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post #1 of 44 Old 02-11-2011, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
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So this is the very beginning of the Swan Family Theater. I have been planning to build for the last year. I figure that if I start a thread it will help keep me motivated. The basement is a blank slate, I have an area that I am planning on using. The finished area will be 24.5' x 13' x 7.5'. Two walls be against the poured concrete walls.

I am planing on using a double wall between rooms but no GG or DD. I am torn about the ceiling because I would like to used drywall but a drop ceiling is going to be easier because of the metal floor joists. Our home is a manufactured house. I will post pictures of the basement shortly.

I am planning on using a Polk speaker system I have a cs1 already and was going to buy monitor 60's for the front and 30's for the surrounds and back. Now I'm starting to worry that the 60's won't be big enough for the room. I have an ed A2-300 that I enjoy already.

My wife is letting me do whatever I want with the theater room only limited by cost, which isn't set yet. I will be doing all of the work except maybe mudding the drywall. I have done it before but don't enjoy it.
I am planing on an AT screen spaced about 2' off the front wall. The projector I am waiting on until I get further with the build.

Any comments will be appreciated.
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post #2 of 44 Old 02-11-2011, 01:43 PM
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I assume that those are posts dividing the long wall? My room is 15'6 from wall to wall and I wish I had a few extra feet of width. You could run a beam in a soffit and add a couple extra feet of width. That is something I would consider if I had that space - Still a much better space than a lot of people have to work with. You might want to get some seating and screen size placed in the room - That would be a good place to start to get feedback on the layout.

I'm not familiar with metal floor joists and how ceilings are normally attached to metal, but you could run new wood joists in between the existing ones and just drop an inch or so below the metal joists, this would decouple your ceiling from the floor above and go a long way towards sound isolation. That is what I am planning on doing with my room.


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post #3 of 44 Old 02-11-2011, 01:55 PM
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Based on the depth of the room, I'm guessing you are looking for two rows of seating? Make sure you understand what seating will fit the width of the room. However, make certain you have your sight lines down as you build the riser. With 7'5 of ceiling clearance you might not have much wiggle room if you need a 10 inch riser for the second row and still plan to have the screen 2 feet off the ground...it all depends on the size of your screen.

My theater is nearing completion...it would have been a train wreck without the advice I got from these forums.
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post #4 of 44 Old 02-11-2011, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I guess I didn't think the width would be to bad, I never thought about installing a new support and removing the posts. I will have to look into that.
As far as the ceiling I can't build between the joists. I will get pictures to better explain. They are tied together in both directions.

I hope to make the screen as big as possible, it will be in the scope format but I will make sure to check the sight lines.

Thanks for the advice and, you're right about this forum and I would be totally in the dark if it weren't for reading on here for the last half of a year.


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post #5 of 44 Old 02-12-2011, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are pictures of the basement where I am going to build. Also pictures of the ceiling. I guess I could probably mount isolating channel up there and then the drywall. The ceiling has those metal beams and then 2x6's over them for the floor above. The 2x6's are fully insulated, they do that because a lot of these homes go on slabs or crawl spaces.

The shelves in the corner are on wheels and can be moved where ever.
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post #6 of 44 Old 11-30-2011, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Well things really stopped after I began this thread. The opposite of what I thought was going to happen. But after our baby boy came on 2-21-11 I guess I had other commitments.

But now I get to start again. A few things have changed. The finished dimensions will be 26' x 13'5" x 7.5' I now have Polk monitor 70's for my fronts.
And I will have a dedicated electronics closet.

I'm still torn about the ceiling but right now I am thinking of having a sheet rock soffit with a drop ceiling in the center. I am planing a 6" riser for the back row but if you look at the picture I think the second row is too big. I am hopping to get 4 seats in the back but we will see. I haven't picked out my chairs yet.

I am planing a 120" width scope screen with the bottom being 33" inches off of the floor, so the 6" riser should be okay. I will post some pictures later of the start of the framing process.


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post #7 of 44 Old 12-01-2011, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Here is the start of framing. My bother in-law has been doing some work on the weekends. He is planning on finishing the framing this weekend. One thing I don't like is how the wall is anchored to the ceiling. I think it will transfer the sound too much. Now, I'm not trying to make a quiet room, but I think being anchored like this will carry the low frequencies through the whole house. I'm looking at using rubber isolators for this unless there is a better way. Unless by having a drop ceiling there won't be a noticeable difference? Maybe then this mount is fine?



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post #8 of 44 Old 12-02-2011, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Any thoughts? If the drop ceiling is going to negate the benefits of the isolators I might as well not do it. My brother in-law will be framing tomorrow so any thoughts would be appreciated.


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post #9 of 44 Old 12-02-2011, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't know how I came up with 6" for the second row riser, but I was playing with the calculator again and now I need 12". I guess that makes more sense to me. That could have been bad. I will probably make the area under the seats at 12" and where people will walk at 8".


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post #10 of 44 Old 12-06-2011, 07:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Well the rough framing is done and I am starting my electrical wiring, here is my plan.

The X1 circuit will power the Component rack.
For the X2 circuit one outlet will feed a UPS that feeds the projector in the ceiling and one is going to be in the front of the riser. I am also going to run hdmi and component to the front of the riser. I am also planing to have 4 aura bass shakers in the riser.

I am wondering if there will be an issue with those connections due to the vibration?

I would love to hear from someone.


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post #11 of 44 Old 12-07-2011, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone out there?


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post #12 of 44 Old 12-07-2011, 05:24 PM
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Nice room your going to have there. I have never seen the ceiling/floor like that before, wow! I don't particularly like the look of drop ceilings but, I'd say go for it if it's easier to put up, especially if your not going to sound proof the room. Soundproofing the room is all or nothing in most cases. Yes, the sound will probably carry because the walls are touching the beam and so on so forth but, your going with a drop ceiling which will do absolutley nothing for bass to go right up to the first floor anyway.
I'll have to look at your pics again but, I'm wondering if you could have done a true room within a room construction. Using new wooden joists between your existing metal beams 1" lower that the existing ones and then attach your walls to the new wooden joists and completley isolate the ceiling & walls from the structure above.
I look forward to seeing your progress.

*edit* Just looked at the pics again and it looks like beams go in both directions, damn. That still is the most interesting floor system I have seen though
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post #13 of 44 Old 12-08-2011, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input Tom, I like the look of drywall better but I don't even know how I would go about doing it with that steel floor.

Here are some photos of what I am planing with the room and riser.




I am not sure what I want to do with the space behind the second row. I was thinking of possibly a bar and stools like some others on here have done. In the pictures I have the back part of the riser as a separate piece from the riser under the seats. I want the riser under the seats to be able to shake as much as possible.

I wanted to do pillars to hide the speakers and break up the room a little but I think the walk way will get to tight. Right now it is 25" from the seating to the wall. What do you think? Would it be worth it to make the seating areas smaller to allow for pillars on the sides? The speakers I am using are 9" deep.

Also any ideas to make a drop ceiling look better? I was thinking off adding soffits on the sides possibly.

Also as you can see in the pictures I am Leaning towards 142" wide Scope screen.


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post #14 of 44 Old 12-09-2011, 07:02 AM
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I've seen black drop ceilings and they seem to just disappear. Your rear surrounds are to close to the side walls, you want sound to come from behind you. You already have ones at the sides. They could be 5ft appart. I understand you have that door in the way. What is that room behind the theater for? Equipment room? I would move that door next to the theater entrance door if you can. The space behind the rear seats is a good thing. I'm not sure if you have support columns in the way. You could get by with a narrower door to the equipment room as well. Soffits can be visually appealing. The 25" number is a little crowded, you could scoot the seating closer to the opposite wall maybe 5" to help. I know others have done this to make for a larger walk way where you enter the room. Columns are a nice touch as well but your room is narrow so I wouldn't go to deep.
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post #15 of 44 Old 12-09-2011, 07:34 AM
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I would agree with Tom. If you're not looking to do significant soundproofing, than make it easy on yourself. If you'd like a drop ceiling, that's fine, of course. Just save yourself the effort of decoupling etc. You will not see the benefits of doing isolation techniques.

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post #16 of 44 Old 12-09-2011, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Darn I moved that door for the electrical closet to where it is now. I was going by the 60 degree rule from the front center sitting position. Well if 5' apart is better, looks like I will be moving a door frame.
While on the topic of doors, would it pay to move the main door also? I originally wanted the door to be behind seating so the light wouldn't bother you when others entered the room, but maybe it would be better for the riser if it was closer to the front. What do you guys think?


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post #17 of 44 Old 12-09-2011, 10:59 AM
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You Could just go with a 5.1 setup, sometimes less is more. The rears are mono in a 7.1 system you could use one speaker also. Anyway, back to the room. Your riser could go wall to wall and you could put a double step platform outside the theater if you have the ceiling height for the door or you could slide the theater entrance forward as you suggested to in front of the front row and the riser should still go wall to wall. With the riser wall to wall I think your 25" walkway becomes less of an issue, especially with the entrance in the front.

That screen is huge, you're going to need a light cannon to light up that size, especially since some of the light gets lost using an AT screen and bulb dimming after a few hundred hours.
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post #18 of 44 Old 03-29-2012, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Well it has been a while since my last post, but the good news is that there has been progress. You all talked me into doing drywall even though it was a pain in the butt to frame up, you can see how I had to piece the ceiling together.


I've gotten everything insulated, there is more insulation in this ceiling then there is in the roof of my house

And here you can see all of the drywall in the main room is up.


Here is a close up of the sunken projector mounting space, the lower opening will be an outlet and the upper is a tee into the 2" conduit that runs above.

And here is an image of the electrical room, I plan to wait on sheet rock in here until everything else is done, that way I can make modifications easier.

I have a couple of other things to finish in the basement before getting it all tapped and mudded, so that will probably be in the next 3 weeks.


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post #19 of 44 Old 03-30-2012, 01:42 PM
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Looking good. Looks like we are at about the same spot. I hope to have drywall up next week.

Have you given any more thought to your riser? The step behind your rear row looks troublesome (in front of the equipment room door).

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post #20 of 44 Old 03-30-2012, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Your theater is going to be awesome compared to mine. I look forward to following your thread.
I plan for the riser to be 6.5" all the way across the back of the room, with it built up to 13" under the second row seating. That way it will only be a 6.5" step down into the equipment room.


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post #21 of 44 Old 03-30-2012, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been playing with the idea of a partial stage. It would look normal from the front but only extend to just under the false screen wall. That way the sub woofer could stay on the concrete along with the speaker stands. I figure that way I won't have to haul sand and can just fill the stage with insulation. The only question is how will that affect the sound of the room. I have never seen anything like this on here, but maybe I just missed it. Or maybe it's a horrible idea and that is why it has never been done.


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post #22 of 44 Old 05-10-2012, 10:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, the drywall finishing is done.

Screen wall


Back wall


Everything is also primed at this point, but I didn't get a picture of that. The ceiling has its first coat of black. I used the Pittsburgh paint "Grand distinction" as black as I could get it. I was really impressed with the coverage. I was almost going to leave it with one coat, but I have the paint for a second so I might as well.

I have also found a theater with a partial stage, the Ortheum Theater so I will go ahead with that plan.


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post #23 of 44 Old 05-22-2012, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
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It's amazing what a little paint will do for a room.
The ceiling and front wall are black and the walls are gray, they look kind of brown in the pictures but they aren't in person.



And here is my insulation for the front wall and traps. They are 4x8 sheets 2in. thick.


Now while my wife was shopping garage sales she bought me theater chairs. There were $15 dollars each. I think I can make them work but I'm not sure if I should.



They are pretty comfortable, now for the interesting part, they are clinical recliners used in the medical field. Look at the back.


I like the fact that they are comfortable and cheap, that frees up money for a projector sooner. But I'm not sure if I will be happy long term. I guess I could always sell them later and upgrade to something else.

What do you guys think? I would remove the wheels and make legs. I also might re-fabricate two of them to sit together as a love seat.
The only real downside to the seats as far as function is that the back is pretty high. It's about 3 inches higher then my ear level and I am 6' 3".


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post #24 of 44 Old 05-22-2012, 07:14 PM
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Looking good bud keep up the great work
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post #25 of 44 Old 05-22-2012, 07:28 PM
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Pretty good deal for $15 but movie watching should not feel like a trip to the dentist.

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post #26 of 44 Old 05-22-2012, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah they do look like dentist chairs don't they. Hey the dentist isn't so bad when they give you the laughing gas "Nitrous oxide". Maybe I will have to include that with the theater.


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post #27 of 44 Old 05-29-2012, 09:35 AM - Thread Starter
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OK, now you're really starting to gross me out. You're making it hard for me to justify using these chairs. I know I wouldn't if money wasn't so tight.
I guess I would rather have these and be watching movies then waiting another year to save up money instead.


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post #28 of 44 Old 05-29-2012, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I should have added to the post. I wasn't offended, I did find it funny.


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post #29 of 44 Old 11-14-2012, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Well now that winter is here I can finally get back to the theater room, although I have accomplished a few things in the time in between.

Here is the front wall insulated


And here are pictures of the riser




And here are pictures of my semi-dead vent. I figured it was good enough considering the room isn't very isolated.



This is were the dead vent is exhausted

Here with the rest of the duct liner

Finally it is closed up here minus the access panel door


In other news, I have the carpet for this room and plan on installing it this weekend.
Things are going to happen fast now as the deadline of Christmas approaches.


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post #30 of 44 Old 11-15-2012, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Actually father down the thread you will see that I later decided to go for a 142" wide scope screen. As of right now I am planing on building a DIY spandex screen, a lot of people have been having great results with it and there really isn't much of a weave.

I plan to build masking panels once I have determined the optimal size for myself. That way I can change the screen size with panels instead of a new screen.

5 weeks wow, that sounds way to close when you put it like that, but I still think I can make it happen. Although the final touches such as trim might not be done.


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