I would love to get some feedback on the design of the theater area of our basement project. There will likely be some ambient light during sports viewing and the ability to go completely black for movie viewing. Currently it is an unfinished basement and I will be DYI over the winter months. Nothing has been built/purchased yet so if there are specific suggestion about alternatives to the electronics that I currently plan to use that would also be appreciated.
Projector: BenQ w1070 (EDIT-purchased a Panasonic AE8000 projector instead).
Speakers: 5.1 (Edit - 11.2): three Polk RTI-265 (EDIT-purchased pre-owned Klipsch RF-25 and RC-35, replacing tweeters) in-wall for the front stage with the R and L in the short angled walls and the center behind a DYI AT screen if I can find one large enough (Spandex?) (Edit - built in center channel below a DYI flexi-white painted with SF v2.5 3.0), Polk PSW 505 subwoofer (Edit - DYI marty sub x2 with Stero Intergity 18" drivers), and probably just use a pair of Polk Monitor 30's I already have for the rear (Edit - RBH in-wall and in-ceiling for high front surrounds, regular surrounds plus two zones for the videogame and pool table areas.)
AVR: Dennon AVR E400 (Edit - holding out for X4000 to drop in price). Plus inuke 3000DSP amp for subwoofers.
To give some scale to the picture the viewing distance will be about 12' from the two sofas, and the screen size will be about 165" diagonal, mainly since we are used to watching a 150" screen at a 11' viewing distance in our family room so I wanted to go a little bigger this time. The family room setup we currently use is an Optima HD65 projector with elitic motorized screen (1.1 gain HC grey I believe) with Polk RTI 70's and CS400I center. I am trying to upgrade the AV a bit this time around but still have a tight budget to get the whole basement finished.
After laying out the the shower in the small bathroom we found we could push back the angled walls and gain about 7" in circulation space on each side between the angled walls and the sofa. Updated views are attached. I also did a little more research on screen material and found that Carl's Place SheerWeave is an acoustically transparent fabric that comes in large enough sizes. I am not sure about the fabric texture though.
Thanks Dradius! I was planning on getting a Polk 505 12" subwoofer for bass but I recently saw a couple of very negative posts so I am not sure now. I understand that the subwoofer does not need to match the rest of the speaker system. Any suggestions? I would consider a DYI Sub or two maybe build something into the angled walls?
I was told my budget is 'as low as possible' which I consider to be as low as possible to achive a sound as good or better than what we are used to (old polk system is described in first post). I have a speaker budget penciled in at $1,000 and that is for R, L, C, and the sub. I have never built speakers before but I am intrigued by stetching my $$ a little bit further with a DYI inwall kit.
(Sorry, just now realizing you mentioned the Polk sub in your OP. I read it a couple of times but my brain didn't want to pick up on that part lol)
Thanks Dradius. After more research I was afraid that I was undersizing the sub portion of the speaker system so now I am looking at a pair of this DYI set http://www.parts-express.com/dayton-audio-15-dvc-subwoofer-and-cabinet-package--300-7098 and building them into an alcove in the angled walls flanking the seating.
Be sure to get a parts-express coupon code too, as I'm pretty sure they are easy to find and can save a couple bucks
I have not purchased a sub yet, thanks for the advice on the better option, I will definitely consider that. I may just start with one and see if I really need to add the second one.
I did score a pair of Klipsch RF-25 floor standing speakers and an RC-35 center speaker from craigslist. I set them up alongside my Polks for a few scenes of Star Trek and they were pretty comparable, I thought the horns and strings in the soundtrack were a little more pronounced in the Klipsch. Older speakers but I think that they will be a much more legitimate front stage than the in-walls I was considering.
That makes perfect sense to just start with one sub. I have two 19" drivers in 6' tall sonotubes, so I get ahead of myself sometimes when it comes to bass. Hey look at it this way, if you buy one Titanic for $240 you're "saving" $160 vs. buying two of the other driver kits
You have a decision to make when it comes to powering it... do you pay ~$380 for something like a Behringer EP4000 that will power it with no problem AND push a second sub if you ever add one, or do you pay ~$250 for a plate amp that will power it, but won't push a second driver? If you go the plate amp route then add another driver later on, you end up with $500 in 2x plate amps that probably aren't as good as a $380 Behringer. Another option is to scratch the Titantic and go back to your original Dayton driver, which doesn't handle as much power, so you could get away with a cheaper plate amp and cheaper driver/box kit. Like most things, it comes down to how much money you want to spend.
1x $200 kit
1x $210 500w Dayton plate amp
So $410 gives you a decent little sub kit that will be easy to build. Will definitely provide some bass, but whether or not you'll be satisfied is up to your tastes.
1x $240 Titanic
1x $380 EP4000
So $620 gives you a really solid driver and amp, room to expand to another driver for an additional $240, but the hassle of building the boxes (of course it isn't a hassle for everyone, I enjoy it)
2x $200 kits
2x $210 500W Dayton plate amps
So $840 gives you a couple decent subs with fairly nice plate amps. Easy to build using the kits, no hassle.
2x $240 Titanics
1x $380 EP4000
So $860 gives you two nice drivers with a great amp. Will shake your room for sure.
I will be using a 148" scope screen and with my calculations it looked like I need at least a 1.8 gain screen. I am getting the Da-lite high power because of that. This is with the JVC RS46 projector.
Thanks for the amp and sub options, I think I have decided not to build the sub into the walls so I have some time to consider which direction to go. I had liked the idea of having all the speakers built in but have read that you should keep the sub position flexible to find the best spot (or spots) for your room. FYI the parts express rep recommended the SPA 1000 or SA 1000 for the Titanic and said that they should have a knock down box for the new driver soon.
pcarfan, That sounds like a great projector. I have changed the screen design a bit. With the larger front speakers I did not want to waste all the space behind an acoustically transparent screen. I just don't have the room depth to move the wall out that far. Instead the plan is to have the tower speakers behind AT panels on each side of the screen and the center in the 'stage' below the screen and the 'stage' will also have an AT front. The screen will be curved drywall 13' wide and 7'4" tall 180" dia. (16:9). The BenQ w1070 has a manual focus without the lens memory like your JVC so I really don't see me changing between 16:9 and 2.39:1 formats. I will just live with the black bars. I was a bit concerned with an image that large and the need for a high gain screen. Based on the projector central calculator to get an image brightness of 12 fl I would need a 1.2 gain screen at a minimum. I need to make it over to the DYI screen forum to ask the paint gurus what mix they recommend.
The Dayton plate amps are probably fine. I don't know. Maybe they are awesome? But consider that Parts Express is the Dayton dealer and I'm sure they make a lot more from selling a Dayton amp then they would selling a Behringer or another brand.
If you're only 11' away from the screen I think a 15' diag screen is probably too much. I would definitely read up more about that before you start building it. My old theater had a 10' diag screen, I sat ~13' away, and it was right at the edge of being too big. Think of it like sitting in the front row of a movie theater where you have to move your eyes/head to different areas of the screen to follow what is going on, vs. sitting in the middle rows where you can just look straight ahead and see the whole screen without moving your eyes around to follow what's going on. (Hope that makes sense)
I do realize the screen size and viewing distance is not within recommended geometry. I am going for an immersive experience but if I need to dial back the size a bit to ensure an acceptable picture quality I will consider that. I am getting similar advice on the DYI screen forum. The new viewing distance will be at 12' and I know from experience that my family does not have any problems following the action on a 150” screen at that distance. If I am compromising picture quality by trying to go too large then that is something else to consider though. I think I may also need to look at spending a bit more on a projector too to get to higher lumens.
We made some good progress framing the walls of the room over the long holiday weekend. Also I was able to upgrade my projector choice when I picked up a Panasonic AE8000 on a black Friday deal! As far as the design, I think I am going to ditch the curved screen idea and stretch a flexi-white type material over a frame then paint for a DYI high gain screen.
Entrance and future bar/kit:
view of screen wall from left:
view of screen wall from right:
Looking good so far! Looks like your making good progress.
I am considering a constant screen height setup with black bars at the sides when watching 16:9 content and filling the screen for 2.39 content. Looking at a 2.39 aspect screen that is 60" H x 143" W (155" dia.) and using the lens zoom memory to display 16:9 content at 60" H x 107" W (122" dia.) The projector central calculator puts the throw for that size at 16'-6" with the 2.39 at 1.95x zoom and the 16:9 at 1.46x zoom. With a 1.4 gain screen the image brightness comes out at 20 flL. Is that bright enough? Is that too big for a 12' seating distance? I don't know for sure. I am not sure what mode they calculator is using, probably best or normal, so if I use dynamic for 3d maybe it is bright enough. FYI, You can get a piece of flexiwhite that is 63"x151" for $89.
We have made some progress on the construction side and design side. The plumbing rough-in is complete and I have moved on to building ceiling bulkheads. The ceiling plan is attached below, there are some areas of ceiling tile and some ares of drywall ceiling. Instead of a curved screen we are doing a elliptical coved ceiling with LED up lights. The ellipse was generated with some math and string and after tracing on the plywood with a sharpie was cut out with a jigsaw. I will post more photos when it is up.
Dradius, as far as the sound system design I am now leaning towards two Dayton 15" Ultimax with the box kit ($260 each) and power them wired in series with an EP2000 ($299). This will be next to the front R and L tower speakers in the 'stage' which will have plywood and drywall on top and speaker cloth on the front face. I considered building a pair of ported boxes since I have the space in the 'stage' for a grater volume box than the kits but I don't think I have the time and experience to design and build boxes, plus it sounds like the sealed boxes are preferred by some. For a main AVR I am now leaning toward the Denon 2313 or x3000 for the audessy XT and dual HDMI outputs, just looking for a factory re-furb or good sale.
I'm redoing my subs and have been reading about sealed vs. ported lately. I watched some youtube reviews/tests and one guy summed it up well: ported for rap and dubstep, sealed for rock, pop, and both will work with movies. Not sure how true that is but it seems about right from what I've read. I completely understand going with a kit and not wanting to dedicate a bunch of time to designing and building boxes. I'm kind of in the same boat.
The more reading I do the more I realize I don't know about subwoofers. I think I am going to post over on the DYI sub forum and see if they can help. I downloaded the winISD software to try and design a subwoofer package for my specific space but I could not figure out how to use it. I will probably still go with the sealed box kits which are only $60 if you by them with the driver, unless they say that for my volume of room I need the ported boxes.
I installed our new AE 8000 projector in our family room until the basement is complete. Watched the Lone Ranger in 2D and Life of PI in 3D. I am going to love this projector.
We got the elliptical ceiling cove hung yesterday. It is 8 feet to the lower portion which will match the drop ceiling height of the rest of the basement and 8'-6" to the center portion. Color changing LED tape will sit on a special drywall trim that will ring the perimeter of the ellipse.
Thanks guys for the encouragement. Spaceman, your ceiling was one of my inspirations to 'step it up' and come up with something cool for the ceiling.
This is the latest design for the speakers, the two large boxes facing the center channel are DIY 11 cubic feet ported subs (Martysubs). I need to finalize my in-wall in-ceiling speaker layout. I am leaning towards regular side surrounds in-ceiling at either side of the seating and doing the the front highs or front wides that Audyssey DSX allows instead of the rear surrounds.
Happy New Year!
And a Behringer iNuke NU1000 for $200
4 12" subs & 1000 watts for less than $500. Just build the boxes and you are set. I cant believe you will can find better for the price. You can also buy a better quality amp for not much more if you don't like the NU1000
Neverfinished94, thanks for the suggestion on the DYI subs. I really appreciate an option that is more affordable, over on the DYI sub message board they are suggesting two 18" drivers at over $400 each. I just don't know about the four 12" vs larger drivers. I am coming from a single 10" Polk sub and I have never heard four 12" or two 18". I found some research below that verifies the multiple subwoofers is better but falls short of recommending four 12" over two 15" or 18".
study on benefits of multiple subs:
study comparing 4 8", two 12" and one 15":