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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum and I thought I'd put up a thread while I'm still working on my theater room. It's a dedicated theater/video game room in one of the spare bedrooms in our house. The room is 11'6" wide, 12'10" long at the longest, and has an 8' ceiling. Obviously, the room dimensions are going to mean there will be some compromises. I sure envy those of you with basements to work with as blank canvases! This is what the room looked like when we moved in:



It's difficult to see, but the walls were pink and there were kitty cat paws painted on the wall.

Update: 6/20/2009: Here's the room as it sits:



The story:

This is our first house though my fiancee and I rented a house and an apartment before these, both of which had some version of a home theater in them. In our rental apartment, this is how it looked:



This was in our living room. The screen wall was a 70" wide Da-Lite pull-down screen over the existing window with a movable velvet Roman curtain acting as a top mask and a free-floating bottom mask. My fiancee was nice enough to sew it all together for me. When we moved into a house, I basically just unscrewed it from the wall and set it up in the new place, now in a dedicated theater bedroom.



This is the CRT projector I was using at the time, an Electrohome ECP 4500 on a DIY stand.



And now with the couch in place:



So I liked the old system quite a bit, but moving the masks up and down never worked quite as smoothly as I wanted. Since we were moving, I started planning what I'd ideally want in a theater room in the new place.

My basic plan for the room would be black walls, a fixed screen, a motorized masking system, a ceiling-mounted digital projector, and a Blu-ray player. I'd upgrade from 5.1 to 7.1, and get a matched set of speakers. I'd run the wires through the wall where possible, as well.

So we moved into the new place in November of '07, and due to my work schedule (~60-70 hrs/wk with two jobs) not much progress was made for a white. I moved the old CRT projector into the bedroom and put up a Do-able fixed screen on the wall. My fiancee was nice enough to paint the walls black for me, but the room sat as-is until September of '08, when I bit the bullet and bought a Sanyo PLV-Z2000 projector and a PS3. Wow, Blu-ray is a huge upgrade!

I already had an Acoustic Research AR2C center channel, and I was able to find some matching speakers for the fronts and surrounds. I picked up a pair of 312HOs for the front and AR4C centers to use as surrounds.

My brother was kind enough to help me run wires through the walls and add the plug for the projector.


AR 312HO doubling as a tool stand.


Sony PLV-Z2000 with Monoprice dual-HDMI wall plate, ceiling plug with a DIY shortened power cord.


There is a mirrored closet door on the back wall. I've pulled away the velvet curtain that covers the wall in this shot. We're short enough on storage space that I still need to keep the closet intact, so I'm not sure what to do with the doors. Leave one open? Leave them closed? I'll have to experiment both ways. You can see one of the AR4C surrounds on the wall, and my Dayton 10" subwoofer which will move to a different location later.


Here's a close-up of one of the AR4C surrounds. The bracket is very convenient for wall mounting. I cut a 1x6 to match the profile on my scroll saw and screwed it to the wall for extra support. Final painting of the mount will be done later.


This is the bizarre system I came up with to mount the rear speakers in front of the mirrored closet door. They attach to a piece of square tube aluminum that goes through the ceiling and into the attic where they attach to a bar laying across the joists. I ran the wiring through the tube. I'll cover the tubes with fabric later.


Here's a wide shot of the back of the room. The perspective makes it seem like the surrounds are on a different plane but they're at the same point on the side walls. Waffle, our trusty basset hound, is in his usual spot hogging the couch. The section of the rear wall with the door is inset about 10" from the closet door.


Here's the Monoprice wall plate I used for the speaker connections. It's on the side wall near the front of the room.


I like the IKEA Oppli TV bench I've been using for a number of years, so the equipment will stay in it near the front of the room.

I had initially planned on borrowing a lot of the design details from a 4-way masking system I ran into on another site.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=941076

Since I wasn't planning on running a fixed-height screen, I wouldn't need to use the movable side masking. I figured I'd find a way to motorize it after the fact. After a lot of thought, and realizing I didn't have the space to hide a lot of stuff along the front wall, I modified the design.


I kept the side alignment aluminum U-channel used by the system I copied, along with the vinyl rope, springs, and turnbuckles used to keep tension on the system. I built a small rectangular frame out of aluminum bar to slide up and down in the channel. One each for the top and the bottom. The vinyl rope pulls the top frame up while the bottom slides down, and vice versa. My lovely fiancee is going to cover the frames with black vinyl, and I'll staple some fabric along the sides for the side masking.


The bottom frame is attached to a linear actuator operated by IR remote. Here it is in the wide open setting.


And here it is fully closed. The actuator has an 8" throw, which is more than enough for the width of screen I'm using.


Here's a closer look at the aluminum frame, vinyl rope, springs, turnbuckles, and patio rollers used for alignment and tension. I wrapped the ends in electrical tape to suppress noise while it's sliding.


And here's the actuator, temporarily mounted to test the system.

I'll be adding acoustical treatments along the side walls and perhaps the ceiling in the coming weeks. Due to the small space on each side of the screen, I'll be using a 12"x12"x17" triangular trap in each front corner. Not sure yet what to do with the closet/back wall.

The front wall will eventually be covered with a velvet curtain. I haven't decided whether or not to paint the ceiling black as well.

Thanks for looking! I'll try my best to update as progress is made.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good progress this weekend. My fiancee finished sewing the velvet covers for the movable masking panels and the side portions. The velvet we used is so dark it feels like looking into a black hole! Great stuff. The aluminum frames were basically wrapped in velvet with a piece of elastic between the ends so it was pulled over the frame like a tight sock. The bottom piece has a draping section to cover the area of the front wall below the screen. The side masks are just strips of velvet stapled above and below the screen. Here's a picture with the masking in 2.35 mode.



We're going to cover the whole front wall in a black velvet curtain. Since I'm going to be putting a bass trap in each front corner the curtain is probably going to be curved from about 18" away from the front wall at the corner to just in front of the side mask on each side. There will be a valence above the screen to cover all the moving pieces of the masking system. I'll put acoustic treatment anywhere along the front wall that I can manage.

It's difficult to see in some of the pictures but there is a window behind the screen. The window itself is covered by a thin painted sheet of plywood and there is a gap between the screen and the window. I'm not sure what type of insulating material I should stuff into there, any ideas? Just pink batting, maybe?
 

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Progress continues. :clap: I was able to fit 17x17x24 mineral wool bass traps in the corners. Forgot to take pictures but they look just like everyone else's stacked triangles. :whistling: Anyway, I did manage to snap a picture after I covered them. The frame is a simple 1" wide, very thin piece of molding with a little bracing. Covered in speaker grill cloth from Joann.


Here's the grill in place. It isn't very pretty, but as you'll see in a moment it is covered by a velvet curtain.


Waffle watches intently while I work. Usually from his perch on the couch, but he occasionally walks in front of me while I move large, heavy objects, too.


And now with the curtain in place, you can see that it's covered. The grill mostly serves just to keep the insulation from falling away from the wall, and to keep the stray bits and pieces in place


And now the with both side curtains plus a center valence in place. In the previous pictures you can see the curved piece of wood I cut to staple the curtain to. It's difficult to see in the pictures but the curtain has an even curve on both sides, from 2" from the front wall at the edge of the screen, to about 18" away from the front wall by the time it reaches the side wall. Man, is it hard to get good pictures of a room this dark!

I dug the guts out of my old Sony DVD player and put all the masking electronics inside. I figure that a DVD player isn't worth much these days anyway, and it'll look nicer than putting it all in a project box from Radio Shack. :nerd:

There are a set of ATS acoustic panels waiting for me to mount on the wall once I finalize the seating. I've got some Berkline 45002 chairs on order from Roman at Ultimate Home Entertainment. The current project is to find a way to put a decent sub at the front of the room. :hsd: Still thinking about lighting and whether to take the motorized masking any further, also. Thanks for looking!
 

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Looks good...
One thing I would advise you to do is to paint that ceiling a darker colour..A lot of light is going to be reflected off a white ceiling..
 

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Looks good...
One thing I would advise you to do is to paint that ceiling a darker colour..A lot of light is going to be reflected off a white ceiling..
I'm considering it. So far the light ceiling hasn't bothered me, and I think I'll end up with two black 48x24 acoustical treatments up there, too, which will probably help a little on that front. We'll see how I feel after I get the recliners and have an opportunity to notice the ceiling more.
 

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I like what you've done to the place. Do you have any trouble with sound bleeding into the rest of the house? Done any sound proofing other than the corner bass traps?
 

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I like what you've done to the place. Do you have any trouble with sound bleeding into the rest of the house? Done any sound proofing other than the corner bass traps?
Thanks! Other than the bass traps I'll be doing 6 48x24x2" acoustical panels and 2 48x24x4" panels. Unfortunately, the room is very resonant, but the corner traps and the panels laying against the wall have made a great improvement, especially in imaging. I'll probably do a lot of EQing once I finish the subs, and if more treatment is required, I'll try to do that too.

We don't really know if we're going to be here for a lot of years, which is why I decided not to do any additional soundproofing. Sound bleed is pretty bad, since two of the walls aren't insulated and there is just one layer of drywall, but it's just my fiancee and I in the house so I'm only bothering one other person. :whistling:

It's probably for the best that I wasn't starting from scratch, anyway. I know I can't handle huge projects due to my work schedule. For a change, this one is coming along nicely.

It's nice to daydream :daydream: about having a new house built with a dedicated, properly treated theater room, but given the compromises we've had to make I'm really happy with how it's coming out.
 

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Slow progress continues. I received the Berkline 45002 chairs that I ordered from Roman and Ultimate Home Entertainment at the beginning of the month but unfortunately one of them was damaged in shipment. Roman took care of the replacement parts and now all is well. The chairs aren't much to look at but they're comfy and a good fit for the room. Because of the narrow width, my girlfriend and I decided to go for a loveseat arrangement and it we're very happy with how it turned out.



Since the seating positions were finalized I decided to finally hang my ATS Acoustics panels on the wall:


Hanging the panels went better than expected. I nailed a long thin piece of wood to the wall and marked out all the dimensions with a ruler, then attached the metal clips to the wall. Piece of cake. For the middle bottom clip, I hung a piece of twine over the pair of clips, measured down to the appropriate distance, then centered the clip between the pieces of twine. I think I had all six panels mounted in about an hour. I still have two 24"x48"x2" panels to hang on the ceiling, but I haven't figured out exactly how I'm going to attach them yet. :scratch:

I also bought a Harmony 550 remote and a Blu Wave to use with my PS3. I really like it a lot and it's sure nice to get rid of that pile of remotes. :bigsmile:

I'm going to put a few recessed lights in the ceiling but I need to get my brother back out to help me with the attic wiring. Hopefully I'll be able to do it in the next few weeks. I bought a Lutron dimmer from Lowes.

Because I've been busy with work, I haven't finished my subwoofers yet, but I'll be posting updates in my build thread.
 

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Hey Jon, where did you purchase your IR linear actuator? I've been looking for one with built in IR and am not having any luck. BTW, very nice setup!!!
 

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Hey Jon, where did you purchase your IR linear actuator? I've been looking for one with built in IR and am not having any luck. BTW, very nice setup!!!
Thanks! I couldn't find one either, so I had to build it myself. I bought a generic DIY (soldering required) 12-relay IR remote controller kit and through a series of relays it moves up and down by IR remote. I had originally planned to try to find a programmable system but I've found that the one button for in, one button for out system works fine for my purposes.

I bought the actuator from Firgelli Automation. Let me know if you'd like more details.
 

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I was looking into those actuators as well. Which actuator did you purchase? What IR kit did you purchase? Were you able to connect it to a universal remote? Any other info would be great. I've been looking for something like that for weeks!!!
 

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Thanks Jon, sorry to be a pain, but would you mind showing how you wired it together. One of the guys at firgelli said I would need a spdt switch. It sounds to me like you were able to just connect the two and get it to work.
 

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Can I ask what kind of velvet you used on your masking system? I have a sample of the much beloved "fidelio" coming and I am going to compare it to Joann's "royal III" velvet.
 
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