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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have been lurking at HTS for several months now getting ideas for my home theater project. I thought it was time I post what I have been working on and get any feedback or suggestions that the community here may have.

A little background. I have been interested in home theater for about 20 years when I bought my first surround sound receiver with my high school graduation money. I have had many theater setups in the intervening years but I always had to make them fit into a living room setting. My current arrangement is a 10 year old 51" rear projection Sony television, Denon surround receiver, Sony BD player, and Boston speakers with a Klipsch sub. The setup does ok but the picture quality on BDs is just not that great. It was time to start thinking about modernizing my setup.

Last fall, I was reading through Electronic House and thinking about about how I would like to update my present setup once I got my bonus money in 2011. I have lived in my house about 11 years and when I bought it I bought what I could afford. No bonus room or basement. Three bedrooms, two baths kitchen and living area. I assumed I would just update my living room setup when an idea hit me. Being that I am unmarried and live alone and rarely have overnight guests, I have a lot of flexibility with my spare bedrooms. I converted one to a home office a few years ago and the other has basically been a storeroom since a roommate moved out about seven years ago. I was struck with an idea. Why not convert the storage bedroom room to a small home theater! No, it would not be as grand as what I read about in Electronic House or see at HTS but it would be what I have long wanted - a dedicated room for my setup with the added benefit of cleaning up the HT clutter in the main living area. After modeling out the basic configuration in Google Sketchup I became convinced that, while not ideal, it would work. Here is a floorplan of my house. The room in question is the front bedroom in the bottom left corner circled in red.



Here is the bedroom in it's storeroom state:




By reading here and other places online, I narrowed down my color selection for the room. I was looking for a flat, dark color and these are the four samples I chose from:




From left to right going from photo one to photo two, dark gray, brown, dark green, and dark blue. It took a while to decide but I would up going with the dark gray or "Chimney Smoke" from Lowe's.

In the meantime, again after researching online, I starting assembling my updated gear. Here is my equipment list:

Television: Panasonic TC-P55VT30
Receiver: Denon AVR-3311CI
Blu-ray Player: Sony BDP-S570
Satellite: Box to be determined; do not currently have TV connection in this room
Game Machine Xbox 360
Set top box: Apple TV
Front Speakers: Boston Acoustics VR2
Center Speaker: Boston Acoustics VRC
Surround and Back Speakers (x4): Boston Acoustics CR65
Subwoofer: Klipsch ??? (Cannot remember model number right now; will update when I move the equipment to the new room)
TV Stand: Bell'O WAVS-333


I finally purchased the TV in the last week. While I had either obtained or decided on everything else several months ago, I had held off on the television until the sets shown at CES this year made it to stores. In preparation for delivery of the television next week, I painted the room. That is where I am at this point and this is where I hope to get feedback from the community here.



I preface the following points by saying I am open to all suggestions with the following condition. Because any future owner would likely not use this room as a theater, I do not want to any serious modification to the room. Anything that can be fairly easily undone should I sell my house is open to consideration. That being said, these are the open items I am still considering:

1. Window covering - I would like to essentially black out the windows. I do not mind some degree of light leakage around the edge but I would rather the window not glow. Opening the window is not a requirement. There is a fairly large hedge outside this window and I do not have screens. Opening the window would invite who knows what critters into the house. After reading the experiences of other users, I have considering getting some blackout cloth and attaching it to the window frame with velcro and then covering all of this with a curtain. I figure that would not require an expensive heavy curtain.

2. Layout - I am pretty settled on the TV being on the wall to the left as you come in but I am open to suggestion. My thinking is that I will better be able to position the side surround speakers in this layout - one to the right of the window and the other between the two closet doors.

3. Hiding speaker wires to surround speakers - What are the options for hiding the speaker runs to the rear. I figure they will run along the side wall below the window. I have used some of the channel products from Cordmate for various applications to various degrees of success in the past. I have plenty of paint to paint match but I am wondering if there are any other products or options of which I should be aware.

4. Subwoofer placement - I had originally assumed I would put the sub between the TV stand and the front speaker to one side of the television. But I have read that putting it behind the listening position with centered or in a corner can do well. Thoughts?

5. Lighting consideration - I don't have a lot of hard ideas here. I like lighting in general and I have thought about what type of dimmers and automation I could include. I have read threads about LED backlights in the rack or under seats. I am not sure I am sold on that but here I am wondering what general ideas any of y'all might have.

That is about all I can think of right now. Thanks in advance to anyone who has read this and to anyone who has any feedback, ideas or suggestions!


 

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what are the dimensions of the room? I have and extra bedroom that I have thought about doing the same thing with but but I wanted to go with a projector but the room is very small.
Looking forward to seeing the progress, hopefully it will give me some ideas :)
 

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1. Blacking out the windows shouldn't be too hard. I don't imagine you need it 100% dark either, mostly dark is probably good enough since you're using a TV and not a projector.

2. I think the layout sounds good. What seating are you thinking of?

3. Regarding speaker wires, any way that you can run them in wall? I've always had mixed feelings about channels/raceways/etc- they always seem SO overpriced for what they are! But totally understand hiding them - without cutting into walls.

4. Sub between the TV stand and a speaker is probably good. I would recommend not placing behind - I think you just loose too much of the impact in my experience. Center wall is fine too. Corner placement gives higher output but more uneven frequency response.

5. What kind of lighting is in there now? A single overhead light? I always like the appearance of cans..
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
what are the dimensions of the room? I have and extra bedroom that I have thought about doing the same thing with but but I wanted to go with a projector but the room is very small.
Looking forward to seeing the progress, hopefully it will give me some ideas :)
Not counting the "notch" for the door to the room, it is about 12' x 10.5'. i have updated the original post to show a floorplan.

I thought about a projector but I have no experience with them and I did not know if the room was big enough for that. I also did not know if a projector could match the sharp, crisp picture of a plasma. If I buy a new house and can build a larger dedicated theater, I will do much more homework on projectors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
1. Blacking out the windows shouldn't be too hard. I don't imagine you need it 100% dark either, mostly dark is probably good enough since you're using a TV and not a projector.

2. I think the layout sounds good. What seating are you thinking of?

3. Regarding speaker wires, any way that you can run them in wall? I've always had mixed feelings about channels/raceways/etc- they always seem SO overpriced for what they are! But totally understand hiding them - without cutting into walls.

4. Sub between the TV stand and a speaker is probably good. I would recommend not placing behind - I think you just loose too much of the impact in my experience. Center wall is fine too. Corner placement gives higher output but more uneven frequency response.

5. What kind of lighting is in there now? A single overhead light? I always like the appearance of cans..
Thanks for the response!

Seating will be a simple love seat for now. I am going to pull it out of my living room set. I might look into theater seats - if I can get two to fit - in the future, but right now I don't want to spend the money given all the equipment upgrades.

I think running wires in the walls would be a major pain. I do not have the proper tools, nor to mention the mechanical skills to do that. I have a feeling I would create some definite problems for myself if I went that route.

For the sub, when you say "center wall" do you mean the center of the side wall? I could place it there, underneath the window. I was just in there this morning and looking at the size of the box for the stand (I am planning to put it together in the next day or so) I am now not sure the sub will fit between the stand and the speaker.

Lighting - Right now there is a single overhead light. I was thinking cans to do uplight on the back wall, perhaps under a couple of movie posters. I would like to setup some type of remote control of the lighting and be able to control the overhead light and the cans separately as well to set a scene. I looked at some info on the Lutro Maestro Wireless but I am not sure yet if that has the flexibility I want. While I would not mind getting something that I could grow and expand to a larger system through the house, I do not want to drop a lot of money on light control. This is more of a "nice to have." Any ideas of a fairly simple product that is not too expensive that could provide the control I mentioned would be appreciated!
 

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Consider locating the TV on the opposite wall - to the right as you walk in - for a few reasons:

  1. Better for people circulation. Put the loveseat 3 feet off the back wall (where you probably want for best surround imaging anyway) gives you a good place for people to get in/out without blocking the TV.
  2. You could use the closet for your AV rack if you want to hide it and still get cables to the TV and speakers easliy (just install a pass-through at the wall between the closet door and the screen wall).

I'm probably splitting hairs here. The other wall will probably work just fine, too. Since you are probably not running wiring in-wall, you should set everything up and play aroudn with the layout before you do any permanent wiring. That way you'll know which setup is best.

Have fun and keep us posted on the progress!

Rgards,
sga2
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Consider locating the TV on the opposite wall - to the right as you walk in - for a few reasons:

  1. Better for people circulation. Put the loveseat 3 feet off the back wall (where you probably want for best surround imaging anyway) gives you a good place for people to get in/out without blocking the TV.
  2. You could use the closet for your AV rack if you want to hide it and still get cables to the TV and speakers easliy (just install a pass-through at the wall between the closet door and the screen wall).

I'm probably splitting hairs here. The other wall will probably work just fine, too. Since you are probably not running wiring in-wall, you should set everything up and play aroudn with the layout before you do any permanent wiring. That way you'll know which setup is best.

Have fun and keep us posted on the progress!

Rgards,
sga2
Putting the AV rack in the closet was something I had considered when I first decided to convert the room. I was thinking right along the line that you were suggesting. The biggest problem is that I really need the closet space! :) I know practical, non-HT considerations! Not having a basement, a bonus room, or an easily accessible attic, storage is at a premium, hence the status of this bedroom as an oversized storage closet for many years!

Regarding the television placement, I am open to putting it on that opposite as you suggest. In fact, until last weekend, that was my plan but while painting I was looking at where to put the side surround speakers and the options appeared to be more limited with that placement. If you look at the floorplan, I am limited as to how far forward I could place the surround speakers by the window on one side and the fact that the entry door is across the room on the left. I was thinking I could mount the right surround speaker (relative to the television on the room opposite the entry door) over the entry door, but that is set back from the main "box" of the room. Would that cause problems? I could possibly place that speaker nearly even across the room from the left surround beside the window, but I am concerned about the impact on the audio with that speaker effectively "around a corner" over the door. I also considered that the right surround could be mounted on the angled wall as you come into the room. That could be a problem with the speaker jutting in the way as you walk into the room but it also poses a problem of getting that speaker wire past the two closet doors.

For TV placement on the wall to the left as you come into the room, my thinking was I could put the surround speaker approximately across the room from each other, both within the main room "box." Surround right would be beside the window and surround left would be between the closet doors. I would then only have to negotiate the wire around one closet door.

On a related note, does anyone have any experience with that flat, "invisible" speaker wire? I would thinking I could use that from the baseboard up the wall to the surround speakers. The other option would be a a channel to hide the wire. I have used these in other rooms and they are not bad once you paint them to match. Aestetically, the flat "invisible" wire looks great but I am not sure of its impact on sound quality.

I did assemble the TV stand yesterday so I will try to get a couple of pictures posted of that later!

Thanks for the feedback!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
BTW, I came across CocoonTech.com by reading the AV forums for my home automation/light control questions. I have posted a response there as to what I want to achieve for the lighting control now and in the future. If anyone has any comments or suggestions there, I welcome them!
 

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I think having the screen on the wal as you proposed would work fine and would certainly give you better placement option for surrounds. But I think in that size room - and the fact that there is still very little 7.1 material out there - you would not be missing much by forgoing the side surrounds. But you could always experiment with placement/arrageent of your room before you finish the wiring.

For "invisible" wiring, consider running along the baseboard and up the wall (use inside corners between walls and along molding around doors and windows where possible) and paint the same color as the wall/baseboard as appropriate. As long as the wires are run nice and flat they will barely be noticeable. And you co-uld use the cash you saved toward a movie or two.

Regards,
sga2
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have made a lot of progress in the last week. I received and assembled the TV stand.



But the big news! The Panasonic TC-P55VT30 is here! Best Buy delivered it yesterday. I have not done any setup on it yet as I have not unboxed the AV receiver or the BD player nor have I had DirecTV ran for that room..



I also decided to replace the Sony BDP-S570 Blu-ray player I bought last December with a Panasonic DMP-BDT210. I found a good deal on the new unit at Best Buy and have listed the Sony on eBay. Given that the Sony was never unboxed, I should come close to breakeven based on recent eBay sales of the Sony model. We'll see. If I cannot sell it, I can always return the Panasonic. One advantage of the Panny Blu-ray player is I will get a second copy of Avatar 3D. Those are going for around $80 on eBay and I will now have two to sell (another copy came with the television bundle). I can hear the gasps now - I simply did not like that movie and I do not need one, much less two copies, especially not when people are paying big money for it!

I did order all my speaker cables and HDMI cables last week. Speaker cables from Monoprice and Taperwire, the latter for the runs up the wall to the surround speakers. HDMI cables from Blue Jeans Cable. I read several threads on HDMI cables including one from a rep from the company saying that if your runs are short, their cheap cables would be just fine. Ironically, when I was in Best Buy Saturday looking at the BD player, the sales guy started touting the benefits of a $90 six foot HDMI cable. I did not bother to tell him I paid half that much for all my HDMI cables (but I don't want to start that debate here! :) ). I moved the love seat into the theater room with only a little damage to wall outside in the hall.



I also ordered the curtains. Based on the advice here, I am not worrying about total blackout of the windows but I did get "blackout" curtains. I have decided that I am not going to get new blinds for now. I want to see how the curtains do for darkness and, as I researched lighting control options, I realize that at some point, I might want to look at automated blinds. No point in spending money on something now only to cast it aside in the short term. So if the curtains work well enough, I will go with the old blinds that are there. Final decor touches that were ordered and arrived are the rug, throw pillows and ottoman (not here yet). I also ordered three movie posters that will be here in a couple of weeks.

For the lighting, I ordered several Z-wave lamp modules and a wall switch dimmer for the overhead light. I discuss this a little more in my Cocoontech thread. I bought several Home Depot uplights and I plan to use these to highlight the movie posters and perhaps place behind the TV stand. I did like the look of some of the LED backlight setups that I have seen other threads so I am still not sure on where to go on that one.

The question I am wrestling with now is how to mount the rear speakers. My speakers are several years old and Boston Acoustics made a mounting bracket for them. I have two that I used in my living room. However, I cannot find another pair, even on eBay, so I have to find a solution for two of these speakers. (I can reuse the brackets I have for two of the speakers.) I have not ruled out shelves, but trying to find smaller shelves that are deep enough and will support about 8-9 lbs is proving a challenge. Any suggestions would be welcome!

As always, any suggestions, feedback, thoughts, etc. are more than welcome! You guys have already given me a lot of food for thought!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I found these in another thread for possible mounting hardware for my surrounds. The reviews at Amazon seem very positive.
 

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The question I am wrestling with now is how to mount the rear speakers. My speakers are several years old and Boston Acoustics made a mounting bracket for them. I have two that I used in my living room. However, I cannot find another pair, even on eBay, so I have to find a solution for two of these speakers. (I can reuse the brackets I have for two of the speakers.) I have not ruled out shelves, but trying to find smaller shelves that are deep enough and will support about 8-9 lbs is proving a challenge. Any suggestions would be welcome!
Does the speaker manufacturer give mounting recommendations for surround use (mounting height, angle, etc.)? Also, do the speakers have any provision for wall mounting (e.g., a keyhole bracket and/or threaded insert)?

Regards,
sga2
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Does the speaker manufacturer give mounting recommendations for surround use (mounting height, angle, etc.)? Also, do the speakers have any provision for wall mounting (e.g., a keyhole bracket and/or threaded insert)?

Regards,
sga2
Not sure if Boston has recommendations or not. That is the next topic I was planning to read up on. As for mounting provisions, there are keyholes for their mounting brackets. I have two of those brackets that I used in my living room setup but I would need two more for the third and fourth speakers in the dedicated room. Unfortunately, being that the speakers are discontinued, the brackets appear to be discontinued as well. I have not been able to find another pair, even on eBay.
 

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Looks like you have enough room to put your rear surrounds on stands if you didn't want to wall mount them. http://www.sanus.com/ca/en/products/speaker-foundations/sp-hover/HF1 will hold a 10lb speaker


If you have your heart set on wall mount, considering how close you are to the wall I would probably recommend a ball and knuckle mount for added adjustment range.

I agree sga2 reference removing the baseboards and running your rear surround spearkers that way.

Subwoofer placement - "The Sub crawl"

I take it your center will be placed in the cabinet? You might want to play with that, i.e. cabinet facia on and off, speaker pulled out past the cabinet edges...etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have come across the sub crawl and I think that might a fairly easy thing to try in a small room like mine. As for the center, yes it will go in the cabinet. I did not want to wall mount the TV so I spent a lot of time looking for a stand that could accommodate my wide center speaker (22"). Good idea to try it with and without the "grill."

As for the surround speakers, I was under the impression based on some things I have read that the rear surrounds should be 2' feet or so above listening level. That was why I had not really looked at stands. Those are intriguing! The less I have to drill and hammer, the fewer the chances I have of messing something up! My skills in those areas are certainly lacking!

I have been doing a lot of reading on room audio modes and I think I have a working understanding. That is where I came across the subwoofer crawl. Once I have time to digest that and assemble into some thoughts on placement, I will post my thoughts in this thread.
 
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