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Analysis of a Home Theater: Chicago Sony G90 Stack

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I thought I’d post this write-up dissecting a well thought out home theater that I recently visited in the Chicago area, as it’s one of the best home theaters I’ve been witness to. The video system consists of two stacked Sony G90 9” projectors. Stacking is an application of two projectors where both projectors are projecting the same image on the same screen, thus doubling the brightness of the image. The projectors of course must be very accurately aligned so that the images are exactly on top of each other.

The G90s are driven by a DVDO VP50 scaler, and sources include a Toshiba A1 HD-DVD player, an Xbox360, a JVC 5U DVHS machine, a Sony PS3 as BluRay player, and an HTPC. Everything but the Xbox360 is fed via HDMI to an NEC ISS 6020 via a Moome HDMI card with gamma correction.

The audio receiver is a Sony Sony 4ES 7.1 Receiver with true 110 watts per channel. All main speakers are being driven with the amps in the receiver, the 2 SVS PB12 Plus/2 Subwoofers are self powered.

The speakers are Klipsch KLF-30 fronts with matching center channel and 4 Klipsch RS-45 Surrounds (wired for 7.1 surround). The screen is a custom built 10’ wide 16:9 ratio SMX, which is acoustically transparent. The L-C-R speakers are located behind the screen in a separate area fully accessible for tuning and maintenance.

This system excels in performance in my opinion, and is based primarily on how the room is laid out and set up, and this is what I want to concentrate on here.

Some pictures:

Here’s a back view of the theater. The Klipsch surround speakers can be seen, and the two G90s are built into a ventilated enclosed housing. The rear row of seats are right under the projectors, which are for all purposes silent to the viewer. The brass coloured latch on the far right side of the image (and one on the left side) allow the bottom cover to be flipped down for projector maintenance if ever required.

You can’t have a theater without comfy seats. 6 seats in this theater all feature the ability to recline, and have the mandatory drink holder in each armrest. The walls are painted a gray/blue, while the ceiling is a textured matte dark gray to minimize light reflections. Similarly, the carpet is a dark gray as well.

The front of the room: The SMX screen is a whopping 10’ wide, which the stacked G90s handle with ease. The ceiling directly in front of the screen is covered with a matte black velvet to prevent light reflections. This small detail makes a BIG difference in the image, and had I not seen the ‘before and after’ effect (I was there while the velvet was installed), I would have never guessed that the extra light absorbing qualities of the velvet would make that much of a difference! The IR sensor that runs the remote commands to the equipment rack is located in a slot in the valance above the screen.

The narrow room behind the screen, showing the speakers and subwoofers behind the screen.

A look towards the back of the room, standing at the screen. The rear seating is raised so that everyone gets a good look at the image. The surround speakers are dipolar for the best surround imaging, and are mounted on the wall above the listener’s ears. This is the ideal location for surround speakers. Less imaging is experienced if the speakers are lower or if they are mounted flush in the ceiling firing down.


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