Retro Sci-fi Theater

In 1970 I started a hi-fi company called Rogersound Labs. Manufacturing RSL Speakers and selling audio components for peoples’ homes was my life. I have always desired a home theater of my own, though had no vision of what it should be like. The idea struck me in 1991 when I was in Bar Harbor, Maine and saw the movie “The Rocketeer” with my oldest son at the historical Criterion Art Deco Theater. I loved the style of the theater and the film. It was reminiscent of the old Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials I grew up watching, awestruck by their special effects (sparklers and strings, mostly) and sleek spaceships (which had a nasty habit of backfiring during landing). I knew then that I wanted an Art Deco Retro Sci-fi theater of my own. So, when we moved to our current home in 1998, we set aside a room that would be our theater

In 1970 I started a hi-fi company called Rogersound Labs. Manufacturing RSL Speakers and selling audio components for peoples’ homes was my life. I have always desired a home theater of my own, though had no vision of what it should be like. The idea struck me in 1991 when I was in Bar Harbor, Maine and saw the movie “The Rocketeer” with my oldest son at the historical Criterion Art Deco Theater. I loved the style of the theater and the film. It was reminiscent of the old Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials I grew up watching, awestruck by their special effects (sparklers and strings, mostly) and sleek spaceships (which had a nasty habit of backfiring during landing). I knew then that I wanted an Art Deco Retro Sci-fi theater of my own. So, when we moved to our current home in 1998, we set aside a room that would be our theater

However, the project started off slowly. Turning a room into a rocket ship wasn’t the initial problem, it was the cost of projectors. In 1998, video projectors had 9” tubes and cost about the same as a large Mercedes. For nine years, the room lay dormant and undeveloped. During the lull, I collected home theater magazines for ideas. The work of Theo Kalomirakis (of T.K. Theaters) kept showing up, which I’d always save.

In 2007, I contacted T.K. Theaters in New York. I couldn’t really describe the specifics of the design that I wanted. So instead, I sent some images with a retro sci-fi flavor. These included photos of Flash Gordon in his rocket ship, lightning bolts, and the original 1930’s Frankenstein’s lab. Although I wasn’t initially optimistic, Theo really nailed it plus he was a joy to work with.

By this time, projectors were both smaller and more affordable, so I was finally ready to begin construction. The fixtures were challenging but two friends of mine, John Van Court and Bill Sherman, can do anything with wood and did an incredible job making and installing the finned columns, lightning bolt sconces and the proscenium. For the acoustics, David Conant (friend and acoustical consultant) specified the room dimensions (20.5 ft. by 14 ft.) to ensure even bass distribution. Auralex installed the attractive sound panels and Color Kinetics LED lighting beautifully illuminates the sconces, ceiling, and proscenium.

The sound system was another exciting prospect for me. The favorite part of my former business was designing speakers, and the theater gave me the incentive to re-approach design with some new ideas using my own speaker tuning patents. When the prototypes were built, they worked extremely well, to the extent that my oldest son convinced me to revive the RSL brand and offer them for sale, which will happen soon. Thus, the home theater also serves as a convenient testing room as well. We put two large dual 10” subwoofers under the screen. Small 4” two-way satellites speakers are used for the other nine speakers. The two side speakers are placed in the finned columns on either side of the theater.

At the present time, I'm using a Yamaha DPX-1300 DLP projector. I like the picture of this projector, even though it’s only 720P, due to its great build quality, lens, and the Silicon Optix scaler. I'm also using a Yamaha RX-V1600 A/V receiver, LG BD390 Blu-ray player, and a couple of Dayton Audio 500W subwoofer amplifiers.

I enjoy playing with and evaluating equipment, and plan to look at A/V receivers and processors from Rotel, Integra, Yamaha, and Amplifier Technologies, Inc. for potential upgrades in the future.

I’m really thrilled with the sound. The theater is now an incredibly fun room that pays homage to the bygone days of imagination and excitement (and some absurdity for good measure) of old science fiction.

RSL Speaker Systems

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COMMENTS
Mike Torres's picture

Longtime and loyal customer i still have my nevadas and the cg-8a they both sound amazing torrance store was great love the speakers.

Jim Krisvoy's picture

Glad to see you are back at it. The system sounds great, your home theatre looks great. Looking forward to hearing the system sometime soon. Happy 2011!

James Fowler's picture

I was an employee at Rogersound Labs in the 80's. One of the best jobs and employers I've ever had. Howard, if you are going to manufacture and sell speakers again, I'd be happy to sell them again. I can make a good market outside of LA for your products. Let me know if there is an opportunity.

Jeff Hayflich's picture

I am an old and very loyal customer to the original Roger's Sound Lab on canoga in the San Fernando Valley. I still have my RSL 3600 Studio Moniters and CG-I62 Compression Guide Tower speakers. Both pairs are still in use as my primary home theatre speakers. They still sound great!! To this day I still tell people how these were allways the best speakers for the money and the absolute best customer service I've ever experienced. I'm so exited that the RSL name is back with the original folks and plan on buying the first new set of speakers in over 20 years when the line in reintroduced. I typed Roger's Sound Lab into my browser just on a whim and look at what I found. I couldn't be happier. I wish you the best of luck!!!!

Royl Culver's picture

A daring design feat to say the least and I am sure the AV is top of the line. What really makes this theater stand out is the execution of the cabinetry. I am familiar with Martin Vancourt Studios and have personally enjoyed wotking with John and his crew of true craftsmen. Brilliant,Royl

Keith Brown's picture

Welcome back Rogersound Labs...and congratulations on this amazing home theater. I too was a long time fan of RSL Speakers and my very first pair were Alpha-1's as you nicely reminded me of their name.I anxiously await your new releae and the re-emergence of the RSL brand. The very best of luck to you!Keith

Jim Clark's picture

I am very happy to see the RSL Speaker line coming back to life! I still have and use daily my RSL Elans, 6600H, and 3600's. A real cool looking theater too! High Fives!!!!!!!

Gary Fradkin's picture

I can attest to the fact that this theater is fantastic. Not just the T.K. design but the video and audio including Howard's RSL design speakers. This is an incredible theater built by a HI FI legend. Thanks for the Yamaha plug.Best to you and the familyGF

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