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Discussion Starter #1
Need advice on thread title. I am finishing my basement in a new construction home. Bathroom, large closet, bedroom, and of course the Theater. I assume 11'-5" x 16' for a theater is small, but base on the setup of the furnace, etc. the configuration I decided on was the best I could do.

I have attached some photos of the soon-to-be theater. I just finished roughing in the electrical last night and now want to decide on a home theater so I can rough in speaker locations, etc. While we discuss I will continue roughing the electrical for the other rooms and getting someone to do the plumbing for the bathroom.

My budget is from $3K to $5K. I will upgrade later as I go, but the finishing of the basement is already tapping the pocket book enough. I also already have a 47" 1080p LCD, Blu-ray players, and Bose 3-in-1 system in the family room. However, this theater is all about me.

I am thinking of a DIY screen, project, and some sort of system. Been out of the home theater game a while, so I don't know the "new-new". Help me out....

Thanks...


Bedroom Area and Entry to Theater
1 - Bedroom Area and Entry to Theater.JPG

View of Theater from Bedroom Area
2 - View of Theater from Bedroom Area.JPG

Theater with Projection Screen wall at the Rear
3 - Theater with Projection Screen wall at the Rear.JPG

Another View of Projection Wall
4 - Another View of Projection Wall.JPG

View from Projection Wall thru Theater to Bedroom Area
5 - View from Projection Wall thru Theater to Bedroom Area.JPG
 

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Does the $3-5K include the materials for finishing the theatre room or is this reserved for the equipment?

A DIY screen is an ideal way to save some cash and in some cases will look just as good as the most expensive roll down screen. Have a look in are DIY screen section.

For a receiver I highly recommend Onkyo, The TX SR805 is the one with the best bang for buck or if you can step it up a bit the 876 as it has the HQV Reon chip for the best upscailing of all video to 1080p.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
The $3K - $5K is strictly equipment...

I guess using the 38% rule, my first row is suppose to be 9.92' or 10' from screen or 6' from the back wall/curtain/french doors, correct?

I am going to close the off the theater from the bedroom area using a thick curtain or french doors.

And using the 1.54 for first row and 2.2 for second row ratios for determining the size of the screen, it appears I should use a 80" wide screen, correct?

If I want a 16:9 setup, then the screen will need to be 80" x 45" or for a 4:3 setup, the screen will be 80" x 60", correct?
 

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For an acoustically transparent screen, check out StewartAT/Phifer Sheerweave Chalk. For a paint on, read up on the Black Widow paint mix. Should be able to DIY either of those options for $400.

Look for an Epson 1080p projector - $2200
$700 for AVR, onkyo is a good choice
$1000 for 5 speakers (I'd go with an AT screen and 3 identical speakers across the front). Some folks like SVS, I'm a JBL guy myself. I"ve also bee spending some time with Aperions, which are nice, but not quite as bright as I like my speakers, probably good for someone who likes a warmer/darker speaker, or someone whose room isnt treated.

Speaking of which, invest $300 in some OC703 for treating first reflection points, at the least.

$500 for a sub from SVS or HSU

I only went over by $100, but you'd better throw in another $200 for cables/wire (monoprice.com). You might find a deal on the projector and get back under $500 that way.
 

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Marshall and Tony gave you good advise (and I agree with them 100%) :T

Are you planning to use just one or two rows of seats???

Also, don't forget to use fiberglass on all walls cavities to avoid resonance problems ...:yes:
 

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You will save yourself a fair bit of coin if you buy from an Internet only speaker manufacturer and in most cases get a far better product.
SVS as Marshall has already eluded to is a great place to look. They sell both Speaker packages and some of the best subs available. I highly recommend The PB13 Ultra for a sub.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Speaking of which, invest $300 in some OC703 for treating first reflection points, at the least.
Treating reflection points? You lost me there...I can guess what you mean, but I would need more info to understand


Marshall and Tony gave you good advise (and I agree with them 100%) :T

Are you planning to use just one or two rows of seats???

Also, don't forget to use fiberglass on all walls cavities to avoid resonance problems ...:yes:
Two rows of 3 seats...I wanna have 24" of walkway on each side, so I am looking at no more than 7'-6" in width for the seats.

Fiberglass on wall cavities? Are you speaking of insulation? I plan to use a R-11 or R-19 in all of my finished walls. The white fiber insulation, not the pink.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the equipment advice, but I really need some layout advice as well. I need to go to Lowe's or Home Depot today to get the supplies to finish roughing in the speaker locations, etc.

What do you all recommend, 7.1 or 5.1? I was thinking of just putting in wall outlets for 7.1, but not use the extra two in case I go with the 5.1. I will have expansion or upgrade ability that way. Can I get hints on the locations. I am thinking I need an HDMI and CATV outlet on the ceiling by the projector, speaker inlet receptacle center of room on projector screen wall, and speaker outlets center and corner of projector wall with outlets in the side walls for for the surround speakers.

Advice?

Also, what should be the mounting height for all the speakers?
 

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What do you all recommend, 7.1 or 5.1? I was thinking of just putting in wall outlets for 7.1, but not use the extra two in case I go with the 5.1.
If you're planning two rows ...definetely I'll go with 7.1, you can use it as 5.1 to start (in case that you'll be using just the front row and later on add the second row).

Also, what should be the mounting height for all the speakers?
Front speakers (L+R+C) need to be at ear level (around 32"-38"), surrounds and back surrounds can be 2'-3' above ear level (6'-7' from floor).

Can I get hints on the locations.
Surrounds between two rows and back surrounds in the back wall ...if you use a 5.1 to start, you can either use side or back speakers (whichever sounds the best to you :bigsmile:)

EDIT: I forgot, you're right the insulation R11 or R19 is what I meant to fill the cavities on all walls and ceiling too.
 

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Thanks for the equipment advice, but I really need some layout advice as well. I need to go to Lowe's or Home Depot today to get the supplies to finish roughing in the speaker locations, etc.

What do you all recommend, 7.1 or 5.1? I was thinking of just putting in wall outlets for 7.1, but not use the extra two in case I go with the 5.1. I will have expansion or upgrade ability that way. Can I get hints on the locations. I am thinking I need an HDMI and CATV outlet on the ceiling by the projector, speaker inlet receptacle center of room on projector screen wall, and speaker outlets center and corner of projector wall with outlets in the side walls for for the surround speakers.

Advice?

Also, what should be the mounting height for all the speakers?
Wire's cheap while the walls are open. I'd run the wire for 7.4, but only use 5.1 to start with. Look to Dolby and THX's speaker guides for ideas on placement. I have a conversation with Jim in my next podcast on speaker placement, he's a fan of Dipoles in the surrounds, and doesn't think 7.1 is currently worth the trouble (I'm probably over-generalizing for his taste there).

Also, make sure you run a couple lengths of cat-6 to every room in the basement, there are a hundred uses for those runs from networking home theater content, to extending audio/video signals. Compare prices of all your raw wire to what you could purchase for at monoprice.
 

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Treating reflection points? You lost me there...I can guess what you mean, but I would need more info to understand
2" of Owens Corning 703 or a similar material at the points where sound will come from your speakers (LCR at minimum) and hit the ears of your listeners. You can either build these into the wall, and then use a transparent cloth instead of drywall for a built-in look, or build traditional walls, and hang these panels like pictures when you're finished.
 

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Great recommendations so far!

You're willing to DIY the screen, would you be willing to DIY a subwoofer? Check ebay for a used projector with low hours. I bought mine with 40 hours on it at close to $1000 off of retail and have never had any trouble with it. Epson is a good brand, Panasonic is another to look at. Onkyo has an updated line of receivers coming out so you may be able to find a good deal on a closeout. If you could save another $500 on the projector and receiver combined and put it into the subwoofer you'll have $1000 which puts you close to an SVS Ultra, which by everything I've read is the grand daddy of performance/price.

Or.... $1000 could build a killer DIY subwoofer :R. What is adjacent to the theater room besides the bedroom? Would there be a place to build in a subwoofer box so that the box is on the other side of the theater wall with an opening into the theater?

Definitely wire for 7.1, but save money on your initial purchase for higher quality speakers by going 5.1. You can add the other 2 later.
 

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For speaker wire run 14awg wire to all locations and don't buy the expensive wire from any of the big box audio stores just get it from Lows or Home Depot in a spool. You will save more than half the price and there is no audible difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Great recommendations so far!

You're willing to DIY the screen, would you be willing to DIY a subwoofer? What is adjacent to the theater room besides the bedroom? Would there be a place to build in a subwoofer box so that the box is on the other side of the theater wall with an opening into the theater?

Definitely wire for 7.1, but save money on your initial purchase for higher quality speakers by going 5.1. You can add the other 2 later.
Thanks...yes I am willing to DIY any and everything. I framed about a third of the basement before schedule made me get a couple of laid off carpenters from the builder to finish it up. I am doing all the electrical too. Matter of fact use to build speaker boxes and install car audio for a while too. So I am familiar with it, hopefully its not too different.

What do you recommend for a DIY subwoofer?

As for what's adjacent...besides the bedroom and open area below the stairs that will be all finished, the bordering wall for the theater is the unfinished storage area. Plenty of room to have the sub box.
 

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For speaker wire run 14awg wire to all locations and don't buy the expensive wire from any of the big box audio stores just get it from Lows or Home Depot in a spool. You will save more than half the price and there is no audible difference.
Monoprice may still be cheaper, 14AWG inwall (make sure you get CL2 inwall) is 32 cents per foot if you buy it on a 100 foot spool (including shipping). Cheaper is you're buying other cables at the same time, saving on shipping.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So what's the difference between the CL2 InWall for $0.32/ft versus Home Depot's Clear Digital HD wire for $0.24/ft? Is the CL2 a better grade or is it simply because its rated for inwall? Is there really a difference?

But, you do make a good point about getting other cables at the same time. I will need at least 20' of HDMI cable for the roughin for the projector and maybe CAT6 and VGA as well to display content from my computer network.
 

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As for what's adjacent...besides the bedroom and open area below the stairs that will be all finished, the bordering wall for the theater is the unfinished storage area. Plenty of room to have the sub box.
Excellent :devil:

What do you recommend for a DIY subwoofer?
It depends on how large you're willing to make the box and how much you want to spend. An 18" Maelstrom X tuned to 15hz in a 15 cubic foot box powered by the Behringer EP2500 would do a nice job with 119db at 20hz and 115 down to 13hz before room gain :bigsmile:. There are several other solutions as well but you'll want to think through subwoofer placement as a build like this would be permanent and you wouldn't want to build it in a spot that had bad response. The best thing to do would be to wait until all of the walls are up and test possible locations with another sub... but it's much more convinient before the sheetrock goes up.

Do you have a diagram of the room and it's surroundings?
 

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So what's the difference between the CL2 InWall for $0.32/ft versus Home Depot's Clear Digital HD wire for $0.24/ft? Is the CL2 a better grade or is it simply because its rated for inwall? Is there really a difference?

But, you do make a good point about getting other cables at the same time. I will need at least 20' of HDMI cable for the roughin for the projector and maybe CAT6 and VGA as well to display content from my computer network.
Yes, the clear digital is not rated for in-wall use, so if you ever had a fire, your insurance company might deny the claim. Home Deport may have less expensive CL2 wire than home depot, I'm just saying make sure you're not paying more than 32 cents/ft.

I'm looking at your layout, and maybe you're already planning on doing this, but I'd run all my wire to the adjacent storage area and make yourself an equipment rack in there (use an ir repeater to maintain remote control). That way, it's out of sight for a nice clean install, and you can give yourself plenty of room to get behind the equipment whenever you want without having to crawl around or fiddle with a mess of wires. With all your equipment in the next room (if you still want access to the front, build in a wall cutout), and the inwall subwoofer already mentioned, you'd have a really clean install.
 
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