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Home Electronics: Great Room

Brent Butterworth

Most rooms are hostile environments for electronic home entertainment: Echoes blur sonic details, walls resonate in sympathy with the speakers, and bass booms uncontrollably. The surroundings are no more hospitable to the picture: Walls and furnishings usually reflect light from a TV or video projector and rob the picture of its contrast. Consequently, often even the finest audio and video equipment is placed in settings where it fares no better than a Lamborghini would on a dirt road.

It occurred to the principals of Goldmund, a Swiss manufacturer of high-end audio and video products, that the best solution to this problem would be to build the room—in addition to the equipment that it would house. The Goldmund Media Room concept represents a collaboration between the company’s research and development department in Geneva and the two former custom installers who head the company’s U.S. division, Brett Lee and Ty Wiedrich.

Goldmund’s team will examine the available space in your home, consult with your interior designer or architect if necessary, and then design a room that suits your aesthetic demands and achieves the high performance Goldmund specifies. In the case of new construction, Goldmund works directly with the builder and the architect to ensure proper design and assembly of the Media Room. Goldmund will stipulate even such seemingly inconsequential items as stud material and wallboard thicknesses.

Once the room design is determined, Lee and Wiedrich forward the specifications to the manufacturing team in Geneva, which builds a set of speakers specifically for that room; Goldmund will adjust the shapes of the speakers to fit the space. All of the speakers are built from slabs of sheet aluminum that are as thick as three-quarters of an inch, and all are heavily braced internally to eliminate extraneous vibration that might mar the speakers’ sound.

Proprietary modeling software simulates the effects of all of the speakers in the Media Room, and then it calculates what types of digital processing will be needed to perfect the sound, taking into account how the room itself will influence the acoustics. The sound-processing parameters then are loaded into a Goldmund Mimesis 24 digital preamplifier and surround-sound processor specifically configured for each Media Room.

The proof of the Media Room concept lies in the Goldmund House, a Los Angeles–area home where Goldmund’s team has constructed what is surely one of the finest home theaters ever built. Although all of the audio and video components are concealed, the Media Room delivers an incredibly detailed and delicate, yet powerful, sound, with a depth and ambience that few, if any, audiophile listening rooms can match. The video also is strikingly sharp.

Perhaps the best feature of the Media Room, which has a starting price of about $500,000, is that you need deal with only Goldmund. “Instead of having several suppliers pointing fingers at each other if there’s a problem,” Lee says, “you just call us.”

Goldmund USA, 888.465.3001, www.goldmundusa.com

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