“A year ago we threw it out to everyone here at the Majik House,” director Tim Burrow recalls his challenge where failure was not an option. “We were going to re-design our main cinema room and start from scratch. What should we do?”
For a company like the Majik House, which from its base near the historic market town of Kirkby Lonsdale between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales delivers AV, lighting, security and gaming projects, a showroom is a must, end of. And perfection is a must, end of.
“The only caveat we put before the team was that we wanted to illustrate a high-end cinema in a relatively small space.” explains Tim. “The previous cinema was expansive to say the least, taking most of the first floor here at the Majik House. The new one had to be of a size that anyone with even a relatively modest room size could get a feel of how a true cinema could work in their space.”
Business director Carol Burrow takes up the story on the thinking behind completely redesigning the company’s cinema: “The room is broad and open-plan, but it was too large for most people to visualise in their homes apart from the most prestigious of projects. We wanted to bring purist quality to a space that could be embraced in any home no matter the size or space.”
The new room measures 7m by 5.5m, with a sloping ceiling, which is 3.5m at its highest point – close to where a JVC 4K projector is now housed.
Yes, agree Carol and Tim, this may be larger than most people have for a spare room. But it gives a very tangible representation of what might be achieved in say, an underused garage or dining room.
But Carol’s team had to move fast and they continue to do so, as nothing stands still in CI, least of all technology: “At the time the AVR750 had just been launched and was the pinnacle of the receiver line up from Arcam. Once demonstrated and experienced in the dedicated space here at Majik House the effect was incredible; never before had the experience been so realistic.”
All that was left, says Carol, “was to enjoy the event. Maybe now we will be upgrading along the Arcam path as we have been very successful with this range to date and made many clients smile with the effects. Updates are now taking shape in our two-channel area with UDP and the A49 amp also.”
In a new feature, the walls and ceiling are covered with acoustic stretch fabrics supplied and fitted by partner company Atension.
Teeing up good relationships is critical to success and the tie up with Atension offered Majik House seamless project delivery. Both companies work hand-in-hand to optimise the complete installation for maximum effect.
Majik house has since completed six cinema room projects with the team from Atension.
Acoustic treatment of rooms neutralises reverberation, making the room inert and far more responsive to direct sound.
Put simply, this makes for a far more accurate representation of sounds produced, making the experience more realistic and more enjoyable.
Success is one thing but striving for perfection throws up even more challenges, especially when what went before was of formidable quality, says Carol: “The cinema before we changed it was fantastic, so the biggest challenge was to make significant changes to further enhance the overall experience of the film or music.
“Arcam played a significant part in this and the sonic treatments to the room ensured complete openness and true delivery of the sound in all cases. With the re-design of the room shape, the entire scheme provides a much more intense and immersive cinema experience and enables the full effects to come across at all times.”
Lighting effects also raise the game, with an amBX colour-scaping light system controlling all specialist Blade LED lighting, with light fittings custom-made with help from Tornado Lighting.
The amBX system boasts lighting that is reactive to both films and music for excellent cinematic or disco effects.
Enhancements to other parts of the showroom include installation of an Arcam AVR380 in a smaller media room and snug lounge area.
“Initial reaction to the new room has been absolutely glowing in terms of the specification, the design and finish,” says Tim. “But most of all people are impressed with the overall result the room delivers. We’ve used the room for showing movies and, of course, just for demo purposes as well as for a couple of gaming events. Combined with our new D-Box racing-simulation chair, co-designed with Aeon Systems, the new room takes driving games to another level.”
Warming to the theme, Carol explains what the new room has added to the business: “We are able to make event experiences unique to the client: like our home-automation projects; they are all bespoke. We have had 40th, 50th and 60th birthday parties with live singers, ladies-only nights with massage, beauty treatments and chic flics; christenings and casino nights.
“We’ve had many cinema nights, business meetings, leadership and management training events; cocktail nights, the list goes on. Without exception, every person who books the venue is wowed. One party had guests up from London and they said ‘there isn’t anything like this in London, you should open one down there’.”
And they may not have long to wait down south and anywhere else. Carol reckons the CI market and in particular home cinema is becoming more accessible and more popular with the typical consumer.
“The market is more accessible but the level of entry is also greater, from the all-in-one box product to the bespoke service that creates systems for the needs of a particular client. What is more important is the potential customer is wising up to what is possible. This has been slow to happen but clients now come with more of an idea about some of the things possible.”
But they are still, in many cases, unaware of the full extent of what can be achieved.
Read on to see what the future holds for Majik House and to find out exactly what was in the kit list…
In the next three to five years Carol reckons the CI business will continue to develop.
There will be an increase in plug-and-play products to enable more people to enter the market. This can only be good: it will improve access to the market and will increase education of that market.
As for the Majik House, Carol and Tim have specific company aims in the coming years. They want to increase service levels and deliver more bespoke projects to an even higher standard.
They want to serve and support existing clients to an even greater degree while coaxing a steady flow of new customers through their doors in Kirkby Lonsdale.
“The old adage of looking after your existing customers as they are likely to give you 80% of your business has never been truer,” insists Carol. “Customer focus has shifted slightly from just looking at price to wanting a service and a relationship with their home automation provider. After all many of the systems we install have become an intrinsic way of how our customers live their lives.”
amBX Colour Scaping Lighting System controlling all specialist Blade lighting
Velodyne Reference Digital Drive Sub Woofer
ARCAM AVR750 Controlled Processor and Power Amplification
Kaleidescape Cinema 1 Media Server
Apple TV / Sky HD
Oppo Blu Ray DVD Player
Control 4 HC-800 control with SR-250 remote control and iPad integration
JVC 4K DLA-x700R Projector with e-shift3 technology
Monitor Audio Platinum in-wall speakers for front left, centre and front right channels
Monitor Audio WT-380IDC for rear and side channels in 7.1 configuration
Screen Research 130IN cinema screen, velvet framed
Majik House bespoke racing chair
Six full leather cinema chairs with electric recliners, heated seats and massage options
Lutron Sivoi Blind and Curtain Tracks