According to MD Integration, many housing developments at the higher end of the market now have a home cinema as a key part of the overall specification
Until recently, however, few developers treated the audio and video quality with the respect they deserved. Big mistake and a costly mistake, says Paul.
“More developers are starting to see that a professionally installed, designed and calibrated system is highly desirable for clients looking for their new luxury home,” Paul explains.
Paul argues a classy home cinema can give much needed USP and pulling power to a house on the market.
This particular property is in the heart of Wimbledon, London, where houses fetch a premium and anything that helps one stand out from a crowd of others is likely to score a direct hit with three targets – developers, home owners and buyers.
“Every detail for this particular job has been considered and executed beautifully.” says Paul. “But the best doesn’t always have to cost the earth and the cinema system in the basement of this house is surprisingly affordable. It also delivers a genuinely cinematic experience on the 2.35:1 ratio screen while remaining well within budgetary constraints.
“We had done a couple of jobs for the developer. This house had two large rooms in the basement, one for a gym and one that was chosen to be the cinema. The developer decided to go for an impressive home cinema, not a TV with five ceiling speakers, but something to add value and saleability to the property. Equally, being a developer, they wanted to keep the cost to a minimum.”
A key design feature of the cinema room were the levels; the front of the room was excavated.
The benefit of this approach is that users walk in to the room with no steps on to the top tier of seating and then step down to the lower tier.
But there’s little point creating ambience and architectural drama if the technology can’t deliver.
The front of the room has a false wall with the acoustically transparent 2.35:1 screen covering three Artcoustic Spitfire SL 6-3 systems – front centre, left and right – and two Artcoustic Spitfire subwoofers.
The surrounds and rears use Monitor Audio ceiling speakers, all powered from an Anthem MRX500 receiver and two Artcoustic PA-250 power amplifiers.
Also in the mix is an Onkyo amplifier with a JVC projector and RTI control.
The JVC DLA-X500 projector forms a key part of a system defined by the RTI T1-B remote control talking to an RTI XP6 processor back at the rack.
A Pioneer Blu-ray player is located in the room with cabling for additional source equipment.
Paul has high regard for the Artcoustic range: “What I most like about the Artcoustic range is it is scalable to the size of the room and budget. The demo facility in Chelmsford has also been a great selling point for us. This particular developer was blown away with the demo. The working relationship we have with Artcoustic adds to our credibility in front of the customer.”
That demo was crucial to swinging it Paul’s way because the biggest challenge was convincing the developer just how important it was to go to the Artcoustic showroom and experience a proper system.
Paul explains: “Once they had seen it, they really bought in to the idea. Fortunately we work with them on lots of projects so we were involved early and got the design settled at the start of the project. This meant there was very little in the way of problems along the way.”
But the project is more than a mere home cinema: it includes an RTI multi-room music system with speakers feeding sound into four rooms, but with all other rooms cabled for future expansion.
All rooms are also cabled for HD video distribution.
The RTI controls all music and video sources and triggers a Nu-heat underfloor heating system as well as Daikin air conditioning throughout the house.
Interactivity is rounded off with an iPad, which controls the Comelit IP door entry system.
Paul concludes: “I am finding developers are more responsive to cinema rooms, heating and A/C control; they want to do something that will wow there potential buyers. Adding that high-end cinema and televisions and other smart-home technology is becoming a major added-value factor that makes properties unique and more attractive to potential buyers.”
Three Artcoustic Spitfire SL 6-3 loudspeaker systems
Two Artcoustic Spitfire subwoofers
Two Artcoustic PA-250 power amplifiers
Monitor Audio ceiling speakers
Anthem MRX500 receiver
JVC DLA-X500 projector
RTI T1-B remote control
RTI XP6 processor
Pioneer Blu-ray player