Jautor's Rock Creek Theater - A post-build retrospective - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 322 Old 01-09-2012, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hitman6079 View Post

Are those small "lap" tables built into the recliners? Haven't seen those mentioned before. Great color choices.....

They're one of the lesser-known features of a (few?) Berkline model(s). I don't know if Lane or others have picked up that design.

I had picked the chairs based on style, size and comfort - the "tray table" was a happy bonus. They attach from the bottom with a single steel pole into a spring-loaded receptacle on the top of the armrest. Pull it up and out, and it stow it in the armrest. You can see the post in front of the cupholder in the picture below (I was saving this one for later in the thread!!!!):



Use them all the time to hold the popcorn buckets or a snack plate (don't *have* to sit at the bar). They work great, but are just a little flimsy - I don't generally leave them out when people are coming over with kids, I'm afraid someone will lean on one and destroy it. Especially now with Berkline gone, that would be a problem... Good news is that the tray would come apart, but the chair wouldn't be damaged. I can imagine a future discussion with a woodworker about some solid-wood replacements.

I was really surprised when the designer told me the trays were included with each chair. I was expecting a discussion about how many of these $99 trays did I want...

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
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post #32 of 322 Old 01-09-2012, 06:22 PM
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Awesome looking space, very nice!



PS - the forum needs a built-in applause Smilie.

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post #33 of 322 Old 01-09-2012, 06:24 PM
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+1 Smilies are sorely lacking!

Great space you have there!

Dude, are you made of leprechauns? Cause that was awesome!

The Plains Theater Has Begun
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post #34 of 322 Old 01-09-2012, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenP View Post

Awesome looking space, very nice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by J_P_A View Post

+1 Smilies are sorely lacking!

Great space you have there!

Thanks to everyone that have replied with kind words so far! I've got great quotes now for reference, and I don't even have to take them out of context to sound positive!

With that, another chapter...

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
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post #35 of 322 Old 01-09-2012, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Columns and Rack Area Framing

 

The other big design element I wanted were columns on the sides of the room to house in-wall surround speakers and sconce lights. At this point I was expecting to use a fabric wall system, covering the 3 walls, so the columns would be the only exposed drywall. My biggest pet peeve in home theater is surround channels being too loud and point-sourced, due to the speaker being too close to the seating location. So I'd try to get some distance, and double them up for better coverage at a lower volume level. Now, what about the back?

MISTAKE: Plan all your speaker locations before the room shell is constructed. When I built the house, I had a space in the back for a pull-out rack, so rack access wasn't going to be a problem. And I made the rack area large enough for a small countertop - likely for a popcorn machine. But I didn't think about where the rear speakers needed to be. Turned out one of them really needed to be in the middle of that cabinet area. If I placed the speaker column inside of the cabinet location, the two rear speakers would be only 4' apart. Nope, speaker placement wins, cabinet goes away. In hindsight, that cabinet was unnecessary. Popcorn machine is hot, noisy and smelly (all in a good way!) - and is therefore better off outside the theater. I had a lot of U space in my rack, so I added a drawer there for remote/accessory storage, which works great.



IF I DID IT OVER: The rack area will later be drywalled with everything else. But the AX-S pull-out rack is intended to be used with "millwork". I should have finished the rack recess area with a site-built cabinetry box. The small, drywall covered space isn't perfectly square/flush, so when I pull the rack out, it tends to rub on one corner, which makes me get out the touch-up paint. A cabinet could have been made easily to the proper dimensions, and slipped into place. I purchased the Gasket/Guide kit for the rack to fill any gaps - turns out I don't have any gaps, it's too tight a fit even for the guides!

Here's a wide shot of the rack area, along with two essential tools: high powered work lamps and a box fan. And note, all the crap has been removed from the room! (Don't worry, it'll show up in other pictures as it was all thrown into the newly-decked attic space off to the right.)



MISTAKE: (This is the big one, which is great, because it didn't really impact the final outcome) aka:

IF I DID IT OVER: The columns, all 6 of them, were then framed out to be covered in drywall. This meant that the interior of the column is outside the treated theater space, and therefore all the things penetrating it are creating holes in the theater. Little things like the step and sconce light electrical boxes. And, um, that in-wall 6"x12" speaker. D'oh.



In hindsight, those columns should have been built post-drywall, with only small holes for electrical and low-volt. Thenn the speakers would have been enclosed within the room. The result is that as they are, a lot of surround sound can be heard in the attic space on one side of the theater, and it's also transmitted from the rears to the stairwell behind the room. The good news is that because the theater is placed away from bedrooms, and it's only the 'surround' channels, it had no real negative consequences for me. I may box in the side columns from the attic side to reduce transmission there, but it's only a nitpick for me. But your milage would definitely vary...

The same is true, to a lesser extent, of the ceiling framing. The can lights also penetrate the room shell, not a post-sheetrock soffit. But again, this is a second floor, the attic above is filled with blown insulation, and is geographically isolated from the rest of the house. In the end, with music playing at high volume from all channels, I can barely hear the transmission outside, and not from the bedrooms. Most of the sound that does make it into the adjacent gameroom is coming through the solid-core theater door (you can feel it vibrate).

MISTAKE: I bought a solid-core door, when I should have specified a "solid wood" door. Not sure how much difference it would have made, but the door is certainly the weakest link.

Next up, media shelf and a really good idea...

Jeff


Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht

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post #36 of 322 Old 01-09-2012, 07:01 PM
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post #37 of 322 Old 01-10-2012, 08:38 AM
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I would buy a solid core door without recessed panels before I'd buy a solid wood door.

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post #38 of 322 Old 01-10-2012, 10:42 AM
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Great looking HT. Question: why not an AT screen?

--Sebis
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post #39 of 322 Old 01-10-2012, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sebis View Post

Great looking HT. Question: why not an AT screen?

I originally planned to use freestanding speakers (MartinLogan), so I didn't consider an AT setup when I chose the room dimensions. I did reconsider it later, but the 10' distance to the first riser didn't give me a lot of room in the front to consume for an AT screen with 12-24" behind it for speakers. There are in-wall choices now that could have worked.

But since I was going for a masking system, the only automatic one available at a price I could even consider was the Carada Masquerade, which is not AT (neither screen nor masks)...

If I could have accomplished the masking system with an AT product, and speakers in say 0-12" depth, in hindsight, I would have seriously considered it.

I don't mind at all having the speakers visible, although I did upgrade them in the process! My intent was to use my old speakers in the theater, buying a new pair for the family room (an old ML Aerius pair was certainly capable of handling the theater). During the build process I did that upgrade - and one thing that I knew could be an issue turned out to really bug me - the Aerius' have light oak trim rails. They were really distracting. I planned on just covering them with felt, but instead I did what any good AVSforum member would do - I bought new speakers instead.

Both pairs I bought that year were great deals on demo gear. At least there something to gain from poor economic times - "store closing" sales and Audiogon...

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
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post #40 of 322 Old 01-10-2012, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

I originally planned to use freestanding speakers (MartinLogan), so I didn't consider an AT setup when I chose the room dimensions. ...
Jeff

Got it. Another question: what was build cost when done with the room WITHOUT the A/V expenses and after the drywall was up? In my new house I will start with the already build room and riser with Ryland style (blown) insulation in all walls and riser cavity.

How much do you charge for tickets ?

--Sebis
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post #41 of 322 Old 01-10-2012, 11:53 AM
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You have created a very nice theater. Would you mind posting info and pics of your back row bar and seating?

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post #42 of 322 Old 01-10-2012, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sebis View Post

Got it. Another question: what was build cost when done with the room WITHOUT the A/V expenses and after the drywall was up? In my new house I will start with the already build room and riser with Ryland style (blown) insulation in all walls and riser cavity.

I don't have a good number for you. Assuming you're asking what the cost would be to take a finished room and make it into a theater (minus the A/V and furniture)... Builder used a flat cost for "light remodel" from an unfinished (framed w/no drywall) space of $35/sqrft. Which included "everything" for a basic room finish (carpet, paint, trim, drywall, electrical). The pricing is going to vary dramatically by geography - and note also I'm using a custom home builder.

So that got me to the basic room. Upgrading to 5/8" and doubling the drywall, Green Glue, was ~$2.5k. Woodwork I'd guess was ~$4k, but some of that was included in the standard package. The electrical is the part that is hard to gauge. I spent ~$1200 on electrical supplies and ~$1300 on Lutron gear. But I did all the labor there, but for example, the electrician charged a flat $125 to install a can light (parts & labor). A fair price for one, but 15 in the same room and gets to be out of line... I didn't get a quote for wiring the GrafikEye - the plans had just 6 dimmers in place - I knew I'd be doing at least that work.

Quote:


How much do you charge for tickets ?

You've seen the bar - where do you think those bottles come from???

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht

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post #43 of 322 Old 01-10-2012, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alittletank View Post

You have created a very nice theater. Would you mind posting info and pics of your back row bar and seating?

I'm getting to that! But the bar was site-built using 2x12's and trim, with purchased columns that match the ones used in my poker room railing.

Short answer, chairs were from Pier 1 Imports:

http://www.pier1.com/Catalog/Furnitu...S/Default.aspx

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
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post #44 of 322 Old 01-10-2012, 01:09 PM
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Ahhh, fake windows. Why didn't I think of that, and much cheaper than real windows for sure!

I see there is either a nightlight or some accent lighting or some other possible "home automation device" going on in that front right side column. I don't want to skip ahead to any future chapters

To the tune of the trays, I was at the in-laws this weekend and a dinner gust snapped one off one of their chairs on accident (well after only 2 beers). heh...what can you do. It was broken, could be glued but he snapped it

Thank you for posting a private and intimate part of your life for the sake of science by the way! Love guys like you!
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post #45 of 322 Old 01-10-2012, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by korygrandy View Post

Ahhh, fake windows. Why didn't I think of that, and much cheaper than real windows for sure!

Yeah, I've suggested to other folks building from scratch that if you think you want to build a theater, but may want to change your mind later, have headers and framing put in for "normal" window locations, but fill them in. Use a fake shutter on the exterior. If you later want to undo the theater (or never get around to it), much easier to carve out the window and not damage the exterior. Although now seeing how easy it is to repair some of that stuff (drywall, framing, even stucco), it's probably not a big deal either way. But having the framing in place DOES prevent the other trades from running wires and pipes through the potential window location.

(Those niches in my design are just niches, they were never intended to be 'future' windows, though)

Quote:


I see there is either a nightlight or some accent lighting or some other possible "home automation device" going on in that front right side column. I don't want to skip ahead to any future chapters

That's actually the right rear column, but if you're talking about the box at the bottom, that's a step light. The white wire is the speaker line (not in its place yet).

Quote:


To the tune of the trays, I was at the in-laws this weekend and a dinner gust snapped one off one of their chairs on accident (well after only 2 beers). heh...what can you do. It was broken, could be glued but he snapped it

Ouch! The only proper response for a non-senior-citizen adult doing that is a beating with the broken pieces...

Feel free to blaze the trail on seeing if a skilled workworker can make you a nice solid wood replacement! Or contact Roman and see if he's got a source for the part yet... (don't tell him I thought those things cost $99!!!!)

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
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post #46 of 322 Old 01-10-2012, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Media Storage Bookshelf

 

A short post but a funny story.

I had planned on utilizing some dead space in the theater entry hallway for a DVD/Blu-ray bookshelf. There is a half-height attic access door in that space as well. The builder suggested perhaps we could make the bookshelf into a swinging door, to access the attic (they like these hidden doors!). I was concerned about the cost and the potential for acoustic problems/rattling, so I decided against that. After knocking my head badly on the framing coming out of the attic space, I smartly decided to make the attic access a full-height door.

This is the re-framed bookshelf, before I nearly knocked myself out on that half-height attic door. (And hey! There's those pesky boxes!)



When the framer was here looking at the project, he saw the attic space (which is over a workshop and 2-car garage bay), took a sip of coffee and asked, "Do you want me to deck the attic while we're here?". I asked how much, and when he replied that it wasn't much more than the cost of the plywood (because the labor will already be on site), I quickly ok'ed the best $400 I spent on the entire home building and theater process.

LESSON: Always solicit ideas from the contractors. A simple "Anything else you see or recommend I do?" works wonders.

Funny story: Much later, after the room was complete, one of the last tasks was to get glass shelves cut for the media bookcase. The glass guy had to come out and measure them. I'm thinking, can't I just tell you 12"x30" over the phone? Well, yes, I suppose I can, but then if it comes out 'wrong', who pays?

So the glass guy comes out to measure (takes less than a minute), and we start talking A/V - yeah, he has a setup, loves it, etc. He asks me how many shelves I want. I tell him the bookshelf is just for DVD's (I didn't want to get into a Blu-ray discussion), so I wanted 5 shelves for this relatively short bookcase. His eyes got big and he said "DVD's? That'd be a *fortune* in DVD's!!!" I can only stand there, in the finished theater thinking, "Really? The cost of DVD's is what's shocking? Did you see the room behind us?"

Next up, time to pick the "look" of the theater...

Jeff


Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht

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post #47 of 322 Old 01-10-2012, 09:24 PM
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Jeff, it's simply stunning. Especially that ceiling.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #48 of 322 Old 01-11-2012, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Theater Style

 

It was at this point that I had to start deciding on the "look" / style of the theater. Did I want to go for a clean, contemporary look, an art deco theme, or a transitional style that matched the rest of the house. My interior designer suggested that any of those would be fine - since the room is comppletely separate and "special", having a unique style wouldn't be weird at all...

I spent a lot of time looking through the I looked a lot of pictures, especially the CEDIA "Electronic Lifestyles Awards" books, to get ideas. My conclusion, no offense to anyone, was that many of those designs were (IMO), um, downright unattractive... Maybe it's because those designs are "high end". Ugly like that don't come cheap. We have a lot of better, beautiful examples posted here in the "Show me your COMPLETED theater" thread, and from any thread including Dennis' firm's work.

The best example I found, and based a lot of my design off of, was an AVSer's design for his fabric wall-covered theater: GPowers' theater was very much the look I had in mind. The recessed downlights washing the walls, the fabric wall up to the columns, etc. were all elements that I liked:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...55#post4879555

So after much thinking I came down to two basic design styles to choose from. I had discarded any thoughts of a "themed" theater, concerned about the decor becoming outdated, "goofy" or otherwise tired. An art deco-styled classic cinema look was still appealing, but I just didn't think the room lended itself to it (especially as I had already decided on the coffered ceiling).

The two style choices, not talking about colors yet, were:

1) Clean, contempory style - fabric walls, painted columns, drywall lipped coves to conceal the rope lights for the ceiling. Stone or man-made material for the bar table.

2) Transitional style - painted walls, fabric panels, wood columns, crown moldings, wood-framed ceiling trays, wood bar table.

As you've read this far you've already seen the end result, I picked the transitional style with a lot of stained wood.

Why? Decision was made one day at work - our office has a 'customer briefing center' with a set of well-furnished conference rooms. Sitting in there, I was admiring the GrafikEye install and the lighting details. Then I noticed that the room had a coffered ceiling, with a drywall cove hiding the indirect lighting. Gee - just what I was thinking (although the conference center is done in very crisp, light colors).

Well, that decided it. The contemporary look would remind me too much of a conference room. Done.

So that meant a lot of additional wood trim, and covering the columns in block paneling. The ceiling trays would each get moldings to hide the rope lights.

Next up, electrical rough-in...

Jeff


Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
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post #49 of 322 Old 01-12-2012, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Electrical Rough-in

 

MISTAKE: It's mid-May in Houston, and you've got a lot of electrical work to do, in an unconditioned (essentially an attic at this point) space. Get to work!

Nope. Didn't happen. It got hot early in 2010 (pales in comparison to record highs in 2011!), and for some reason, I just couldn't seem to get up at 6am on the weekends to do the work... We had a great break from the heat around July 4th, so I got quite a bit done then, but the rest didn't get finished until the fall, which in Houston means late October.

During home construction, I had 2, 20Amp circuits run to the theater space. One to the rack location for equipment, the other for lighting. In hindsight, I would have done three: 20Amp for the rack, 15A lighting, and 15A outlets. Not for capacity, but it's a PITA working in a dark, windowless room with all the circuits off. Splitting the wall outlets from lighting would have made it easier, that's all.

MISTAKE: No access to the built-in risers. Since the risers were built with the house, not afterwards, they were fixed in place long before I had the theater planned out. The circuits ran to the room were simple terminations at one spot. During planning, I realized that I'd need power in the risers for the motorized recliners. I was able to find the path under the risers, just had to cut out openings for the outlets. Well, easier said than done. After getting my 4' extension bit stuck underneath the floor, I ended up pulling up a section of subfloor. I wished that day that I had used a cheap builder - there were 38 nails in one sheet (typical Houston construction would call for 5 ) ... I think I came close to killing myself getting that thing out.

WIN!: That project was a good excuse to buy a Sawzall. Every man should have one. I also learned that yelling anatomically impossible suggestions to 1-1/4" plywood subflooring doesn't shame it into coming loose from the structure. But it does make you feel better.



The sawzall cuts through the 2x12" joist that makes up the front edge of each riser allowed a place for 120V and low volt outlet locations.

Getting power to the projector location was another area of concern. I wanted it to be connected to any power conditioning (possibly a UPS) that would be mounted in the rack. Same for the powered subs and speakers in the front of the room. So I used a PowerBridge kit, mounted behind the rack and exiting with a trim kit at the projector location. The PowerBridge has a end-to-end arrangement with the power outlet and the low-volt scoop, which worked very well for my PJ location. I also continued the romex run from that point to the front of the room, connecting outlets there as well. So all the equipment in the entire room is powered from the rack location.

IF I DID IT OVER: I would have used two separate PowerBridge inlets behind the rack, one going to the projector location, the other to the front of the room (for speakers/subs/screen). The reason is that if I wanted later to install a UPS in the rack for the projector, the way it's wired now, the subwoofer and everything else at the front of the room would also be on the battery backup. Had I wired separate inlets, I could have run the projector to the UPS, and the screen wall outlets just to the conditioner/surge protector. Now, this is probably not a big deal as it is, as "run time on UPS battery" is not the goal here.

And remember, PowerBridge gives an AVSforum discount:

http://www.powerbridgesolution.com/avsspecialorder.html

This photo was taken after low-volt wiring was completed, so we're a little ahead here...



I wanted to keep the AC outlets off the walls, so I wouldn't have to contend with them interfering with acoustic panel placement. I cringe at theater photos where folks have gone to extraordinary measures to work around outlets and such. So the outlets are placed horizontally, raised off the base plate with some 2x4 scraps, which puts them fairly centered in the eventual baseboard moldings.

Next up, zoning for the Grafik Eye...

Jeff


Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht

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post #50 of 322 Old 01-12-2012, 03:56 PM
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Great looking space Jautor,

The final product turned out really nice. I can appreciate the color tone you went with. May I suggest posting a pic with masks fully drawn back. Even though I read it and know your using scope screen and lens, something felt like it was missing when I saw the screen shot. Guess I'm addicted to Cinemascope goodness...
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post #51 of 322 Old 01-12-2012, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by oman321 View Post

Great looking space Jautor,

The final product turned out really nice. I can appreciate the color tone you went with. May I suggest posting a pic with masks fully drawn back. Even though I read it and know your using scope screen and lens, something felt like it was missing when I saw the screen shot. Guess I'm addicted to Cinemascope goodness...

Thanks, and yeah, I know - I need to get some good finished photos with something actually on the screen. It's much harder to do that than I expected. I suppose I just need to 'shop two images together like the pro's.

The only photo I have handy with the masks fully open was taken before the drapes were installed - it just feels naked now!

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht

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post #52 of 322 Old 01-12-2012, 05:46 PM
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How did you wire your rope lights in the coffered ceiling? Does each recess have it's own hidden receptacle? I originally thought I would try to run multiple recesses off a shared receptacle but I don't think it's kosher to run the rope light through the cavity between the recesses.
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post #53 of 322 Old 01-12-2012, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

How did you wire your rope lights in the coffered ceiling? Does each recess have it's own hidden receptacle? I originally thought I would try to run multiple recesses off a shared receptacle but I don't think it's kosher to run the rope light through the cavity between the recesses.

In the attic I have junction boxes to split power to the eight trays (not buried in the wall/ceiling). Romex from their out of the drywall, connected to each rope in the tray, spliced and capped. I followed exactly what the builder's electrician(s) did on all the rest of the rope lights in the house (and in all other construction I've seen locally). So it's hard wired, and no, not kosher to run rope light into the wall cavity.

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht

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post #54 of 322 Old 01-13-2012, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Wiring for Lighting and Planning for the Grafik Eye

 

Planning and installing the recessed cans, making sure I had grouped them properly so they could be controlled by the GrafikEye in the manner I wanted took a lot of thinking. I'm very glad I did that myself, as getting an expert to plan/design that would not have been cheap.



IF I DID IT OVER: I had decided on a 6-zone lighting plan, combining a few single-fixture areas (the entry, bookcase, etc.) to avoid the expense of an 8-zone GrafikEye. I made it work, but not worth the trouble for the ~$150 in savings. I worried too much about that one. I was also concerned with getting more romex lines into the rough-in box, but you'll see I took care of that issue, too.

So my lighting zones look line:

1) Front / Screen wall recessed cans
2) Left / Right side wall recessed cans
3) Rear wall / Entry hall recessed cans, media storage light
4) Ceiling rope lights
5) Sconces
6) Step lights

The screen wall cans are a definite zone - they can only be on when the PJ is off. The left, right, and rear walls could have been on one zone, but I figured out it was useful to have the bar table area lit separately. That was the correct call. I hated to consume a zone with the step lights, and may eventually resort to a single light switch (RadioRa-controlled) to free up a zone to separate the entry hall/media storage from the rear can lights. That would effectively add a 7th zone without swapping out the GrafikEye panel.

From reading a lot of GrafikEye threads here, I knew that getting all the romex into the GE box is also a PITA. I eventually chose a location for the panel that backs to the (now decked) attic space, providing plenty of access, which turned out to be a really good thing. The final locatino is in the entry hall, to the right of the media bookcase location. I'll end up ganging the romex together in 2 or 3 double-gang boxes on the attic side (covered), then using short pigtails to the actual 4-gang "masonry" box. Even then, getting all that romex into the box is a challenge. I know the pro's are better at getting romex to fold neatly.

IF I DID IT OVER: Since the GrafikEye will be installed in the entry hallway, I decided to add 2 wall stations where one would expect the light switch(es) to be in the room. One just inside the room, and another next to the rack. In reality, with the remote control working well, I rarely use those wallstations, and at ~$200/each probably would have skipped at least one, if not both of them.

For the eight trays in the coffered ceiling, I followed the builder's practice for the rope lights - an exposed length of romex poking through the eventual drywall, which will be hard-wired to the rope lights.

Next up, a whole bunch of low-volt...

Jeff


Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht

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post #55 of 322 Old 01-13-2012, 07:57 PM
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Very timely. I spent most of today planning my wiring runs. My zones are very similar to yours, although I don't have sconces and I'm on the fence about whether to do step lights. I'm not doing a GrafikEye, so it's just a matter of finding wall space for all of the dimmers.

I will most likely bite the bullet and add a duplex outlet in each of the ceiling recesses in lieu of stubbing romex through the drywall.
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post #56 of 322 Old 01-14-2012, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

I'm on the fence about whether to do step lights. I'm not doing a GrafikEye, so it's just a matter of finding wall space for all of the dimmers.

The step lights, or something to put some light onto the riser steps for safety, are good to have. But these little 'standard' 12-15W step lights don't have to be on a dimmer. So you could use one of the dual-switch wall plates to save space (if you have something else that only needs a switch):



Quote:


I will most likely bite the bullet and add a duplex outlet in each of the ceiling recesses in lieu of stubbing romex through the drywall.

Use recessed (clock) outlets and deep boxes so the plug has room to bend and be hidden somewhat. You can paint the cover to help conceal it, too...

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht

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post #57 of 322 Old 01-14-2012, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

Very timely. I spent most of today planning my wiring runs. My zones are very similar to yours, although I don't have sconces and I'm on the fence about whether to do step lights. I'm not doing a GrafikEye, so it's just a matter of finding wall space for all of the dimmers.

If you can get everything routed to a 4-gang box location, you *could* in theory upgrade to a GrafikEye later... Even if you have to put some additional boxes below it for additional dimmers, you could cover those with wall-color blanks later.

The GrafikEye isn't cheap, but if you're planning on any sort of programmable/controllable dimmers, you're probably half-way to the cost of the unit. Simple dimmers - very inexpensive...

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht

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post #58 of 322 Old 01-14-2012, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Low-Voltage Wiring

 

The long delay in construction due to my DIY electrical schedule turns out to be good timing. Early September rolls around and I take the final plans to CEDIA, check out anything new that needed to be added to the build, and get advice from all the folks there (AVS'ers and manufacturers). And of course get to preview the new projectors, which will all be available "real soon now".

But back to the plan. Obviously the room was already set up for 7.1, with 2 speakers doubling each of the side-surround channels. So 9 speaker locations and sub(s). Should I run wire for 9.1 or 11.1 or 17.4? I thought about at least adding front-height wire, but decided against it as I had had run out of wire... Since I'll have conduit run to the front wall, I could run new L/C/R wires later and re-purpose the existing L/R for front height if I really wanted to. But knowing that the front wall was going to be covered with drapery, I didn't think this was likely.

I'm a full believer in Cat5e, the MacGyver and Chuck Norris of wire, so there's a bunch of it in the room. I figured one spool would be enough, and would have a lot left over. So a friend offered to split the cost, since he needed "a few hundred feet". I of course later had to leave him a note "IOU 1 Spool", as I continued to find yet another place I might want to have something...

Other wire of note is two subwoofer runs of Belden Precision 1694A RG6, supposedly the best stuff for it - I bought pre-made 50' runs which was easier than buying a spool. There's some plain old RG6QS runs, along with 6 cat5e runs, from the rack location to my central A/V closet. That will link any of the 'house' sources to the theater, or allow (future) local set-top cable/sat boxes to live in the rack.

I also picked up some inexpensive 50' Xantech IR emitter cables with 3.5mm ends, which easily reached the projector location and the GrafikEye. Since that wire would enter the line-voltage GrafikEye box, I added a pigtail later using a 1' section of Lutron control wire, which is rated to be inside a line-voltage junction box. The emitter cables wouldn't reach the front of the room with enough to spare, so a cat5 line will made do when it's needed (which will be later).

There's one HDMI line, a Blue Jeans Cable Belden Series-1 35', to the projector location. In hindsight I could have made it with 30' and still had enough for the pull-out rack, but that wasn't a beast I wanted to wrestle into place after construction...

Wire Materials:

  • Speaker: Monoprice 12AWG CL2 250ft
  • Category: Monoprice Cat5e 350MHz 1000ft
  • IR: Xantech emitter extension cable
  • HDMI: Blue Jeans Cable Belden Series-1 35', misc Monoprice 1.5'-to-6'
  • Coax: Belden 1694A Precision Video RG6 50', RG6QS 2x75'

Wire locations:

  • Front Center: Speaker, 3x Cat5e, flex conduit
  • Front Left: Speaker, 1x Cat5e, RG6
  • Front Right: Speaker, 1x Cat5e, RG6
  • Screen: 2x Cat5e
  • Front Riser: 1x Cat5e
  • Rear Riser: 1x Cat5e
  • Projector: HDMI, 3x Cat5e, IR emitter cable
  • GrafikEye: 1x Cat5e, IR emitter cable
  • Rack (to house A/V): Conduit, 6x Cat5e, 2x RG6

The only location to note here was the risers. I didn't plan to use ButtKickers, but thought I should at least allow something to be added later. Looking at the various products, it seems a lot of them are wireless anyway, so I just put a single cat5e to each riser, which could cover most anything. I did add a pull string to each of those locations (conduit would have been a real chore), which I'd give 70/30 odds on being able to utilize because of the path it took to get back to the attic.

And to show that I followed my own advice, there are three conduit runs from the rack. One simply to the attic , one to the projector, and one to the front center of the room. The front run was for the projector-after-the-next-one, which I assume will replace my screen with an OLED fabric unrolled and glued to the wall. So it will obviously require an HDMI v7 cable with UberSpeed and EX4 support.

Here's the rack location with all the cables tucked away to avoid the drywall. You can also see the PowerBridge 120v/low-volt combo (green low-volt frame) at the bottom, just above the single 20A circuit outlet. The three flex conduit runs are connected to double-gang low-volt frames as well, which will be fitted with scoops to bring all the rest of the cabing through the drywall. I added a scrap 2x4 on the left side to get the low-volt openings away from the corner. On the right side you can just make out the Arlington TVBox for my game room, since it was that close, I ran an HDMI to it, so that whatever is being played in the theater can be mirrored in the game room. Note to CEPro Magazine - you may NOT use this photo as one of your "Before" DIY Cable Nightmare shots. Doesn't count - we're making bratwurst.



And here's a couple shots of part of the screen wall with the cables and conduit. Since you've seen the outside of the house now, you can make out those slate niches framed here, too. Oh, in one of these you can see my tape showing the width of various 2.35:1 screen sizes. I needed an outlet and low-volt box behind the screen, but wanted to get close to the right edge (without going over!), as that's where the masking system power feed is located.

Screen Wall right side:



Screen Wall center:



Next up, HVAC and insulation...

Jeff


Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht

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post #59 of 322 Old 01-16-2012, 06:26 AM
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Jeff,

Glad to see you got your build thread up for everyone to see. Want to say thanks for having me over last year, it was great meeting another HT enthusiast in my local area. I really enjoyed getting to see first hand how your HT came together, and of course the demo you provided was great. You can tell that this is your pride and joy, and with all of that hard work you should be very happy with the end results. It is truly a beautiful space! Great Job!

Hopefully we will meet up again in 2012!

Jim

P.S. Unlike you I can not say no to the upgrade bug, wish I could I would have a bigger wallet. I bought those McIntosh amps that we had talked about before.
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post #60 of 322 Old 01-16-2012, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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P.S. Unlike you I can not say no to the upgrade bug, wish I could I would have a bigger wallet. I bought those McIntosh amps that we had talked about before.

Yeah, the upgrade from "unfinished area" will hold me for a while...

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht

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