North Shore Retreat

This heritage home theatre hits the right note

Project overview

The home of entertainment

As avid music lovers, the clients’ brief was to create a room that sounded like a dedicated home theatre but didn’t look like a conventional theatre, which is typically dark and somewhat formal. Instead, they wanted the room to be bright and casual. To achieve their vision, Len Wallis Audio worked closely with the interior designer, HVAC team, and even a language translator since the clients did not speak English.

The screen, projector, and speakers had to be carefully considered to ensure they could be installed in an aesthetically pleasing way while still performing as the high-end audio system the client demanded.

As avid music lovers, their brief to our Senior Systems Integrator, Christian Lambros was to build a room that sounded like a dedicated home theatre but did not look like a conventional theatre –  which are typically dark and somewhat formal. Instead, they wanted the room to be a bit brighter and casual. Essentially a high-end media room that could also work for everyday use.

The room selected featured several large windows, a day bed and a fireplace, none of which could be moved. Although this was aesthetically pleasing and a unique space to work in, it did create some acoustic challenges – such as sound reflections, As well as the challenge of ensuring the audiovisual equipment did not alter the overall aesthetics of the room when not in use.

We partnered with Acoustic experts Artnovian to assist with audio absorption at the front left and right walls to overcome this. Artnovion has long been the choice of interior designers and cinema designers, thanks to its stunning looks and superior performance.

The Artnovian designer liked the look of the wood trim absorbers and mimicked this on the front wall with Artnovian Avalon flow acoustic wall panels. The resulting acoustic improvements include improved speech intelligibility, noise control and reducing excessive reverberations.

The front Left, Right and Centre sound stage is managed by three (3) Bowers & Wilkins Bowers & Wilkins CT8.2 LCR Custom Theatre Speakers. The CT8.2s offer a unique modular baffle design that allows them to be used as an LCR speaker in either vertical or horizontal positions. With significant performance to match their in-room counterparts in the 800 Series Diamond series, these large on-wall speakers were cut into a brick wall and then mechanically isolated ion rubber mounts to ensure the best possible sonic performance.

Flanking the sides of the room and supporting the bottom end are two (2) of JL Audio’s formidable In-Wall Subwoofer Systems with a Single 13.5-inch Subwoofer and 1000 watts of amplification! We then selected Bowers & Wilkins CWM7.3S2 in-wall speakers and CCM7.5S2 in-ceiling speakers to complete the room’s rear and atmos effects channels. The in-walls were once again cut into the brick wall and all were colour matched to the room paint to minimize the presence of the installation.

With the speaker array taken care of, we choose Krell’s Cinema 7 Power Amplifier. Although the unit is the smallest in Krell’s multichannel line-up, this unit is still more than capable with a conservatively rated 105 watts into seven channels at eight ohms with all channels driven. Marantz’s excellent AV 7705 Processor manages sound processing. The AV 7705 offers 11.2 Channel capability and has been specially designed for home theatre surround duties with some eight HDMI inputs, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound decoding, multi-room sound and Hi-Res audio support.

To finish of sound duties and ensure the best possible outputs, we installed a Thor PS10 Power conditioner. The PS10 is an expert at stabilizing under/over voltage currents This translates better sound and picture quality while protecting valuable equipment. All of these components were hidden away into two rolling professional equipment racks ganged together and hidden under the bench.

In a home theatre, the centrepiece will always be the projector, and to light up the screen, we installed Sony’s VPL790ES Laser Projector. The-VW790ES uses Sony’s latest laser projection technology, offering a spectacularly bright (2000 lumens) for contrast and colour-rich HDR picture capability and deploys Sony’s newest X1 chipset This projector is a standout, with Sound+Image magazine describing it in their review in December 2021 as “The best home theatre projector picture that we’ve experienced – and we mean ever.” The project was housed in an Ultralift motorized projector dropper, which significantly contributes to the systems discreet design by allowing the projector to be concealed entirely in the ceiling when not in use.

To control the entire system, we employed Savant Pro, programmed specifically to the client’s requirements. Savant has a complete set of automation control features, controllable via app or through Savant Pro remote devices. This provides the clients with one-touch solutions allowing them to sit back and enjoy this exceptional high-end media room.

This system is a good example of how you can have a capable theatre installation without compromising the aesthetics or functionality of a multi-use living space.


Key features of this project

3 x B&W CT8.2LCR on wall speakers

2 x B&W CWM7.3S2 in wall speakers

2 x B&W CCM7.5S2 in ceiling speakers

2 x JL SYS213  Dual 13″ Fathom in wall subs and 1000 watt amp

1 x Sony VPL790ES Projector

1 x Severtson 141″Ultra wide accoustically transparent screen

1x Marantz AV 7705 AV processor

1x  Thor PS10 Power conditioner

1 x Apple TV

1 x Panasonic DPUB9000 Bluray player

200 metres Inakustik MSR speaker cable

16 x Artnovian Avalon flow acoustic wall panels

7 x Inakustik Premium XLR cable

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