Dedicated home theater room or media room.

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Ryan B_112

Enthusiast
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1
#1
Hello everyone! I have finally started my home theater project in the new to me home! However I was hoping for some advice before the project begins. Then I will maintain a post with pictures showing my progress and milestones until I watch a film for the first time.
So in the new house I am blessed with two options not perfect but definitely something I can work with. So please have a look at the options and let me know your input, thanks for the help.

1. My old office is 19.5' x 11' x 9' ceilings, and has a nice rectangular shape for acoustics. I would have seating for 5-6 and one riser that would be 8" tall. Now the cons for this room would be the width, I am concerned that the surround speakers that would be wall mounted would be to close to the listener. The one end has a closet on the other side so it narrows the width to 10'.

2. Large open basement the media area is 16' x 16' x 9' ceilings, so already I have two problems one the left side of the media area is wide open the closet wall would be another 15' away. So the surround speaker would be on a stand in the middle of the basement. Now if I put a ceiling speaker in face other issues with a beam that goes across the ceiling so I would have to make a very odd looking bulkhead to hold a speaker. Thats to keep things symmetrical.

The plan is to have 7.2.2 or 7.2.4 ATMOS Dolby
- I have a Marantz SR7012 and the rest of the gear will be purchased as required.
- I will be putting the ATMOS speakers in the ceiling

I was thinking option 1 might have better sound and require less equipment. The second option would be a theater lounge and still can sound decent but cost a lot more money because of carpeting ceiling reconstruction etc. Not to mention where the TV or projector would go has to be completely re-done, currently its a small built in media center and a closet.
Looking forward to comments and suggestions.
Never turn it down
Ryan
 

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tyhjaarpa

tyhjaarpa

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
453 3 10
#2
Could you just remove the closet? I'm personally working on my HT room and we removed old closet from the room. Of course we needed to do more work on the wall behind it after removing it, but it is worth it for the end result for HT use.
 
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Ryan B_112

Enthusiast
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1
#3
Thank you for your reply. I have attached a quick sketch of the room. The closet is on the other side of the wall so in the HT room its just a jut out. Now here is where it gets tricky the closet is the front closet of our house because thats where the front door is. Best I can do is cut into it for an equipment rack.
 

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TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,180 14 4
#4
The old office is likely the better option! Square rooms are expensive to get the bass right, in.

My suggestion is to ignore the Atmos capability for now, and focus on the best 7 main speakers, and quantity of subwoofers needed to get equal bass to all seats, as possible, with particular attention (and budget) paid to the Front 3 speakers.

Please post up and share your progress!
 
2

2channel lover

Audioholic General
Ratings
514
#5
Hello everyone! I have finally started my home theater project in the new to me home! However I was hoping for some advice before the project begins. Then I will maintain a post with pictures showing my progress and milestones until I watch a film for the first time.
So in the new house I am blessed with two options not perfect but definitely something I can work with. So please have a look at the options and let me know your input, thanks for the help.

1. My old office is 19.5' x 11' x 9' ceilings, and has a nice rectangular shape for acoustics. I would have seating for 5-6 and one riser that would be 8" tall. Now the cons for this room would be the width, I am concerned that the surround speakers that would be wall mounted would be to close to the listener. The one end has a closet on the other side so it narrows the width to 10'.

2. Large open basement the media area is 16' x 16' x 9' ceilings, so already I have two problems one the left side of the media area is wide open the closet wall would be another 15' away. So the surround speaker would be on a stand in the middle of the basement. Now if I put a ceiling speaker in face other issues with a beam that goes across the ceiling so I would have to make a very odd looking bulkhead to hold a speaker. Thats to keep things symmetrical.

The plan is to have 7.2.2 or 7.2.4 ATMOS Dolby
- I have a Marantz SR7012 and the rest of the gear will be purchased as required.
- I will be putting the ATMOS speakers in the ceiling

I was thinking option 1 might have better sound and require less equipment. The second option would be a theater lounge and still can sound decent but cost a lot more money because of carpeting ceiling reconstruction etc. Not to mention where the TV or projector would go has to be completely re-done, currently its a small built in media center and a closet.
Looking forward to comments and suggestions.
Never turn it down
Ryan
Option 1 is probably your best bet.

Unless you want to make some use of the closet (component room, etc.) I would take it out as well. Cons...your room EQ software does a pretty good job for the MLP which I think would be the two forward chairs. I'm pretty close to the side surrounds also, but it's the MLP so the room EQ accounted for my proximity.

The rear seats seem like they might have more of an issue, but it might not be that bad. I agree with an earlier post and will add...the front 3 and the subs are going to make or break this space for SQ.
 
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Ryan B_112

Enthusiast
Ratings
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#6
Thanks gents! I appreciate the support. So I will go with the old office. A couple of other questions.
1. I have been looking at the following for a Klipsch setup however any recommendations for speakers I can get here in Canada would be great. We have Totem Acoustics and PSB available plus a lot more., I'm sure.
Klipsch
Front Towers RP-8000FB with dual 8"
Surround - RP-502S dual 5.25"
Center - RP504C quad 5.25"
Back - RP500 5.25"
2 x SVS subs

I have heard good reviews for the RP series but I have not heard them in person. This would be a very large setup in the room and if I can't remove the closet that would only give me 10'' wide at the front. Would this be to much speaker for this size of room?

Alternatively I was thinking about going with Totem acoustics as they seem to be quite a bit smaller but are said to give a very large sound. I believe cost wise I would be very close either way. Just not sure the small centers offered from Totem Acoustics would be a good choice.

I will keep updating as I go along and need your input as I go thanks for the support.
 
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Ryan B_112

Enthusiast
Ratings
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#7
Ok so just wanted to give an update here. After deciding to do the dedicated HT room I built a riser. But I noticed a couple problems so I took it down. I decided to run some cables behind the baseboards.

Original design I used 2x8" boards run 16" on center 8' deep by 11' wide. I filled in between the 16" run with Rockwell sound proof insulation and mounted one 5/8 sheet then put glue and fabric then put another.
So before I build the riser again I have some more questions on its design:
1. Is 8" going to be enough of a riser to clear seating in front of you?
2. Should I build the riser attached to the walls of the house instead of making it modular? My only concern to mounting directly to the house walls is this might cause more vibrations?
3. Should I build the riser just big enough for the couch that would leave me with 1.5' spaces on either side of the riser and about 4' behind the riser to the wall. Behind the wall I intend to put my rack and possibly a sub if needed to deal with bass management.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
1,897 2
#8
I HATE pointing people off-site, but AVS Forum really has a great forum section on those who are building. I don't encourage you to abandon us here, but I would ask there as well as you will get a much deeper knowledge base to draw from when you start getting into specifics, with guys that actually build on a regular basis.

My recommendation would be to do a drawing of the room and include sight lines using standard human height to ensure that nothing is blocked. I have seen risers from 8" to several feet. But, I think you have to keep in mind the ceiling height and the location and total drop of the projector.

In ANY real home theater, the rule for me is front projection. So, there is a lot of thought to go into that. If you are doing serious work, you want to run all your wiring in-wall, and consider conduit for the projector location (HDMI will eventually need to be upgraded). You want to consider your equipment location (not at the front of the room!) you want to consider screen size and height. You want to consider reclined vs. upright seating sight lines. You want to consider LIGHTING - LIGHTING - LIGHTING!!!

So, yeah, it's a lot to consider, and some questions may not be answered here adequately.

1. Depends on screen size. Bottom of the screen vs. sight lines. Draw it out.
2. Typically it is recommended to isolate the riser to reduce vibrations.
3. I think this is your call. Make sure you have enough space on the riser for people to recline and walk comfortably, but what happens behind or around the riser is more about aesthetics and your call.
 
Bryce_H

Bryce_H

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
47
#9
In my old house I did a bare wall, floor, and ceiling joist home theater build and asked many of the questions you are facing. I built a riser, I planned wiring (electrical),lighting zones, ran conduit, built a stage, had the components in a dedicated back closet, ran a repeater system, sound insulated the walls with clips and build techniques (I.e. Staggered studs). This was all around 2003/2004 so if you search my old posts there was a lot of questions and a lot of wisdom passed on to me.

One thought is rather than a 7.2.4 or just a 7.2 is a 5.2.4. I recently upgraded my current 5.1 to 5.1.4 and really like the Atmos. The ceiling speakers we very affordable since there is little serious sound coming from them. Just make sure they have good dispersion. My upgrade to Atmos was maybe 1-1.5 years ago and of coarse I posted here with questions.

There used to be a thread over at AVS that was essentially "I wish I had done X or really glad i did Y" that was invaluable in my build.

There also used to be a magazine called "home theater builder" that is now long defunct, but I wonder if you might be able to find copies at a library. That is where I got the design for the stage and riser.

Keep asking questions and enjoy the journey. Remember the biggest piece of equipment in your theater is the room itself.
 
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Ryan B_112

Enthusiast
Ratings
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#10
Thank you for the wisdom Bryce! Building a HT was always a dream but I never thought it could be such a challenge. I think a lot of it for me comes from the fact that I have to many variables and dynamic parts in a plan.

1. Equipment and digital correction can solve problems
2. Seating configurations are still adjustable (riser height and length) how much insulation ported non ported
3. TV vs Projector, and is greatly effected by the above due to listening position seems like my room of 19.5' gives a seating position of 11'2 away for the first row. Furniture we bought is HUGE bad expensive mistake!!
4. Construction on hold while I wait for the above to be confirmed
 
R

Ryan B_112

Enthusiast
Ratings
1
#11
I HATE pointing people off-site, but AVS Forum really has a great forum section on those who are building. I don't encourage you to abandon us here, but I would ask there as well as you will get a much deeper knowledge base to draw from when you start getting into specifics, with guys that actually build on a regular basis.

My recommendation would be to do a drawing of the room and include sight lines using standard human height to ensure that nothing is blocked. I have seen risers from 8" to several feet. But, I think you have to keep in mind the ceiling height and the location and total drop of the projector.

In ANY real home theater, the rule for me is front projection. So, there is a lot of thought to go into that. If you are doing serious work, you want to run all your wiring in-wall, and consider conduit for the projector location (HDMI will eventually need to be upgraded). You want to consider your equipment location (not at the front of the room!) you want to consider screen size and height. You want to consider reclined vs. upright seating sight lines. You want to consider LIGHTING - LIGHTING - LIGHTING!!!

So, yeah, it's a lot to consider, and some questions may not be answered here adequately.

1. Depends on screen size. Bottom of the screen vs. sight lines. Draw it out.
2. Typically it is recommended to isolate the riser to reduce vibrations.
3. I think this is your call. Make sure you have enough space on the riser for people to recline and walk comfortably, but what happens behind or around the riser is more about aesthetics and your call.

Thank you for the pointers. Are you referring to the DIY forum. I need to post another thread or search for one on starting the project after a few months of forums, youtube, and basic knowledge I need to start almost from scratch. It seems my plan is very dynamic right now in the sense where a lot of items have not been purchased and everything effects future planning. I wish I knew a straight forward process to start with. What is the anchor point in the project? Room size or seating or screen size or audio quality etc? I will keep asking and researching, I have some basic drawings but nothing from fancy software. The software I have used is free online but doesn't do much really I have seen 3D software but seems like quite a bit of a learning curve and cost.
 
R

Ryan B_112

Enthusiast
Ratings
1
#12
I HATE pointing people off-site, but AVS Forum really has a great forum section on those who are building. I don't encourage you to abandon us here, but I would ask there as well as you will get a much deeper knowledge base to draw from when you start getting into specifics, with guys that actually build on a regular basis.

My recommendation would be to do a drawing of the room and include sight lines using standard human height to ensure that nothing is blocked. I have seen risers from 8" to several feet. But, I think you have to keep in mind the ceiling height and the location and total drop of the projector.

In ANY real home theater, the rule for me is front projection. So, there is a lot of thought to go into that. If you are doing serious work, you want to run all your wiring in-wall, and consider conduit for the projector location (HDMI will eventually need to be upgraded). You want to consider your equipment location (not at the front of the room!) you want to consider screen size and height. You want to consider reclined vs. upright seating sight lines. You want to consider LIGHTING - LIGHTING - LIGHTING!!!

So, yeah, it's a lot to consider, and some questions may not be answered here adequately.

1. Depends on screen size. Bottom of the screen vs. sight lines. Draw it out.
2. Typically it is recommended to isolate the riser to reduce vibrations.
3. I think this is your call. Make sure you have enough space on the riser for people to recline and walk comfortably, but what happens behind or around the riser is more about aesthetics and your call.

What is the better area to post in DIY corner or Pros and Joes?
 
Bryce_H

Bryce_H

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
47
#13
You're welcome...as I bit of reference I spent about 9 months researching/designing the room (the house was being built with a bare basement where the theater was going). Then about 6 months of construction on nights and weekends (did most of the work myself except HVAC, drywall, and plumbing (there was a wet bar behind the theater).

In short - it was not a quick process...
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
1,897 2
#14
What is the better area to post in DIY corner or Pros and Joes?
I don't know. I typically stick to the 'under $3,000 projectors' section of the forums. When I am ready to do my build, I will likely be looking for some answers.

For a baseline of building, I think the first goal is finding the room that will be used. Then I would look at the layout of the room and determine my viewing wall and start working out equipment locations. Where does the gear go, where will the projector go, where will speakers go, what works best in a general sense. Start talking about specific ideas and concepts, maybe start sketching them up. Hand drawings or photos or some online drawing tools are just fine. Maybe even ask about what online drawing tools are out there that do a decent job. I don't think much about 3D vs. 2D drawing. I just would like something I can put some furniture into and get some relatively decent floor layouts to work with.

Things can get crazy if you start looking into sound-proofing the space. Truly sealing the room from audio bleed to other spaces as well as acoustical treatments to get the best sound out of the room you are in.

The headache, at the end, is that a full and proper design may require years of experience more than just research, and that can be problematic to anyone who doesn't have that actual experience. So, you have to just roll with the concept that you will have to accept that there are things that won't work great, but you will still love what you have.

I get on the forums and I talk to projection. I don't talk to audio or acoustics as I am more practical in terms of audio and I don't really have a room that will ever be close to an audio-ideal. So, I enjoy the audio and focus (ha!) on projection. I can talk about the space and how to treat it for better projection, placing a projector, and screen size, etc. I also bring up lighting a great deal as that is one thing that almost everyone gets wrong. They under light theaters and under zone the lighting loads. As if, having 50 lights in a room is somehow different than having two lights in the room when the lights are off. They go LOWER, because, you know, it's a theater. Think about that for a minute. Then think about how dark paint on the walls and ceiling, combined with dark carpet impacts reflections and available ambient light when you want and need it. So, yeah, lighting in a theater should be doubled from a traditional room, and should be zoned heavily. At least one zone of lighting over each seating row, and another zone of lighting for 'general' room lighting. Additional zones for sconces and under riser lighting may also exist on separate zones. No lighting should be LED unless it truly is infinitely dimmable. LED lighting has very serious issues with dimming as well as incandescent lighting does.

I think when you have a room, and a general layout, then you pick a seat that is yours. That is, the seat about which the rest of the room is designed. If you want two rows of seating, maybe it is the center seat in the second row. Maybe it is the center seat in the first row. Then you design around that for audio and video. Base your screen size on that. Base your audio positioning around that. Then make what allowances and compromises you would like for the other seats in the room and the second row.

Movie theaters have to do this. You simply can't make an ideal situation for every seat and every location and every circumstance. I think that's the thing professionals get and amateurs really struggle with. They think that pros have figured out a secret that they are missing. When in fact, pros have let go of it completely and just design around a primary location and don't worry that much about the rest.

So, practically speaking, pick a seat, design around it, do a good job with your room colors, do your lighting properly, and run conduit to the projector location from your equipment location which is NEVER near the front of the room where blinky lights are visible to distract.
 
Bryce_H

Bryce_H

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
47
#15
Well said BMX and I have appreciated your advice numerous times over the years.

In my old theater, I had 9 months to kill while the house was built..I also started with a blank slate (bare walls, floor, and ceiling). In my current house I did much what you recommend. It was new build, but spec house (I.e. We didn't get to make any design decisions). It did have a theater room, but they wired it 90 degrees wrong...so I rewired it, but had access to the attic which made the wire runs much easier. The addition of the .4 (Atmos) was greatly facilitated by the attic access...not sure I would have done it otherwise.

I couldn't agree more on the room colors and lighting. Old theater had dark flat red and blue walls (I wouldn't recommend flat - every brush against the wall left a scuff). The screen wall and ceiling were painted something like "tornado grey" which was almost black. Needed like three coats of paint... And the carpet was a deep red.

I had 4 zones of lighting, 2 cans above the first row, 4 cans in the "back" (I.e. Behind the front row),3 wall scones, and rope lighting under the lip of the riser. I had programmable Lutron dimmer panel with presets.

With the dark colors we rarely needed to do more than modest dimming of the lights.
 
R

Ryan B_112

Enthusiast
Ratings
1
#16
Gents thank you so much for the tips. The wife and I sat down and discussed quite a bit about what we want, so we can anchor the project some how. What you mentioned above was very informative. We did decide to swap to a different room, I will post some pictures tomorrow. This afternoon my son and I made the first part of the riser. I say first part because it will be quite large by the time its finished. Next I will be ordering some scones for the walls and deciding on paint. We have the seating in red leather. Should be able to sit 5 people comfortably on the riser. I added bracing for possible locations where subs might end up so it won't sound like a drum kit. Ran 2x8's on 16" and doubled up at 48" mark to have enough meat to secure the 4x8 sheets of PSB board 3/4". Filled roughly 85% with Rockwell insulation. I didn't port anything yet I figure I will test i tout for a while and go from there.
One big bonus though is I will have a dedicated room for the amps and all the wires to com in neatly, which happens to be next to the mechanical room / furnace room, so running a dedicated power box there will be easy (for an electrician).

BMX I will definitely be approaching you for some advice later when we upgrade to a projector for now we will go with an 85" TV. This is because of some things we have to take care of in the room first.
1. Install lighting
2. Fix ceiling and install ATMOS speakers
3. Move old fireplace
4. Move linen closet from current location

After that is done we can look at projectors because we will have a clean wall. Wondering though is 14 gauge wire good enough for AMTOS and surround speakers. Looking at some basic writings and tables that should be good for 30' runs. Or should I go with something different? Any suggestions on good sub cables, right now I have one 25' monster sub cable.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
1,897 2
#17
After that is done we can look at projectors because we will have a clean wall. Wondering though is 14 gauge wire good enough for AMTOS and surround speakers. Looking at some basic writings and tables that should be good for 30' runs. Or should I go with something different? Any suggestions on good sub cables, right now I have one 25' monster sub cable.
As long as 14 gauge is appropriate for the distance you are going, you won't have any issues. I typically use 14 gauge in most of my theater setups. But it is about distance.

For subwoofers, quality coaxial cable is typically run in the wall. Blue Jeans Cable is a great place to get quality subwoofer cables from.
 

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