Custom Self Built Theater

TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
Weee I've been quite busy as of late. Most importantly with buying a nice fixer upper in Atl. I've got a nice great room that will be used as a theater. I don't have all the specifics yet, but want to start a thread so that you guys being more knowledgable than me can chime in if I'm making a poor 'sounding' decision.

This room is open to the dining and kitchen, totaling 600-700 sqft and has a 20 ft peak gable ceiling. Room correction will need to tailored, and to keep it cheap, I'll be crawling around with a meter.

Since no one has taken interest in my RBH WM-30's, I'll be keeping them. First upgrade to make will be subwoofers. I like the idea of building my own, but with all the other projects I have going on the house, I think DIY will have to wait til I build some floor standing speakers.

Here's a few questions for you guys, while this project is in its conception stages.

1) I am flying out next week to install hardwood flooring. I have already stripped the carpeting completely and screwed down the sub floor. Are there any other modifications I should make to aid the future subwoofer installation so that the house does not add its own sound track?

2) With such massive open space, should I assume ported subs are not optional?

3) I will start with 2 subs. I will use the 'crawling for bass' technique. Is it best to place subs one at a time so that each can best serve its purpose?

4) I have the cash to test all the ID return policies. For those of you with large spaces and SVS, Hsu, or Rhythmik subs, what do you recommend? I'd like to keep total sub cost for the pair at $2k. I can flex if its deemed a prudent investment, but I want two subs not one PB-13 Ultra. Although.... I do need to replace the windows anyway so I won't mind if they shatter :)

I can't describe my excitement for this project. Many years have I been reading this site dreaming of my own theater. My stereo has consistently improved with each upgrade since I was 15 with my Dads old stereo receiver and a pair Technics speakers. I'll know I've done it right when I can invite him over to watch The Who Blu Ray disc and his jaw hits the floor.

Thank you!
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
1) The hardwood will be floating. Obviously requires a 6 mil vapor barrier, but I am thinking of having some sort of soft material like a felt in there aswell so those deep bass notes don't turn the floor in to one giant speaker cone.

2) Further reading has convinced me that ported subs are the safe bet, so that I can focus my listening tests on which ported sub I prefer rather than the type.

4) Looking at VTF-15H, FV-15, and on the high side, would two PB-12 plus' be too much output? Any other suggestions?

Anyone?
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
Ah, I know what this thread is missing, PICTURES! This is the interweb after all, no one takes much interest until they can see something pretty:

So heres the landing, taken from the middle of the living room. Half stair up, half stair down. I've gutted the whole interior carpeting. They were heavy smokers, and also found pet stains on the sub floor. So to keep the old smell trapped, and any new moisture out, I put down a coat of Kilz primer.




I wanted to really spice this place up, while keeping a Green mindset so I opted for Bamboo flooring. Its green because Bamboo grows like a weed and is effortlessly sustainable. For this floor, I opted for the felt underlayment. Its the same kind of foam used for carpeting, but 1/8" thick with plastic on top. I figured its better than nothing for when the subs hit that resonance frequency and the floor becomes a subwoofer.




During this two week trip I built the frame for a porch, up to code which is bolted to the house, scraped popcorn ceilings which is the most horrendous job ever, did more priming bringing the total to 12 gallons of Kilz in this house, and layed the downstairs floor and most of the master bedroom upstairs. No good pic on here, but its a dark color to give it that warm feeling. Also Bamboo, but its woven basically meaning its twisted together and incredibly strong, the downstairs is vertical grain which is more like a veneer. The face is about 3/16" thick, with a cheaper wood underneather to create the tongue n groove. This all was delivered on a flat bed from Lowes, 3 pallets and 8 - 8x8 posts, siding that I replaced where the porch is going, and all the misc. I was exhausted. I had to buy a new belt because I lost so much weight after moving 5000 lbs by hand and working 14 days straight. Thankfully the floor was nice n comfortable.




So from here I move in at the end of September. For the theater, I am going to need to run atleast one additional 20amp circuit in to the living room. For now this is going to be a 2 channel stereo, I'll install the 3 other WM-30's later.

A quick email to Emotiva confirmed that the XDA-1 can run both UPA-1's and use its RCA connections simulatenously to power a subwoofer that I'll daisy chain. I think I am pretty well sold on SVS, hopefully Ed will see this thread and chime in with recommendations, wink.

I know my lil RBH's can't do it all, but they are incredibly detailed given their size. So I need to find a pair, or more, of subs that can keep the WM-30's singing in their region, and leave the heavy lifting to the subs.

Sorry for the silly thread name, but as you can see, its coming together EXACTLY as the name suggests. You might think the hardest part of building a theater is selecting equipment, but no, its the actual building. All the wires have to be hidden, additional electrical needs to be run, and then room correction is going to be a whole nother battle with the shape of this room. Yet another reason to stay two channel for now! That, and I will wait for Emotiva to get the new Processor out, and then pick up an XPA-3 so I can get all 5 channels going again. With that level of control, it should be much simpler to balance the sound in that space. Stay tuned!
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
.

4) Looking at VTF-15H, FV-15, and on the high side, would two PB-12 plus' be too much output? Any other suggestions?

Anyone?
you have a lot volume to fill - try to get cu ft estimate of ENTIRE volume space and give HSU a buzz. Two subs would better than one ;)

In addition I'd like to mention new, but with great pedigree , ID Subs company - two POWER SOUND AUDIO — XV15
or maybe one POWER SOUND AUDIO — XV30

Founded by two ex-SVS Head Research engineers
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
So is the bane of ID companies an insufficient sharing of the loot with engineers, hence why so many branch off under their own name?

I like that their design includes a decoupling element, but I wonder how well it works, and more so, can it still perform with additional foam underneath? Decoupling is going to be key to this room, especially as you point out, theres alot of space to pressurize.

And is the basket that big, or the magnets that small on the Power Sound driver?

Thanks for recommendation. I will need to research them further, but am still content spending the extra couple bucks for the established SVS name. I also recognize that only $2k for this much space might be too optimistic, but we'll see!
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
Doug from SVS swooped in and answered a lengthy email I had sent in asking about their PC-12 Plus cylinders. I gained interest in this design as it has such a tiny, 16" foot print. Seeing as how I want a pair, I was weary of the full size boxes, and sacrificing my hard earned living room real estate.

Everything I have heard about the cylinders says they hold nothing back on their PB brethren. And with a pair, they should delight my ears, and my spleen.

Conveniently they are on sale at $100 off each, and Doug pointed out there is a code for an additional 5% off on a pair. I asked about delaying the shipment so that I do not miss the savings, to which he replied that simply entering a preferred ship date in the comments box reserves my order with discounts. They will not bill until that date even! ID companies are so cool!

After reading through his attached user manual for the 800 watt amps, it seems clear that while I run the XDA-1 that my best bet is to run a balanced connection to the subs, utilizing the onboard crossover and room compensation functions, and then balanced connection out to the UPA-1's.

Looks like a pair of wall mount APC surge/filter units from the Audioholics store as well as their Impact Acoustics XLR cables will take care of the interconnects.

Off to Catalina for my birthday, so I'll get the orders placed when I return. And will then impatiently wait til my move date. Of course I've still got the upstairs flooring to finish and a porch before I can have fun in the crawlspace running wires. I'll have about a week head start to finish this before my honey arrives. So as long as I finish my chores, she'll be happy to let me play!
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Doug from SVS swooped in and answered a lengthy email I had sent in asking about their PC-12 Plus cylinders. I gained interest in this design as it has such a tiny, 16" foot print. Seeing as how I want a pair, I was weary of the full size boxes, and sacrificing my hard earned living room real estate.

Everything I have heard about the cylinders says they hold nothing back on their PB brethren. And with a pair, they should delight my ears, and my spleen.

Conveniently they are on sale at $100 off each, and Doug pointed out there is a code for an additional 5% off on a pair. I asked about delaying the shipment so that I do not miss the savings, to which he replied that simply entering a preferred ship date in the comments box reserves my order with discounts. They will not bill until that date even! ID companies are so cool!

After reading through his attached user manual for the 800 watt amps, it seems clear that while I run the XDA-1 that my best bet is to run a balanced connection to the subs, utilizing the onboard crossover and room compensation functions, and then balanced connection out to the UPA-1's.

Looks like a pair of wall mount APC surge/filter units from the Audioholics store as well as their Impact Acoustics XLR cables will take care of the interconnects.

Off to Catalina for my birthday, so I'll get the orders placed when I return. And will then impatiently wait til my move date. Of course I've still got the upstairs flooring to finish and a porch before I can have fun in the crawlspace running wires. I'll have about a week head start to finish this before my honey arrives. So as long as I finish my chores, she'll be happy to let me play!
The XDA-1 is a quality product and you really can't complain at the price. I just want to be sure you are aware of its limitations. I own the unit, paired to the USP-1, and its 2 limitations weren't deal-breakers for me.
1) You can "only" do 24/48 over the usb connection. You must use other connections for higher resolutions.
2) The way the volume was implemented (making is a dac/prepro), was not ideal. It seems that it controls the volume in the digital domain, and when you have it set at anything below 80 (max), you actually lose some sound quality / resolution. You can read up on this fact on the emotiva forums. If you use it with a prepro (like my setup) and keep the XDA volume maxed out, or use it with powered speakers and use the speakers to control volume, then it is not an issue.

Sorry if I rained on your parade, just want to get the info out there. I was aware of these 2 items and still decided it was a good deal for me.
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
Not at all! I am aware the XDA is not the most ideal preamp, but it does well enough until the XMC comes out.

This year started with an upgrade with the amps and XDA knowing the limits of living in a tiny beach apartment. Then we decided on buying a house and then it all went to the stars.

I'm very well read on home theater and like to think I have a great deal of street smarts but fact is I am alone in my sound reproduction obsession. So this project is a learning opportunity wrapped in a shiny new upgraded stereo. Could be worse. Please keep the constructive criticism coming!
 
G

GIK Acoustics

Audioholic Intern
Sub placement can be very tricky - even a few inches can sway the frequency response greatly, so I would say to take a good time trying tons of positions. Also, for a dedicated HT you may want to consider some acoustic treatment to help control the sound in there better (especially with wood floors).

How's the build coming along now?
 
agarwalro

agarwalro

Audioholic Ninja
then room correction is going to be a whole nother battle with the shape of this room
On the topic of achieving exceptional bass, this is one of the best articles I have seen.

I think without DSP it will be near impossible for you to get a controlled room response. Here is an excellent write up on using miniDSP 2x4 in conjunction with Room EQ Wizard to get the sub integrated with the mains. Other DSP options are, DEQX, Behringer BFD 1124, DEQ 2496, DCX 2496, and of course, the various flavors of miniDSP.

Caveat emptor: DSP is no substitute for a well sorted room (dimensions, 1st reflection control with traps/diffusers, etc.) and good speaker placement. Use with discretion :).
 
Last edited:
G

GIK Acoustics

Audioholic Intern
Caveat emptor: DSP is no substitute for a well sorted room (dimensions, 1st reflection control with traps/diffusers, etc.) and good speaker placement. Use with discretion :).
I think you mean "DRC" (that is - digital room correction) not "DSP" (digital signal processing). I do agree with your statement up above. The biggest problem is DRC only corrects issues in the frequency domain, but not in the time domain. In many rooms certain bass notes will ring out for longer than they are actually played through the speaker. DRC will turn it down, but won't make it stop ringing - only acoustic treatment can do that. Likewise, if you're in a null (that is, a spot that has really weak bass at a particular frequency) DRC turning it up will literally do nothing (the actual frequency is cancelled out at the position). Only treatment can narrow this null down and bring the frequency up. Of course, DRC is a great solution for people to nail down some final peaks, but acoustic treatment definitely comes first!
 
darien87

darien87

Audioholic Spartan
Nice job on the floor. But my question is why the hell would you want to move from Laguna Beach to Atlanta?!?!? :eek:
 
Adam

Adam

Audioholic Jedi
Had I seen this thread when you started it, I might have suggested running cables under the floor - but you might have a basement and not need to worry about that.

When I saw your photo, I almost fell over. Luckily, I'm often sitting. :D You look a LOT like my brother in that photo! He also did a lot of work on his house.
 
Adam

Adam

Audioholic Jedi
You ordered the PC12-Pluses, right? If so, here's a little warm up cylinder p**n for you. :p

These are from my Ultra, but the Pluses have three ports, too, and probably look similar. Years ago, I took the amp plate off to replace it, and these are views looking inside through the amp opening. The top picture is looking towards the top, and the bottom picture is looking downward at the top of the driver. What appear like scratches on the top of the driver are almost surely strands of Niki's hair.



 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
Oh wow, I figured this thread was dead until I started doing something:

GIK: No progress made for another couple weeks, I am still in CA and will be riding my motorcycle across this coming Friday. I'll have about a week to finish a few construction projects, and hopefully do some electrical. I have looked at your products many times and am glad to see you chime in. Once I am satisfied with sub placement after a near obsessive process of testing that, I will consult with you as to how I can make it even better. DRC is a non issue until the XMC-1 comes out, I will just be using this lil XDA until then. With the exception of modifying parameters on the amp of the subs as they will feed the speaker amps and serve as the crossover.

Agarwalro: Thanks for that link! I need to get on board with these basic computer programs and get a USB mic for my laptop. I think the preliminary installation will just use a SPL meter, graph paper, Avia cd, and all my favorite tunes with a buddy to help. From there I will install electrical outlets based upon our findings of placement. I won't hook up the speakers until the subs are happy. I am looking in to an upgrade for the fronts, but until that happens WM-30's are a pain to set up. I've got them mounted to a brick wall here in CA on a piece of Pine, so I might be silly and have my friend just hold the speaker at various places on the wall until I am happy. Don't worry, he'll be well compensated for his effort :)

Darien: I moved out here 3 years ago for a girl. We've had fun by the beach, but SoCal people are nuts. There is so much natural beauty here, yet it is clouded by so much ugliness. So I got the girl, and bought her a house and rescued her from 'the bubble' of OC.

Adam: Thanks man! I have a crawlspace under the floor, and intend to make holes in the wall and floor that will be covered by the moulding when finished. Truth be told, for as many times as I've setup a 5 channel theater, I have never had hidden cables, or a truly complete installation. So when I say I am going all out on this theater, its not just in components (with in reason anyway) but in having a finished installation.

Thankfully our cat has mostly black fur, so the subs should stay somewhat clean in appearance. Of course thats assuming she doesn't find them to be good scratching posts, at which time I will be holding an Audioholics pot luck and be serving up Chinese food.
 
Adam

Adam

Audioholic Jedi
Of course thats assuming she doesn't find them to be good scratching posts, at which time I will be holding an Audioholics pot luck and be serving up Chinese food.
Hee, hee! :D

"You want chicken? We've got chicken."

"Meow." CHOP.

"You want pork? We've got pork..."
 
G

GIK Acoustics

Audioholic Intern
GIK: No progress made for another couple weeks, I am still in CA and will be riding my motorcycle across this coming Friday. I'll have about a week to finish a few construction projects, and hopefully do some electrical. I have looked at your products many times and am glad to see you chime in. Once I am satisfied with sub placement after a near obsessive process of testing that, I will consult with you as to how I can make it even better. DRC is a non issue until the XMC-1 comes out, I will just be using this lil XDA until then. With the exception of modifying parameters on the amp of the subs as they will feed the speaker amps and serve as the crossover.
Have fun & be safe on your ride back home! We are located in Atlanta as well so please do feel free to give us a call or shoot us an e-mail.
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
Made it!

3500 miles of incredible terrain. It was a great ride! No pics yet tho, I left my camera cable in San Jose.

So I've spent the last two nights in the house, and I realize now that I have a pretty decent echo in the living room.

Theres only a couch right now, but theres not much else going to be added furniture wise to this room. So I need exact measurements to get started, what about SPL measurements with a test disc?

I assume absorption is my first need to tame the lively nature of this room. I have zero experience in this, and have only read alot of articles on the subject. Need to give GIK a call once I get everything else moved out, which will be my second road trip starting on Saturday. And to egg me on the subs will be arriving this week too!
 
G

GIK Acoustics

Audioholic Intern
Made it!

3500 miles of incredible terrain. It was a great ride! No pics yet tho, I left my camera cable in San Jose.
I bet the trip was wonderful!

So I've spent the last two nights in the house, and I realize now that I have a pretty decent echo in the living room.

Theres only a couch right now, but theres not much else going to be added furniture wise to this room. So I need exact measurements to get started, what about SPL measurements with a test disc?

I assume absorption is my first need to tame the lively nature of this room. I have zero experience in this, and have only read alot of articles on the subject. Need to give GIK a call once I get everything else moved out, which will be my second road trip starting on Saturday. And to egg me on the subs will be arriving this week too!
Yes, broadband absorption would certainly be the first step in treating your room. If you have a microphone, you could do some tests with REW to see the response of the place to assess any problem areas in the room (and REW can help with sub & speaker placement as well). We did a video on how to install and use REW here: Room EQ Wizard Tutorial Video

SPL meter measurements are very useful for finding where to place treatment, but wouldn't really show what room measurements do.
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
Cool, thanks! Looking forward to working with you guys!

I am exhausted, but still progressing with things around the house. Subs should arrive today and I'll be getting all antsy. Of course knowing that itll be some time until I can actually install them does NOT help.

Why is moving so difficult. Can't we all just have a home theater set up and ready to go? Oh wait, I'd just need to throw down what I already spent on the house and have someone do it for me!
 

newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top