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Tommy's HT In-Progress

63331 Views 332 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  Tommy
Tommy's HT Room

Woohoo - first member to start a complete project here. To recap my intro:

Ok to start, I've been framing the basement for weeks, an hour or two per night. Finished basement will have a gym and HT room. I should have got some before pics but I'll get some soon now that I'm thinking about it.

First mistake I made was not calculating how many boards and trips to Home Depot the framing would take. I had an rough estimate but decided to go to HD and pick up like 30-40 2x4's at a time in my Explorer.

Let me say after about 8 trips so far and almost 1k down on wood, it would have been easier and cheaper to just buy it all at once from a lumber yard and have them deliver it.
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A few comments:

Re: Video Display
I second NorwegianDawg's comments on the TV issue. The only reason to go with the Plasma is if you can't use a projector and you want to wall mount the display. If it's possible to put the TV on a stand, the DLP option would be the way I'd go (IMO). It might not have the sex appeal of a plasma, but it'll cost less, last longer and give you a better picture. All of this is moot if wall mounting is what you really need/want though.

Also, I wasn't clear if there was something you were still confused about regarding the HDTV stuff.

Re: Receiver
That Marantz is a great piece of equipment. No worries there. The fact that it may or may not have HDMI switching capabability can be problematic, but there are always solutions. I have an older Denon unit -- no switching capability. Fortunately, my TV has 5 inputs to accomodate my various video sources; however, if/when I upgrade to the new DVD format, I'll have to get some other video switcher. Maybe something like this would work well.

Re: Pipe
I think the idea about running a pipe for future/potential cables is an EXCELLENT idea. In fact, I'd be doing that for all of the in-wall wiring you're going to be doing, just in case you have to later switch out the wires for something else anyway.

Re: Accoustic Treatments
IMO -- very important to improve the imaging/sound/etc of your system. And since you're in the building mode, they're really easy to make, and don't cost a ton of $$. Here are a couple of sites that show you how to build them.
DIY Panels
DIY Panels Also
This second link I think is more relevant -- newer information and it's more specific about the fiberglass to be used -- Owens Corning 703 is the standard, but there are many other manufacturers with the same specs. The trick always seems to be able to find the fiberglass -- it's not something you can generally just pick up at Home Depot.
Also, be warned, too much treatment will kill a room just as bad, or actually worse, than too little. You only need maybe 25% coverage. The spots I'd definitely hit would be the first reflections on the side walls and the first reflections off of the ceiling. If you're willing and able, I can expand on this.

Re: Room
That room is REALLY making me jealous.

Let me know if anything above wasn't clear and I'll do my best to clarify.

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TommyW said:
Hey thanks to both of you and thanks for the offer to help, you may just wind up regretting it.
Naw.. people have helped me, seems only fair that one gives back.

Ok, I'll keep the receiver and consult everyone here more before proceeding.

I will talk further with the wife about a projector system. My only reservations about that is that one it's only a 20' room and if the first row is only 10' (center) how big should the screen go.
Has she seen one in person? She might change her mind if she does. I think they're far more unobtrusive (and therefore a higher WAF) than even a plasma. But that's just me. Oh, if you do go the projector route, best place I know for screens is Carada. Relatively inexpensive and (from what I've heard), great customer service.

Unless I'm calculating it wrong from what I'm reading I should be trying for something 45" to 60"
Try this viewing calculator. It's kind of my reference point for these questions.

And second is width, the room with is 14' but I will have a soffit about 4' running off the side wall bringing the ceiling there down to 6'8.

Now I'm thinking in order to put a wider screen such as a projection screen it will now have to go partly under that soffit which may or may not be to low.
I think I may have to see a picture to make any kind of comment related to that. I'm just a typical guy -- very visual :rolleyes:

And to answer your question I was thinking a flat plasma hung on the wall. I'll try and get some pic's up asap of what I have to work with so far.
Gotcha. Pics are good.

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TommyW said:
How bout the MX speakers, good / bad choice?

I couldn't find what type of connections they had on the back and I'm not to sure of what to order as far as wire.

I've seen things saying I should find out the connection needed and order each wire to the exact size with the spade or banna connection already on it, is that correct?

Oh well, gonna go try and put up another small section of the soffit, then gotta get ready for reserves tomorrow.
I've never heard MX Speakers, so I can't comment on them. In the end, it just comes down to how you like them.

To find out what kind of connection to get, I'd probably contact MX directly. If the connection is like a "naked" speaker driver, there should be two different spades for connecting the speaker wires like the two in this picture:

They're not always color coded or even the same size, so you'd have to look on the back of the speaker to tell.

The alternative would be a binding post of some sort, like this:

These are pretty standard sized and versatile. If it is like this, any single banana plug would work. If you wanted a dual banana plug, then you'd need to know exaclty how far apart the posts are. I think there is a general standard, but I don't think it's universal.

Hope I'm helping more than confusing..

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I'd leave the comments about the framing and sound proofing to N.Dawg -- much more of an expert than I.
That being said, I think if you put regular old pink fiberglass between all the walls and sheetrock the frames you'll be pretty good. The low end stuff is going to pass through the walls, but with distance, that sound will peter our pretty quickly. I don't know what it would take to creat a sound proof room and still have it sound reasonably good.

Re: the carpet thing: I don't think it's a good idea either. I could be wrong, but I think there are some serious issues with that strategy. An alternative would be cloth coverings on the wall (think movie theater). In particular, one made of natural fibers and an open weave. That's what I plan on doing in my listening room. This might give you the same kind of look that the carpet did.

re: Front Speakers: IMO, the front 3 speakers are the most important for sound, especially for music. With in-wall speakers, there is generally some sonic tradeoff for the ability to put the speakers in wall. It could be that he wanted the stand alones because he liked the sound better and didn't mind having them out.

re: Component Rack: I think if you put the components at the front of the room in a recessed section you'd be ok. I'm sure that if you put some sort door in front of them you'd be fine -- maybe one that is covered by some sort of cloth over a cut out so you can still get the remote control to work. And as long as there is some sort of ventilation and access (again, with a door?) you can box up the equipment rack to stop sound from leaking through. Again, I'd defer to N.Dawg on this one.
As for the 20" depth -- I don't know.. it looked like you had an open room behind there, so maybe I have the room mixed up in my head. I'm not sure if 20" would be enough or not. Your receiver is probabbly the only thing that will REALLY REALLY need venitlation, so if I'd check the dimensions of that first. You're going to want some space for the air to move around.
As far as putting the rack in the closet -- I'm sure you can run a cable that long, but it'll probably cost you a bit more (naturally). Also, running speaker wire that long will require a higher gauge and will degrade to some extent. Conventional wisdom says that you should have the shortest speaker wire possible for the best signal to the speaker. The most important speakers are going to be your front three, so ideally, I'd put the equipment as close as possible to the front. That's the ideal, but we always have to compromise in the world of audio, so a long speaker wire run isn't gonna ruin your system, but I would suggest a higher gauge of wire -- 12 gauge?.

Again, I'd defer to N.Dawg on all of this..

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The front wall does have a utility room behind it with plenty of room but I'd prefer to not put the component rack where I'm staring at the rack and the screen at the same time specially when I paid extra for the in-wall speakers.
I still think you can cover it behind a door of some sort

If the rack did go on the front wall, wires would still need to be run to the back of the room right. Wouldnt it work the same if I put the rack on the back wall where I still have a closet behind it for access?
For me, it's the length of the run. Most of your connections (including the most important) are going to be up front. Shorter runs are going to (almost?) always result in better signals to the end source. The other issue is using your remote. It's very un-intuitive to point the remote backwards when you want to access your equipment.

TommyW said:
As I said the speakers were delivered today. They dont have connectors like the pics JCD posted. There some sore of push clip type, is this bad?

Norwegian I know you said I can use bare wire but I thought I was supposed to stay away from that if I'm not mistaken.

Basically what I really need to know is if I ordered bad **** and need to send it back right away as far as the speakers and receiver.

Other then that, you all did talk me and the wife into the projector system so I need to know how and what to do with this front wall and where to put the component rack.

I think I see how it works.. you press the top of the post and stick the wire through the hole. When you release the post, it springs back up pinching the wire?

If I have it right, that should work fine. My only caution is to make sure that the two exposed wires don't touch each other. It might be a good idea to insert the speaker wire in the front on one side and the back on the other.

TommyW said:
Ok great so the right spool of wire should be all I need to order, right? Should I order that now and test the speakers before running them in the walls?

Except for the gauge of the wire, I don't think you need any special spool of wire.

Regarding the speaker wire, there are generally two different groups of thought. Group one thinks that the high priced/esoteric speaker wire and interconnects are a bunch of overpriced snake oil. Group two can't believe that Group One can't hear the sonic improvements with the high end cables/wire. I'm a member of Group One. My advice is to just go down to Home Depot/Fry's and get some huge spool of 12gauge speaker wire. Maybe you need something special if you're oging to be going in-wall -- N.Dawg would have more information on that topic.

And I'd DEFINITELY try the speakers out now -- I have no real worries about the wire itself, but I'd break down and cry if everything else was done and one of the speakers was broken when you tried to fire it up for the first time.

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That price is in-line with the cable/wire company that I've used in the past, Blue Jeans Cable.

I took a quick look at their speaker wire, it was $95 for 250ft of 12 gauge wire.

They also have subwoofer cables if you wanted to buy them at the same time.

As for the speaker wire connection to the receiver, you can go with a just the plain wire; however, I prefer banana plugs -- if nothing else, it's just easier to hook up (also at Blue Jeans Cable).

As for Monster Products, some will (passionately) say you'll get better performance with the high end cables/wire. I think the wire above will be just as good at a third of the cost.

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Oh, and did I see in another thread that we corrup.. err.. changed your mind about the plasma and will be going to a projector?

If so, I'd be willing to bet that if you sent an e-mail to the people at Carada, they'd respond with the screen size they'd recommend. They also have probably the best priced screens out there. Also, everything thing I've heard about their customer service has said they're top notch.

Tommy said:
Your leaving me hangin though on whether or not to get the monster wire
It was in there.. but, I personally don't think you get any improvement from "Monster" wire or interconnects. Others may disagree and maybe they can chime in.

Tommy said:
And ya were all in for the projector now. My 8yr old daughter is thrilled, ya would think she is one of you all the way she keeps going on about the projector is going to be better then the plasma.
<Evil Laugh :devil: >
All kidding aside, I think you'll be happier with the projector.

Tommy said:
Ok, I'll start on screens and projectors with you guys soon enough, I need to figure out what I'm ordering here before I jump on that.
I'm sure you can get some good feedback here..

I tried to find a manual at MTX's website (here), but didn't see one. Was there one included in the box? Also, was there an amp included?

Since most subwoofers these days are powered, modern receivers don't generally power the sub.
So the "Sub Out" on the back of your receiver is just a line out, i.e., no amplification. It looks like you'll need some sort of external amp to power the sub.

I'm assuming that there was no manual included with your sub? I would assume MTX may have some solution for your situation already.

N.Dawg (or others) may have some suggestions (or corrections) regarding the above info.

The amp you'd need can be relatively inexpensive -- you might even be able to go with a Pro Audio amp (as opposed to a regular home audio amp). They're generally noisier, but since you can put this pretty much anywhere you want, the noise factor should be a problem. If you go the Pro Audio route, you can get this for only $100

Another alternative would be a plate amp. Plate amps are super cheap too. This one is only $128.

I think both of those amps have enough power for those speakers. Maybe someone else can comment. They're not super high quality amps -- but I would think they're totally fine for sub duties.

With either amp, your wiring I think should be pretty straightforward:

sub out from your reciever to the amp to the speakers which would be wired like this.

All that being said, I'd still contact MTX to get their suggestion. The brand seems to be geared for professional installers, so that might be why the documentation is a little light.

As for the construction questions -- that's DEFINITELY out of my league. Poinding nails I can do -- actually knowing what the **** I'm doing I don't.

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Tommy said:
Thanks bro. Well a few hundred I'm not worried about (thousands is another story) more worried if I got the wrong receiver or something since I thought it was supposed to have an amp built in.

Completly confuse about how to wire it but not worried about that at the moment, still just trying to figure out what I need to buy and order.

As you can see the MTX site is a bit off as far as the manuals, there not there for all models and the ones that are there just show how to attach it to the wall but nothing about the wiring.

I did email them yesterday and I'm still waiting on a response.
No prob..

As for the amp, I'd like to see if anyone else has some alternatives. I haven't actually used either amp, so I can't confirm good or poor performance.

As for the wiring, when it comes time, I'm sure we can help out with better, more explicit instructions -- it may depend on the amp you get though.

Oh, and the receiver is totally fine. I'm sure there may be some, but I can't think of any receivers that power the sub line out.

Tommy said:
Oh and still gotta frame a bunch of soffits in the rest of the basement. After that I guess its time to call an electrician. Havent decided yet if I should do the sheet rock or have someone else do it.
My suggestion here would totally depend on what you're going to do with the walls. If they're going to be painted or covered by something. Hanging the actual sheetrock is not terribly difficult. Taping the seams well is a fine art that borders on magic from what I've been told. So, if you're going to cover them with something, do it yourself. If not, maybe hand the sheetrock and get someone to tape it -- that's what I did at my previous house.

Tommy said:
NDawg suggested I send the sub back, not sure what the return policy is or not but I'm gonna send it back if I can.
I'd agree with that as well.
However, that leads you to a new dilemma, what sub are you going go with this time? Are you still going to go for an in-wall setup? Or a standalone? The standalone is the easier way to go, but you'd end up with a box sitting in a corner..

Decisions, decisions, decisions.. :devil:

how long does it take for someone to say sheetrock the basement and ceiling?
That seems like a long time to me too.. unless he didn't have the time to do it for 2 weeks. Seems to me that I put up sheetrock with another friend and it took about 1-2 hours to do the ceiling -- which was vaulted. That didn't include the taping which I had done -- that took less than a day. I would have guessed a day for hanging the sheetrock and a day to tape it up if you know what you're doing. But then, it was a long time ago, so maybe it took longer than I thought.

I got a reply back from the store and they ok'd the return for the sub. They didnt mention store credit so I think I'm free to select whatever is recommended.
Good news!

If you're going to be concerned about the outside noise factor, I'd think you'll be "stuck" with a free standing sub (as opposed to an inwall). If so, there are two companies I HIGHLY recommend:

SVS and Hsu. Both are internet only companies and both offer unbeatable deals on their subs. I know that if you e-mail the people over at SVS with the proper information, they'll give you the sub they'd recommend -- which is often a smaller sub than you'd expect. I e-mailed them for a friend, and got a recommendation the same day. I'm sure Hsu does the same, but I haven't personally tried.

In either case, you'll be MUCH happier with a sub from either one of these vendors than with the one you had.:T

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Maybe it's in another thread, but I thought I'd drop a line and see if there has been any progress lately?

To answer your questions:

re: Mitsubishi projectors
No experience. I haven't seen them much in the professional reviews or with the online/forum reviews. I don't know if no news is good news or if a lack of information is because others were found other brands to be better for the same price. I will say that in the past (and it may not be the same now) that Mits rear projection tv's were more expensive than other comparable models from other brands. That was a long time ago and I don't know if that price variance still stands.

re: one sub vs 2 subs
well, for me it would all depend on which subs you're talking about. If you're going to go with a free standing sub, I really really really would go with a SVS sub. We have Tom V drop by occasionally, I think his opinion would be a good one to solicit. Without getting too much into it, I'd guess that one big sub would be your best bet for the same $$ outlay.

re: Soffit
I'm not that good with my imagination to see what the finished project will look like -- however, I can tell you that symmetry is high on my list of aesthetic needs. It might bug me if the room was irregular in this kind of way. But, then again, this is one area where I might be a little ****.:rolleyes:

Good luck on the rest of your project. I'm sure the final project will be worth the wait.

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I think I've got it now.. so, is the question if you should run another soffit along the left hand side of the room?
Something like this?
Ceiling Wall Building Room Floor



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No, if there is someone a little slow on the uptake, I'm sure it's me. :blush:

I'll take another stab at it. Is this what you're talking about?

Ceiling Building Wall Room Floor

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