The Kipnis Studio Standard is the ultimate home theater theme park for videophiles.
By Rob Sabin
To hear him tell it, Jeremy Kipnis built the massive Kipnis Studio Standard just for the fun and challenge — to see what could be done with unlimited resources and a quest for the ultimate cinematic experience. This is not just the ultimate home theater, but a viewing experience that would be unparalleled in any theater, anywhere. Kipnis spent time in the 1990s and early 2000s as an audio engineer, but after building this man-cave/media room on steroids in Redding, Connecticut, and getting it featured in Home Theater magazine, he’s never looked back. Now his company, Kipnis Studios, builds high-end home theaters for residential and commercial clients. In other words, with enough room and plenty of coin, all this — or something like it — could be yours.
Let’s start with the massive room: a 2,250-square foot, two-story space, with a vaulted ceiling, balcony office, non-parallel walls (for better sound reproduction) and a 16″-thick reinforced concrete foundation below the solid maple floor, which is floating 4″ above the foundation on pine studs.
Then there’s the hanging screen: a 24′ x 10′ behemoth from Stewart Filmscreen, the company that provides projection screens for most of the screening rooms and mixing stages in Hollywood. Notice that the speakers are down below, unlike a movie theater, which usually hide them behind the screen. That’s because the acoustically perforated screens typically used at your local cinema screw with the sound, and Kipnis would have none of that. The room is treated with acoustic panels all around to provide just the right amount of absorption, reflection and refraction (the scattering of sound) in the right places to ensure perfect sound. A Sony CineAlta digital cinema projector (used in professional theaters) blasts the image onto the giant screen with three times the brightness specified for regular movie theaters. It boasts 4K resolution, a format that offers four times more sharpness than today’s 1080p HDTVs and projectors. New 4K Ultra HDTVs are just coming on the consumer market this year, but Kipnis had this Sony in place five years ago and the rest of the world is just starting to catch up.
The audio system is equally impressive. There are eight discrete front speaker/surround channels and eight subwoofer channels (to make an 8.8-channel system), but the sound is output through nearly 30 speakers in total, including eight classic Snell tower speakers, three center channel speakers and 16 18″ subwoofers. Every speaker or subwoofer is driven by McIntosh tube or Mark Levinson solid-state power amplifiers. Source components for the system include a Sony 4K digital movie server, Blu-ray player, cable box, Xbox and PS3, among others. And everything is controlled by a Crestron touchscreen automation system.
All this excess has landed Kipnis in the “Guinness Book of World Records” every year since 2008, including a spot in the 2013 edition for “Loudest & Largest Home Theater/Personal Gaming Set-Up.”
Rob Sabin is the editor of Sound + Vision magazine.