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Case Study: A Theater for the Theater Maker

The owner of Elite Audio builds himself a high-end home theater.

Beautiful stadium seating ensures that all viewers are comfortable. Note the attractive star ceiling treatment.

Located in Lexington, SC, Elite Audio has been providing premium technology solutions for discerning clients across the southeast for nearly 30 years, including Hi-Fi music systems, whole-house audio, landscape (outdoor) entertainment, smart home technology integration, and, of course, home theater systems. Owner Brantley Waites got his start in the AV industry building car stereo systems, evolving his business to include the competition circuit where he set numerous world SPL (sound pressure level) records — including hitting the 160 dB mark back in 1996!

Today, Elite Audio is a team of six dedicated professionals known for excellence in every aspect of commercial and residential AV system design, installation, and service. They have occupied a 5000-square-foot, appointment-only facility since 1998, comprised of conference rooms, offices, warehouse, and equipment rack preparation area. Waites and his team will host meetings with their clients and their architects and/or designers in the conference room that is also used for staff training events. But at the conclusion of each long day, Waites retreats to his home where he is able to relax and enjoy his deluxe, custom designed home cinema powered by AudioControl.

“I am truly passionate about home theater,” says Waites. “Since the age of 15, I have been fixated on great sound. We enjoy something on the system almost every evening.” In his home, Waites constructed a 16- X 36-foot cinema that features AudioControl’s flagship preamp/processor, the Maestro M9. The M9 feeds signal to an AudioControl Savoy 7-channel amplifier that provides high-power output to Aerial Acoustics LCR and surround speakers located throughout the theater. Bass is handled by JL Audio Fathom subwoofers.

Brantley Waites shows off his elegantly appointed theater with imposing loudspeaker array in action.

“I fell in love with the Aerial Acoustics loudspeakers, and actually designed the room, including double sheetrock walls and space in the back for a bar and restrooms, to accommodate them,” says Waites. “When it came time to select an amplifier to drive the speakers, I wanted the power, performance, and reliability that I knew I would get from AudioControl.”

Waites’s home theater system is a 7.4 configuration, and he enjoys a variety of programming that includes Blu-ray movies, streaming content/DirecTV, and lots of college football. A 42U equipment rack is nestled into a rear corner of the room, featuring multiple dedicated 30A electrical circuits with power conditioning and active cooling (vented outside the home) for the electronics and for the projector. The image is projected onto a 133-inch screen, creating a lifelike visual experience from every seat.

Related: The Latest AV Receivers

Waites controls his home theater system, including the Maestro M9, his climate control, and lighting, using the URC Total Control smart home platform. The home network has been bolstered and features a 24-port network switch dedicated specifically for the theater. The room features stadium seating and acoustical treatment throughout to achieve best performance and the ultimate comfort while enjoying movies, sports and more. Of course, there is a beautiful decorative “star ceiling” in the theater as well as a popcorn machine and beer cooler — all of the home cinema fundamentals have been accounted for.

The equipment rack is set into the back corner of the cinema, housing the AudioControl gear, power conditioning and more — all actively cooled for reliability and longevity.

AudioControl Maestro M9 Preamp/Processor

The AudioControl Maestro M9 is a reference-quality preamp processor designed to offer maximum flexibility alongside premium audio and video performance. Featuring Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround modes along with Dirac Live room correction technology, the M9 supports today’s high-resolution formats, including 4K Ultra HD (HDMI 2.0a). The Maestro M9 uses the finest parts, including Burr Brown PCM1796 DACs for pinpoint clarity and laser-like image focus. The Maestro M9 offers all of the surround formats that enthusiasts crave, such as Dolby Atmos, Dolby Surround, DTS:X, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-ES 6.1 Discrete, DTS-ES 6.1 Matrix, DTS 5.1, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X, and IMAX Enhanced.

Integrators can correct for acoustical room anomalies using Dirac room correction software. The Maestro M9 can be used as part of a standalone home theater or integrated with a smart home ecosystem, with IP, RS232, 12 volt trigger, and IR control options at the ready.

The AudioControl Maestro M9 preamp/processor and the Savoy G3 amplifier deliver state of the art home cinema performance.

AudioControl Savoy G3 Amplifier

The AudioControl Savoy G3 is a 7-channel home cinema amplifier that incorporates a unique and highly efficient Class H design. Producing over 200 watts off clean power into each channel (or almost 1500 watts total output), the Savoy G3 is the ultimate companion to the Maestro M9 pre-amp processor, creating a lifelike home theater experience for all movie enthusiasts. The Class-H design topology of the Savoy G3 provides increased efficiency and bullet-proof reliability, while reducing heat and unnecessary power dissipation. The Savoy G3 incorporates AudioControl’s LightDrive Anti-Clipping Protection Circuit, which safeguards the speakers during the most dynamic movie soundtracks or concerts, even at the most aggressive listening levels.

“It has become second nature for us to include AudioControl in the packages we sell to our clients, especially after living with a system in my own home,” says Waites. “Between my years in car audio and, more recently, as a residential and commercial AV integrator, I have amassed a 30-plus year relationship with AudioControl and I could not imagine a better partner and supplier of premium solutions.”

Full Theater Equipment List

  • Epson 6040UB
  • Panamorph Paladin
  • Stewart Filmscreen StudioTek 130 – 2:35 ratio – 133” screen
  • Audio Control MAESTRO M9
  • Audio Control SAVOY G3
  • Oppo UDP-203
  • DirecTV
  • Aerial Model CC5B
  • (2) Aerial Model LR5
  • (2) Aerial Model SR3
  • (4) JL Audio f113v2-GLOSS
  • Roku
  • Apple TV
  • Araknis AN-310-SW-R-24-POE
  • RGPC SubStation
  • WattBox WB-OVRC-UPS-2000-1
  • Wattbox WB-800-IPVM-12
  • URC MRX-10
  • URC HDA-8100
  • Auralex 1SF24CHA
  • Auralex SUBDUDE-II
  • Auralex RC-8
  • Auralex SheetBlock Sound Barrier