The Ultimate Sports Den

You'll never miss an important game, even if they are being broadcast at the exact same time in this cozy entertainment center. With expertise from Arctic Audio, this newly remodeled sports den uses the latest digital display technology, where up to nine programs can be watched simultaneously.

The idea behind this installation was to create a space that maintained the feeling of an intimate family room, while providing all the entertainment of a sports bar. The system needed to start up easily with simple controls that allowed the homeowner to jump from channel to channel with a minimum of button presses. It was also necessary to have the capability to watch a movie or play video games at the same time as watching sports events.

The greatest challenge was to provide the maximum flexibility with an IR-based remote control and without an expensive matrix switching system, which was not in the customer's budget. "We used twin RP6 controllers and multiple IR expansion blocks to control nine DirecTV receivers, nine TV's, and three AV receivers," explained Rod Shafer, president of Arctic Audio. "The program is 140 pages long, which is extremely unique for an IR controller."

The client was very hands-on since he is a custom homebuilder and served as the general contractor on this whole basement remodel. Arctic Audio was there to consult on brand and model specifications and to insure proper system integration and performance. They also worked closely with the electrician hired by the client on outlet placement, lighting design, and lighting control.

As part of his research, the client found the specific remote control graphics package he wanted from Only One Remote [ He paid for the graphics package and gave it to Arctic Audio. Even still, Arctic Audio had to design the control system completely from scratch.

Since the customer was so involved in the project, Shafer said that when making their presentation they had to defend their system topology and functionality recommendations. "We experienced first hand the old adage that you don’t really know something until you can teach it, " says Shafer. "While this involved some extra time it also ensured that the system fulfilled the customer's desires without expensive bells and whistles."

Additionally, the customer had a specific wish list in terms of interior design. For instance, there had to be a Yankee stadium mural along with the actual seats from the original Yankee stadium to create a three-dimensional exhibit. The client wanted all the AV equipment out of the way, yet wanted an impressive rack-face presence showing into the room. The Niles speakers and subwoofer, however, had to disappear. The customer had some specific brands in mind but Arctic Audio was able to demonstrate how Marantz and RTI were without a doubt the best choices for the job.

Since the basement walls were all new stud construction, wiring was straightforward and in-wall speaker placement was both symmetrical and acoustically accurate. When the basement walls were wide open, they expanded audio to the master bedroom and patio. Wiring for future video options was also added in the upstairs living room. Return air vents were included above the plasma TVs and equipment racks to draw away heat.

"A big part of this project for us was listening and validating the customer for all the homework he had done, yet stand firm when making recommendations we felt best served the project," concluded Shafer. "Since customers have access to a tremendous amount of good information online, they can be very knowledgeable, yet they are not familiar with the intricacies of installation. They may want X but as the expert, we know they need Y. It's a collaborative process and the best way to get to know the owner well."

Arctic Audio
Rod Shafer
3045 Main Ave S, Fargo, ND 58103