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post #1 of 419 Old 11-19-2008, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
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EDIT for HT intro screen shot on 2/26/10


On the advice of many on this forum, I’ve decided to start a thread to track my progress and document the experiences as I build a small home theater. As a professed novice I haven’t mastered many of the skills required to “build” a really nice room, but I’m giving it my best effort. Which means I spend a lot of time just staring at the walls. Here is a Sketchup drawing of what I plan to do:



From the rear wall to the screen the HT room is about 18.5’ long. It is 11’ wide for about 8’ from the screen wall and widens to 13.5’ at the seating area. The ceiling is 8 feet. I'll place the equipment rack underneath the stairs and I’ll access it from behind the seating area.

The room is below the children’s bedrooms so sound isolation is my primary concern. In fact, I plan to use as much of my current equipment as possible and use the majority of my budget for isolation and acoustics. I plan to use Dri-Core for the subfloor and to stagger stud one wall (the rest are concrete, all will be DD+GG) and decouple the ceiling with (RSIC, DD, GG). I also plan to use Integrity Gasket.

I’m planning two rows with a riser for seating. The first row will be about 10.5’ from the screen and the second row will be 16.5’. Based on seating and room dimensions, I’m tentatively planning for a 110”-115” wide scope screen. I plan to use a Grafik Eye (3106 or QS) for lighting control.

Other than research and planning, the only tasks we’ve completed are to clear out the room, secure a building permit, HVAC rough in and recently, electrical rough in, so this thread is beginning at the…beginning. We started out wanting to clean up the front wall of our current family room set up, but after many months of research, we decided to go with a dedicated room. The room will be in the basement. A few calls for estimates to general contractors only stoked my already burning desire to DIY.

I wanted to thank all the people who have inspired me to act on my desire for a home theater by detailing their own experiences. I really appreciate the advice from those that have responded to my questions and posts.

Oh yeah, the name of our theater is Lewis Family Cinema. It is a very fitting name given the tremendous involvement and support from everyone.

EDIT for INDEX on 09/03/09
Even with all of the pictures, my thread isn’t that large, but I decided to add an index and details section to make it easier to search the pics and read. Thanks to chinadog, jamis, oman, guam and queendvd for the idea. I hope it’s helpful.

INDEX – last edited on 2/26/10
1. Building Permit, HVAC and Electric Rough In
2. Low Voltage/Conduit Plan
3. Frame Electric Breaker, Telecom Panels, LV Rough In, Integrity Gasket and Insulation
4. RSIC Clips, Hat Channel and Sump Pump Rerouting, Battery Back-up and Alarm
5. Solid core doors, Jamb extensions and the 1st layer of drywall
6. Sound Isolation Boxes for the screen wall utility light and smoke detector and GG and 2nd layer of drywall
7. Rope caulk and spray insulation
8. Soffit construction and pillar framing
9. Projector Box and Lighting Plan
10. Drywall complete…almost
11. Drywall corner bead
12. Mud, tape & texture by a Pro…Drywall is finally complete
13. Paint time, Part II
14. Sconces go up, Dri Core goes down and Paint time, Part III
15. Grafik Eye QS install and…
16. Lights!
17. Paint time, Part IV…finally
18. Start of Riser Build
19. Start of Stage Build
20. Stage work: sump access, sub platform, drain access
21. Stage finished, riser lighting
22. Riser finish: LV conduit runs, stuffing, topping
23. Trim and stain testing
24. Trim install
25. Carpet install
26. Crown install
27. Solid Core Doors and Ceiling Rope Light install
28. Minimalist Screen wall
29. Chairs are in
30. DIY 111.5” Wide Top Hinged 2.35:1 Scope Screen Build
31. False Wall/Proscenium Panel Build and Install
32. Screen wall acoustic treatment with acoustic foam wedges
33. Equipment Rack
34. Screenwall Shots
35. BD and HD Screen Shots
36. Finished room shots
37. eD DIY P7S-650 sub build


Finished Room Details
Dimensions – 11’ W (13’ 2” W in seating area) x 18’ 6” L x 7’ 9” H with 39” behind false wall

Audio
Fronts – Paradigm Monitor 9
Center – Paradigm Monitor 9
Surrounds – Axiom QS4 (4)
Subwoofers – epik Empire (4)

Video
Projector – JVC RS25
Screen – DIY Seymour AV 2.35:1 AT 111.5” wide

Electronics Rack (top to bottom)
AVR – Sony STR-DA3400ES
HDTV – DirecTV HD20
Media Player – Oppo BDP-83
Power Center – MonsterPower HTS2600
ButtKicker Amp – ButtKicker BKA 1000N (2)
7-Channel Amp – Emotiva UPA-7

Accessories
Seating – 8 Berkline 13175s in Brown Leather w/ BKs
Equipment Rack – Studiotech PA – 6 Rack
Remote Control – Logitech Harmony 900
Lighting Control – Lutron Graphik Eye QS – 6 w/ entrance switch
Acoustic Treatment – Foam Factory acoustic wedges and bass traps

Current pictures added 09/20/09





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post #2 of 419 Old 11-19-2008, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are some images of the unfinished space.

Front of HT


Back of HT - Doorway leads to utility room


Beginning to remove rigid duct work


Replaced with acoustic flex duct


Equipment will go here under stairs


Cold air return added


Electrical rough in


More electrical wiring


Drops - considering I didn't know how to wire a couple of months ago, I'm reasonably pleased with the rough in

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post #3 of 419 Old 11-19-2008, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Got the idea for the staggered stud wall from guamguam. Used 1x's and 2x4s to add an inch of space to decouple the HT stud wall:


At this point, I’m really excited about everything except the mud and tape. After learning to wire and completing the rough-in, I literally feel like I can do anything. That is as long as there is no time clock. Looking ahead, my next big puzzle is how to design/build the screen wall to provide easy access to the breaker panel and sump pump or if I should build a second door to access the area.

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post #4 of 419 Old 11-19-2008, 08:21 PM
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Is your main entrance going to be behind the seating, or up in front? Where will your projector be? How big is that screen?

Paul Meyer
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post #5 of 419 Old 11-19-2008, 08:50 PM
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Go man go!!! You can do anything you put your mind to, when in doubt, this is the perfect place to get guidance.

Oh and if you are stressing the mudding... hire it out. It will save you months of dinking around and save your lungs!

I am such a NOOB at A/V..
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post #6 of 419 Old 11-19-2008, 09:04 PM
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curious why you didn't go for flex duct on the return. That's a pretty big conduit to the rest of the house.
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post #7 of 419 Old 11-19-2008, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmeyer View Post

Is your main entrance going to be behind the seating, or up in front? Where will your projector be? How big is that screen?

The main entrance is up front. The door in the back leads to the utility room and storage - the equipment will be here. The projector will be mounted near the back wall (about 16-17 feet from the screen). The white portion of the screen represents a 100" 16x9 screen. The black masking on the sides equals the dimensions of a 115" 2:35 screen.

Thanks

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post #8 of 419 Old 11-19-2008, 09:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Staffy,

After electrical, I do feel like I can do anything. Some guys say its really easy, but until you do it yourself, its like trying to put a man on the moon. You're right, the mud and tape will be a check that I'm happy to write.

Great thread you have going - makes me laugh out loud.

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post #9 of 419 Old 11-19-2008, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

curious why you didn't go for flex duct on the return. That's a pretty big conduit to the rest of the house.

Rookie/Novice mistake. I noticed it when I stepped back to congradulate myself on a job well done. I have some flex duct left that I can replace a portion of it with. But, is there anything I can do deaden the vent without tearing it out? Or, is tearing it out and using the flex the best option?

Thanks

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post #10 of 419 Old 11-20-2008, 06:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjlewie View Post

Rookie/ I have some flex duct left that I can replace a portion of it with. But, is there anything I can do deaden the vent without tearing it out? Or, is tearing it out and using the flex the best option?

Replacing the round duct with the flex will help. Replacing with true acoustical duct better. You could also get some JM Linacoustic RC and line the inside of the duct work.

Lastly it looks like you are planning on using the wall cavity as part of your vent system. If you would make it deeper you could line the box with Linacoustic as well turning it into a duct muffler. To do this you would need to build the box deeper, but you have the room. You could attach 2 inch thick furring to the studs and just move your construction back a bit.
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post #11 of 419 Old 11-20-2008, 06:37 AM
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When I say "True" consider that all flex duct is not created equal with respect to acoustical properties. Only product 6B/6M in this example has broad band absorption characteristics from this assortment of Flex duct.

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post #12 of 419 Old 11-20-2008, 06:48 AM
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Your room dimensions and layout are very similar to mine. I also had the narrower area in the back for seating. From your seating distances you mentioned, I'm guessing you're going with fixed couches and not recliners?
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post #13 of 419 Old 11-20-2008, 06:54 AM
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Also I was thinking if you equipment is gonna be underneath the stairs and you have that return there, you might be able to pop in another return from the other side in order to create a draft to pull out the hot air from the equipment closet. A little bonus from having the return there perhaps.
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post #14 of 419 Old 11-20-2008, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Replacing the round duct with the flex will help. Replacing with true acoustical duct better. You could also get some JM Linacoustic RC and line the inside of the duct work.

Lastly it looks like you are planning on using the wall cavity as part of your vent system. If you would make it deeper you could line the box with Linacoustic as well turning it into a duct muffler. To do this you would need to build the box deeper, but you have the room. You could attach 2 inch thick furring to the studs and just move your construction back a bit.

Big,

Thanks for the tip. I'll get some furring strips and deepen the box. I'll also get some Linacoustic for the box. I'll use the flex duct since I have it. I hope there is not a big difference between the flex and acoustic flex, but if its still a problem, I'll have access to it.

Thanks

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post #15 of 419 Old 11-20-2008, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mn_hokie View Post

Your room dimensions and layout are very similar to mine. I also had the narrower area in the back for seating. From your seating distances you mentioned, I'm guessing you're going with fixed couches and not recliners?

mn hokie,

Took me a while to decide which way to orient the room. I've lost count of all the Sketcup versions. I like what you did with bump out in your room.

Like many others, at my rooms most narrow point, I wished I had just another foot or so. We'll see how my decision works out as I still haven't decided how I will access the sump pump and breaker panel. Either through the screen wall or a door to the side. I'll be asking for plenty of suggestions here as I go.

We're undecided on recliners at this point. I want the power recline with butt kickers but it would cost more than the rest of the room. I'm building my riser to accomodate recliners just in case. The riser will be 7' deep. At my 15.5' second row seating distance, I'll still have 3' of depth behind the seats for room to move them further back. I'm planning to use the couches we have until I make up my mind.

Thanks

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post #16 of 419 Old 11-20-2008, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oman321 View Post

Also I was thinking if you equipment is gonna be underneath the stairs and you have that return there, you might be able to pop in another return from the other side in order to create a draft to pull out the hot air from the equipment closet. A little bonus from having the return there perhaps.

Oman,

That's a good idea, but the equipment closet will be open to the entire storage/utility room which has a return. I hope it doesn't get too hot in there.

I'm worried about my rough in for my Grafik Eye. I used 14/2 not 12/2 as I had a 15 amp circuit for lighting. My total load on the circuit will be 1050 watts so I should be okay. I've found conflicting info on the web so I plan to call Lutron. I spent sooo much time trying to get the wiring correct, now I'm just uneasy.

Thanks

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post #17 of 419 Old 11-20-2008, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Just took a look at Dricore's online video. They say to install drywall before dricore. I see a few builds were the dricore goes in before the drywall. Seems like the floor going in first makes more sense. What do you guys think?

Thanks

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post #18 of 419 Old 11-20-2008, 04:07 PM
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Floor second. If you ever have to rip out the drycore, you don't also don't want to rip out the walls. Just task Tom.

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post #19 of 419 Old 11-20-2008, 07:36 PM
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post #20 of 419 Old 11-21-2008, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Took a look a Tom's thread. Bad situation, but great to see friends step up to help him out. Floor second - got it.

Separately, I just got off the phone with Lutron tech support. I was assured the Grafik Eye 3106 or QS is compatible with 14/2 wiring. The tech told me the units are designed to work with UP TO 12/2 wiring but the key, of course, is that the wiring has to meet the circuit requirements (12/2 for 20 amps and 14/2 for 15 amps). The upshot is my electrical rough in is fine. All of you seasoned electricians may chuckle and it may seem like I'm being overly anal about this but, I just recently learned about wiring, amps, circuit loads and I want to do it right and safely. I passed my inspection as well, so all is good with electrical.

Thanks

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post #21 of 419 Old 11-21-2008, 10:18 AM
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[quote=kjlewie;15110013] I plan to use Dri-Core for the floor and to stagger stud one wall (the rest are concrete, all will be DD+GG) and decouple the ceiling with (RSIC, DD, GG). I also plan to use Integrity Gasket.
QUOTE]

That method of wall staggering works well, and we recommend it a lot. Cheaper than clips + channel.

Integrity gasket will not add anything to the party, I'm afraid. Walls are decoupled, and GG damps the vibration. So save a few $$.

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post #22 of 419 Old 11-21-2008, 10:44 AM
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Ted,

He said it was my idea, but I did quote you as the source for the staggered stud wall approach

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post #23 of 419 Old 11-21-2008, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjlewie View Post

Took a look a Tom's thread. Bad situation, but great to see friends step up to help him out. Floor second - got it.

Separately, I just got off the phone with Lutron tech support. I was assured the Grafik Eye 3106 or QS is compatible with 14/2 wiring. The tech told me the units are designed to work with UP TO 12/2 wiring but the key, of course, is that the wiring has to meet the circuit requirements (12/2 for 20 amps and 14/2 for 15 amps). The upshot is my electrical rough in is fine. All of you seasoned electricians may chuckle and it may seem like I'm being overly anal about this but, I just recently learned about wiring, amps, circuit loads and I want to do it right and safely. I passed my inspection as well, so all is good with electrical.

Thanks

Good to see that Lutron said the only thing that makes sense here. I first read about "needing" 12/2 with a Grafik Eye and got freaked out. Then I thought about the actual physics involved and went back to sleep. I've got 5 zones hooked up on my Grafik Eye with 14/2 and haven't burned the house down yet. Of course it has only been hooked up for about a week.

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post #24 of 419 Old 11-21-2008, 10:46 AM
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Oh geez. I'm not worried about that. It's great that it's being used. And if there were any suggestions after doing it we're all ears!

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post #25 of 419 Old 11-21-2008, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Ted,

Thanks for the reply. I've learned a lot from your many posts in other threads. I should have started my thread a bit earlier. A box of Integrity Gasket just showed up on my doorstep yesterday. It won't help at all? When does it help - when you don't decouple? I may put it up anyway in an attempt not to look too dumb for buying it. It won't hurt anything will it?

Thanks

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One more comment on this. The manual for my Graffik Eye said something along the lines of each terminal can accept up to 2 12/2 connections which would imply 14/2 is fine, but it wasn't explicitly spelled out.

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post #27 of 419 Old 11-21-2008, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjlewie View Post

Ted,

Thanks for the reply. I've learned a lot from your many posts in other threads. I should have started my thread a bit earlier. A box of Integrity Gasket just showed up on my doorstep yesterday. It won't help at all? When does it help - when you don't decouple? I may put it up anyway in an attempt not to look too dumb for buying it. It won't hurt anything will it?

Thanks


It won't hurt. And you're not dumb for listening to someone you thought was an authority.

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post #28 of 419 Old 11-21-2008, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted White View Post

Oh geez. I'm not worried about that. It's great that it's being used. And if there were any suggestions after doing it we're all ears!

I'm just making sure the original source gets the credit. I also gave him my highest recommendation in working with you and your company since I received nothing but great help from you.

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post #29 of 419 Old 11-21-2008, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guamguam View Post

...I thought about the actual physics involved and went back to sleep.

LOL - Works for me when I can't sleep too.

Confirmed, guam definately sighted Ted as the source of a very cost effective decoupling solution.

Thanks

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post #30 of 419 Old 11-21-2008, 10:57 AM
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you're too kind

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