That 'Lil' Old Media Room in Texas

Description

That Lil’ Ol’ Media Room in Texas – Take Two

I rewrote my media room story because of a few changes complete with new pictures.

01 MR front 3_RS.jpg


02-06232019 Media room 02_RS.jpg


03 MR right side Toward rear 1_RS.jpg

This current Media Room is the result of three previous media rooms, countless stereo systems, and quite a few years of planning, growth and tweaking :-) I still have a way to go and have several upgrades/tweaks planned for the upcoming months. It is a labor of love and manyhours of both listening and watching have been enjoyed here. My goal was that the media room would be a dual purpose spacefor both listening to music and watching movies. For the most part I feel I have succeeded.

We moved into our current house almost nine years ago. The Media room was custom built over the oversized two car garage and is 18.5' x 22.5' with 9.5' ceilings at the center. All four walls have about a thirty degree tilted in soffit area where the side and rear surrounds are mounted. The ATMOS speakers are ceiling mounted and the front speakers are freestanding. Wiring for the surrounds were pulled by the builder/contractor and are 14 ga. I pulled the ATMOS wiring myself adding it later (now, THATwas a lovely job!). The front speakers (LCR) are wired with my take on "audiophile" speaker wire and are twin Belden 10ga in a Bi-Wire configuration.

There are two niches that I had built-in for media storage. While I thought I had plenty of room that has not proven to be the case. My collection is starting to crowd the space and I may have to move the LP’s to storage boxes to free up more room for Silver Disks!

04 MR Media shelves 4_RS.jpg 05 MR Media shelves 1_RS.jpg 06 MR L to R rear_RS.jpg

The Stuff!
Signal Processing and Amplification

07 MR Rack 4_RS.jpg
09 MR Rack Mixer and Computer 1_RS.jpg

  • Marantz AV7703 Pre/Processor
  • Parasound Halo A21 - 2 Channel Power Amp
  • Parasound Halo A52+ - 5 Channel Power Amp
  • Parasound ZoneMaster 450 (for the ATMOS) - 4 Channel Power Amp
  • Yung 300 subwoofer plate amplifiers (2) for the Tactile Transducers
  • Mackie 14 Channel Mixer
  • OPPO UDP-203 - UHD Universal Disk Player
  • AppleTV 4K
  • DirecTV DVR
  • Yamaha CDC-755 - CD Changer
  • Audio Technica Turntable with AT Cartridge
  • Apple MacBook Pro (Circa 2014)
08 MR Rack 5_RS.jpg



Display
  • JVC DLA-RS500 Projector
  • Vutec Fixed BriteWhite 2.35:1 Screen 136" diagonal

Speakers
  • 2 - BG Radia FS-520i Planar Ribbon/Hybrid Floor Standing Speakers for front left and right
  • 1 - BG Radia 220i Center Channel Planar Ribbon/Hybrid speaker
  • 4 - BG Radia SA320i in-wall Planar Ribbon/Hybrid Speakers for surround and rear speakers
  • 4 - Polk CS-6 In-Ceiling Speakers for the ATMOS (Middle and Rear ATMOS)
  • 2 - Rythmik F18 - 18" sealed box powered subwoofers (900 watts RMS)
  • 1 - Definitive Technology PF-15 15" powered subwoofer (150 watts RMS)
  • 2 - Earthquake Sound Q-10B Tactile Transducers (AKA Buttkickers) - One mounted on the rear row raised seating platform and one mounted on the front row shaker platform.
16 MR right spk_RS.jpg

Power Conditioning
  • 2 - Furman Elite 20A Power Conditioners
  • 2 - Leviton 20 amp in-wall surge protectors at equipment racks
  • 4 - Leviton 15 amp in-wall surge protectors at all subwoofer positions.

System Control
  • URC MX930 Remote Control
  • URC MSC400 Master System Controller

Acoustic Panels
  • 4 - GIK 2'x4'x2" Diffuser/Absorber Panels
  • 4 - GIK 1'x4'x4" Diffuser/Absorber/Bass Trap Panel

Equipment Rack

  • Middle Atlantic 19" double width rack
Gimcracks
  • Isolation Platforms for the OPPO Blu-Ray player and the Audio Technica Turntable.
  • The platforms are 18"x18" concrete pavers sitting atop Penn Elcom rubber Isolation feet.
  • Isolation Platforms for LCR speakers and the Definitive Technology PF-15 Sub.
  • 18"x18" Concrete Pavers resting on Penn Elcom Rubber Isolation Feet.
  • Tactile Transducer Shaker Platform for first row of seating.
  • Double ¾ Inch MDF Glued and Screwed together. Resting on Penn Elcom Rubber Isolation Feet (18)
  • SVS SoundPath Subwoofer Isolation system on the Rhythmik F18's Subs
  • For the turntable I rewired around the built-in preamp using some old Monster interconnects direct to the tonearm wiring.
  • I added a turntable clamp/weight and replaced the mat with a nice new cork mat. Each one of these tweaks made an incremental improvement (at least I perceived an improvement) in the sound I was getting from the turntable.

A Note On CABLES and WIRING
My cable philosophy....
I have been in the business of audio and electronics for a long time. At one time (ah... the 70's) I even owned part of a 16/24 track recording studio that we wired ourselves (the exception being the AC power :-). We also ran sound for local bands and sold large scale PA's (one of my partners continued in this business and has only now retired). So, that said, I have some experience with cabling, grounding and power distribution to large and complex audio systems. IMHO, and I understand it is JUST MY OPINION, High-End "Audiophile" cables are just not worth the very small differences and improvements, if any, they provide. The job of a cable is to deliver, without undue change to the signal, that signal to the next device.If a cable acts as a tone control/filter/time domain alteration it is a poorly designed cable and not doing it’s job as intended. If a particular combination of cable happens to make a profound change in the sound of the system, either for the better or the worse, it is not functioning as a cable should or there is a basic design flaw in the equipment itself.

Please note that I am a firm believer in the idea that quality cables do matter!At Least in the respect that all cables must beBUILT WELL (mechanically sound) of quality materials and components.And, if they are, that cable will perform as well as anything out there regardless of price.

Having said thatI do admit that I have neither the time, patience, OR THE MONEY, to acquire, test and evaluate the high end cable market. If anyone wants to send me some $10,000 (or even $1000) stereo pairs to compare I will certainly do my best to do an honest evaluation and return them to you. And, if you have any of those $2500 per foot power cables lying about I would love to give those a try as well :-)


  • Balanced cables between Pre/Pro and Amps - Mogami 3080 cable and Amphenol
  • XLR's built by "World’s Best Cable"
  • HDMI by Blue Jeans Cable 35' BJC Series One - Projector (2) 6' BJC Series One - OPPO UDP-203 all other HDMI are 3' or 6' BJC Tartan 24 Series cables
  • My Crappy Turntable I rewired with some Monster interconnect cables that I had lying about.
  • All other RCA type interconnects I built (well most of them anyway :-) using Belden 1694A cable and solder type REAN RCA connectors.
  • Speakers in-walls and in-ceiling use 14 Gauge contractor grade speaker cable
  • LCR - Belden 5T00UP 10 Gauge x 2 biwired with locking banana plug connectors and spade connectors at each end.
  • I built a "Audiophile" speaker cable that can be seen that can be seen below.
10 MR Rack Wiring 1_RS.jpg 11 MR Rack Wiring 2_RS.jpg
  • They look VERY nice and "audiophile-ly"! As good as they look it made zero difference in the sound over the simple separate wires draped across the floor.
12 Kohnnman Center 1_RS.jpg



17 MR spk cable at wall 1_RS.jpg 18 MR Spk cables right spk 01_RS.jpg
Power Cables

  • DIY 12 gauge Belden 83803 used on main power amps
  • DIY 14 gauge Belden 19634 used on pre/pro, ATMOS power amp, Yung Power amps, and F18 subs
  • WAudio 10 gauge Audiophile cable used on OPPO Blu-Ray player

13 MR Rear 2_RS.jpg 14 MR Guitar amps 5_RS.jpg 15 MR platform shaker 1_RS.jpg 19 MR turntable 1_RS.jpg


There are a few upgrades I have in mind;
Put a safety railing on the back row.
A lower output LED tape light in the back for safety
Plug the windows with acoustical panels to stop all light infiltration and as a noise barrier.
Replace the right and left front speakers. Maybe a pair of GoldenEar Triton 5's or Reference!
A new projector.... I have a JVC DLA-RS3000 in mind :-)
New Turntable
Record Cleaning System
New DAC


Thank you for providing the opportunity to display my system. Forums like this are fantastic for the exchange of information and ideas, and most especially for inspiration and encouragement to those of us that share this passion/hobby. Keep it going!

This system continues to satisfy and provide me many hours of joy and diversion. You should hear Pink Floyd's Welcome To The Machine in 5.1 on this system :-)


Cheers!


Tom

Comments

Very nice setup. Looks great and the decorations are awesome! Way to go! Especially, like the guitars!
 
Very nice... love the color scheme.

I've yet to hear the Radia speakers, but have wanted to for a while now... they just don't seem to make the big shows I've been to.
 
Very nice... love the color scheme.

I've yet to hear the Radia speakers, but have wanted to for a while now... they just don't seem to make the big shows I've been to.
Hi Sonnie, Thanks!
BG used to show up occasionally to CEDIA and some of the high end audio things. Unfortunately they were bought by Christie (the projector folks) and they promptly shut down the home business about three or four years ago. They continue to build and sell versions for cinemas....
https://www.christiedigital.com/en-us/cinema/cinema-products/cinema-speakers/screen-channel-loudspeakers
All of the BG products feature planar ribbon drivers of their own design. My main LR speakers are the Radia 520i that are a two way design with two 6” woofers and a 50” planar ribbon driver. The rest of the speakers use a combination of 3” ribbon tweeters and 7” ribbon mids. I love the sound of ribbons and think the clarity and transparency they impart is second only to some of the better electrostatics out there. I also installed BG’s in my family room 7.1 system. You can still find some dealers with a buyout stock of some of the BG models (in-walls for the most part).

One of the founders of BG passed away and I think the sale was precipitated by that. Their head designer helped create/design the Wisdom Audio speakers. If you see them at a show you need to check them out!
 
Very nice setup. Looks great and the decorations are awesome! Way to go! Especially, like the guitars!
Thanks! Music is another strong interest of mine. I just wish I could play them like they deserved to be played!

T
 
Thats a great room! I really like the A/V rack. It sure keeps the equipment nicely organised.
 
Great room Tom! Welcome to AV NIRVANA (in a big way!!!). That's quite a gear list you have there... and a massive cinemascope screen! What time is the first showing tonight???
 
Nice room and equipment. I really like your comment at the end, which makes this all worth it. The enjoyment these systems can provide is just great, and one of my favorite things to do is go enjoy music or movies in my theater.
 
Thats a great room! I really like the A/V rack. It sure keeps the equipment nicely organised.
Hi Tony, Thanks! The rack is a double width (2 rack spaces) from Middle Atlantic. It’s on casters so I can push it out by a foot or two and allow access to my Ethernet switch and DirecTv distribution stuff. I will eventually get around to rack mounting the Marantz and the Parasound A52+. i had a terrible ground loop issue that I finally tracked down and did not want to commit the them to a rack mount until that was corrected. Now that that is fixed I will take some rime to install the rack mounts.
 
Great room Tom! Welcome to AV NIRVANA (in a big way!!!). That's quite a gear list you have there... and a massive cinemascope screen! What time is the first showing tonight???
Hi Todd, Thank you for the welcome! It’s great to find a spot where like minded folks can exchange ideas and swap stories:-) some of the gear is new and some was purchased years ago (as in the Yamaha CDC) and the DTI subs. Let me know if you are ever in the Dallas area and we’ll put something on :-)
 
Nice room and equipment. I really like your comment at the end, which makes this all worth it. The enjoyment these systems can provide is just great, and one of my favorite things to do is go enjoy music or movies in my theater.
Thanks! I love this hobby/obsession/passion! It’s is so great to know there are others out there that share in it as well :-)
 
Wow, Tom, nice job! Just reading through the equipment list had me drooling. My dream is an over-the-garage media room, cool to see this.
 
Wow, Tom, nice job! Just reading through the equipment list had me drooling. My dream is an over-the-garage media room, cool to see this.
Thanks! I love (sometimes to my wife’s dismay :-) tinkering and trying new things. My usual upgrade path is to get an idea... obsess... buy ... try... and then sell the stuff I upgraded on eBay. The over garage room came with a accommodating builder with our last house build six years ago. In most cases they worked with me in what I wanted. If we build another house I will try some other things for sound and light control. Got to get busy and sell the old Parasound amps now :-)
 
Hey Tom, that's a very impressive room and system you've got there! Congrats! I was watching the Roger Waters' The Wall Atmos blu-ray this morning and I bet that would sound awesome in your room.
Jack
 
Hey Tom, that's a very impressive room and system you've got there! Congrats! I was watching the Roger Waters' The Wall Atmos blu-ray this morning and I bet that would sound awesome in your room.
Jack
Thanks Jack! Love me some Pink Floyd! I have Welcome to the Machine in 5.1 SACD and it does sound great. Regular two channel is also pretty good on the system. Pink Floyd, Yes, King Crimson, Little Feat, Steely Dan, Eagles.... I’m pretty much stuck in the 60’s and 70’s. To me, many of the best recorded, and best sounding, music came out of that era.... that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it! ;-)
 
Hey Tom, that's a very impressive room and system you've got there! Congrats! I was watching the Roger Waters' The Wall Atmos blu-ray this morning and I bet that would sound awesome in your room.
Jack
Looks like we have similar music tastes. Turn it up and enjoy!
 
I also want to mention that I took advantage of the balanced sub outs on the Marantz by attaching RDL balanced to unbalanced conversion boxes on the backs of my old Definitive Tech PF15 subs. The RDL box uses passive studio grade transformer conversion There is now only about a foot of unbalanced cable connecting the subs. My goal was to reduce or eliminate the last little bit of hum the old subs were outputting. It worked and the subs are now nice and quiet.

Next upgrade.... Subs!
 
Nice room, that is one massive audio rack. You must be kicking some killer audio.
Thanks! Audio side pretty good but still tweaking.... Slowly making meaningful (I hope anyway :-) improvements. Next upgrade replacing my agin subs.. got my eye on some Rythmik FV15HP’s
 
Wow welcome to AV NIRVANA, you have one heck of an equipment list. I would love to have a dedicated room like yours someday. I would suggest looking into SVS subwoofers, they make quality products and have a excellent warranty.
 
AWESOME room, Tom! I especially like how you put the side and rear surrounds into the 30 degree angle portion of the ceiling. I can visualize how well the sound would envelope the listeners. Am I correct to assume you performed the construction and installation of this theater single handedly by you alone? It's quite an accomplishment to say the least!

As for a DAC to replace your Cambridge DAC Magic, I can recommend the SMSL M8A. It is very revealing sounding with excellent bottom end.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XW8WS1R/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

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