Money should not be mentioned, I never have this level of money but can see most of you are wanting his money not his vision, I think the vision, is much more important. And quit basing on 360's, Halo 3 will never be on a PS3 at 1080i. Again all of you should be ashamed, we are all experimenters, why not rally around, and until you can build one...shut up, I think its great, I buy my house to fit my stereo, does that bother you too, its what you have

gambyl's picture

Its his cash so he can spend it in anyway he wants to. As long as he is happy with it. Thanks for sharing your system!

Court's picture

I think all this is a waste. If you've got 6M to blow on this stuff then go out and have an adventure. Go experience something instead of trying to recreate it through A/V equipment at home. All that junk works out to playing an Atari on a modern CRT. Your methods of output far exceed the quality of what you're putting into them. And 11k watts of sound into a 850sqft room? Like on the Simpsons THX sound intro, you are now deaf. Titanium on your amps? WTF, such a waste of resources for something that sits still! Titanium is normally used for things that move and need to be light. A home theater is awesome, but this is just glutony.

Brian's picture

He can spend his money however he wants, but if I was going to spend $6 million on a home theater, it would hold more than 3-4 people! He could have bought a few less speakers, subs, and amps, and built a pretty sweet little auditorium for him and 30 of his best friends and still had fantastic orgasm inducing sound. IMO what he has is overkill.

Tinyman's picture

Hey Court - Adventures are your dream. Back off this guys version of same.Did anyone see that this is a LAB. Labs never spend any money on the aesthetic and they keep everything in the open so that components can be swapped out or repaired easily."But it's more than that. Kipnis sees the KSS as a laboratory, an ongoing experiment to advance the state of the art""...and he imagines that, unlike his installation, the componentry and speakers will be stealthily deployed."If you people ever found out how much the Big 3 spend on concept vehicles that never make it to production it would make you puke. This is the home theater equivalent.And anyone who has more than a few synapses firing would know not to judge a system this complex based on an overview in an article. You just show your limited intelligence with comments such as that.

Fredco's picture

What an incredible waste of money. WTF? The ***one*** million dollar system wasn't good enough for you? Tweeters to 100 khz? That's only 80 khz above the limits of human hearing. I bet that system would be great for playing a recording of a dog whistle, so as to keep those pesky stray mutts away from your house.

Andrew's picture

Ummm, has it not occurred to anyone else that these shots look suspiciously like skillfully executed 3D renders with some clever Photoshop post-production? Or is it just me?

edesignuk's picture

What a bunch of whining, jealous bitches.Is it over the top? Of course it is, it's billed as the ultimate you morons. The kind of people that will be buying this are billionaires (or at the very least multi-multi-millionaires) for whom $6m is peanuts.They're probably sitting in a 20,000 square foot house they don't need either. One way or another they've "made it" though, why shouldn't they spoil themselves rotten?Incredible beast of a "home" cinema, very well done. I for one think it looks amazing.

Boris's picture

What type of idiot reads that article and assumes that all 11,000 watts will be employed instantly upon turning on?Some of you act like the system has two settings, off and 11,000W.Too loud!

EdgeOne's picture

I love how so many people can tell this guy what he should have done with HIS money. Yeah, yeah, I know its blasphemy to true audiophiles, but who doesn't want to be completely encircled by speakers and amps at least once in their life? Too bad no more than the three people can enjoy it at one time (but something tells me thats not a problem). Oh, and the real shame here is those are all laserdiscs in the bookshelves...

speakerman's picture

get off his jock you are all corn balls i build speakers for a living and the way the room is set up even if the walls are covered its a waste the only reason it might sound good is cus hes pumping out so much sound that what ever is in front of the speaker wont matter its a waste the room is set up like crap and il tell you right now its now the speaker but how the speaker is built for the room best sound comes om custom speaker boxes that are designed for a space.... if he really wanted to impress i would of had the speakers custom built for the space but all in all its a waste

Pride's picture

lol! :DIt's so great to read about these so called experts, who judge and blame all they can."What a retarded system, you could have made same for so much less money.""What no ?!""LAL, sucks!""DOUBLEWHAM LAL, quantum interference and the circular positioning of speakers sucks!"C'MON GUYS! This guy has a hobby! If this doesn't tell about true and honest passion, nothing does!I'd love to see a single movie in my life in environment like this. :)Enjoy your epic system!

DavidHater's picture

David... you just need to STFU and worry about yoruself first. You know nothing about the guy, he could be donating a LOT of money (and thus contributing more than you ever have or will, dbag). Even if he isn't, it's none of your concern how he spends his dough... the more he spends, the more jobs and stimulation he provides our economy... far more than you have or ever will. So again, just STFU and keep your useless opinion to your self. Why is there always some self righteous arse mucking things up when ultimatley he is the one who is the complete loser in the mix?

investor's picture

Ok. Where i can buy this ?

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