Million-Dollar Media Room

Unless you're a serious audiophile, you might not know the name Goldmund. After 30 years making ultra-high-end audio components, this Swiss company is expanding into the realm of home theater. But if you think it's simply offering projectors and surround-sound systems, think again. When you contact Goldmund to discuss home theater, you'll be talking about a complete media room that the company will design, build, equip, and calibrate from beginning to end.

Starting with proprietary room-modeling software, the room dimensions are optimized, often leading to an acoustically and vibrationally isolated "room within a room" as depicted here:

Next, the components are specified and custom built while the room is constructed. Speakers are located all around the room with up to 128 audio channels thanks to a Goldmund-developed technology that is said to rebuild the surround soundfield so it's much more seamless than traditional 5.1 or 7.1 systems. This proprietary technology also allows the speakers to be located without concern for the placement of doors, windows, or other design elements—the system can even create "virtual speakers" at any position around the room as well as compensate for any acoustic anomalies.

The frequency response of the system is spec'd to encompass 5Hz to 50kHz with a peak sound pressure level of 130dB at the primary seating position. Why such a wide frequency response when humans can't hear anything below 20Hz or above 20kHz? Probably because the human frequency range is much flatter and more linear within such an expanded range than it would be if 20Hz and 20kHz were the system's extremes.

And do you really need 130dB, which is approaching the human threshold of pain? Certainly not, but again, if the system is capable of such SPLs, a more comfortable level will cause the amplifiers to operate in their linear range with very low noise.

Video-wise, the projector is 1080p with an anamorphic lens, and the ultrawide 2.35:1 screen occupies a 40-degree field of view from the primary seat. The peak-white level is at least 14 foot-lamberts, which is a bit lower than the commercial-cinema standard of 16fL, but the room is completely light-sealed, so that slight difference shouldn't be noticeable to most folks.

So how much does the ultimate media room cost? That depends on several factors, but it's certainly in the million-dollar neighborhood. Of course, you could set up a kick-ass home theater for a lot less, but you wouldn't get the custom-built components, craftsmanship, or attention to detail that Goldmund provides. The whole idea here is to have a custom media room built from the ground up by a single company that is responsible for the entire process, and that doesn't come cheap.

Last year, I had the opportunity to visit the Goldmund demo room in Los Angeles, which was installed in an upscale house located within a gated community. The sound was phenomenal, but the projector, which was provided by Norwegian high-end maker projectiondesign, was not completely dialed in—the black level was pretty high and shadow detail was less than stellar. I was assured that these issues were being addressed and I should come back in a few months to see how much progress had been made. I look forward to that return visit, and I will report on what I find right here on UAV.

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COMMENTS
Colin Robertson's picture

While I'm sure the performance of such a setup is phenomenal, I cant help but feel like the design of the room is pretty boring. It feels very STANDARD HOME THEATER... though very well could just be a bad example. For this kind of coin, why not go with someone like Theo Kalomirakis to design the room?

C. Zeigler's picture

I dunno If I would spend this kind of money on a media room, even if I had it. I came into a god chunk of money and decided to go "all out" with my theater. After visiting several high-end shops selling everything from B&W to Mar tin Logan, with creston controls and lexicon pre-pros, I decided to roll my own. JVC RS2 with a anamorphic lens sled, Carada screen w/ masquerade. Klipsch THX Ultra 2 speakers ( 10spkrs/4subs) . Integra dhc 9.9 pre and 5 Emotiva XPA 2 amps. The room was constructed by soley my wife and I. We used the owens corning drywall to cut down on external noise. Furniture was lane theater recliners bought at a going out of buisness sale. The decor from a place cal 4seating.com. It was significantley less than this ultimate room, and I am sure it would compete very well...

mark's picture

You know,avsforum did a wright up on building a home theater room for 2k! this setup on ultimate av is crazy! But,i agree the room looks "boring", they should went with a different design. My dream would be to visit some of these high end home theater setup's. That would make my day :)

zenen's picture

at that price why not purchase a movie theatre that way you can go watch a movie at a theater and make some money on the side while you are at it!

Fred M.'s picture

Boring? Well I don't know about the room being boring. It looks like a really nice movie theater, the kind that Mozart might have seen a movie in if he was so inclined and if, well, they had movies back then. And speaking of "inclined," that is the problem will all theaters like this. I mean, this is your home and sometimes you want to sit upright, yes, but more often than not, you want to find a place to put your sandwich plate and your beer, with enough room for the upteen remotes you have and a light you can turn on WITHOUT a remote control by your side. These rooms, beautiful or boring, your call, seem to fall flat on their faces in the "Livability" department.

Scott Wilkinson's picture

Yeah, where's a tray table when you need one? To be completely fair, Goldmund does supply an integrated system remote that undoubtedly includes lighting control, so there aren't umpteen remotes that need to find a home in this case. But livability is certainly an important characteristic that is lacking in too many "ultimate" home theaters.

fred m's picture

Scott, I didn't say I didn't like the Goldmund system, I'm sure it's wonderful. In fact, I've been looking around for something to get with the bonus check I just got from AIG. . . .

David Vaughn's picture

Fred, Didn't the CEO ask for you to return 1/2 of your check? Can you still afford such a lavish theater with your paltry $125K sum? After taxes, that's only about $60K, unless you move to California where you'll end up with $50K. Better keep the RS1 for a while longer...the welfare office is calling! David

The Flap's picture

Scott, I think some are missing the point, you describe a couple of things that most likely will trickle down within the next 5 years wider signal and output ranges. As I understand it they also use upper order harmonics to phase cancel out vibrations that can cause transmissive waves that in turn cause unwanted audible vibration and noise. With this one article I can see a glimps into what a theater will be like in the near future for me. At an affordable level it shows that there is always something better on the drawing board.

Scott Wilkinson's picture

My point exactly, Flap, not only with this article, but with the entire Ultimate Gear blog. Thanks for recognizing it!

mike's picture

screen is too small for this room... or looks like it in the picture. I visited the naval memorial in washington dc sometime back and watched a 20min movie about naval fighters on the high seas. They used a true ultra-wide screen (70mm film) where my complete periph vision was utilized (not too high though lik IMAX). I was stunned as they pulled the screen back from 1.37:1 picture and slowly revealed the entire screen corner to corner. I felt as if I were on the deck of that ship. That's home theater to me! If I had a million dollars...

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