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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
UPDATE: SEE HERE (Post #35)

Hello,

I just joined this forum but have been browsing for several months, now. We just moved into a new house and I have recently 'completed' our home theatre. The reasoning behind my choices needs some background:

Family: 3 Adults (My wife, my mother-in-law and me) + four children

Situation: Child number four was (and still is) on the way, my mother-in-law was happy to move in and help, but the setup our house at the time wasn't conducive to that: three bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, no bonus room, unfinished basement (and rented). We needed more space so that (1) the children could have a true play area (far enough away from the sleeping baby and toddler); (2) mother-in-law could have her own space; (3) I could have a den area with a real door rather than an open archway.

New House: We found a spec home being built that had a very good layout for our purposes. We got involved when it was still at the framing stage, so we were able to add/change almost anything we liked. We made numerous framing changes, and I saw it as a my chance to work in a formal 'media room/home theatre' into the basement. The catch was that the basement rec area was to be a general purpose area; i.e. the children would be about, and it wasn't to be solely for theatre. Accordingly, we wanted to have everything as child-friendly as possible, but also to make the room as non-theatre-looking as possible.

This is the wall that I looked at in the showhome and thought "Hey, this could be a good media area if not for that bulkhead."



Here's what I ended up doing (same wall as shown in the previous photo of the showhome):


We added a fake bulkead along the front of the room, which allowed me to hide a motorized projector screen. Lovely. The paneling that looks like it's just a 'feature wall' actually opens to reveal several recesses for AV equipment.

The centre area was initially for a television, but we ended up putting that in our bedroom, instead. Now we just store the children's old DVDs in there.



The side and bottom panels open to reveal the LCR speakers, X-Box w/ Kinect, and some more storage space for X-Box games. The children LOVE playing their Kinect dance games on the projector screen.



The media cabinet is at the back of the room. You can see it off to the left in this photo. It's closed by pop-lock magnets -- no handles for the children to grab onto to open it.





Inside the media cabinet is the usual stuff: storage space, HTPC w/ keyboard & secondary monitor, blu-ray player, Sonos Connect:Amps for whole-home audio on the main and second floors as well as the patio, HDTV set-top box, and AV Receiver.



Here is the other end of the room. The (unfinished) French doors on the left close off the 'flex room.' It's currently being used as a play room and children's TV room (has our 10-year-old DLP TV in there), but can be used as a second basement bedroom, office, whatever eventually if needed. The door straight ahead is the bathroom. The media cabinet can be seen again at the back-right of the photo, and the door to the right of that is the utility room. All of the wiring for the components in the media cabinet is accessible from the utility room.



We're really happy with the way it turned out. We initially had a TV in the recess where the old DVDs now reside. We ended up watching TV using the projector more often than not so we put the TV in our master bedroom, instead.

Compared to many of the builds I've seen here it's a modest setup, but it works nicely within the boundaries that we had. There's conduit in place in case we ever want to add more speaker wire for a 9.2 setup, and the AV Receiver is 4K- and 9.2-capable. The in-ceiling speakers were a necessary compromise but work quite well and, overall, we're very happy with the setup. Audyssey did a great job of making it all work nicely, and we just tweaked it a bit to our liking after that. The twin subs work well for the room, despite it being so open.

Thanks for reading. We're pretty excited and I wanted to post to add my own bit of experience to the collective pool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
While we're waiting, here's my equipment list:

Rec Area/Media Room:
AVR: Onkyo TX-NR929
Projector: Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5020UB
Screen: EluneVision Reference Studio 4k Motorized, Tab-Tensioned Screen
Side Speakers: Kef Q300 Bookshelf Speakers
Centre Speaker: Kef Q600c Centre Speaker
Subwoofers: Kef Q400b Subwoofers (2)
Surround and Rear Speakers: Yamaha NS-IC800 In-Ceiling speakers
Blu-Ray Player: Panasonic DMP-BDT230
Cable TV Source: HDTV Set-Top Box (Motorola)
Other: HTPC
Control: Logitech Harmony Remote


Bedroom (Master)
TV: Sony KDL-50R550A
Cable TV Source: HDTV Set-Top Box (Motorola)
Blu-Ray Player: Sony BDP-S5100
Sound Bar: Sony HT-CT260H (w/ wireless subwoofer)

Whole-Home Audio
Sources: Sonos Connect: Amp x 2
In-Ceiling Speakers: Audio Trak SKA 880 (builder's spec)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
There we go - now I can see them. Well done mate!

I love those kid sized theater seats!
Thanks! Those were from the Grandparents, and were a complete surprise to all of us. They fully recline, legs come up and everything. The children love them. When we're not in theatre mode, they're turned 180 degrees so that we have a little bit of a circle/square thing going on with the furniture. Our toddler likes the beanbag chair. It's mine from when I was a child.
 

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Nice neat job..:T
One thing i would suggest though..It's not a good idea to have your speakers in a cavity or cabinet..
If there's no way around it, then you need to fill the cavity around the speakers with insulation to reduce boundary effects..
You would then cover the cavities with cloth covered frames..
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Nice neat job..:T
One thing i would suggest though..It's not a good idea to have your speakers in a cavity or cabinet..
If there's no way around it, then you need to fill the cavity around the speakers with insulation to reduce boundary effects..
You would then cover the cavities with cloth covered frames..
Sorry, I didn't ignore this, just didn't see this post until now. Compromises. I stared at the plans/drawings for hours, trying to figure out a way to improve it that would actually be acceptable to all of us. There really hasn't been anything likely enough to satisfy all competing interests to make it worth trying out. We considered 'traditional' in-wall LCR speakers as well (with cabinet-style doors to cover them when not in use), but I bet on bookshelf speakers and a traditional centre channel speaker sounding better, even in a non-ideal setup, than in-wall speakers. In addition, this setup is far more flexible insofar as disruption-minimizing future upgrade paths are concerned.

The system is in a multi-use space (we now have four small children) and we needed it to (as much as possible) (1) not look like a theatre when not being used as one; (2) keep dangerous and expensive stuff away from little hands. Cabinets were a good compromise to achieving this. Framed fabric cover for the cavities was a no-go because of the travel of the hinges (they actually move as the door is swung through its range of motion). We went with front-ported (I know, still doesn't eliminate the issue) speakers and found speaker stands that allow us to place them far forward as possible in the cabinets without interfering with the doors. We relied on Audyssey to give us a good starting point, from which I did a bit more tweaking. Believe it or not, the system actually sounds very good (to our ears).

I know that it looks like a mish-mash of components, odd placements, etc., but a lot of time was actually spent thinking about it, putting it together and then making it work, and it actually does. As I said before, it's a modest setup compared to the other builds on this site, but everything was done for a reason and it actually does work very well. I like to think that part of it was good planning, but I know that good fortune played a significant role.

Thanks for the suggestions/feedback. I do appreciate it.
 

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I know this is a home theater forum but.....Ya gotta give some love to the sonos components. It's the best!!!!! Nice room for sure.
 

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That is a wonderful room, very good and clean work.
 

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Very nice room, and even better because it accommodates the whole family for things other than watching movies. I really like how you built in the PJ screen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks! My wife did not like the idea of the fake bulkhead at all when I described and then drew it (thought it would look out of place). She does like the end result, so I dodged one there!

It was a fun exercise trying to figure out how to set up the space. A couple of the other houses that we looked at had dedicated theatre rooms in addition to a large rec area. This place wasn't as big as the others so it didn't allow for that, but it suited our family better in most other ways. The theatre is a bonus. I'm glad (and now so is my wife) that it worked out.
 
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