You haven’t lived until you’ve seen this shrine to the Grateful Dead

Stew and his wife Meg are fans of the Grateful Dead. Well, mainly Stew. This is their home theater/virtual concert hall in Montana.

David Carnoy
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
David Carnoy
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This Grateful Dead-themed home theater comes to us from Stew and Meg, who live in Missoula, Montana. This is their wedding photo from 1988, when the band was still going strong. 

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Stew says he's about the biggest, most passionate "Deadhead" you'll ever run into. 

The seed for the room was planted some 25 years ago, when he and his wife moved from suburban Chicago to Missoula, Montana. 

"Though we feel the move gave us way more than it took away, one of the few things we gave up was big name live music. We loved going to concerts and in fact were season ticket holders at the now-defunct Poplar Creek Music Theater in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.  In Missoula, we had to make our own concerts.  And that is how this home theater/home concert hall was born." 

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"It just so happens that no band has as much live concert material available on DVD as The Grateful Dead," Stew says.

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A friend gave Stew this "We've got wattage in the cottage" plaque as a gift.

"I used the phrase when I was telling him about our impressive -- if I do say so myself -- home theater/home concert hall. He liked it so much that he had this plaque made."

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Stew says: "This particular green Grateful Dead logo, with elements of each letter strategically left out so as to still be legible, is well known and easily recognized by Deadheads as being from the 1977 theatrical movie release of 'The Grateful Dead Movie.'"

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The animated imagery that you see on the TV through most of this series of photos is the opening animation sequence that begins "The Grateful Dead Movie."

Stew says: "The animation sequence is rather bizarre but really an astounding work of art, especially considering that it was done at a time before CGI (computer-generated imagery).  This 8-minute animation sequence was done the old fashioned way, one frame at a time. According to Gary Gutierrez, who created it, it took eight months to shoot it, or a minute a month."

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The left speaker next to Velodyne subs. 

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The TV is "not even close to being centered" between the two left and right main speakers, a pair of Aerial Acoustic Model 7T towers in Bird's Eye Maple finish, Stew says.  However, through careful calibration of the Bryston SP3 Surround Sound Processor, he's pulled the soundstage to the right so that it's largely lined up with the TV. 

"The result is a quite natural and awesomely impressive live concert-quality sound," he says, "the likes of which you've probably never heard in somebody's home."

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The left Aerial Acoustic Model 7T's with its grille removed.

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The 85-inch Samsung 4K TV is mounted on a fully articulating wall mount, which allows the set to be angled and tilted to any desired position -- or it can be pushed back flat against the wall to keep it completely out of the way.

Most of the time the TV is angled to provide the best possible viewing angle for anybody and everybody seated on the sofa.

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No fewer than six 5/16-inch-by-3-inch lag screws hold the articulating TV mount to the wall.  "It ain't going anywhere!" Stew says.

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"Dancing bears" are another recognized Grateful Dead icon and a whole line of plush dancing bears were made available for sale as part of the Dead's expansive merchandising operation.  You can see some of the smaller plush bears lined up under the TV and a couple larger ones in front of the right main speaker.

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All the gear is in racks, flush-mounted to the wall.

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The two Bryston 14B-SST2 Stereo Power Amplifiers @ 600W/channel and two Cinepro 4kSE5 Gold 6-Channel Power Amplifiers @ 490W/channel) are powered by the two Cinepro RPC-30240 Regulated Power Conditioners, with one Bryston amp and one Cinepro amp connected to each RPC-30240.  So all amps are running at 240V.  

"Aesthetically, it's quite pleasing to the eye, too, providing nice symmetry to the appearance," Stew says. " All of the source components are being powered by the Monster Cable power conditioner that you see immediately below the left-hand RPC-30240.  So amps and source components are nicely separated, electrically speaking."

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Side view of the equipment racks.

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A wider, straight-on view of the equipment.

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Toward the bottom right you can the Kaleidescape M700 Disc Vault and above it, the Kaleidescape 1U server. 

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Stewart says every movie, DVD, Blu-ray and CD they own are loaded on the Kaleidescape 1U server. 

The Disc Vault stores the actual discs from which licensing information is pulled to play any given disc.  So the movie or feature is actually played from the server and the disc vault is used to retrieve the licensing information.  They have 359 movies and 582 albums stored on the Kaleidescape server, with room for an additional 261 Blu-ray discs, 1,445 DVDs or 16,144 CDs.  The Disc Vault contains 27 Blu-rays and 225 DVDs.

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Stew says he makes every effort to keep the cabling "as dressed and organized as possible."

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The bottom of the rack houses Control4 gear.

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Control4 gear provides audio and video for all other rooms in the house -- pretty much everywhere except this room.

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One of the many things the Dead are known for is their over-the-top artistic concert tour posters. Stew says a friend who worked at a local rock-oriented radio station found this poster stashed in a closet and immediately knew he had to give it to his favorite Deadhead (Stew).

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Yes, there's even Grateful Dead-branded wine.

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There are six surround channel speakers around the room.

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There's been a huge proliferation of books about The Grateful Dead -- whether it be autobiographies written by band members or rock music historians. This poster is promoting original Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann's autobiography "Deal," which was released in May, 2015.

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One of the other surround speakers tucked into a corner.

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The Dead's famous "Cyclops" icon with the kitchen in the background. 

"A local friend of ours is an impressively talented artist, though her primary medium is bronze sculpture."Stew says. " Anyway, she painted this 'Cyclops' in this very appropriate location, flanked by the left-rear and right-rear surround speakers."

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A closer look at the "Cyclops" artwork.

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The fireplace.

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"This mask has nothing to do with the Grateful Dead.  It's a creation of the artist Lisa Ray, whose work we encountered at an art gallery in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho."

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A little freaky, right?

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The Uncle Sam skeleton is a Gary Gutierrez creation and it, too, was introduced in "The Grateful Dead Movie."

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"The Dead – 2009 poster was from the band's 2009 tour, obviously.  The name "the Grateful Dead" was officially retired by the remaining band members when Jerry Garcia died in August, 1995.  They have gone on tour under various names and with various musicians joining them since then. This was the second time they did a tour under the name 'The Dead.'

"The red, white and blue 'Steal Your Face' icon hanging above the framed tour poster was given to me by Meg, my precious sweetheart of a wife of 30 years (this July) when we first met and she learned that I was a Deadhead.  She had actually made this in a ceramics class for her sister Mary, who was also a Deadhead. When Mary learned that I was a Deadhead, she gave it back to Meg and told you, 'You need to give this to Stew.' It definitely went a long way toward clinching the deal!  I used a standard plate hanger to hang it on the wall."

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A bit of Pink Floyd art thrown in for good measure -- Storm Thorgerson's Tree of Half Life. Stew says: "Storm was an amazingly talented British graphic artist who designed some of rock's most memorable album covers, including Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon.'"

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Another Lisa Ray mask.

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A closer look at the mask reveals it's got some Deadhead elements after all.

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Psycle Sam without the cycle.

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Bob Weir. 

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Jerry Garcia.

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No, this isn't Stew in the movie. But he wishes it was! 

That's it, folks. Thanks to Stew and Meg for this showcase. If you want to see more Show Us Yours showcases, there are plenty more you can see here. And you can also submit your own

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