The Gardner Cinema design thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 10-19-2008, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
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After reading this site religiously for 18+ months, I think it's time to start my theater build. I am currently unemployed so this is the perfect time to start a project like this; I have all the time in the world. I've looked at countless design/construction threads on here so I think I have a good design but I want some other opinions before I do something I regret later on. I am single and live alone so I don't have to worry about other people's desires and/or restrictions. I need to do a little cleaning of the basement and then I'll take some before pictures. I am working on finishing up a few other projects around my house but I will be ready to get started on this project in a few days.

Basics:

This is in the basement of my ranch house. I am not too worried about sound insolating this room. Being that I live alone, I am not so concerned if the entire house is vibrating, which I don't doubt that it will be. I am only concerned about keeping the sound inside the house. My neighbors are old and cranky. They've already called the cops on me once and I've only been here a little over year now.

Design:

First off, the two vertical walls in the middle of the design really aren't walls. They are just the outline of where the ceiling will be dropped down a foot or so to enclose the I' beam and HVAC ducting. Eventually I want to put a bar on the North-West corner of the room and maybe a poker table just south of that.

I am torn between having the AV closet under the stairs or between the top of the stairs and the right-channel speaker. Some more thought will need to go into that but I should have it figured out in a day or two. Thoughts and advice would be helpful and appreciated.

In the picture, I have a false wall for the screen. I think that design looks best, compared to the screen directly on the wall and the speakers in front of it, but I will lose some distance between the first row and the screen. I will probably end up with 9' from the first row.

I am going to build a movable riser for the second row. I don't know how high I want to make it but I need to keep it to the minimal because of short ceilings (~7'3).

Insulation:

I think I will keep this to a minimal compared to other designs. I am going with std 2x4 walls with 3.5 R13 insulation. In the ceiling I want to use some 10 R30 insulation. I am thinking that I will put some ~½ plywood on the ceiling for now and drywall it later on. I have a few projects upstairs that I will need basement ceiling access later on and plus extra material will help when I do finish off the ceiling. On the walls I plan on only a single layer of drywall.

I will work on the sound treatments on the wall and ceiling later on. I know this is a must but I need to keep the budget small for now.

Later on I want to get a heavy curtain ran between the two sides of the basement. Primarily for visual concentration when viewing movies but also to help keep the sound enclosed.

Electrical:

I remodeled most of the entire first floor of my house over the past year. In doing so I upgraded and put in a new electrical panel, 200A from 100A. I am completely comfortable with my electrical abilities so I will do all this work myself. Here are my thoughts on what I should run for the new space.

2 x 20A - AV closet
2 x 15A - Lights - This is probably a little on the overkill side but I hate dark basements. I plan on have plenty of can lights in many zones. I am thinking 4 rows of can lights with each row on its own zone.
3 x 15A - wall outlets - With this being a basement I figure I should account for a space heater or two at the extreme cases.

HVAC:

When they build my house I guess they had planned for the basement to be finished off some day. They already ran ducts for 3 supply vents and 2 return ducts. I think this will be sufficient for the area I am dealing with.

Speakers:

I have three of the KL-650-THX and four KW-120-THX so the front setup is done. The only question I have is what to do with the sides and rears. I have four of the KS-525-THX which are side channel speakers by design but how would they do as the rears? My choices are to have a full 7.1 with the rear speakers actually being side speakers or have two sets of sides with a 5.1 setup. Thoughts and suggestions?

Projector:

I don't have a projector yet. I am leaning towards an Epson with the current deals going on at VisualApex. I think either the 1080 or 1080UB is calling my name. Any thoughts on those models? Keep in mind I will have no windows to let light it. One of my friends has the Cinema 720 and I enjoy it. So I figure upping it to 1080 would only enrich the pleasure.

Equipment:

Denon 3806
(2)Crown XLS402 - I am not using these now and don't know if I will. I figure extra wattage on the fronts couldn't hurt.
Klipsch THX Ultra2 speakers
Samsung BR player
HTPC

Many thanks for reading this! Thoughts, comments, and ideas are much appreciated!!!!

-Greg Gardner


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post #2 of 33 Old 10-23-2008, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Somebody must have something to say. "You suck" at the least or "Looks like you're doomed for failure".

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post #3 of 33 Old 10-23-2008, 10:31 AM
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1 vote for doomed for failure. :-)

I read your post when it first came out and my general thought was.... what input is this guy looking for? You have so much info and it appears you have thought it through that I didn't see where there were any real questions to be answered.... other than "thoughts and opinions".

Take it as a good sign as get busy!

Bud

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2nd Run Cinema - A fabric frame theater
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post #4 of 33 Old 10-23-2008, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amdoverclocker View Post

Somebody must have something to say. "You suck" at the least or "Looks like you're doomed for failure".

Don't take it personally Greg. I felt the same way when I finally posted my build ideas. But here is what I chalk the lack of interest up to: 1) most of the guys in this thread have their favorite builds, and I think they mostly just subscribe to those. Along those lines, 2) there are soooo many of these new build threads that I would think it is exhausting to try and keep up with them all. So again, see #1. And 3) No offense, but I'm always struck by all the drawings, sketches, lay-outs, etc...and talk about plans. I'm as bad as anyone when it comes to asking stupid questions that I feel like I should be able to figure out myself, but I think the attitude around here, to an extent, is less talking, more HT'ing. As BudK said, what feedback are you looking for off of "I plan to do this"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amdoverclocker View Post

Speakers:

I have three of the KL-650-THX and four KW-120-THX so the front setup is done. The only question I have is what to do with the sides and rears. I have four of the KS-525-THX which are side channel speakers by design but how would they do as the rears? My choices are to have a full 7.1 with the rear speakers actually being side speakers or have two sets of sides with a 5.1 setup. Thoughts and suggestions?

As for your speaker question, even though I personally prefer dipole at the sides, and direct-radiating in the rear, I think your 4 dipole KS-525s are more than acceptable all the way around; some might even say preferable.

Don't get discouraged with your project. Take the first steps, make some progress, post some pix (there's nothing this thread likes better than pictures of your HT), and don't be afraid to ask questions. I had so little response in my build thread, I had to actually start posting my questions on their own, but some do chime in and for the most part it's a great community here.

Good luck,
CD

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. -Plato
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post #5 of 33 Old 10-23-2008, 10:56 AM
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You suck and are doomed to failure.

I don't think its a deal breaker, but the curtains you add won't really do much to contain the sound (high frequencies, I guess). Not that it matters too much in your situation. Your room response curve and acoustic considerations will need to be modeled based on the larger space.

Buy the projector last, as prices and tech get better and better.
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post #6 of 33 Old 10-23-2008, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Sounds good. If everything goes well I will be at Home Depot Saturday morning with a truck. Pictures soon.

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post #7 of 33 Old 10-23-2008, 11:18 AM
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Doomed for failure. Since you're using sub-par Klipsch speakers, it's going to sound like trash anyway. And using a 1080p projector? Please. How about coming back here when you have plans to actually go all out and do it right. And by that I mean nothing less than a full KLH or RCA speaker/receiver setup, a Betamax player and a Zenith cabinet TV. For music, it's essential that you get an 8-track player or a victrola. Anything less than what I have suggested is worthless trash and you might as well not even bother. Put your money into potatoes so you can weather the upcoming famine. Really, either way you go your screwed because your filthy felines are going to destroy all your new, highly desirable KLH speakers.
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post #8 of 33 Old 10-23-2008, 11:18 AM
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These build threads take awhile to gain interest - you'll be fine

I like your layout. Its a very similar dimension to my theater, so feel free to check out my thread if you're curious how things will look in a similar space.

I have some questions around the bathroom in the back. It looks like it is accessible from the theater? If so, do you know what wall your plumbing will be on? I have a drain pipe in the back of my theater. Everytime the toilet is flushed, you can hear the pipe draining even with 2 layers of drywall and insulation. My advice would be to push your plumbing to the back or right side wall in your diagram.
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post #9 of 33 Old 10-23-2008, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradg33 View Post

Doomed for failure. Since you're using sub-par Klipsch speakers, it's going to sound like trash anyway. And using a 1080p projector? Please. How about coming back here when you have plans to actually go all out and do it right. And by that I mean nothing less than a full KLH or RCA speaker/receiver setup, a Betamax player and a Zenith cabinet TV. For music, it's essential that you get an 8-track player or a victrola. Anything less than what I have suggested is worthless trash and you might as well not even bother. Put your money into potatoes so you can weather the upcoming famine. Really, either way you go your screwed because your filthy felines are going to destroy all your new, highly desirable KLH speakers.

Sigh.. this is one of my hilarious x-friends. Hes just sad because he lives in an apartment and can't turn his TV above a whisper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mn_hokie View Post

These build threads take awhile to gain interest - you'll be fine

I like your layout. Its a very similar dimension to my theater, so feel free to check out my thread if you're curious how things will look in a similar space.

I have some questions around the bathroom in the back. It looks like it is accessible from the theater? If so, do you know what wall your plumbing will be on? I have a drain pipe in the back of my theater. Everytime the toilet is flushed, you can hear the pipe draining even with 2 layers of drywall and insulation. My advice would be to push your plumbing to the back or right side wall in your diagram.

Well I am in luck. The "future bathroom" was once a fully functional bathroom that I just gutted. The toilet is plumbed on the opposite wall as the theater wall. So I am set there. Now that you bring that up, I will have a problem with drains. Just South of the door to outside on the East, I have a floor-to ceiling drain that is coming off of the kitchen(sink and dishwasher). How can I insulate that well enough so I don't have to worry about the water running down the pipe?

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post #10 of 33 Old 10-23-2008, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amdoverclocker View Post

Sigh.. this is one of my hilarious x-friends. Hes just sad because he lives in an apartment and can't turn his TV above a whisper.

This is completely and utterly false. I have no idea who this "Greg" fellow is, and I would never be associated with a person who would even consider posting this kind of thread without the pictures that I told him needed to accompany it.

That said, I have been trying to convince my non-friend Greg that he needs to go with the best projector he can afford. He's teterring between the 720p and the 1080p. He already has a BR player, thus he's entered the 1080p realm. Why would he buy a projector that won't even take advantage of the BR player? If he was still on strictly DVD, I might have a different opinion. Anyone care to weigh in on this, particularly with regard to a little "future-proofing?"

Another area upon which we have had some discussion is the screen wall. After perusing many of the build threads, I have determined that the screen walls that have SOMETHING on them other than the screen (be it shelves, columns, etc.) look better. His room isn't big enough to pull off columns, and there is concern that shelves will vibrate since the speakers will be directly behind them. Perhaps someone can give him some other ideas for either functional or decorative items that could be used to break up the monotony of the screen wall.
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post #11 of 33 Old 10-23-2008, 11:44 AM
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I have lots of electrical experience, too, and some audio. I would run all 20A circuits for the outlets and heaters. I have nine cans on one circuit (temporarily) and the 1000W dimmer can get too hot to touch. So four separate light zones sounds good.

Audio-wise, you will have some long speaker runs regardless of position. I would put the AV closet near the projector because video is harder to run long cleanly than audio is.

I didn't fully understand your left wall in the drawing. Is that space completely open to the theater? If so, the asymmetrical volume will make balancing the audio much harder. Walling off the poker room and putting the AV closet in the wall toward the back of the theater might work well (or in the past/future bathroom )

Other than that, Good luck. I am several months from my own start. So I'll keep checking in.

~Ken
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post #12 of 33 Old 10-23-2008, 11:55 AM
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720P is still HD and your better off with HD source vs. non HD like DVD. There are some good deals to be had with 720P projectors. Having said that though, there is also good deals to be had with 1080P projectors. Now with third generation models coming out and pricing dropping you might as welll go 1080P if you can swing it..
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post #13 of 33 Old 10-23-2008, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are some before pictures:






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post #14 of 33 Old 10-26-2008, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I started the project today. I've got the wall at the end of the stairs framed and I'm moving on the to stairway wall. I don't think this will take me very long to finish. My goal is to be 100% framed by Wednesday night. Then its on to electrical. I should have that done by Friday night(??). Then its on to LV wiring. That will only take a few hours I bet. Insulation will take a day or two so maybe Sunday night I'll be set for drywall/sound material. I wish I could sub the drywall out but my budget doesn't include that. So drywall will take 3 days to hang(Slow pace....I don't enjoy drywall at all). Mud, tape, and sand will take 5-6 days(???). Next would be paint, trim, and doors and then I'm mostly done. So I'm looking at a little over 2 weeks so far. Plus carpet and equipment install. I think carpet will have to wait a while. I probably should have a job before I go spending a few thousand on carpet.

I'll post some pictures tomorrow afternoon.

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post #15 of 33 Old 10-27-2008, 05:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amdoverclocker View Post

So I'm looking at a little over 2 weeks so far. Plus carpet and equipment install. I think carpet will have to wait a while. I probably should have a job before I go spending a few thousand on carpet.

I'll post some pictures tomorrow afternoon.

I was gonna say when do you work and sleep in between???
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post #16 of 33 Old 10-29-2008, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Just an idea but what about concrete backer board around drain pipes? I have a 3" copper pipe that goes from floor to ceiling that I need to quiet. So what about putting 1/2" concrete board around it. That about as dense of material I can think of. Thoughts?

I know I need to post some pictures. I'm just about done framing. I think I can muster the last bit out tonight.

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post #17 of 33 Old 10-29-2008, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
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post #18 of 33 Old 10-31-2008, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I'm running a little behind. The framing is about 98% done. The rest I need help on. I think I will get that help on Saturday. I have started running the electrical wiring now. Its going to be a pain. I am adding 6 new circuits.

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post #19 of 33 Old 11-06-2008, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
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So I'm a little more behind. But not by too much. I am 100% done with the framing, electrical(17 can lights, 9 switches, and 10 outlets for a total of ~800'), coax(4 runs), cat6(7 runs) and conduit for speaker wiring. I forgot to buy some big conduit for the projector video though. I will probably get that tomorrow. I will post some pictures after I finish for the night.

Keep in mind this is a one man project.

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post #20 of 33 Old 11-06-2008, 05:19 PM
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Greg, Some suggestions:

You really should take the extra time and do some sound proofing, such as wisper clips for the ceiling and or GG with another layer of DW. The speakers are serious and will shake the chit out of your house.

Dipole on the surrounds, Direct for the rears - don't use those dipoles in the rear, it will screw up the sound field back there when they fire - sell those extra 2 KS-525-THX surrounds and get two KL-525-THX for the rear.

You also need to do some acoustical treatments, check out the master thread!

And I would not recommend those Crown Amps. Check out The Sound Broker, he can help you GREATLY in this area.

Ohh, welcome the insanity!

Ty

I'm going to give you a little advice. There's a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball.
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post #21 of 33 Old 11-07-2008, 08:38 AM - Thread Starter
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"You really should take the extra time and do some sound proofing, such as wisper clips for the ceiling and or GG with another layer of DW. The speakers are serious and will shake the chit out of your house."

I have no desire to sound proof the room seeing as I am the only one in the house. If the theater is being used, chances are I am the one sitting in front of it.

"Dipole on the surrounds, Direct for the rears - don't use those dipoles in the rear, it will screw up the sound field back there when they fire - sell those extra 2 KS-525-THX surrounds and get two KL-525-THX for the rear."

How will they screw up the sound field in back. I was just looking around on Klipsch's website and found this picture(below). See the rear and side speakers? They are both the KS-525s. So I'm assuming Klipsch says that design is okay if they post the picture on their website. Thoughts???


"You also need to do some acoustical treatments, check out the master thread!"

I have read that thread. Most of it is geared towards sound proofing the room. I may end up putting double drywall on the length side on the theater but that's probably it. The front and back walls will have Quiet Brace on them. Other then that, I don't know what else I would do. And no, I have no desire to spend $100 on a piece of 2'x2' first reflection material. I'll pass on that.

"And I would not recommend those Crown Amps. Check out The Sound Broker, he can help you GREATLY in this area."

Not recommend them because they are worse then the Denon 3806 or because there are other amps that are better? I already have the amps so Its not like I am spending any money to get those. My choices are to use the 3806 for all 7 speakers or the Crown amps for the front 3 and the 3806 for the other 4. With that in mind, what would you say to do?

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post #22 of 33 Old 11-09-2008, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I decided to move the bedroom doorway out and get rid of the hallway before the bedroom. So now its door --> walk down hallway --> bedroom vs walk down hallway --> get to door --> then bedroom.


Picture of new doorway. The pile of crap was the bathroom wall I took down(the showed leaked before I bought the house and rotted out all of the wood, so I replaced it).


Most of the ceiling insulation is up now.


Well insulation goes up tomorrow. I still have a few odds and ends to finish before drywall but its getting closer.

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post #23 of 33 Old 02-09-2009, 06:47 PM
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"Dipole on the surrounds, Direct for the rears - don't use those dipoles in the rear, it will screw up the sound field back there when they fire - sell those extra 2 KS-525-THX surrounds and get two KL-525-THX for the rear."

How will they screw up the sound field in back. I was just looking around on Klipsch's website and found this picture(below). See the rear and side speakers? They are both the KS-525s. So I'm assuming Klipsch says that design is okay if they post the picture on their website. Thoughts???

---------------
Most post production houses (at least for home theater re-mixing) like Mi Casa actually recommend monopole speakers (matching if at all possible) all around rather than the traditional dipole speakers of the old Dolby ProLogic days (when the surround channel was mono and derived from the front channels).

You get your ambience cues from the mix rather than the speaker. If the monopoles are placed correctly you will get a seamless sound all around the room and still have the directional panning cues that you hear in real life (real life is not diffuse). Think of the position of the speakers as placed on a circle.

That's side surrounds at about 92 degrees (just slightly behind your head when seated and not right at your ears since there is no null point from monopole speakers; you don't want them at exactly 90 degrees) and back surrounds at about 150 degrees. The center speaker is at 0 degrees. Front left and rights at about 30 degrees.

Obviously, the side surround placement is determined in part by where your rows end up being (and if you're going to have multiple side surrounds for each row). This is just a general rule.

At the very least replace your back channel speakers with the KL-525-THX monitors. You'll get a much better surround sound field.

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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post #24 of 33 Old 07-26-2009, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Well I am getting back to finishing this off. Its been a crazy last couple of months. I am over 50% done with the drywall. on the rear wall I am putting up a layer of Quiet Brace and then drywall. It has helped a bunch on the HVAC. I think for now Im just going to put up two layers of Quiet Brace on the front wall in hopes my projector comes soon. I will then make a false wall so it wont be visible anyways. Pictures to come soon...

PS - I put a thread on the FS forum in hopes of finding someone to trade with for the KL vs KS speakers.

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post #25 of 33 Old 05-28-2010, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Well its been a long time comin but I am very close to the end. The biggest part of what I have left to do is the trim. But I can't do that until I get a new compound miter box saw. The one I have is cheap and no longer cuts any kind of precise angle. So until I get another ~$400 for a good one, I'm at a stopping point.

I ended up getting an Epson 8100 and love it so far. My Center Stage XD material will be here early next week, lets hope!

Fully clothed front wall, minus the screen...

Naked speakers!

Naked speakers and false wall!

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post #26 of 33 Old 05-29-2010, 05:37 AM
 
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Be sure to provide sound proofing on the front wall behind your speakers. I use Center Stage XD fabric in my screen. I had an existing frame that I retro fitted for this using "Screen Tight" from Lowes. It is cheap, works well and provides a tight wrinkle free screen. Build your wood frame with a couple of vertical supports. Cover frame with velvet. Attach Screen Tight to the back of the frame. Lay the Center Stage Fabric on top (angled) of the back side of the frame. Use screen bead to install the fabric to the frame. This is just like installing a screen for a window or screened in porch. Any area that has a wrinkle, pull loose and roll bead in place again. After screen is in place and wrinkle free, install Screen Tight Cap and cut off excess screen fabric. Here is a thread where I converted my screen. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...rt+elunevision

By the way you should have a nice theater when you are done, but do add some sound treatments. You need some at the first reflection points and bass traps in the corners. DIY sound treatments is not that expensive. It will make a huge difference. A so so set of speakers in a good room beats a good set of speakers in a bad room every time.
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post #27 of 33 Old 05-29-2010, 07:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, already got all that covered. The screen is already built so I just need my XD now. Soon I hope. On the front wall there is a layer of DW and two layers of Quiet Brace. I've never been able to find out just how much that will help but I'm sure it can't hurt. http://www.temple-inland.com/PDF/Fiberboard/qbsound.pdf

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post #28 of 33 Old 05-29-2010, 08:05 AM
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Do you have any absorption on the front wall behind the speakers? I would think floor to ceiling superchunk bass traps in the corners (DIY/cheap) and 4" OC 703 on the rest of the wall would be a minimum - and that's before considering that you have four THX subs.

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post #29 of 33 Old 05-29-2010, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Keep in mind I'm still unemployed. I had to sell and bunch of old computer crap to buy my projector. I will get around to that in time.. or if I get a job. I would rather have a theater with 'okay' sound rather then a well treated room with no picture... in time all will be well.

It looks like its going to be $500(plus shipping if I cant find it locally) for all of the OC703 I need.

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post #30 of 33 Old 05-29-2010, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amdoverclocker View Post

Keep in mind I'm still unemployed. I had to sell and bunch of old computer crap to buy my projector. I will get around to that in time.. or if I get a job. I would rather have a theater with 'okay' sound rather then a well treated room with no picture... in time all will be well.

It looks like its going to be $500(plus shipping if I cant find it locally) for all of the OC703 I need.

Good choice!

Mike

Where am I with my HT build?

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