null Genelec powers award-winning home cinema designed and integrated by Cinema Architects
Genelec powers award-winning home cinema designed and integrated by Cinema Architects
Cinema Architects is an award-winning custom integration company based in Kramerville, Sandton, that specializes in the design and integration of sophisticated electronic systems for residential environments – including some of South Africa’s most beautiful and innovative home cinemas. ‘Cinema Brunnock’ was one such project which scooped up not one, but two prestigious awards; the first from Design et al., a leading UK interior design and architecture magazine; and the second from CE Pro, the leading US B2B publication for custom electronics. As with all of Cinema Architects’ home cinema projects, Genelec was the go-to loudspeaker choice for Cinema Brunnock.
The brief for the project was somewhat unusual in that the client asked for a bed to be incorporated in the design at the front of the cinema. “In fact, the client is a family with two young children who enjoy weekend cinema sleepovers,” recalls Cinema Architects sales & marketing director, Mauricio Tavares. “That had an impact on our audio calculations as we needed to ensure that the ‘sweet spot’ was focused on the front row where the bed is located. It’s an unconventional request, so it was up to us to ensure that the sound in the rest of the space was not compromised as a result.”
Another challenge was that the residence is built next to a dam with high water levels – consequently a huge amount of waterproofing had been carried out in the basement where the cinema is located. “We were not allowed to drill into the concrete floor, sidewalls or roof as it would have compromised the waterproofing treatment,” explains Tavares. “Our only option was to build a 'room-within-a-room’ using a stand-alone sub frame. However, the second problem was that the roof was very low – much lower than the norm – and that the sub-frame was going to lower it still further. We spent a lot of time designing a subframe with the lowest profile possible, in order to maintain the maximum amount of height in the room.”
When it came to the sound, Cinema Architects opted for a 7.1.4 immersive loudspeaker system comprising three Genelec 1238 three-way smart active studio loudspeakers as L/C/R, supplemented by four Genelec AIW25 in-wall surround loudspeakers and four AIC25 in-ceiling overhead loudspeakers. A 7370 12-inch smart active subwoofer placed beneath the screen completed the system.
“We’ve been using Genelec for our home cinema builds for years,” remarks Tavares. “Apart from the obvious advantage when it comes to sound quality, there is also the benefit of design simplicity using Genelec. Having built-in amplification is a huge advantage, especially in areas where space is at a premium. It’s often the case in home cinemas, and especially so in this instance. Not having to worry about sourcing external amplifiers and then finding a home for them is a massive bonus, and of course it reduces cabling as well – which in turn reduces cost.”
Having eliminated the need for external amplifiers, Cinema Architects were able to select a processor based on its surround sound capabilities and not its amplification power. They opted for an affordable NAD receiver which produces excellent quality sound and is upgradeable both in terms of software and hardware, thus lengthening its service life and representing considerable cost savings. The Genelec loudspeakers are also supported by regular free firmware updates, which increases longevity.
The Cinema Architects team also appreciates the ease with which Genelec smart active models can be set-up and calibrated using GLM software. “It’s really easy to get the system sounding great, even in awkward acoustic spaces,” confirms Tavares. “We’re able to calibrate the loudspeakers precisely the way we want to, so that we can guarantee crystal clear, transparent audio, whatever the constraints. Finally, their durability is also second to none; once installed, we know they will be fit for purpose for many years to come.
“In short, the active design and superlative audio quality of Genelec loudspeakers offer advantages for us at several levels: overall the system is much more compact and easier to install – having removed the need for bulky external amplifiers and associated cabling, all we need to add is a processor and a source (such as a Blu-Ray player or Apple TV etc.); consequently we have much more flexibility when it comes to the choice of a processor. The result is a high quality, reliable and sustainable system that will perform beautifully for decades to come. Using Genelec has allowed us to be more creative, to push the boundaries of what’s possible, and to produce a world-class cinema every time.”