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Old 05-17-2010, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
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BEFORE:

 

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AFTER (that was about 90%, I need to take the real "completed" photos" - have been too busy watching movies to bother):

 

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DURING:
 

intro
framing
low voltage wiring
insulation
drywall
entry doors / drywall mud
exterior stucco / more drywall mud / recessed lights / GrafikEye
start of soffit framing
soffit bulkhead / false wall
THT LP #1 started
THT LP #1 finished
more soffit framing and soffit insulation
CHT 6x PRO-10, 1x SHO-10 arrive / QSC power amp fan mod
soffit recessed and rope lighting, more soffit insulation
ceiling painted / MA rack purchased
doors painted / superchunk bass traps / column framing / screen wall absorption
column face panels / carpet samples / berkline boxes
column framing finished / wall furring going up
wall panels framing mostly done
panel construction details
soffit fabric covering
soffit fabric done
column vinyl covering
column vinyl covering done / screen wall absorption fabric covering
column face fabric covering
false wall C section / door jamb fabric covering
wall panel fabric samples
carpet
berklines in / THT LP #1 in place
first attempt at sub EQ
projector purchased / testing on temporary screen
wall panel fabric going up
wall panel fabric almost done / some screen shots (still on a temp screen)
screen assembled
screen mounted (piano hinges) / screen shots
left / right / bottom screen surround panels
THT LP #2 under construction
both THT LPs installed / hinged screen supports
EQ for the two subs
XBMC talk
Unacceptable's step by step panel framing tutorial
new SEOS LCR
 

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Old 05-18-2010, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
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(this used to be the first post - moved it here, so I can turn the first post into a distilled before/after, and TOC)

 

Hi all - back from the dead here. I had a dedicated theater thread about 3 1/2 years ago (last post to my old thread was late 2006), but the project stalled mostly due to lack of funds, and other things that took priority (we did a major remodel on our house, and the bank account took a while to recover as a consequence; had to buy a new car; the market didn't help any either).

Anyway, back up and running, project is underway, I'm hiring out a good portion of the work (framing, drywall, electrical).

model (not up to date, but its the general idea thus far):

floorplan (up to date):



SketchUp model (not up to date - since then, decided to go AT screen, a bit bigger, decided where to add closet entry, and rear entry changed to double doors):



room/layout:

  • The theater is being constructed in one half of a 4 car detached garage (concrete slab floor).
  • Inner dimensions are roughly 17'3" wide, 23' long (21' after subtracting 2' for false screen wall); 9' ceilings.
  • Construction is "room within a room" - double stud walls.
  • A/V equipment will be located in a rack inside a closet connected to the HT.
  • Curved 12" riser, insulation filled; curved 8" stage, sand filled.
  • Entry is via double doors in the rear of the room, over stone steps up outside, and onto the riser behind the rear seating (note: double door entry is not centered, shifted left to within about 2 1/2 ft of left wall - creates some challenges for rear surround placement, but should be manageable).
  • Distance eyeballs to screen ~ 11.5 ft. front row, ~ 17 ft. back row.
  • I wired from a switch to a junction box up high to support rope lighting, but still waffling on whether to add soffits - I have nothing I need to hide in them, so they'd just be decorative. Looking at the ceiling on my SketchUp model just now though, it looks pretty bland without, so I'm leaning towards adding them, at least something a little shallow to hang rope lighting and trim molding on.

furnishings:

  • Two rows of seats (3 in front, 4 in rear), Berkline style (although I may try to find something similar a bit cheaper), in curved rows.
  • Walls will be treated with GPowers style acoustic panels.

gear:

  • projector: Panasonic PT-AE4000u projector, using zoom feature for poor man's CIH.
  • screen: 2.40:1 DIY Seymour A/V AT screen, thinking 136", but will finalize size after getting the projector mounted and the screen wall set up.
  • receiver: Tentatively Pioneer Elite SC-27 (pending my "connection" coming though on a nice deal).
  • speakers: Currently have 2 B&W 602s, 2 601s, and 1 CC6 that I'll use initially; looking to upgrade to 7.1 via 7 TCA PRO-10s if they turn out as good as they are made up to be, and when my wife has gotten over the initial shock of what Phase 1 has cost already.
  • subwoofer: Currently have Velodyne VA-1215x that I'll use initially; I wired to the attic space for a planned IB (2x Fi 18s), but having cold feet, I think I will "settle" for an upgrade from the Velodyne to a THT.
  • sources: XBOX 360, PS3, DirecTV HD DVR.

other:

  • A/C: LG ArtCool 12K BTU, or Mitsubishi Mr. Slim - I wired for 110v, will need to retrofit to 220v if I use the Mr. Slim (I like the look of the LG, but the Mitsubishi looks to be quieter).

----------

done:

  • stone steps into the the theater room built.
  • concrete block (retaining) wall that forms the lower half of the back wall was sealed / waterproofed.
  • framing done.
  • electrical done, including upgrade to subpanel
  • low voltage (speaker, HDMI, RCA subwoofer/buttkicker, ethernet, coax (DirecTV), IR extender) wiring done.
  • insulation filled riser w/ steps completed.
  • sand filled stage completed.
  • drywall installed.

upcoming:

  • drywall taping/mudding.
  • exterior lath/stucco/paint.
  • connect head ends of ethernet and sat tv coax to switch / multiswitch in the house.
  • build screen wall.
  • build top of proscenium (mirror of stage more or less on the ceiling).
  • build columns.
  • buy or build A/V rack - it will be hidden from view, so doesn't need to be a work of art.
  • buy and install A/C unit.
  • buy and install A/V closet cooling (tentatively Panasonic Whisper bathroom fan, and passive vent - from back of closet to garage).
  • install carpeting.
  • buy seating.
  • buy more stuff and install more stuff, bah, this list is making me sad, I'm going to stop typing now...


I had some questions that I thought I'd put here rather than creating a lot of separate posts.

  • If given a choice for rear surrounds being in the rear corners (or close to it), but at or near ear level; or mounting them higher up (above the door), above ear level - which would be preferable? I'm leaning towards the corners, perhaps building into corner columns that double as bass absorbers.
  • Given that the room is inside a separate structure (not attached to the house) - how important is having the riser and stage decoupled from the wall framing? The framers want to tie it into the framing before drywalling.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts...

----------

Bump (I guess I really need to add some pictures, changing the title didn't get any attention ;-)

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Old 05-18-2010, 05:21 PM
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Depending how close your neighbors are you may still want to take efforts to do proper soundproofing. Otherwise you may annoy them, or you may get a lot of ambient noise in your theater.
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Old 05-19-2010, 06:22 AM
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Brad:

A couple of quick observations (no pics, no layout, no real help)

A stand alone garage, 1/2 converted to an HT, in Torrance and only 10K BTU's? That could be a problem. Once you get further down the path of actually providing a layout, photos, and do a bit more documentation of what you're doing, it'll be possible to be a bit more accurate on what is really needed.

Sound isolation ... yeah, it will be important. It's going to be important, in your case, from two aspects ... first will be the ambient noise level inside the completed room. If that isn't right, you're equipment will have problems, the noise transmitted outside the room will be exacerbated, and you'll be unhappy with the room and be off looking at HT Project Revision 3.

Don't allow your builder to do what is convenient for him. You have him do what is important to achieving your goals. The only reason he wants the stage/seating platform framed with the room is so he doesn't have to bring his framing crew in again after the drywall is up. While there may be less reason to isolate the stage from the structure in this case, there are still arguments to keep it isolated. These are, we really don't want to run the risk of resonances with in the structure of the room (which gets back to our ears); and, lastly it is far, far easier to sound isolate a rectangular room, than to even attempt to isolate around the seating platform and stage.

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Old 05-19-2010, 09:17 AM
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Reconsider your AC system, you will be surprised how warm a room full of people can get. The human body gives off 300-400 BTU's per hour, so your theater will be looking at around 21,000-28,000 BTU's per hour all in very well insulated room. I have designed many rooms that incorporate cooling even during a Chicago winter.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post

Depending how close your neighbors are you may still want to take efforts to do proper soundproofing. Otherwise you may annoy them, or you may get a lot of ambient noise in your theater.

Here is a grainy Google Earth image of where the garage sits in relation to our house and our neighbors.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

Brad:

A couple of quick observations (no pics, no layout, no real help)

A stand alone garage, 1/2 converted to an HT, in Torrance and only 10K BTU's? That could be a problem.

I was going according to this, are there better resources (DIY)? I'm between 350 and 400 sq ft, most of the time it will be just me + wife + son (3), so I planned based on that (vs. all 7 seats filled).

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?...properly_sized

The climate where I live is quite moderate - we'll get a random 100+ day thrown in once in a while just to keep us honest, but for the most part, 60s and 70s (we're about a mile and a half from the coast).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

Once you get further down the path of actually providing a layout, photos, and do a bit more documentation of what you're doing, it'll be possible to be a bit more accurate on what is really needed.

Will get to work on that - I have some old pictures of the space I took before I went into self-imposed HT planning exile for the past 3 years, I'll see if those might be useful, or take some new pics this afternoon.

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Don't allow your builder to do what is convenient for him.

I'm going to have to frame that or make a T shirt up. =) You're right of course, I think honestly I sometimes just look to avoid conflict, to "just be nice", but when tens of thousands of dollars are at stake, I should ensure that he's doing what I want - or find someone else who will.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicagorep View Post

Reconsider your AC system, you will be surprised how warm a room full of people can get. The human body gives off 300-400 BTU's per hour, so your theater will be looking at around 21,000-28,000 BTU's per hour all in very well insulated room. I have designed many rooms that incorporate cooling even during a Chicago winter.

Thanks Chicago - as above, are there better resources available for planning adequate A/C?

Also, when using a split A/C, how do people get fresh air in (since the A/C unit is just cooling and recirculating the air in the room)?
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Horstkotte View Post

The framers want to tie it into the framing before drywalling.

This won't be the last time some of the hired hands will want to short cut a proven HT building technique. You either do what you know is right or allow your theater to be built in the most builder friendly methods.

The framers only want to visit your house once. If they have to wait until the room is drywalled before framing the stage and riser it will require a break of several days between visits.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:16 AM
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I am familiar with Torrance (and its climate). I have flown in, and out of, its airport many times. You cannot use the good ol' every day HVAC calculation formulae for a room like this. You need to come up with the latent and sensible heat, determine the thermal values for the walls/ceiling/floor, adjust for the fact you do not want a velocity of greater than 250 fpm from any diffusor ... it goes on, and on, and on. People in the room are not all that count ... projector, amplifiers, BD players. Short cut ... figure a kitchen but with a 2.5 hour duty cycle (rather than 30 minutes).

Quote:


Also, when using a split A/C, how do people get fresh air in

http://www.broan.com/display/router.asp?ProductID=3743

Quote:


are there better resources available for planning adequate A/C?

Me? Here's the problem ... residential HVAC contractors are out. You tell them you need NR20 (or NC20), you have deer in headlights. You tell them a room like that needs a ton or ton and a half, they tell you that you are nuts, you don't know what you're doing, you're and idiot and they had to go to school to learn this stuff so they are good. They will also tell you they've done lots of home theaters (maybe, but not like what you're doing). Your best bet is a pro designer OR contact an HVAC company that only does commercial work or, alternatively, a mechanical engineer.

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Old 05-19-2010, 12:31 PM
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Quote:


If given a choice for rear surrounds being in the rear corners (or close to it), but at or near ear level; or mounting them higher up (above the door), above ear level - which would be preferable? I'm leaning towards the corners, perhaps building into corner columns that double as bass absorbers.

I have a similar problem in my game room "theater," which has a large window on the back wall opposite the screen. My rear surrounds are mounted close to optimal height but much further to the outside than they should be because they flank the window. I think it's an OK compromise. I experimented for a while with putting them above the window at close-to-optimal horizontal positions (but too high vertically). I prefer the current "good height but too wide" position, especially in the rear seats. I don't think there is a huge difference in the front seats. My rear seats are very close to the back wall so mounting the rear surrounds high meant most of their energy was going over the heads of folks in the back row.

Hope this helps.

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Old 05-20-2010, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
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@ dwightp: thanks, looks like wider spacing is going to work best for me, just need to revise my column design to work that way. It turns out after I measured it out that that would place them at about 45 degrees from the front center seat, within THX rear surround guidelines, so I think it will work. I've heard that speakers in corners are sort of a no-no, but maybe less so with rear surrounds? I guess I'll have to find out.
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Old 05-23-2010, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Exterior of the garage - left side will remain as a 2 car garage, right side converted to HT; framed for 2 x 36" entry doors, 12" step up from outside onto 12" riser in the rear of the room:





Framing - back wall / stage (8" high). Back wall of the garage is part retaining wall (hollow block ), up to about 4-5' (slopes down to the left), and then framing on top of that. The black stuff on the concrete block wall is waterproofing - not sure what exactly - asphalt based? fiberglass? An inner wall has been framed about an inch away from that (primarily to give a level surface, not specifically for isolation, but will help some I suppose - although not going whole hog with decoupled ceiling, etc.).

False wall will be added about 2' from the new back wall, for AT screen / speakers.





Detail of framing on back wall. All the conduit is old, will be pulled as new wiring goes in.



Here's the outside, showing the retaining wall that extends from the back of the garage.



Detail of the double wall on the right side:



View to the rear, showing the seating riser and entry (minus door, which is on order):



Left side, showing standard entry door framing into equipment closet. The closet is about 28" deep and 9' long (most of it to the right of the door). I wanted to have some extra space in there to store the HT equipment, and also some music equipment (guitar/synth rack, stand up rack for guitars, etc.). Not sure exactly how I'm going to arrange it in there just yet.

In the left way in the back you can see the electrical subpanel - inspector is saying we need to upgrade the panel and perhaps also replace the cable from the main panel to the subpanel - yikes, going to be expensive, will call him tomorrow and get an explanation, hoping to not have to do that, especially if the cable can't be pulled through the conduit (replace 8ga with 4ga is what he said, according to the contractor).



New ceiling joists - existing only had 2x6" collar ties, not sufficient to support a drywall ceiling, so added 2x12" 16" OC joists all the way across (including garage side which will also get a drywall ceiling). Planning on adding a 2x18" Infinite Baffle subwoofer manifold up there.



Underground conduit to pull satellite coax and cat5 from
house to garage:
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Inspector showed up so far so good - except he said the subpanel in the garage needs to be upgraded, and the wiring from the main panel through underground conduit to the subpanel needs to be upgraded from 8 GA to 4GA. Sigh, more money, oh well. I just hope they can pull the wires, and don't need to break any concrete.

Ordered $200 worth of wiring, wall panels and cables from monoprice yesterday, should be here tomorrow, so I can run the A/V wiring.
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:14 AM
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I really like how you built that elevated entrance and enter the room on the rear riser. Looking forward to seeing you finish off the room.
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Old 05-26-2010, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I really like how you built that elevated entrance and enter the room on the rear riser. Looking forward to seeing you finish off the room.

Thanks Jeff! I really appreciate the support.
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Old 05-26-2010, 02:28 PM
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What is doing in front of the entrance there? Firepit? Hot tub? Seating wall for a table? Plantings area?

Don't forget to fill the stage/riser to avoid them resonating like drums. Sand for the stage, insulation for the riser is the preferred approach. Or at least insulation in each.
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Old 05-26-2010, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I get that question all the time from visitors - its a planter area (for a medium sized tree), and seating wall. I guess if I actually planted something there, it will be more apparent.

Yes, the stage will be lined with plastic sheeting and filled with sand; and the riser will be filled with insulation.
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Old 05-28-2010, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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(I might have more luck creating a separate thread for this question, but hopefully Ted or some other educated soul will stumble across it here first)

I'm planning on installing an Infinite Baffle subwoofer in my attic space - and was wondering if doing so is pretty much incompatible with sound isolation efforts (since there will be a large opening in the ceiling to the IB manifold, and plenty of back wave generated in the attic)? For example, should I bother building backer boxes for my recessed lighting (and multi-gang electrical boxes), or would it be effort wasted due to the IB "leak"?

Builders are doing electrical now, and put up new installation recessed lighting cans (telescoping arm), and I started thinking about backer boxes, which would mean I'd want to replace those cans with remodel cans.
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:12 AM
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Hi Brad,

There are a few particularly courageous people here that have done the IB system with sound isolation. THe only way to do it is to have the baffle area sound isolated as well.

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Old 05-28-2010, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Hi Brad,

There are a few particularly courageous people here that have done the IB system with sound isolation. THe only way to do it is to have the baffle area sound isolated as well.

Thanks Ted - I don't know how you find the time to follow up on all of our threads, but I'm sure glad you do! (search all forums for "Ted" every 10 minutes? ).

I assume in my case that would mean isolating the attic itself. I don't think I'm quite that courageous. The attic is also required to have dormer vents, not sure if there's really anything that could keep those from leaking sound, while allowing air to flow.

So assuming I don't "harden" the attic - would it still help to back the recessed lights with boxes (attic will leak LF, but could block non-LF through cans?)? Ceiling is not decoupled btw.
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:33 AM
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If you're dumping 50% of the subs output into your attic, and you can't treat the attic I don't see why you would spend the time or money to try and sound isolate any other aspect of the room.

Or am I missing something?

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Old 05-28-2010, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Ted, that's what I suspected too, but wasn't sure if maybe *I* was missing something. I guess I have to decide what's most important to me, and go with that.
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:45 AM
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Keep us posted!

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Old 05-28-2010, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Ted, you rock!

Another option I have would be to mount the IB manifold behind the screen false wall - but if I did that, I'd need to turn that false wall into a "real" wall, vs just open framing - and would need to bring planned corner traps out from behind it. Or just scrap the IB, and go with a conventional subwoofer. Choices choices. Hard to choose when so much of this is based on a leap of faith vs. actual personal experience with many of the options.
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Old 05-28-2010, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Horstkotte View Post

I've heard that speakers in corners are sort of a no-no, but maybe less so with rear surrounds? I guess I'll have to find out.

Corner placement affects a speaker's bass response. With surrounds, you have two advantages: (1) most surround speakers don't go deep enough into the bass region for corner loading to make a big difference; and (2) you can change the crossover point between the surrounds and the subwoofer. If the bass from the surrounds is too boomy, you can always try moving the crossover point up.

Incidentally, I think putting a speaker at the wall/ceiling corner creates the same kind of bass problems as putting the speaker in a wall/wall corner.

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Old 05-28-2010, 05:34 PM
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If you haven't read theFFlaming Oak build you should, Catham built a big triple DW layered manifold for his IB setup behind the screen wall. About the size of a small bedroom in a NY apartment.
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Old 05-28-2010, 06:13 PM
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Wow that's looking pretty good!

I like how it's in a separate building completely for noise. But with that setup if the spouse can hear it so can the neighbors.
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Old 05-28-2010, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightp View Post

Corner placement affects a speaker's bass response. With surrounds, you have two advantages: (1) most surround speakers don't go deep enough into the bass region for corner loading to make a big difference; and (2) you can change the crossover point between the surrounds and the subwoofer. If the bass from the surrounds is too boomy, you can always try moving the crossover point up.

Incidentally, I think putting a speaker at the wall/ceiling corner creates the same kind of bass problems as putting the speaker in a wall/wall corner.

Thanks, I'll keep the crossover point in mind if I run into any trouble.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

If you haven't read theFFlaming Oak build you should, Catham built a big triple DW layered manifold for his IB setup behind the screen wall. About the size of a small bedroom in a NY apartment.

I do remember checking his thread before, but it was a while ago, and not sure how far through I waded - or if he had implemented the IB at the time. I'll take a look again.

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Originally Posted by Leifashley27 View Post

Wow that's looking pretty good!

I like how it's in a separate building completely for noise. But with that setup if the spouse can hear it so can the neighbors.

She sleeps like a rock, she shouldn't be a problem. Neighbors, well, we'll see...
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Old 05-28-2010, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Had the contractors redo the stage and riser to disconnect it from the walls (will be interesting seeing how they can attach the drywall back there):



The inspector required that all the framing for the riser and stage be treated - not sure why, since it sits on top of pressure treated underneath, but OK:



The stage was filled with sand (is it dry, well not exactly):



New sub panel installed, and new 4 GA wiring pulled through conduit to main panel - thankfully it pulled OK, no need to break any concrete, which was my main worry:



All electrical boxes installed and wired, ceiling cans installed:



The weekend is here, and so is my box of wiring stuff from monoprice, so I should be busy (back willing - tweaked it last week somehow) - and can finally start contributing more than finger pointing and writing checks.
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Old 06-01-2010, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Got done with *most* of the wiring over the weekend, but still have a couple more fun trips under the crawlspace of the house to do - ugh, hate that part (very shallow, lots of plumbing and concrete/wood debris under the house). I managed to get the 3 wires (2x RG6, 1x CAT5e) routed through the conduit - but the last RG6 got stuck hard - got it all the way through, with several feet out the end, but then it froze - guess I should have used lubricant, didn't, lesson learned. I guess I'll have to splice that last RG6 that doesn't extend far enough, oh well, crossing fingers.

Today, the construction crew will install the entry doors, attic ladder (garage side), insulate the riser, and put the tops on the riser and stage.
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Just about ready for insulation and drywall (I *think* - hope I didn't forget anything). Here's the low voltage wiring I ran:
  1. 7 runs of CL2 14 GA to each of the speaker locations
  2. 2 runs of CL2 12 GA to the ceiling, for future IB subwoofer use (if I decide to - still on the fence)
  3. 3 RG6 RCA cables - to left front and right front for subwoofer(s); and to front of riser for possible Buttkicker.
  4. 2 RG6 from house wiring closet, through underground conduit, and into the HT A/V closet
  5. 1 CAT5 through conduit
  6. 1 CAT5 from A/V closet to front center, for IR repeater "eye", to be located above screen
  7. 2 HDMI cables from A/V closet to PJ mounting location

doors are in - still need to buy lockset, and interior door for A/V closet:



stage - filled with sand, and plywood on top - looks kind of spartan, not sure if I should add a "step" ledge in front like many do, or leave it as is:



riser - filled with insulation and two layers of plywood on top, 1 1/2" overhang:



riser has been decoupled from exterior walls:



Buttkicker RCA cable:



steps on sides of riser, also with 1 1/2" lip:



conduit with wires pulled:



a/v closet, yup, lots of wires there:



HDMI drops near projector:



IB subwoofer wiring drop - as mentioned, still on the fence whether to go ahead with an IB, it might be more hassle than its worth, I may just go for a DIY THT instead, and hide it behind the screen - any thoughts from those with experience with one or both (IB or THT)?



junction box on the right side for split A/C:



junction box up high on the left side for potential rope lighting - not sure whether to install a soffit and rope lighting, it would be purely decorative - or maybe I could create something less than a soffit but somewhat more than crown molding, to support rope light



questions:
  • For anyone who is using a split A/C, in a room that is not connected to the house A/C / ventilation - what are you doing for ventilation / fresh air?
  • What are you using to exhaust hot air from your A/V closet? I'm thinking some type of thermostat controlled fan to exhaust hot air into the attic, but not sure of what type - PC/rack types seem very small for the task, perhaps a low SONE rated bathroom type fan?
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