Exterous' Small Theater Build - now with soda fountain construction! - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 84 Old 07-11-2011, 03:11 PM
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But ideally use good underpad!
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post #62 of 84 Old 07-12-2011, 05:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by premiertrussman View Post

I understand about cheap. Everything I've done in my theater was, as you so eloquently put it, "on the cheap"! I'm looking forward to watching your progress.

Sorry if i missed it in your thread, but what kind of equipment are you planning on running?

I think I have figured out why I was so suprised at the carpet cost - I have never had to pay a labor charge through out the entire process

This is the equipment for the room (I am starting to really miss having it setup!)
Epson Home Cinema 1080
Onkyo TS-XR 706
Panasonic BD60
Custom HTPC
PSB T65 towers with the C-60 center
Emotiva ERD-1 surrounds

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post

But ideally use good underpad!

Yeah. Pretty much any carpet that is the tiny step up from the really bad commercial grade carpet is about $550 installed with a decent pad. I have been considering doing carpet tiles. I have found some that appear to be about the same quality for $1.00 a sq ft which would cut my cost in about half. The downside is that no one seems to give any info about the quality and what shipping would be.

I am going to request some samples and see what they look like.

I also found a place that has a sale on something that looks like it could work for 0.55 a sq ft and $40 for the carpet pad. No word on shipping though and I'd have to install it myself or find an installer. I'm going to request samples of that too
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post #63 of 84 Old 07-15-2011, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, the soffit turned out exactly as I had hoped with the ridge being almost completely gone. The door looks a tad better and a couple of the spots on the ceiling I tried look a tiny bit better. When the wife gets home I will have her take a look again but I think - with the exception of a couple of touchups I missed during the recent touch up phase - paint is done

In the saga of ever continuing issues with my internet orders I got my 2 ERD-1 speakers but only 1 mount. They did send me a t-shirt though. I briefly thought about seeing if I could mount the other speaker to the wall with that but its a nice shirt so I passed on that idea. (The packing was odd too. Inside a brown box was another brown box. Inside that was the shipment padding and the speakers. Seems like they didn't really need the other box). Emotiva did send out another bracket 2 day Fedex

I had ordered a 2 port RJ-45 cover plate but it seems that either Monoprice sent me RJ-11 cover plate or the jacks I got are unusually large. Either way I am about 6 months outside the return policy so I'll probably go without in the equipment room and see if I can 'borrow' a 2 jack cover plate from work

Lets see...what else went wrong with ordering...Oh right - I ordered the wrong projector mount. Totally a facepalm moment on my part. I have 4 mounting screw locations and ordered a 3 screw mount. Durrrrrr. Oh well. I have two metal plates that actually seem like they will be perfect to MacGyver the mount together. The mount will still hold more than my projector weighs so I am not too concerned about that

Two carpet tile samples arrived today. I'll set up some pictures when I get the other 4 samples

All right - enough with the wall of text. On to pictures!

Finally got my 'Powerbridge' to the projector installed and tested. Yay!


I brought my switch down and punched the jacks into place. I had separated the 2 front from the one going to the ceiling but neglected to denote which cable to the front was which. Fortunately I actually won a 50/50 chance game and got the right ones matched up on the first try! I actually kind of like punching jacks although I brought home my crappier punch tool so it took a tad longer than normal. As for the switch I had forgotten how noisy it was. I'll probably dig out my 8 port switch and use that instead. I just really wanted a big assed 24 port switch down there. My 48 port makes even more noise Perhaps its time to sell them...


I also finished my Hotlink Pro eye run to the front of the room and bracketed the IR repeater in place. The powered HDMI splitter is also in place, although looking at the picture, it appears unlevel. (One goes to the projector, the other to the room outside the theater). I decided to splurge and get a couple of Monster HDMI cables - one to go from the bluray playerto the reciever and another from the receiver to the splitter. With all the effort going into this I decided why not have the best HDMI cable to run the video


In the trend of me liking to make cables for some reason I decided that late Friday night was a good time to make speaker cables. I brought the receiver down from its hibernation in the guest room (Man - I forgot how heavy that was. Why is all HT equipment heavy ). I used Monster speaker cable again here too for the quality - as well as a couple of Monster banana plugs I had laying around (The rest I got from Monoprice.). I am about 6" short on the final cable. I am debating splicing two already cut pieces together. Part of me wants all the cables to match, part of me doesn't want a splice connection....

I know the cable spaghetti is kinda all over the place at the moment. Rest assured there is a plan. Of course we'll have to wait and see just how well I planned cable organization. Judging by my past history in this project it could go either way

Anyway - now it's time to see who is paying attention and reading all the way through before replying. I didn't actually pay full price for the Monster stuff. I think I paid maybe $10 total for 2 of their 12' HDMI cables, 8 banana plugs, one of their optical cables and 50 feet of speaker cable. I actually really like their cables as they are much easier to work with. The banana plugs were nicer too - not that I would ever pay anything close to price they usually sell them for. I also got this guy for $5

Another 'custom' feature for my room since you'd be hard pressed to find this see through version for sale anywhere
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post #64 of 84 Old 07-16-2011, 07:03 AM
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Floor/demo version that was being discontinued by the shop? Would that explain the see-through and low price?
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post #65 of 84 Old 07-18-2011, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Carpet time!

Finally got all my samples. I ended up throwing the ~$1 carpet tile samples away. The carpet was way too thin and really really poor quality. I have to bend them around the steps and you could see right through to the pad with the really cheap ones.

The cheapest on the left is from Lowes. I would have them cut it but it is a self install carpet with built in pad. They didn't have the install kit on hand. It bend pretty easily and didn't show the underlayment when I cupped it around the stairs. Not the nicest to walk on though. The next was an Insta FlorI in Driftwood. This carpet tile has an adhesive back to the pad so it's just peel, stick and cut. The added benefit to the carpet tiles is, since they are sold by the box, I would have 6 entire 2'x2' tiles and some scraps left if I have to change one out for any reason. The carpet feels better than the first one but it spreads out more when bent so you can see a little of the bottom if I put them over the stairs - but not a bad option


The next one is the InstaFlor II in Cancun Fleck. The carpet is thicker and has a softer feel than the InstaFlor I. While it bends the easiest over the stairs you cant see through it at all.

The last is the cheapest option from Lowes and Home Depot. (The many local carpet places I went to couldn't do as high a quality carpet + pad as HD and Lowes could for such a low price. Probably has to do with my tiny carpet budget and unwillingness to go with Berber. Well - there was that one guy who completely calculated my sq footage wrong (off by 87 sq ft) and then argued with me about it as well...) The most annoying thing about them is I can't get an estimate on install costs without paying $35 to get someone to my house. I was told $8 a step but that they might consider steps running the full length of the room custom so it could be more. But they couldn't tell me how much more. It also might be more for the lid but they didn't know how much more. I would need to pay for the tack strips. The steps and lid could make that more expensive but they couldn't tell me how much more. Yeah - thanks for nothing

I actually liked this carpet the best but I am not willing to completely guess on the install price (hence the $450-500. For all I know it could be even more) and it would be the most expensive option (I didn't figure in the tax or the tack strips in that price)

After taking a long look at the carpet options we decided to go with the InstaFlor II in Driftwood. Spending the $40 more on it was a pretty easy decision.

The funny thing is that I completely ordered these by mistake. At 1.99 a sq ft plus shipping they were out of my price range. When I went through my email trying to match samples and colors with the products I noticed that they had the InstaFlor products 25% off with free shipping - or about $200 off what my order would be

That completely makes up for what I discovered earlier this weekend. When I setup for the smoke alarm install I wanted to make sure that the alarm went off with the others since I was building a potential death trap. I looked and saw they were running 14/2 cables to the others so thats what I ran. What I didn't noticed is that they were using (2) runs of 14/2 to connect the red, balck, white wires instead of a 14/3 run. So....I have a nice 14/2 run that won't do what I want it to do and no way to run another cable without cutting the drywall.

At this point I am not sure what to do. I can still run the wires through the other side of the room but I can't reach the back of the room because of the concrete walls and steel support beam. I do have an extra spot at the top of my rack so I could put it there. That would look stranger than on the ceiling but it its on the ceiling past the concrete wall you will see it when you look at the screen. Decisions decisions. Then I also have to cover up the hole for the smoke alarm. Maybe I'll put in a doorbell or something so my wife doesn't scare the crap out of me when she comes in...


The surround speakers are up. I was pretty limited in placement here as well (Stupid door location). Hopefully they will work out ok

You can see the original smoke alarm location in this picture, where the yellow wire is sticking out. The top spot on the rack is where I was thinking of putting the alarm although I could put it above the rack all together. It would be tough because the steel beam would almost be in the way but I could do it. I can't get too much closer to the door (maybe 2') than where the rack is


The screen is up! Right now the back row is right at 1/3 the screen height. I would like to get it a little higher but I will need to wait until I get the projector up before I fine tune the placement.

As for the projector it seems I am not a very good MacGyver. It's almost there but the screws I bought are too long so the projector tilts towards the ceiling. I am sure Mac could make due with some of the Q-tips I have laying around but I will have to wait until I buy shorter screws.


The spaghetti monster gets worse!

I went ahead and hooked all the cables up so I could get a better idea on how I wanted to route them. You can see some progress on the speaker wire on the left but I still have a ways to go. The good news is that I have a lot of zip ties. The bad news is that I have some really long HDMI cables. I'll have to wind those up a bit and it will mess up the look but I am not about to go out and buy new ones. I could also make some network cables but the one exception to liking cable making is ethernet cables and the premade ones are pretty close

I built a quick shelf for the battery backup (right side towards the wall) and tested it. I replaced my switch with a much smaller 8 port guy on the top shelf. Definately doesn't look as impressive but its silent so it'll do


I really want to get a new case for the HTPC (Bottom right) but that will have to wait a bit

The carpet should be here later this week and then the real fun begins - speaker setup/sub placement! Time to call some places to price out my Ownes Corning 703
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post #66 of 84 Old 07-18-2011, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcthornton View Post

Floor/demo version that was being discontinued by the shop? Would that explain the see-through and low price?

I got it when Circuit City went out of business. It was on display so you could see the inner workings of the monster product you were supposed to buy
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post #67 of 84 Old 07-25-2011, 07:30 AM - Thread Starter
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It's ALIVE!!!!!!



Everything works! Even though I tested as much as I could along the way there were still chances I had nicked a wire, missed a connection so something just plain stopped working after sitting in a spare bedroom for 6 months. Despite all the potentials for issues, things could not have gone smoother!

I could not have been more excited. I may have even jumped up and down a couple of times, run upstairs to hug and kiss my wife and then run back downstairs to jump up and down a couple of more times.

My equipment is all happy too. I think thats why everything worked on the first try - everything has enough power!



Before, while in use, the voltage would drop from 122.1 down into the 115 range at peak use but now, with the equipment on its own 20A circuit, the lights on their own and the subwoofer with it's own 15A circuit (Well, technically it's the rooms circuit but I don't expect to have much else plugged in there) the draw of the equipment didn't buget the voltage more than .2

Anyway - more on the fun stuff later.

Before all of the jumping and jubilation I had to install the carpet. It arrived Saturday and, much to my surprise, was not all that heavy. It actually wasn't hard to take downstairs - it's about time something didn't strain my back or explode my thumb on the way down!

The carpet tiles were pretty easy to install but the back of the 'peel and stick' tiles was not sticky. At most it was tacky. This might be fine for hard surfaces like concrete or going over a laminate floor but there was not much adhesion to the OSB on the Dricore. I had enough staples (and a couple of small nails) to do the stage and the corners of the floor Saturday. I went ahead and finished the rest of the lower floor that night but the riser would have to wait until after my 937th trip to Lowes in the morning - thats when I decided to hook everything up and give it a whirl

After I got some carpet tacks (The stapes didn't go through as far as I would like) I completed the riser. I am really happy about how the lip and the door frame turned out


The lip was a bit of a pain with all the needed staples to keep the look uniform and the door frame was by far the most time intensive section of carpet. I had to make the cut for the door frame, the steps and where the wall opens up into the room (it goes to the left of the door in the picture below)

(Note my awesome seating!)

You can see some seams in the carpet but I did lay them off center of eachother so it kind of looks like a design. Hopefully once I vacuum it they will be less noticeable but I can't complain about the installation price - about $5 worth of tacks and staples. I may have missed a piece or two so it will be interesting to see if any tiles come up when I vacuum them

The front around the sump pump lid was a bit tough as I needed a short filler piece in order to get one entire peice to cover the lid (so there are two carpet joints right next to eachother) but in the grand scheme of things it will be pretty hard to see when the lights are on and it invisible when the lights are off



Here is my super awesome projector mount using two pieces of door hardware


The HDMI cable I ran through the ceiling actually ended up being a tad short to run nicely along the mount - more due to the inflexibility of the cable than run length. At least you wont be able to see it, even from the back row as the idea throw distance for my projector places it above the heads of the back row (Please don't fall down projector!) Maybe its actually a good thing I got this mount - the 4 attachment mount is ~2" lower and right now I can just pass under the projector without hitting it. 2" would mean I would have to duck. There might be some slight balance issues (One bracket had to go below the other) that I'll fix with some washers if I can't get the image perfectly straight when futzing with the projector settings

Now, of course since everything works, I had to throw in my first movie. The selection was pre-determined by tradition

(The picture doesn't do it justice)
Star Wars Ep III was the first movie I watched on my first big screen TV. Then - since whatever else you think about George Lucas you have to admit the video and audio quality of his releases ranks up there (and this was pre blu-ray) it was my first movie for my HTiB. It continued on through progressively better 'real' speakers and subwoofers along with a new TV and finally my projector - so of course it has to be the first movie now! (And so on and so on)

And - I don't know about anyone else but the THX intro just gives me goose bumps. BrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWW!!!!!

(Yay for bad photography!)

The first impressions were excellent. It was nice to have a completely dark room in the middle of the day. The surround sound from my new ERD-1s was excellent. I also don't need to turn up the volume as high. The room is still a tad echo-y and there are some bass issue to address. (The really build up in the corners but are lacking in the center of the room)

Fortunately I found someone willing to buy my kidney so I now have enough money to build at least two bass traps in the front corners of the room. A local place sells the Thermafiber SAFB which according to Bob Gold isn't quite as good as OC703 but at 1/3 the price it should (hopefully) do quite well. I picked up a pack of that and some 1x3 furring strips to make 2x4x~8' bass trap. I am going to lay a 2" thick panel vertically across the corners - completing the triangle if that makes sense, instead of stacking the pieces on top of eachother. I know it won't be as affective but it is cheaper. Jo Ann is also having a sale on their fabrics so I'll be getting that this week too. Then it's more treatment as needed/budget allows

Still a lot of work to do but its nice to have my stuff setup and working again!
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post #68 of 84 Old 07-25-2011, 08:19 AM
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Totally awesome! Good job!

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post #69 of 84 Old 07-25-2011, 08:20 AM
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WOOOO!!!! Looking sharp...but now that the PJ is up...dont even expect to put the trim up around your rack...it'll just never happen...or maybe thats just in my theater....

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post #70 of 84 Old 07-25-2011, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hanesian View Post

Totally awesome! Good job!

Thanks! I really like that I will have done everything in this room. Of course some things could look a little better if I had mroe experience or paid someone to do it but I am cheap and I gotta learn somewhere!

Quote:
Originally Posted by premiertrussman View Post

WOOOO!!!! Looking sharp...but now that the PJ is up...dont even expect to put the trim up around your rack...it'll just never happen...or maybe thats just in my theater....

Haha - I had worried about that (a lot) but it looks like my wife is going to ride me a bit over the details. Apparently I am not allowed to have people over until at least some of the trim is in Not a bad thing though - I am sure I would otherwise get distracted and never finish it
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post #71 of 84 Old 07-28-2011, 07:44 AM - Thread Starter
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I started on the front corner bass traps yesterday.



The top indent is so they can fit in around the soffit I constructed. I picked up some cheap 1x3 furring strips to use as the frame and put a cross brace at 4' for bracing. I predrilled two holes for (2) 1 1/4 inch wood screws at each of the corners to hold it tight together while the wood glue dried. I picked up some small L brackets to round out the mismatched ones I already had and used those at the inside corners for a little extra bracing as well. Despite the thin furring strips the frame is verry stable



The mineral wool was fairly easy to work with although I can see what people mean about the durability of it. It doesn't hold together as well as the pink fluffy stuff (It can crumble if you are not paying attention) so I can see the appeal of the more rigid/durable OC703 - if I had the money...maybe - I am a cheap bastard. I made the panel openings 23.5" wide so there was a bit of friction holding the mineral wool in place. I didn't find it any more irritating on the skin than regular insulation and the same precautions seemed to work just fine.



I used cheap burlap on the back of the panel to keep the crumbs in. The 1x3 gives the mineral wool a little bit of room to move before it hits the fabric so I am hoping that will allow it to bend a little when impacted instead of crumble. If I am lucky though I wont have to find out as these are in the front corner and should be well away from anything that would impact them

I am starting to see the benefit of a power stapler. I used a lot of staples on this part of the project to keep the fabric taut and it was a bit of a pain to pull the fabric tight while triggering the stapler while pressing the stapler tight against the wood so the staples were flush and not sticking out

To keep costs down we bought a 54" wide fabric so we can cover the faces of both panels (25" wide) with 2.5 yards of the nicer, more expensive fabric by cutting it down the middle. It wraps around the side where I stapled it down. We picked up some almost completely matching ribbon that we are going to try and glue down on the visible edge (So you dont see the edge of the fabric and the staples in it). Haven't gotten a chance to try that yet but it looks like the $6 spent on the ribbon will be well worth it



Despite being only mostly complete I went ahead and put them up, since the important bass trapping part was done. There is a definite difference in the center of the room. There is more kick in the seating area, which is good because that is where it was lacking the most. I can only imagine that 4" would be better but I don't have room for that. (And I don't have the $ for a floor to ceiling triangle bass trap). The picture above had to be taken with the flash, otherwise you would barely be able to see the trap - they blend very nicely into the background. Overall I am very happy with them

However - by fortuitous happenstance I do have almost all the required materials for a smaller triangle bass trap.

After making the two bass traps and leaving 4 sheets of mineral wool to the side for future reflection point treatments (I think this will be much farther down the road) I had a number of sheets left to cut triangles in. The traps are only 17x17x24" triangles since thats what fits behind the corner panel but that means I have enough mineral wool triangles to create (2) 2' tall stacks. This also just happens to be the width of my two remaining scraps of burlap. Since they are going behind the panels I don't really care what the fabric is so long as it is acoustically transparent and will keep the fibers from flying all over the place.

Now - if only I had recently undertaken a construction process that had left scraps of wood laying around. Wait a second!

So here are my two stacks on top of the plywood base.


I still need to cut the top and figure out how to support the top and keep the stacks from falling over. I have some extra furring strip scraps that would work for the back but wouldn't work in the non-right angle corners. I am thinking a threaded rod but I'll have to see how much those cost

Oh - and the orange insulation knife worked very very well for cutting the mineral wool. Much cleaner cuts than my utility knife
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post #72 of 84 Old 08-01-2011, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Even though the projector is up and working progress is still being made! I'm like a regular ironman or something!

For the mini-traps after another trip to Home Depot* I decided to use a drywall corner bead for the edges. I looked that the threaded rods but those would end up costing $8 and wouldn't protect the fabric from the edges of the plywood. The cornerbead was only $2 after tax. I cut the furring strip down and screwed/glued them at the back corner and the middle of the hypotenuse



*Fortunately I already had to go out to the autoparts store right next door since my wife's car battery decided it didn't want to hold a charge anymore.

I then stapled the remaining burlap around the edges of the two traps


(I think I qualify for the Expert Stapler badge now)




They fit perfectly behind my existing traps. I tried some sound testing again and maybe there was more of a difference but I couldn't be certain. Regardless at only $1 a trap I am not too worried about it

While I was busy sweating in the hot garage my wife was nice enough to put the ribbon on the side of the larger traps. She ended up with a couple of slight wrinkles in them but nothing you can see when they are standing up



I have even started the trim!


Just that one corner and around the door to the storage room so far but it's coming along...
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post #73 of 84 Old 08-01-2011, 08:22 AM
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Qualify for your Thrift badge too!
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post #74 of 84 Old 08-15-2011, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Fear not as progress continues - although at a slower pace. Believe it or not it's not entirely related to use of the actual theater room. The last two weeks have been a flurry of work and interviews as I have gotten a new job offer (Yay me!)

Anyway - Here is pretty much what the final cable layout will look like:


It's not as clean as I would want but about the best it's going to look without spending more money on cables or cable management

I also finally got my HotLink Pro setup:


It was insanely easy to do. The eye is located in the center of the room right above the screen. Now if I point my remote anywhere towards the front it will relay the signal to my equipment.

Placing the transmitter was as simple as pointing the remote at the front of the screen, hitting a command and moving the eye around on the equipment front until the equipment acknowledged the signal. I then made note of the spot, pealed the backing off the sticky side of the transmitter, stuck it in place and then confirmed it worked.

Granted I only had the receiver and BD player to do this with but I think I spent 2 minutes on it. I also confirmed it worked on the other transmitter I ran to outside the room.

No fuss, no muss. Great little system

My jurry rigged projector setup had a flaw in it. Apparently it is a bit early for Schlague to add 'Doubles as projector mounting bracket' to their door hardware marketing as they were sagging a bit - pulling my image down and to the side a noticeable amount

Now we get into a warning - DO NOT USE A NUT with the supplied Monoprice hex screws. I FINGER TIGHTENED it and when I went to use the allen wrench to untighten it to get the brackets off the allen wrench stripped the inside of the nut so it would just spin round and round and not actually loosen. I tried all kinds of wrenches, screwdrivers, etc to get the nut lose but the screw just kept deforming. I don't exactly have the strongest fingers so I found the quality of the screw surprisingly poor (not that I was expecting much but I was really really surprised at how easily the screw seemed to just melt away)

After much swearing and delicious thoughts of wanton mayhem and destruction I decided I better accept my fate and figure out how to deal with it. There are many cool things out there that could fix that but they all cost money and damnit if this isn't supposed to be about doing things cheaply!

Finally I found a solution I could work with my existing supplies. I doubled up the door brackets (since they were staying on the mount anyway) With the added height I changed screws to make sure they went all the way in to the mounting hole. Of course I could have bought the proper length but I have about 5,000 spare washers so I used the free washers to adjust to the screw height

Now with the New and Improved single schlague projector bracket the monoprice included mounting brackets couldn't reach any of the other holes. I needed to extend two of them in order for this to work. I had two metal pieces with a slot running down the middle. I was able to use this and screw one end to the projector and, since there was a slot, screw the bracket to the other end of the metal piece anywhere along the length of the bracket it needed to be. I used a couple of more washers with the bracket to keep it in place and distribute the strain a bit on the included mounting brackets (it seems more than capable but when you have so many washers why not, right?) and about 45 more washers to adjust to the screw height



Its been up for a bit now with none of the slowly sagging problems the last version had.

Oh and please don't laugh at my furniture:


Not the best matching set but it will have to do for now

Movie picture time! Bonus points for guessing the first movie:


What the hay - we'll do bonus points for the second movie too:


I still have to finish the trim and the access panel for the sump pump outlet along with finishing the equipment rack but it's edging ever closer
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post #75 of 84 Old 08-15-2011, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Qualify for your Thrift badge too!
No kidding!
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post #76 of 84 Old 08-16-2011, 07:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Ugh - so I spent quite a bit of time last night trying to find the right listening mode for the music coming from my computer. I am very happy with how the movies sound from my BD player but music was lacking as I hadn't adjusted anything since I moved from the all concrete room. Some of my options were limited (speaker distance, gain) since I didn't want to change how the movies came across.

My Onkyo has quite a few options and I was able to quickly eliminate some while others took more trial and error. I, personally, dont care for the Stereo options. The sound is not as immersive to me as the sound comes from up there *points to front of room* as opposed to me being in the middle of the music.

All channel mode left a distinction between the fronts and the surrounds. I could tell where the surrounds were very clearly as opposed to them blending in. (Fixing the levels might help that but I didn't want to risk changing anything for my movie settings)

Now - the big problem I ran into was deciding between PLII, THX PLII and THX Neo6 (I didn't really like the regular Neo6)**. At first I was running through some of my favorite songs and thought the THX Neo6 was the clear choice. Then I listened to Christmas Cannon Rock by the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Towards the middle the female vocals sounded crisp and clear - until the guitar joined in. I immediately lost the distinction between the two. I was shocked. I switched back to PLII and it sounded immensely better.

**While typing this I decided THX PLII was out. It ALWAYS fell in second or third place in the tests. I would rather have some excellent songs and some disappointments than a 'Meh' across the board

I searched through my catalogue for a couple of other high quality cd rips with strong female vocals that were in front of some potentially intense music. In Dash Berlin/Emma Hewitt's Waiting and Nightwish's Sleeping Sun THX Neo suffered from a lack of distinction with the female vocals when the rest of the music track got more intense (But not to the level of CCR)

So I tried a variety of music testing the difference between the two listening modes.

Gemini - Blue was another surprise. Throughout the various songs the THX Neo6 has a slight edge in bass reproduction. Oh boy did that change in Blue. I thought the Neo6 was doing ok until I switched to PLII and a quiet 'Oh' escaped my lips. The mid and low level bass was impressive - much more pronounced than the THX Neo6

Now - you would think everything would be puppies, cake, unicorns and rainbows now as I could just go with PLII. Well, hold your horses there mister. When I listened to Primetime - Make a Miracle (DJ Realest Edit) and Megara vs DJ Lee - Chaos the highs were very harsh on PLII. It was slightly uncomfortable to listen to. This repeated through a couple of other songs with very high sounds - they all tended to be a bit harsh (But not as bad as the two I mentioned).

Then I listened to Daft Punk's Fall (From the Tron ST). The highs were more prominent but the bass was lacking with PLII. THX Neo was a clear winner for this song. Same thing for Marylin Manson's This is the new ****

Within this mess there were also some songs that were notable for their lack of notability. While TSO's Christmas Cannon Rock very clearly favored PLII their more recently released Carmina Burana and Toccata Carpimus Noctem showed no real distinction between the listening modes. (THX Neo has a slight edge but there was no where near the difference that other songs had)

At that point I gave up for the night not knowing what to do and wondering why there was such a difference. After some thought I think I may have an idea. If my understanding is correct THX applies post processing to attempt to make the sound more in line with what it was intended to be. I think this means it can even out some of the levels. I am wondering if some of the songs have intentionally uneven levels and THX evens those out creating the issue

Lets take a look at some of the songs that sounded notably worse in THX Neo6:

Gemini -Blue: This is a Dubstep song and Dubstep (typically) has intentionally strong bass lines. The 'Drop' is supposed to be a real bass punch and is usually well emphasized

TSO - Christmas Canon Rock: The song is really (it seems to me) about the female vocals and it wouldn't surprise me if they had those levels higher so it stands out more during the song when the guitar joined in

Dash Berlin/Emma Hewitt - Waiting: Emma collaborated with Dash Berlin for this piece so it would not surprise me if the goal was to highlight her presence in this piece

With CCR, Waiting and Sleeping Sun the issues with their voices only came into being when they were juxtaposed with other instruments

So - like I said I don't know that is what is happening but it kinda makes sense to me (But I could be completely wrong in the reasoning)

Anyway - very long story short I am still not sure which on to go with. I might go with PLII and see if I can tame some of the highs with room treatments
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post #77 of 84 Old 09-05-2011, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I think I have decided to go with PL II and see if the room treatments I eventually get to help the highs.

In other news I took a day for a side project. You see - I am not much of a tetris fan so I got tired of moving and stacking ten trillion things to get to a box and then move ten trillion things back when I needed something else



There was a recessed area in the foundation that was perfect for this project. The shelves are 12' long, 2' deep and just under 8' tall and fit right in that little area

After adding even more stuff than in that picture to the shelves the basement actually looks almost clean!

Anyway - the home theater has made some progress as well. I got some quarter round to place under the trim around the equipment rack. The original plan was to recess the rack some so a tinted glass door could shut and be flush with the trim. The light from the equipment isn't as distracting as I thought so I think the glass is not needed at the moment. I kept the recessed design though in case I ever changed my mind

I had been dreading cutting a 4' long 1/2"x3/4" strip of wood perfectly straight. (I really need to get a table saw ) Well, the quarter round let me keep my sanity plus the rounded edge could be placed against the drywall cut to help alleviate any issues a bumpy drywall cut would create.

I recessed the right side quarter round by about 1/8" of an inch. The goal was to let me slide the rack covers in place and friction fit them so they don't pop out



As you can see the trim and quarter round is up around the rack. I have been told that a using just a little bit of caulk at the edges can create seamless trim work so I'll give that a god here in a little bit and see if I can get rid of those lines



We have the upper blank and the fit for the power, DVR and bluray done. I took a slim piece of wood (1/4"?) and measured the hole for the specific piece of equipment. I used a hole bit to make a hole at each corner and then used my jigsaw to connect the holes.

The wood was thin enough I had to plan my cuts carefully so I didn't break the wood but it was fairly straight forward. A bit of light sanding to smooth the edges and I was ready to fine tune the opening if needed

I was going to use a file for that but apparently I did not own any files. I picked up a cheap pack of 8 different files and set to work. Most of the work needed to be done at the corners but it wasn't long before I had the four pieces done. I'll paint them black when they are all cut out and ready to go

The large one for the computers should be interesting...

I also made a cover for my sump pump outlet. I had been planning on using a premade cover but apparently my hole size of 6"x12" was not even close to standard. My choices were 6"x9" or 12"x12" for a premade one or $30+ for a custom sized one. Since I had placed 2x4s around the opening and $30 was too much those options were out.

I took an extra piece of wood that would be left over from the equipment covers and cut it 2" wider than the opening. The wood is thin so its a bit flimsy. I added a 3/4" strip of plywood down the back. To this I attached some cabinet door hooks and installed the other end to the edges of the opening. I put a cheap handle on the front and for about $2.50 in parts I had my own, custom sized access panel.





About the only downside is that it leaves a little bit of drywall dust on the wall when you open it and put it back. Brushes off easily though (I just hadn't brushed it off when I took the picture)

I'll paint it at the same time I paint the equipment covers
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post #78 of 84 Old 09-24-2011, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Just a small update:

The equipment rack is pretty much done. I finished cutting the rest of the covers and painted them ($3 can of black spray paint)


I took too long cutting the last couple of pieces so the wood had time to warp a bit. I'll need to rack them to the track but otherwise its all done

All told - I spent less than $40 on the rack so I am very happy with the way it turned out.

I also got the first coat of paint on the access panel and some more trim up.

I found out that the RJ-45 jacks I got were an odd size so I got two new ones, punched them in and tested them. Now all the outlet/jack covers are in place.

I picked up a shelf mount at the hardware store for the center channel. I had a long finished shelving piece that the previous home owners left behind and was, very fortuitously, very similar in color to my front speakers. All I needed to do was cut it to the same size as my center channel and screw it to the bracket



My Center speaker is not light (~25lbs) and it would be cantilevered at the end of the bracket so I drove (3) 3" screws into the stud to hold the shelf in place.

The support stands out a bit now but I am thinking the white trim will help it blend in more (I'll need to notch out the back of the trim to go around the support)

The subwoofer seemed to have a more even response on the left so I moved it as well
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post #79 of 84 Old 09-24-2011, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I bought a Dodge Aries for $495 and kept it going for 4 years on about 200 bucks. There is a sense of accomplishment in doing as much as possible with as little as possible, even when you don't need to. I admire your ingenuity in the build, and appreciate the fine choice of equipment.

Thanks! I completely agree on the sense of accomplishment - at times it can be very annoying and frustrating to figure out ways to do things without spending tons of money (or even a little money) but when you're done there is much more of a sense of accomplishment

Besides - it leaves more money for the equipment!
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post #80 of 84 Old 09-25-2011, 08:15 AM
 
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I just love seeing what can be done with a small space, as my SLOWLY being built theater is about the same size, just a little longer and a little wider - but not by much.
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post #81 of 84 Old 09-26-2011, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Just so you know, your screen shot in post 67 encouraged me to order the Star Wars Bluray box set and now I'm waiting in eager anticipation. Thanks a lot!

No problem! (Well, worth the wait IMO)

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I just love seeing what can be done with a small space, as my SLOWLY being built theater is about the same size, just a little longer and a little wider - but not by much.

Don't worry about the speed - I think most people here take a while with their builds - or maybe it just seems that way...
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post #82 of 84 Old 01-17-2012, 06:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Not a whole heck of a lot of progress. I started a new job and its been longer hours and more stressful while I get the hang of things. I picked up a Rythmik F12 to replace my Velodyne VRP1200





Definately a huge increase in general bass and the extension is significantly better than the Velodyne.


As you can see I still have to finish the trim but I don't see that happening until late winter or spring as I don't really have anywhere to paint at the moment (Im not really motivated to park my car outside and scrape it off in the mornings)


The sag on my frankenstein mount was getting worse so I had been keeping an eye out for a mount deal. Apparently older Epson projectors have wider than standard mounting holes. Added to this was the fact that I didn't want anything longer than 6" (so I wouldn't have to worry about bumping my head on the projector) and it was a tad difficult. I did finally come across a clearance sale on a Nexus mount with the right height and arm span on clearnace for $20 (Normally $120) with free shipping.


It came yesterday and I set it up. It had some heft to it and seemed to be of pretty good quality. The screws to mount it to the ceiling were definately better than the monoprice ones (shocking right?) My biggest dissapointment was there was no way to attach one part to the ceiling, the other part to the projector and bring the two pieces together easily.


Since it had to be mounted to the ceiling first that meant my wife had to hold the 25 odd lbs projector above her head while I attached the 4 screws and washers to it and slide it into the correct posistion before tightening. In contrast I was able to hang and mount the projector by myself with the $15 monoprice mount.


Also like the monoprice mount the included cable management opening is a bit of a joke. There is no way a power cord could fit through there. I might have been able to put a HDMI through there but the curves were pretty significant so there was no way my exisitng HDMI cable could make it



Anyway - its up and definately more stable than the monoprice mount. (And, of course it is a proper 4 arm mount that doesn't sage because I used two metal door brackets to turn a 3 arm mount into a 4 arm mount) The monoprice arms bounced whenever someone walked above it. Heck, my 18lbs dog could move it when she jumped down from the couch. Doesn't seem to be the case with this one.



I still haven't had any luck finding a matching chair...
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post #83 of 84 Old 01-24-2012, 06:14 AM - Thread Starter
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You may remember way back when when I purchased this:



Empires have risen and fallen since then. Mountains have erroded away, continents shifted and all the while it sits, unused, taking up sapce in my basement.


No more I tell you! I finally have the time tools and knowledge necessary to complete my once glorious dream! Well, actually I really have none of those but I am trying to get this setup by the superbowl. Frankly I dont even know if it still works


But I've never let a little thing like not knowing anything stop me from forging ahead and with that I give you my first plumbing work ever!



I cut into the kitchen cold water supply as it was actually somewhat convienntly located. Since I have never done any plumbing before and had to shut the water off to the house to do this I opted for the slighly more expensive, more idiot proof push to fit fittings. They worked fairly well but I did learn two important lessons from this:

1. The cheap pipe cutters are great for slowly opening tiny holes from which the undrained water will spray you in the face while you struggle to cut a decent sized opening to let the water empty into the currently dry bowl you have strategically placed

2. Check the location of your O rings before placing your couplers. Just because the fit seems right doesn't mean you wont spray water on the floor on your first try

I figured the recessed areas of my foundation wall would be an excellent location for a CO2 tank since there was less of a chance it would be bumped or knocked over. I built a little cage that I will attach some eye bolts to to help keep the tank in place. I haven't placed the eye bolts yet because I am waiting to see what type of CO2 tank I get



Since the fountain is heavy and deeper than a normal countertop I needed to either spend a lot of money on a pre-made counter top or make one myself. 2x4s are cheap so of course I went that route


(You can see that water from my plumbing fun on the left)

Honestly - in the short term I dont see it looking much more fancy than that. I had all these grand plans about a nice looking, cabinet covered by stained birch plywood. Of course this would need to be integrated into the bar area I imagined in my head. I went so far as to sketch out the layout so everything would be ready when I finished that area of the basement. Then I took a look at our planned rennovations (closet, master bath, guest bath, kitchen) and realized it would be quite a while before we got to my bar area

So....my 'cabinet' will get some panels that I can mount the syrup pumps to and one to two shelves (all made out of scrap wood I already have) and thats about it. I'll probably even use plywood for the 'counter top' as the drain pan will be stainless steel. Since I wont be spending any extra money if I end up re-doing it in 3-5 years its not a big deal

Early this week I have been educating myself about gas regulators and sourcing the parts I need to connect a CO2 tank to my regulator and syrup pumps and trying to map out the maze of 3/8, 1/4 hoses, clamps and connections
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post #84 of 84 Old 01-24-2012, 10:09 AM
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nice work for 2500$..
i enjoyed reading about your build.
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