Home Theater Loft

Photos Chris Woolman

What do you do with an underused loft space? Why, turn it into a dedicated home theater, of course! That was the challenge entrusted to Wilshire Home Entertainment of Thousands Oaks, California. The open, 400-square-foot loft required an enclosure and special acoustical materials to prevent sound leakage. The project included a new, custom staircase and the preservation of a large bay window that extends from the bottom floor to the ceiling of the second floor. It wasn’t possible to just remove it in the loft area, so it is still located behind the drop-down screen. When the theater is in use, Lutron motorized blackout shades block the light.

A Runco Q-750 LED projector is paired with a Stewart Filmscreen 110-inch Stealth Trapdoor screen. Unmistakable B&W 802 Diamond speakers rest on either side of the screen, along with a matching B&W HTM2 Diamond dedicated center. Four B&W CWM7.5 surround speakers are hidden behind the wall panels. Two JBL SIS-EX Ultra2 subwoofers, paired with individual JBL S820 200-watt amps, deliver clean and powerful bass. With this speaker complement, the Classé electronics (CT-SSP 7.1 preamp, CT-5.00 300 watts x 5 amplifier, and CT-2300 300 watts x 2 amp) were the perfect choice. All Classé components are housed in a Middle Atlantic equipment rack built into the wall and covered with a hinged panel.

An Apple iPad is used to control the Savant home entertainment system, which included the theater, Lutron lighting, and blackout shades.

This new theater space is now the whole family’s go-to destination where they can relax and enjoy time together.

Wilshire Home Entertainment, Thousand Oaks, California, (805) 497-7536, wilshirehe.com

Savant's picture

Very nice set-up, but does the screen seem a little small? I really like that the owner did not try to hide his beautiful speakers up front!

Thick Shaddy's picture

That projector should have been good for at least a 150" screen.

Probably had to do with the window, and maybe space/distance, but all that could be over come.

Hmmm...will we ever know the truth?

kevon27's picture

Wow, of all the sub choices, his installer choose the JBL SIS-EX Ultra2. For a Home Theater of this caliber I can think of a bunch of subs that would destroy the JBL's in LFE performance and looks for the same amount of money or less: SVS PB13-Ultra, Paradigm's Signature sub series, Velodyne's Digital Drive Plus, etc, etc. The JBL is nothing more than a PA class sub (30hz - 500hz) dressed up to look like a home theater sub.
Everything else in this theater is top notch.

Thick Shaddy's picture

I like the way you think, even though I have not demo'd this theater or most of it's equipment, I would agree with Kevon27 on a lot of what he posted (JL Audio Gothem x2 or a pair of Velodyne 1812's).

But then again, personal preference and what is available among other factors carry over.

Still looks pretty damn sick, I would not be suffering too much.

Peter Nielsen's picture

The S1S-EX are top notch subs if installed properly. However, this clearly is not the case here. The S1S-EX is "just a speaker" by itself. What makes it a great sub is processing. They need the SDEC-4500 processing and ARCOS calibration or an equally capable unit in order to perform. Brands like SVS and JL Audio has the processing built in, but with the JBL you have to buy it separately (+$20k for the processor and calibration). Without adequate processing (which seems to be missing), I agree that the S1S-EX is a very bad choice.
What's more: The S1S-EX is supposed to be built into a wall or be hidden behind the screen and not left exposed like that. The cabinets are not pretty and never were made to be exposed like that. Abuse of expensive gear IMHO...
Oh, and the article says "S820 200-watt amps" which is not really correct. The S820 amps are of course installed in bridged mode here and provide 800W for each sub. (The S820 is 2x200W/8ohm, 2x400W/4ohm or 800W/8ohm bridged).

MileP's picture

Very ugly speaker setup, very nice home theater.

maxman's picture

Ugly is in the eye of the beholder, no?

Vince's picture

Comments like the ones above are the reasons why people stay away from hobbies. The elitists that don't like what you have try to put you down. This hobby is so subjective and is based on personal taste. If this is what the customer wanted, fine. It's not yours and you will never hear it. This hobby would be so much better if people would stop judging what everyone else has and just shut up and enjoy the show!

Thick Shaddy's picture

True dat...haters gonna hate on sweet stuff they can't afford. Hell I can't afford that, but it looks awesome to me; totally envoys!

hawke47's picture

First, Kim, thank you for your post.

Second, Vince, I agree with you that the home theater hobby can be very subjective, but products do have certain standards they should meet, which is where places like Home Theater Magazine, HDGURU, CNET, etc., come in handy. In addition, if you were referring to what kevon27 was posting, I believe the point kevon27 was trying to make is that the installer could have worked with better options than the JBL SIS-EX Ultra2 subwoofer-especially if that could have saved the customer money, improved the overall performance and enhanced the experience.

Since I was not part of Wiltshire Home Entertainment’s planning team, I would give them the benefit of the doubt because they must have had a reason to pick those subwoofers over the other options kevon27 was suggesting. Pairing speakers is one of the most important steps in creating a respectable home theater.

In any case, I agree, people should stop judging what everyone else has. Making recommendations and suggestions on how to improve a setup is constructive, which I believe is the better thing to do.

Thank you, kevon27, for your input. I will be looking into your suggestions, too.

Vince's picture

Hawke47, I couldn't agree more with what you have to say. My point was that maybe the customer liked the way the subs looked and I would hope he auditioned them first. Maybe he was even a "money no object" type that only wants the most expensive of anything. I am also a fan of Paradigm gear. Their subs are wonderful and that's probably the route I would've taken. Basically I was disappointed someone would say things to take away from a theater when it's obvious the owner is proud of it or else he wouldn't try to get in a magazine. This is a wonderful hobby that I wish more people would get involved in. I had apprehensions when I first entered the hobby because it was overwhelming with all the choices. We should help each other, not cut down because we don't like their gear.

HardBoiled's picture

I think the B&Ws are great looking but those subs seem out of place. Maybe they could be placed behind the screen or built into the wall.

hawke47's picture

Vince, I look forward to reading your past and future posts. :)

I had a question for Kim and anyone else who might know. This is in reference to the fourth image down. Two of my friends are considering setting up a riser to create an aura of stadium seating, with the hopes to allow room for additional seating. Does anyone have a suggestion on who might sell a good riser that would be long lasting?

jsanko's picture

Try your local Menards or Home Depot. Buy some 2 x 12s and 3/4" plywood and build one yourself. It should last the lifetime of your home.