Two in One

It's the perfect situation – a dedicated home theater and a completely separate room for critical music listening. One homeowner in Massachusetts was able to realize his dream of the 'perfect' audio system, and still provide the rest of the family with their own home theater.

The advantage of new construction is you can design your home any way you like, including dedicated spaces for each of your passions. Each room required its own designers, one an acoustical engineer with a background in no-compromise projects, and the other a highly skilled, yet, budget-conscious systems integrator.

Alan Goodwin of Goodwin's High End created a room within a room to isolate the listening room from the rest of the home. For instance, there is space between the ceiling and the floor above and the rear wall has 12" of space behind it with a built-in baffle and edge bands to tune base resonance. The room has perfect acoustical dimensions– 24' 8 3/8" long, 17' 10 5/6" wide, and 9' 6" high – due to the special foundation that was excavated from solid granite to achieve the appropriate height.

For the acoustical treatments, Goodwin recommended Performance Acoustic Lab's (PAL) Danish-built diffuser modules and bass traps, augmented by Acoustic Sciences' acoustic wall panels. The 300 lb. PAL modules took 4 movers to get into the basement music room, and Tom Fredericks of PAL flew in from Denver with a special carpenter to spend an entire week installing the modules.

Every aspect of the room was considered with great care and effort, including the electrical supply where only hospital grade outlets with isolated grounds were installed to ensure low electric noise and eliminate any motor interference. Since the room is sound proof, a fire strobe was installed to alert the homeowner if a fire should break out elsewhere in the home.

The homeowner already had the gear – Spectral Electronics and custom colored Wilson WATT Puppy speakers – he just needed the perfect room, which cost almost as much as the equipment. The lesson learned is that the acoustic qualities of the room are at least as important - if not more - than the quality of the audio system.

Separated from the music room by acoustic doors and 8" walls filled with acoustic insulation, the basic acoustic properties and dimensions of the home theater were identical to the music room. The architect recommended Larry Shulman of Huntington TV, who helped balance cost with quality. He suggested a system that included a JVC 1080p projector, Triad in-wall speakers, a Velodyne 15" subwoofer, B&K separates, a Sony Blu-ray Player, and Crestron control. The front speakers were set into cavities constructed by the builder and covered by acoustic wall panels. The center channel was placed behind a 100" Stewart microperf screen.

The homeowner was very much involved in every phase of the dual rooms, from researching each and every component, designing the equipment closet and all lighting details, including the special LED stair lights in the theater.

While the house construction took 16 months, the construction of the two special rooms took less than two months, even with the almost catastrophic flooding due to torrential rain that seeped into an open electrical conduit..

The home theater is a social magnet, providing an opportunity to bring together friends and neighbors, for events such as watching the presidential debates or just having quality time with the family to watch a movie, football game, or some TV.

The best part of all for the homeowner is when life gets hectic and he needs time to relax and slow down, he escapes inside the enchanting sounds of Monteverdi, Bartok, or Mahler, in the music room of his dreams.

Goodwin's High End
Alan Goodwin
781 893 9000

Huntington TV
Larry Shulman
617 244 6800