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post #1 of 40 Old 02-22-2012, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Let me first say this site has, over the years, been a tremendously resourceful source of information and inspiration for me. A sincere thanks to all of you who continue to contribute to these forums so that people like myself can feel *somewhat* more prepared and comfortable proceeding with our own theater builds.

HT v1.0

Before I proceed, I want provide some history as to why I'm motivated to start this thread and document my entire build. You see, my entire adult life (soon to be 37 so not that long ;-) I've had a passion for movies and home theater. As a renter of condos, lofts and townhomes in my earlier years, the extent of my HT setup was limited, not just by layout but also paper thin walls.

6 years ago when I purchase a new townhouse, I knew I wanted to dedicate a part of the basement to my own theater. I made a point during the TH build of asking the builder about soundproofing between units, of which he responded that what was being installed per spec was more than suitable. I even so far as included my soon-to-be neighbors in the discussions so there were no surprises or lack of consideration on my part considering we'd be sharing walls.

Fast forward 4 years (yeah, it took a while... marriage, honeymoon and babies cost a lot!) and I had finished my TH basement with a dedicated theater. I was sick with excitement! Features included in-wall speakers, a 92" motorized screen that dropped out of the ceiling, hidden components in a closet (RF controlled), Z-Wave lighting scenes, motorized Berkline seating (thanks Roman!) and more. I finally had my first home theater and more importantly, I built it all myself (less drywall ;-).
 


(Sorry for the text/arrows. Poached this off my Realtor's site. I neglected to document this build)


(Pre Berkline seats)

It worked great! Looked great and sounded well for my first try! That is, until the neighbors came over 2 hours into my first trial run and complained. Then complained again 3 days later while my wife and I we're playing Super Mario Wii (and not at an absurd volume level). A couple of weeks and several more complaints later, I listed our townhouse on the local MLS. I was pissed off, and I was ready to pick up and move. I was done. The convo between my neighbor, builder and myself from 4+ years earlier came rushing back into my mind, as if no time had passed. "More than suitable" my ass!

I lived and learned. There was no way I could have any sort of theater while sharing a wall, ceiling or floor.

Must. Be. Detached.

I've already built my first theater and those experiences have fuelled me to build bigger and better. This thread is going to be about improving on what I did wrong the first time, building on my and others' ideas from these forums, and genuinely building something that I can both be proud of and not have to moderate volume levels because of sensitive neighbors. Boy am I excited about that!

So, with that said, here I go! GASP!

Gear

Elite 135" MW Acousti-Weave (AT) Film Screen
Epson 6500UB 1080p Projector
Strong 37U 20"D Rack w/ Thermal Mgmt
Sony STR-DA4400ES 7.1 A/V Receiver

Episode EA-AMP-SUB-1D-500 Sub Amplifier

Episode E-1230-A 12ch. Multi-Room Amplifier (whole home audio)

Episode EA-AMP-2D-150A 2ch. Multi-Room Amplifier (outside deck audio)

IXOS XHT770 Power Conditioner
Netgear 16-Port G-Lan Switch
Episode 950 Series HT In-Wall Surrounds (4)
Episode 900 Series HT In-Wall LCR (1)

Episode Sub Series Dual 8" In-Wall Subs (2)
KEF PSW3500 Subwoofer
Arris Gateway & Portal (Shaw)
Apple TV

ROKU 3
6TB RAID-5 HTPC Media Storage
Sony PS3 & Nintendo Wii

HT v2.0

2 days ago I commenced, in addition to finishing our basement as a whole, building my 2nd home theater. When we started building our home in the fall of 2010, I had a bonus room excavated and formed under my garage for what would eventually become my second theater. It consists of 8" thick concrete walls, floor and ceiling and nothing more than 2 cold-air returns, a doorway and 6" pass-through to permit all media cabling from the adjacent 8' x 7' "media room" that will house my component rack.
 


(Theater "bunker")


(Theater "bunker")


(Media room)


(Media room)
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post #2 of 40 Old 02-25-2012, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Framing is complete throughout the theater and basement. Had 2 electricians in over the past 24 hours to discuss power to a 60A subpanel in my media room for my rack, fridge & upright freezer along with the star field ceiling and other lighting. It turns out I'll need to add the subpanel (glad we roughed it in!) to get the power I need.

Plumbing for the bathroom and wet bar is under way. Basement fireplace install and some HVAC ducting rework is scheduled for Friday. Had to drop the 10' ceiling height in the storage room and bathroom because of HVAC ducting and wood beams.
 


(Roughed in for fireplace)


(Plumbing commences)


(Media room [left]; fridge, upright freezer and decorative shelving)


(Media room [right]; component rack [37U], popcorn machine and decorative shelving)


(Rack space)


(Theater riser)


(Screen wall [135" 1.78:1 fixed mount])


Note the "hole in the wall" in the middle of the photo at the base of the wall. I intend to pass all media cabling from behind the rack through the 8" thick wall into the theater here. I'll run some 2" central-vac pipe for AV cables and conduit for any necessary power, although I have 4 15A circuits pre-run into the bunker so I shouldn't need any additional power. Existing power should suffice for my powered sub, projo and illuminator units plus the motorized Berklines in the riser. I neglected to notch a hole for the 2 gang double outlet atop the riser. May cut that out tomorrow. I prewired it for power and separately for some courtesy lighting that will dim with the cans in the ceiling as movies commence.

I also started installing some of the Roxul into tight spots during the build. Once I finish the media prewire and electrician runs power, I'll finish up the insulation throughout the theater and basement. This insulation is being used more for thermal retention and moisture prevention purposes than acoustic (in the theater anyway).

I'm debating between 4 500W baseboard heaters and a single 2000W in-wall forced air unit for heat. I need to relocate the conduit and heat wiring from behind the screen to the side wall(s). In hindsight, I perhaps should have HVAC ducted this area before the concrete pour, but what's done is done and am on the fence (incidentally, I didn't run HVAC because of ceiling height concerns in the bunker - I didn't want to take away from the 9'). Baseboard, while silent, will require more wall space and are ugly as sin. Forced air requires a fan but is out of sight. Can't very well build a hush box for a heater though ;-)

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post #3 of 40 Old 02-25-2012, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
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My vision for this theater includes a 12' x 12' starfield ceiling along with some blue or red (depending on room colors) rope lighting, as I've seen done so well many times in these forums. I was originally interested in the iSky Panels but they're out of business. I spoke with CDGI and FOSI and researched a few others. Have read enough build thread on here that talk of 90-100 hour investments to build the panels themselves (looking at you Moggie and jelloslug). Something tells me I'm about to feel your pain guys!

I'm leaning towards the 600 Strand Star Ceiling Kit from www.starceiling123.com. I'll build the panels myself and am thinking about using rigid foam for my panels. Ultralite MDF is a rarity in my neck of the woods and the rigid panels cut to 6' x 6' would be much more manageable. I think I'll leave the recessed ceiling joists exposed and tack some 1" furring strips to glue the finished panels to. Does anyone see any problems with leaving the joists exposed behind the starfield panels? Seems plausible and I've read a couple other guys have gone a similar route. Also thinking I'll run the panels together before cutting them to transpose a large starfield from my projector. Can anyone recommend a good source for constellations and star fields?

God I hope this goes smoothly when the time comes. I am pretty nervous based on others' experiences. I know in the end it will all be worth it.
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post #4 of 40 Old 02-25-2012, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
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DavidK442, I knew I was forgetting something. I'll get my plan up shortly! As for fresh air, I do have 2 1' holes above grade in the wall behind the screen, in place for a cold air return. The 2nd of the two was intended for my HVAC before it got moved to a more logical location. I'll now use this 2nd air return to permit air flow behind the walls and insulation. Apparently the airspace along with Roxul should remove the threat of a moist enviro and potential mold behind the walls and ceiling.

I'll find out soon enough how well the primarily below-grade bunker does with a single fresh air return. The concrete below ground only fluctuates a couple of degrees at any time and any air coming in through the bunker door will be climate controlled. No windows either. Should be fine, but we'll see!
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post #5 of 40 Old 02-26-2012, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Here's the first of 2 floor plans. This is for the basement as a whole (I am building this too, not just the theater).


Theater to follow.
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post #6 of 40 Old 02-26-2012, 09:28 PM
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I've also bee considering the "bunker" idea for my future plans....I'll be watching this one.

Have you considered flood mitigation? Battery backup sump pump?
On a side note, would that still be necessary if the lot was on a hill top?
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post #7 of 40 Old 02-27-2012, 12:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonMiller1975 View Post

I'll find out soon enough how well the primarily below-grade bunker does with a single fresh air return. The concrete below ground only fluctuates a couple of degrees at any time and any air coming in through the bunker door will be climate controlled. No windows either. Should be fine, but we'll see!

It sounds like you're concerned about keeping the space warm. But the real issue is going to be keeping it cool. With 8 people plus lights plus the little space heater on the ceiling you're going to need to move cold air into that space, even in winter...

What are you doing for rack access? Looks like you have it sitting on the floor - you going to wheel it out on casters? Make sure you have enough room to do that - meaning be able to move around it with it pulled all the way out.

Did you add some framing/blocking for a projector mount location? TV wall mount around the bar/pool table?

Other comment from the floorplan - have you checked the pool table sizing diagrams? Can't figure the full measurements of that area, but at least from the picture and what's shown it looks kinda tight on the ends, and around the bar area.

Oh, and think about reversing the swing of the door to your storage area. I'd do a left-handed door into that area so you don't consume 3' of wall space to get the door out of the way.

Looks like a lot of fun space! (ah, the joys of the unfinished, clean slate basement!)

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 #8 of 40 Old 02-27-2012, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
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@jautor I didn't mean to infer I was concerned about temperature at all. Having lived here for a year now, I've confirmed the bunker doesn't fluctuate more than 2-3 degrees celsius between Summer and Winter. Granted, it is chilly in there at the moment, what without both a source of heat and insulation, but a 2000W in-wall forced air unit should more than handle the sq. footage. Without sun beating through windows (no windows) and the remainder of the house climate controlled, heat shouldn't rise much. With that said, I haven't tested with 8 bodies over an extended period yet. Cool air return venting to the outside may help.

As for my rack access, I have a 37U on casters that yes, will roll out to supply me necessary access to my gear. It resides just outside of the bunker in the media room. I built storage and cubbies to house movie props/nostalgia, a popcorn machine and fridge/upright freezer. I'm at the point of determining my power needs right now. I had a 60A subpanel roughed in from my main breaker and I'm glad I went this route. Looks like I'll need at least a few 15A circuits. When I did my home prewire (data, audio & video) during our home build, I ran more than enough cable to the head to allow me rack mobility. I'll trim out the base of my rack with, say some white baseboard with magnets to conceal the casters when recessed into the wall. Have you had any experience with movable racks? Any suggestions?

I'm mounting a panel above the fireplace in the rec room. As you can see by the photo, I do have blocking in place to support it. This is my 2nd house and 6th panel mount. Hell, I've even got a panel installed in my en suite. Definitely don't want them falling off the wall!

You're right about the pool table area. I don't think my plan's pool table is to scale. I dropped it and a few other objects into the rooms to illustrate each area's intent. I'm putting a 4' x 8' table in and although it might get a bit tight when guys have bar stools out, clearance at the stairwell wall and opposing window is close to 5'. Having had a couple of tables in the past, 5' is more than ample compared to anything I had in cramped apts and lofts ;-)

I think I agree with you on the storage door swing out. When framing, I knew I wanted to close off the furnace and HW tank, but it's definitely made it a bit tighter (38").

I really appreciate the feedback and observations!
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post #9 of 40 Old 02-27-2012, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miahallen View Post

I've also bee considering the "bunker" idea for my future plans....I'll be watching this one.

Have you considered flood mitigation? Battery backup sump pump?
On a side note, would that still be necessary if the lot was on a hill top?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidK442 View Post

There are no hills in Chilliwack, just a lot of prime flat farm land...and cows.

Ha, pretty close! Actually, we do live on a mountain and do have a sump installed in the basement. Wasn't expecting that $7k expense when building. One of the necessities to living on sloped earth I guess!

And yes, there are cows. And corn.
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post #10 of 40 Old 02-27-2012, 10:14 PM
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I lived in BC for a while - Given how wet it is there you might want to do a search for 'flood' here on the theater construction thread and think about battery backups and sump pumps. With the issues that some people have had it might save some pain down the road.

I second the suggestion to make sure you have plenty of cooling or at least air exchange with the rest of the basement. A projector and several bodies will heat up the room fast.

I also put up a star ceiling and the entire install took me around 100 hours. I ran into a couple of problems that cost me quite a bit of time. I don't see any reason why you cant leave the space above the star ceiling open particularly if you are not doing any soundproofing. You might not be planning on soundproofing with your concrete bunker, but just be aware that concrete does conduct sound better than you might think. At the very least - if you can leave a small space between your concrete and framing, it will act like a double stud wall. If your framing is in contact with the concrete sound will conduct right into the concrete.

You have a very nice space to work I'll be watching your thread.
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post #11 of 40 Old 02-27-2012, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
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@stockmonkey2000 Yeah, I've got all framing 2" off the concrete wall. Roxul is only as deep as the framing to allow airflow behind the ceiling and walls with a dedicated air vent to the outside.

I read through your build (a beauty BTW) and have bookmarked your starfield build for tips. Yours at 100hrs was one of the reasons I'm filled with anxiety ;-)
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post #12 of 40 Old 02-27-2012, 10:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Can anyone recommend a good source for recessed lighting. I'm looking for smaller gimbal (black trim) spots for my soffits. Ideally line voltage to save on transformers popping over time, unless a reliable low voltage option can be recommended?
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post #13 of 40 Old 02-27-2012, 10:40 PM
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Not sure about in Canada but I bought my recessed 3" hologen cans at Lowes. They do have gimbal but not black trim. They come in white or brushed nickel. You can spray the trim with flat black paint. Several here have done that. The cans are 8.99 each.

There is a Lowes in Bellingham and New Westminster (didn't know they had stores in Canada) - Bit of a drive to either but if you are in the area.

If I were to do another star ceiling again I'm sure I could cut the time down to 50 hours or less. Spent a lot of time just thinking things through. Now that I know what I'm doing I could avoid the mistakes and do things much faster. I don't want to scare people away from doing a star ceiling even with the troubles it was totally worth it.
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post #14 of 40 Old 02-27-2012, 10:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Much appreciated. Thought about paint, but didn't know if the heat would bake off. I heard Lowes is coming north of the border.

How long ago did you live in this neck of the woods? Quite the trek to Utah!

And yes, your starfield is great. Definitely looks worth it. Thanks!
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post #15 of 40 Old 02-27-2012, 11:05 PM
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Use the high heat stove / barbeque paint. I used regular rustoleum paint which is rated to 200 degrees and the can lights get up to about 250 degrees. I learned that people use the stove paint after mine were already painted. Still need to decide whether to sand the paint off mine and use the other paint. Haven't had any issues with it yet.

I was in White Rock, Langley and Port Alberni in the early 90's.
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post #16 of 40 Old 02-28-2012, 05:28 PM
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have you checked out usalight on line? pretty reasonable and a wide selection of black trims for 120v recessed 4" cans

underachiever extraordinaire
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post #17 of 40 Old 03-05-2012, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
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UPDATE: Basement fireplace has been installed and bathroom & wet bar plumbing rough-in are complete.

After some back and forth with a couple of electricians, I've defined my power needs and the electrician comes Friday to install a sub panel in my media room to handle my media rack, appliance and lighting needs. Once he finishes up, I'll run my basement pots, bathroom lighting as well as power to my seat riser, projector, illuminator and such in the theater before media prewire in the theater, basement in-ceiling speakers (last whole house dist. audio zone) and atop the fireplace before finishing up the Roxul insulation into the theater walls and basement ceiling.

Then, drywall.

@weaselfest Thanks for the recommendation. I had a look and there are some good options. Will probably go that route!

More photos shortly. Whew!
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post #18 of 40 Old 03-05-2012, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonMiller1975 View Post

the electrician comes Friday to install a sub panel in my media room to handle my media rack, appliance and lighting needs.

Why put the subpanel in the media room, where you'll have to deal with access and eat up that valuable space? Why not put it in the furnace room or the storage area nearby?

Quote:


before finishing up the Roxul insulation into the theater walls and basement ceiling.

According to Ted (who IS an authority on such matters), save yourself the money on the Roxul and just use the pink stuff.

Jeff

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post #19 of 40 Old 03-06-2012, 04:17 AM
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The bunker is awesome! As I've been building and spending half my time worrying about sound getting to the rest of the house, I've thought how cool it would be to just excavate under my 3 car garage and make a dream theater without worrying about sound in the slightest. Maybe in about 10 years I can make that happen in another house...

Can't wait to see how this one progresses.
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post #20 of 40 Old 03-06-2012, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Why put the subpanel in the media room, where you'll have to deal with access and eat up that valuable space? Why not put it in the furnace room or the storage area nearby?

According to Ted (who IS an authority on such matters), save yourself the money on the Roxul and just use the pink stuff.

Jeff

Hey Jeff. Subpanel was roughed into the Media room during my home build. I suppose it wouldn't be too difficult to extend and relocate it to the furnace room considering most of the interior walls in the basement haven't been closed up. I wasn't concerned for space as I can hide it behind a smaller movie poster, but my thought process when I had it roughed in here was so I would have shorter runs for several necessary circuits in this area (rack, fridge, freezer, popcorn machine, 7 small deco pot lights - I like appliances on their own). Being a more centralized power draw, I opted to keep it here. Thanks for different POV though. I'll discuss with my electrician on Friday and see what he thinks! Might with worth the extra wire to move it.

As for the Roxul, yeah I went back and forth with a few guys at the local building stores. Ended up buying enough to insulate my walls and ceiling in the theater as well as the ceiling in the remainder of the basement already, so I may as well use it. I knew the guy I bought it from and ended up getting it for the same price as the pink. Their argument for using it in the bunker was thermal variance more than sound proofing (8" of concrete covers that). The room is under ground but above the frost line so it shouldn't fluctuate more than a few degrees throughout the year. It stays relatively cool, so the Roxul as explained to me, coupled with 1" of airspace behind it all around the room venting out a fresh air return should eliminate any threat of condensation build-up against the warm side of the wall. Roxul has better moisture retention apparently.
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post #21 of 40 Old 03-09-2012, 10:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Forgot to upload these. Colors and movie posters aren't indicative of what we'll end up with.






(Screen view)


(Starfield & archways)


(Seating & riser)
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post #22 of 40 Old 03-09-2012, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
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UPDATE: Electrician finished up today. My subpanel, which is wayyy larger than I envisioned, was installed, as was 6 additional circuits for appliances, rack and lighting. I'll commence running all outlets, lighting and media pre-wire shortly.

I also measured up and carved out space atop my theater entrance for my lit marquee. Gonna run that in conjunction with 7 decorative pots, triggered by a Z-wave motion sensor as people walk into the media room (outside theater). Should work well.

Basement cleanup this weekend, then photos!
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post #23 of 40 Old 03-10-2012, 03:48 AM
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Why not go acoustically transparent on the screen and really max the size out? Wouldn't take up much real estate if you still intend on in-walls. Or you could go to floor standing LCR. Then you could locate your center channel especially - behind the screen instead of below it.
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post #24 of 40 Old 03-10-2012, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonMiller1975 View Post

UPDATE: Electrician finished up today. My subpanel, which is wayyy larger than I envisioned, was installed, as was 6 additional circuits for appliances, rack and lighting. I'll commence running all outlets, lighting and media pre-wire shortly.

I also measured up and carved out space atop my theater entrance for my lit marquee. Gonna run that in conjunction with 7 decorative pots, triggered by a Z-wave motion sensor as people walk into the media room (outside theater). Should work well.

Basement cleanup this weekend, then photos!


Looking good Jason! I like how u had the 8" holes in place for wires. Nice little touch for ease.

jimi
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post #25 of 40 Old 03-10-2012, 02:35 PM
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This is looking great so far. I'm following this build for sure...
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post #26 of 40 Old 03-12-2012, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, after much deliberation and AVS encouragement, I opted to change my screen and center channel placement. I've dropped the DragonFly 133" MW fixed mount and have ordered an Elite Screens 135" 16:9 CineWhite AT screen so I can get my center up to a proper height. I was fearful the front row of seating would adversely impede the sounds quality for the rear (primary) row occupants. The AT screen addresses that and while I always knew that, I think I was procrastinating returning the other screen. I HATE returning things.
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post #27 of 40 Old 03-14-2012, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Looking for some recommendations on bass trap locations. Knew I'd need some but I clearly haven't spent enough time researching this area.

Planning to place 703 (or equivalent) in the soffits and will now probably do some superchunks in all 4 corners. Was also going to mount acoustic panels on all bump outs (columns) and front wall. I'm building a 12' x 12' recessed star field ceiling as mentioned in a previous post and haven't decided on MDF or perhaps rigid insulation for my panels.

Questions: would something like Roxul work well as an equiv in the soffits and corners? I'm already using it for thermal mgmt in the walls and ceiling. Or do I stick with 703? I've seen other posts that use different rigid insulation types. What about the 5.5" foam (or is it something else) that bpape has mentioned in the past? Is one better than the other? Lastly, should I treat the wall that my AT screen is affixed to? It isn't a false wall. What should I treat it with if so?

Any suggestions would help. I'm subscribed to a few bass trap threads but most contain older posts and I'm not sure it'll things have evolved.
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post #28 of 40 Old 03-15-2012, 07:28 AM
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I used roxul rockboard 60 for corner traps which is pretty close in performance to OC703. The roxul is 6 lbs / cubic foot while the OC703 is 3lb. I later made 2 more using Roxul Acoustical Fire Batt. The roxul was much cheaper than the 703.
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post #29 of 40 Old 03-15-2012, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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What about Fibrex? Their acoustical coefficient properties look to be pretty comparable with OC 703 and marginally better than the Roxul. More cost efficient too.

My intent was to insulate the theatre thermally with 3.5"D Roxul R14, including soffits (see earlier on pics, I've already started insulating). Then I was going to hang 2"D acoustic panels wrapped in GOM on the bump outs (once walls are closed up) as well as build corner traps from either 703, RXL 60 or perhaps even FBX 1280.

Coefficient comparison *:

Code:
FBX 1280        2" (51mm)       0.32    0.90    1.11    1.07    1.01    1.05    1.00
RXL 60          2" (51mm)       0.32    0.81    1.06    1.02    0.99    1.04    0.95
703, plain      2" (51mm)       0.17    0.86    1.14    1.07    1.02    0.98    1.00
*Thanks to Bob Golds for the data.

Anyone with Fibrex experience? I'm not sure my ears would be tuned enough to notice the difference. Might be splitting hairs here?

Does anyone figure I'd need further (or different Roxul) in the soffits or would my plan suffice? If I use my Roxul R14 on hand and finish insulating thermally, I'd still want to use one of the above 3 for my traps. What recommendations for treating my AT screen wall?

@DavidK442 Yes, the panels are intended to absorb some early reflection points.

@stockmonkey2000 For your corner traps, did you run them floor to soffit/ceiling?
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post #30 of 40 Old 06-15-2012, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Still alive and well. Basement and theater have been on hold while we pad the bank account some more and I finish my son's "big boy" room. Making way for a new arrival in the nursery come Sept. It's a spendy year, what with a new baby, basement and theater build.

*Facepalm* I do it to myself ;-)
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