Dragon Reborn's mini remodel - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 11-28-2009, 05:40 AM - Thread Starter
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DISCLAIMER: Presented here is a classic case of upgraditis. The following content may be upsetting to some spouses. Viewer discretion is advised.

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After 3 years of enjoying my home theatre, I decided that it was time for a new projector screen. In this picture from 2006, you can see my old screen and wall, with a 13" deep shadow box and speakers under the screen at stage level.

2006 HOME THEATRE




My initial home theatre setup involved some compromises in order to stay on budget as I was finishing the entire basement at the time. Specifically, A) a cheap projector screen that was a little smaller than planned, and B) reusing old B&W speakers and laying the LRs horizontally.

So now, 3 years later, I have decided to upgrade to an acoustically transparent screen from http://www.seymourav.com (Center Stage fixed frame). I decided on a 100" Seymour screen because of their great reviews and price. Also, I hadn't heard a bad thing about Chris from AVSers either, so that helped. And lastly, the Canadian dollar is currently doing quite well against the U.S. dollar, so the exchange rate is very favourable right now. I ordered a screen that was 87.5" wide (total width 94.1") which would fit exactly for my shadow box plans.

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Now ... on to the deconstruction/construction.

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Here's a picture of the front wall with the drywall removed. (Why I removed the drywall will become apparent in a bit ...)



At first, I was going to reuse my old speakers behind the new screen. However, since I was getting a new screen, I thought that now would be a nice time to upgrade my dated speakers. So, I bought three bookshelf speakers from http://www.axiomaudio.ca. I chose the M22 v2 speakers because of A) their good reviews; B) their size (specifically, their depth needed to fit within the false wall); C) their price (and even 10% cheaper from Axiom's factory outlet); and D) because I already have Axiom QS8 speakers for my surrounds and I'm quite happy with those.

Here's are the shelves for the upcoming speakers, built out of leftover 5/8" maple shelves from a previous project. My old speakers are in place (temporarily) as I hadn't received the new speakers yet.



Chris at SemourAV recommended that anything behind the screen be darker in colour. I had some leftover roofing felt (from my initial HT build), so I installed that over the vapour barrier and the wood studs. Nice and dark now.



Due to the depth of the false front wall, I was unable to buy larger (and more expensive) floorstanding speakers; I was seriously considering the Axiom M60s. After deciding to get the smaller and cheaper M22s, I used the money I saved and bought a second HSU STF-2 subwoofer.



Once I decided on the AT screen, I realized that I had an opportunity to upgrade my shadow box too. The shadow box was initially painted with a dark brown flat paint (Benjamin Moore 2114-10 bittersweet chocolate). However, I have recently become distracted by the image reflection on the side walls, so I decided to install side panels and wrap them in black Fidelio velvet (the same stuff the Seymour frame is wrapped in). I bought the velvet from http://www.bymichelle.com; it was expensive but well worth it. I created 3/4" thick plywood panels for the side walls; these were wrapped in velvet and attached with staples; then the panels were attached to the drywall with Lepage No More Nails adhesive from Home Depot.



When I decided to create side panels, I thought, "why not create panels for above and below the new screen?" So, I made a frame for the bottom panel out of 2 layers of 3/4" plywood (I wanted something more solid on the bottom in case it was accidentally kicked/bumped).





And I made a top panel out of 2x3s so it would be lighter.





I wrapped these panels with velvet and attached them to the wall with industrial strength velcro. The bottom panel rests on the carpet, and the top panel rests on the screen frame; since the fit was snug, minimal velcro was needed to hold it in place. In fact, I had to reduce the amount of velcro needed because it was nearly impossible to remove the panels when I used only 3 pieces of 1" square velcro! "Industrial strength" indeed!

The result is a screen that is flush to the front wall. (I probably could have done a DIY screen frame and bought Center Stage XD material from Chris at Seymour, but I didn't feel like building a screen frame; the end result would likely not have been nearly as nice as the aluminum frame that he constructs.)



Then I thought, "why not create horizontal masking panels for my 16:9 screen so that I can enjoy 2.35:1 and 2.40:1 movies to their fullest?" So, I decided to construct 2 panels out of 0.5" foam which would also be wrapped in velvet. More on that to follow.

I also bought some Home Theatre signs off eBay. I had a blank wall at the front of the theatre so I chose these signs. I chose this DTS sign instead of the "DTS Master Audio" sign because I liked this logo more.





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post #2 of 17 Old 11-28-2009, 05:41 AM - Thread Starter
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For 3 years, the black bars in cinemascope movies have been bugging me. But I really didn't want to order a 2.35:1 screen as easily half of my HT use involves PS3 or HDTV viewing. So, in my remodel, I decided to create horizontal masking panels that I could easily move into place when I needed it. And by using 1/2" foam (as many others have done here at avsforum.com), they would be nice and light.



Now, I could have built panels that fit inside my screen frame, however, I was not keen on a friction-fit to hold them in place, and I didn't want them touching the screen itself. So I wanted to create masks to go over the entire screen and frame rather than just the screen material. And since I constructed my wall to be flush with the screen, I decided that I could securely hold these masks using magnets. Eureka! It turns out that I wasn't the only one with this idea as I soon discovered; I thought I had stumbled on a fantastic idea that would benefit avsforum users worldwide! Oh well. I don't mind being a follower rather than a pioneer.

I ordered neodymium magnets from a local online retailer, http://www.magnet4us.com. I had read about how strong these magnets are and how careful you need to be in handling them. Having only experienced ceramic magnets in the past, I was skeptical about these "unnecessary" warnings. I'm not a child after all! Needless to say, I had my fingers pinched between 2 magnets within the the first minute of handling them, and it hurt! Damn! Kinda like testing a knife edge that you know is sharp just to see if it is sharp. I ordered 1/2" x 1/2" magnets that are 1/4" thick. Here you can see how they easily stick to each other through 5/8" maple shelving.



Because of how strong these magnets are, I had concerns that they would pull on the velvet of the wall and masking panels (even if I secured them with duct tape). So, I decided to install them onto the back-side (i.e. opposite side) of the side panels and the front side of the foam masks. So, just before I attached the side panels to the walls, I chiseled the backside of the panels.



On the sides of the foam masks, I covered those magnets with duct tape and then vinyl j-bead (which I used for all edges of the mask). For the top and bottom wall panels, I chiseled out the wood, glued the magnets with No More Nails, and then covered them with duct tape for good measure. Probably overkill, but I didn't want the magnets pulling and loosening the velvet later on. Let me reiterate: these magnets are scary strong.

After installing the bottom foam mask this way, I found that 5 magnets were strong enough to hold it in place, but just barely (the weight of the mask steadily increased as I added vinyl J-bead edges, magnets, duct tape and Gorilla tape, and velvet). Two magnets on each side and one magnet on the bottom centre. And, if you can picture it, I installed the magnets so that I needed 3 on each side panel, 2 on each side of the mask, and 2 in the centre of each mask.



I also used Gorilla tape on the back of the masks to cover the staples and provide an added measure of security for the velvet.



I made panels 12" tall so that they were the same height as the wall panels. That way I could place them over the wall panels when not in use and then move them into place when needed. Then I wouldn't have to move them into another room.

Bottom mask down


Bottom mask in position


Bottom mask in position, showing 1.25" gap to the screen.


Once I got to the top panel, I realized that I had made a HUGE MISTAKE. I did not install the magnets on the side wall panels with matching polarities --- they were mixed up, with the left wall magnets from top to bottom being + + - and the right wall magnets being - + +. As a result, I couldn't install 2 magnets on each side of the foam mask like I did with the bottom masks (which as luck would have it, I installed with matching polarities). As a result, I had to redesign how the top mask would anchor to the top wall panel. I decided on 3 larger magnets on the wall panel (and disregarded the side wall magnets altogether; they're still there, just not in use). Now since the top mask would only be supported by 3 magnets, I had to buy larger neodymium magnets which were 1" x 1" by 1/4" thick. I installed these into the front of the top wall panel by chiseling the wood again, about 3/8" deep, gluing it in place, and then covering the magnets with more glue so that it would not stress the velvet. Now the top panel can be held in position using three 1" magnets on the wall, and three 1/2" magnets on the mask. These magnets are soooo strong! Gravity takes care of the rest, keeping the bottom of the mask flush with the screen frame. And since the mask magnets are only 1/2" square and the wall magnets are 1" square, this allows for a little bit of "play," almost 1/2", in case I need to move the top mask up or down by a tiny bit. This is quite helpful since many cinemascope movies are not equally centred (vertically) within the screen frame. For my size of screen, variances ranged up to 1" or so. In hindsight, I probably should have done the bottom magnets in a similar fashion by using 1" long magnets on the side wall and bottom wall panels.

What I really like about my masking technique is that when the masks are not needed, they become part of the screen wall and I don't have to cart them to another room. If you look closely enough, the screen is 1/2" "recessed" into the wall with the masks present, but from a regular viewing distance, you can't even see the masks protrude because the Fidelio black velvet is incredibly light absorbing.

And the first feature film I watched on my HT remodel

STAR TREK (without mask)


STAR TREK (With mask)


What a HUGE difference these masks make!!! I'm so glad I took the extra time and effort to make them!


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post #3 of 17 Old 11-28-2009, 05:42 AM - Thread Starter
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2009 HOME THEATRE without mask


2009 HOME THEATRE with mask


-----------------------------------------

So that's my story of upgraditis. What started as a $1K screen upgrade soon ballooned into a $3K redo!

Re: finance committee ... "Ask for forgiveness and not permission." --- Ara Derderien & Braden Russell, The HT Guys.

First it was the AT screen, then I had to have matching front speakers, then a second subwoofer, then side wall panels, then top/bottom wall panels, then masking panels. Whoops! Well, at least I decided to leave the ceiling and carpet alone, so there, I have some willpower.


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post #4 of 17 Old 11-28-2009, 05:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Sad to say, I ended up returning the M22 speakers because they didn't sound like enough of an upgrade over my previous speakers (a B&W centre channel, and B&W bookshelfs). Fortunately, with Axiom's in-home 30 day trial, I only had to pay for return shipping.

In the future, I might try to upgrade my LCRs if I can find some that fit in that front wall.

----------------------

Found 'em! I got some Paradigm Special Edition 3 speakers for my LCR. They just fit inside the false wall although I had to re-work the shelving again. The Paradigms are fantastic sounding so far, and a definite improvement over my previous speakers.





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post #5 of 17 Old 11-28-2009, 06:12 AM
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Very nice use of space. I'm a big fan of AT screens. Very classy looking.


Out of curiousity, did you ever consider going for a 2.35:1 screen and have it simply span the two bumpouts/shadow box area completely?


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post #6 of 17 Old 11-28-2009, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamis View Post

Very nice use of space. I'm a big fan of AT screens. Very classy looking.


Out of curiousity, did you ever consider going for a 2.35:1 screen and have it simply span the two bumpouts/shadow box area completely?

Sure Jamis...kick him when he is down. He is probably thinking about that very thing right now.
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post #7 of 17 Old 11-28-2009, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamis View Post

Very nice use of space. I'm a big fan of AT screens. Very classy looking.


Out of curiousity, did you ever consider going for a 2.35:1 screen and have it simply span the two bumpouts/shadow box area completely?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Goodcat View Post

Sure Jamis...kick him when he is down. He is probably thinking about that very thing right now.

LOL.

Yeah, I very seriously considered a massive 2.35:1 screen, but I wanted to preserve the shadow box because it provides nice "shade" for when some potlights are on, and I didn't want to lose existing stage space, and I didn't want to ditch the curtains ... i like 'em.


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post #8 of 17 Old 11-30-2009, 10:11 AM
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I like the Dolby signs! Kick Butt Room, I think it looks great.

I should have been a "Spam Harvester"
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post #9 of 17 Old 12-15-2009, 04:44 AM
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awesome job - thanks for sharing!

I have a Seymour AT screen that I've been extremely pleased with (2.35 (55" x 130")). We watch a fair amount of HDTV so I've been wanting side masking panels and been hoping Chris was going to put some together. However your solution has given me inspiration and maybe I'll tackle this myself!
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post #10 of 17 Old 12-15-2009, 05:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bfisherjr View Post

awesome job - thanks for sharing!

I have a Seymour AT screen that I've been extremely pleased with (2.35 (55" x 130")). We watch a fair amount of HDTV so I've been wanting side masking panels and been hoping Chris was going to put some together. However your solution has given me inspiration and maybe I'll tackle this myself!

Thanks.

Here's an idea for you: if your screen isn't flush with the wall, you could build side masks that have an extra 1.6" lip to them, top and bottom. Then fasten magnets to the wall and the lips. That way, the velvet from your Seymour screen won't get flattened and the nap will stay plush.


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post #11 of 17 Old 12-15-2009, 02:49 PM
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Nice clean install and great write up Dragon. Good job!

-Tom A.


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post #12 of 17 Old 12-15-2009, 03:19 PM
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Nicely done Dragon! Thanks for the great ideas!!

Regards, David

My build...

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post #13 of 17 Old 12-15-2009, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjambro View Post

Nice clean install and great write up Dragon. Good job!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_J View Post

Nicely done Dragon! Thanks for the great ideas!!

Thank you kindly.

Of course, I got a lot of ideas from others here at AVSforum, so I'm more than happy to share my experience.

Now that I've done it once, the only change I would make is with the size and placement of the magnets on the wall. (I would have used 1" magnets for the bottom wall too)


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post #14 of 17 Old 12-15-2009, 04:56 PM
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Nice job - love the masking solution!

Randy


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post #15 of 17 Old 12-15-2009, 04:57 PM
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Now that I've done it once, the only change I would make is with the size and placement of the magnets on the wall. (I would have used 1" magnets for the bottom wall too)

I would recommend using round magnets if possible so that the holes could be drilled and not chiseled. I don't know if 1" round magnets are available, but I know Parts Express sells the same type magnets in various round sizes. I plan on using some on my spring loaded doors. The hinges are spring loaded but they are fully unloaded when the door is in the closed position. I have tested them on one 2" solid door and the magnets pull the door closed with a solid slap.

-Tom A.


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post #16 of 17 Old 12-15-2009, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjambro View Post

I would recommend using round magnets if possible so that the holes could be drilled and not chiseled. I don't know if 1" round magnets are available, but I know Parts Express sells the same type magnets in various round sizes.

Great idea! It never occurred to me to drill the wood; that would've saved me lots of time. But instead of buying a chisel, I would have needed to buy a drill bit.

However, the square magnets (1" for the wall and 0.5" for panel) do provide a bit of vertical "play" if I need to nudge the panel up or down an extra 0.25". To get some vertical play with a disc magnet, you'd probably need a 1.5" diameter magnet for the wall. Do they make drill bits that wide?


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post #17 of 17 Old 12-16-2009, 03:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Reborn View Post

However, the square magnets (1" for the wall and 0.5" for panel) do provide a bit of vertical "play" if I need to nudge the panel up or down an extra 0.25". To get some vertical play with a disc magnet, you'd probably need a 1.5" diameter magnet for the wall. Do they make drill bits that wide?

Yea, a 1.5" diameter magnet would be pretty big. Either way, it worked out well and you are obviously enjoying the masking, so that's all that matters. BTW, I know you can buy at least 1 1/8" drill bits...they are the flat kind, I forget what they call them. When you go much larger than that, you end up needing a mandrel and hole saw which would cost more than all your magnets.

-Tom A.


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