|Ryan Heringer at the bar of the man cave. Note the color changing LED lights below its surface.
While women have more and more to say about
home audio video systems, there’s one place where
a guy can always be a guy: the so-called “man cave.”
Sometimes a den, sometimes a garage, sometimes a
basement, this ultimate male sanctuary is a place
where a guy can have his own stuff, entertain
friends, or just be by himself when he
Ryan Heringer is a man cave expert, because
he’s got the biggest, baddest man cave ever.
A 4,000-square foot free-standing structure,
Heringer’s man cave features a game room
with a pool table, ping pong, full bar, card table,
shuffleboard, darts, four flat-screen televisions,
Hunter Douglas motorized shades, and a killer
sound system. It also includes a 21-seat theater, a
full kitchen, two bathrooms, an office, and a guest
bedroom, each with its own TV, motorized shades,
and Crestron control.
Heringer, owner of Jonesboro, AR-based Sound
Concepts, already had a state-of-the-art audio
video system in his house, but he said he was unable
to enjoy it properly. “I work until 9:30 every night,
and by that time, my little ones are asleep.” He
could watch TV in the main house, but he couldn’t
turn the sound up, and forget about having friends
over once his family went to bed.
|The man cave is a 4,000-square foot freestanding structure next door to Ryan Heringer’s house. The patios feature outdoor speakers and TV and motorized mosquito screens integrated into the Crestron system.
Now, he said, his friends and neighbors know
that his door is always open, there’s always a beer
or a margarita handy, and there’s not one, but
every ball game on TV.
“I’ve got a Crestron DVPHD, the eight-window
video processor, which lets me watch up to eight
games on my TVs,” he pointed out.
Because he ran the DVPHD into his 16x16
switcher, Heringer can watch multiple games on
any or every TV in the main house, as well as in
the man cave. Needless to say, a setup like this is
outstanding for keeping track of fantasy teams.
“For sports, it’s the ideal place to be,” he said.
What else does the ultimate man cave include?
Heringer’s space offers a Crestron lighting system,
pre-programmed to set just the right mood for
cards, pool, a ball game or Heringer’s hobby,
tweaking his electronic systems. “We have an onyx
bar with color changing LED lights underneath it,”
he noted. “I got a driver for our Crestron system,
so I can make those colors move, flash and fade in
time to the music playing on the sound system.”
|The game room of the man cave includes a bar, kitchen, pool, shuffleboard, and card tables, plus a curved sofa for watching TV.
The Theater and Beyond
The theater in the man cave is something special.
As you approach the door, there’s a mock ticket
booth with a popcorn machine and candy cabinet
and, on either side, vertically mounted 46-inch
LED displays. These displays have their own digital
media player sending them movie clips, plus posters
compiled with the help of QuickSign Pro digital
“QuickSign can pick up cover art from my
Kaleidescape and create ‘now showing’ posters
of whatever is running in the theater,” Heringer
Inside the theater is a JVC 3D projector with a
Stewart CineCurve Electrimask screen that changes
aspect ratios to match the movie or TV broadcast.
The Kaleidescape, set up to serve Bluray
movies as well as Heringer’s music collection,
is actually installed with the other major systems
in an equipment room at the main house. Sound
Concept technicians installed a fiber-optic link,
part of a Crestron DigitalMedia network, to share
movies, music, and television sources between the
|The theater in the man cave features 13 Fortress reclining chairs and eight additional bar stools behind the counter in the back.
Heringer asked his interior designer, M.G.
Meyering, to create a look reminiscent of the Star
Ship Enterprise for the theater, and Meyering used
Kinetics geometric acoustic panels to this end. The
theater has 13 luxurious Fortress reclining leather
seats on a tiered floor, plus an additional seven
barstools arranged along a counter at the back.
The sound system, with McIntosh preamps and
amplifiers, B&W 800 Diamond loudspeakers, and
JL Audio subwoofers, can make the whole building
Outside the man cave is a patio facing a golf
course, complete with a Sunbrite 46-inch TV
and five Progressive Screen Systems’ motorized
mosquito screens integrated into the Crestron
system. There’s also an outdoor kitchen with a Big
Green Egg gas grill.
An office and guest room decorated with hunting
and fishing trophies complete the man cave, and
each has a large flat-panel television.
Control is the Key
Crucial to any man cave is the ability to easily
control which ball games are going to which TVs,
which movie or sporting event is playing in the
theater, and what sound comes through on the
Klipsch ceiling speakers installed in every area
of the structure. It’s important, too, to have the
temperature, lights, security system, and even the
roll-down mosquito screens out on the covered
patio always at your fingertips.
Not leaving anything to chance, Heringer
installed a total of eight Crestron touchscreens,
some wall mounted and some hand held–between
one and three in every room. If he happens to
be sitting somewhere where a touchscreen is not
handy, Heringer can control the system using either
of two iPads or his iPhone.
|At the entrance to the theater, a snack counter with vertically mounted flat-panel displays on each side.
|Ryan Heringer and his family, who are allowed in the man cave after all.
Heringer admits that, as much as he enjoys
his man cave, he does mix some business in with
his pleasure. “If you’re going to sell these kinds of
systems you have to show them,”
he said. Heringer added that most
of his neighbors are his customers,
so if they drop by, they’ll see what
iPhone control or an eight-window
video processor can do. “They’ll
tell me, ‘That’s the coolest thing
I’ve ever seen.’” If they see it and
use it, pretty soon they’ll want to
have it, Heringer surmised.
He also uses the man cave to
entertain manufacturer’s reps and
other business contacts. “If my
Crestron rep comes to see me, I
can put him up so he doesn’t have
to rent a hotel room. We’ll have
dinner over there, we can talk after
hours, and he’ll have a chance to
see the kind of work we do.”
A place to relax and a place
to work. A sanctuary from the
everyday. A man cave.
Don Kreski is owner of Kreski
Marketing Consultants Inc., in
Mt. Prospect, IL.