Cinema Design

Creating a high-quality home cinema experience indeed requires careful planning and expertise. It's not just about placing speakers randomly around the room and hoping for the best. Proper design involves considerations such as room acoustics, speaker placement, audio/video equipment selection, and even seating arrangement.

Investing in a well-designed home cinema will ensure immersive experience that rivals commercial theaters. Taking the time to plan and implement each aspect thoughtfully will result in years of enjoyment and satisfaction.

  • Screen Size: The bigger the better?..

    1. Throw Ratio Compatibility: Ensuring that your projector's throw ratio matches the screen size is essential. This prevents situations where the projector can't properly display the image within the bounds of your chosen screen due to distance constraints.
    2. Viewing Distance: Choosing a screen size that suits your viewing distance ensures that you can comfortably see the entire image without having to strain or move your eyes or head excessively.
    3. Acoustically Transparent Screens: These screens allow sound to pass through, without taking much away from the sound pressure level. Ideal for placing speakers behind the screen, this setup ensures that audio, especially dialogue, originates from the same point as the visual image, enhancing the viewing experience.
    4. Quality of Screen: Investing in a good-quality 4K screen, with a very high acoustical transparency ensures superior viewing pleasure. It will help towards a crisp image and dialogue legibility. Unlike projectors or AV receivers that may require regular upgrades, a quality screen can last for many years without needing replacement. We therefore recommend to invest in a high quality 4K acoustic screen.
    5. Its the material of the screen where the magic happens. Yes, there is a lot of R & D involved in developing these materials and the production of such high grade materials can potentially cost more. A high quality screen will almost always carry a bigger price tag. We believe its worth paying more for a screen, as the expected life of a screen could potenially be 15 to 20 years.

    In summary, choosing the right screen involves considering throw ratio compatibility, viewing distance, acoustical properties, and screen quality. These factors collectively contribute to creating a superior home theater experience that's both visually and audibly immersive.

  • All Subwoofers are not made equal

    1. Importance of Low Frequency Response: A home cinema subwoofer should ideally be capable of reproducing frequencies as low as 20 Hz. This is crucial because many movie soundtracks contain deep bass information that enhances the cinematic experience.
    2. Mismatched Speaker Capabilities: It's a common mistake to have main speakers (front 3 speakers) that can go down to 40-45 Hz while the subwoofer bottoms out around the same frequency. This can lead to your system being incapable of playing low-frequency effects in the LFE track. There is not much point in specifying such subwoofer for home cinema use.
    3. SVS doing a great job in this area: We think SVS is doing a great job of producing subwoofers for home cinema applications due to their capability to deliver impactful bass suitable for movie soundtracks, at an affordable price. While they may not be the most refined for music, SVS subwoofers are praised for their performance in home theater settings.
    4. Budget Considerations: While infra sonic subwoofers can enhance bass performance further, they come with a higher price tag. We strongly recommend considering infrasonic subwoofers if the budget allows.
    5. Ask questions: We advise to discuss subwoofer specifications with your home cinema supplier. Aim for a subwoofer that can handle frequencies down to 20 Hz or even lower, to ensure you don't miss out on the deep bass elements of movie soundtracks.
    6. More is less When it comes to subwoofers having more subwoofers in your system will help you with a more even distribution of bass and avoid null and high bass points. We highly recommend a minimum of two subwoofers. If budget allows, go for three or four. In an ideal world, one of the three subs and two of the four subs should be infra sonic subs. The easiest way to describe an infra sonic sub is, that their effect in the system is more "felt than heard".
  • Choosing the right AVR

    Entry Level System Advice:

    Ensure your AVR supports the number of powered channels you need. For an Atmos system, a minimum of 7 powered channels are necessary.

    Most entry level AVR's have taken care of all video needs, like switching or other pass through capabilities and you are not likely to be short changed in the video department.

    Building a Bigger System:

    Alway look at the power ratings of an AVR at 0.08% THD or lower when all channels driven. That is the effective useable power of an AVR.

    Some brands like Marantz guarantee 70% stated power available to all channels. Some brands like Rotel and Audio Control clearly state that the power stated for their amplifier remains available to each individual channel when all channels are driven simultaneously. Thank you for your honesty.

    Consider Separate Pre and Power Amps:

    Investing in separate pre-amplifier and power amplifier units, particularly from brands like Rotel or Audio Control, can provide significant performance benefits. This setup allows for more power and flexibility, and simplifies future upgrades (where you might only need to replace the pre-amp and not the power amp).

    Alternatively, choose an AVR with pre-outs. This feature lets you use the AVR as a pre-amp in the future, giving you the flexibility to add a power amplifier at a later stage.

    1. Specific Models and Features:

    Models like the Denon AVR3800H and Onkyo RZ50 are noted for their pre-amp outputs and features like Dirac, which optimizes audio performance in high-end setups. Dirac is especially beneficial for achieving precise room correction and sound calibration.

    Future-Proofing: While entry-level AVRs are capable, consider your long-term needs. Investing in slightly higher-end models or separate components can offer better longevity and performance as your system evolves.

  • Project me big..

    Choosing a projector involves several key considerations to ensure you get the best viewing experience for your setup. Here are a few pointers

    1. Throw Ratio: This is crucial as it determines how far the projector needs to be from the screen to achieve the desired image size. Ensure your room dimensions, planned mounting position and the throw ratio (zoom) of your projector allows for the projector to be able to fill your chosen sceen size.
    2. Resolution: Opting for a 4K projector is recommended, especially with the increasing availability of 4K content. Investing in a 1080P projector might limit your options as more content shifts towards higher resolutions.
    3. DLP vs. LCD: DLP projectors often provide a cinematic feel and good value for money. Most commercial cinemas are using DLP projectors. On the other hand, LCD projectors (from brands like Epson, Sony, and JVC) typically offer deeper blacks and higher contrast, enhancing the viewing pleasure of movies with a lot of dark scenes.
    4. Light Source: Laser light source projectors are becoming more popular due to their longevity (up to 20,000 hours of viewing) and resilience to deterioration compared to lamp-based projectors. If your budget allows, opting for a laser projector can provide a more reliable long-term investment.
    5. Brand Considerations: Optoma and BenQ are brands that offer great affordable 4K DLP projectors. Epson, Sony, and JVC are noted for their LCD projectors with superior blacks and contrast. SIM2 and Barco are brands that take DLP projectors to the next level.

    In summary, when choosing a projector, ensure it matches your room setup, prioritizes resolution (aim for 4K), and if possible, opt for a laser light source for longevity and reliability.

  • Speakers!! Drop your Hi-Fi loyalty

    Purpose-built Design: Dedicated home cinema speakers are designed specifically for the cinematic experience, which includes handling dynamics like gunshots and explosions. They are capable of maintaining high sound pressure levels (SPL) without distortion, crucial for immersive movie-watching. We highly recommend to stay away from hi-fi speakers for home cinema. These speakers are usually designed for close quarter listening and usually not capable of producing massive dynamics required for home cinema use.

    Brand Loyalty vs. Objective Choice: We advise against being overly loyal to hi-fi specialist brands when choosing cinema speakers. Instead, we suggest evaluating each option objectively based on performance and suitability for home cinema use.

    Specialist Cinema Brands: Brands like Ascendo, MAG, Theory, Pro Audio, Krix, and JBL are recommended for their specialization in home cinema speakers. Their speakers are known for high quality home cinema sound reproduction. Their cinema speakers are designed, keeping all the requirements of cinema speakers in mind.

    Sound Characteristics: Bright speakers, while detailed and attention-grabbing initially, may not be suitable for prolonged listening sessions in a home cinema. We caution against speakers that could potentially cause listening fatigue over time.

    Importance of Demo Sessions: We highly advise the importance of auditioning speakers in a demo room. This will give you an experience of how the speakers perform in a real-world scenario and ensure they align with personal preferences and expectations. Insist on being given the opportunity to watch one or two of your favourite movies in the supplier's demo room.

  • Acoustic treatment: Silence Please!

    Purpose: Acoustic treatment focuses on improving the sound quality within the room by managing sound reflections and reverberations.

    Goal and Benefits Reduce reverberation time (RT) to optimal levels (typically 0.2 to 0.4 seconds) for clear dialogue, reduced listening fatigue and better audio fidelity .


    Use of sound absorbers and diffusers can minimise reflections of sound from your walls and ceiling. Strategic placement of bass traps can help absorb lower frequencies. Use of carpets, rugs and heavy drapes can also help towards reducing reflections.


    1. Purpose: Soundproofing aims to prevent sound from escaping the room and external noise from entering it.
    2. Goal: Achieve isolation from outside disturbances, ensuring a quieter environment for immersive audio experiences without disturbing others.

    1. Goals and Benefits: Provides privacy and minimizes disturbances, essential for both personal enjoyment and consideration of neighboring spaces.
    2. Methods:

    Using dense materials like thick walls, doors, and windows to block sound transmission.

    Creating separate structures or using resilient mounts to minimize vibrations transmitting through building elements.

    Ensuring all gaps and cracks are sealed to prevent sound leakage

    Key Differences:

    • Acoustic Treatment is about improving internal sound quality by managing reflections and reverberation.
    • Soundproofing focuses on preventing sound from entering or leaving the room, enhancing privacy and reducing disturbance.

    In conclusion, acoustic treatment and sound proofing will help achieve a better sounding cinema.

  • Go for the experience. Wow others and yourself

    LUMI-FI is focused on creating a holistic and immersive cinema experience, beyond just the audio-visual setup. Here are a few considerations

    1. Holistic Experience: We believe in enhancing every aspect of the cinema room, not just the AV equipment. Every last detail is important. The choice of seating, lighting automation and paint scheme will all play a part in enhancing the experience.
    2. Dark Colored Walls and Ceiling: Using matte dark colours for the walls and ceiling is recommended to minimize distractions and enhance the viewing experience by reducing reflections.
    3. Star Ceiling: A star ceiling is suggested as a feature to consider, which can add ambiance and a magical feel to the room during movie sessions, especially when other lights are turned off.
    4. Automation: Basic automation features are encouraged to make the cinema room more user-friendly and enjoyable. For example, lights can automatically dim/turn off when a movie starts, and the system can simplify the process of switching inputs on the audio-visual receiver (AVR) and projector.
    5. Budget Allocation: It's advised to allocate a portion of the budget specifically towards lighting, seating, and the control system, to create an overall satisfying and enjoyable experience.
    6. An often ignored but very important part of a good cinema system is acoustic treatment. We recommend allowing some budget for acoustic treatment to deal with unwanted reflections of sound bouncing of the walls and ceiling.

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