Installations: Great Plains Theater Page 3

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Media Room Gear

A. Sony KDS-R50XBR1 50-inch SXRD rear-projection HDTV ($3,750) Denon DVD-1920 universal DVD player ($360) Dish 622 HD DVR satellite receiver ($500) Polk Audio XRt12 Reference XM Satellite Radio tuner ($300) Denon AVR-2106 surround sound receiver ($699) B. Eight Sonos ZP100 ZonePlayer wireless audio-distribution receivers ($499 each) C. Two Sonos CR100 wireless zone controllers ($399 each) Universal Remote MX-850 Aeros remote control ($399) Universal Remote MRF-300 RFX RF receiver ($200) Five Sonance Ellipse ceiling speakers ($500 each) B&W AS-300 subwoofer ($350) D. Middle Atlantic equipment rack and fan ($1,250)
"The wife is a graphic designer, so she and the interior designer really went to town on some of the design elements," Gordon says. "Also, the design is very open. On the main floor, you can basically stand in the kitchen and see across the dining room into the media room, into the openings to the two master suites, and down the stairway into the open sun porch."

Gordon's idea of on-wall speakers was vetoed because the wife didn't want anything behind the TV, where a series of family portraits hang. In-walls were also rejected, both because of the room's stone walls and the wife's and designer's mandate that no speakers mar the room's décor. So Gordon was forced to place the three Sonance Ellipse front speakers high up in the 13-foot ceiling, and the two SpeakerCraft AIM 7 surrounds in a rear wall.

"With the ceiling speakers, we sat there with the wife and interior designer, with the contractor up on a ladder literally moving them a quarter-inch by a quarter-inch, while they argued about where they should go," Gordon recalls. "The husband and I both knew that ceiling speakers weren't going to be optimum for surround sound. But he said that we should give way here because we'll do better in the theater."

Both the gear and the TV would have to fit in the custom cabinetry that curves around from the front of the room to become the room's sofa. Since hanging a plasma set was out of the question, the homeowners decided on a Sony 50-inch SXRD HDTV.

In a cabinet to the right of the TV, a Middle Atlantic rack holds the system components (see the gear list, at right). The eight Sonos ZP100 ZonePlayers are also in the cabinet, two per shelf, along with a B&W AS-300 subwoofer behind a door in the bottom. When the homeowners want surround sound, they open the subwoofer compartment. System control is handled by two Sonos CR100 wireless controllers and a Universal remote.