There is no job more awesome in this world than the one that helps people realize a lifelong dream. We at Rapallo are in the business of just that and we love it!
‘This is the best place ever!’ are Gabe’s words as soon as we walk through the door for this interview, a few weeks after completing his new home.
Gabe and his wife have moved away from the rat race now that the kids are grown up and have moved out. They went for the dream home and got exactly what they had it mind. For Gabe’s wife that meant a kitchen with a sea view, for Gabe it was a home theatre that topped the list. Once they started planning the home theatre a multi-room audio system was added to the project.
As with so many of our customers, Gabe’s dream had been 25 years in the making. On several occasions pre-wiring for a home theatre had been completed, but every time they moved on before the project had a chance of materializing. This time he meant it and it was going to part of the building project from the initial stage.
The new house is a blend of fresh coastal whites with a touch of French country. Gabe’s wife was very supportive of the long held home theatre dream. Her only request was that it would blend in with the rest of the house. Easier said than done. Safe to say that a Star Wars themed home theatre was out of the question. And so, the long process of putting it all together started.
Gabe was lucky enough to have a dedicated room to work with. That said it came with its challenges: the room was on the smaller side, had a door towards another room and had a massive sliding window that would need dealing with in terms of ambient light. Sound insulation was of great importance as well.
Double gibing, double glazing, solid doors and special sound insulation for the walls were the answer to that. The option of installing bass traps was left for the future on an as-needed base.
Gabe’s wife wanted the home theatre walls the same colour as the rest of the house. That wasn’t sitting well with Gabe though, considering that that meant white walls. A compromise was reached with a darker ‘feature wall’ behind the projector screen.
‘From the moment he walked into the Rapallo doors for a demo of the JVC DLA-X5000 D-ILA Projector, I knew that that was the projector I wanted. It comes in white (a requirement from the wife) and it is excellent value for money, especially if you see the quality of image it provides. Those blacks and the contrast are just amazing. Bart installed a projector mount that made it very easy to make adjustments for the alignment of the projector. Combined with the easy calibration of a JVC projectors in general, it made it all such a smooth process. You hear people talking about the battles they deal with in order to get their system where they need it to be. We simply did not have that experience at all.’ (Note: The updated JVC projector model will be availble soon)
After much consideration, Gabe decided he wanted to future proof and opted for an 7.2.4 Atmos set-up.
Given the fact that Gabe was dealing with the big window slider, the use of versatile SVS Prime elevation speakers for surround sound was kind of a no-brainer.
The LCR speakers were a little harder to settle on. The original idea was to work with a cavity behind the acoustic transparent screen to hide the front speakers, but when it came to actually physically standing in the room, it was decided that that the cavity would eat up too much of the precious room space.
Some creative thinking resulted in the following solution: ELAC has an extensive and high-end speaker range beyond the Debuts and the Uni-fi’s.
Gabe was blown away by the agility and precision of the ELAC FS407 floorstanders boasting the JET5 tweeter that ELAC is famous for. ‘I love the fact that the sound they produce is so clean, no overhang or anything. The speakers deliver the high, mediums and lows without a problem. They hold their own in a wide range of volumes, from a tiny whisper to a massive roar, which I think is pretty special.’
Very conveniently, the Elac WS1665 On-wall speaker pairs really well with the floorstanders and allows for a centre speaker that is hidden behind a ‘floating’ acoustic transparent 120”inch 16:9 fixed frame screen without taking up a massive amount of space. The result is an acoustic and visual stunner.
A dual SVS SB2000 subwoofer pair takes care of the rumbling, while Gabe opted for 3.5inch Definitive Technology in-ceiling speakers from the Disappearing Series for the Atmos-side of things. Rapallo recommended the Dynamat acoustic sound barriers to optimise the sound quality of the in-ceilings.
The ELAC FS407 floorstanders are 4 Ohm speakers and require an amplifier that can deliver goodly amounts of voltage and current without straining. The Anthem MRX1120 does exactly that. The Anthem room correction system (ARC) was an extra reason why Gabe opted to go the Anthem way. ‘People tell you how good Anthem is, but you really have no idea until you use it yourself. It’s honestly impressive.’
Gabe’s new Oppo UDP-203AU blu-ray player and his growing blu-ray collection join the Anthem in the custom-made Hi-fi cupboard.
The Alloyfold Tchaikovsky recliners are extremely comfortable, but were upholstered with a custom fabric instead of one of the standard colours.
Considering the fact that the house is equipped with a Karson home automation system, it was decided early on in the process that it would also include a multi-room sound system for background music covering the office, living area, kitchen, bathroom and outdoor area.
All rooms were fitted with Definitive Technology speakers: DI 6.5R Disappearing Series 6.5″ Round In-Ceiling Speaker for in the indoor areas, and the All-weather 5500AW speakers for the outdoor area. ‘I can’t believe the bass that comes from those outdoor speakers’, Gabe chuckles. ‘Who would have thought?’
The couple stream music from their Spotify Premium account playlists as well as from the CD’s they have stored on a NAS.
‘It’s actually a really smart set-up that allows to select the rooms you want to play music in a surprisingly easy way.’ Gabe’s wife says. ‘I was a sceptic at first, but Bart did extremely well in designing it in such a way that it is absolutely self-explanatory without it costing an arm and a leg.’
We from Rapallo are impressed in the way Gabe and his wife managed to get a quality set-up (Including the Karson system) that was within their budget. Better even: it not only sounds fantastic, it also looks good. ‘We put a lot of thought and planning in the project’, Gabe says. ‘It caused the odd argument, but we always managed to find middle ground without making any significant compromises. I can’t put into words just how exciting it is to finally -after all these years- have a home theatre and such an awesome one!’