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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to this forum and was wondering if I could get some advice on my "soon to be" home theater room. We're finishing our basement so everything is just at the stud stage, perfect time to get everything done up right!

First disclaimer, I plan on this being a "modest" home theater room. We're looking for a fun room to watch TV and movies in, that's it.

The room dimensions are about 21' long and 12'6" wide. There will be double doors at one end of the room (on the 12'6" length). There is another door at the opposite end of the room, on the 21' wall (furnace room).

My equipment is fairly straight forward, but it's all based around a 57" Toshiba 1080p DLP projection TV and going on a 5.1 setup only. I'm trying to decide how to orient the room, and it seems to be coming down to available speaker location. I'm back & forth between putting the TV in the corner and working on a diagonal layout or putting the TV on the 12'6" wall opposite the double doors.

If I go with the diagonal layout, the surrounds would likely have to be mounted in the ceiling. Also, that lends well to a nice sectional giving everyone a good sight line to the TV. If I go length wise, I can place my speakers more "acoustically correct" and even setup for a 7.1 system down the road. However, with that I'm not sure I can get the seating as nice.

Any suggestions to a newbie here? Thanks!
 

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Hello and Welcome to the Shack!

I'm trying to decide how to orient the room, and it seems to be coming down to available speaker location. I'm back & forth between putting the TV in the corner and working on a diagonal layout or putting the TV on the 12'6" wall opposite the double doors.
If at all possible avoid using the corner option as this will cause all sorts of placement issues and will really mess up the sound field.
Can you not put the display on the narrow wall as this will give you the best sorround field as well as seating options.

If I go with the diagonal layout, the surrounds would likely have to be mounted in the ceiling. Also, that lends well to a nice sectional giving everyone a good sight line to the TV. If I go length wise, I can place my speakers more "acoustically correct" and even setup for a 7.1 system down the road. However, with that I'm not sure I can get the seating as nice.
Thanks!
In celling speakers are a bad idea, You want the sound coming from behind your head not from the ceiling. In ceiling speakers also generally sound bad as they dont have the dynamics that real bookshelve speakers have.
 

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First of all... Welcome :wave:

... I'm trying to decide how to orient the room, and it seems to be coming down to available speaker location. I'm back & forth between putting the TV in the corner and working on a diagonal layout or putting the TV on the 12'6" wall opposite the double doors....
Most of the time we use the narrow wall (in your case 12'6") ... like Tony said, you'll get the best soundfield in that position instead of the corner :yes:

However, with that I'm not sure I can get the seating as nice.
What will you be using??? ... Couch??? ... Sectional??? ... Love seat??? ... HT seats???

Also, are you planning one or two rows of seats???

Do you need to purchase your seats or you already have them??? ... if you need to buy, What is your budget??? :yes:

Because you're at the "Stud stage" ... I suggest you to fill all wall cavities with insulation (pink stuff); that will help you with the room accoustics :yes:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Okay, I think you've convinced me to shift to the rectangular setup. I can setup for a future 7.1 setup right away while the walls are open, keeping everything nice and neat.

Here's another question then... going with a rectangular setup, I'm planning on having 2 rows. The first row will be at ground level and the back row raised up by about a foot to give unobstructed sight lines. Where now do I position my surrounds? From all I can see, they are to be at roughly ear level or slightly above and in line, or slightly behind the listener. If I've got 2 rows, what's my best option?

BTW - I'm planning on in-wall speakers for all my surrounds & rears to keep everything clean. I know it may not be "ideal" but it's how we want the room to look. Thanks!
 

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Here's another question then... going with a rectangular setup, I'm planning on having 2 rows. The first row will be at ground level and the back row raised up by about a foot to give unobstructed sight lines. Where now do I position my surrounds? From all I can see, they are to be at roughly ear level or slightly above and in line, or slightly behind the listener. If I've got 2 rows, what's my best option?
Surrounds are usually somewhere around 90 degrees, (directly beside the listening position), to 110+ degrees, (slightly behind), and higher than ear level when seated.

With two rows, you'll have to pick one or t'other row to be "best", and let the other be less than ideal.

Google for THX or Dolby speaker placement, you'll find diagrams showing how it should be laid out. I have my own opinions, but their diagrams are a great place to start.

In-walls can work fine for surrounds. In-ceiling, not so much. The thing I would not like about in-walls is that you can't move them very easily if you don't like the imaging you get from them. I'd say try to get a pair of bookshelf speakers that you can use to test with before cutting holes, if possible.
 

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Here's another question then... going with a rectangular setup, I'm planning on having 2 rows. The first row will be at ground level and the back row raised up by about a foot to give unobstructed sight lines.
Here is a calculator that will help you with the riser height

... Where now do I position my surrounds? From all I can see, they are to be at roughly ear level or slightly above and in line, or slightly behind the listener. If I've got 2 rows, what's my best option? ...
Here is a couple of links for speaker placement DTS speaker set up and Dolby speaker set up

I have two rows ... the surrounds are between the two rows and back surrounds ... yes in the back :bigsmile:

...BTW - I'm planning on in-wall speakers for all my surrounds & rears to keep everything clean. I know it may not be "ideal" but it's how we want the room to look. Thanks!
My suggestion, get speakers with sweavel tweeters, that what you can point them in any direction.

Surround speakers need to be 2'-3' above ear level (mine are at 7' from floor); the only speakers that need to be at ear level are the front and center; and if not possible to have them at ear level ... just point them at your ears ...:yes:
 

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My suggestion, if you are at the "stud stage" is to try to forecast your future and install all internal wires maybe not for your modest system now, but for future upgrades. If possible, install a phone line, spare coax going to and from the receiver area, and possibly a cat5/6 for an ir blaster (if the equipment is to be hidden). The coaxes are for either satellite or cable set-top boxes, and for some reason they all want a phone line on them to constantly call to verify the system. In a basement you might want a coax leading to either an external or attic mounted FM antenna if you want good reception from the radio.

Some receivers and blurays might need to be able to up date online, or it is nice to download special content, over the internet--it might not be totally necessary now, but I think more and more of our high-end equipment is going to require some type of internet access in the future. Do you ever think you might want to add a computer style media center, listen to internet radio? Then possibly pre-run a cat5/6 wire from your modem to do this.

On an earlier post someone recommended insulating the walls--its a great idea--and cheap. I know you mentioned in-wall speakers, and that your furnace was located directly behind the front wall. If you mount speakers in this wall make sure you isolate them from the furnace or you could transmit sound to all rooms in the house. Furnaces normally have a large sheet metal plenum that has pipes running from it to all rooms in the house--the plenum acts like a big sound receiver and will transmit sound through them. If the speakers are in- walls, and close to, or open to the furnace/duct work, I would at a minimum box and insulate the back of the speakers (if not sheet rock both sides, and insulate the walls so you do not hear the furnace while you are watching a movie). If there are no heat/ac ducts to your theater--this would be the perfect time to install them--it would suck having a nice theater without some kind of temperature control or air circulation.

Also, if there are any plumbing pipes in the ceiling, (and the ceiling is still open) make sure they are attached properly with hangers so they do not bang when they move around. I would at a minimum wrap the pipes with some of those cheap, ready-made foam pipe insulators. These will help with sound transmission through the pipes and with water condensing and dripping on your new ceiling. There are big insulator covers for toilet sized drain pipes--if this applies (nothing would suck worse than someone to wash dishes, take a shower, or flush a toilet upstairs and hear the water slowly drain over your head in the middle of your movie). Insulate the ceiling for sound transfer to the floor above, and from above into your new theater.

Basements are normally great places for HTs as you have all the earth around the sides to prevent you from hearing the city noises of sirens and vehicles. Sometimes they are lacking ceilings and full of obstacles like pipes and ductwork from the living spaces above. These, if not at least minimally accoustically treated can effect the entire house above. It is also not that hard or expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok, so here's where I've ended up at... I'm going to setup the room on the rectangular setup... the 57" DLP will sit on the 12'6" wall, and the door into the room is on the opposite wall, in the corner. I'm going with 2 rows of seating, the first will be 10-12 feet back from the screen, the 2nd row 15-17 feet back on a 1 foot raised platform. This will allow for room behind the 2nd row (as the room is 21'6" long). I'm still trying to figure out optimum speaker placement for my 5.1 setup (and future possible 7.1). I'm leaning now to not using in-wall speakers for the surrounds and instead mounting what I have (basic surrounds) to mounts on the walls instead.

I'm planning on using QuietRock for the ceiling and 2 of the 4 walls. The 2 walls that will get QuietRock are one that is shared with the neighbor and the one that is shared with the furnace room. The other sides don't need the sound dampening near as much (one is the concrete foundation, the other backs into a big rec room).

If anyone has any ideas or comments, please chip in! Thanks!
 

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... I'm going with 2 rows of seating, the first will be 10-12 feet back from the screen, the 2nd row 15-17 feet back on a 1 foot raised platform. This will allow for room behind the 2nd row (as the room is 21'6" long). I'm still trying to figure out optimum speaker placement for my 5.1 setup (and future possible 7.1)...
To properly place your seats use the 38% rule (place first row 38% the lengh of the room from back wall (21'6" x 38%=8.2') that's the starting point to get the best audio); and to calculate riser height and speaker placement ... here is a couple of links that can help you:

Riser Calculator

Dolby Speaker Set up recommendation

DTS Speaker Set up recommendation
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I realize that going to 10-12 feet puts me farther away that optimal conditions. But I plan on getting a Wii in the near future and I know from experience in other media rooms, that it's just too close at the "optimal theatre distance". So, I'm going to pull back a bit from that, trying to compromise between the two.
 

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I'm planning on using QuietRock for the ceiling and 2 of the 4 walls. The 2 walls that will get QuietRock are one that is shared with the neighbor and the one that is shared with the furnace room. The other sides don't need the sound dampening near as much (one is the concrete foundation, the other backs into a big rec room).

You realize how expensive Quiet Rock is? Depending on source of supply, the 510 and 530/35s are from $40.00 to almost $100.00 a for a single 4'x8' sheet. To do all of your walls and ceiling it is going to be in the neighborhood of $1500.00 (figuring at 15 sheets) for the Quietrock alone. I am wrestling with the same dilema on one of my adjoining walls. QuietRock posts some prety high numbers, but I am wonding if it could be done another way for less. I have no experience with Green Glue, (others here may have some good input) but I think I am going to try it in my application. In your application, for about $550.00 you could use 2 layers (1/2" and 5/8") sandwiched with Green Glue and cover the same area as the $1500.00 in QuietRock.

Another thing to consider is the type of insulation. The normal "Pink" stuff available in every HD or Lowes is not very efficient at stopping or absorbing sound transmission. Owens Corning does make a Pink product called Quiet Zone which is supposed to have accoustical properties to it, however I have no experience with it in use (looks to me like regular insulation). The product I am using is rock slag wool. Sometimes it is a little difficult to find as most bigbox retailers do not stock it. The brand I'm using is Thermafiber. They make certified soundproofing material and fire-rated material out of blast furnace slag from steel production. It is heavy and dense. The easiest and cheapest place to find it is a commercial fire-proofing company and runs about $25.00 a bundle of 3"D x16"W x 40'L (53sqft)--that is cheaper than fiberglass. Other places that do carry rockwool, carry odd-ball sheet sizes for in-wall work, it is a pain to cut and fit, and it costs considerably more.

Not sure what you are planning on using inside the theater for soundcontrol, or where you are located, but I just had a contractor here in the Dallas area come back from a big commercial job with an entire pallet of SoundZereo fabric faced insulation (similar to Linacoustic or Owens Corning 703) --he offered me what I wanted for about half his cost. I am going over there in the next few days and see if it is a bargain or not.
 

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Another thing to consider is the type of insulation. The normal "Pink" stuff available in every HD or Lowes is not very efficient at stopping or absorbing sound transmission. Owens Corning does make a Pink product called Quiet Zone which is supposed to have accoustical properties to it, however I have no experience with it in use (looks to me like regular insulation). The product I am using is rock slag wool. Sometimes it is a little difficult to find as most bigbox retailers do not stock it. The brand I'm using is Thermafiber. They make certified soundproofing material and fire-rated material out of blast furnace slag from steel production. It is heavy and dense. The easiest and cheapest place to find it is a commercial fire-proofing company and runs about $25.00 a bundle of 3"D x16"W x 40'L (53sqft)--that is cheaper than fiberglass. Other places that do carry rockwool, carry odd-ball sheet sizes for in-wall work, it is a pain to cut and fit, and it costs considerably more.
"Safe n sound" insolation is the best stuff to use and its fairly inexpensive ($30 a bail) Its not only designed to be sound absorbing but is very fire resistant. I highly recommend it for use in walls around furnace rooms and as a fire stop between joined townhouses or duplexes.
 

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"Safe n sound" insolation is the best stuff to use and its fairly inexpensive ($30 a bail) Its not only designed to be sound absorbing but is very fire resistant. I highly recommend it for use in walls around furnace rooms and as a fire stop between joined townhouses or duplexes.
I agree with you that this type of material is the best thing to use as a fire barrier, and a sound barrier between units. In my opinion, I prefer to use it everywhere for normal insulating just because of the decreased sound transmission through walls and ceilings. For some one in a busy city, the sound transmission through normal "pink" walls is higher and using this as a substitute can help to lower that. Cost wise, it is about the same as regular fiberglass.

I just checked out the Safe n Sound website. Their product appears to be made from similar stuff as the rock slag wool SABF from Thermafiber I had mentioned in my original post (looks similiar, same fireproof standard). I read somewhere that there are only 3 places in the US that manufacturer rockwool, one is in TX (where I am at) and I cannot remember where the other two are at. My local dealer said most of the TX product goes for export and is rebranded.

With the Safe n Sound website, I tried to click on the availability and it listed no US distributers--in fact, the maps shows it is only available in Canada. This brand might be hard for US customers to get.
 

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With the Safe n Sound website, I tried to click on the availability and it listed no US distributers--in fact, the maps shows it is only available in Canada. This brand might be hard for US customers to get.
Safe n Sound is available in the USA, they have a US website here.
 

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I found the site you listed.I had this problem before when I first went looking for this type of insulation. Most of it is all made by a few companies and is sold under different subsidary brand names depending on the market. The site you listed goes to Roxul. Roxul is owned by Rockwool International Headquartered out of Copenhagen Denmark. Rockwool has a factory in Ontario, Canada and we have one here. Rockwool has numerous brands for its products. For me here, the least expensive is the SAFB.
 
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