Chris Evans needs little introduction. But when the radio and TV star with more than 20 years’ experience in studios was introduced to options for cinema in the home, it called for a more lengthy initiation rite.

This fell to Gecko Home Cinema managing director Rob Sinden, whose job it was to break the ice on what the very best technology had to offer.

Rob’s rationale is this: in the same way big hitters in music, media and show business become accustomed to fine wine and luxury cars – Chris may or may not be a connoisseur of both – they are no less elitist on picture and sound quality when entertainment focuses on the home.

Rob says: “For people who work in TV and the music business, hitting on the best picture and sound quality is a challenge and Chris Evans’ expectations were high. His experience of listening to the best quality music systems every day made him quickly discount the other systems he heard. So after a couple of these false starts he made the trip to our private listening rooms in Newbury.”

Chris’ work is known to virtually all. The TV and radio presenter consistently clocks up high ratings from a loyal fan-base on BBC Radio Two and used to present TV shows, most notably Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush, The Big Breakfast and TFI Friday.

This latest project, however, was going to put him firmly on the right side of the screen – lounging in front of it watching, not being watched.

Chris’ route to Gecko is a well-trodden path. Rob Sinden has been designing and installing home cinemas for more than 25 years and his client list is a roll-call of big names in film and TV.

After running a store in King’s Road, Chelsea, for a decade, Rob relocated far from the bright lights a few years ago to the peaceful Berkshire countryside.

“If you are looking for the best sports car, you head to the race track; it’s exactly the same with the best music and home cinema systems,” explains Rob. “You need a dark, silent space to experience them at their very best and this sort of space is almost impossible to find in London. In our listening rooms, clients can experience music and film that is indistinguishable from the live performance.”

“From being a little dismissive about how much we’d use the system, we’ve become addicted” – Chris Evans

Here it was that Chris was introduced to Steinway Lyngdorf music and home cinemas. These, insists Rob, are the only systems that will satisfy musicians, audio professionals and anyone intimately familiar with live music.

After a demonstration on four of Gecko’s home cinema systems, Chris and his wife Natasha went for the Steinway Lyngdorf Model S 7.2 system.

“The clients wanted to come and see first-hand the systems because of their disappointment at the other systems they had already seen on their various visits,” says Rob, “When Chris visited our showroom they were simply the first systems he heard that met with his expectations.

“There is no other system that can reproduce music and film so perfectly and it’s also unique in not requiring a highly treated listening room for best results,” adds Rob. “This means the best possible sound quality can be achieved without expensive and unsightly wall treatments. A unique feature of Steinway Lyngdorf systems is they don’t require any specialist room changes for optimal results.”

This proved useful: timing, not just performance, was critical.

Chris and Rob originally met in November of 2013 and the finished installation had to be delivered in just five weeks.

The Steinway Lyngdorf Model S 7.2 system combines unique speaker configurations, bass management and audiophile room correction system, RoomPerfect.

This guarantees accurate sound first time in any room with a normal reverberation time.

The Steinway Lyngdorf Model S 7.2 system combines unique speaker configurations, bass management and audiophile room correction system, RoomPerfect.

This guarantees accurate sound first time in any room with a normal reverberation time.

Rob explains: “After years spent listening to professional monitors in purpose-built studios, Chris was particularly demanding of the audio quality of the cinema. The all-digital design of Steinway systems is another unique feature. It means they reproduce music and film with none of the background noise or loss of resolution from other audio systems.”

Chris may have rigorous expectations on sound and picture quality but he is something of a technophobe, says Rob: “The rest of the house is a wasteland for technology. Chris is a very busy man and likes to keep things simple. An iPad was chosen to control the audio system via a Crestron processor and a Lutron Graphic Eye.”

The projector chosen was the Sony VPL1000Es, which was the only true 4K domestic projector available at the time.

The detail this provides allows much bigger images to be viewed than with 1080p projectors, so a 4m-wide screen was used.

The only thing required to ensure optimal picture quality was blacking out the walls and ceiling with dark velour.

The audio system uses wide bandwidth Boundary Woofers, which must be placed in the front corners of the room, rather than subwoofers.

Aside from needing to be placed in these positions the room-correction system perfectly optimises the audio system.

The RoomPerfect technology has been in development for 15 years and is the only fully automated, three-dimensional room-correction system.

Rob says: “The patent protecting is one of the most complex ever filed in the world of audio with over 50 elements protecting its design. It is set up in a very similar way to any other room-correction system but it takes into account all of the room’s acoustics, not just the listening positions. This creates a much more in-depth understanding of the room, which is required for truly consistent results. Essentially the system is a ‘home theatre in a box’.

Once the cables have been installed nine out of 10 installations are completed in a day.

The system was finished in time for Christmas and since then the family has ploughed their way through several box sets.

Though Chris is a bit of a technophobe he has clearly fallen in love with watching movies and TV on the big screen.

The finished system is indeed pared down in line with the client’s desire for clean simplicity.

In reality however the home cinema is the result of highly technical and exhaustive attention to detail that focuses on several show-stopping AV pieces.

The net result for this maverick – sometimes madcap, occasionally maddening -– client is an attractive, low-impact room to unwind from all those capers and lose himself in a thumping-good Brit flick or an award-winning US crime drama.

Chris, whose biggest expectation at the start of the project was to reproduce what he saw and heard in the showroom, had never heard of the Steinway Lyngdorf home cinema systems before Gecko came into the frame.

His favourite aspect, now he is fully familiar with the technology and some of that technophobia has melted away, is whipping out the box sets and letting the system do the rest.

“From being a little dismissive about how much we’d use the system, we’ve become addicted,” says Chris. “We’ve ploughed through them all, Breaking Bad, Californication, Boss. Breaking Bad has definitely been our favourite to date.”

Essential kit list

Oppo BD103
Sony VPL 1000 projector
Gecko 12 foot wide 2.35:1 custom AV Screen
Steinway Lyngdorf P1 processor
Steinway Lyngdorf A1 amplifiers
Steinway Lyngdorf S15 speakers x 5
Steinway Lyngdorf LS R12 boundary woofers x 2
Lutron Graphic Eye
Crestron control system




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