The invisible theater, no seriously

December 17, 2004

invisible_theaterI’ve been kicking around the idea of an inexpensive ‘invisible theater’ ever since an interior designer (years ago) asked me “do we have to see those speakers in the room?” to which I replied no more than we have to see that couch or those curtains. Geesh the nerve of some people. I kid but it did plant an idea in my head, thin flat panel displays are all the rage, it seems thinner smaller (less noticeable) home cinema is what some consumers are after, what if I could make a completely hidden theater.

While reading a home theater forum recently, I saw this acronym (WAF) now I’m thinking to myself, WAF… what could that mean, Wadia Audio Fidelity? No that wasn’t it, then someone spelled it out (Wife Acceptance Factor) I nearly laughed thinking to my self, right now across North America there are men who have to get approval to ‘buy’ something. Sad really but hey I don’t purport to know or understand everyone else’s living arrangements, but the whole WAF thing reminded me of my invisible theater idea, so I sat down and plotted it out.


Of course by ‘invisible’ I don’t mean it literally, word to the wise, be careful buying invisible home theater products, it’ll be hard to know if you’ve been robbed. What I mean by this is ‘stealth’ or hidden theater. This whole scheme hinges on three caveats:

(1) You have the ability to ‘hide’ the projector in an adjacent utility room or closet, and cut out a ‘port’ for the image to project through, the source equipment would be placed here as well.

(2) As long as you don’t mind sacrificing a little sound quality for stealth, the use of Sound Advance SA-II’s are part of this plan.

(3) In lieu of an expensive electric roll-down projection screen we’ll ‘paint’ a smooth finished wall with GooSystems ‘Screen Goo’.

Ok now as if that wasn’t enough prerequisites, more importantly than any of the above you’ll need to know a master dry-wall finisher, I don’t mean some weekend warrior ‘yeah I can spackle that’ kind of guy, but someone who can make drywall look as flat as glass. I say this because for this project the Sound Advance speakers are actually going to be ‘inside’ your front projection viewing area, in the wall and then skim coated over and painted. Ok if you’re still reading you’re either as crazy as I am, or a task as trivial as building a deck doesn’t make you bat an eyelid. So what am I really talking about here, Ok lets use some images.

invisible_theater1

invisible_theater2

As mentioned previously this project would require at least two unique items, Sound Advance SA-II ‘invisible speakers’ and some sort of optically ‘pure’ screen coating such as GooSystems ‘ScreenGoo’. First a little about the Sound Advance speakers, the SA-II’s aren’t going to provide you with enough low end to properly reproduce home theater soundtracks, you’ll need to pair them with a subwoofer. The subwoofer in our stealth system would be integrated in one of two ways, either with an in-wall subwoofer (Bay Audio makes an excellent model) or putting the subwoofer in the equipment closet and retrofitting a dummy air return panel for the bass to freely enter the listening room. If you’ve made it as far as installing the SA-II’s and painting your wall with the ScreenGoo the former project would seem like Childs play.

As for the surround channels, I would suggest again some in-walls, likely in the ceiling, keeping them out of the way and in-theme with the other stealth speakers.

While I haven’t completed a project consisting of all three elements, I have done them separately, and I see no reason this couldn’t be accomplished. If any of you have the wherewithal to strike out and try this, let me know how it worked out and included some images of the final product.

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Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Home Theater How-to


Comments

  • Mike

    I’ve been thinking of trying to put together an in closet sub like you’ve described. Have you done this? I don’t know where to start with building a sub.

  • Mike

    I’ve been thinking of trying to put together an in closet sub like you’ve described. Have you done this? I don’t know where to start with building a sub.