New House with Media Room - advice for my goals - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-31-2013, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm in the process of scouring the threads in this forum and the HT Construction forum. I've also just purchased the HT Book from this site, so I'm looking forward to reading that as well. However, I figured I would post in case people would like to chime in on my particular situation and goals with advice or do's and don'ts.

Here's the situation: We are buying a new home - it's an inventory home, just past the foundation stage. No drywall. It has a dedicated media room in it. I have a few starting questions.

First - I see that many of you are master gurus on home theaters. I am not near that level, nor do I really want a home theater built to the level of the gurus. I'm just past "average joe" and probably in the "enthusiast" camp. I try to research and make good decisions (like choosing Ascend speakers with an Outlaw Subwoofer for my family room, instead of Bose or whatever). Having said that - I don't want to pour 10 grand in the ultimate THX certified theater replica or whatever. I want good quality sound and a nicely set up dedicated media room at a reasonable cost. Does that make sense? Room is 19'-10" x 14'-4".

So - some questions:
1. Is it generally advised to avoid in-wall mounted speakers? The model home has 7.1 all mounted in the wall. (Well - the 7 were, I don't remember where the sub was).
2. I don't think I want to build out a false front wall with perforated screen and hide the front speakers behind the screen, etc. Is that reasonable? For those that don't do behind the screen - do you opt for tower speakers or what? What do you recommend for center speaker placement?
3. For those experienced - do you recommend split-level floor? I've heard if it's all one level, you have great seating options with sectional couch, etc. But split level seems neat for second row behind the first. Thoughts?
4. The builder can add an optional "counter" in the back that you can supposedly sit on a stool and eat at. But I hear that most people (kids, etc) would prefer to just use the cushy seats/couch anyway - so that's not advisable. (And the extra room in the back corner can be used for a wet bar or something).

Those are some initial questions - any and ALL advice is welcome. I do recognize you probably get asked the same questions all the time - so I'm going to continue my research and reading and searching on here too - trying to "help myself" and not be spoon fed. Though --- for those willing - feed me all you want. smile.gif

Thanks,
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-31-2013, 02:14 PM
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Are you looking for a front projector system, or just a fancy TV room with a big flat screen? Makes a lot of difference on what we all say.
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post #3 of 11 Old 10-31-2013, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayn_j View Post

Are you looking for a front projector system, or just a fancy TV room with a big flat screen? Makes a lot of difference on what we all say.

Good question. I'm currently thinking a projector and large screen. Not a flat screen TV.
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-31-2013, 06:30 PM
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I'm glad you started this thread Firepr00f, as I'm pretty much in the exact same situation as you are in (except we are building new construction).
Our basement media room dimensions are similar to yours, and i'm also nowhere near guru-level of home theaters.
I'm still trying to figure out whether to put in a projector, or a larger (80" range) LED... can someone direct me to a thread that has pros/cons of each? thx.
good luck in your project, and will be following your progress on this thread!
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-01-2013, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
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I guess here's the pressing question at hand (assuming the above room with a projector setup, not a flat screen tv).

If I wanted to "grow into it" (i.e., maybe start on a budget, and later replace elements with more high end stuff, etc) - are there critical "design elements" I should consider NOW before they've even constructed the room. Things like additional wiring for future flexibility. Or certain stud layouts for potential in-wall stuff. Making a split level is easy now, versus ripping up carpet and doing it later. Etc. I don't know.

The main thing is - I don't know what I don't know. And I don't want to get into the house and have everyone tell me "Oh, you should've asked the builder to do X, Y, and Z in the construction phase because it would've saved you a ton of money versus doing after."

ANYTHING COME TO MIND?
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post #6 of 11 Old 11-01-2013, 12:27 PM
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The wiring is obvious. You really don't want your equipment up front, but the speakers need to be there. You need to run the speaker cables, and in wall is best. Decide now where the equipment will live and whether you want or need a built in cabinet for it. Again, that's something a lot easier to do now.

Just as important is to decide where and how you are going to hang your projector. You need to get power and signal to it. My room is similar in dimension, and I chose to place the projector on the rear wall on a shelf. I initially tried a ceiling mount and it kept getting bumped into. That is a big deal with seating.

Seating. The need for the second row is very dependent on how you intend to use it. How many guests, etc. A 20' deep room is about the minimum you want for a second row. Figure the riser is 6.5-7' deep and when you take another 18" for seat backs and head depth, you find that front row eyeballs are about 11' from the screen. That's what I have for 120" 16:9 and that seems to work for me.

I did not go with a riser. Instead, I am doing a narrow cabinet in back with a bar sink, and then a bar. There are ups and downs with the bar seating. It is not as comfortable and folks don'yt like to sit a whole movie, but you can run a laptop, write or whatever. Lighting can be placed on the bar that doesn't shine on the screen so you can do other activities. My kids use the theater for XBox, and the top is perfect for clamping a steering wheel for driving games.

You should also consider how the room is lit. Try to avoid multiple can lights on a single switch as the front ones will interfere with the screen. Sconces are nice, but again the wiring needs to be planned now.

There are a lot of options, and it comes down to personal choices.
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-01-2013, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Great reply! Just the kind of comments I'm looking for. Trying to make sure I'm on the right track.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayn_j View Post

The wiring is obvious. You really don't want your equipment up front, but the speakers need to be there. You need to run the speaker cables, and in wall is best. Decide now where the equipment will live and whether you want or need a built in cabinet for it. Again, that's something a lot easier to do now.
The plan will be to put the equipment in a closet adjacent to the room. All wires run to it. But should the front speakers be low and wires run to low on the wall? Or high for high wall mounted or in-wall fronts? The model has high in-walls all around. (I've not heard it though).
Quote:
Just as important is to decide where and how you are going to hang your projector. You need to get power and signal to it. My room is similar in dimension, and I chose to place the projector on the rear wall on a shelf. I initially tried a ceiling mount and it kept getting bumped into. That is a big deal with seating.
Power and signal shouldn't be an issue - builder as planning on that. I think ceiling height is enough not to worry about head bumps. Will have to check.
Quote:
Seating. The need for the second row is very dependent on how you intend to use it. How many guests, etc. A 20' deep room is about the minimum you want for a second row. Figure the riser is 6.5-7' deep and when you take another 18" for seat backs and head depth, you find that front row eyeballs are about 11' from the screen. That's what I have for 120" 16:9 and that seems to work for me.
Good considerations. Need to think this through. A friend has no second row...just a couch and two chairs. Really only seating for 4-5 which doesn't seem enough. We have a family of 4 and would love to seat another family of 4 with us. Hmmm...
Quote:
I did not go with a riser. Instead, I am doing a narrow cabinet in back with a bar sink, and then a bar. There are ups and downs with the bar seating. It is not as comfortable and folks don'yt like to sit a whole movie, but you can run a laptop, write or whatever. Lighting can be placed on the bar that doesn't shine on the screen so you can do other activities. My kids use the theater for XBox, and the top is perfect for clamping a steering wheel for driving games.
Good thoughts here too. I like hearing others' use cases.
Quote:
You should also consider how the room is lit. Try to avoid multiple can lights on a single switch as the front ones will interfere with the screen. Sconces are nice, but again the wiring needs to be planned now.
Good thoughts. Two sconces on side walls I believe are included in the build already.
Quote:
There are a lot of options, and it comes down to personal choices.
Thanks again!

Other ideas and comments welcome!
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-01-2013, 07:48 PM
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I would definitely run Smurf Tubing or something similar and then larger diameter for the run from the cabinet to the projector. Will make world of different when changes come along. (4k, hdmi upgrade cables, etc).

I haven't regretted running them yet.


Generally you want your main speakers on the stage to be as close in height as possible. I learned that the hard way. Had the center above the screen and it was just too much of a height difference, could tell during panning in movies. Below the screen is much better looks and sound wise.

On your counter top behind the seating, I did this and it really is used as much as the comfy theater seats. Especially if you watch sports at all. If just movies-maybe I would skip.
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post #9 of 11 Old 11-03-2013, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuskerOmaha View Post

I would definitely run Smurf Tubing or something similar and then larger diameter for the run from the cabinet to the projector. Will make world of different when changes come along. (4k, hdmi upgrade cables, etc).

I haven't regretted running them yet.


Generally you want your main speakers on the stage to be as close in height as possible. I learned that the hard way. Had the center above the screen and it was just too much of a height difference, could tell during panning in movies. Below the screen is much better looks and sound wise.

On your counter top behind the seating, I did this and it really is used as much as the comfy theater seats. Especially if you watch sports at all. If just movies-maybe I would skip.

Good thoughts. Thinks. I'll put the tubing on my list and will also think more about the counter and how we are really likely to use the media room.
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-04-2013, 08:40 AM
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I agree on the low speakers, but if you do decide on the second row seating, make sure the speakers aren't blocked by the front row. I did run into a show home where everything was muffled in the second row, while the front row got blasted. Those home theater recliners are pretty good sound absorbers.
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post #11 of 11 Old 06-14-2014, 04:43 PM
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Firepr00f - any updates with your home theater?
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