CEDIA Award Winner : Dark Side of the Room
Tech meet design category and best home-cinema level II
23 June 2022
Founded by Marc-Etienne Huneau and Stéphane Rosa more than 15 years ago, Dark Side of the Room is a renowned specialist for high-end audio, video, networking, and automation.
Last year for its exceptional design and performances, their latest home cinema project brought back home two CEDIA awards in the Tech meet design category and for best home-cinema level II.
Now totaling eleven CEDIA awards wins ! we wanted to discuss their latest project in details with Marc Etienne.
Can you tell us a bit about Dark side of the Room ?
We've been in the business for 20 years now, and we started as cinema designers and makers when it was not that popular we made our way to eventually lighting design and integration and all kinds of automation.
One thing we are proud of is that we don't try to subcontract anything and we are keeping the design the calculations the programming everything in ours so that's probably one of the strengths of Dark side of the room.
Please tell us more about this project
This room is the second one we are we have been building for the same customer and incidentally, he told us that it would be a home cinema that should be able to win an award so that was the kind of price range and challenge we were. At the same time, It had to be very efficient and very straightforward as there would no room for any downtime because it's being used every day by all the family.
Which challenges did you face completing this project ?
First, we had to work really hard on how to achieve the best ratio because there are three rows in the room and the client first wanted a massive screen. Nailing down the correct width of the screen wasn’t easy, as it had to be comfortable for watching movies or documentaries.Therefore we had to choose a speaker system with enough sound pressure and consistent sound across the rows in such a large room and of course, for video, you need a very bright projector !
Can you explain your choice of speaker layout and system ?
The speaker system is a Mach 5 from a French brand called Divatech. The way that systems are designed, the front wall is only made of speakers main speakers and subwoofers, as a result, it's very straightforward and efficient bass frequencies especially. And then we scattered some speakers around the room, so it's a 9.4.4 system with four ceiling speakers and nine speakers around the room plus the subwoofers.
Why decide on the Altitude32 for this project ?
I think it was a no-brainer because for this kind of range of technicality and kind of result you're expecting there are very few brands that can carry the processing and the support for the dealers.
So this was really an obvious choice for us, we just had to choose the number of channels according to the number of speakers we installed.
What do you like about Trinnov’s Optimizer ?
One of the strengths of the Trinnov is that the sweet spot can be wide, so without even trying to make a calibration for all the three rows, we reached a result that was out of this world already.
This is critical because the owners always sit in the front row and the kids or the guests get to sit in the back.
Why decide on the Amplitude 8 as the power amplifier ?
We used four amplitude amplifiers and the first reason was the simplicity of wiring because you just have to use the DB connectors from the processor to the amplifiers. Also it provided plenty of power because we have many speakers and everything has to be moving very fast and precisely.
As well, when you go off axis on a speaker you need some more power to reach the same quality and the same sound to match the front row and here with the surround and side speakers we didn't have enough room to aim the speakers completely to the rows and to the spectators, so it was crucial for us to have some serious headroom in the amplification.
What is your experience with the Trinnov wizard and calibration process ?
Assigning the inputs and outputs is very straightforward, then you can use the automated process for calibration, we thought the initial results it gave us were already stunning ! Then you can refine it, of course, you can change the curves you can tweak some things here or there, but out of the box, the results are already quite impressive.
One more thing is that we didn’t have to worry about the owner playing with the setting or anything that could go wrong, as we could restore our settings instantly via our saved presets, something that not all AV processors offer.
What was your experience with Trinnov support ?
In the few first weeks, we had all kinds of gizmos in the room, mostly from the Apple TV which drove everybody crazy, especially the owner…
Thankfully, the Trinnov support team was really committed to finding the problem, which ended up being a configuration issue between the source and the projector itself, If it wasn’t for their dedication and HDMI expertise, we probably would have gone into a lot of trouble or even worse may be losing the project altogether, so a massive thank you to their dedication and professionalism !