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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm wanting to put in a home theater in a new house that will be built over the next 6 months or so.

I know very little about how to build/design a theater room that has good acoustics and looks like a theater room should.

I have a budget of $25,000 for this project, and I would like to find a design consultant that would work with me through email to help with:

  1. Room dimension/construction consulting
  2. Equipment selection
  3. Speaker/seating placement
  4. Needed acoustical treatments
  5. Acoustical treatment fabrication and installation

I'd like to find a design consultant that:
  • charges a flat fee (around $1000)
  • willing to exchange emails over the entire period of time
  • has professional experience at home theater design

I don't want someone who wants me to buy product/material from them or expects that I do that. My budget is limited and I may need to do a lot of DIY (especially in the acoustical treatment category since these things seem very expensive).

I found one fellow on the web that would have been good for this, but he declined to take on the task given my budget. I also talked to a couple of designers at the local home theater stores, but they all work on the condition that all equipment (and installation) is done by them and this won't fit in my budget (given their markups).

How exactly does one find a home theater design consultant on the internet? Is there somewhere they hang out or look for consulting work? I'm in the web business, and there are plenty of good places on the web to find and hire people to do web work, but I am having much more of a time finding a home theater design consultant with a budget of about $1K for the service.

Hope someone can post some advice... or even some referrals...
 

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Hi Kevin and welcome to the Shack!

I'm not aware of such a person who does this type of service, but that sure doesn't mean they are not out there. I can see where web design would be fairly easy to do via email, but I'm not sure about building a home theater.

You could always get free help right here. We have several guys who are very experienced and are professionals as well. You may not get immediate answers at every turn, but the help is available. You would also probably get more choices and opinions vs. just using one person and only getting one opinion.
 

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Check with the CEDIA dealers, the ISF and HAA certified calibration specialists, and ask around among the more savy salepeople in your area.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. I'll certainly turn to message boards for advice, but this is no substitute to actually paying someone to provide a service.

My biggest concern is the acoustics. Seems like a black art for small spaces like a theater room and there seems to be a bunch of people making a business out of selling you stuff to hang on your walls/ceilings that it is difficult for me to tell if it really is going to have a good effect or just a huge waste of money.

I have a fear that a completely DIY job would involve me just making fiberglass panels on every surface and try to absorb as much sound as possible. I'm surprised that there isn't just some standard reference designs (room dimensions, speaker placement, acoustical panel placement) at a forum like this one that one could start with to make a "good" sounding room.

I'm sure there are a lot of variables, but I'm building a new room, and wouldn't mind just reusing a proven theater design and just build that. I can make my room basically any size I want since it exists on paper and I can fill it anyway I want.

Anyway, hopefully, I can find a consultant to hand hold me a little through the process that will work within my budget.
 

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Plain ole user
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Where are you?
 

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My biggest concern is the acoustics. Seems like a black art for small spaces like a theater room and there seems to be a bunch of people making a business out of selling you stuff to hang on your walls/ceilings that it is difficult for me to tell if it really is going to have a good effect or just a huge waste of money.
I answered your post in another forum, but this asks different questions, so here's more from me. :hush: :R

Acoustic treatment is a necessary part of every listening room. I don't know why so many people feel it's complicated because it's really not. All rooms need:

* Broadband (not tuned) bass traps straddling as many corners as you can manage, including the wall-ceiling corners. More bass traps on the rear wall behind helps even further.

* Mid/high frequency absorption at the first reflection points on the side walls and ceiling.

* Some additional amount of mid/high absorption and/or diffusion on any large areas of bare parallel surfaces, such as opposing walls or the ceiling if the floor is reflective.

There's a lot of additional non-sales technical information on my company's site - articles, videos, test tones and other downloads - linked under my name below.

If you're determined to DIY - which is fine! - see my Acoustics FAQ:

http://www.ethanwiner.com/acoustics.html

--Ethan
 

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Thanks. I'll certainly turn to message boards for advice, but this is no substitute to actually paying someone to provide a service.
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Professional consultants can (but not always) offer a valuable service, but I wouldn't sell these forums too short.

I started actual construction of my theater about a month ago:bigsmile:, and while I don't post very often (sorry Sonnie), most of the useful information and advice I've used has been gained from reading comments and sugggestions on threads just like this one - for months and months.

For example, you'll find some excellent information about acoustics on this forum from experts in the field like Bryan and Ethan - competitors in the "real world", but cooperate here in providing us some great free advice. It's the same with other aspects of HT construction. As Sonnie said, you get more opinions that way.

I'd never discourage anyone from hiring a pro - but I'd use the information you get here to verify the guy really knows his stuff:T. Unfortunately, more than a few consultants out there are good at some things, but less capable at others. It's sometimes hard to tell which:spend:.
 

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....I know very little about how to build/design a theater room that has good acoustics and looks like a theater room should....Hope someone can post some advice... or even some referrals...
When I first registered here is because I was in your situation (didn't know anything about build/design of a HT), but after reading a lot of posts and most important asking for opinions I was able to build mine :yes::yes::yes: ....

If you're good as a DIY .. I think you'll be okay; instead of paying $1000.00 to someone to just give you opinions you can save it and post here and many of the experienced people will help you to correct any design, or suggest changes to obtain better picture and sound.

Don't be intimidated by anything, you'll be fine here and I'm sure you will have a nice HT in the future :T:T:T

Last week there was another member asking for the right dimensions, I remember a post saying 1 x 1.5 x 0.5 (or something like that).

It will be a good idea to know where you live, if you're lucky you will have some of the members with experience close to you and they can help you with your project ...:huh::huh::huh:

Good Luck :wave::wave::wave:
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the advice. It is actually much more helpful than I got on "the other forum".

I'm sure my room will work out. The more I research the more confident I am in that.
 

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Thanks for all the advice. It is actually much more helpful than I got on "the other forum".
There were many things I would have liked to say over there, but didn't for fear of ruffling feathers. :yikes:

Most of the things you ask for, like planning room treatment strategies, can be had for free just by dealing with a knowledgeable vendor. I regularly help people with all five items in your initial post above.

--Ethan
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've decided to hire a guy that posts here frequently and helps people like me out. He isn't a certified full time theater designer, but this seemed to be a good compromise between trying to do this on my own with free help and the higher end "theater designers" who do this full time. I'll be able to take advantage of someone who has a lot of experience and has probably seen people make all sorts of mistakes going the DIY route. I feel good actually paying for advice and I will balance his advice with what I've gathered over the last couple of weeks researching on the web.
 

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I've decided to hire a guy that posts here frequently ....
Good Luck :T:T:T

Don't forget: We'll be waiting for progress report once in a while ... specially pictures :bigsmile::bigsmile::bigsmile:
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Don't forget: We'll be waiting for progress report once in a while ... specially pictures :bigsmile::bigsmile::bigsmile:
I decided to set up my own site for keeping a blog of my progress. I'm not quite done setting it all up, but most of it is up already. I think the blog format will be a good one for documenting this project.

If anyone else wants their own blog, feel free to register at avhelp.us. I set the site up primarily for me, but if it is useful to me, it might be just as useful to others.
 

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You may want to post your progress here as well, otherwise you will most likely miss out on some valuable help along the way. As someone else eluded to, it's better to have several eyes rather than one or two. A lot of members, probably most of us, won't take the time and/or may not remember to check your blog. :T
 

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I found one fellow on the web that would have been good for this, but he declined to take on the task given my budget.
I received a similar response from one company...and they also added a snotty comment about taking my business to Best Buy!

Looking forward to seeing your room progress.
 

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Elite Shackster , HTS Moderator Emeritus
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Sorry to hear you all were treated like that. I do a few install locally (D.C. area) and I run into that all the time. People fear their budget is too small, to which I say "adapt to their budget!" I'd love to do nothing but 5-figure installs, but I'd never turn away someone who just needs a subwoofer cable.

Of course, it is side work for me, so I can afford to "just" do the cables, or help them build the AV rack and set speaker levels (i.e. handyman work). A dedicated business might have to pick and choose clients, but you don't have to be snooty about it. The customer that pays $1k for help on a small theater is more likely to come back to you later when they are ready for a $10k upgrade.

Sorry if I came off as ranting, it's a pet peeve of mine when businesses act like this. I gave up going to a high end audio store nearby because the owner wouldn't give me the time of day, even though I bought $900 Magnepans from him (that was the cheapest thing in the store at the time). Now that I can afford more, guess who never sees my business?

Good luck with your build-out. And pics, pics, pics! In progress photos are just as good as final shots. We're all junkies here for that sort of thing :D
 
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