posted on Friday, 10th March 2017 by Geny Caloisi
A large luxury home in Northwood, has been enhanced with an extensive, integrated multi-room audio/video/control system, including a full-range multi-channel cinema and high quality audio to three garden zones. In addition to multi-room touch-screen control over audio and video in 19 rooms, this text-book custom installation offers robust high quality, high-speed Wi-Fi access throughout home and garden areas, and the provision of future upgrade potential through an ultra-high bandwidth fibre cable backbone running alongside the structured wiring to all TV points and to a garden data hub.
Every detail of the interior design at this family home was carefully planned by the owners who are professional interior designers. The new build took a couple of years to be developed, but the AV integration was speedily done by ProInstall AV in just four months.
“This is an extensive premium quality custom installation in a very large luxury property which has been designed to a high architectural standard within a large garden setting” said Installer Sajid Qureshi of Pro Install AV Ltd. “We worked with the owners to create an AV installation that was architecturally and aesthetically in tune with their design objectives. The brief for high performance audio, video and control inside and outside the home, and in sympathy with décor, gave us the opportunity to showcase all of our custom installation skills. It included the provision for robust and fast Wi-Fi access and control, and on our recommendation, the installation of a fibre network to future-proof data capacity.
“We partnered with Habitech to supply the cable and Wi-Fi access infrastructure, all the speakers for interior and exterior areas, and also all the equipment for a media room cinema, which needed the versatility to operate as a living space as well as a high performance home theatre. They worked with us to develop the specification for the project, coordinating the supply of product at each stage of the build in order to satisfy performance targets and deadlines. Their close support included key product demonstrations and the supply of a virtual Wi-Fi heat map, which proved invaluable to winning customer approval,” added Qureshi.
The owners had a clear objective placing technology at the core of the project, but not in your face. For instance the high quality audio had to be discreet throughout the property and gardens.
Pro Install AV chose 30 pairs Sonance Visual Performance VP66R for the bedroom, lounge, hallway and pool areas. The exterior comprises three garden zones, each installed with Sonance Sonarray systems. Choosing Sonance for all speaker duties provides consistent high quality audio performance and voicing throughout the property.
VP66R is a small, high quality 6.5-inch architectural speaker with innate versatility, producing dynamic, detailed coverage from discreet in-wall and ceiling positions. Pivoting dual tweeters optimise HF sound in single stereo and ambient roles while a choice of round or square grilles aids aesthetic integration. Its high audio capabilities make it perfect for super-discreet music reproduction.
The SonArray system comprises eight small horn-shaped satellites and an 8-inch dual voice-coil underground subwoofer. SonArray is capable of detailed, evenly distributed audio in outdoor spaces up to 185 sqm, and presents an easy 8ohm load for any standard amplifier. It installs in a simple daisy-chain configuration, with the subwoofer connected to both channels. The bijou Sonarray SR1 speakers, which incorporate 3.5” (89mm) anodised aluminium cones, are discreet enough to be located under plants or foliage – they’re just 4” in diameter - so the system won’t compromise garden design. Facing inwards from the perimeter and directed by the satellites’ horn-shaped enclosures, the SR1’s superior sonic performance is less likely to spill into adjacent gardens.
For entertainment, the homeowner wanted a discreet home cinema that could also be used as a media space within a large lounge/bar area approximately 300 sq m in size.
For the audio, a 7.2 Dolby Atmos cinema sound system was installed, featuring three Sonance Cinema Series LCR2 in-wall speakers behind the screen, four Sonance VP86S in-ceiling surround speakers and two VPSUB10-NC in-wall subwoofers behind the screen, powered by a dedicated Sonance DSP 2-150 Digital Amplifier
The main amplification is through a Yamaha RX-A3060, 11.2ch, Dolby Atmos/DTS:X AV receiver, compatible with Ultra Blu-ray 4K/60P, 4:4:4, HDCP2.2 and HDR.
The projection screen is a 3m custom-made Projecta Tensioned Descender Electrol in RAL 7021 (satin). For perfect concealment the screen has a custom-painted black casing to match the cabinet in the room. Projection is provided by a JVC X9000R 4K projector on a lift that descends from the ceiling when the AV system is activated.
The high performance sound system is near-invisible, generating high SPL to reproduce excellent home theatre audio dynamics and yet be unobtrusive at all other times. Front LCR2 speakers are sophisticated fully enclosed and slender 3-way full range designs featuring a coaxially mounted midrange/tweeter and quad woofers, rivalling the performance of a high quality floor standing speaker but from super-discreet in-wall positions. They’re joined by Sonance 10-inch in-wall subs with slim (85.7mm deep) dedicated backboxes to prevent bass frequencies from reaching adjoining rooms. Atmos surround channels are reproduced by full-range 3-way Sonance VP86S ceiling speakers. All speakers share similar Sonance voicing for sound field and quality and consistency while their micro trim grilles aid room integration.
Robust and reliable Wi Fi access throughout the home and garden was another design objective satisfied by a Ruckus 802.11ac system comprising a ZoneDirector 1200 controller; R500 Access Points (x 7) and T300 Outdoor Access Points (x2).
“Ruckus technology has a proven record in providing peerless Wi-Fi performance in every demand scenario, applying peerless flexibility and bullet-proof reliability to extract unmatched capacity and reliability from 802.11 standards,” comments Qureshi.
The Ruckus ZoneDirector is widely-considered the most simple and straightforward centralised WLAN software solution there is. It uses a highly-intuitive Web user interface to make configuration and administration of the entire WLAN a breeze.
The Ruckus ZoneFlex R500 delivers high-performance and reliable 802.11ac wireless networking. Its patented BeamFlex adaptive antenna technology and ChannelFly dynamic channel management deliver up to 2x increase in Wi-Fi signal coverage while minimising the number of APs required to service any area.
Designed for easy installation in dense urban environments the ZoneFlex T300 Series dual-band 802.11ac outdoor access points are equipped with BeamFlex+ Smart Antenna Technology to provide reliable client connections and to increase network capacity while implicitly mitigating interference.
Running alongside the copper backbone of superior, shielded SCP CAT6A cable is a network of Cleerline SSF fibre to all TV points and to a data cab in the garden.
As Qureshi explains: “We pulling fibre alongside copper infrastructure as a way to future-proof data capacity. When HDMI 2.1 gets integrated and 8K arrives, fibre is available to handle the payload. It transfers more data, in less time, over longer distances than copper, doesn’t degrade like copper, requires little maintenance and has huge and versatile capacity. Across its operating band fibre loses a fraction of its signal strength over 100m, while copper can lose up to 94% over the same distance. Fibre is not susceptible to EMI/RFI interference or acts of God like a lightning strike, and by being much lighter but stronger than steel, can safely be pulled at eight times the tension limits of a CAT cable. Fibre is our insurance against the inevitable”
This project has received design awards and Pro Install AV, together with Habitech, continue to support any new requirements at the home as its use evolves.
Habitech is a trade-only distributor for a wide range of leading audio video technology products to the UK Custom Install industry. Habitech specialises in AV, networking and custom installation products for residential homes and commercial properties. Habitech also offers in-depth dealer training days. Habitech AV and custom installation brands include NuVo multi-zone wireless audio, Wyrestorm HD video signal distribution and control systems, Sonance architectural audio loudspeakers and Chief AV racking solutions.
Geny Caloisi is an accomplished technology journalist who has worked in a variety of AV industry publications.