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post #1 of 8 Old 12-03-2013, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
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My better half has finally given permission to seriously plan the basement and get started soon. So my plans of the the past couple years are getting back into business. I've learned a lot from the other builds and discussions here, so thank you all very much already.

The theatre is an important aspect of the basement, but will be just part of the overall open design. The attached design shows the general layout - any suggestions or comments are very welcome. The drawing is 2D, I haven't tried 3D yet.

General notes on the layout:
The second row is seating is raised.
Speaker placement will be a challenge in this design (especially side surrounds).
I will use an acoustically transparent screen 2.35, with three matching channels behind and two subs.
HT equipment will be below the stairs, in the area that bumps out toward the theater.
The two cross beams in the ceiling are shown, and present a challenging location of support poles (shown in the drawing moved 30 inches down the pole away from the theater). The poles haven't yet been moved, but can be for a few grand.
There will be a half wall behind the second row of seating, maybe a bar at the the top of it for a third row of seating for stools.
Current bar location is shown, but across from the exercise room may be a little odd.
9' Pool table and 10' shuffleboard are shown along with a cocktail table just for reference - location not fixed.
The play room as shown will eventually be a wine cellar when the kids grow up.
There is storage outside the play area as shown.
Ceiling height will be just under 8'8" in most areas. The beams are 7'10" and 8' clearance. There is a lot of HVAC and plumbing below the joists north of the northern-most beam that runs parallel to the beams that is also 8' up. So there will be a very wide area of the space at the lower height, including the northern-most beam and extending for 100" in width. The HVAC tapers from left to right along the length of the beam.

Wall framing inside the foundation walls is required in the theater area due to plumbing pipes inside the foundation walls.

The foundation walls are superior (pre-cast concrete and styrofoam with built-in studs), so I have some room to play with for speaker placement in-wall on one side of the theater and behind the screen.

That brings me to one big question: speaker placement.

I know I am sacrificing audio quality by not controlling the space with a dedicated theater room. I am concerned with audio quality. I am not concerned with isolation.

What considerations must be made for speaker placement? Where would you put the non-screen wall speakers? What would you change about the design?

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post #2 of 8 Old 12-03-2013, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are a few pictures of the basement as it stands so the layout restrictions make more sense:


Looking toward the theater area


Looking down the HVAC toward the storage/play area


Looking down the HVAC away from the storage/play area toward the window


Looking toward the stairs from the theater wall


Close-up of the theater wall


Close-up of the superior wall at the top
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post #3 of 8 Old 12-03-2013, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
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post #5 of 8 Old 12-03-2013, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmhouse View Post

My better half has finally given permission to seriously plan the basement and get started soon. So my plans of the the past couple years are getting back into business. I've learned a lot from the other builds and discussions here, so thank you all very much already.

The theatre is an important aspect of the basement, but will be just part of the overall open design. The attached design shows the general layout - any suggestions or comments are very welcome. The drawing is 2D, I haven't tried 3D yet.

I was going to type a response, but figured I'll save myself the trouble and just quote myself from my own build thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

But your comment did remind me of my very early thoughts (at least a decade before I built the new home) on what I wanted. A great layout (basement) was in an early issue of "Stereophile's Guide to Home Theater" mag, which was a non-dedicated theater space with pool table behind the seating, a game table off to one side, and a bar completing the square. I thought that was awesome! The basement part is obviously a non-starter for me in Houston, but I loved the concept.

In my previous house, I would have folks over for movies on "the big screen", which was in the family room of an open plan. Upstairs (also open to the rest of the house) was a small game room where I had my poker table, darts and a pinball machine. Kids would often head upstairs to play the pinball machine while we watched a movie downstairs. That really doesn't work. Noise from the pinball is way too distracting. Same is true for any billiard games. For movie watching (not the case for sports), you have to close off the area(s) if you intend multiple, simultaneous uses. So that's when I realized that the future was going to be a game room "area", with a closeby dedicated theater.

Your layout very much reminded me of the one I saw in Stereophile all those years ago, so I thought I'd give you the same advice - especially seeing the "play room" area off to the side. If you have any expectations of using this space for two simultaneous activities (guys / wives, adults / kids, whatever) with a movie being one of them, think about enclosing the theater...

The general "party" use the big open gameroom provides can still work - by adding a display or two on the walls and speakers in the ceiling - either duplicating video from the theater room or playing something different entirely. For any sports-watching event at my house, the TVs are all showing the event, and folks move between areas depending on their level of interest (and whether their glasses are full or empty).
Quote:
Speaker placement will be a challenge in this design (especially side surrounds).
I will use an acoustically transparent screen 2.35, with three matching channels behind and two subs.

The level of quality you're suggesting here begs for a dedicated room... "Isolation" is just as much about keeping noise OUT of the room (more, actually) as it is about keeping sound in the room... I'll stop now. biggrin.gif
Quote:
These poles can be moved 30 inches away from the seating area along the beam, but not sure it's worth a few grand to do this.

It probably is. Those darn poles are always in the wrong places, but if they could be moved to align with the return on the right side of the screen wall, they' be out of the way, and could easily be contained with a wall. (ok, ok, last time, I promise!!!)


Jeff


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post #6 of 8 Old 12-03-2013, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Jeff, Thanks for the reply. Prior to my wife's interest in moving forward on my ideas - a dedicated theater was my highest want. Still an option, but would have to sacrifice some space. I originally was planning a dedicated theater from front to back of the entire basement, with the seating reversed, screen wall in front of an IB sub system that would also provide the walk-through to the storage room. Only problems with the first great idea was the lack of the wine cellar / kids play area, and the limited open areas for games: shuffleboard and pool. My wife loves the idea of the open theater that is part of the open basement design. I do as well. But the other part of me loves the performance and enjoyment that can be gained by a dedicated theater.

I will consider enclosing the theater in the design that I already posted, but my wife will probably not support that idea unless we can leave some open area behind the theater for a game-room and access to the play room that exists in the attached design v1. An enclosed theater in this design with said limitations would put the back row of seating right against the wall, again presenting concerns. But I'm sure Erksine Group can design a great dedicated theater even with such limited space.

I knew as soon as someone said "why not a dedicated theater" my dream would refresh (in apparent direct conflict with my wife's).

Ah, the joys of still working on paper as they say.
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post #7 of 8 Old 12-03-2013, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmhouse View Post

I will consider enclosing the theater in the design that I already posted, but my wife will probably not support that idea unless we can leave some open area behind the theater for a game-room and access to the play room that exists in the attached design v1. An enclosed theater in this design with said limitations would put the back row of seating right against the wall, again presenting concerns. But I'm sure Erksine Group can design a great dedicated theater even with such limited space.

How much "dedicated" seating would you really need? Yes, a second row of recliners against the back wall would not be ideal. You could replace the second row with a table-height bar and chairs to get a different layout.

I completely understand not wanting to consume the entire basement with a dedicated theater at the expense of the other uses. But I do think you've got enough space for all of the above. Can you update your drawing (and embed the image - you'll get more views and replies) with dimensions of the whole space? Is the bar area where it's shown due to existing plumbing?

I'm thinking if anything you could steal a few more feet of depth in the theater, and move your games table to the area between the stairs and the theater, if necessary. That will depend on the dimension to make sure you have space for the billiard table. That same area could make a nice location for the bar, especially if you don't enclose the theater.
Quote:
I knew as soon as someone said "why not a dedicated theater" my dream would refresh (in apparent direct conflict with my wife's).
Ah, the joys of still working on paper as they say.

At least you knew what to expect! biggrin.gif You do have quite a nice blank canvas to work with, though - so definitely take all the input and ideas from everyone here...

Jeff


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post #8 of 8 Old 12-04-2013, 06:41 AM - Thread Starter
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I like the two rows of seating because I'll be doing a CIH setup (zoom method). So my optimal seating position will be back row for the 2.35 films, and front row for the HDTV football games. I updated the first post with a new design drawing- showing the poles moved away from the theater area with a measurement of where they are now. This allows a little more room in the theater area, and lessens the difference in distance between side surround channels and the main seating spot. I'm beginning to really like it this way. My best guess for speaker placement is shown here:



Front three channels behind the screen with a pair of subs.
Side surrounds between seating rows in-wall and across hall beneath stairway.
Rear surrounds on back wall across play area.
Another pair of balancing subs in the half-wall maybe?

The bar area is flexible - there is no plumbing rough in anywhere in the basement.
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