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Garage Rocked

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					                                                               INSTALLATION FOCUS




Garage Rocked
The era of the smart, customised installation is upon us and
futuristic incarnations of home cinema at its finest are
springing up everywhere. Never one to buck a trend HAMISH
MCNAIR-WILSON hopped aboard a train bound for the North
to uncover D&T Electronics latest project...
   INSTALLATION FOCUS




As an editor of a magazine, strangely a lot of time is spent out of the        that the smartest of installations are no longer confined to the affluent
office and on the road. With an abundance of shows to attend, installations    country piles of Britian’s economic elite. Wherever you choose to set up
to uncover, press conferences to endure and company headquarters to            shop there is, it would seem, a burgeoning base of movie and music
explore rare is the week when you won’t find me scooting off, with a           buffs ready to spend their hard earned pennies on the finest wares
wedge of expenses burning a hole in my pocket, ready to spread the             the modern AV industry affords its consumers.
What’s New In Sound and Vision gospel to all I encounter. I even made it as         The Southport installation was certainly testament to this,
far as the previously uncharted territory that is the North West for events    as the quiet seaside town located well and truly within the
such as the Home Entertainment Show and, more recently, the Northern           sticks is certainly no obvious hotbed of progressive technology. And
Sound and Vision. However, last month, when I found myself on a branch         Blenheim House itself gave nothing away either as, though located in
line in rural Lancashire I realised I was on a journey that was somewhat       a wealthy area, it had a stately air evocative of a more traditional
out of the ordinary. Yes, I was in fact on my way to Southport to learn more   opulence - something manifest in everything from the fountain gracing
about what is possible at the highest end of the AV and home cinema            the expansive forecourt to the décor that greeted me within. Venturing
market and, more specifically, how one lucky residence had transformed         down the custom made staircase to an area that was once part of the
their garage into one of the finest hubs of entertainment even I’ve seen.      garage and used for storage, I was bracing myself for what we were
The work of, amongst others, the team behind the Hacienda project we           really interested in. With £100K having been invested in this particular
looked at a couple of months back - D&T Electronics - it is healthy to see     home cinema, I was expecting great things...
A stately aura, with a
cinema to match

shine like stars                                                                   with this particular wall-filling, intensely absorbing inclusion. With Finding
There are so many elements relevant to the modern custom installation and          Nemo up and running, the DLP Projector was given an opportunity to prove its
the first to catch my eye was the striking fibre optics that lit the cosy new      worth as the king of the crop of home cinematic formats around today...
room. Scattered across the ceiling, they shone like a starlit sky and alongside          It wasn’t just the visuals that caught my attention, however, and even
the deep blue tones of the carpet, gave the room an artistic ambience. The         the most hardened critic couldn’t fail to have been shaken by the audacious
art of installation is all about making the most of what you’re given and when     sonic performance this particular system provided. Running through the
it came to the placement of these lights, we’re told there were limitations.       innovative Lexicon’s MC8B Sound Processor, the set-up comprised three
However, this isn’t apparent in the finished article and they offset the home      Genelec HT208 two way active speakers, two Genelec AIW26 Rear
cinema with aplomb. The chic furniture was thoroughly befitting of a high          Wallmount speakers and a bombastic two Genelec HTS4 Home Theatre
end installation, as were the number of signed and framed pictures of              Subwoofers. The speakers sold themselves to the installers D&T through
various Hollywood stars dotted about the place, but their role wasn’t entirely     their ability to produce immersing sounds from sleek and subtle shells, and
superficial. I was caught off guard by the ingenuity that had gone into hiding     the installation’s maestro Mark Hellier couldn’t sing their praises enough.
the wiring and connections, as Mark Helliar from D&T leant over and pulled         Not that he needed to. Fitted flush to the walls, there were two located
open one of the wall panels to reveal a buzzing mass of intelligent electrics      immediately behind the sofa, and one either side of the screen. Discreet
capable of confusing all but an AV installation expert.                            and thoroughly unassuming in looks, in performance they were anything but
     No AV industry commentator worth his salt could have failed to notice the     and the sounds produced stood out as the highlight of the set-up. The bass
Crestron touchscreen sat pride of place on top of the functional, handcrafted      alone was astonishing. With the pair of sizable subwoofers cranked up to a
wooden coffee table. The company’s TPS3000 model, powered by the CP2               fair volume, it reverberated around the room, helping one to feel as well as
Processor...there are few models as intuitive in operation. Offering access to a   watch the movie. An explosive addition to any action film, D&T and of
range of media courtesy of a simple touch, negotiating the system is as easy       course Genelec boffins had clearly done their homework.
as pie for the lucky owners, asserting once again that even the most complex             As we all know, these days the modern home cinema can offer so
of home-based systems can come in a user-friendly package. This particular         much more than the relay of movies, and increasingly audio-visual
one puts Sky Digital, a Sony DVPNS930VB DVD player, a Playstation, a               technologies are being fused with others to offer the end user greater
conventional VCR and the house’s CCTV system at its wielder’s fingertips.          convenience. This was certainly the case here in Southport. There are no
Meanwhile, Crestron’s module was also able to provide a preview of each            names more commonly associated with a smart installation than lighting
option on the touchscreen itself, which should help to ensure irritating           pioneers Lutron, and herein discreetly tucked away was a six Zone Light
channel flicking will be expunged in this and other systems of the future.         Controller, the 3506, provided by these most consistent of innovators.
                                                                                   Running alongside the firm’s GRX-AVRS232, through a RS232 Interface, the
first screening                                                                    users are privy to a whole host of lighting options - which include a
At the core of the incredible visuals Mark soon had up and running was the         number of scenes appropriate to a range of scenarios - called up with a
high quality Sim2 HT300 Plus DLP projector. Operating alongside an eight-foot      the touch of a button on the Crestron touchscreen. Should one of the
Stewart FireHawk fixed screen, the owners had demanded as large a screen           residents wish to leave the room, for example, there is a one touch option
as possible be incorporated and they certainly couldn’t have been disappointed     which lights a clear path up the stairs without disturbing the ambience for
                                                                                   any viewing companions. It is such creature comforts that really make a
                                                                                   difference for the home cinema fan these days, and fortunately here D&T
                                                                                   had the solution.

                                                                                   that’s entertainment
                                                                                   There is home cinema and then there is home entertainment generally, and
                                                                                   this family demanded some extra interactivity with the inclusion of a Playstation
                                                                                   II. Once again accessible from the Crestron module, the keypads for this had
                                                                                   been cleverly housed in a hidden compartment in the coffee table, completely
                                                                                   out of sight. Within a matter of seconds, however, with barely the move of a
                                                                                   muscle we were able to flick from a film about fish to the latest golfing game
                                                                                   and play at being Tiger Woods. And on a screen of this magnitude the realism
                                                                                   of the game play itself is taken to a whole new level. Highlighting the
                                                                                   dynamism of both the system and the Crestron touchscreen itself, once again
The handcrafted
stairway to heaven                                                                 this installation offered hard proof that in the future AV won’t end with the film
                                                                                   credits, but will be intrinsically linked to other forms of entertainment.

                                                                                                                                                                 45
INSTALLATION FOCUS
 The brains of system




     As a result, of course, creating an installation is no mean feat and those
not in the know are often left astounded at the number of different groups of
people required to work in conjunction with one another to make it all happen.
Here, for example, not only was there the architect and designer, the carpenter
and D&T Electronics themselves but electricians, plumbers, builders and more.
Not forgetting MGN partnership, of course, responsible for the stunning decor.
However, despite the odd hitch and dispute and the occasional need for some
intense and frustrating thumb twiddling while the carpenter finished off his
handy work, eventually it all came together to create a home cinema that is a
credit to all parties involved and the pride and joy of the owners.
     The work on their home, at the time of my visit, was ongoing, and not                   this - installers like D&T, the innovation of the Crestrons and Lutrons of this
satisfied with having some of the finest AV entertainment available in this                  world. And let’s not forget those that make watching a movie in a home a
swish and chic room that was once a storage bay, D&T were busying                            truly cinematic experience - in this instance Sim2 and the mighty Genelec.
themselves to prepare the bathroom for a system of its own. Indeed, with                     Home cinema as a label is being used and exploited like never before. These
some completely unobtrusive in-ceiling speakers already in situ, at the foot                 days it’s found adorning everything from the most expensive of all in projector
of the bath was the space that, by the time you read this, will be home to a                 or plasma packages right down to the box of a cheaply cobbled together
viewing module providing entertainment whilst the homeowners soak.                           surround sound speakers designed to embellish the performance of a bog
Coming complete with a 100% waterproofed remote control, this kind of                        standard CRT you can pluck from the shelves of your local supermarket.
convenience and technological sprawl to areas of the home not normally                       However, there are those that would look to installations of this ilk in order to
associated with entertainment may well become as significant a part of the                   explain the true meaning of the phrase. Now, like never before, the concept is
future for the AV industry as the pursuit of better audio and visuals.                       broadening and the boundaries of the AV industry are being blurred. Lighting,
                                                                                             smart automated controls and decorative concerns are becoming ever more
making a market                                                                              significant considerations and they are becoming difficult for those at the
Obviously not everyone is going to have the kind of cash needed to restructure               smart end of our industry to ignore.
their home in this manner. However, in every marketplace there is a small
selection of the clientele driven exclusively by the pursuit of the utmost                    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
quality, and the more installers and manufacturers begin to offer in the home
cinema sector, the more it will strike a chord with those prepared to break                   Crestron: +44 (0) 208 439 7272 www.crestron.com
the bank. A Ferrari isn’t a mass market motoring option, but that doesn’t stop                D&T Electronics: +44(0) 870 444 5945 www.dandt.co.uk
people from selling them or the units from shifting. And there is clearly a                   Genelec: +44 (0) 208 418 0778 www.genelec-ht.com
demand to be met at the highest end of the AV industry. Indeed, the smart                     Lutron: +44 (0) 207 702 0657 www.lutron.com
installation is a concept spreading like wildfire, out of the mansion and into                Sim2: +44 (0) 182 575 0850 www.sim2.co.uk
the suburbs, out of the home countics and all around the country... and credit                Sony: +44 (0) 193 281 6000 www.sony.co.uk
must be given to those currently operating in this sphere that have enabled




Reprinted from the April                                                  WHAT'S NEW IN



2004 issue of SOUND                                                      A N D                 V I S I O N
                                                                         From the publishers of INTERNATIONAL SMARTHOUSE

				
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