Home Theater Of The Decade: The Hahn Theater

January 10, 2020

Mark Henninger 

As 2019 comes to a close, it’s time to look back upon the last decade when it comes to home theaters and pick the Home Theater of the Decade. Based on AVS Forum member reactions to Home Theater of the Month winners, the choice is obvious: The Hahn Theater by Keith Yates Design is the Home Theater of the Decade!

The Hahn Theater by Keith Yates Design is the AVS Forum Home Theater of the Decade

Keith Yates Design has created a new web page that features photos, schematics and a ton of information to peruse. Check it out by clicking here… Keith Yates Design Group Portfolio: Hahn Theater

This no-holds-barred theater is well known to AVS Forum regulars who frequent the site and follow the Home Theater of the Month series… it sets the standard for performance. The theater’s owner, Rob Hahn is a retired Hollywood cinematographer with A-list credentials, which helps explain where the inspiration—as well as the resources—to build this epic theater came from.

It’s been an exciting decade for dedicated home theater enthusiasts. Technological advances—including the advent of 4K, HDR and 3D immersive sound—deliver huge advances in video and audio fidelity, allowing home viewers to enjoy movies without any significant compromise versus commercial cinemas. It is now possible to beat the local multiplex in terms of the overall viewing experience. Moreover, on the audio side, object-based 3D immersive sound, combined with advances in DSP processing (room correction, etc.) allow home viewers to experience movies in a truly transportive, immersive manner where the practical limits are found the capability of the system itself and not the source material.

The AV gear is contained in a separate room, which keeps all the heat and noise outside of the theater.

In this context, the Hahn Theater by Keith Yates Design represents an ideal—cover all the bases needed to deliver a “truly reference” viewing experience in a home theater. A man who understands what it takes to turn sound into something tangible, visceral, that tricks you into thinking what you hear is real… and then tie it into what’s on screen in a manner that achieves transcendental suspension of disbelief.

As for Rob Hahn—who’s been an AVS FOrum member for 15 years—he notes in the Home Theater of the Month article that despite a multi-decade career in Hollywood, he waited for the technology to reach a point where he felt it was worth doing. You can read the original HToM post here. And once he decided to go for it, he basically demolished half his house and built a custom theater—no shortcuts taken—from the ground up. And the result is epic. Fortunately there is a full build thread on AVS Forum along with a very extensive discussion, which you can find here.

Keith Yates had this to say about the award: “Rob Hahn first connected with me in early 2012 for what would turn out to be our tenth Black Label project, but this time with two pivotal differences: First, Rob’s infectious Passion sparked the architectural direction and animated our engineering discussions. And second, he ended up publicly sharing, in three AVS Forum threads, what we were up to and some of the art and science behind it. This Home Theater of the Decade honor is largely the result of Rob doing what he did for decades as a Hollywood cinematographer: Train the light on others. Thank you, Rob, my friend, and thank you, AVS Forum for honoring what our partnership with Rob has created. I hope Rob’s passion inspires the AVSF community as much as it did my team and me.”

In case you are wondering what a Black Label project is… here’s the scoop according to Keith Yates Design: “Few magnificent projects present themselves as candidates for our Black Label Service. At the core of each theater is a unique R&D science project to solve performance-limiting challenge with no known solution. In fact, these projects have resulted in a number of our industry-first inventions.” Not for the “faint of heart” or “light of wallet” but as always, there’s much that can be gleaned from an exercise such as this. Which is to say, the Hahn Theater was chosen for Home Theater of the Decade not merely because it it is an awesome theater, but also because it pushed boundaries and influenced others in this hobby with their home theater builds. And that would not be possible if this project were not shared here on AVS Forum.

It’ll be 10 more years before there’s another HToD. Congratulations Rob Hahn and Keith Yates Design for setting the standard and sharing the fruits of your labor.

Read More: