I originally planned to build a dedicated home theater in our basement (see this thread from 2009
However, life threw us a few curve balls since then. We had surprise twin girls (already had 2 daughters, so that makes 4!), and my mother-in-law and father passed away. So, this has dramatically shifted our focus for our plans for our basement (we now need more storage, we have to have a kitchen/kitchenette, full bath, bedroom, etc.).
When we found out about the twins, we finished off a 2-story family room to add a new room above, and in the process, I added in-wall/ceiling speakers and a projector for the family room (see my other thread
). This works ok, but, since it is so open and right below the girls' bedrooms, it leaves a lot to be desired. Lots of ambient light from both the front (morning) and back (afternoon/evening) of the house, and very little sound containment.
So, I am down to my one and only shot at getting a room that I can live with (i.e., listen at a "manly" volume at all hours, and watch during the brightest part of the day if I want). Because of the family situation, we only have one room left to work with, and we have to make the room a combination game room and home theater / entertainment room (see sketch below, room is top center):
There are several problems with using this room, however:
For one, I have to work around a large exterior window (this cannot
be removed - I didn't even ask, but it would never be permitted). In addition to partial indirect afternoon sunlight, it also poses a problem for sound containment. It also limits speaker placement (I will probably be using wall-mount Athena Point 5 MK2's for now).
Next, I have a door to the workshop that is not in the best location, but it is ok I guess (can't move it closer to the stairs b/c of a subpanel, but it can go the other way if needed).
Then, there is the current entry to the room from the common area at the bottom of the stairs. This is a 4.5' unframed opening without doors, currently. This obviously presents problems for sound containment and speaker placement, too.
I have been given an ultimatum from my wife, so, I have
to move on with finishing the basement. So, I am posting here to see if I can get ideas / opinions for layout, sound containment, etc.
1) As I see it, my best option would be to put the screen on the wall with the stairway, put up blackout blinds on the window that can be closed when watching, and add (double?) doors to the opening at the bottom of the stairs. My wife doesn't even want doors here, but I think the sound would travel right up the stairs if it were left open, so she has agreed to the doors if they can be left propped open when the theater isn't being used. One of the doors would probably cover/hit the front right speaker when open, and possibly the sub (I was thinking of building a box under the landing of the stairs), though. Another negative here is that the "seating" (in quotes b/c we will just be using couches
) will be in front of the windows.
2) I had also considered putting a motorized projector screen on the wall with the window, but that limits my center channel placement, and there is no great place for rear surrounds in that option (would probably have to go in-ceiling). This is the option that my wife likes best, but I don't... (also, the doors would probably be in the way of the seating in this option, I just realized)
3) A more radical option would be to remove the door to the workshop, and put the screen on that wall instead. I would probably have to remove the utility sink that I just put in under the stairs (ugh) to provide an alternative entry to the workshop (or just live with always coming in from the outside - ugh, too). I also have the problem of rear surround speaker placement here (because of the hall entry opening/doors - also would be a problem for the seating).
4) Not sure that the wall at the bedroom is a valid option for the screen, I would have to look at it closer. This actually corresponds to the wall that my "screen" is on in the room above (the Family Room that I mentioned earlier), so it might work I guess.
Finally, a general question about soundproofing: Would any soundproofing that I did in the room (DD/room-in-a-room/etc.) be totally negated by the big fat exterior window? I don't care about the sound getting outside as much as I do getting to other places in the house. Should I even bother with soundproofing the rest of the room? (That being said, this is in the basement, and there are no bedrooms on the 1st floor, so I can live with some noise.) I also have a large (10") ceiling return, and a gas pipe shutoff in the ceiling that I would need to provide access to.
Anyway, I know that was long and confusing, but I appreciate any thoughts or opinions that anyone has. Thanks!