Thank you for taking a moment to check out my completed home theater! As promised, here are my final pictures
Final summary points:
Creator: An active duty Army Lieutenant Colonel Medical Corps officer, twice deployed to Iraq and currently stationed near Honolulu, Hawaii at a major medical center. Upon returning from my most recent deployment to Iraq I started planning in ernest and started getting my house addition set into motion. To be clear, this home theater project was completed by my hands, as well as a much larger portion of the house addition than I expected. While I appreciate all home theaters, as an avid home theater hobbyist I wanted to get my hands dirty and do this myself, for better or worse. Still, technical and “sounding board” advice was given at times by my good friend Jim Goodrich at Cinelife which was always appreciated. Thank you for everything Jim!!!!
Location: Central Oahu, north of Honolulu. This home theater was the central feature of a massive house addition transforming a cozy Hawaiian home into a home theater fan’s dream home (at least in my opinion
). As many know, living in Hawaii is expensive, especially the cost of land and housing. This contributed to many challenges in the overall build. Also, as an active duty Army officer I rolled the dice and hoped I could stay in this location for a few years and so far I’ve been correct. This reality of moving also played a part in deciding what type of equipment I looked for.
Preparation: I’ve dreamed about this project for 25 years although the version in my mind always changed until I saw a great theater a few years ago (great job Jim... it seems I know a few 'Jims'). Serious planning and researching advanced over 2-3 years. The majority of the building took place over 1.5 years during weekends, after work, and most vacations with lots of advice from fellow AVSForum members with far more construction experience than myself. Ultimately, everything was handmade from various materials, especially raw quarter cut ribbon Sapele lumber (even in the pictures below, the Sapele is far more gorgeous in person). The huge problem was that up to this point, I had never built anything, ever! This was one primary mission of my build thread... to show everyone; “if I can do it, anyone can!”. Hopefully that has been achieved. The other point was to keep the pressure on myself to get things done. Having a build thread is sort of like group therapy (I can't help but be a psychiatrist for a moment
), there is lots of support from the group but also people willing to call you out if you are not progressing. It truly helps. As such, a big thank you to those who answered a lot of my basic questions that kept me moving along the right path (you know who you are). A big thank you to my dad too who was willing to field numerous calls at all different times of the day and night. He tried teaching me this stuff as a kid but at the time I wasn't interested. This would have been a lot easier had I focused my attention way back then.
Big picture view: It seems there is a current trend that I see that has the same in-wall speakers in slightly similar looking theaters, which are all nice and great theaters to have, I’m sure. I attacked my theater from a different perspective... After getting a wonderful deal on some initial high end equipment, I decided I wanted a theater utilizing two channel audio quality speakers in the entire room, which in this case are Aerial Acoustics to include their flagship speaker, the 20T’s, and their newly released high end bookshelf, the 5T. How would a home theater sound if created with two channel audio quality speakers? It sounds amazing.
I smile every time I hear my 20T’s ribbon tweeters sing. It only gets better with time and with newly added equipment (new processor is currently pending, likely the Trinnov Altitude but the cost will not be insignificant, ugh).
Another big difference in my theater when compared to others is the extent of soundproofing (well documented and discussed in my thread). Instead of just two layers of 5/8” drywall, I had two layers of 5/8” drywall on top of massive layers of solid 3/4” MDF panels all with layers of green glue on top of Kinetics Isomax clips with metal hat channel (see more details about this in the thread). That is in addition to gasket-sealed, massive, double mahogany doors as well as all the Sapele wood that went on the walls. As far as I know, my theater is the only thread featuring MDF adding lots of mass to the walls and ceiling. Despite early warnings that I was using a few too many Kinetics clips (I wanted to overbuild it slightly for safety considering the massive weight the MDF was adding), my theater is a black hole for sound, nothing gets in and nothing gets out. It's odd how much sound it blocks out. Even on the second floor above the theater, it acts in such a way that you can't hear anything anywhere else. It truly acts like a black hole for noise. Thankfully we have a large dog that guards the house and barks at everything as well as an exentesive security camera system.
Final thoughts: It was a pleasure building this and I have no regrets. Was it more expensive than I initially thought? Heck yes. It was also far more work than I imagined even though I imagined it was going to be very difficult. If I move will I build another theater? Probably, but hopefully not for a few years at least and only if it's a place I can see myself staying for a chunk of time.
Ok, Here are the final pictures. Without further ado:
This picturewas taken from the double mahogany doors, right in front of the two racks
The ceiling speakers are Aerial Acoustic 5B's (2) at the rear of the room and the new Aerial Acoustics 5T (6) clearly visible on the ceiling
The double, gasket sealed, Mahogany doors are both shown in the background
Four Bryston amps with 12 channels of amplification and one Parasound amp with 5 channels
Kaleidescape Premier system, Torus Power, Panamax UPS, Control4, Marantz (to be upgraded to likely Trinnov Altitude), Pakedge, Oppo and more...
ISCO Anamorphic lens on a Cineslide and a Sony VPL VW1100ES (upgraded) 4K projector
Please remember, the wide angle lens makes the screen look small, it's actually pretty big (11.5 ft wide)
Aerial Acoustics CC5 center channel, Aerial Acoustics SW12 subs (absolutely amazing, deep bass), and the Aerial Acoustics flagship speaker 20T... those ribbon tweeters are simply amazing! All speakers in rare Bird's-eye Maple. Even better looking up close
I went overkill with my "wide" speakers with Aerial Acoustics LR5's. These are utilized as main L/R speakers in many systems.
I hope everyone that spent time reading my 3+ year house addition and Hawaii Home Theater Construction build thread theater enjoyed it. I know I have and I will be sad that it's coming to an end other than future updates. Again, I appreciated those that reached out to help and offer constructive advice as well as those that asked questions. I always looked forward to checking my thread to see if there were any new posts. THANK YOU! Another big thank you to my wife and kids that supported me during this massive project. Without them, there was no reason to consider building this family theater.
Matt..... aka: Psychdoc