Alright. The time has finally (FINALLY!
) come. After starting to plan and collecting ideas... then having 2 kids instead, we’re starting work on getting the basement finished, and we’re a step closer to building the theatre room. This is just a pre-build thread to get my head in the right place, and float my plans out in case anyone sees critical mistakes.
The plan is something like this:
- Clean out the hoarder’s nightmare that has become our basement.
- Finalize the basic layout for the theatre (see below for details).
- Have framing done. (contractor)
- Have electrical done. (electrician friend)
- Add a few runs of smurf tube on exterior theatre wall just in case I need it down the road.
- Do low voltage wiring for theatre myself (speaker, HDMI to projector location, etc.)
- Have any plumbing/gas done, mostly just around relocating washer/dryer and hot water tank. (contractor)
- Minor HVAC, likely a fan controlled soffit vent for projector, and possibly a dead vent for equipment area.
- Planning on DIY diffuser panels set into rear wall (to save space).
- Install boxes for surround speakers.
- Have the outside walls spray foamed. (pro insulation company)
- Complete any low voltage wiring needed.
- Drywall, mud & tape. (contractor)
- Floor throughout basement (leaning toward luxury vinyl plank).
- Trim and doors. (contractor)
- Build speakers, subs, and screen.
- Acoustic treatment behind screen (bass traps and front wall)
- Set up equipment and enjoy!
- New 11.2 receiver
- Oppo BDP
- Bell Fibe cable box
- Roku 2
- Xbox 360
- iNuke 6000 sub amp
- DIY AT 2.4:1 screen
- DIY Sound Group Cinema 88 Special (front L/C/R)
- DIY Sound Group Volt 6 (surround side, back, and Atmos)
- Dual sealed 18” subwoofers (SI or Dayton)
- Buttkicker LFE transducers (2) on rear couch
- Buttkicker Mini transducers for (2) front seats
The room I’m planning around is admittedly small for what I’m hoping to cram into it. But I think if done carefully, I can make it all work. Right now my biggest concern is fitting in 2 rows, which is kind of important (2 of us, plus 2 kids, plus guests means we’ll need to seat at least 4 – 8 at times). The plan is to use a slim couch right against the back wall, which isn’t ideal, but acceptable for secondary seats. That will be raised (maybe 6-8”), which means low headroom for me at 6’3” but should be OK for kids and shorter people.
I’m hoping to mount the projector in a rear soffit to keep a clean look and help with noise, venting directly to the room next door. Height, beam path, and throw are all issues I need to sort out, and will be modeling the room in sketchup to make sure I’m not setting myself up for failure.
I had originally planned for a false screen wall, 2’ from the wall, where I would mount the AT screen and put all the equipment. I have since thought to modify that to a 2-stage false wall, with the lower half coming out the full 2’, but the screen section only 1’ or so, to allow just enough room for the speakers. That would give me a little more room for throw distance and viewing distance.
The screen itself I haven’t given a ton of thought to yet, but it seems that SeymourAV are the go-to in DIY (AT) material providers. I think I’m convinced about building 2.4:1 CIH screen, because I can go full width and not have to worry about the bottom of the screen taking up component space or being too low to see. Also, I kind of feel that those extra wide format movies will feel the most “special” if I maximize for them, but I’ll still be totally happy viewing 16:9 content on the slightly smaller area. We’ll be sitting close enough that it won’t feel tiny.
The projector I have in mind is the Pannasonic ae8000u, which is popular. I really like that it handles switching between aspect ratios well automatically.
The main LCR speakers I’m strongly leaning toward are DIY Sound Group’s 88 Special. I like the large waveguide for great dispersion, and they will play loudly and efficiently beyond anything I’ll need in this size room. One of the things I’ve heard a lot about them is that the clarity is top notch, which is very important for me. I really want a big step up in the quality of dialogue in this theatre. I’m looking forward to 3 identical LCRs right behind the screen where they should be. My current CC is a Paradigm CC370 (not exactly small) and I find myself wanting to turn it up often, or straining to hear quiet conversations. I’ve already increased the level, but it still isn’t great. These will be located behind the screen, and the 9” depth is nice. I’m hoping that a 12” screen wall upper section will give me whatever room I need for placement, including toe adjustments and possibly treatment on the rear wall (if not I’ll just treat directly around them).
Surround speakers will be Volt 6 coaxial speakers, mounted in-wall on sides and back. Atmos speakers (either 2 or 4) will also be Volt 6 mounted flush to the ceiling.
Subs will be on the front wall, below the screen, flanking the equipment cabinet. Placement isn’t ideal, but it maximizes space and I’m sure the output of two 18” subs will be adequate, especially with Buttkickers to augment the tactile low end.
Here’s a basic, probably almost to scale and almost accurately measured plan of the basement, with the planned theatre layout. I’ll confirm the measurements and height and get the room done in sketchup when I have a chance. That’s what I’ll use to model the projector and seating stuff in more detail. I know it’s tight, and I know the 2nd row will be far from ideal. The upside is that kids or casual guests don’t care.
SEE ATTACHED PLAN
*Edit: Sorry, on the plan, the projector and screen are bright green, if that wasn't self evident.
I think that’s it for now. We’ve been meeting with contractors, and hope to start framing in the next month or so. Which means I’ll need to finalize my room plan at least. I’ve done a bunch of other layouts, tried the screen on the long wall and making it a big open living room type theatre, but I think I really prefer the feel of a closed in space. I’m still open to suggestions though, for now!