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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Howdy - been a lurker here for a while learning and getting ready :nerd:

My wife and I plan to update our current "theater" into a real one. We have a basement (very rare in NC) that we're currently using, but plan to completely refresh it (go from a big-screen TV to projector, etc).

Here is an image of my plans. The walls in yellow will need to be built (they aren't there now).

99% of the time, it's the wife and I and the kids... but we do entertain for football, etc. We don't want traditional theater seating - we want our couch, etc.

I'm very comfortable with DIY... I rewired our existing home to implement a security system, automation, UPB lighting, automated 3 zone HVAC, etc.

We have several problems with our layout - would love to get some feedback.

1) Top left corner of the image - we have a bathroom here. There is no real way to change entry to it - so the screen/speakers need to be offset some to allow easy access. Anybody have another idea?

2) the walls are currently wood paneling. When we have the 2 new walls built, we are planning to have them sheetrock over the paneling using green glue in between. Is that sufficient? or do I need to rip out the old paneling and replace? Cost goes up dramatically... we figure we can add the sheetrock and good quality sound panels for less. Our construction guy says he can leave all the drop ceiling in place if he adds sheetrock on top... but if we rip out, he needs to redo the drop ceiling too.

3) the left wall has concrete behind it, all the rest are interior (and insulated). I've read here where ideally you want them all the same but it would be really hard to change this. Any easy recommendations - should I put more insulation in, etc?

4) The ceiling is a good heavy drop ceiling (just under 8 feet (95")). It's white... I was thinking about spray painting each of the tiles flat black... anybody have success doing this?

5) Any early planning steps I should be focused on? With the drop ceiling, wiring will be easy after the fact. So my focus now is getting the base room construction completed... anything else important I should be paying attention to?

Thanks in advance!
 

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I am no expert and probably cannot answer your specific questions, but after looking at your plan, is the office locked in at that location?

Seems like if you were to do something different with the office, maybe even go so far as to remove the wall, and make it open to the theater, you would have an easier time with the build. If there was a way to flip it, and make the office back by the bathroom you could have an open kids play area at the back of the theater which could be incorporated into the theater later when the kids dont need the play area. put a bar back there later.

just some ideas. one other, if you plan on acoustic panels, the door to the play are looks to be right about where you will be needing one.

kirby
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Interesting ideas. I'll have to look into how hard it would be to take out the office wall(s). I'm not opposed to moving the office - it's just a home office that I work out of (no clients visit it).

Thanks for the ideas, I'll need to do some homework.
 

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What are the dimensions on the existing office?

FYI: I wanted couches wide wanted theater seating. She won and I am glad. We have 4 seats and a couple bean bag chairs for the kids to lounge on.

Kirby
 

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Discussion Starter #5
existing office is about 10x15. If we knocked down the wall, it would be offset some (making a room 24' long with a width of around 10'...) unless we knocked down a couple walls to make it wider too.

My wife is the one who wants the couch - she loves laying down when we watch stuff. I'll keep working on her but I know my limits :)
 

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"3) the left wall has concrete behind it, all the rest are interior (and insulated). I've read here where ideally you want them all the same but it would be really hard to change this. Any easy recommendations - should I put more insulation in, etc?"

More sheetrock, another layer might help.


"4) The ceiling is a good heavy drop ceiling (just under 8 feet (95")). It's white... I was thinking about spray painting each of the tiles flat black... anybody have success doing this?"

Several things come to me. Painting the tiles will actually make them more reflective as you seal up the tiles ability to absorb.

Also, Developing high grade isolation in your walls with expensive materials can all go down the toilet with a drop ceiling.

The reason is that sound will take the path of least resistance, especially the lower frequencies, and go right over the heavy walls into the ceiling and be free to travel in the ceiling cavity looking for another room to bother...or the upstairs area through the floor.


Good luck,

Brien
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Making some good progress! Construction has been going on for the last week and a half and nearing completion.

- We added a layer of sheetrock with green glue to the entire theater and kids play area.
- Upgraded the doors to good solid doors
- Removed ceiling lighting, etc.

WOW! My office is very quiet now! My wife was in the kids play area and with the doors closed, you could barely hear her when she was talking very loudly. Nice :)

I met with a acoustics person and they recommended a sound barrier (I believe it is mass loaded vinyl but not positive) on top of the drop ceiling. We'll be working on that once the construction is done (I'll need to reinforce the drop ceiling support structure to handle the heavy weight). She said our drop ceiling was actually very good - one of the best she's seen ("they don't make them like that any more!")

So now I'm working on determining screen/projectors. Leaning towards a 2.35:1 with an anamorphic lens. My concern now is speaker placement. I did a quick "mock-up" of the finished wall (ignore my lack of art skills, and this pic was taken before the second layer of sheetrock/doors hung, etc... but everything is to scale (125" screen diagonal))... my speakers will be on the edge of the screen frame (if I go with the planned screen). Any thoughts? I think it will work OK. I know the right speaker is less than ideal in the corner.

The right wood column has to be there (structural)... so we're incorporating the look and adding a couple more (the one on the left will be for decoration only). The screen will "float" between the two (they come out about 3" into the room).

Next actions:
- finish construction, carpet, electrical, painting
- hardware determination (screen/projector, probably upgrade speakers/amp)
- ceiling sound isolation
- acoustic panels determination

Feedback welcome :)
 

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If I've read your drawing correctly, your front wall is 11' wide between the door and the right side wall..
I would be inclined to reduce the width of your screen slightly, to allow the speakers to move away from the sidewall and door a bit more..
Also, if that's a 125" diagonal screen in the image area, then making your borders a little bit narrower will give you a bit more image area..unless that's just a representation of the border and not the actual width your planning on..
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thanks - I should reupdate my drawing now that the wall is built. We squeezed out a few more inches - so that wall is 11'6".

I'm not sure the screen I'll be using yet - I just picked that one off the Elite website and stretched it so it was matched the length/width on their website. The border does look pretty thick in that image - but I'm not sure what it will be in real-life (and I dont' know what screen I'm going to use yet).

I've been reading a LOT in these forums about screens (which is why I'm going for the 2.35 with anamorphic lens) so I'm still working on the details for that. I don't have a projector yet either so I have all my options open :)
 

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I've been reading a LOT in these forums about screens (which is why I'm going for the 2.35 with anamorphic lens) so I'm still working on the details for that. I don't have a projector yet either so I have all my options open :)
Bare in mind that the recommended viewing distance for CIH with Anamorphic lens is approx.3 times the height of the screen..particularly for 1080p..
From that you can determine your max. screen width and seating position for the front row..
When you have that worked out, you then need to calculate what your 16:9 image size will be, and look for a projector that will fit your positioning and image size with zero zoom..
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks. My sitting position is ~180" away... which means screen height of 60" (which yields a screen of 138"). This is bigger than what I was planning - not sure it will work :unbelievable:

I was thinking about a screen of 125"... maybe we'll need to move the couch just a bit closer ;)

I could fit a bigger screen - but would need smaller L/R speakers (to fit under the screen itself). Ahhh... decisions (opinions welcome :) )

Since I'm asking Qs... thoughts about the projector mounting? In my mind I was thinking about a 3/4 box (back and sides enclosed) to help hide the projector and lens. I figure by leaving the front open, it should cool OK. I think this might be cleaner look rather than a pole mount. Projector would be mounted above the couch area (my current plan).

thanks
 

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I was thinking about a screen of 125"... maybe we'll need to move the couch just a bit closer ;)
I would stay with the smaller screen and move your seating forward a bit..


Since I'm asking Qs... thoughts about the projector mounting? In my mind I was thinking about a 3/4 box (back and sides enclosed) to help hide the projector and lens. I figure by leaving the front open, it should cool OK. I think this might be cleaner look rather than a pole mount. Projector would be mounted above the couch area (my current plan).
thanks
That will depend on whether you plan to have a DLP or LCD projector..
A DLP doesn't generally give you a lot of choice with mounting position and you may find that even with a projector box, it may need to be suspended from the ceiling..which defeats the purpose of not have a pole mount..
LCD on the other hand does give more flexibility with the lens shift adjustment, so you would be able to mount a box to the ceiling...

Are you planning on getting a projector with vertical stretch facility, or are you looking at an external scaler?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks Prof! At this time, I have neither the projector or the screen - so my options are totally open. I have no preference (yet) between DLP or LCD and will pick whichever works best for my needs (more reading!!)

I planned (hoped) to get one with vertical stretch built-in. Based on what I've read so far, it appears there are quite a few good options that do that. You have some thoughts/recommendations? (both the LCD/DLP (sounds like LCD is better choice for this) as well as built-in VS)
 

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Thanks Prof! At this time, I have neither the projector or the screen - so my options are totally open. I have no preference (yet) between DLP or LCD and will pick whichever works best for my needs (more reading!!)

I planned (hoped) to get one with vertical stretch built-in. Based on what I've read so far, it appears there are quite a few good options that do that. You have some thoughts/recommendations? (both the LCD/DLP (sounds like LCD is better choice for this) as well as built-in VS)
Bruce,

I can only give you my biased opinion when it comes to projectors!
I'm a DLP man through and through..and my recommendations on that basis would be the Benq W5000..
It has VS and lens shift (the only one with lens shift that I know of) and an excellent image..
That would be my first choice for Anamorphic projection..
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Been researching... my eyes are bleeding from all the reading :)

I think I'm changing gears a bit and am considering acoustically transparent. As noted above, my right corner is not good for tower speakers... and moving them in dramatically reduces the screen size. So I'm considering AT!

As noted, my room isn't setup for AT... I have a bathroom (and door) to the left of my screen) that I can't change. However, the brown columns in the picture have to be there (structural). They are about 6" into the room.

My thoughts are to mount the screen on the columns - and use smaller on-wall speakers behind it. After some research, I found these by Axiom with many good reviews. They are thin enough that they will fit in the gap created by my columns without a problem.

I called Axiom to discuss my plans - and their feedback was that for a room that size I probably should double them - 2 L, 2 R, and 2 C. Makes sense - and doesn't break my bank :) I need a good sub or two to go with them... Looking at driving them with the Emotiva or Outlaw amps... should be able to handle them in parallel I believe (I need to verify that).

So that's the latest after 3 days of intense research. Looking for someone to say "ummm... what about" or "don't do it" or "makes sense!"

I also posted in the anamorphic subforum in case anyone is interested about my plans for the screen/projector/lens.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Iteration #113

OK, I believe I've figured out my system... now to order it!

The basic changes is that I will be using a regular 2.35 screen (probably buy an Elite) and locate 3 LCR speakers (leaning towards Emotiva, Hsu, or Elemental) under the screen. I have spoken with the vendors and they feel it will work well for their speakers. Been reading everything I can find on these three... I'm leaning towards Emotiva because I like their side/surrounds the best (I think) plus I'm hoping to get their amps, etc.

Planning a SVS column sub (probably the PC13-Ultra or PC12-Plus) (although I consider 2 PC12-NSD's... still an option).

Not the perfect setup due to the room limitations... but I suspect this will still be a fine theater when done :)

Construction and electrical are done. Painting is done. Carpet install happens Monday. Time for my fun... wiring and buying! :)
 

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What is the room like are there any alternative areas you could use so that the front of the room would not have the doors? edit: I see your going to redo walls but it's still something to maybe think about.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
the floorplan is in the first post above. The only wall that doesn't really have a door is the one that borders the office. This is how we oriented it before this rebuild - but it is narrow this way which doesn't work well for us to entertain large crowds (we regularly host Panthers football game viewing with 8-12 people, etc). By making it the long way, we can fit more people comfortably and have a bigger screen.

Unfortunately it's not ideal or perfect - but it's much better than what we've had before :)
 

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The basic changes is that I will be using a regular 2.35 screen (probably buy an Elite) and locate 3 LCR speakers (leaning towards Emotiva, Hsu, or Elemental) under the screen.
Just one thing Bruce..(to throw another spanner in the works!!)..When using CIH in an anamorphic projection set up..the screen needs to have an aspect ratio of at least 2.37:1..not 2.35:1..
Some (like myself) even go to 2.39:1..the cinemascope standard..

Most major screen companies now provide AR's suitable for CIH projection..
 
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