Willie's Home Theater build.... Just need some guidance. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 08-05-2012, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
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This is the room that I am building out. I have attached a very basic Sketchup for it. I have a carpenter coming out next week to the the wall in between the rooms and then the french doors as an entry where it shows the gray diagnal mark. I will add french doors when I can find the right ones in the 3d warehouse. My concerns are the following:

  • How do I handle the window since it is arched? I would like to block light.
  • Also with the window, would I need any sort of sound absortion over it?
  • As far as sound proofing the entire room, what would be my options for this?
  • Since this room has vaulted ceilings and the three walls I show on here are exterior walls, how can I run speaker wire on that front wall and the back wall?

Let me know if you would like specs of my equipment.










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post #2 of 20 Old 08-07-2012, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I really need some help on this setup guys. If you need more information to give me some feedback, let me know. I am kind of stuck here.
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post #3 of 20 Old 08-07-2012, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by williamn333 View Post

  • How do I handle the window since it is arched? I would like to block light.

Depends on how much light you want to block. You could get pretty good (not perfect) light control with blackout curtains hung over the entire window. Because curtains are never tight to the wall, you will get some light spill from around the edges of the curtains. If you want more complete light control on this window, you will need to make a plug for the window. A window plug is a piece of plywood (or MDF or whatever) cut to fit snugly in the window opening. You screw cleats to the sides of the window opening and screw the plug to the cleats. If you apply black paint to the side of the plug facing the window, from outside the house it will look pretty much like a dark room.
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•Also with the window, would I need any sort of sound absortion over it?

That would be a good idea, I think. From your sketchup model, it looks like the window might fall at a first reflection point for your front speakers. Thick, heavy curtains over the window would help. If you plug the window, you can treat the inside face of the plug with linnacoustic and cover it with fabric.
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•As far as sound proofing the entire room, what would be my options for this?

For general information on soundproofing, there is excellent information available here: http://www.soundproofingcompany.com/soundproofing101/

The best thing you could do for soundproofing would be to ditch the french doors. A much better option for soundproofing would be a heavy, 1-3/4" solid core slab exterior door with good weatherstripping and a drop-down bottom seal.

For the new walls you're having built, put some R13 fiberglass insulation in the stud cavities.

Otherwise, soundproofing an existing room is difficult, at best. You can add a second layer of 5/8" drywall to the entire room (including the ceiling), with Green Glue between the layers. Caulk the gap between the floor and the bottom of the drywall with acoustic sealant. Seal the electrical outlets as well as possible.

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Since this room has vaulted ceilings and the three walls I show on here are exterior walls, how can I run speaker wire on that front wall and the back wall?

It is possible to fish wires through exterior walls but it is certainly not easy. Possible alternatives: (1) carefully cut a strip out of the drywall, run your wires and patch the drywall. Sounds ugly, I know, but if no. 2 won't work, this is usually the easiest, fastest and most effective. (2) Remove the baseboards and you will probably see a gap between the floor and the bottom of the drywall. You can tuck the wires into that gap and then re-install the baseboards. Works fine until you get to a doorway, and assuming you don't put a nail through the wires when you're reinstalling the baseboard. (3) If you put up crown moulding, you can use the triangular space behind the moulding as a wire chase.

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post #4 of 20 Old 08-07-2012, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dwightp View Post

Depends on how much light you want to block. You could get pretty good (not perfect) light control with blackout curtains hung over the entire window. Because curtains are never tight to the wall, you will get some light spill from around the edges of the curtains. If you want more complete light control on this window, you will need to make a plug for the window. A window plug is a piece of plywood (or MDF or whatever) cut to fit snugly in the window opening. You screw cleats to the sides of the window opening and screw the plug to the cleats. If you apply black paint to the side of the plug facing the window, from outside the house it will look pretty much like a dark room.



What about this type of window shade? Do you know if it would block out enough light?
Arched Shades


Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightp 
That would be a good idea, I think. From your sketchup model, it looks like the window might fall at a first reflection point for your front speakers. Thick, heavy curtains over the window would help. If you plug the window, you can treat the inside face of the plug with linnacoustic and cover it with fabric.

Then maybe with those shutters I could use some sort of sound curtain to block the little light it would show through plus absorb some sound. What is a good type/brand of sound curtain I could use for that window that looks nice, plus is functional?


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Originally Posted by dwightp 
For general information on soundproofing, there is excellent information available here: http://www.soundproofingcompany.com/soundproofing101/
The best thing you could do for soundproofing would be to ditch the french doors. A much better option for soundproofing would be a heavy, 1-3/4" solid core slab exterior door with good weatherstripping and a drop-down bottom seal.
For the new walls you're having built, put some R13 fiberglass insulation in the stud cavities.
Otherwise, soundproofing an existing room is difficult, at best. You can add a second layer of 5/8" drywall to the entire room (including the ceiling), with Green Glue between the layers. Caulk the gap between the floor and the bottom of the drywall with acoustic sealant. Seal the electrical outlets as well as possible.

I do plan on putting in some sort of fiberglass on the wall that I am building out, but with the other three being exterior walls, do you think the fiberglass that they used when building them would be sufficient or would I have to worry about more sound proofing? Also, being exterior, I would have the brick to increase the STC, not sure how much, but should be some. Problem is, wife has agreed to making this a media room with the caviet that if/when we have children it could be converted back into an office/study/nursury with minimal cost. That is one of the reasons for the french doors. If I do decide on that, would the french doors cause too much of an issue since they are at the rear? I have read that the rear wall needs the least amount of sound proofing. Also, to this point of flexibility, would I be OK to just build the 2'x4' panels I see people building on the forums?

Side note: What is DD and GG exactly? Green Glue and Double drywall??


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Originally Posted by dwightp 
It is possible to fish wires through exterior walls but it is certainly not easy. Possible alternatives: (1) carefully cut a strip out of the drywall, run your wires and patch the drywall. Sounds ugly, I know, but if no. 2 won't work, this is usually the easiest, fastest and most effective. (2) Remove the baseboards and you will probably see a gap between the floor and the bottom of the drywall. You can tuck the wires into that gap and then re-install the baseboards. Works fine until you get to a doorway, and assuming you don't put a nail through the wires when you're reinstalling the baseboard. (3) If you put up crown moulding, you can use the triangular space behind the moulding as a wire chase.



Thanks for the suggestions on running the wire. I think I might pull up the trim around the floor and see if there is a gap. If not, that channel method may be my only hope. The issue with that is that being exterior walls, I have fire breaks across them running horizontally. Not a complete road block, just might make it a little harder. My other idea was to drill about a 5-6" hole in the wall to use to feed the wires through. Might be a little less drywall work to fix that than the channels.
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post #5 of 20 Old 08-07-2012, 03:35 PM
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What about this type of window shade? Do you know if it would block out enough light?
Arched Shades

Some friends of ours have similar shutters in their living room. They help with light control but I doubt they would be enough, by themselves, to bring the ambient light down to the point that you could watch movies during the daytime. I think they're better at providing privacy than controlling light. Add a set of heavy blackout curtains, though, and I bet you would be fine.
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Then maybe with those shutters I could use some sort of sound curtain to block the little light it would show through plus absorb some sound. What is a good type/brand of sound curtain I could use for that window that looks nice, plus is functional?

The shutters plus heavy blackout curtains would probably be a good combination, both for controlling light and for dealing with the sound reflecting from the window. The irregular surface of the shutters ought to provide some diffusion, I would think (which would be good).
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do you think the fiberglass that they used when building them would be sufficient or would I have to worry about more sound proofing?

Insulation in the walls helps, but by itself, it is not terribly effective at soundproofing. You should insulate if you can, but insulation alone isn't going to give you a soundproof room.
Quote:
Problem is, wife has agreed to making this a media room with the caviet that if/when we have children it could be converted back into an office/study/nursury with minimal cost.

So put up a real door now, and change it out to a french door when you have to give up the theater. Changing out a door is not a big deal. A glass french door (or even worse, a pair of glass french doors) will leak a lot of sound.

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post #6 of 20 Old 08-07-2012, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
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What about using sound panels at about 2'x4'? Would that help with diffusion at all?
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post #7 of 20 Old 08-07-2012, 07:07 PM
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I can't see an HVAC vent in that area from the pictures... There's one that appears it will be outside the new enclosed room. You'll absolutely need one in there, and assuming there's no return, either, it may get stuffy in there with the door closed.

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post #8 of 20 Old 08-07-2012, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

I can't see an HVAC vent in that area from the pictures... There's one that appears it will be outside the new enclosed room. You'll absolutely need one in there, and assuming there's no return, either, it may get stuffy in there with the door closed.

There is a vent in there, although I was thinking about adding a dedicated return. I have a HVAC tech that is itching to do some side work. Here are a couple of pics to show where I will be adding the wall and where the vent is. In reading more, I am curious. Do I only need soundproof to not bother my wife while watching a movie, or are there benefits to the system sounding better by doing it? I know there are many theaters that have the panels behind the front two speakers and the center channel and then on the sides. Would I need this to help it sound better?


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post #9 of 20 Old 08-14-2012, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
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So, had the carpenter come in on Friday, and he got the partitions up. These are a few shots of the framing and removal of the trim so that I can run all my wiring. I will be wiring the new wall for two sconces and a couple of electrical outlets. I will also be going with double 5/8" rock with GG in between. Not sure yet if I am going to do the same on the outside of that new wall or not. Might just do it anyways to maximize the soundproofing. Anyone have any suggestions on how I can determine where or if I even need absorbtion panels?


Carpenter starting his work.


Entrance to the room.


Inside the room.


Wall in between the formal dining.
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post #10 of 20 Old 08-14-2012, 02:51 PM
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I don't mean to throw down the gauntlet, but if you are still doing single pane glass French doors then they are going to kill your soundproofing. Likely to the point where the double drywall and green glue will be a waste.

Soundproofing is an all or nothing approach. Think of the sound as water and your room as an aquarium. One hole somewhere and all the water leaks out.

Also, did you seal the back of your electrical outlets? What are your lighting plans? What about plans to isolate HVAC? All of these potential holes must be dealt with to create a soundproof room.

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post #11 of 20 Old 08-14-2012, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't mean to throw down the gauntlet, but if you are still doing single pane glass French doors then they are going to kill your soundproofing. Likely to the point where the double drywall and green glue will be a waste.
Soundproofing is an all or nothing approach. Think of the sound as water and your room as an aquarium. One hole somewhere and all the water leaks out.
Also, did you seal the back of your electrical outlets? What are your lighting plans? What about plans to isolate HVAC? All of these potential holes must be dealt with to create a soundproof room.


I am going with double french doors, but no glass. Just solid doors. I was thinking about sealing them in between and then something at the bottom of them. The lighting will be two sconces on the new wall that will be controlled via a dimmer. My question about soundproofing..... do I need it for better quality sound or is it just so I don't disturb my wife when I crank it up. I know the absorbtion panels help with reflection and that would be for sound quality, but if I am only worried about not transmitting sound through a wall, I could care less. As far as isolating HVAC, would that be to keep the room cooler or for sound proofing?
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post #12 of 20 Old 08-14-2012, 04:47 PM
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Soundproofing's main purpose in a home theater is to keep unwanted noises out of the room. It's for when your watching that climactic scene with the two main characters whispering and then a siren, vacuum, ect. kicks in and completely kills the moment.

Of course, keeping sound out is also a plus since you can crank up that action movie without disturbing anyone in the house. In my room, which I went through the full effort of soundproofing, I can watch a movie at near reference levels late at night and the rest of the family sleeping upstairs doesn't hear a thing.

Isolating HVAC ducts is for soundproofing since sound will travel through them quite easily.

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post #13 of 20 Old 08-14-2012, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by aaustin View Post

Soundproofing's main purpose in a home theater is to keep unwanted noises out of the room. It's for when your watching that climactic scene with the two main characters whispering and then a siren, vacuum, ect. kicks in and completely kills the moment.
Of course, keeping sound out is also a plus since you can crank up that action movie without disturbing anyone in the house. In my room, which I went through the full effort of soundproofing, I can watch a movie at near reference levels late at night and the rest of the family sleeping upstairs doesn't hear a thing.
Isolating HVAC ducts is for soundproofing since sound will travel through them quite easily.

With that being said, it isn't a big deal to me to have it FULLY soundproofed. I think with some treatment on that wall and then treatment on the french doors, I will be good. What about for the absorbtion panels and bass traps? I can't seem to get anyone's advice on those. Would those be for soundproofing too or just for reflection to keep it from "echoing"?
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post #14 of 20 Old 08-15-2012, 08:42 AM
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What about for the absorbtion panels and bass traps? I can't seem to get anyone's advice on those. Would those be for soundproofing too or just for reflection to keep it from "echoing"?

Bass traps and acoustic wall panels do essentially nothing for soundproofing. They are used in an attempt to improve the quality of the surround sound in the theater. Bass traps smooth out the bass response. Speaking very generally, acoustic panels absorb reflections before they reach the listeners' ears in order to smooth out frequency response and improve imaging.

On this forum, there seems to be a broad consensus (not universal, but broad) about the use of bass traps: Put in as many bass traps as you possibly can. Bass traps are generally most effective in corners -- wall-to-wall, wall-to-ceiling, wall-to-floor, etc.. Bass traps can be made with fluffy pink insulation, provided it is installed in a way that prevents it from compressing over time. Traps can also be made from rigid insulation board, OC703 or the equivalent. You can cover the bass traps with acoustically transparent fabric, if you want.

As to the use and placement of acoustic panels, the only consensus on this forum seems to be that it is best left to a professional designer, unless you have equipment and skill to measure your speakers' in-room fequency response. Most everyone seems to agree that it is important to absorb or diffuse the front speakers' first reflections from the walls, ceiling and floor. There seems to be no well-accepted method of locating the first reflection points, unless you are set up to run measurements. I think most DIYers estimate where the first reflection points are and then use acoustic panels that are big enough to give them some room for error.

It is possible to put so many absorbant materials in the room that the sound is adversely affected (too dead, not enough high frequencies, etc.). My impression is that if you're hanging acoustic panels on the wall, it's not likely that you will have too much absorption.

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post #15 of 20 Old 08-16-2012, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I think I might just put a rug on the laminate, and cover my window with something that will prevent reflection, see how that sounds and go from there.

So my electrician buddy came over last night and he ran the wiring for my outlets and sconces. I talked him into helping me drill the holes for the speaker wiring too. We dropped some mason line down the holes to make fishing the speaker wires and coaxial easier. The hole on the back part of the wall partition was tough because it was almost at the edge of the roof! Here's how it came out:













Carpenter is coming out on Saturday to hang the rock, so looks like I will have a busy Friday night getting all the speaker wire ran through.
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post #16 of 20 Old 09-05-2012, 09:55 PM
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What software did you use to render those layout images? Thanks
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post #17 of 20 Old 09-05-2012, 10:52 PM
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post #18 of 20 Old 04-22-2013, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Been a while since I have posted in here and so much has been done! Here are some updated pics:











My issue now is the platform that I have built for the rear sofa. I know I will need to raise the floorstanding speakers up, along with the center channel, but how can I cut this carpet to where it will look right on the platform? I was thinking just to cut the corners and then fold around, but any helpful carpeting tricks would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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post #19 of 20 Old 04-22-2013, 12:38 PM
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I'd cut one piece for the top and a 2nd piece for the sides. Add a lip around the perimeter of the riser so the top piece of carpet can be tucked under the lip. The carpet pieces for the sides would be long and narrow, with seams strategically placed where they would be least visible. I don't think you'll get good results trying to wrap the riser with a single piece, but I could be wrong.
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post #20 of 20 Old 04-23-2013, 05:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Spaceman, thanks for the comments, I will need to take the plywood back off to do this, but the more I read and look at other risers, I would have needed to do this to fill with insulation anyways. I am going to try and knock this out tonight. BTW, I really like your theater thread. Awesome job!!
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