null Cinema Architects power new Experience Centre with Genelec

Cinema Architects power new Experience Centre with Genelec


Sandton, South Africa, November 2023… Based in Sandton, Cinema Architects is one of South Africa’s leading custom integration firms specialising in high-end residential AV systems. When the company decided to open an Experience Centre to showcase their work, they knew they had to set the bar high – very high. “We’ve won multiple awards for Best Home Cinema, so our Experience Centre has to reflect the same experience,” explains sales and marketing director, Mauricio Tavares. “There is nothing else like this in South Africa – it sets a new benchmark for Home Cinema and Home Automation showrooms, showing prospective clients the functionality of home automation and offering the opportunity to listen to world-class home cinemas powered by Genelec.”

The new Experience Centre features two home cinema rooms; an intimate, bijou space measuring just 5.7 m by 4.2 m, and a larger, more imposing 7.5 m by 4.5 m room with a 3 m ceiling height. “The idea was to show how a large room can be made to feel cosy and inviting as well as deliver exceptional audio quality, filling the room with transparent but powerful sound,” says Tavares.

Two rows of comfortable seats, each with their own ottoman, set the tone. Cinema Architects have been equally innovative with the acoustic treatment, installing an acoustic board on the ceiling punctuated by different size apertures, which creates a unique visual effect. Above this can be found acoustic treatment of various thicknesses depending on the reflection point. The effect is further enhanced with fading fibre optic starlights, while two large floating golden discs suspended from the ceiling complete the look.

When it came to the audio system, Cinema Architects were categoric in their choice: “Acoustically, we knew it had to be Genelec!” enthuses Tavares. “Our successes with Genelec over the last ten years, including winning World’s Best Home Cinema in 2021, have given us great confidence in the brand. We appreciate their active design which simplifies installation, their elegant aesthetic and of course their superlative, transparent sound quality.”

Cinema Architects opted for a 7.2.4 immersive Dolby Atmos loudspeaker system with three slimline 1238DF three-way smart active studio loudspeakers acting as the main LCR, concealed behind the 4 m micro-perforated screen. These are supplemented by four AIW25 in-wall models in the surround positions, with four AIC25 in-ceiling models handling the height channels. A pair of 7370 12-inch smart active subwoofers placed beneath the screen complete the system. A DreamVision 8k laser projector handles video, paired with a NAD 778 AV receiver for the Dolby processing. Clients can also compare image quality from a variety of sources including a 4k Apple TV, a Panasonic Blu-Ray player and a Zappiti media player.

“This combination gives us balanced audio throughout any movie genre, from live music to action-packed movies,” remarks Tavares. “The audio remains clean and strong no matter the content. This versatility is a real selling point with our clients.”

The smaller cinema room is dedicated to true movie buffs who enjoy superior image quality complemented by even better audio performance. As a dedicated demo room, Cinema Architects chose to show off the Genelec speakers rather than hiding them.

Impeccably appointed in terms of furnishing, lighting and wall cladding, where this room differs from a traditional home cinema is in the choice of screen. “Instead of a traditional projector, we chose the Samsung 110” Micro LED screen – arguably the best picture quality available today,” describes Tavares. “It’s an imposing screen, and rare – indeed, this is currently the only one on the African continent.” Consequently, as loudspeakers cannot be hidden behind the screen, Cinema Architects installed a TV cabinet below the screen to house the LCR loudspeakers.

“The audio had to match the picture quality,” he continues. “We specifically did not want substantial obtrusive speakers. Instead, we were looking for very detailed audio with quality taking precedence over SPL. Consequently, for LCR, we opted for the 8331 three-way coaxial models from the renowned ‘The Ones’ series. Besides its beautiful aesthetics, we knew that sound quality would be impeccable, and they delivered without question.

“Low end comes from a single 7360 subwoofer; with a room this size, we know a single 7360 suffices without compromise. For rear and surround speakers, we opted for a pair each of the compact 8320 smart active loudspeakers for a 7.1 configuration.

“This smart active setup enabled us to use GLM software to calibrate the entire system to the room and achieve the best possible performance. The results are incredible, and the audio performance is astounding – filling the room with detailed clean vocals and music tonality that must be heard to be believed. This room has become extremely popular; we could not be happier with the results. It is beyond impressive, even by our standards.”

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