New house, new HT build. Looking for advice.
*Cross posted on AVS*
Hello, guys. It's been a long time since I've been here. Let me first say that I really did resist being "that guy" who requests help in all sorts of genres regarding a HT build. But, I'll admit that I feel a bit overwhelmed right now and would appreciate some forum help/guidance on my build.
I'm building a house. Plans are drawn up... looks like a 24x26x9 ft HT room upstairs dead over the center of the house. I tried to make the dimensions work well to avoid harmful modes and while it's not perfect per the common ratios, it's not terrible when plotted (all modes; axial, oblique & tangential). It's at least manageable. I had a hard time trying to balance some things and that's where it fell. So, dimensions are set pretty much in stone.
Now it's time to start planning the build.
I'll try to make this as poignant as possible. I don't want you all to glaze over, lol.
- First thing is always first... I'd like to stay under $6-7k for products. Including room treatments and A/V gear (projector, screen, speakers, receiver/amp/pre/pro). I actually have a set of speakers I can use for rear fill so that saves me some money.
- This room is going to be a dedicated HT room with the typical "Friday night movie night!" theme. I'd like to have the whole movie theater feel but I'm afraid my budget may limit me here. I'm going to try to buy used when I can (I pretty much only buy used, it seems) and hopefully I can squeeze in some features like sconces and lighting. We have posters framed and ready to go.
- The room will be pitch black. It will have one window but at the back side of the room and will be heavily covered.
- I will have an A/V closet behind the seats. The front wall will be 24' wide and the length of the room will be 26'.
- Finally, I likely will only be doing 5.1. I will, however, wire up the room for 7.1 and use a lot of pvc pipe in the walls in case I get upgraditis later.
Screen and Projector Ideas:
- I'm shooting for a screen size of roughly 135" maximum. I arrived at this value because I'm considering using either the Epson 3010 or Epson 5010 projector. I took my room height of 9 feet, took off 1/2 foot for clearance and that gives me 8.5 feet height to work with. I used the rule of thumb of a screen being 3 feet off the floor, which gives me a height of 5.5 ft for the screen. 5.5 ft * 1.78 gives me about 117" in width. Which then gives me about 134" or so in diagonal screen size. So, it looks like my screen size is maxed at ~ 134". Seem plausible?
- I plan on having the projector in the ceiling.
- I really am not sure about screen color, though. Seems since the room is pitch black, that really isn't an issue. I could be wrong... that's happened once before.
- I mentioned likely going with the Epson 3010 or 5010 above. I'm not really big in to 3D so I hate to put a bunch of money in to that just yet. So, maybe the 3010 is the more economical choice. The reviews are great. Then again, the Optoma hd33 certainly seems like a strong contender. I truthfully haven't compared all the more 'technical' features such as zoom, anamorphic, networking capability, etc so the above is based on price vs performance and both the 3010 and the HD33 are strong contenders in this category. Always open to opinions and I will certainly do further research.
Room and Sounds:
- I test speakers on the side for various websites and have spent my last few years studying acoustics, so while I"m not a Doctorate decreed audio physicist, I do have some more-than-the-common-man knowledge on the matter. Therefore, one of my goals is to go with a distributed subwoofer system to lessen the effect of modes. I'll be using my test gear to help me with placement. I do have a concern here, though; most receivers or pre/pro's are x.2 channel. Ideally I'd like to use 4 subwoofers in the room. I'm thinking if I use symmetry, I could use a splitter for each subwoofer output and allow the receiver's processor take care of the rest. Of course, that's best case scenario....
- I am considering going infinite baffle as well. Though, to be honest, I'm not really sold on the merit just yet. I completely understand the concept... I use a quasi-infinite baffle setup in my car's audio system. But, I'm not convinced I really need it for the home. I'm still kicking it around. That is one great way of getting down loooooowwwwwww....
- Furthermore, I'm planning on using room treatment to help me tame some trouble areas. That said, this will likely be tackled after everything goes in because until then, it's just a guessing game. No way to know exactly what treatment and to what extent it will be needed until I get things in place. I do already have a few panels from ATS that I used for my testing room to mitigate early reflections, though, so I can use those to help me get a rough idea early on.
- I researched Green Glue, Room Within a Room, Tracks, and some other methods of isolating the theater room. I thought I wanted to do it. Then there's cost. GG isn't cheap and yet it seems to be the best value (price vs performance) here. Doing a room within a room is out of the question because the room still has to have a window and closet to be called a bedroom thanks to our codes, and I'm not about to risk losing potential money if/when we sell our home over this. *FWIW, the last house I built, I just sold... was in it for less than 3 years, so I like to keep my options open*
So, RwR is out. That leaves MLV, GG, or tracks. GG seems the better choice of these. So, let's just assume I have decided to go with that option. How much do I gain from doing this? Is there a real payback in isolating the room, considering that I will never be watching upstairs alone? My whole understanding has been that isolation just keeps you from pissing your wife off. If she's upstairs with you, then it's nebulous, no? I hope I'm on the right track here because it saves me a lot of money if I don't have a sound (no pun intended) reason not to isolate the HT.
- I mentioned the potential for going IB for subs above. Well, if I do that, then it seems I negate isolating the room from the house because the IB will pretty much rock the rest of the house entirely since the subs will be in the attic area, with a manifold going in to the HT.
- I'm really still trying to decide if I want to go with separates for the A/V portion or use a single receiver.
- As I mentioned above, there's the whole issue of being limited to subwoofer pre-outs of most everything I've looked at so far and I want to have multiple subwoofers. I may even have to consider using something like the Behringer dcx/deq to get more subwoofer channels. :/
- I really like Emotiva's products. Especially they're XPA-5 amplifier. Powah! I own some of their products already so had planned to use the -5 in the HT room. Now, I'm not so sure if I can afford to go with separates.
I'm really looking for opinions here. I know Denon's pre/pro is a beast but it's a beast of a price, too. Emotiva should have a new one out and I'm not sure their current one will suffice. Beyond that, I'm not too versed in the world of audio separates. My testing has pretty much been restricted to speakers and very occasionally electronic components.
- This one is a bit of a mix between sound and video:
A standing center channel. The biggest issues with a toppled center is lobing and the ultimate dead spot it can create when not designed properly (and, frankly, it's going to be hard to make a center channel perform well when it's tipped over using conventional speakers). So, I'm considering even the possibility of using an acoustically transparent screen and 3 of the same front speakers built in to a false wall. One thing that would do would be to eliminate rear reflections off the wall and increase low end performance of the front speakers thanks to the increased apparent baffle. Not something I was wanting but it would be a nice side effect.
Anyone gone this route before and can you tell me your rationale/experience?
- This is another one of those things I'd love to do but I'm not really sure I would use it enough for it to be worth it. It may wind up being one of those cool things to have but yet leave me wondering why I bothered.
- That said, is there anyway someone could possibly put a thumbed estimate on this? If it's not as much as I'm thinking it will cost, it may be something to consider.
- And yet another case of the "would be cool to have, but do I need it" items. We listen to music all the time. We love it. My daughter loves to dance even at 17mos... she boogies down!
- I do plan to install speakers in the back porch area and know I at least need to consider having that as some sort of audio zone but I'm not sure about the rest of the house. I throwing this in here in this thread but really I probably just need to sit down and research this option before trying to delve in to it here and just utterly confusing myself.
I appreciate any input here. I know a lot of people hate spoonfeeding but hopefully you can sympathize. I'm always willing to do my own legwork. I'm just looking for insight from those who have been there before.
I'll have some science with a side of common sense, please.