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I haven't yet figured out what we'll talk about next and in the meantime several of you have been asking about my home theater project. I'll give you an update of what I've got going.

The good news is we're watching movies on the screen. Amazing. In all the decades I have been playing with high-end audio and been in the industry I have never had a dedicated room in my home for anything. And now, I have a home theater, in a dedicated room, with a popcorn machine my son gave us for Christmas.

In a previous post I included the room dimensions and layout. I'll maybe spend a few days telling you what we wound up with and why. Then we get get back to learnin' stuff!

I designed this theater in concert with my friend Robert Dreher who made it all happen. The basic idea was to build a room in the basement of our home that could hold four to five people but be super comfortable with just the two of us. Neither Terri nor I like the theater seating style of theater. We prefer a couch where we can just curl up and watch a film. Neither of us really wanted this to even look like a theater. While I appreciate the grand theaters some people have in their homes, they just seem a little cold and intimidating to us. We wanted friendly, warm and inviting. Hell, we both would have added a fireplace if we could have...

The other goal was to recreate sound in the same manner a big theater does. That involves an acoustically transparent screen with the left, center and right loudspeakers behind the screen. The advantages are obvious. When the actor speaks a line on screen it sounds like it's coming from him. In fact, it is. The downside is a slight loss in screen brightness and a supposed loss in audio fidelity, since the sound has to pass through a screen. I was warned, multiple times and by those in the know, not to go this way. Balderdash! Turns out I was right. The picture we have is simply stunning, the sound amazing. Best theater experience I have yet enjoyed, and I have seen a lot of theaters.

Tomorrow I'll describe the setup for those of you interested in such things.

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Paul McGowan

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