Goldmund started its market research for the Goldmund Media Room in the USA, the only market where the sample quantity of Home-Theater was significant enough for a statistical research. But when Home-Theater users were questioned, to the surprise of the inquirers, the most often heard comment appeared to be: "Sorry, I cannot make it work for you, my theater is broken"...and the Goldmund Media Room Reliability Project was launched! It has given birth to extreme technological security features, coupled to a traditional, basic and somehow forgotten emergency kit: The Red Cross Kit of course!
The discovery of the Goldmund Red Cross Kit delivered with each Media Room, may be troubling at first. In fact, it contains all pieces of information, hardware and software that are needed to service the Goldmund Media Room. It is left at the room site and is a white flight case with a red Swiss cross on it. It contains:
Among the differences between the Goldmund Media Room and a traditional Home-Theater is the fact that many more speakers are used. Users may think that its chance of having a broken driver is higher, but in fact multiplying speakers is good for reliability. With more speakers, each of them is less solicited to reach a high sound level in the room. In addition, if you have a 5.1 or 7.1 system and one driver is faulty, you will immediately hear it, whereas if you have numerous drivers, any faulty unit would be perfectly unnoticeable, making the "perceived reliability" perfect. But our research team did not stop there. Each driver has its own amplifier, each of them using a DSP individually loaded by the Room modeling software with the exact parameters of the drivers it controls. This way, it is easy for each amplifier to monitor the signal it produces and to avoid pushing its driver to a danger area. In short, failure of drivers would be exceptional and, as we have seen, unnoticeable for the user. But in order to secure the proper maintenance of the room all the amplifiers are linked to the central Room Controller by LAN. These will notify the Room Controller of the driver's failure, allowing the Controller to send an alert message to the Service Center. This also applies to the failure of an amplifier. If the central Controller detects an amplifier which is not responding, it will try to restart the amplifier but if unsuccessful for an (adjustable) delay or a certain number of retries, it will notify the central Controller which will send a message the same way, all this without any disturbance to the user. As mentioned before, the Red Cross Kit includes a spare amplifier of each type used in a given Media Room project. So the service technicians only have to exchange the defective amplifier indicated by the central Controller, and to send the defective one to Goldmund for exchange. Their work is greatly facilitated by the fact that all cables used in the wiring are locked cables with professional plugs (even the AC connection) which need 5 second to be unplugged and re-plugged. As soon as reconnected, the amplifier is immediately recognized by the central Controller and reconfigured.
Projectors are customers' worst nightmare. This is mostly because manufacturers are fighting on price rather than on reliability. Only top projectors can have some redundancy built-in. Most of the time the lamp is doubled and the best projectors used by Goldmund in large projects automatically switch from one lamp to the other. In simpler solutions, a double-lamp projector may be used with both lamps working so only a drop in luminosity occurs when a lamp breaks. Auto-switching lamps are better because a message can be automatically sent to the service technicians for them to come and replace the broken lamp. Here again, the effect is null for the user who may not even have noticed. For smaller rooms where heavy and costly projectors are not necessary, Goldmund uses a simpler projector model but in a dual configuration, with a sensor that switches between them automatically in case of loss of light.
The most professional Media Players are usually run on a special dual-computer providing 100% redundancy just like in the Simulation, Gaming, and Tele-Presence applications found in some of the most advanced Goldmund Media Rooms. In terms of disc players, the Blu-ray player alone usually needs duplication, but only if the Media Player computer does not provide a Blu-ray player by itself.
The Goldmund Mimesis 64 is a dual circuit unit made for professional applications with a 100% redundancy. It may be manufactured for the most extreme-reliability projects. Both internal sections are linked separately through the USB dual port. The USBs are tracked in real time by the central Controller so the defect of one part of the unit is detected, and again, an e-mail is sent to the service Center without any perceivable interruption in the room use.
The remote control of the Goldmund Media Room is done by the central Processor, even if it is by itself controlled by a Crestron or another house device. The failure of such a device is without any impact on the room. The central Controller is using a professional computer especially designed for full time use. In its maximum-reliability installations, Goldmund may run its central controller software on a crash-safe 24/7 computer with 100% redundancy. The remote control itself has been designed as a web-based application and may be easily duplicated. This also allows the use of different complexity levels on the handheld controllers. In addition, as an ultimate safety device, a "Reset" function is provided on the remote. This function sets back every piece of equipment to work as the installation team had originally set it. An automatic diagnostic program is run in the background with feedback provided both visually on screen and audibly by the speaker system in case of a video failure.
The Goldmund Media Room components are all manufactured by Goldmund as a perfectly matching ensemble. Instead of the usual mix and match between components of several provenance, expertly installed by an integrator but without any influence on the global reliability, the Goldmund Media Room components are engineered to work together and are serviced by a single manufacturer, avoiding the usual "Finger-pointing game" when something goes wrong.
For its most demanding customers, Goldmund is capable of making the Goldmund Media Room 100% reliable. However it is important to notice that with all the unusual precautions taken in the design of our systems, the standard version of the Media Room is already several steps ahead of any existing Home- Theater solutions in terms of reliability and is much easier to service. The 100% fail-proof Goldmund solution is available for special orders but is quite expensive and requires long delays of implementation, some components being manufactured on demand only.
Note: at print time, some of the described technology is still under development. Specific options or units may be built only on special demand for exceptional rooms.
In February 2010, Goldmund inaugurated a new Media Room at our New York Showroom. The objective of this new installation is to demonstrate how, thanks to the latest version of the Proteus technology, our customers can easily make their 2-channel system evolve to a full Media Room. It is also to show that mixed systems with elements that are hidden and other displayed (like the full Epilogue Reference for instance) perform as well as traditional in-wall media rooms. To clearly illustrate these advantages, the details of the legacy system and final Media Room system are below:
The evolution form one system to the other is obviously pretty simple and shows that crucial advantages derive from the new Proteus technology:
Now that you have all the technical details about the system, here are a few comments: "We have been using the Blu-ray discs "Pearl Harbor" and "Master and Commander" as our test discs. I can't even describe the transformation that occurred with the new system. EVERYTHING snapped into focus, the panning and positioning of the airplanes on Pearl Harbor can only be described in one word, "realism". The dynamics (macro and micro) and the bass are SCARY good and I have now witnessed several people literally jumping in their seats when an explosion occurs during a movie. If there are different degrees of realism, then we are talking realism of the highest degree. I don't think that there is any difference now between sitting on the deck of an aircraft carrier in the Pacific or on your chair in the showroom, the experience is the same...except maybe for the taste of salt water and that's about it. I also started to experiment with a few more test cases including vinyl, gaming systems (Playstation 3, Wii) and two channel CD. I had hoped that our new theater still had the old 2 channel magic. Well, again, within 10 seconds I realized that the positive effects which were realized on the Home Theater experience, were there, maybe more in terms of dimensionality, clarity, sound-staging, intelligibility and probably any other attribute that can be used to describe a two channel listening experience, than in the terms used to describe multi-channel, but the results were just as mesmerizing. And playing video games on the system is something that I can't even describe. It is so involving and compelling that I, who am not really a "a game player", have become infatuated playing "Major League Baseball" on the Playstation 3... All I can say is it's crazy fun!"
Bob Visintainer, Goldmund USA
Here are a few links to articles written by journalists who visited the Showroom:
Crunch Gear: Goldmund home theater system will blow your socks off, by Jimin Brelsford.
Maxim.com: The NYC Goldmund Media Room: Gaming Heaven, by Gerasimos Manolatos.
Also read the next topic of this newsletter on how TriplePoint selected the Goldmund Media Room as their official test and demo center.
TriplePoint is the leading PR agency serving the interactive entertainment and digital lifestyle industries. Founded in 2002 as Kohnke Communications by Erica Kohnke Kain, the agency has grown to be the market leader in public relations, marketing, business development, and product consulting within the games and digital media market.
They recently selected the Goldmund New York Media Room as their official test and demonstration center. "Working with Goldmund is a natural partnership for our New York demo space," said Richard Kain, General Manager of TriplePoint. "When it comes to offering press demos, we want our clients' products to be presented in the best possible light. The unbelievable acoustic and visual fidelity of the Goldmund Room is unparalleled. It's truly an amazing theatrical experience to see, hear and play a game on the system."
Infinity and depth of the black sky, clouds of galaxies on dark blue walls, a lunar design inspired by Bionic architecture.
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