Basement media room - initial plan. Thoughts? - AVS Forum
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
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After four years in our house, it is finally the right time to finish my basement. My plan is to keep about half of it unfinished for storage and a work area, and finish the rest with two rooms: a media room and a family/gaming room. The planned media room would be 22' x 15', with an open back wall. Along the open back wall would be a bar with a row of stools.(The idea is that people could sit there and eat/drink while watching the screen, or face the other way in the larger family room. ) I am shooting for a 120" screen using a projector. The seating is yet to be determined. (My wife wants a large sectional couch) The only thing I am planing on using that I already have is a PS3 for Blu-Ray. My budget for speakers, projector, and receiver is $5k. I plan on getting the basement done professionally. The house was built in 2008 and the unfinished ceilings are about 8' (guess)



I've begun doing research and have a strawman list of equipment close to my budget:
5.1 Speakers - kef Q900 + center, surrounds, and sub $~3000 (open boxes perhaps)
Projector - Optoma HD 33 $1350
Receiver Onkyo TX-NR717 $550

I also have a few questions:
  1. With my budget and room size is there any reason to strive for a 7.1 system?
  2. Is the back open wall a problem? I would like to use the system to provide music to the other room at times. My hope is that the Q900s and a sub would suffice.
  3. Does 120" sound appropriate for the screen size? I want to go as large as possible without sacrificing PQ

Any comments or advice regarding my plan would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

My theater: Escape from New York theater build

My Gear:
Fusion 12 Tempests (LCR)
Mach 5 UXL 18 - Sealed Subwoofer
Axiom M3v4 & M2v4 Surrounds
Onkyo TX-NR818
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Old 09-11-2012, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiderm0n View Post

...
I also have a few questions:
  1. With my budget and room size is there any reason to strive for a 7.1 system?
  2. Is the back open wall a problem? I would like to use the system to provide music to the other room at times. My hope is that the Q900s and a sub would suffice.
  3. Does 120" sound appropriate for the screen size? I want to go as large as possible without sacrificing IQ
Any comments or advice regarding my plan would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Going 7.1 is what I am recommending for all new systems; I'd reverse it and say why not? 7.1 content will keep increasing, we're not talking about a really forward-looking system with front wides and front heights. 7.1 is a solid way to setup and plan a theater space these days. For budget reasons, you can always properly run and wire for the 7.1 system and simply add the 'extra' two speakers in the future. The only thing that might be an issue is that for the 7.1 system you have those two single seats right on the side walls, and they won't be in a great position for the side surrounds.

The open back plan is just fine, tons of people have open theater concepts. You did correctly notice that your sub might not be able to keep up, so just know that. Similar to the 7.1 add some extra wiring to a few additional locations so you can add and/or test various subwoofer locations. Also, with an open plan, things like sound isolation are not going to be part of the process (unless you intend to sound isolate the entire basement).

Screen size is very personal. If you are trying to follow exact standards, then you need to consider viewing angles, distances, etc... If you are not as concerned with that precision, then it is how big you want in the room you have. Also, I highly doubt that the size screen you decide to use will have any ability to sacrifice your IQ. wink.gif

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Old 09-11-2012, 12:43 PM
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I have 136" wide painted-wall screen on similar 'open' basement theater. Sit approx. 12-13' back and NO WORRIES about screen too big, dim or low resolution. DVD looks good, Blu-ray is superb. I have Optoma 1080p projector as well. Personally, I believe the most important factor is simply light control. I have a long room that is multi-tasked behind seating like yours, and can have can lights on above or behind seating for gameday scenarios and the screen is plenty bright for viewing. Keep colors (especially around screen) dark, go with black screen wall if possible and if you can manually mask the screen that helps as well and you shouldn't desire to do something different after all is done.

Another beauty of using a painted screen wall technique is the ability to try out a size to your liking first and it's simply a matter of repainting if it's too small or large. I will NEVER go smaller than 10 ft wide again.
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Old 09-11-2012, 12:53 PM
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Here's a crappy iphone pic of multi-purpose basement room with large sectional. We move the chaise lounge section for kids party movie nights. Otherwise, it's about the biggest screen and most versatile room I could think of having. The colors work well also.. chocolate berber carpet, gold walls, chocolate ceiling, and black screen wall.

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Old 09-11-2012, 01:08 PM
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How tall is the ceiling in that picture? (the one with the sectional couch)?
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:50 PM
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About 8 foot.
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:17 PM
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I was off on screen.. it's 136" diag. My bad, been a while since the build. Still pretty big, especially built 8 years ago. Starting idea / design phase of next house and anticipating 4k projectors within 2-3 years becoming available. Anyone do at-home IMAX yet???? wink.gif
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Old 09-12-2012, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys for the input/advice . I have started doing more research on 7.1, and it does seem quite feasible given my open back wall. From a speaker standpoint, do surrounds have to match timbre like the fronts and center? I was wondering about getting creative with some in-wall or in-ceiling surrounds.

Also, I was wondering about speaker-receiver matching. The Onkyo TX-NR717 has a power output of 125 watts. The kef Q900 towers are rated to 200W, the Q300 surrounds are rated to 120, and the Q600 Center is rated to 150. Does this sounds like a good match? I've got kids, so I don't want them accidentally blowing my speakers! Here on AVS forums I read something about kef q900s not being fully utilized by a HT receiver... any thoughts?

Thanks!

Edit: I just started looking at the Onkyo NR818 and was enticed by the upgrade to the Audyssey MultEQ XT32. It is SO hard to stay on budget.... eek.gif

My theater: Escape from New York theater build

My Gear:
Fusion 12 Tempests (LCR)
Mach 5 UXL 18 - Sealed Subwoofer
Axiom M3v4 & M2v4 Surrounds
Onkyo TX-NR818
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiderm0n View Post

Thanks guys for the input/advice . I have started doing more research on 7.1, and it does seem quite feasible given my open back wall. From a speaker standpoint, do surrounds have to match timbre like the fronts and center? I was wondering about getting creative with some in-wall or in-ceiling surrounds.
Also, I was wondering about speaker-receiver matching. The Onkyo TX-NR717 has a power output of 125 watts. The kef Q900 towers are rated to 200W, the Q300 surrounds are rated to 120, and the Q600 Center is rated to 150. Does this sounds like a good match? I've got kids, so I don't want them accidentally blowing my speakers! Here on AVS forums I read something about kef q900s not being fully utilized by a HT receiver... any thoughts?
Thanks!

Don't worry about the power ratings, you are fine there. Couple things:
- The KEF Q900's are listed as 8ohm speakers but are really 4ohm and your receiver should be purcahsed with 4ohm in mind:
http://www.stereophile.com/content/kef-q900-loudspeaker-measurements

- The Onkyo TX-NR717 seems like a nice receiver, but it is lacking Audyssey MultiEQ. It just has 2EQ. I would open my options up to other brands like Denon as well that have Audyssey MultiEQ and MultiEQ XT within your price range. For example:
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/DENAVR3312CI/DENON-AVR-3312CI-7.2-Integrated-Network-A/V-Surround-Receiver/1.html

Authorized dealer who sells refurbished models with full factory warranty. That is a lot of receiver for $600 smile.gif

What are you thinking for a subwoofer?
I like the KEF speakers, but have you considered other options such as JTR, or Chase Home Theater?

You also need to consider the size of your screen, the ceiling height, and the size of your center channel. Have you considered building a simple false wall and hiding the speakers behind an accoustically transparent screen? This opens up a few options. For one, it keeps the speakers out of the way of the kids, and more important, it allows you to position the speakers at the proper height. And it allows you to buy a matching third floor-standing Q900 and bypass the horizontal center. A vertical matching speaker is preferred. You almost always get better imaging and off-axis response. Some things to read:
http://www.audioholics.com/education/loudspeaker-basics/vertical-vs-horizontal-speaker-designs
http://www.avsforum.com/t/837848/minimalist-approach-to-screen-wall

You can do an accoustically transparent screen either via DIY for about $350-400 easily, or order one through a company like Jamestown for about $500-600 shipped depending on screen size. The SeymourAV Centerstage XD screen material is excellent.

I would also read into the Acer HD9500 projector. It will offer better blacks vs the Optoma and it has some lens shift as well making it easier to place without using keystone. In my room (8ft ceilings, 125" 16:9 screen) there was no way to place the Optoma without using keystone. Since this review, Acer has added a better color management system and improved sharpness:
http://www.projectorreviews.com/acer/h9500bd/

I know Art gave it the top PJ award in it's price range and you can find it around $1500 shipped typically. Just make sure it has the latest firmware.

I also agree with the others and go ahead and wire for 7.1 but spend the bulk of your speaker budget on your front main speakers and your subwoofer. Surrounds should be the least amount of your speaker budget.
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Old 09-13-2012, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

Don't worry about the power ratings, you are fine there. Couple things:
- The KEF Q900's are listed as 8ohm speakers but are really 4ohm and your receiver should be purcahsed with 4ohm in mind:
http://www.stereophile.com/content/kef-q900-loudspeaker-measurements
I looked at the specs on the receiver and didn't see anything about this. What am I looking for and need to be concerned about?
Quote:
What are you thinking for a subwoofer?
I like the KEF speakers, but have you considered other options such as JTR, or Chase Home Theater?
Right now I am not sure about speakers, just trying to stay in a moderate price range. I'll look into other options.
Quote:
Have you considered building a simple false wall and hiding the speakers behind an accoustically transparent screen? This opens up a few options. For one, it keeps the speakers out of the way of the kids, and more important, it allows you to position the speakers at the proper height. And it allows you to buy a matching third floor-standing Q900 and bypass the horizontal center. A vertical matching speaker is preferred. You almost always get better imaging and off-axis response. Some things to read:
http://www.audioholics.com/education/loudspeaker-basics/vertical-vs-horizontal-speaker-designs
http://www.avsforum.com/t/837848/minimalist-approach-to-screen-wall
This info blew my mind... I hadn't considered doing any of this, and now I really like the idea! I have plenty of length to work with in my planned room.
Quote:
You can do an accoustically transparent screen either via DIY for about $350-400 easily, or order one through a company like Jamestown for about $500-600 shipped depending on screen size. The SeymourAV Centerstage XD screen material is excellent.

I went on their site and they quote $229 for a 120” screen.
http://www.jamestownhometheaterscreen.com/120_screenDiagonal.html
Is this the right site/product?
Quote:
I would also read into the Acer HD9500 projector. It will offer better blacks vs the Optoma and it has some lens shift as well making it easier to place without using keystone. In my room (8ft ceilings, 125" 16:9 screen) there was no way to place the Optoma without using keystone.
Until you guys started mentioning keystone in this thread I had never heard of it. I like the idea of avoiding it, but am curious how much degradation is usually experienced. My plan is to mount the PJ from a 7.5’ ceiling.

Thanks everyone for all the help!

My theater: Escape from New York theater build

My Gear:
Fusion 12 Tempests (LCR)
Mach 5 UXL 18 - Sealed Subwoofer
Axiom M3v4 & M2v4 Surrounds
Onkyo TX-NR818
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spiderm0n View Post

I looked at the specs on the receiver and didn't see anything about this. What am I looking for and need to be concerned about?
Sometimes you really have to dig for the info. For Onkyo they are typically very forthcoming on their features/specs pages on their website:
http://www.us.onkyo.com/model.cfm?m=TX-NR717&class=Receiver&p=f
About 5 lines down " Certified 4ohms performance ". Now, keep in mind if you buy 8ohm rated speakers this won't be as big a concern so it really depends on what speakers you buy. My advice is to decide on speakers first, and that will help dictate what receiver you need. Onkyo, Yamaha, Denon, Pioneer, are all respected receiver brands and offer similar features and performance. I do recommend the Audyssey (or other room correcting software) feature and look for MultiEQ at a minimum. You can read more about Audyssey, but from my experience, when properly implemented, it can make a difference in terms of audio quality. It is also very easy to use.
Quote:
Right now I am not sure about speakers, just trying to stay in a moderate price range. I'll look into other options.

The dedicated speaker and subforum will assist smile.gif
Quote:
This info blew my mind... I hadn't considered doing any of this, and now I really like the idea! I have plenty of length to work with in my planned room.
I went on their site and they quote $229 for a 120” screen.
http://www.jamestownhometheaterscreen.com/120_screenDiagonal.html
Is this the right site/product?

I highly recommend the false wall approach with an accoustically transparent screen, especially with kids and keeping the wife happy. The added benefit, as I mentioned, is using a vertical matching speaker and getting perfect placement. So many times people buy horizontal center speakers and then place it too high, or too low, and then are challenged trying to hear dialogue or getting good off-axis response (meaning if you move to the sides of the speaker and are not sitting directly in front, you get poor sound). This was something that challenged me in my last media room, and I can honestly say the vertical center channel with the tweeter placed behind the screen at ear level has made a big difference. Another option to is to use an in-wall speaker behind an AT screen.

As for Jamestown, you can call him and discuss screen size and AT screen material or buy the AT screen and frame or buy from his Ebay store:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Projector-Screen-120-Acoustically-transparent-Fixed-HD-/330792721297?pt=US_Projection_Screens_Material&hash=item4d04c85b91

Attached is some links to my screen and speakers behind my Jamestown screen. My wife preferred in-wall vs false wall, so I went that route but false wall does give you more speaker flexibility:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1341864/acks-media-basement-build/150#post_21514843
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1341864/acks-media-basement-build/150#post_21539532
Quote:
Until you guys started mentioning keystone in this thread I had never heard of it. I like the idea of avoiding it, but am curious how much degradation is usually experienced. My plan is to mount the PJ from a 7.5’ ceiling.
Thanks everyone for all the help!

It depends on the specific projector and individual. Some projectors are move forgiving with keystoning, and some are not. I have owned both smile.gif As a general rule, I try to avoid keystone where possible, and lens shift is a really nice feature when setting up a projector if you can get it. I have found this calculator to be very helpful and it has the Optoma projector you are considering in it:
http://www.eliteprojectorcalculator.com/
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Update: Wow, I am almost overwhelmed with all the decisions required on this project! I had an HT guy out to my house yesterday, and he thought I had a great space with which to work. One idea he had was a rear projection setup. I will have unfinished space behind my room, have kids who sometimes may run in front of the screen, and I also like the idea of minimizing PJ sound by having it in another room....

Dazian RP screens seem to be well reviewed, and not expensive at all. However, it looks like my projector budget would have to double to about $3k to accommodate a shorter throw projector. (I would probably have 11' to the rear wall).

Then I started to question everything. 3k for a projector, and lots of potential headaches getting a RP setup? Maybe I just get a 92" Mitushibi DLP (~$2600 shipped) and call it a day?

Any thoughts?

Warren, does your book cover rear projection?

My theater: Escape from New York theater build

My Gear:
Fusion 12 Tempests (LCR)
Mach 5 UXL 18 - Sealed Subwoofer
Axiom M3v4 & M2v4 Surrounds
Onkyo TX-NR818
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Of course, I may not be able to fit a 92" DLP down my basement steps!

My theater: Escape from New York theater build

My Gear:
Fusion 12 Tempests (LCR)
Mach 5 UXL 18 - Sealed Subwoofer
Axiom M3v4 & M2v4 Surrounds
Onkyo TX-NR818
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