Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Let's Talk Money - by Anthony Grimani

Selling a Theater as a Complete Room Can Help Ease Sticker Shock

“How much will this home theater cost, and what is included in this price?”

These questions sound familiar, right? I deal with them every day, even though, in my work, we don’t handle the construction, equipment sales, integration, or programming. Fortunately, an approach that I have been using seems to work very well for answering the “price” question without triggering sticker shock. > READ MORE

Excerpted from article published June 27, 2010 by Residential Systems magazine.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You Say Tomato

We at PMI find there are some inconsistencies in our industry about terminology around the difference between a home theater, screening room, media room, etc. The definitions we find provide the most clarity for professional and end-user alike are:

Screening Room (often called Home Theater) - a dedicated space for watching movies and media - Lights down, curtains open, and the entertainment begins (no dancing girls, please). The focused purpose of a Screening Room gives it the aura of exclusivity, cache, and a wonder to behold in and of its own.

Multi-Purpose Room (often called Media Room) - this type of space typically has additional functions beyond cinematic presentation; it may include living space, a bar, family play space, art gallery, perhaps even dancing girls.

Although these rooms are engineered and treated differently, it's entirely possible for them both to have stellar performance quality, depending on what the client's specific needs and desires are.

Looking specifically at two of our CEDIA award projects - one a screening room and one a media space - when all is said and done, through intelligent engineering, installation, and tuning processes, they sound and look consistent.

So, how do YOU say tomato?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Doing Your Part to Retain a Sound Designer's Phantom Imaging - by Anthony Grimani

The goal of a truly enveloping and engaging sound mix is to simulate reality. In the real world, sounds can come at you from an infinite number of directions and can change direction as the sources of the sounds move. Unfortunately, even the most advanced sound systems have a finite number of speakers, and it’s impractical to move them around the room during a show.

Mix engineers have a neat trick up their sleeves, though. They can use a process called panning to adjust the relative amplitude, time, and phase of the sounds that come from each speaker. When these variations in level and time arrive at the ears of a centrally located listener, they create the illusion that sounds are coming from places where there are no speakers. Panning only works, though, if the speakers in a system are able to produce sounds that appear to come from points between or outside the speakers. This effect is called phantom imaging. > READ MORE

Excerpted from article published November 7, 2008 by Residential Systems magazine. Chase Walton contributed to this article.

Friday, November 5, 2010

PMI Designs High-End Listening Stations for Magnolia Design Centers in Northern California

PMI recently designed listening rooms at four of Magnolia’s northern California design centers (San Francisco, San Carlos, Roseville, Mission Valley). Located inside Best Buy® stores, these four Magnolia Design Centers now feature high-quality stations with four listening axes to deliver optimal sound performance from any location or direction in the room. 

With our extensive technical knowledge and expertise in the engineering of high quality listening rooms, we designed and specified acoustical tuning systems to suit each room’s size and needs. The acoustical tuning systems are supplied by MSR Acoustics, using a combination of Sonata and Symphony modules from their new Dimension4™ collection. Dimension4™ features three systems, each of which includes a set of modules designed to deliver a clearer, smoother and more immersive audio experience. 

Anthony Grimani explains, "The challenge that Magnolia presented was to have all four corners of these new listening rooms sound great. Thanks to the flexibility, performance, and superb tuning ability of MSR’s acoustical systems, we were able to achieve their goals. We created a unique environment where listeners will be able to hear the subtle differences in various levels of speakers, all in the same space."

Pictured here are views from each side of the room to show the listening angle and the products being demonstrated. 




All four locations are now live so check them out in person to see/hear first-hand the difference high-quality audio and acoustical tuning has made in these spaces. For more information on MSR's Dimension4 acoustical tuning products, visit their website at www.msr-inc.com.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Taking the Gold at CEDIA Expo 2010

The dust has settled on yet another successful CEDIA show, and we're proud of the awards we won and of the partners we share them with. And we're very proud of our own Anthony Grimani who was this year inducted into the CEDIA Fellows program which honors longtime CEDIA members and volunteers who have contributed significantly to the association's success. Well done, all!


CEDIA Fellow Inductees - pictured L-R: Jeff Zemanek (Lutron), Ken Erdmann 
(CEDIA Chairman), Fred Ampel (Technology Visions), Anthony Grimani (PMI Ltd.)
 
Best Media Room Overall Winner
 Partnered with Audio Images
6-seat multi-purpose room in Orange County, California

 Large Home Theater Level IV/Gold Technical Design
Partnered with Audio Images
12-seat screening room in Orange County, California

 Integrated Home Level V/Gold Technical Design
Partnered with Aurant
Screening room in Park City, Utah

Media Room / Gold Technical Design
Partnered with Audio Images
6-seat multi-purpose room in Orange County, California


Integrated Home Level V / Silver Technical Design
Partnered with Audio Images
6-seat multi-purpose room in Orange County, California


Integrated Home Level VI / Bronze Technical Design
Partnered with Engineered Environments
12-seat screening room in Kona, Hawaii 
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Killer Luxe - Project Case Study 001

For our latest killer app project, we started with an A-list Hollywood client who wanted to build an outdoor cinema ... on his tennis court! Working with Justin Lesky of The Digital Home Connection (Santa Monica, CA), what seemed pretty straight-forward at first became a major engineering effort.

Let's start with the 40' x 6' x 8' trench that had to be dug to sink the projection screen and lift mechanism that rises 30' out of the ground. Then we designed a replica of the Tuscan-style main house to hold the projector, complete with its own air-conditioned ventilation. We acoustically treated the existing structure of the tennis court to reduce echo pinging off the walls, and to keep the sound from leaking into the swank neighborhood. 

This extraordinary space also includes a 7.1 channel sound system with three Meyer Sound outdoor-rated concert speakers, five giant subwoofers to generate 110 dB of clean bass SPL (sound pressure level), and 24 surround speakers for smooth envelopment of the center court listening area. A 35' wide perforated projection screen by Stewart Filmscreen, and a 20,000 lumens / 4k Sony digital cinema projector provide the stunningly sharp and bright picture. Now that's entertainment!

Read on for a photographic review of the build so far ...

Here's the outdoor space we started out with - tennis court flanked by two hard walls, a chain link fence, and stairway leading up to the main house. Bisected corners add 4 more sound echo bounce points.


Constructions begins ...


Digging a 40' trench to house the 35' projection screen and lift mechanism that rises 30 feet out of the ground.


We designed a mini replica of the Tuscan-style main residence to house the powerful 4k digital projector and audio equipment.


The projector house required its own ventilation and air-conditioning system to keep the equipment consistently cooled.

Ventilation silencer and subwoofer ready for installation. To control air handling noise in the projection room, we installed a silencer.

Finishing the projector house ...


Inside the projector house ...
Lift mechanism being installed inside the 30' underground trench - you can see the trap doors to the left.

"Hey, you talkin' to me?" The six foot rattler was not part of the construction crew and had to be escorted off the property!
 

Surround speakers and sound-absorbing walls installed ...

More to come as we put the finishing touches on this extraordinary project - come back soon to check on our progress!



END OF PART 1 ... MORE TO COME!