Dr. G's Humble HT aka "The Escape Pod" - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 98 Old 01-15-2014, 10:25 AM
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Hahaha.  Yeah, you probably don't want to have the new furniture conversation quite yet!  I look forward to seeing more pictures of the theater coming together.  Hopefully the degree program doesn't get in the way too much.

 

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post #92 of 98 Old 01-19-2014, 08:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, it's time for some pictures of the latest. I have the lights and switches in, and I installed the recessed lights and sconces in the theater room, as well as the Grafik Eye QS. It was exciting to turn that on and see everything fade up, and tinker with the zones!

The paint turned out really well. I used the Benjamin Moore Aura Matte paint, except on the ceiling where I used Benjamin Moore Regal Select Flat. Two coats of the Aura, and two coats of the Regal Select (on top of two coats of primer) was all I needed. The colors I posted a few posts back.

I wish the LED recessed lights dimmed lower, but that's only for the cool effect of them dimming perfectly gradually to off. They get to about 9% dim-ness, and if I ever wanted to leave them on while dimmed, I'd never see any reason for them to be dimmer than this. To have LED lights instead of Halogen was worth it even if I have to give up on that perfectly gradual dimming to off. The prices came down recently too, making it quite affordable, especially after the $20/light rebate I should get from my electric utility company for them!

I went with Nora NLEDR-662 series recessed lights from Hanks Electric in CA. I picked the 650 lumen 2700K version with white baffles. I compared them side by side with the Cree CR6 equivalents you can get at Home Depot. The Noras held their color much better when dimmed, and dimmed almost as low (I'd say the HD brand got maybe 2% dimmer but I couldn't tell for sure. The Noras also have superior baffles that keep the glare down compared to the HD brand. They also have a 7 year warranty and 50000 hour life compared to 3 year warranty and 35000 hour life. Also, you only have to remove 3 screws to separate the trim from the driver for spray painting (this is why I got the white baffle version) A clear winner for under 50% more in price. Thanks to Paul at Hank's Electric for introducing me to these gems! (www.hankselectric.com) - you can catch Paul (username: spiwrx) sometimes in the home automation and other forums.

Anyhow, here are some pictures of the current state of the room! I'm in one of them. I don't know if I've been in any up until now, and I haven't been hiding my identity on purpose or anything cool.gif

This first picture is from when I was testing the lighting. I used all incandescents initially, just hanging on the sockets coming from the cans, and the sconces without the covers. I knew it would never again be so bright. I also have my 9000 lumen worklight shining on me too. So my look is the "ta-da" of the super-brightness, kind of like the scene in Lampoons Christmas Vacation when he turns on the lights.

P1020450_zps33000946.jpg

This picture is of the four screen wash lights in the front. They are gimbaled so I can aim them toward the screen. I set them back kind of far and made them gimbal in case I ever want to try acoustically transparent setup in the future. I made them so I could have up tp 14" deep area behind the screen and they'd still be comfortably in front of the screen.

P1020452_zps6e99278a.jpg

Here is the room after putting in the recessed LED lights and the covers on the sconces. I still have to take the LEDs out and paint the trims black, but I had to at least try them! You can see my trim/casing on the floor. I still have to paint and install that.

P1020482_zps00ac32b3.jpg

P1020483_zps351b399d.jpg

Here is the equipment closet. It's painted white inside. And plenty of light. The opening is a rough space sized to fit a Middle Atlantic brand Slim5 model 5-29 29U rack. But I don't know if I can afford the actual rack with the shelves and faceplates, so I might put in some DIY shelves for now. The plastic bags were put over the wires to protect them from drywall and paint.

P1020478_zps24b5fc34.jpg

Here's inside the equip closet looking up at the ceiling. I have a line voltage cool thermostat that I can set at up to 95 degrees. It turns on the fan, when triggered, a super quiet Panasonic fan. There's a switch on the wall that overrides the thermostat if I just want to turn on the fan for any reason.

P1020481_zps6d729ca7.jpg

The grafik eye and other switches. I put the back of the faceplates on but not the front that snaps on. I don't have a cover yet for the remaining empty (future expansion) 4 gang box.

P1020497_zpsab520005.jpg

Electrical engineer by education. Currently a system engineer. I like home automation, theaters, and blinking lights.
Someday it'll be more of an actual hobby - if my employer would ever let me go home!
"The Escape Pod" - My First Theater Build
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post #93 of 98 Old 01-19-2014, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I have several things left to do:

- Put down the radiant heat mats in the bathroom and hire someone to tile over it in the bathroom
- Get cabinets, sink, toilet installed, and the rest of the bathtub faucetry.
- Install the doors. They are sitting downstairs right now just waiting for it.
- Paint my casing and baseboard trim
- Cut and install casing and baseboard trim
- Paint door frames and doors
- Patch/touch-up paint trim, casing
- Install closet shelving
[You may note I'm not back to the theater yet - well the trim/doors include the theater tongue.gif ]
- Get carpet installed
- Hang closet doors
- Put weatherstripping around theater door (I bought a solid core door for the theater room)
- Install the rope light. I'm going to be cutting it down to the _exact_ length and do some resistor trickery with the last 2' section to get it the exact length I want.
- DIY shelving in the equipment closet
- Finalize equipment list (receiver, projector, speakers, screen, repeater equipment, bluray player, streaming player, power conditioning, etc.)
- Purchase and install equipment (except for screen)
- Bring down the furniture (wife will cheer!)
- Evaluate various screen materials, all while watching on a sheet. Get a feel for seating distance and screen size we like
- Finalize seating distance and screen size, purchase and install screen
- Build riser for 2nd row of seating and carpet it (going to make it a bass trap)
- Do acoustic measurements (REW or whatever I decide to try)
- Acoustic treatments
- Realize at this point that I'm still not done... biggrin.gif

@ Chris: The masters program I just started is pretty intense. I had 150 pages of reading and several hours coursework this week alone, and I'm only two weeks into the intro course. eek.gif Plus keeping up work full time. I think I'll only get any significant work done between classes, provided I'm not in a coma by then wink.gif

I have a 2 week break in March and 2.5 month break from the middle of May through end of July. My hope is to have the equipment purchased and rudimentarily installed by the end of July. We'll see how it goes!

I don't expect to have the acoustic treatments up at that point. But I'm hoping the screen and riser can be done by then.

Electrical engineer by education. Currently a system engineer. I like home automation, theaters, and blinking lights.
Someday it'll be more of an actual hobby - if my employer would ever let me go home!
"The Escape Pod" - My First Theater Build
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post #94 of 98 Old 01-20-2014, 01:11 AM
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Shaping up very nicely. Love the color scheme.

That is one heck of a pile of switches/zones for a single room!

I doubt the riser will be much of a bass trap as the vents aren't in the room's tri-corners,
where the sound pressure is at it's peak, in the room. The insulation in the riser will help
prevent it from becoming a resonant chamber though.
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post #95 of 98 Old 05-11-2014, 11:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post

Shaping up very nicely. Love the color scheme.

That is one heck of a pile of switches/zones for a single room!

I doubt the riser will be much of a bass trap as the vents aren't in the room's tri-corners,
where the sound pressure is at it's peak, in the room. The insulation in the riser will help
prevent it from becoming a resonant chamber though.

I like the color scheme too - my wife and I picked from those 1"x1" swatches with lots of comparisons to colors and so forth. We didn't do any sample painting. The more I look at it the more I like it. The finish on the Benjamin Moore Matte and Flat is excellent too.

Yeah - on heck of a pile of switches. I kind of wonder what I was thinking now when I look at it. It's pretty fun to toy with though, I hope I have fun with the versatility in the future.

Thanks for the notes on the bass trap - speaking of bass trap, my parents just upgraded their bed and put their old mattress in the back of their theater room, it's about 15" thick, about 5" from the back wall. I watched the original Superman in there on Blu-Ray the other night and it sounded fantastic! I've never heard his room sound so good. At first I thought it was due to his new center, but in the end I realized it was the mattress in the back of the room, it was absorbing the back reflections and soaking up the excess bass. Never heard his room sound so good. Maybe I'll just put a mattress in the back of my room wink.gif

Electrical engineer by education. Currently a system engineer. I like home automation, theaters, and blinking lights.
Someday it'll be more of an actual hobby - if my employer would ever let me go home!
"The Escape Pod" - My First Theater Build
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post #96 of 98 Old 05-11-2014, 11:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay - so my class is finally coming to a close this Thursday - then 2 1/2 months off school!

I want to finish the basement SOOO badly. I have to put up the doors (about 12 of them - they are already sitting in the basement), then paint the doors and trim, then install the trim. The next thing after that - carpet!

Then on to filling the room with the equipment. I've been looking forward to this. I wanted to do acoustics first, but who am I kidding - I want to be watching movies! And my wife. Plus I kind of want to make acoustic improvements slowly, so I can hear the difference with each attempt.

I have been doing some speaker auditioning, and lots and LOTS of reading after hours, after work and homework.

I have auditioned:
  • Def Tech floorstanders - didn't really like that much, don't even remember the model
  • Infinity P series - P363 and their center. I actually bought these on a steal and put them in my dad's theater. I like them quite a bit, but I think I want more. I'll probably give them to him. I have spent some time with them so they are sort of a benchmark for me. $414 for two front floorstanders and a center is a nice price! But as you'll see I'll probably spend much more.
  • Klipsch RF-62 - Too in your face and aggressive for me.
  • Polk TSX-550t - These have crazy model numbers, I had to look it up to remember. I liked these, but they sounded a little harsh/strained in the highs. Bass was ample but a little muddy.
  • Martin Logan - I don't remember what I tried. I liked them, but felt they were too directional.
  • B&W 683 (S1) - I think I'm a sissy. I fell in love with these. I felt like I was being coddled in the womb. Some of my favorite classical recordings made me emotional. They also cost a lot. But I so far they are my favorite.

You may notice that costs vary all over here. I listened to some at Best Buy, some at one local A/V store and some at another.

I also spent about 30 hours making an auditioning CD that I tried to have cover my broad likes in music and throw some complex, deep, and emotional things at the speakers. Now that I have this CD I want to try everything again biggrin.gif

I have a friend with some Axioms so I'll audition those soon, and another friend with Home Theater Direct Level 3 speakers. I'm also planning to try out some Monitor Audio Bronze and Silver. Some KEF if I can find them. EmpTek speakers are manufactured about 45-50 miles north of me, and said they do auditions at their plant. That might be a fun trip, if I find the time.

As far as receivers, I have really only listened to these at Best Buy. Except Marantz, I also listened to that at one of the A/V stores with the B&W speakers. I really liked that too.

Electrical engineer by education. Currently a system engineer. I like home automation, theaters, and blinking lights.
Someday it'll be more of an actual hobby - if my employer would ever let me go home!
"The Escape Pod" - My First Theater Build
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post #97 of 98 Old 05-12-2014, 01:14 AM - Thread Starter
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This is by no means final, but wondered if anyone had any comments. Here's a preliminary equipment list for what I'm considering:

  • Projector: Epson Pro Cinema 6030 UB - I want black chassis, the bulb, the mount, dealer support, and the anamorphic capability (for future experimentation), and the dealer said he'd calibrate for free. So enough reasons to me to go with it over 5030UB. I hope he's good at calibrating!
  • A/V Receiver: Marantz SR6008 or SR7008. Leaning toward splurging on SR7008 for power, 9.2, and Audyssey XT32
  • BluRay Player: Oppo BDP-103D. I've seen a lot of Darbee and think it's cool, for $100, why not get it and try out? It's $300 to add it later, and another box. I love everything else about the Oppo too.
  • Screen: 110" Fixed Frame Carada Criterion Brilliant White 1.3 (actually people say more like 1.1) gain screen
  • Front Speakers: (2) Bowers and Wilkins 683 S2. I loved the S1. All say S2 is better. And I'm becoming an audiophile on the side just auditioning all the speakers.
  • Center speaker: B&W HTM61 S2
  • Side Surround Speakers: (2) Axiom QS4
  • Rear Surround Speakers: (2) Axiom M2 bookshelves
  • Subwoofer(s): (2) SVS SB2000 - I've done a lot of reading and sealed sound more like my style. I might miss out on chest thumping bass in movies, but I still think I'll prefer. Fortunately they have an AWESOME exchange/return policy. I will buy one first then add a second later if I think I should - or still have money.
  • AV Rack: Middle Atlantic Model Slim 5-29, with all the trimmings for my gear. Much more space than I'll use initially, but I already built the room for it! I might go DIY if I run out of money but right now saving the effort sounds nicer.
  • Xantech 789-44 IR Repeater, single zone, with an IR Blaster pointed at rack (maybe if I can figure it out), and other single emitters inside rack (may add a Global Cache Bridge later on for more automation) - this will also connect to the Lutron Graphik Eye QS at some point.

Any gear I'm forgetting?

Power Conditioning? I'm going to start with a surge protector for now. I'm a little wary of the power conditioning, seems like a great opportunity for snake oil. Might get a pure sinewave battery backup for the projector (glad I put the powerbridge in!) - and maybe a $200 or $300 power conditioner for the rest. We'll see.

I plan to add a media PC later as well, and rip my music to FLAC at some point. I might get an inexpensive music server sooner rather than later.

I can get the projector, receiver, bluray player, front/center speakers all locally, from a very nice audio/video store. He indicated he'd get me a good package deal. I might get an inexpensive Screen Innovations Sensation line screen from him, but I read good things about the Carada, we'll see how that goes. He also sells middle atlantic racks, so that's convenient too. He has a great return/support/trade-up policy and having a local dealer sounds really nice for the main equipment items.

Electrical engineer by education. Currently a system engineer. I like home automation, theaters, and blinking lights.
Someday it'll be more of an actual hobby - if my employer would ever let me go home!
"The Escape Pod" - My First Theater Build
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post #98 of 98 Old 08-21-2014, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm still around!

Since school started... ugh.

I had 2 months off in summer but then work went crazy.

I just have caulking, touch up painting the trim, installing shelves in 2 closets - and then theater trim left. Then carpet!! So close - yet so far away.

Electrical engineer by education. Currently a system engineer. I like home automation, theaters, and blinking lights.
Someday it'll be more of an actual hobby - if my employer would ever let me go home!
"The Escape Pod" - My First Theater Build
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