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Dedicated Theater Design & Construction

clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
09:35 PM Liked: 10
post #1 of 53
11-28-2010 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
I've been dreaming of doing this for 18 years now and I'm finally on a roll. I've worked in the consumer electronics business for 6 years during my years at college and that was really the start of my desire for a home theater. Well do to kids coming early in my married life, college, busy jobs and real life stuff has prevented me from doing it. 4 years ago I bought DIY speaker kits from GR-Research and they've sat since then. 2 months ago I decided to build them and recently finished them.

We bought a new home a little over a year ago after moving from Utah to California. Unfortunately we weren't able to modify the home since it was a track home and the builder didn't allow for structural modifications. We did buy a house that had a spare room with the intent to turn it into a theater. A few months after moving in we tore the room down and basically did nothing to it for almost a year. Well enough was enough and I'm fired up to get the ball rolling. Here is a terrible sketch of the concept. The equipment rack will be in a different place though.

The plan is to have 8 seats in the room so Berkline 088 narrow sofas will be the seating choice.

Additional sheetrock and Green Glue was done a few months ago. Safe N' Sound solid core door was ordered yesterday. I also ordered some Wilsonart Laminate (DEsigner White) 5'x10' piece today for the screen.

Here are the GR-Research speakers I just completed.

I was off this past week so I was able to work on the stage and riser.

More to come
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
06:25 PM Liked: 10
post #2 of 53
12-04-2010 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
Finished the riser today. Well other than the second layer of OSB after I lay the #30 Roofing felt.

Got some goodies yesterday.

Screen material came in yesterday as well.

Now to figure out the front stage false wall and the equipment rack.
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
09:22 PM Liked: 10
post #3 of 53
12-09-2010 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
Got the screen hung today and started on the front wall Linacoustic. . Kind of a nightmare really but it turned out well. I used contact cement to glue it to pegboard but that posed a problem as the seems showed up. I had to take it down and reinforce the seems with 1/4" plywood that was also glued to the pegboard.

More later.

lockeed's Avatar lockeed
07:11 AM Liked: 10
post #4 of 53
12-10-2010 | Posts: 367
Joined: Nov 2008
Did you do any sound treatment in your stage and riser ? On your stage, did you put dual 5/8 sheets or a single one?
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
09:25 AM Liked: 10
post #5 of 53
12-10-2010 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
The stage has some sand in it as you can see here

The room is on the second floor and I didn't want to risk too much weight. My friend is an engineer and felt that I would be ok with it completely filled but it was pushing the calculated max load and I didn't want to get into a situation that might be disastrous. Anyway I know it's not optimal but I figure the additional mass won't hurt. There's about 800 pounds of sand in there. The stage is decoupled as well. As for the top layers they are OSB 23/32" I believe and there are 2 layers on there. The stage has green glue between the layers. The rest of the stage was stuffed with standard fiberglass insulation.

The riser is framed with 2x12's with a total height of approx 14" with carpet. Each chamber is stuffed with 2 layers of R-30. 2 sheets of the 23/32" OSB with #30 roofing felt between the layers. Hope that helps.
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
08:07 PM Liked: 10
post #6 of 53
03-28-2011 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
With all the theater build threads out there that are actually well done I'm wondering why I even post to this thread. Maybe someone will benefit from something I've done. I've actually finished a lot in the last few months and I'm really working hard on the room at the moment.

Built 2 15" subs recently. They are MFW-15's with SA-1 amps from www.gr-research.com. They came out great and sound wonderful. It's a sandbox design and they are as solid as a rock. They weigh a modest 162 pounds each.

clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
08:08 PM Liked: 10
post #7 of 53
03-28-2011 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
Here is the front stage in progress.

Going to start on the soffit tomorrow.
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
09:04 PM Liked: 10
post #8 of 53
03-28-2011 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
Thanks for the kind remarks on the speakers and the encouragment on the thread.

I built all 9 speakers from scratch. Everything was in a kit when I received them from GR-Research.com. It was A LOT of work building them but they sound amazing! For the couple of grand I invested in them I'm certain I saved at least $3k or more doing them myself. The pride in building them yourself is where it's really at for me. For me they are works of art and I really enjoy wordworking as I rarely get to do it much with a busy job and 3 kids. It's been something I wanted to do when I finally got around to doing my theater room.

More to come....
Chris_Holmes's Avatar Chris_Holmes
07:24 AM Liked: 11
post #9 of 53
03-29-2011 | Posts: 589
Joined: Sep 2001
Those speakers look fantastic! I'm waiting for my Wilsonart laminate and will also be building a DIY screen. Good to hear about the seam issue when you glued it. I was planning on just attaching to the perimeter of a 1x4 frame (braced). What kind of projector are you going to be using?
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
08:56 AM Liked: 10
post #10 of 53
03-29-2011 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010

A couple more questions:

* What type of veneer did you use on the speakers?



* Have you had a chance to listen to the setup yet?

Yes many times. Everything sounds great even without acoustic treatments. My brother came over this past weekend and he has a decent system costing about $800 for his speakers (I know it's not much) and has a $500 amp (again not much) but he wanted to sell everything he has and start building speakers after his experience in my room. hehe


Do you find the front sound field a bit uneven with the center mounted well above the left and right? Always a tough decision with a non-AT screen.

This is a tough one for me. I read a post somewhere from Dennis Erskine stating that the placement of the center channel is better served over the screen since our brains have a harder time localizing sound coming from above. I might try it below the screen to see the difference but for the most part I don't notice its location. It sounds central to me. It will probably help when it's hidden behind all the screens I still need to make. That way I won't see that thing staring down at me.


The bass must be amazing with those two 15's.

I wanted to go IB but it just wasn't going to work well in this room or should I say I didn't want my entire neighborhood calling the cops on me daily. I was a little reluctant to do 2 subs as I thought it might be overkill but I'm glad I did. After I got 1 done I tried it out and while it sounded good it really filled out the stage and added another dimension having a second. It also allows me to move them around to optimize them. I think a single is fine especially on a budget but I would try and plan for 2 down the road. You can't really have too much bass in my opinion. Those sub-sonic sounds aren't heard but felt. With this room on the second floor there is no need whatsoever for buttkickers. The tactile response in the room is exceptional.


* What projector are you using?

It's an Optima HD70 I bought years ago. I plan to replace it in the near future but I'm content with it at the moment. I want to move up to a 1080P unit with better contrast soon. I have 100% light control in the room and the blacks just aren't very good.


* A wife and 3 kids. My situation as well. How did you convince the family that the time and money spent on the theater was a good thing?

My wife LOVES movies so it was easy really. Also we bought the house almost exclusively on the fact that there is a bonus room over the garage that was a nice 18'x20' with 9' ceilings that would make a nice HT room. As for the money it really hasn't been all that bad. Looking back on the project I could have done it for $3 grand I bet, maybe less. DIY screens are cheap, used PJ is cheap, speakers can add up but you can get nice used setups cheap. Then all you need is furniture to sit on. I think the money really starts to add up with the construction piece of it. If you can't DIY that part it could be a huge cost. Materials for the most part is cheap, labor not so much.
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
10:05 AM Liked: 10
post #11 of 53
08-04-2011 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
It's been a long time since I've posted anything and I actually took several months off from the room. Was working on getting my backyard done before the intense summer heat set in. Now I'm back on task in the theater.

Here is an update showing the soffit work I've been doing the last week or so. Pillars will be next up. The wires will not be hanging out of course.

Here is a shot with the firing to allow the linacoistic RC to be mounted before the fabric and Alder goes up.

Fabric installed

Alder Veneer and Trim installed

I still need to install the 9 recessed cans which should happen in the next week. Next up is the columns and wire for rope lighting. Then I'll be working on the front stage trim. I expect the columns to take awhile as I plan to do some pretty detailed wood work On them. My brother keeps telling me to just texture the walls and be done with it but by golly I'm doing this room like I always dreamed I would.
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
10:27 PM Liked: 10
post #12 of 53
08-07-2011 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
Worked on the riser today. Decided to trim it out. Waiting to stain things until I nail down the color scheme for the room. Plan to work on the columns this week. Will be making raised panels for them and topping them with speaker cloth.

auburnu008's Avatar auburnu008
10:56 PM Liked: 36
post #13 of 53
08-07-2011 | Posts: 886
Joined: Jun 2004
Looking good. Keep the updates coming.
lockeed's Avatar lockeed
02:50 PM Liked: 10
post #14 of 53
08-08-2011 | Posts: 367
Joined: Nov 2008
Looks great.

Looking at your build brings back some memories...
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
09:41 PM Liked: 10
post #15 of 53
08-15-2011 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
Nothing to show as far as pictures go but I've been working on the columns which is a fair amount of work. I'll post pictures tomorrow. I'm trying to wrap my head around so many things right now I get dizzy at times just thinking about it. I asked a well known forum member for acoustic treatment help before I get too far into this. I realize at this point I should have bit the bullet and just taken care of that before I ever started. I didn't realize the scope of the project until I really started getting into it. Now that I have 2 kick ass subs, 7 nice speakers and the projector up and running I'm bitting off more than I bargained for. It's a lot of fun but i really realize that having a plan and sticking to it is vital! I definitely have some problem areas in the room as far as bass control goes and will need some attention. Mostly the rear row in the corner of the room. Front row is good and that's with acoustic treatment other than the Linacoustic RC on the front wall.

More soon. I know the thread moves slow but I try to keep it simple when I do post. Then again not many are following it so that helps. LOL
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
12:08 AM Liked: 10
post #16 of 53
08-16-2011 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
I hear ya on that seating position. That's actually the worst of the 7 seats, for obvious reasons it seems. I realize I won't make them all great but like you said it's not going to matter to most of my guests. They will get caught up in the shock and awe of the whole "home theater experience". I'm sure with the acoustic treatments it ill be better than it is now. I was wondering if placing 1 of the 2 subs in that corner would help or hurt. I really don't want those giant boxes in sight for people to see. They weren't intended to be seen, if they were I would have wrapped them in cherry and made them pretty. I'm good at hiding things so I could always build a screen to hide it I guess. I doubt that's going to be a recommendation when I get some of the experts on here chiming in.

Thanks for the kind words on the woodworking skills. I'm not too sure they are all that great but I am super detail oriented on my middle age years, had a great teacher (dad) and have a pretty good set of tools at this point. The columns will have Alder raised panels on the bottoms then a grill above them with some nice trim work that blends in with the baseboard, chair railings and a cap up top. I plan to have the bootms fixed to the wall and the top part will be able to be removed for easy access to the speakers as well as possibly being used as bass traps. Maybe load them with safe n sound, 701/703 type stuff. I'm a little worried the front columns might actually be in the first order refection spot but I don't think it will be an issue since the base of the columns is only 36" or so and above that will be essentially acoustically transparent so treatments will still be function-able. Off to bed....
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
09:05 PM Liked: 10
post #17 of 53
08-16-2011 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
Been working the Bench Dog over. Love this router table!

Here's a small stack of the panels I've been cutting for the columns.

Here's the base panel for the columns. I have 4 of these done and have 8 side panels to make then on to the top of the coumns. Then I'll make a removable section to access the speakers.

clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
12:16 AM Liked: 10
post #18 of 53
08-17-2011 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
Everything is solid Alder. Yes it's a panel bit. Kind of a pain cutting raised panels until you get the hang of it. The speed you push them is key to preventing burns. I'm not perfect at it but that's a reason I used knotty Alder as it makes for a bit more of a rustic look. Cutting flat panels out of 1/4 inch is clearly the simpler way to get the job done.

As for acoustics I'll work on them as I go along. I asked for help and I'm still waiting to see if I get an answer but I also realize a lot of the experts on here must get so many questions they have to pass some of them by. I still have a lot of things to do so I have some time.

I'll look at Lockheed's thread now.
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
10:50 PM Liked: 10
post #19 of 53
09-01-2011 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
Not much happening the last few weeks. I'm training for a long bike ride that's happening in a few weeks so until then I'll be riding and not doing much else.
nebrunner's Avatar nebrunner
08:42 AM Liked: 29
post #20 of 53
09-02-2011 | Posts: 1,145
Joined: Sep 2001
Originally Posted by clarkb6 View Post

I'm trying to wrap my head around so many things right now I get dizzy at times just thinking about it.

Isn't that the truth! At times I'm looking around wondering if I bit off more than I can chew, there is so much to do that it's hard to keep track.
Moggie's Avatar Moggie
09:24 AM Liked: 25
post #21 of 53
09-02-2011 | Posts: 1,206
Joined: Mar 2008
Nice job on the soffits. One question though: isn't it going to be difficult to stain the Alder without getting it on the black fabric?

Originally Posted by clarkb6 View Post

My brother keeps telling me to just texture the walls and be done with it but by golly I'm doing this room like I always dreamed I would.

Absolutely. It's your room -- stick to your plan
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
05:42 PM Liked: 10
post #22 of 53
09-03-2011 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010

isn't it going to be difficult to stain the Alder without getting it on the black fabric?


I'll tape it off so it should be fine. Didn't have a lot of choice on that part of the staining process. The rest will be stained and varnished before it goes up.
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
05:49 PM Liked: 10
post #23 of 53
09-03-2011 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
Just ordered all the fabric for the walls and screen wall. Wife was wanting to have red/burgundy in the room and I decided to listen to her. The room will be skinned in GOM Anchorage Onyx from the floor to approx. 3' up then transition to GOM Anchorage Mulberry for the next 58" or so then have a final 8" up to the base of the sofit with more Onyx. Transitions will have some sort of wood trim and possible 45 degree bevels to polish it off. Stain on the wood is still to be determined. I'm thinking a dark burgundy black color to tie in with the 2 main colors. Originally was going to go with a medium to dark brown but I'm not leaning that way anymore as it creates more difficulty in blending the colors together correctly. I'm no interior designer but my mom had a great design eye and she taught me a few things. We'll see how it goes when I start getting the fabrics stapled up.
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
10:07 PM Liked: 10
post #24 of 53
03-14-2012 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
Hard to believe how long it's been since I posted to this thread. I was swamped last fall with work and training for a few bike rides. Theater has been ignored for several months. I decided to finish it in the next few weeks so hopefully I can stay on schedule and get it done ASAP as planned.

Soffit is done, cans in the soffit, trimming out walls so I can apply Linacoustic RC and batting. Riser trim done.

One of the areas I've been stumped on is the 2 windows I left in the room due to fire code. I toyed with the idea of using curtains but my craziness got the best of me and I decided to make hidden doors that will hopefully blend in with the rest of the walls. We shall see.... This is a rough start to the finished product.

JasonMiller1975's Avatar JasonMiller1975
10:49 PM Liked: 10
post #25 of 53
03-14-2012 | Posts: 36
Joined: Aug 2010
Great build. Will watch along for sure. Kudos on your craftsmanship. Can I ask where you bought your black-trim recessed soffit lights? Line or low voltage? I'm shopping.
stockmonkey2000's Avatar stockmonkey2000
10:51 PM Liked: 26
post #26 of 53
03-14-2012 | Posts: 1,712
Joined: Nov 2005
Very nice woodwork - the soffits look great.
tonyjd40's Avatar tonyjd40
10:55 PM Liked: 11
post #27 of 53
03-14-2012 | Posts: 204
Joined: Oct 2010
WOW, you are a true master craftsman. do you do this for a living ? I would love to have you build such a theatre in my home. amazing.

god bless
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
08:12 AM Liked: 10
post #28 of 53
03-15-2012 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
The soffit cans are 110. I bought these


And painted them black. They come sort very easily so painting them is a breeze. As for mounting them you just need to be creative since your mounting depth will more than likely be different then the preset depths on the can housing. I can take a picture of that if anyone wants to know how I mounted them. Since they are 3" in diameter it's easy to cut the holes with a hole saw.
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
08:15 AM Liked: 10
post #29 of 53
03-15-2012 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
"WOW, you are a true master craftsman. do you do this for a living ? I would love to have you build such a theatre in my home. amazing."

Thanks for the compliment! I don't do woodworking for a living but I'm pretty handy with it. The tools I have help tons! I give credit to my dad for forcing me to learn how to build furniture when I was a boy and we were too poor to buy our own.
clarkb6's Avatar clarkb6
10:57 PM Liked: 10
post #30 of 53
03-15-2012 | Posts: 54
Joined: Nov 2010
Worked on the windows today. Lined with the GOM I'll be using on the upper walls. Got one window done. Will work on the others tomorrow.

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