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Just Basements & ARTium Design Build – Partner Profile

Sound Advice

Ottawa’s Signature Audio Video shares some sound advice on important details when considering a home theater.

Just Basements and ARTium Design Build have been designing and building stunning spaces for close to 20 years. Our team can design and build a great space, but when it comes to making it sound great, we go to the experts!! We have worked with Signature Audio Video in Ottawa for 20 years and value their team’s expertise in making a basement or main floor sound incredible.

Our in-house design team works closely with Signature Audio Video and our clients during our design phase to quite often create a real life theater experience. Every project is a bit different, sometimes we create a dedicated home theater room and some projects require a whole house solution.

We asked Chad Westwell, Project Manager and Roger Delarosbil Owner of Signature Audio Video to answer a few key questions about where to start when considering great audio and video for your home.

Q – In setting up a home theater, what basic key components should homeowners start with?

A - When planning a home theater design or build, everything starts with where you are going to sit in

the room with respect to the projection screen / TV wall. Once this has been determined, we look at environmental issues like; windows, bathroom, staircases, sound transfer to the rest of the house, mechanical or structure interference as well as other issues that impact the design and finished space. Q - How important is design when creating an ultimate home theatre? A – Design is paramount in a proper Home Theater layout and implementation.

Q - When clients are thinking about a home theatre, what type of questions do you typically ask?

A –

1. How many people will be using this space?

2. Will the client be using this space during the day or mainly in the evening?

3. Will the Theater be used mainly for movies / TV streaming, Sports or all three. Then we determine a % of each to design the screen aspect ratio best suited for performance

4. Is this just room for Video or for Music listening as well; if the customer listens to a lot of music including concerts we take that into consideration when it comes to the supporting sound aspect of the room.

5. Are we concealing all speakers into the walls and ceiling to create a stealth type of look and feel?

6. Is this a closed Theater room or do they want a Media open room concept?

7. What sources do you want to play in this Theater?

8. What about seating, is this a tiered seating set up or a large modular seating area?

9. Are we doing scenes based automation system so that a watch movie button controls the

lighting / shading and all aspects of the room pertaining to the scene chosen?

Q – What was the best home theatre you created with Just Basements?

A – From my personal experience, it would have been in my own home, I contracted Just basements for the build and we were able to create a classic style THX Theater with a private listening area and open back bar to a wet bar and lounge.

Q – Any new must have audio video gadgets out this year?

A - Everything is 4K resolution for Video and a must have is a Dolby Atmos system for the supporting Audio. 4K resolution refers to a horizontal screen display in the order of 4,000 pixels.

Q – How important is lighting in a home theater?

A - Lighting and its control in the theater is very important. In a projector room, the image travels through the room on a beam of light, if you bleed room lighting into that beam of light it takes away the depth and detail of the image as well as the color crispness. The use of automated blinds and lighting control plays a major part in the performance of the room.

Q – What is the best way to optimize sound in a home theater that is not an enclosed room?

A – To control sound we need to start from the initial design of the walls/ceiling and how that space will transfer energy to the rest of the house. Once we have constructed the walls and ceilings properly by decoupling them to the house, we insulate the interior air space to the wall to add another trap for sound not to transfer beyond. The other area most designers forget, is the mechanical transfer through the ductwork to the house, we treat all of the ductwork to clamp the resonance transfer. Once the room is complete, we like to treat the inside of the space with acoustic absorbers and diffusers to heighten the detail and reduce reflectivity of the sound vs the sitting areas in the room. This ensures that the room will have a detailed outlet to the listener at any volume.

Thank you Roger, Chad and Signature Audio Video for all of your wonderful advice. If you are thinking about a home theater, head into Signature Audio Video and their extremely knowledgeable team would be pleased to help.

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