Product Article: The Home Theatre Environment (HTE) System



By Maurizio Conti, HTE. I have been a custom installer in the home theatre market for more than 30 years, and I have a passion for great sound. Traditionally, customers have had to choose how much of their budget was to be spent on electronics, and how much on the furnishings, and the balance is not always easy to get right. The idea of acoustically-treated furnishings is something that I started developing in 1993. I saw a need for furnishings that would marry acoustic treatment with Italian design, and so launched my first product, Luxury, at the Verona Luxury and Yacht show in 1995. This has since developed into a range of designs under the title Home Theatre Environment (HTE). These designs allow the custom installer to provide a complete solution for any size of space, balancing the cost of the acoustical interior design and the electronics, and keeping the budget under control. Whatever the customer decides to spend on furnishings versus electronics, we can get the best results from those electronics using our bespoke home theatre panels, thanks to their inherent acoustic properties. [caption id="attachment_5284" align="aligncenter" width="600"] An example of the HTE Luxury solution featuring a complete acoustic wall and ceiling covering that houses the screen, the speakers, electronics, shelving and lighting.[/caption] A Total Solution The acoustics of a room are a vital, if not the most important, component of a home theatre. In fact an excellent audio system in an untreated room can often have a poorer sound quality than a mediocre system in a treated room. The HTE system uses proprietary acoustic technology to ensure spatial acoustic optimisation, with concealed or unconcealed housings for the screen, electronics and speakers, according to the customer's demands. The beauty of this system is that it will work with any third-party furniture such as seating, desks tables and floor coverings, and can be installed by any professional systems integrator. [caption id="attachment_5281" align="aligncenter" width="600"] The HTE system can be installed by any professional systems integrator.[/caption] Normally, acoustic treatment and furnishings do not come from the same company, and it is rarely if ever offered as one and the same product, but this is where the HTE system really is innovative. Acoustical treatment is integrated into the design of HTE panels. Each panel has the ability to absorb, diffuse or reflect, and the combination of these attributes can be customised to provide a complete solution to ensure that the room performs at its best. The HTE Service The HTE service includes the design and acoustical definition of the installation to achieve the maximum audio and video performance. This includes data on all of the electronics devices, and the acoustic furnishings of which there are various models, namely Luxury, Royale, Square, Horizontal, Vertical and Modular. These can fit any space, and the design can be personalised in terms of colours and finishes, with fabrics including leather and wood, printed and embedded leather, and Alcantara (a type of faux suede). [caption id="attachment_5286" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Simulation of the weighted average acoustic value of the room in the previous image. L1 is the main listening position (sweet spot), while the 'B' positions are the locations of the speakers.[/caption] We leave the customer free to choose their electronics, although we can advise if required, and have integrated products from a range of manufacturers, including JBL Synthesis, Triad Speakers, Wisdom Audio, B&W, Datasat, and most of the other major manufacturers. [caption id="attachment_5283" align="aligncenter" width="600"] A diffuser from the HTE Modular range.[/caption] Our design team works together with the installer and any other professionals, such as architects or interior designers, in order to make sure that the right finishes and colours are chosen to meet the expectations of the customer. Once it has been decided which HTE model is going to be used, we measure the dimensions of the room and note its construction proprieties. We then note the electronics chosen for the system and develop a model for the acoustical result. A draft design is then sent to the customer, and on approval, the panels are manufactured, and delivered to site after around 8 weeks, as a ready-to-assemble kit to fit the room exactly. The system is easy to install thanks to an advanced fastening system, but we are always available to support the installer, especially if this is the first time that they are carrying out such a project. [caption id="attachment_5285" align="aligncenter" width="600"] An example of a combination of the HTE Horizontal model (left), and the Luxury model (right) with a bespoke 'curve' where the equipment rack is at the back.[/caption] Conclusion In my opinion, the acoustic treatment of a home theatre room accounts for at least 70% of its performance, no matter which type of electronics you are going to install. Even with electronic and digital equalization, an acoustically-correct room will always sound better than a simple untreated one. While audio correction can ameliorate the effects of a bad-sounding environment to a certain extent, the physical laws of acoustics cannot be ignored. If you have a good-sounding room, even if you don't spend a fortune on the audio system, you are already off to a good start, and can be certain of the best performance possible in that environment. [caption id="attachment_5282" align="aligncenter" width="600"] The HTE Royale system, considered as one of the best home theatre exhibits at the ISE Show 2014.[/caption] Since the HTE system integrates acoustic treatment into the décor of the room, the custom installer does not have to spend any of the budget on additional treatments - everything is provided complete and ready to install for a finished room. The results are predictable and there are no nasty surprises to deal with. Furthermore, the installation can be scheduled with complete confidence, as no other companies need be involved in the installation - everything can be done by the installer alone. Maurizio Conti is the Owner of HTE Home Theatre Environment, manufacturer of acoustic furnishings with Italian design. www.hte-italy.it

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