Acoustic treatment thoughts - open back theater - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-23-2012, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Building a new theater here and am in a situation of an open backed room. Wondering if there are any thoughts, discussion, or changes in approach when the back of the room is open (actually abnormally long).

The room continues open past the theater area. Total room dimension from screenwall to back wall is about 48' (and roughly 18' wide). Closing it in is not an option.

As a side note there's a bit of an echo in there now which I can pinpoint to the stairwell from a 30 second clap and yell analysis. That should be easy to kill though.
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-23-2012, 11:42 AM
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If you can not enclose the space maybe utilizing curtains for the back wall could be an option. If you just need light control then any black out curtains would do the trick. If you also want sound control then it well get a bit pricier for industrial curtains. With curtains you could open or close the area as needed. Close for movie night with the family. Open for Super Bowl party or other gathering.
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post #3 of 13 Old 01-23-2012, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Some additional thoughts

Sound containment isn't in the cards (never is with this type of arrangement). Also not looking to contain the area visually with a curtains. The room is what it is. I know the purist would say that without sound isolation first you're wasting your time with acoustic treatments. But the reality is that it is possible to improve a general rooms sound with some treatments, even if it isn't a vault first. I've already accepted the fact that it isn't an ideal starting point. It's more of a "dancing with the girl you brought to the dance" situation.

Goal is to improve the audio within reason over essentially doing nothing. I have all the materials on hand to build whatever absorption etc.. Just looking for overall strategy when the room is acoustically longer than the typical room.
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post #4 of 13 Old 01-23-2012, 01:10 PM
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I have the same configuration/problem. What I did is acoustically treat the front and side walls, It is better than raw drywall, but I wish I had built an enclosed room.
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post #5 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 07:10 AM
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Because you are getting the echo, I presume you are already drywalled? Did you do any of the sound control pretty much every does (decouple wall, GG, etc)? I decoupled ALL walls and ceilings.

I have an on open room but I'm only about 34' to the back. I used Brian Pape for a plan. I'd contact him if I were you. He can come up with something. It sounds like you have the right expectations going in. I just want the room to be as good as it can be. I just wanted to do everything I could, and then, as you say, it is what is.

I CAN say that with my front wall treated to 2 inches and my side walls now treated to 1 inch, I was in the space talking to my wife and I noticed a difference from the time I treated 1 wall to the time I treated both.

The back of my room is where the bar is, so I never expected any great sound there, but forward, in the theater area, I think it WILL be great.

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post #6 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 07:24 AM
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This is an interesting problem because most of the issues you have to treat for are the result of a "small" space. For example, my crude understanding of bass absorbers is they are intended to make the room acoustically larger to low frequencies. That is, you develop standing waves when the sound wave reaches a boundary at some integer multiple of a wavelength. The bass absorbers are there to allow the low frequency waves to "see" an open space. This is intended to prevent those room modes.

Again, this is my understanding from reading about this over the past few years, so I'm sure I've got some of this wrong. It will be interesting to see what the more experienced members have to say.

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post #7 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlogan6797 View Post

Because you are getting the echo, I presume you are already drywalled? Did you do any of the sound control pretty much every does (decouple wall, GG, etc)? I decoupled ALL walls and ceilings.

I have an on open room but I'm only about 34' to the back. I used Brian Pape for a plan. I'd contact him if I were you. He can come up with something. It sounds like you have the right expectations going in. I just want the room to be as good as it can be. I just wanted to do everything I could, and then, as you say, it is what is.

I CAN say that with my front wall treated to 2 inches and my side walls now treated to 1 inch, I was in the space talking to my wife and I noticed a difference from the time I treated 1 wall to the time I treated both.

The back of my room is where the bar is, so I never expected any great sound there, but forward, in the theater area, I think it WILL be great.

Yes I'm already drywalled.... I should have been a bit more clear. What I'm working with is an already finished basement. I'm retrofitting the theater into the space. It's generically finished, meaning it's basically just one large open area following the foundation shape. It's primarily a long narrow room as is typical of walkout style basement. Drywall, carpet, etc...

Here's a picture of the room looking toward the back bar area.
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post #8 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 07:57 AM
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Are you sure that's not Carboranadum's basement? If you put that bar on the front wall it would like just like his!

I guess I missed how wide your room is. Mine is only a bit over 12'. But I still think getting a good acoustic plan is worth it.

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post #9 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlogan6797 View Post

Are you sure that's not Carboranadum's basement? If you put that bar on the front wall it would like just like his!

I guess I missed how wide your room is. Mine is only a bit over 12'. But I still think getting a good acoustic plan is worth it.

about 18' wide
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 09:16 AM
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Not mine, but a nice space. I really like the stained doors and trim.

I understand your questions about the sound in the room. Maybe reach out to a professional in the forum would be helpful. BPape comes to mind. If you are budget constrained, maybe slog through the Acoustics thread (sticky at the top of this forum).

You may also get some benefit from reaching out to OLD on this forum. He's got a similar open-concept style as you do. He may be able to help you understand what he did and how effective it was.

Follow my build here: Harvest Ridge Theater
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post #11 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 10:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Just checked out OLD's build... that was a good read thanks!
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post #12 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 02:24 PM
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Thanks guys. It's been a while since I have been on this forum.

Anyways, I may be bias here, but I feel that my theater sounds great!, even with the open back. All I did was treat the stage area and side walls, nothing else. It could be that my ears are un-trained but I can't think of anything more I need to do.

Good luck!
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post #13 of 13 Old 03-17-2012, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old View Post

Thanks guys. It's been a while since I have been on this forum.

Anyways, I may be bias here, but I feel that my theater sounds great!, even with the open back. All I did was treat the stage area and side walls, nothing else. It could be that my ears are un-trained but I can't think of anything more I need to do.

Good luck!
Old

Wonderful!! This is exactly what I wanted to hear since I too am doing a similar project.

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