World Wide Stereo Creates Mind Blowing Home Theater Experience
As much as retailers in this space are selling products, they’re really selling experiences. At the end of the day that’s what consumer electronics provide—an experience. And, in trying to sell the consumer on that experience, it behooves every retailer in this space to have their own in-store experience that complements “the pitch.”
“We want the experience to overwhelm them, to take over,” Rob Marcoccia, a manager at Philadelphia-based World Wide Stereo, said in a recent interview. “And so we design our entire showroom from that client perspective as soon as they walk through the door.”
That philosophy for World Wide Stereo has so eloquently been put on display in a recently redesigned home theater space in the retailer’s Ardmore, PA, location. Completed in early September, the space is the perfect combination of a powerful A/V experience that’s molded into an elegant yet rather unassuming space. But don’t let the stretch fabric walls and blackout shades fool you. This nearly-$400,000 home theater renovation packs a powerful punch.
Behind those walls, this space boasts a complete JBL Synthesis home theater, including a JBL Synthesis SDP-75 surround processor with 3D audio, multiple Mark Levinson amplifiers, three JL Audio subs, an additional JBL sub, a Sony VPL-VW5000e projector, a merged Kaleidescape Strato and Premier system, and a Stewart Filmscreen CineCurve acoustically transparent screen. The room is held together and fully automated by Savant.
Like any good home theater build in 2018, the World Wide Stereo build supports Dolby Atmos. But the experience is kicked up a few notches during the installation and calibration process. Marcoccia explained that they brought in legendary theater designer Keith Yates as well as Harman engineers to help tune the equipment. Nine tuning microphones were used in the process, including a special 3D microphone that is capable of capturing sound in space, allowing for what Marcoccia called unprecedented accuracy.
Whereas traditional Atmos-enabled systems allow sound to move from speaker to speaker around the listener, this JBL Synthesis system is capable of placing sound in space, providing an absolutely astounding audiovisual experience. Watching a live concert gives you the sensation that you’re actually in the venue, watching the performance right there on stage. Action sequences in movies—like the race scene in Ready Player One, which I was able to experience—make you feel like you’re in the middle of it all, ducking and diving out of the way. The resulting experience is one that is some unfathomable combination of crisp and powerful. You can literally feel the sound, but it’s so clear that rewatching movies gives you the impression that you’re really seeing them for the first time.
“It all comes down to the audio. The audio is what grabs you and makes it real,” Marcaccio said. And that’s why World Wide Stereo opted to build this theater around JBL Synthesis, he said, a system that “performs amazingly well. In order to put something together like this that is engineered as a whole, it takes a lot, and JBL has really figured that out. So you have that backing behind it and all the engineering, and then the calibration and the way the whole system is calibrated is really the magic of putting it all together.”
Walking the Walk
What the new home theater room at this World Wide Stereo location truly demonstrates, though, is the company’s commitment to providing the ultimate client experience. Sure, the technology packed into the Philo Farnsworth Theater (named for the inventor of the TV), tells its own story. But what the project as a whole does is it puts the World Wide Stereo crew’s abilities front and center.
It’s one thing for a retailer to tell you about how all of these great speakers, amplifiers, and other home theater components can come together to create an incredible experience—or even for a retailer to have a home theater room built into their showroom. But this is an example of a retailer and custom installer putting their talents to work in their own store. And they did it incredibly fast, completing the project in a little more than two months.
“it shows first of all that we’re always pushing ourselves. We're never just like, 'Hey we get it we're done. All right. We can sit back and relax.' We're always looking to grow and change,” Marcoccia said. “We want the best experience for our clients and what we can deliver.”
With a room like this, World Wide Stereo has the opportunity to prove that they can deliver, and not just to new and potential clients who walk through their showroom doors. This project, in particular, enables them to craft a unique message for their existing list of clients, showing them a path forward as they look to upgrade their existing home theaters. “Now I can say, categorically, here is a whole new level of experience that you can have,” Marcoccia said. “ It’s like getting a whole new theater, a whole new level of experience. It’s day and night.”
That alone makes this kind of investment more than worth it. It’s an experience that—spoken from experience—can quite literally sell itself.