BillyM's first house - first media-room build - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 25 Old 06-07-12, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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BillyM's first house - first media-room build

Hi folks. After a few years of reading quietly, I figured it time I actually contribute a little to this fantastic community.

Having had a few make-do setups involving flat-screen televisions in existing rooms over the years, I thought my next room would be a full build.
...little did I know how MUCH of a build it would end up being. Ducting, plumbing, electrical, structural; everything needed attention...

First lets talk about what I started with. It was a 33x15 semi-sub-grade walk-out basement, one long stud wall, block for the other three.
Stairwell, big windows, below-joist water lines, 2x20a screw-in fuses for the whole house., ducting in the way, and doors posed problems.
...oh, and it was a bare room, so in addition to fixing all the stuff that needed it, I actually had to design/build the entire room too...
(Standing at the front-right main speaker shooting back towards the seating area.)

I noticed some slight water damage patterns on the wall, but thought nothing really of it. ...basements get wet once in a while, right?
Shortly after closing, while imagining my future theater room, I leaned against the stud wall. It moved. A lot. ...ahh ...
(Standing in front of the screen, looking at the left wall where it meets the front.)

So I tear out the entire load-bearing center wall (all 33ft) and use a 20ton jack to level the house and make room for the new wall studs.
I call this the "hold my beer and watch this" phase or the "Plaster Disaster". Note: Plaster houses don't like parts being raised 1-2" suddenly.
Right around this time, my better half asks, "can we make a hole here so I don't have to go into the garage to do laundry?" I grumble, then comply.

Some time passes, we remodel the entire upstairs, rewire the entire house, destroy the yard with a 9,000lb excavator, all sorts of fun stuff.
I finally got started, decided the screen would be at the front wall, back 10ft of the room (at the stairs) gets divided off to a bedroom/office.
...then the studs went up (with spacing to allow for exact placement of in-wall surrounds) and electrical/water/ducting all got moved.
(Standing at the screen looking back towards the seating area.)

Wiring went in for power, lights, projector (you can see the recess-box I built), screen, etc with all signal lines running back to the bedroom.
I volume-matched the in-wall cavities where surrounds would be and sealed them up tight as rock went on the walls, hoping for good results.
(Standing at the front right speaker location, shooting back towards the seating location.)

To this point in my life, I had never paid more than $20 for a gallon of paint. Holy does pricier paint go on nice!
A co-worker of my lady's had ordered 7gal of a gray with "too much magenta" at $38/gallon, wants $75 for it all.
I could have gone slightly darker, but I want this to be a multi-use room, not a cave. (again at the right main speaker)

Surrounds go in (cavities stuffed with fiberfill), install trim and get carpet done, wires get toned and labeled, and it is nearly operational!
Well, I had to install the projector, and the screen, and the receiver, and the PC, etc etc etc in the bedroom behind too...
(Again, at the front right speaker location.)

(At the seating location looking forward, for a change!)

So that left filling the room with furniture, speaker placement, projector calibration, and general "fiddling-with" to get it right.
I modified a spkr-stand for the center and tiered the couch/love-seat setup with bed risers with plans for a real riser in the future.
(Again, at the front right coner looking back)

(In the center of the back row of seating)

I still have the ducting to wrap (black speaker cloth over an OC705/aluminum frame is a thought, but the room is flat working for me at this point.
I will move the bookshelf from behind the right speaker (in-case I want to take any more pictures from there) and build a hush-box over the projector.
Impressions? I'm stoked. All surrounds are equidistant and really "surround" you with ambient sounds. The room sounds very balanced with the AS-F2's.
The screen size (100") fits great, and being able to shut out all ambient light at any time is excellent! 1080p is amazing for a previously non-hd person.

...just for fun, here is the before/after. It seems like it took forever, but some people will argue that 3yrs IS forever.
All I know is that I had a good time doing it, and never would have made it without you folks here, so thanks.



Last edited by billyM; 06-08-12 at 07:38 AM.
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post #2 of 25 Old 06-07-12, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: BillyM's first house - first media-room build

Work/Materials &Equipment lists updated...

I had a good friend who works in construction come lend a hand with most of this, so I am splitting the costs into work/materials so folks who can do all the work themselves can only be concerned with the right-hand column.

Rebuild support wall - $0/$150
Plumbing tuck in joists - $200/$200
New framing/structure - $200/$300
Duct fabricate rehang - $250/$150
Insulation walls/floors - $100/$250
Sheet-rock installation - $100/$350
Electric wiring and light - $200/$250
A/V and network wiring - $0/$175
Tape/finish the drywall - $800/$100
Solid-core doors (four) - $100/$300
Paint/trim/touchup/etc - $0/$250
Carpet on floors/stairs - $200/725

Total labor/help costs: $2150
Total material costs: $3200

Athena AS-F2 mains - $350
Athena AS-C1 center - $75
Monoprice 8" surrounds - $150
Klipsch RW-12D subwoofer - $300
Pioneer VSX-1021 receiver - $300
Viewsonic Pro8200 projector - $675
Elite 100" motorized screen - $0 w/projector
Computer/upgrades/monitor - $1000
Lutron IR-controlled dimmer - $60
Assorted cables/accessories - $40
Furniture in both new room - $1000

Total eqipment/furniture costs: $3950

Absolute total costs of everything: (minus my time, I flat refuse to add that in...)

I hope this helps others, because I had not added everything up until now...
...and now I somewhat wish that I didn't. "Honey, we're watching two movies tonight!"

That said, $9300 and a few nights each week working to add an extra bedroom and theater to the house...


Last edited by billyM; 06-11-12 at 09:25 AM.
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post #3 of 25 Old 06-08-12, 02:53 PM
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Re: BillyM's first house - first media-room build

Very well done clean setup! It took a few years but I bet it's worth every hour and dollar you spent now that you can go down there and relax.
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post #4 of 25 Old 06-11-12, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Re: BillyM's first house - first media-room build

Thanks for the compliments, I'm fairly proud of it and I can honestly say I've sat in our upstairs living room exactly two times in the last month. Basement theater > boring upstairs living room.

Your "every hour and every dollar" comment got me thinking that I should calculate up all the costs involved so others going down the same path can plan accordingly. (I did this in the second post.) I never actually set a project budget, and simply worked at it slowly, so I was honestly a bit surprised at how HIGH the total cost number was. Equipment costs were spread among years, materials/labor among months, so it went down easy. ...but looking back at the price-tag... *gulp*

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post #5 of 25 Old 06-11-12, 04:13 PM
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Re: BillyM's first house - first media-room build

Wow.. cant beleive its th same room , Excelllent job my friend.
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post #6 of 25 Old 06-18-12, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Re: BillyM's first house - first media-room build

The sticks (framing) and stones (sheetrock) didn't break my bones, but this is where I am really going to need help. This is the pre-treatment measurement with nothing but the couches in-place. I still have to wrap the duct-work with 2" oc703/705 and will decide if I want to create a mirrored 24"x6" soffit on the right side of the room as well...

Obviously I have some pretty extreme peaks and nulls. Sadly, MCACC in my Pioneer VSX-1021 only goes down to 63hz for standing-wave adjustment and EQ (no good for my 30hz peak). Is a mini-dsp in my near future, or do I upgrade to an amplifier with real filter capabilities?

Measured with Radioshack digital spl, all speakers+sub, at listening position.

4khz 1/3smoothing

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post #7 of 25 Old 06-18-12, 10:44 PM
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Re: BillyM's first house - first media-room build


I would suggest posting your query in the REW forum as I do not think many people will see it in this subforum.

Good luck!
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post #8 of 25 Old 08-29-12, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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So I simply could not handle the lack of symmetry in my front speakers... A second RW-12d sub joined the first to quench my nonsensical desires. I also traded up to a pioneer vsx-1121 for a bit more power headroom. The setup flat knocks my socks off every time I use it. I will have to get some updated photos soon.

Tanks for looking,
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post #9 of 25 Old 08-30-12, 12:42 PM
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Re: BillyM's first house - first media-room build

^^^^All hail Athena!!. And nice room.

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post #10 of 25 Old 09-02-12, 02:04 AM
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Re: BillyM's first house - first media-room build

Great work...did you have the design complete from the start? or did you just say hmm I want a ht room and start working toward it?
I would like to do something similar in my house but when I start thinkin about it the costs just starts to soar out of any reasonable price range.I consider the money you spent about the top of what I can afford though over time
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