Published On: June 25, 2024

Beyond DIY: Transforming a Basement into a High-Tech Home Theater

Published On: June 25, 2024
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Beyond DIY: Transforming a Basement into a High-Tech Home Theater

Discover how Howard turned his basement into a luxury home theater, creating an immersive cinematic experience that goes beyond DIY.

Beyond DIY: Transforming a Basement into a High-Tech Home Theater

If you’ve ever dreamed of having a home theater that rivals your favorite cinema, you’ll want to hear about Howard’s incredible home theater transformation in New Jersey. With the help of Dreamedia, Howard turned an unfinished basement into a luxurious, high-tech entertainment space that’s nothing short of amazing. Here’s a closer look at the journey, the technology, and the experience behind creating this custom home theater.

Howard's basement, originally a 30x20 feet area, was primarily unfinished when he decided to embark on this project. The goal was to create a dedicated space for watching movies with family and friends, and this vision required careful planning and execution. The final dimensions of the theater room ended up being approximately 27x19 feet, with the inclusion of a false wall and high-density rock wool insulation to enhance soundproofing.

Howard and Kellen Fleener of Dreamedia.

One of the first considerations was ensuring that sound would not leak out of the theater space. To address this, Howard implemented a double-wall construction with a gap filled with acoustic insulation. This method effectively contained the sound, providing an immersive audio experience without disturbing the rest of the house. The ceiling height, initially 10 feet, was finished at about 9.5 feet, with a step-up in the back that accommodated additional seating.

176-inch, 2.35:1 acoustically transparent screen in Howard's home theater.

The centerpiece of Howard's home theater is a stunning 176-inch, 2.35:1 acoustically transparent screen. This screen allows sound to pass through without compromising audio quality, which is vital for maintaining the immersive experience. Behind the screen, Howard installed a center channel speaker from Tekton Design, with all other speakers in the theater also from Tekton Design, known for their efficiency and sound quality.

Tekton Design Speaker.

The audio setup in Howard’s theater is a 7.4.4 configuration, providing a surround sound experience that envelops viewers from all directions. He included two SVS PC-2000 Pro cylindrical standing subs in addition to two SVS SB-4000 subs behind the screen, ensuring deep, resonant bass that you can feel as much as hear. 

In the AV closet, a Marantz 8805 AV receiver acts as the brain of the system, supported by an Outlaw Audio 7-channel differential amplifier and an Emotiva 5-channel amp to drive the Atmos speakers.

Marantz 8805 AV receiver in AV closet.

Arguably the star of Howard's theater is the JVC 4100 projector equipped with an anamorphic lens and a MadVR video processor. This combination delivers stunning visual performance with exceptional contrast and color accuracy. Howard shared his enthusiasm when he spoke with Kellen Fleener of Dreamedia about upgrading from his previous Epson 6050 projector, noting that the difference was "like night and day."

The MadVR processor enhances the projector's capabilities, particularly with tone mapping, which Howard found lacking in the JVC projector alone. With MadVR, he enjoys a "set and forget" experience, where the projector's performance is optimized automatically. Additionally, the MadVR's geometry correction addresses barrel distortion from the anamorphic lens, resulting in a flawless image.

MadVR Envy MK2 Video Processor

Seating is another crucial aspect of Howard's home theater. The room comfortably accommodates ten seats, with additional floor pillows for more casual seating arrangements, allowing up to 15 people to enjoy the space. The step-up seating in the back ensures that everyone has a clear view of the screen, creating a true theater-like experience.

The design elements, largely overseen by Howard himself, contribute significantly to the room's ambiance and functionality. Despite his extensive AV knowledge, Howard acknowledges that partnering with Dreamedia brought invaluable expertise. He recommends professional installation for anyone looking to achieve a similar level of quality and detail in their home theater.

JVC 4100 projector.

Howard is already thinking about future upgrades. He plans to replace the current screen with a higher gain screen to achieve more brightness and possibly incorporate ambient light rejection features. Additionally, he is considering updating the Marantz 8805 AV receiver to a model with better room correction capabilities, such as Dirac Live or similar technologies.

Howard's home theater journey is a testament to the transformative power of professional installation and high-quality equipment. Dreamedia's expertise ensured that every aspect of the theater, from acoustics to visuals, was meticulously planned and executed. The result is a home theater that delivers an outstanding cinematic experience, right in the comfort of Howard's basement.

Howard’s journey from an unfinished basement to a luxurious home theater is a great example of what’s possible with the right vision, equipment, and professional help. His theater is not just a place to watch movies; it’s an immersive experience that rivals commercial cinemas.

This theater transformation showcases that while DIY projects have their place, some levels of awesome can only be achieved with the help of professionals. So, if you’re looking to create a home theater that offers the ultimate in comfort, technology, and design, reach out to the experts and let them turn your vision into reality.

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