Starting New Home Theater Room Project- Operation "What the hell am I doing" - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 06-21-2012, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
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UPDATE II

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Hello Everyone, after surfing this forum and others for weeks, I realized the folks on here are much much more dedicated and knowledgeable! I am beginning to understand that home theater isn't just another room but turns out to be a way of life! However without further delay let me tell you a little back story for my home theater and ultimately the actual plan, equipment, and questions.
I promise to start posting pictures on the progress, the project is due to start next week.

STORY - I have ALWAYS wanted to have my own home theater (and I guess most of us did or you wouldn't be on this site), last year we finally moved into a fairly large house with 7 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and one unfinished room! The problem was one of the bathrooms was inside this unfinished space, so I moved it and made one of the rooms in the basement a suite! Now I have a 12x18 feet room.

PLAN - I have a clean slate and am thinking about putting a two tiered floor with 7 seats in total. I will post my proposed floor plan but the key to this project is $$$. I have read so many success stories here and am excited for all the feedback.

EQUIPMENT -
Speaker - 4 Floor Standing Saphire Speakers with built in sub plus a center speaker and Difinitive mids
Sub-woofer - Trying to decide between two or one but they are Difinitive 12"
Display - Sharp 80" TV
Receiver - Pioneer Elite SC-37
Seats - TBD
Sconces - Style Selections 2-Light Brushed Nickel Item #: 359233 | Model #: HDO0482L-3
Sound Proofing - Contractor has recommended to insulate the walls for a cheap solution.


QUESTIONS -
1. I want a very compact and stylish light control unit and I am way over my head, please help! I want to basically turn the lights on as I enter the room and dim/turn-off via remote control. Should I just hire pros for this?
2. Remote control, what do you guys recommend? I don't want to spend a fortune on this but I am thinking of the Harmony 1100, this question is also tied to the above question.
3. I am building some columns to put the speakers in, (floor plan to follow) and think I may cover the face of those columns with speaker grill fabric, any other solutions I am overlooking?

Thanks for all your help in advance.smile.gif
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post #2 of 33 Old 06-21-2012, 07:13 PM
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Good luck with your build. If I could give you one word of advice it would be "PLAN". Plan everything out, and then plan some more. And I know some others around here that are a lot smarter than I am probably tell you that only insulation in the walls is not going to do much for soundproofing.
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post #3 of 33 Old 06-21-2012, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snipe4real View Post

Display - Sharp 80" TV

While that's a nice big TV, if this is a dedicated theater space, you should really consider a projector setup. That can certainly be done in the same price range as an 80" display, with a much larger screen.
Quote:
Sound Proofing - Contractor has recommended to insulate the walls for a cheap solution.

That's the cheapest thing you can do that will help! Post your layout so we can see the other stuff close by, as well as above/below. The time to engineer the room for sound isolation is now. You'll never go back and do it - tearing up the whole room. Do investigate the options (double drywall, Green Glue, etc.) for doing some more (depending on the room location and your needs). If you don't take steps now, there's no good answer later.
Quote:
1. I want a very compact and stylish light control unit and I am way over my head, please help! I want to basically turn the lights on as I enter the room and dim/turn-off via remote control. Should I just hire pros for this?

Lots of ways to do this - the cost/complexity will depend on how many "things" you want to control. Lutron has simple IR-controllable dimmers, for example, which can work very well if the switches will be within line of sight of your seating position(s).
Quote:
2. Remote control, what do you guys recommend? I don't want to spend a fortune on this but I am thinking of the Harmony 1100, this question is also tied to the above question.

Harmony is a good first choice. You may want to look at RF-capable remotes (Harmony has them, too) so that you don't have to point to wherever the equipment will be located.
Quote:
3. I am building some columns to put the speakers in, (floor plan to follow) and think I may cover the face of those columns with speaker grill fabric, any other solutions I am overlooking?
Thanks for all your help in advance.smile.gif

My mistake was building columns before putting up the drywall. Don't make that mistake. You want the speakers/columns INSIDE the room... You can use in-wall surround speakers in the columns as an option (which is what I did - very happy with the Definitive BP-Z/A).

Welcome to the madness...

Jeff

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post #4 of 33 Old 06-21-2012, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments so far.
Dave - I am going crazy planning and I hope it will be enough at some point! :-)

Jeff - Thank you so much for your comments, the folks so far have scared me away from a projector and the reason is that the screen will supposedly cost around $1500 and the projector will cost starting around $5000 while the TV is only around $5000 so any specific help you can give me is much appreciated as I have literally days to change my plans.

As for the soundproofing the house is fairly big and other than my wife I really don't have to "keep it down too much" I also plan to add decorative/sound barrier screens on the walls later to give it a bit more color. But I'll look into the Green Glue with double drywall too as I have heard of that a lot, but I agree with you I will only get one shot at this!

Lighting seems to be a challenge I will have 6 to 8 recessed lights and 4 sconces. I want to be able to control the recessed and sconces separately so ultimately I am looking to put 2 or possibly three switches ( I may put the two light over the display on a separate switch) however since I don't want to fill the wall up with switches I'd like to have a master switch to just turn on and then control everything via remote when it's showtime! I went to Lutron's site but was more confused when I left! HELPPP smile.gif

I have 2 other Harmony remotes (none with RF) but since all the equipment will be behind me and in a separated closet, I guess RF is a must. Other than Harmony, any other suggestions within the same budget, maybe a bit more?

I don't think I explained my column idea very well, the columns will be hallow and they will essentially have the whole front part as a door/frame that will be covered by a speaker grill fabric, let me post the design and you can tell me what you think. I love the Saphire speakers and really would like to use them but want them to be completely stealth!

I am working on the Visio design and should have it up shortly. I will also post some pictures very soon.
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post #5 of 33 Old 06-21-2012, 08:42 PM
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I made the mistake of poor planning, luckily I had only finished framing so I tore half of my basement apart to get where I really wanted to be. That sucked but I am glad I did it, otherwise I would have had regrets. I originally thought of just doing insulation and drywall. But the sound traveling from the basement upstairs is terrible. I couldnt even work down there at night. Every hammer hit, even my drill caused a stir.

IMO the costs of soundproofing is minimum considering the whole project, and like Jeff said, one shot.

I also agree with Jeff in that you can do a whole lot better with a projector and still stay in that price range. I dont know enough about the options to get into that, but I am sure someone will chime in.
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post #6 of 33 Old 06-21-2012, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Dave and I was looking at your build, looks great. Wish you the best as well. What did you do for sound proofing? The guys that are doing my work aren't really the best at these kind of stuff so I have to do all that myself!! Any help appreciated!
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post #7 of 33 Old 06-21-2012, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
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I realize that this may not be very symmetric and things may be off by a bit but this is the rough sketch, hope to improve on it soon!cool.gif




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post #8 of 33 Old 06-22-2012, 12:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snipe4real View Post

the folks so far have scared me away from a projector and the reason is that the screen will supposedly cost around $1500 and the projector will cost starting around $5000 while the TV is only around $5000 so any specific help you can give me is much appreciated as I have literally days to change my plans.

Those folks would be wrong. Good screen can be <$1000 (DIY versions half that-ish). See Carada's website, for example for good values in screens. There are excellent projectors, such as the Epson, in the $2000-2500 range.
Quote:
I also plan to add decorative/sound barrier screens on the walls later to give it a bit more color.

Sound panels are for acoustics, not sound isolation. Different things. You'll absolutely want some acoustic treatments in the room, regardless of how much isolation you implement...
Quote:
Lighting seems to be a challenge I will have 6 to 8 recessed lights and 4 sconces. I want to be able to control the recessed and sconces separately so ultimately I am looking to put 2 or possibly three switches ( I may put the two light over the display on a separate switch)

You'll want anything in the front of the room on a separate switch. Even if you choose to start with a big LCD, plan the room to accommodate a projector setup... I separated my recessed cans into four switches (zones). Lots of Lutron products - the Spacer system is a good middle-ground. It can give you that "master control" button, but will still have a switch for each 'zone'.
Quote:
I have 2 other Harmony remotes (none with RF) but since all the equipment will be behind me and in a separated closet, I guess RF is a must. Other than Harmony, any other suggestions within the same budget, maybe a bit more?

There are IPod / iPhone / iPad-based solutions which use an IR repeater, for example (iRule, Roomie, DemoPad). Harmony with RF is a good choice, though.
Quote:
I don't think I explained my column idea very well, the columns will be hallow and they will essentially have the whole front part as a door/frame that will be covered by a speaker grill fabric, let me post the design and you can tell me what you think. I love the Saphire speakers and really would like to use them but want them to be completely stealth!

Yeah, I understood your column - just wanted to make sure you build that structure inside the room, not as part of the shell. There's some examples of columns like you describe here. Hopefully someone remembers who's theater they were in. Oh, search the "show me your columns" thread!

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 #9 of 33 Old 06-22-2012, 06:05 AM
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As previously posted, soundproofng treatments are all done before drywall starts. Anything after that deals with room acoustics, which is not soundproofing.

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post #10 of 33 Old 06-22-2012, 08:28 AM
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Snipe-

I have been working with Ted White and he is first class all the way. I couldnt tell you all the questions he has answered for me. I took the common theme around here, or at least I am going to.

Clips + furring channel, double 5/8 drywall with Green Glue. I will also insulate the ceiling and walls. Joist mufflers for the two joists that will have my HVAC supplies servicing the room. 2 dead vents behind the screen wall for the 2 HVAC returns. All of my lighting will be in a soffit which will be build after the room has been dry walled. Solid-core flush 1 3/4" door. I highly recommend talking to Ted and I am sure he will give you all the information you need to make your decision.

IMO, I not only want great video but great sound and soundproofing. I don't have a large budget but all of this is affordable. I had originally planned on an open concept but I was having doubts about all of the sound issues. I couldnt be more pleased with the path I am on now.

Good luck
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post #11 of 33 Old 06-22-2012, 08:43 AM
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Your room dimensions are almost the same as mine. I think you will be much happier with a projector than an 80" tv, especially if you are sitting in the 2nd row. I'll be using the JVC RS45 projector and a Jamestown screen with the SeymourAV CenterStage XD fabric. You should be able to get both of these items AND your Pioneer receiver for less than the cost of that tv (assuming the street price of the tv is $5000).

Good luck!
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post #12 of 33 Old 06-22-2012, 08:44 AM
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I'll echo what Dave said about working with the Soundproofing Company. Ted and John are both fantastic to work with. They don't just sell you a product and let you figure out how to install it. They provide detailed instructions on the proper implementation, and answer any other questions you may have.

The one thing that jumped out at me from your sketch was the 4 chairs in the back row. At 12 feet, it will be extremely tight to get 4 theater recliners in there. They would end up very close to the walls, and the sound experience for those end seats could suffer. Also, 6 feet may be a bit short for the riser if they are recliners. Don't want to have feet on first row heads if everyone is reclined wink.gif
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post #13 of 33 Old 06-22-2012, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

Your room dimensions are almost the same as mine. I think you will be much happier with a projector than an 80" tv, especially if you are sitting in the 2nd row. I'll be using the JVC RS45 projector and a Jamestown screen with the SeymourAV CenterStage XD fabric. You should be able to get both of these items AND your Pioneer receiver for less than the cost of that tv (assuming the street price of the tv is $5000).
Good luck!

I actually have the Receiver already and I am leaning more towards the projector as this certainly would be a cost saving measure! What distance did you put your projector? (The ceiling is 9' hight) and what size screen did you end up having?
I have no idea about projectors and screens so this is a scary territory for me, any tips or help you can give me is much appreciated.

Mehdi
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post #14 of 33 Old 06-22-2012, 09:25 AM
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Do real soundproofing, go with a projector,
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post #15 of 33 Old 06-22-2012, 09:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Do real soundproofing, go with a projector,

Alright you guys convinced me to do sound proofing. I am doing the double drywall with Greenglue and will put some fiber insulation between studs as well. I should probably note that I only need to do two wall and a ceiling since the other two walls are the corner of the house and the walls are concrete!

As for the projector, I am still debating since I don't know the first thing about them and to me gaming is more important than watching movies and this room will mostly be used for gaming! Any suggestions...
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post #16 of 33 Old 06-22-2012, 09:39 AM
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My biggest suggestion is PLANNING and spend another month reading every post in this forum. There is a wealth of information here and IF you can wade through the engineer level posts, you can learn darn near anything you will need to know.

A quick note about your first room design, having the door by the screen will be disruptive to people watching a movie. Also, think hard about the average number of people that will actually be in your theater watching a movie. I was originally going to "pack" as many seats into my theater as possible, but after realizing that we are a family of 4 and in a few years the kids will be out on their own.... well 6 seats are going to be PLENTY!

On the room build; you need to make a decision as to the level of sound isolation (sound proofing) your willing to go. Going "full tilt" will involve either decoupling the room from the rest of the framing of the house and/or using isolation clips to suspend the drywall from the studs. Understand that the mid and high frequencies will be tamed with a tightly sealed room and insulation....BUT throw the subwoofers in the mix and EVERYTHING will vibrate and transfer the rumble throughout the house (flanking).

You mentioned that you and you wife aren't concerned with the noise that much. Explain that to her the night you want to watch War of the Worlds after she "turns in early" or IF you have children. That was my concern, as well as if we have a family get together and some of us want to watch a movie while others are sitting around talking. Spend more money (now) on the room than the equipment. A well build room will make budget speakers sound better than great speakers in a crappy room.

In the end, its up to you to the level of your desire for your theater. There are all levels to this. From no holds bared to retro an existing room. Good Luck!
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post #17 of 33 Old 06-22-2012, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoSport View Post

My biggest suggestion is PLANNING and spend another month reading every post in this forum. There is a wealth of information here and IF you can wade through the engineer level posts, you can learn darn near anything you will need to know.
A quick note about your first room design, having the door by the screen will be disruptive to people watching a movie. Also, think hard about the average number of people that will actually be in your theater watching a movie. I was originally going to "pack" as many seats into my theater as possible, but after realizing that we are a family of 4 and in a few years the kids will be out on their own.... well 6 seats are going to be PLENTY!
On the room build; you need to make a decision as to the level of sound isolation (sound proofing) your willing to go. Going "full tilt" will involve either decoupling the room from the rest of the framing of the house and/or using isolation clips to suspend the drywall from the studs. Understand that the mid and high frequencies will be tamed with a tightly sealed room and insulation....BUT throw the subwoofers in the mix and EVERYTHING will vibrate and transfer the rumble throughout the house (flanking).
You mentioned that you and you wife aren't concerned with the noise that much. Explain that to her the night you want to watch War of the Worlds after she "turns in early" or IF you have children. That was my concern, as well as if we have a family get together and some of us want to watch a movie while others are sitting around talking. Spend more money (now) on the room than the equipment. A well build room will make budget speakers sound better than great speakers in a crappy room.
In the end, its up to you to the level of your desire for your theater. There are all levels to this. From no holds bared to retro an existing room. Good Luck!

Great advice, the subwoofer will be behind the seats and you are right I may go with 6 seats instead of 7. My wife has made it very clear that we are not having 5 kids! :-)
I think the subwoofer can be isolated to fire only into the room and not back, I will build a box around it in the media room and have an opening to the HT. Does that make sense?
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post #18 of 33 Old 06-22-2012, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snipe4real View Post

I should probably note that I only need to do two wall and a ceiling since the other two walls are the corner of the house and the walls are concrete!
.

Unfortunately sound doesn't just travel in a straight line. You need all four walls, You should use clips and channel to isolate wall vibration from the houses framing, You should build backer boxes for those recessed light fixtures. Back butter any electrical boxes with putty pads, Evaluate your HVAC ducts so that they don't become sound pathways to adjacent rooms, Get a beefy door with perimeter seals.

On projectors, the Panasonic series has always been a good first projector and is value oriented. The current top of the line is the AE7000.

http://www.projectorpeople.com/projectors/projdtls.asp?itemid=26756&itmname=Panasonic+PT%2DAE7000U
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post #19 of 33 Old 06-22-2012, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Unfortunately sound doesn't just travel in a straight line. You need all four walls, You should use clips and channel to isolate wall vibration from the houses framing, You should build backer boxes for those recessed light fixtures. Back butter any electrical boxes with putty pads, Evaluate your HVAC ducts so that they don't become sound pathways to adjacent rooms, Get a beefy door with perimeter seals.
On projectors, the Panasonic series has always been a good first projector and is value oriented. The current top of the line is the AE7000.
http://www.projectorpeople.com/projectors/projdtls.asp?itemid=26756&itmname=Panasonic+PT%2DAE7000U

Great advice, I see you are also in NOVA and wanted to know if you'd be available to stop by and do some consultation for me (for a fee of course!) If so let me know and I can email you my info.

thanks,
Mehdi
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post #20 of 33 Old 06-22-2012, 11:04 AM
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post #21 of 33 Old 06-22-2012, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snipe4real View Post

1. I want a very compact and stylish light control unit and I am way over my head, please help! I want to basically turn the lights on as I enter the room and dim/turn-off via remote control. Should I just hire pros for this?
Some folks will recommend a Lutron Grafik eye for lighting control. I went the cheap route - I purchased X10 Switchlinc switches and an IR-to-X10 converter. I had a Philips Pronto remote, but any programmable IR remote will work. (If you want to go RF, you can just get an RF-to-IR converter)
Quote:
Originally Posted by snipe4real 
As for the projector, I am still debating since I don't know the first thing about them and to me gaming is more important than watching movies and this room will mostly be used for gaming! Any suggestions...
Take a look at the Sony HS30. Has a great gaming mode, can be found for less than $3K, and does pretty good 3D and great 2D. The screen is not as expensive as you think. Depending on if you need regular or Acoustically Transparent (AT), there are DIY solutions that are cost effective. Even some great pre-built screens can be had for cheap. Check out Carada. (Website and thread over in the Screens area)

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post #22 of 33 Old 06-22-2012, 06:25 PM
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My room is almost the same size as yours and I promise you that you won't be putting 7 seats, much less 7 people in a space that small. I think you'll find six is pushing it as well. I had four in my room last weekend just demoing the sound with no chairs yet (waiting on carpet at the moment) and the room already started to feel overcrowded. mad.gif Plus, who wants to sit up against a wall or, God forbid, mere inches away from a side or rear surround? If you think about it, 12x18 is about the size of a standard, middle class master bedroom that we've all been in. Can you imagine six more people in the room? Five?

Not trying to rain on your parade. Just passing along my experience with a similar sized room and a desire to share a movie with five friends. I've decided on a row of 2 in front (which opens the front of my room up) and a 3 seat sofa setup for the rear ( like this IOOOI ) which saves saves me over a foot in width which means 6 more inches for the aisle on either side. That also means friend #5 won't be invited to the screening.

Good luck. I've had a blast doing this project.
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post #23 of 33 Old 06-24-2012, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blipszyc View Post

Some folks will recommend a Lutron Grafik eye for lighting control. I went the cheap route - I purchased X10 Switchlinc switches and an IR-to-X10 converter. I had a Philips Pronto remote, but any programmable IR remote will work. (If you want to go RF, you can just get an RF-to-IR converter)
Take a look at the Sony HS30. Has a great gaming mode, can be found for less than $3K, and does pretty good 3D and great 2D. The screen is not as expensive as you think. Depending on if you need regular or Acoustically Transparent (AT), there are DIY solutions that are cost effective. Even some great pre-built screens can be had for cheap. Check out Carada. (Website and thread over in the Screens area)

thanks, I am so confused by this lighting stuff that I think unless someone can tell me get this "insert model here" I am going to do a trial and error! LOL
I checked out the projector and it's amazing, once I get closer to the end this will be a must to narrow it down and put it to a vote!

Thanks for you input.

Mehdi
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post #24 of 33 Old 06-24-2012, 06:23 PM - Thread Starter
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My room is almost the same size as yours and I promise you that you won't be putting 7 seats, much less 7 people in a space that small. I think you'll find six is pushing it as well. I had four in my room last weekend just demoing the sound with no chairs yet (waiting on carpet at the moment) and the room already started to feel overcrowded. mad.gif Plus, who wants to sit up against a wall or, God forbid, mere inches away from a side or rear surround? If you think about it, 12x18 is about the size of a standard, middle class master bedroom that we've all been in. Can you imagine six more people in the room? Five?
Not trying to rain on your parade. Just passing along my experience with a similar sized room and a desire to share a movie with five friends. I've decided on a row of 2 in front (which opens the front of my room up) and a 3 seat sofa setup for the rear ( like this IOOOI ) which saves saves me over a foot in width which means 6 more inches for the aisle on either side. That also means friend #5 won't be invited to the screening.
Good luck. I've had a blast doing this project.

Great point. I think I am going to also start with 5 chairs and eventually but another one if I really, really think it'll look okay and comfortable but then again the only person I am trying to impress is ME as self-centered as that may sound. What carpet did you go with, I like the black carpet with some yellow or while patterns!

Mehdi
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post #25 of 33 Old 06-26-2012, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Started the framing today so far so good except there is a stud that is literally bent but the contractor didn't seem to catch it, will inquire tomorrow but so far looks promising! :-)


448448
448



Also the Monster speaker wires and some other supplies are starting to come in! I hear these wires are pretty good! My dog (Miloo) also seems to like them! :-)

448
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If you think about it, 12x18 is about the size of a standard, middle class master bedroom that we've all been in. Can you imagine six more people in the room?

Now THAT'S a party!!! biggrin.gif

(and probably a discussion for another forum... "Dear Editor, I never thought the letters in your magazine were true, until last night...")

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 #27 of 33 Old 06-26-2012, 09:51 PM
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Also the Monster speaker wires and some other supplies are starting to come in! I hear these wires are pretty good! My dog (Miloo) also seems to like them! :-)

Are those Monster HDMI cables, too? Please don't open them, return all that stuff and order appropriate wire from Monoprice (unless you're doing HDMI runs over 25', then you go to Blue Jeans Cable).

You're going to want to get used to ordering stuff from Monoprice anyway! biggrin.gif

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 #28 of 33 Old 06-26-2012, 10:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Now THAT'S a party!!! biggrin.gif
(and probably a discussion for another forum... "Dear Editor, I never thought the letters in your magazine were true, until last night...")

HAHAHA .. now that's funny! Good one :-)
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post #29 of 33 Old 06-26-2012, 10:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Are those Monster HDMI cables, too? Please don't open them, return all that stuff and order appropriate wire from Monoprice (unless you're doing HDMI runs over 25', then you go to Blue Jeans Cable).
You're going to want to get used to ordering stuff from Monoprice anyway! biggrin.gif
Jeff

No the HDMI's are Aurum and they are pretty good quality. The 50' was around $24 but the banana plugs are by Swelle. I checked out Monoprice and there are some impressive stuff there, I will make sure to check it out in the future! (Bookmark saved!)
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post #30 of 33 Old 06-27-2012, 08:41 PM
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Now THAT'S a party!!! biggrin.gif
(and probably a discussion for another forum... "Dear Editor, I never thought the letters in your magazine were true, until last night...")
LOL. This is one of the few times I really did laugh out loud. I'm glad I had just finished swallowing my lunch, or I may have sprayed it out, or choked on it. HEADLINE: Death by internet forum LOL.
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