Best Home Theater set up?? Need expert advise! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 02-06-2012, 11:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I have 2 quotes on a theater installation for a 13.5' x 15' media room.

They're from 2 companies using completely different components.
Is one option far superior to the other?
(Suggestions are appreciated, especially on projector qualities
in the $3000 range.)

THANKS. . .

1. Projector Screen CinaGrey 131" wide viewing area
Projector: Panasonic PT-AE7000
AV Receiver Yamaha RX-A810
Inwall Speakers front and rear MKW-650 Ultra
Inwall Center Channel IW550LCR
Subwoofer 350 watts Earth Quake
Inwall Surround System
RTI Control Processor XP3

2. Elite Screens ITE 100HW2-E24 100"
Projector: Sony VPLHW30AES
Pioneer Elite VSX-52 7.1 Channel Receiver
Paradigm Millennia 200 Tower Speakers
Paradigm Millennia 20 LCR Speaker
Paradigm DSP3100 Black Subwoofer
Definitive Technology Ultimate Inwall Bipolar Speakers
Control 4 C4-HC300C-E-B-SR250A (Zigbee Pro)
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post #2 of 20 Old 02-08-2012, 02:04 PM
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Are the screen sizes both being reported diagonally? If so, the screen sizes are wildly different -- how far will your seating be from the screen?

This is a great tool to use to get an idea of what size screen you should use:
http://myhometheater.homestead.com/v...alculator.html

RE projector comparisons - you'd be better suited throwing the question in the under $3K projector forum - I'm sure people have been comparing these two units at length. Either one will probably suit you fine.

Another big difference I notice is quote 1 is using in walls, quote 2 is using external speakers. I don't know what you've asked for. It is likely that installer 2 could easily install in walls if you asked - but it would make the quotes a bit more comparable. What are you looking for? What does your room need? Can it accommodate external speakers or do you need in walls?
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post #3 of 20 Old 02-08-2012, 02:24 PM
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Equipment is very much secondary to the room. What kind of room are you looking for? The room has an incredible impact on the performance of the equipment, so I'm more curious at this point about the room.

Is this a dedicated media room? What kind of walls, floor, ceiling? Height of ceiling? Windows and doors? Etc...
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post #4 of 20 Old 02-09-2012, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Vigga,

Thanx 4 your reply and the screen size link. (Isn't bigger always better? In answer to your queries, the screens are measuring diagonally so there may be a quality difference... The recliners are approx. 9.7' upright from the screen, and the first quote is using ALL inwall speakers. The second has a mix of inwall and external rear speakers. Would there be a huge sound difference using all inwalls vs. a combo if the room is not acoustically padded for sound? (This is a large bedroom conversion.) If there isn't a big difference I'm inclined to go with the aesthetic option of all inwalls! What I'm after is a seriously decent set up that will offer a true theater experience on a reasonable budget! (I know, aren't we all?) I'm leaning towards Option 1 and would like to know if all of those components produce A- results??
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post #5 of 20 Old 02-09-2012, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey Warren,

Thanks for your post. If you read my note to Vigga, this WILL be a 13.5'D x 15'L dedicated media room that was originally built as a 4th. bedroom. (2009, so it's got the usual drywall and Tyvek insulation.) Unless there's a good type of acoustical paint out there (?) I'm not looking to rebuild the walls right now! The ceiling is sloped, so it goes from 11' (w/a 7' standard door) to a 9' outside wall (where the screen will drop down). There's a 56"x45" shuttered window on the 9' wall that will have a heavy full length velvet curtain. One side wall (also outside) has 3 small 27"x15" decorative windows (7' high) that will have blackout curtains, and a mirrored closet along the other side with carpeted floors. Given this information, what's your opinion about the components we've selected for Option 1? Will we acheive an impressive theater experience given the size and parameters of the room?
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post #6 of 20 Old 02-11-2012, 03:33 PM
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That 131" diag screen seems awfully big for such a small space. I'd say 105" diag would probably be about right with a single row of seats at 9.7 feet back. Assuming a 16x9 ratio screen.

You don't want to sit up against the back wall for proper surround sound imaging.

Do you actually want 3D or just as an added feature?

I'd maybe go with a receiver that has Audyssey calibration. It seems to work better than the proprietary software from Pioneer and Yamaha. Denon or Onkyo or Integra. Some newer, fancier models are starting to offer MultEQ xt32, which is the best Audyssey software to date. The medium-range models have MultEQ XT (the next best thing).

A good feature rich model is the Onkyo 809. Be sure to give it room to breath, though.

For the price vs. performance you're looking for, I would stick with regular in-room fronts and on-wall surrounds. Budget in-walls are not all that great. You really want in-walls with backer boxes that make them like in-room speakers embedded in the walls. The better in-walls are from Triad, Sonance, Paradigm, SpeakerCraft, Atlantic Tech. etc. They do cost a little more, but are worth it.

I'd also strongly consider an HSU VTF-15H subwoofer rather than an Earthquake. Great bang vs. buck for a 15" sub.

What about a Blu-ray player?

Do look at some basic acoustic treatments like panels. You'll thank me later.

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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post #7 of 20 Old 02-11-2012, 06:16 PM
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Heres my suggestion on the matter. If there is a window in the room get a tv(plasma!)Bigger screens actually get worse in smaller rooms , do get the right size though. As far as in walls in a small room .... Yes. If your using this room just for movies spend your money on the source your Blu-ray & cable. Oppo & direct tv. Rather then a receiver splurge on a processor and seperate amps. Dont by a receiver cause the gadgets and crap will be out dated and useless 2 weeks after you get things finished. Also I would recommend to get 2 small 8" subs, one in front and one in the rear. Sound is 80% of your movie experience . I've been in the trade for 15 years and have seen systems come and go. Hope this helps!
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post #8 of 20 Old 02-11-2012, 07:12 PM
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I would go with a projector all the way. I am sitting 11' from a 125" screen and it is perfect.

The question is, how much is your overall budget?

You could do what I did and get an acoustically transparent screen with the speakers behind it. A quality SeymourAV XD screen with a good frame from Jamestown will run you around $550 shipped.

I agree on the backer boxes for your inwall speakers, but you can get some good Deftech RLS II or III series for your mains. The RLS III is going for a little over $900 shipped (all three speakers for $900) from a very reputable dealer (bajawaverunner).
http://www.definitivetech.com/Produc...IW%20RLS%20III

I have the RLS II, which will cost you about $300-400 more and they sound very good.

You can get matching surrounds for much cheaper, either on wall or inwall. I would pair these with a Denon 1912, or even a 1612 and then buy a good subwoofer from HSU, SVS, Epik, Outlaw, etc. A pair of Epik Legends will run you around $1k shipped.

Lots of options he but we need to understand your budget. As for a projector, I would say an Epson 5010 in the $2700 range, or if you want to save some money you could get an Acer 9500, or an Optoma 3300. Both are DLP and will do 3D very well and will cost you around $1600 or less.
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post #9 of 20 Old 02-13-2012, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
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THANKS for all of the suggestions! I really want to use a projector here since it's a dedicated theater room and we already have large LED's in other areas. We'd like to keep the budget as close to $10,000 as possible without compromising on top quality video and sound output. I realize the importance of the screen choice too. Looking into acoustical treatments is a good idea, thanks! I'm leaning towards reg. in-room fronts with Paradigm in-walls w/backers. Best Buy is coming to spec out the room Wed. morning, so I'm planning to pose all your suggestions to them. (Perhaps a processor since we already have several receivers?) BB installed all of our other equipment and we have Verizon FIOS service. Here's what they set up through the rest of the house:

Samsung LED tv's, Blu-ray dvd players
Bose surround in-ceiling speakers
Definitive Pro Sub 1000's
Denon AVR 890 Receivers
Bose 151 SE outdoor speakers
Logitech Harmony 900 universal remotes

This would also be the only 3D room, so I don't want a lame added on 3D feature. I've been on the fence between the Panasonic PT-AE7000 and the Epson PowerLite 5010. Both are top rated. Any thoughts..? Any other suggestions are appreciated! (Would using Best Buy to set up a proper theater be a big mistake?)

Cheers!
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post #10 of 20 Old 02-14-2012, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VFXgeek View Post

This would also be the only 3D room, so I don't want a lame added on 3D feature. I've been on the fence between the Panasonic PT-AE7000 and the Epson PowerLite 5010. Both are top rated. Any thoughts..? Any other suggestions are appreciated! (Would using Best Buy to set up a proper theater be a big mistake?)

Cheers!

Best Buy's Geek Squad... probably not the best idea unless they're installer is fully certified and their work is guaranteed.

You could find a lot of this stuff cheaper online. However, for Paradigm speakers you will need to buy from a dealer. These brick 'n' mortar dealers will probably be more skilled at installation if you don't feel up to doing it yourself.

I strongly suggest the Paradigm Studio 60's or 100's and CC-690 for the front and the matching SA-ADP in-walls for the side and back surrounds since it's not the biggest space and they're tri-pole surrounds. An HSU VTF-15h for the sub. Or if you don't want to cut into your walls, then get the on-wall Studio ADP models.

You can use the Onkyo 809 receiver as a pre-amp (Amazon usually has these for a good price) and get a Parasound, Outlaw Audio, or Emotiva multi-channel amp for cleaner power and more dynamic headroom... and you're upgrade-proof. Next time you need a new surround processor as features change, you don't have to buy a new power amplifier.

Use interconnect cables from Monoprice.com and/or Blue Jeans Cable.com.

You might look at some of the DLP projectors with full 1080p HD 3D (using active shutter glasses) since they have a much faster response time than LCD panels for 3D... less ghosting and cross-talk. The better LCOS panel 3D capable projectors will set you back around $5,000 or more.

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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post #11 of 20 Old 02-16-2012, 12:04 PM
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Hi I need some advise before I proceed. I have a former bedroom which I'm converting to a dedicated Theater Room. It's a smallish rectangle shaped room roughly 12'x15'. I will be setting up a 73" DLP Mits TV as my screen with a pair of L-R fronts, Polk RT8's, Ctr. is a matching Polk CS-5 and rears are B&W DM600. I also have 2 subs a Hsu 8" downfiring and a NHT 10" front firing. I will purchase a 4 seat theater recliner and probably put my 500 Bluray, HD-DVD & DVD collection in the room.

The room has one single standard double hung window in the center of the long wall and (2) windows on the short wall. Opposite the short double window wall is a soild wall and an open closet, I removed the doors as I want to place my electronics in there, cover it with a curtain so as not to have distracting lights at the screen location. I built a 65" stand 18" high for the Mits screen and a spot in the center just below the TV for my center channel Polk. The rest of the equipment includes an Onkyo 805 receiver, Oppo BDP 83 & Panny 310 bluray players, a Toshiba A30 HD-DVD player, a JVC 1080i VHS player/recorder, Sony Laser dics player and a HD, set top box via comcast. My modem and wi-fi is also in this room. Should I use the long wall, in front of the single window, of course with drapes/curtains or the short wall in front of the double curtained windows firing down to the long end? Any other tips will be appreciated, i.e., cabling issues, HDMI lenght runs, etc. thanks.
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post #12 of 20 Old 02-16-2012, 02:54 PM
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Put the TV on the short wall. That's the absolute best location for a rectangular room. The acoustics are a bit more predictable, and you can set up your speakers for 7.1 surround easily.

Later on, you should switch your DLP TV out with a projector and fixed screen. A screen in the 100"-105" diag. range would probably be best.

Since you'd be running your main HDMI cable from the closet in the rear to the TV up front, you want to probably use 22 gauge, high-speed cable. You can only go to about 25 feet with HDMI in high-speed mode. In your situation, I don't see you needing to run a cable that long anyway.

For the short connections between A/V devices in your closet, 28 gauge high-speed should be fine and are usually pretty flexible. If you use 24 gauge high-speed instead, it may be a bit harder to bend sharply. Whatever you do, make sure your cables are supported so there is no undo tension placed on the HDMI ports. That can lead to serious damage. Yes, HDMI connectors absolutely suck.

In your equipment closet, consider some sort of quiet heat exhaust with temperature control since you'll have it enclosed.

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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post #13 of 20 Old 02-16-2012, 02:58 PM
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Not to hijack this thread but I believe I can tap into some of the great comments on this thread. I'm building a home theatre room in my basement of a similar size: 13.5' wide (minus 30" on one side for a pass-through aisle) x 15'-17' depth x 9.5' high. We're doing padded carpeting on the floor, a "pit group" couch set, behind that a elevated 18" stage hosting another couch w recliners and immediately behind that a bar top w barstools. Behind that, it's open to a game/bar area with cement floors. It could be a nightmare acoustically? With that set up, do we need "double drywall?" And, if so, how is that hung? Pardon my ignorance, but the acoustic panels & paint are to absorb sound?

We're at the stud stage. We'd like in-wall speakers to maximize perceived space, if some good ones can be had a decent price. We'd like to place the AV components & subwoofer beneath the stairs (which would be along the right side as one views the screen). How much ventilation needed?

What is our budget? Need suggestions Not really sure:
-Projector ~ $3-4000
-Speakers ~ $500?
-Powered subwoofer ~ $200
-Receiver ~$5-700
-interested in 7.1 or 7.2 that has AirPlay, DLNA, ?ethernet
-Remote ~$150?
-PS3 ~$300
-Screen (120") ~$500
-Projector mount ~$75
-Speaker wire ~$100
-Power supply ~$50
-Win7 PC ~$500

So we're up to $5900-$7100 plus construction and seating. Ouch.

In an OCD moment to "future proof" we purchased 1000' of solid copper core quad-shielded coaxial and 1000' of Cat-6 (with some handwringing about not doing Cat7). I purchased several HDMI cables (as I'm wiring everywhere with HDMI, Cat6 and Coaxial--OCD again) from "Blue Rigger" on Amazon in varying lengths: 10', 15',25', 35, 50' that is ostensibly CL3 in-wall rated. Good quality?

Given those desires and constraints and my probable buyer's remorse, how should I spend my money? Thanks in advance!
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post #14 of 20 Old 02-16-2012, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theUnscented View Post

Not to hijack this thread but I believe I can tap into some of the great comments on this thread. I'm building a home theatre room in my basement of a similar size: 13.5' wide (minus 30" on one side for a pass-through aisle) x 15'-17' depth x 9.5' high. We're doing padded carpeting on the floor, a "pit group" couch set, behind that a elevated 18" stage hosting another couch w recliners and immediately behind that a bar top w barstools. Behind that, it's open to a game/bar area with cement floors. It could be a nightmare acoustically? With that set up, do we need "double drywall?" And, if so, how is that hung? Pardon my ignorance, but the acoustic panels & paint are to absorb sound?

We're at the stud stage. We'd like in-wall speakers to maximize perceived space, if some good ones can be had a decent price. We'd like to place the AV components & subwoofer beneath the stairs (which would be along the right side as one views the screen). How much ventilation needed?

What is our budget? Need suggestions Not really sure:
-Projector ~ $3-4000
-Speakers ~ $500?
-Powered subwoofer ~ $200
-Receiver ~$5-700
-interested in 7.1 or 7.2 that has AirPlay, DLNA, ?ethernet
-Remote ~$150?
-PS3 ~$300
-Screen (120") ~$500
-Projector mount ~$75
-Speaker wire ~$100
-Power supply ~$50
-Win7 PC ~$500

So we're up to $5900-$7100 plus construction and seating. Ouch.

In an OCD moment to "future proof" we purchased 1000' of solid copper core quad-shielded coaxial and 1000' of Cat-6 (with some handwringing about not doing Cat7). I purchased several HDMI cables (as I'm wiring everywhere with HDMI, Cat6 and Coaxial--OCD again) from "Blue Rigger" on Amazon in varying lengths: 10', 15',25', 35, 50' that is ostensibly CL3 in-wall rated. Good quality?

Given those desires and constraints and my probable buyer's remorse, how should I spend my money? Thanks in advance!

I am not at all familiar with "Blue Rigger" HDMI cables. A lot of people here by from Monoprice.com and Blue Jeans Cable.com as two good bang vs. buck cable dealers.

Your budget, for one thing, needs some re-working. Take some of the money going towards the projector and all from the computer (let's say ~$2,500) and put it towards the speakers and sub budget. Your speakers and sub(s) are the most important purchases bar none. You haven't allocated enough of your resources... not even close. Don't expect to get quality sounding in-wall's without spending a heck of a lot more (Triad, Sonance, etc.). You should stick with spending the money on traditional in-room left/center/right models with on-wall surrounds. Better sound for less money and you don't absolutely have to go with floor standers if space is a premium, use monitors instead.

With your projector, do you need or even want 3D capabilities? You can get a pretty decent (though not absolutely superb... that kind of quality will really cost you) 1080p projector in the $2,000 range.

Are you a gamer? I'd get a stand alone Blu-ray player instead of the PS3.

You've gone quite a bit overboard with what you expect to be able to do in a 13' X 17' space with a 120" screen. You're going to be lucky to squeeze in two rows with non-recliners. Your front row will end up being too close anyway. Time to rethink your spacing.

For a second row with recliners and a bar counter behind that you need about 25' or more free-and-clear room length for any kind of comfort. If you cannot allocate that kind of floor space, then I'd go to one row with a very slim-line bar counter behind it (enough room for a small plate or bowl and a glass).

I wouldn't put your subwoofer in an alcove setting. Keep it free and clear since you'll probably have to move it around a bit to find the best sound vs. placement.

That's a start anyway...

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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post #15 of 20 Old 02-17-2012, 03:21 PM
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Thanks for the info. Speakers are apparently more important than I thought. It's here where I reveal my ignorance: what are speaker "monitors?" Does the in-wall set up ruin the sound? Could I create a box in the wall and put the wall mount in the box with a cloth screen over it or would that negatively impact the sound.? What are good wall mounted speakers?

I think I'd like to have 3D capabilities. I already have a PS3 that we use upstairs but thought it had a high BlueRay rating so had thought about getting a second one for downstairs (play MW3 online against nephews occasionally but not big gamer).

Space, theoretically, I have about 30' length to play with. Not planning on bolting the stage to the floor so can slide it backwards, if need be. We already placed the can lights in but nothing else is set in stone. I'd love a 120" screen but would hate to waste alot of real estate between the first row and the screen. If I want two rows and an small bar behind second row and I was willing to reduce the screen size, what screen size would be best if the front row had a nine foot viewing distance?

Thanks again.
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post #16 of 20 Old 02-17-2012, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theUnscented View Post

Thanks for the info. Speakers are apparently more important than I thought. It's here where I reveal my ignorance: what are speaker "monitors?" Does the in-wall set up ruin the sound? Could I create a box in the wall and put the wall mount in the box with a cloth screen over it or would that negatively impact the sound.? What are good wall mounted speakers?

I think I'd like to have 3D capabilities. I already have a PS3 that we use upstairs but thought it had a high BlueRay rating so had thought about getting a second one for downstairs (play MW3 online against nephews occasionally but not big gamer).

Space, theoretically, I have about 30' length to play with. Not planning on bolting the stage to the floor so can slide it backwards, if need be. We already placed the can lights in but nothing else is set in stone. I'd love a 120" screen but would hate to waste alot of real estate between the first row and the screen. If I want two rows and an small bar behind second row and I was willing to reduce the screen size, what screen size would be best if the front row had a nine foot viewing distance?

Thanks again.

No problemo!

Monitor speakers are small to medium sized bookshelf style speakers. Sometimes they're designed as a matching vertical oriented Left/Center/Right array. They need stands or mounts and absolutely need a subwoofer to handle the low bass frequencies.

Using bookshelf monitors or floorstanders really depends on how the screen wall is designed. Will you hide them behind false walls and/or have a stage like in a dedicated theater? If they have furniture grade boxes, do you mind setting them in the room for all to ooh and aaah over? Sometimes it all depends on your budget since bookshelves with stands take up about the same real estate as a floorstanding tower speaker.

If you are mechanically inclined, you could make in-wall Do-It-Yourself MDF backer-boxes for cheaper in-wall speakers (there are plans discussed on this very site). But if you're not, it would be better to just invest in higher quality in-walls with built in boxes like Triad Bronze or Silver models, Sonance, Atlantic Tech., Paradigm, or some other quality in-wall manufacturer. Backer boxes are almost as if you're installing thinner, taller, in-room speakers inside your walls. They'll sound almost exactly the same too. You get what you pay for.

Paradigm and Definitive Technology make good on-wall speakers, as two examples. However, I think you'd want to stick with wall-mountable surround speakers and use in-room speakers for the front three if you budget will be tight. The sky's the limit there (as long as you stay away from Bose!

Now if you run into major space issues at all, then you could do in-room front speakers and choose the matching in-wall surround models as a secondary alternative. They won't sound quite as good as the on-wall model varieties, depending on the brand you go with.

If you already have a PS3, I'd just go with a decent 3D Blu-ray player for the theater room. There are some very interesting models coming this year, if you can hold off a few months. They'll also have better streaming capabilities as well.

Do you think you can spare more of your 30' space? If it's possible, then you can use some of that space to allow for an acoustically transparent screen (they don't have to be hugely expensive) and place matching vertical front speakers behind it (which is absolutely ideal) and have a larger screen (distances vs. size still have to be calculated). There are quite a few home theaters on this forum that have that kind of setup.

If not, at 9' for the first row, you're looking at about a 100-105" diag. 16x9 ratio screen.

This is a decent calculator to use:

http://myhometheater.homestead.com/v...alculator.html

Do you think you'll need some other guidance as to what A/V manufacturers to possibly look at?

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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post #17 of 20 Old 02-18-2012, 04:29 AM
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There's some good information on that link about viewing angles. Saves me from having to dust off my trigonometry books (the 20/20 letter, by the way, subtends a visual angle of five minutes of arc). I've drawn it out on google sketchup and I've pushed back a few feet more than original. The viewers in the front row couch in pit group have a viewing distance from the center of the screen of 12'1" to 12'10". The second row on the stage 16'3" to 16'9" and the folks at the mini bar, about 20.5'

According to the link, It seems that most people do a SMPTE viewing angle (30 degrees) which suggests a maximum viewing distance of 16.3 feet for a 120 inch screen. With the current configuration, the second row couch will have the best seat. I'm going to have the bar anchored to the stage, which will not be bolted to floor, so we'll have some flexibility. How do most people watch a football game?

I'd like to learn more about building the MDF boxes to house speakers, I'm not especially handy, but my contractor is. A friend of mine has me convinced that I need to get a LCoS (or something like that) JVC projector (like he has). He's a member of some sort of wholesale club (that gets better prices than Sams or Costco) and can access these three:

>> 1: DLA-RS40U
>> 2: DLA-RS50U
>> 3: DLA-RS60U3D but he doesn't have prices yet. He paid about $3000 for his last year.
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post #18 of 20 Old 02-20-2012, 05:36 PM
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The second row riser won't need to be bolted to the floor, nor do most theater builders do that... if you do build it correctly it'll be as heavy as sin and won't be going anywhere unless there's an earthquake.

Here's BIGmouthinDC's riser with bar counter attached (the theater has been changed to accommodate a 2.35:1 scope screen now).



BuffBakerGA's riser and bar










Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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post #19 of 20 Old 02-22-2012, 05:08 AM
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This is what I had in mind, except instead of theatre chairs we're going to use couches/pit group. Wow. Looks like the base of these are 2" x 12", will 12"+1"(top ply wood,carpet,pad) be enough height? Seems like this will be plenty heavy to stay in place and move occasionally.
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post #20 of 20 Old 02-22-2012, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theUnscented View Post

This is what I had in mind, except instead of theatre chairs we're going to use couches/pit group. Wow. Looks like the base of these are 2" x 12", will 12"+1"(top ply wood,carpet,pad) be enough height? Seems like this will be plenty heavy to stay in place and move occasionally.

Look at the dedicated theater thread and check out the riser height calculator. Much depends on your screen height, eye to screen distances, sight lines, etc.

Also, look at some of the various riser construction threads. There's a pretty tried and true way to build these things so they'll come out the correct height, don't squeak (roofing felt is your friend), and are plenty rugged. You also want to have proper lighting built in. Possibly a couple electrical plugs included in case you have powered seating, wiring for buttkickers, etc.

Trust me, you won't be able to move them once built.

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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