The majority of our projects fall within our Red Service. Sometimes, smaller projects require our Essentials Service and occasionally magnificent projects present themselves as candidates for our Black Label Service.
The Essentials design service was developed for individuals who value the benefits of employing science-based acoustic design techniques and architectural principles into the design of their private theater, but have a limited budget. Based on our extensive experience over the past two decades, we have synthesized our process down to this essential, must-have set of deliverables and packaged it into a fixed-fee that makes our design and acoustical engineering affordable.
The Essentials package comes with all the core acoustical engineering elements you would expect from Keith Yates Design, but without the deep customization you’d find in the Red and Black packages.
- Please see the product matrix for the specific list of the elements included in the essentials package.
KYD Red service is our most popular offering. Its breadth of engineering and proprietary modeling provides extraordinary sound quality, exceeding that of typical studio performance, for home theaters and media rooms that are custom designed for clients who want to create an immersive entertainment experience in their homes, offices or studios.
While the Essentials package includes all of the minimum elements for a superb sensory experience, the Red package is more robust and includes custom elements, particularly in the Design Development and the Technical Development phases delivering a truly rare experience that’s tailored for the nuances and shape of your entertainment space. Please see the product matrix for the specific list of the elements included in the Red package.
Black Label projects are truly a work of art and incorporate our broadest engineering and design scope to achieve a rarefied level of performance and perceptual immersion, complemented by an extraordinary execution of a customized interior design. Due to their scope and scale, KYD only takes on a few Black Label projects annually. In addition to their expanded design and engineering, Black Label includes exquisite customizations in fabric, lighting, intricate millwork, carvings, castings and luxurious embellishments. Black Label projects are suited for larger spaces or special venues with unique architectural elements that require the absolute highest level of technical precision to achieve perfection in creating an entertainment space.
The design elements included in Black Label project, such as noise and vibration modelling to achieve NC5 noise levels (quieter than any recording studio), provide a profound refinement of sensory immersion, involving development of the room down to the very bones, including the most minute details of each and every sub-element and component. At this level, we perform at our highest level in each scope phase to ensure that the final performance is beyond your expectation of absolute perfection.
ProgrammingInterviews with Client to explore and refine expected usage patterns; aesthetic preferences and sensitivities; social and lifestyle factors, including other uses of the venue (e.g., entertaining, business presentations, skits by children); desired degree of room’s architectural integration with rest of home; site and budget considerations; capabilities of Client’s construction team; construction timeline.
- 1 SCHEMATIC DESIGN (SD)
Interviews with Client to explore and refine expected usage patterns; æsthetic preferences and sensitivities; social and lifestyle factors, including other uses of the venue (e.g., entertaining, business presentations, skits by children); desired degree of room’s architectural integration with rest of home; site and budget considerations; capabilities of Client’s construction team; construction timeline.
- Pre-design technical survey
Survey site to characterize and assess existing conditions, including environmental noise & vibration, power quality, mechanical systems noise, etc. with test equipment.
- Room shape and dimensions assist
If you’re building a new home or remodeling an existing one, you have a rare opportunity to draw on our expertise in acoustic modeling to tune the room’s shape and dimensions. The benefit: an often dramatic reduction of the room’s tendency to create droning, resonant distortions in the listening zone at specific frequencies in the bass range. We review the proposed room's particulars for low-frequency standing wave problems (a.k.a. "room modes") and propose selective adjustments to one or several dimensions or shapes to improve the quality of bass performance throughout the listening zone.
This is an optional phase of Essentials design service.
- Schematic design drawings
Coordinate and iterate with Client and/or Client’s team to prepare Schematic Design documents proposing/confirming Theater’s basic size, shape, location, relationship to adjoining areas, architectural theming, and layout of major interior features, including video screen, projector, speakers, equipment areas and seating elements.
- 3D room model
We assemble what we’ve learned from programming into a simplified, 3D computer model, including the room’s size, shape, and the spatial organization of doors, windows, soffits, seating platforms, sofas, chairs, tables and so on. We make sure to set aside adequate space for critical technical elements, including the screen, speakers, subwoofers, projector, and acoustic treatments. As it evolves we communicate the layout through real-time web-based screen-sharing sessions, in which we present, discuss and tune the conceptual design to get your input.
- Preliminary budget sheet
Propose allowances by general category of construction of inner shell (e.g., walls, soffits, ceiling, projector port/enclosure, screen/baffle wall, door(s), seating platforms etc.); HVAC, electrical and A/V equipment; interior acoustic treatments; lighting; furnishings; and finishes (e.g., carpet, fabric, mouldings, draperies, etc.) for use by Client in budget planning.
- Schematic design renderings
Based on approved SD Drawings, coordinate with Client and design team to explore, develop and propose one or several basic room ‘looks’ (colors, textures, furnishings and moods) for Client’s review via non-photorealistic, artist-type perspective drawings.
- Schematic design online meeting
Online meeting with Client and members of design and construction team to present and/or discuss Schematic Design proposing venue’s basic size, shape, location, relationship to adjoining areas, architectural theming and layout of major interior features.
- Design charrette
Site meeting with Client and members of the design and construction team to present and/or discuss Schematic Design proposing venue’s basic size, shape, location, relationship to adjoining areas, architectural theming and layout of major interior features.
- 2 DESIGN DEVELOPMENT (DD)
- Layout drawings
We issue the conceptual layout drawings as 3D perspective views rather than conventional 2D architect-type blueprints because 3D is more natural and intelligible.
Comprised of 8 to 10 sheets of crisp, easily understood drawings, the package will become the basis for the tuning and detailing that follow in the technical and documentation phases. (Note: Essentials does not include detailed construction drawings.)
- Basic design development drawing package
Based on approved Schematic Design Drawings, prepare Design Development-level CAD drawings to develop venue’s spatial relationships; architectural elements (columns, arches, etc.); basic ornamental layout & pattern designs; and configuration of major technical elements (projector screen, loudspeakers, subwoofers, equipment racks & acoustic treatments) for review by Client and design team.
- Lighting guidelines
Issue guidelines for lighting design in the room and show placeholders for luminaires in DD Phase drawings.
- Electrical guidelines and design review
Issue general design guidelines for use by Client’s Electrical Engineer to reduce the likelihood of power-line disturbances (hums, buzzes, etc.) intruding on the entertainment experience; and review engineer’s proposed system design for general conformance with the intent of KYD-issued guidelines.
- Technical power system pre-design
Research site power quality issues, coordinate with electrical service provider (utility company), review power distribution plans, and conduct soil resistivity tests and power quality measurements as appropriate.
- Isolated envelope configuration
Configure reasonable layout placeholders for noise- and vibration-reducing wall, floor and/or ceiling assemblies in the Theater for review by Client’s Architect.
This is an optional phase of Essentials design service.
- HVAC guidelines
Issue a noise specification and general low-noise HVAC system design guidelines for use by Client’s Mechanical Engineer; review engineer’s proposed system design for general conformance with the intent of KYD-issued guidelines.
- HVAC configuration
Configure reasonable layout placeholders for HVAC system components (e.g., air handler, mixing box, plenum(s), silencers, duct sizing & routing, air terminal sizes and locations, etc.) for review by Client’s Architect.
- Interior design assist and renderings
We coordinate with you and your team to propose and incorporate architectural and interior elements (columns, soffits, wainscot, moldings, lighting fixtures and so on) and finish materials (wall and ceiling fabrics, wood and paint finishes, draperies, upholstery, carpet, etc.) that are compatible with the room’s basic performance requirements. (And if you’ve found fabrics you love, we’ll evaluate them in our special test chamber to make sure they meet the acoustic requirements.) We then update our 3D model and prepare non-photorealistic color renderings to give you and your team a clear sense not just of the room’s logic, but also its look and feel.
This is an optional phase of Essentials design service.
- Interior design and room renderings
Based on input received during Schematic Design phase, prepare a simplified 3D CAD model of the room’s major features; create from the model color renderings of one or several interior views of the room to illustrate the general design intent, especially as it relates to the proposed seating layout, circulation space, the video screen’s size and location, and major architectural features; select, in consultation with Client’s design team, specific interior finish materials (e.g., fabrics, upholstery, carpet, wood finishes, paint) that are compatible with the venue’s technical requirements; and produce for Client’s review Room Renderings and one or several Color Boards showing swatches of the interior finishes being proposed.
- Design development online meeting
Online meeting with Client and members of his/her design and construction teams to discuss the content of the DD drawings, including layout, theming, finishes, special constructions required, key dimensions, etc.
- Design development onsite charrette
On site meeting with Client and members of his/her design and construction teams to discuss the content of the DD drawings, including layout, theming, finishes, special constructions required, key dimensions, etc.
- 3 TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT (TD)
- Acoustical modeling
Create 3D CAD room model which is brought into finite-element engineering software assigning acoustic properties to loudspeakers, room surfaces and architectural features; run analysis of resulting acoustic behavior and interpret and revise/tune architectural, loudspeaker and acoustic treatment assumptions as required to meet performance targets. Internally review cumulative spectral decay (waterfall) plots of individual loudspeakers at various seats; echograms and/or energy-time curves at seat locations; speech intelligibility metrics (%ALCONS, STI, RaSTI); sound quality metrics (e.g., early decay time, lateral energy fraction [LEF], clarity [C80], definition [C50], bass strength [G], etc. per ISO standards); reverberation (T10, T20, T30); and time-of-flight, arrival time, frequency content, and overall sound pressure level and frequency response of direct sound from individual speakers at individual seat locations.
- BassCAMP™ standard
We solved the longstanding problem of seat-to-seat variation in bass response (the “room modes” challenge) by using a 3D CAD model for finite element analysis and industrial-strength CFD (computational fluid dynamics) to simulate and rank the low-frequency response of all possible combinations of up to 4 subwoofers in up to 15 possible locations; indicating subwoofers’ individual delays, levels and polarities to find the best performing layout in your particular room. (Note to math fans: This means we’re computing mean spatial deviation for not less than 14.1 million unique subwoofer layout combinations in every room).
Although it takes a very powerful engineering workstation and a fluid dynamics expert to run, BassCAMP (Computational Acoustic Modeling Program) typically reduces maximum seat-to-seat variation by 20 or even 30 decibels, to a level that can actually be handled by a digital equalizer. The results are compiled in a 30-40 page Report that identifies the specific subwoofer configuration, with dimensions and electronic settings.
- BassCAMP™ advanced
We solved the longstanding problem of seat-to-seat variation in bass response (the “room modes” challenge) by using a 3D CAD model for finite element analysis and industrial-strength CFD (computational fluid dynamics) to simulate and rank the low-frequency response of all possible combinations of up to 8 subwoofers in up to 30 possible locations; indicating subwoofers’ individual delays, levels and polarities to find the best performing layout in your particular room. (Note to math fans: This means we’re computing mean spatial deviation for not less than 14.1 million unique subwoofer layout combinations in every room).
Although it takes a very powerful engineering workstation and a fluid dynamics expert to run, BassCAMP (Computational Acoustic Modeling Program) typically reduces maximum seat-to-seat variation by 20 or even 30 decibels, to a level that can actually be handled by a digital equalizer. The results expand the variables set of the top 10 layouts to include micro-positioning of individual subwoofers, then re-optimize and re-rank; issue approximately 30-40 page report with results and rankings of the top 6 performing layouts with CAD drawings.
- Interior acoustic treatment plan
Based on the results of Optimized A/V Layout and BassCAMP, we develop an Interior Acoustic Treatment Plan specifying what diffusers, absorbers, bass traps, reflectors and other treatments to be installed (typically behind fabric panels) to reduce boomy, muddy sound and create new sound reflection patterns that increase listener envelopment and speech intelligibility scores throughout the listening zone, not just at the "money seat".
Includes make, model, size, quantity and location of diffusors, absorbers, pressure traps, reflectors, compound devices and other interior acoustic treatments for use by KYD design, engineering and drafting personnel, and the installation team.
- Playback layout optimization
Based on results of Acoustic Modeling and BassCAMP Subwoofer Layout Optimization services, tune all loudspeaker and subwoofer types & locations, audience seat locations, sightlines, screen size & location, and projector location. The process is made precise and efficient by software developed in-house at KYD to track and rank the physical layout possibilities (speaker locations & angles, screen size, seating distances, heights and angles etc.) to produce the most immersive and compelling experience possible.
- Optimized A/V layout
Based on the rules governing acoustical physics and the perception of sounds and images, we tune the screen image size and the distances to it from the various speakers and audience seating positions. The process is made precise and efficient by software developed in-house at KYD to track and rank the physical layout possibilities (speaker locations & angles, screen size, seating distances, heights and angles etc.) to produce the most immersive and compelling experience possible.
- A/V specifications
Coordinate with A/V Integrator to specify core A/V playback system, including front, surround and supplemental speakers (e.g., Atmos), subwoofers, video projector, video screen, audio and video signal processors, power amplifiers, surround preamp/processor, source components, and cables.
This is an optional phase of Essentials design service.
- Control room development
Coordinate with A/V Integrator to configure and develop equipment racks, optimized cooling and humidity control, noise and vibration mitigation, cable trays, conduits, access floors, lighting, document storage, service equipment (soldering stations, etc.), custom signal patching, etc.
- HVAC system design
Based on approved HVAC System Configuration from Design Development phase, specify for the venue and designated Technical Rooms make- and model-specific HVAC system components (e.g., air handlers, mixing boxes, heat-recovery ventilators, plenums, silencers, ducting, air terminals, fans, etc.); specify their configuration and integration within the building; denote their anticipated performance parameters (e.g., predicted noise levels and spectra, total flow rate, face and in-duct velocities, and volume of fresh air per occupant) and Indoor Air Quality enhancement elements.
- Noise and vibration modeling and design
Numerically model and optionally use finite element method (FEM) analysis to anticipate noise and vibration from mechanical equipment (HVAC equipment, pumps, motors, etc.) and anticipated re-generated noise from air terminal devices (grilles, registers, diffusers). Specify quantities, makes, models, sizes, locations and installation methods of engineered noise and vibration mitigation elements.
Based on the results of Acoustic Modeling and Interior Acoustic treatment Plan, provide headphones-based opportunity for subjective listening tests (binaural auralizations) by Client and A/V integrator using dry CD-type music and/or speech recordings convolved with calculated Room Impulse Responses at specific seats of interest.
- Graphed predictions report
Bound report, approximately 40 pages, summarizing acoustic prediction data from Acoustic Modeling and Bass Optimization processes including graphs and plots showing globally and at specific seats of interest the calculated reflectograms (energy-frequency and energy-time curves), waterfall (cumulative spectral decay) displays, and directivity hedgehog displays of individual loudspeakers; speech intelligibility metrics (%ALCONS, STI, RaSTI); sound quality metrics (early decay time, direct-to-reverberant energy ratios, lateral fraction [LF], clarity [C80], definition [C50], and bass strength [G]) per ISO standards); reverberation (Schroeder and Eyring RT, early decay times, T10, T20, T30); modulation transfer function (MTF); and impulse response (IR).
- Technical power system design
Develop a list of all technical loads and specify a separate Technical Power System (low-noise electrical service) to service the Theater and associated A/V and control systems, including isolation transformer(s), wiring, circuiting and grounding specifications; wiring devices (e.g., receptacles) and their layouts; and power conditioners/UPS hardware.
- 4 CONSTRUCTION DRAWINGS (CD)
- Construction drawings package
Provide to-scale, dimensioned and annotated CAD-type drawings which refine, expand and detail DD-phase architectural drawings and integrate with specifications developed during the Technical Development phase, including dimensions, tolerances, make & model specifications and installation instructions for use by Client’s construction team.
- Final layout drawings
For the Essentials design service package, we update and expand the 3D model with the results of the preceding phases, including any optional services that may have been selected, then add descriptions, critical dimensions and installation notes, then print and issue four sets of 3D and 2D drawings package for use by your project team.
Detailed CAD construction drawings are not included in Essentials.
- 5 CONSTRUCTION ADMINISTRATION (CA)
- General construction administration
Provide general coordination with Architect, General Contractor and other members of the venue’s design and construction team via telephone, email and web-based meetings to ensure smooth and orderly execution of Theater design.
- Site observation
Perform one or more site visits to observe for compliance with KYDG’s documents and design intent.
- White box testing
Following completion of room’s inner shell and installation of room’s HVAC and electrical systems, but prior to installation of carpet, furnishings or acoustic materials, Designer and/or engineer shall visit the site to measure: room envelope’s acoustic insulation performance; impact noise & vibration insulation; noise emissions at all HVAC terminal devices (grilles, registers) within the room; and acoustic, modal and reverberation response.
- Black box testing
After installation of acoustic treatment, carpet, furnishings and audio/video system, Designer and/or engineer shall visit the project site to perform low-frequency and full-spectrum measurements and measure key electroacoustic parameters (frequency and power response, distortion curves, polar data, etc.) of all installed speakers (LCR, subwoofers, surrounds, etc.).
- Equipment noise testing
Site visit to measure sound power radiated by video projector, furnaces, forced air units, and/or other mechanical equipment to determine noise reduction required to bring noise to desired level in the Theater and/or other noise-sensitive areas.
- Acoustic materials test
Test materials (e.g., absorbers, diffusors, reflectors, architectural items) for relevant acoustical properties.
- Fabric test
Test wall and other fabric, mesh and/or video screen material for transondency/absorptivity.
- 6 TESTING AND CALIBRATION (TC)
- Room/sound system calibration
Site visit by Designer and/or engineer with test equipment to measure, optimize and calibrate all speakers, subwoofers, loudspeaker management components (if any) and audio DSP unit(s) after installation by A/V Integrator and demonstration of the room/system’s performance achievements to Client and key project personnel.
This is an optional phase of Essentials design service.
- Calibration report and certificate of compliance
Written Report of approximately 30 pages characterizing before and after calibration results.
"When it came to building my own home theater, I really could not have chosen a better firm to work with than KYD. Their extensive work in the world of no-holds-barred theaters has created both a depth of expertise and a breadth of experience that they are able to draw upon with each project they undertake, regardless of scale. They know what works, what doesn’t, what’s cost effective and what isn’t, and they have the flexibility to adapt to the challenges of the real world."
Michael Kobb, Director of User Experience, Kaleidescape
Unforgettable entertainment experiences don’t start with quality audiovisual equipment.
Unforgettable experiences start with research of each client’s needs, specifications of the space available, and a deep understanding of physics and architecture. Without appropriate planning and a science-based process, even the best audiovisual equipment will merely provide an average experience. Our clients know that without understanding how each element of a room’s design affects the other elements, it’s impossible to promise the magical experience of a theater, with precision engineering from the bones of the room structure, through the acoustic and visual optimization of every seating position in the space.
Our design services are especially attractive to homeowners, architects and AV integrators who have outgrown rudimentary, non-science based home theater solutions and who are ready to enlist a qualified engineering team to take responsibility for the final quality of the total experience. KYD specifies not only the projector, screen type and size, audio equipment, seating type and location, and interior finishes, but also the larger-scale, physics-driven issues, including details of how the venue and related spaces should be planned, sized, arranged, framed, isolated, insulated, sheathed, acoustically treated, heated, cooled, lighted, serviced with clean power, furnished, and, importantly, tested and calibrated.
Process and technology
At KYD, we use a proven design process for creating outstanding results for our customers. Over our 25 years of experience, this process has evolved to yield superbly engineered and optimized spaces that deliver the highest level of immersive and sensory-rich entertainment experiences. Our design process parallels the process of any experienced architect or contractor, making us ideal and complementary partners whether you are building a new home or creating an experience in an existing space.
We don’t keep secrets from our clients or use terminology without a full explanation. As our client, you will know exactly what stage we are in, what we are doing, and how it will affect the final outcome of your experience.
Phase 1: Schematic Design (SD) or “Napkin CAD”
In the SD stage, we conduct an extensive client interview and assess the site to form the initial design concept. Initial measurements, client usage expectations and site specific conditions are considered within sound physics and architecture principles to determine the room’s basic design configuration.. Based on the client’s preferences and the space available, we create a basic sketch of the design as well as come up with budget estimates. The SD includes basic placement of the elements in the room, planning for line of sight, interior design and for proximity to exits and amenities. Follow up client and architect meetings are integral to refining the room’s basic size, shape, relationship to adjoining areas, architectural theming and layout of major interior features.
The culmination of this stage is approval by the client, the construction team and KYD of the venue’s size, shape, architectural theme and layout of major interior features.
Phase 2: Design Development (DD)
During the DD phase, the SD is transformed into a precise CAD design of each and every element in the space. The DD stage includes lighting guidelines, electrical design, technical power system pre-design, isolated envelope configuration, heating and ventilation systems configuration, interior design, and room renderings.
The DD stage includes specifications and configuration of major technical elements, brands and makes of everything comprising the space, including audiovisual equipment, flooring, paneling, finishes, special constructions required, theming, etc. During this stage we have a large range of flexibility in working with the client to discuss the implications of choosing specific components and how that will affect the quality of the final experience. At the conclusion of this stage, we meet to review and approve all of the specifications of the design.
Phase 3: Technical Development (TD)
At this stage, we use advanced, industrial–grade computer modeling and simulation to determine the optimal layout and design of the space, as well as the variations in the potential components to place in the space. Our use of science-based software tools combined with extensive experience in home theater design allows us to accurately predict how equipment will perform in real life, long before we even get to the specifics of the architectural drawing.
The technical development stage integrates the specifications of all of the elements of the room, taking into account the science of how each component will affect the overall psychoacoustic sensory experience. In this stage, KYD conducts acoustical modeling and auralizations, performs BassCAMP™ low frequency optimization, interior acoustic treatment, playback layout optimization of A/V components relative to room geometry and seating location, A/V component specification, control room development, HVAC system design, technical power system design and noise and vibration modeling. At the completion of this stage, we provide individual reports for each of the above scope items and a graphed prediction report summarizing the acoustic output modelling and BassCAMP processes.
Phase 4: Construction Drawing (CD)
The CD phase is the creation of the final drawings and documentation supplied to the client’s construction team who will implement the job. The CD includes all of the specific details of the space, including dimensions, materials and the finalized makes and models of every component in the space.
KYD CAD drawings and documentation lead the industry with their attention to detail, color and isometric realization to enable exact execution of category specific design techniques by construction teams worldwide.
Phase 5: Construction Administration (CA)
The CA phase ensures that every element is implemented by the contractors precisely according to design specifications. During the actual construction, we send a highly trained administrator on site to ensure that that our CD phase is executed to plan, and if any substitutions are proposed, they are done with full supervision and approval of a KYD team technical professional.
During CA, the team performs white and black box testing, calibration, equipment noise testing, acoustic materials and fabrics testing.
Phase 6: Testing and Calibration (TC)
During the testing and calibration stage, KYD uses more than $100,000 worth of the most advanced, sensitive and accurate test equipment including Bruel and Kjaer devices, to optimize and calibrate all speakers, subwoofers and loudspeaker management components and confirm the results of the computer modeling. A calibration report and certificate of compliance is provided at the conclusion of this stage.