RTI in the "Driver" Seat for Multizone AV System
When it came to control over AV equipment in the finished basement of a 5,000-square-foot home in Clarence Center, New York, the most important factors were simplicity and the ability to easily view feedback about the status of components and content being played by sources. To meet these criteria, integrator TheaterPro relied on control solutions from RTI, incorporating a wide variety of two-way drivers for seamless integration with electronic components.
1 x AD-16x Audio Matrix Switch
1 x XP-8v Control Processor
1 x XP-8s Control Processor
2 x RTiPanel App License for iPhone
1 x RTiPanel App License for iPad
1 x T2x Handheld Controller
1 x Virtual Panel license
RTI Case studies available in PDF format
Recently, New York-based TheaterPro wrapped up a home theater installation in the finished basement of a 5,000-square-foot home in the high-end Spalding Lake subdivision in Clarence, New York. The second part of a two-phase project, work on the basement began two years after the home’s upstairs was outfitted with the latest AV technology, including a distributed audio system. To extend the audio system throughout the basement, Monitor Audio in-ceiling speakers — driven by an AudioControl P2680EQ amplifier — were installed in the exercise room, bathroom, and bar. An Autonomic music streamer plays Pandora, SiriusXM radio, and the family’s iTunes music throughout the home, distributed by RTI’s AD-16x audio matrix switch.
The crown jewel of the basement, however, is a multi-purpose theater room. Here, the family can enjoy TV programming from a TiVo, view movies and video streaming from a Samsung 4K Blu-ray player, or play games on an Xbox One. Content can be displayed on a 75-inch Sony TV or projected onto a drop-down 128-inch Stewart Filmscreen Cima screen by a Digital Projection E-Vision Laser 5000 projector. For unparalleled sound, the theater is equipped with Monitor Audio surround-sound speakers and a REL Acoustics S/5 SHO subwoofer, driven by an AudioControl AVR-7 receiver. For video distribution, TheaterPro pro utilized a Key Digital 8x8 CSA matrix switch, while networking is provided by Pakedge. All equipment is housed in a Middle Atlantic ERK 4425 rack.
When it came to control over AV equipment, the most important factors were simplicity and the ability to easily view feedback about the status of components and content being played by sources. To meet these criteria, TheaterPro relied on solutions from RTI.
“We utilize RTI control solutions in most of our projects, as the platform’s custom programming capabilities are exceptional and allow us to meet the individual needs of any system,” says Kevin Marshall, General Manager at TheaterPro. “In fact, RTI was already being used in this home upstairs, so our clients were quite familiar with the simplicity the company provides. The homeowners have particularly enjoyed using the RTiPanel app on their iPhones and wished to continue doing that. For the basement, however, they did want their current interface to be updated to a GUI that was a bit easier to use with numerous zones.”
The home’s control system is powered by RTI’s XP-8v and XP-8s control processors, relying on a wide range of two-way drivers for seamless integration with a variety of electronic systems. These include drivers for the Sony TV, Autonomic music server, TiVo, Key Digital matrix switch, AudioControl AVR-7 receiver, AD-16x audio matrix switch, and a Panamax power management unit. In addition, two drivers from Coup Automation were utilized: ReCalc and Virtual Matrix Selector. The ReCalc driver allowed TheaterPro to display volume feedback as a positive number instead of a negative, making it more intuitive for users.
The Virtual Matrix Selector was key to addressing a main challenge in the installation: keeping track of which source is playing in what room or zone across the massive home. Tracking source playback was important for two main reasons. First, the home is equipped with four TiVos, and family members needed to be able to see if one was in use before changing channels on it. Second, TheaterPro created volume and channel presets for the Autonomic server. Whether or not the audio system defers to one or both of the presets when someone picks up a control device depends on whether or not music is already being played in a zone or somewhere else in the house.
The family interacts with their control system in the basement using an iPad Air running the RTiPanel app, which is located in the bar and housed in an iPort LuxePort BaseStation and case. The homeowners also continue to use the RTiPanel app on their iPhones. The interface for both has been updated to the Aleera GUI from Blackman Designs. A T2x handheld controller is located in the theater room to provide tactile control when viewing the displays.
“When you invest this much money in an AV installation, you simply expect everything to work and for there to be sophisticated touches, whether its seeing detailed descriptions of source content on your controller, or having your favorite music play automatically at the touch of a button,” adds Marshall. “With RTI, we were able to easily meet these expectations, and the family absolutely loves the results.”
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