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Showing posts from 2011

PMI Engineers Indoor Treehouse Screening Room in Atlanta

A few years ago, PMI partnered with Triad to launch three new home theater audio packages for customers desiring complete turnkey design + product solutions. Each package includes a fully engineered design, a set of loudspeakers appropriate for the room, and an acoustical treatment package that takes control of the speaker-room-listener interface.

This project in the Buckhead district of Atlanta, Georgia, started off as a PMI/Triad Cinema Plus project, working with Design Media Group. The brief was to add a room into the upper area of a high-ceilinged condo penthouse - literally hanging from the roof structure! PMI designed the layout of the room architecture and specified the audio/video system. We supported the construction process and calibrated the system in its final stages. "Sonically, this room is quite spectacular, and the client is very happy," says Peter Chakales with Design Media Group. "We recently played a virgin vinyl copy of Steely Dan's Gaucho and it w…

PMI Takes the Gold (and Bronze) and 2011 CEDIA Lifestyle Awards

In October, PMI was recognized as the specialty consultant for technical excellence on six winning design rooms in CEDIA's 2011 Electronic Lifestyles® Awards. For each of these projects, PMI created engineering plans and specifications to ensure optimized sound and picture performance for best return on the client's investment. Read on for descriptions and photos.  
LEVEL V GOLD AWARD PMI partnered with Sublime Integration to remodel this space from a playroom into a world-class theater. The walls were rebuilt to improve sound isolation, especially from a very noisy boiler room next door. The ventilation was re-engineered to make the HVAC systems more quiet and efficient. The bathroom was converted into an equipment room at the back of the theater. This is a great sounding room with state-of-the-art electronics and loudspeakers.
LEVEL VI GOLD AWARD In Mexico, this new dedicated theater was made entirely of solid concrete. Working with IteliKsa, PMI turned what would have sounded l…

PMI Engineers Practice & Recording Studio

PMI designed and engineered a practice and recording studio in a luxury home in Northern California. The dedicated space inside the home needed complete sound isolation so the client could play, practice and record music without sound leaking into the rest of the house. PMI specified suspended walls, a sound door, and a range of acoustical panels and treatments to make the room sound great for its many uses.

The plan drawing below shows one of the walls where we specified SõN™ Acoustic System Modulesby MSR Acoustics - and to the right of that is the finished space showing the same wall in its final state, complete with Pete Townshend decorated acoustically transparent curtain using the high-quality printing process from the Salon Acoustics™ line of decorative acoustical panels.

For more information on PMI projects and services, please visit our website. For information on acoustical tuning systems and treatments from MSR Acoustics, click here.

PMI Engineers Screening Room at Martis Camp in Lake Tahoe

Martis Camp is the pinnacle of private, residential communities located on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, California. Comprised of 2177 acres, this community offers an abundance of amenities and year-round activities. The 18,000 square foot Family Barn was built for a wide range of uses - with a bowling alley, art studio, concert stage, and screening room.

The compact 50-seat community screening room - designed and engineered by PMI - includes state-of-the-art picture and sound. While the project had some obvious limitations and compromises, it turned out to be a great-sounding room for this family-oriented community. 
For more info and photos on PMI portfolio projects, visit our website

The Custom Home Theater Experience - Part 1

If you’ve been around custom home theater long, you’ve probably heard someone say that you should be all about the home theater experience, rather than just buying products and services. That‘s a nice platitude, but what exactly does it mean, and how do you put it into practice?

For starters, to achieve an experience, you must delve into your psyche to meet the basic desires that drive everything we human beings do. It has been said that all our actions are based on seven main desires: Self Preservation, Freedom of Body and Mind, Material Gain, Recognition and Exclusivity, Love, Sex, and Absence of Fear. Of these, the most relevant to home theater are Recognition and Exclusivity and the Absence of Fear, which in this case would be apprehension toward undertaking a home theater project in the first place! In less-Freudian terms, you want to enjoy movies, music, etc., in your home and have something impressive to show your friends with as little worry and hassle as possible.

Practically…

The Importance of Diffusion

by Anthony Grimani
“Um, what’s diffusion, and why do I need it?” is the question from my client. Slowly, I take a breath, count to ten, and consider my options. First, I could scream, stomp around the room, and pull out my hair. Second, I could suddenly remember that I’m terribly late for another meeting (which is probably true) and beg to be excused. Third, I could remain calmly in my seat, smile, and politely explain the answer. Considering the nature of this client and his job, it looks like it’s option number three.
Here’s the sad thing. You might think that this client is a novice end user – the type whose digital clocks all blink 12:00. But he or she could just as easily be a custom integrator! I see it all the time: People who design home theaters for a living don’t know what diffusion is or why they need it. What’s particularly frustrating is that I have spent many hours over that past two decades doing my best to educate them.
So let’s make this real. Do you know why diffusion…

Home Theater Audio Standards - What Are We Trying To Do?

By Anthony Grimani
So you claim that you’re putting together a high performance home theater. But do you fully understand what that comprises? Do you know all the little ins and outs of why some products work better than others in selected applications? I know that it’s hard to take time to read through technology reports, research papers, and product reviews to learn how to design the best possible theaters. So I’m going to help: I’ll give you some facts along with my honest unbiased opinion of what a home theater is supposed to be. And of course everyone reading this will agree with me… NOT! I know there will be tons of hate mail criticizing this or that position, but we gotta start somewhere; shoot now – we’ll talk later.
Let’s first cover what the theater is supposed to do. It is supposed to reproduce sound and pictures as closely as possible to those intended by the creators of the program material. If the creator was good at it, you can get a realistic representation of naturally …

Don't Spread It Too Thin - Making The Case for Using Thicker Acoustical Wall Treatments

by Anthony Grimani
Home theater acoustical treatments need to be at least two inches thick, and preferably four inches thick for decent audio quality. Why? Because one-inch materials only treat sounds down to 1 kHz. Everything down below that is freely bouncing around the walls of the room. 
For proper audio imaging and articulation, you need to control sound reflections down to at least 500 Hz, and preferably down to 250 Hz. Remember that the Middle A on a piano keyboard is 440 Hz, and you want to go down to that, at least.
Just as bad, however, is creating an acoustically "dead" room. It is convenient to go in with one of the franchised stretched fabric wall systems to cover up all of the walls in a theater. They are simple, quick, clean, cost-predictable, but very wrong.  Read more - full article published in Residential Systems Magazine.

Spec It First

A Job Specification Document Can Help You Avoid Headaches I find that, more often than not, the best way to avoid project problems is by spending time up front creating a job specification document. This should be a multi-page paper that describes what the client is going to get, what the performance specifications are, who is responsible for what portions of the work, who will sign off on proper delivery of each portion, what each portion is going to cost, and what the deliverable deadlines are going to be.
Keeping You Out of Trouble The mere process of having to take a time out to sit down and reflect on the all these issues will help you clarify the planning in your own mind. Once the document is written, it will help your staff in comprehending the intent of the work. It will help your client, the builder, the architect, and the interior designer, understand the degree of detail that goes into doing a properly integrated theater, whole-house audio/video/lighting system, etc. The proc…

Calibration the Right Way

Having designed over 400 pro, commercial, and residential projects, and tuned over 300 systems, we have a certain way of doing things that we consider "the right way." You'll hear us talk about the right way a lot because we just don't believe any client is going to get the best possible result from cutting corners. So here's a little primer from PMI.

Calibration is the last step in the design/build phase of a project. Once all of the gear is in place, the panels positioned, the decor defined, then it's time to calibrate. We believe the job of a calibrator is to check and validate that everything was built and installed properly before beginning to tune the room.

   Step 1:  Check that every piece of gear is installed and connected correctly
   Step 2:  Verify that every piece of gear is actually working
   Step 3:  Set up configurations and verify proper operation
   Step 4:  Tune the speaker system to the room

We find that in steps 1-3 there is al…

Embracing Better Music - by Anthony Grimani

There is definitely a return to high-quality music in the works. If you don’t provide it to your clients, then they’ll get it somewhere else. You can sell high-quality, high-margin equipment if you just demonstrate it for them. Let them rekindle the emotion. Case in point: I was recently with a client in Las Vegas for whom we designed a high-end room. After the calibration, I played him a 5.1 music demo from the handy multi-channel sampler disc I’ve had for ages. He loved it, and he actually begged me to let him keep the disc. Music’s not for everyone, but some people will love it, so don’t miss the boat.  > READ MORE
Excerpted from article published February 2, 2011 by Residential Systems magazine. Chase Walton contributed to this article.


Creating Reliable Bass - by Anthony Grimani

Everyone loves bass (especially men, which is an interesting study that I will leave to someone with a PhD in somatic psychology). This is evidenced by the million ways that people have dreamed up to produce ultimate bass. There is everything from full-range speakers all around, to small speakers with one subwoofer stashed in a corner, to the unbelievable room-under-the-listening-room filled with a labyrinth of passages and transducers. If you are an enthusiast, you may have the time and resources to try (and discard) random solutions to your heart's content. But custom integrators need something a little more concrete--a more scientific approach that yields predictable and repeatable results.  > READ MORE
Excerpted from article published January 30, 2009 by Residential Systems magazine. Chase Walton contributed to this article.

Performance Media Industries, Ltd.

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