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post #1 of 145 Old 12-02-2012, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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There are various "owner threads" in the main forums which are used to discuss aspects of a particular product. One of the main "products" sold to members in this area of the forum is a set of Erskine designed plans. As an owner of an Erskine Signature plan I've received a number of PM's with questions. So I thought this area of the forum might benefit from an owners thread on the topic.

Here are some of the topics I am hoping to cover:
  • What is a design? What do you actually get for the money?
  • What is the difference between the various service offerings?
  • How does the Erskine design process work?
  • How do DE designs compare with offerings from other designers?
  • What build options exist in general, and which are best suited for someone with DE plans? Should plans be customized based on the intended method of construction?
  • The contract - what you should probably include.

 

 

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post #2 of 145 Old 12-02-2012, 01:53 PM
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I am in the near the end of a "Signature" level plan process with Erskine Group. I'm particularly interested in the build-out option, as I don't want to do this one DIY (my 3rd theatre). I'm thinking more of doing the signal wiring and equipment installations, but having the rest of the construction contracted out.

Obviously, one option is to have Erskine Group do it. I would like to find other options on the West coast here for this type of construction.
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post #3 of 145 Old 12-02-2012, 02:04 PM
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Hi rabident

Great thread! I'll be more than happy to answer any questions on the process that anyone may have.

At this time, design services include

- Pro Theater Layout
- Basic design
- Select Design
- Signature design
- Reference Design
- THX Certified Theater Design

Other services that are offered

- Audio and Video calibration (meets HAA and THX requirements)
- Consulting Services
- Full build outs

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Erskine Group
HAA Design Certified -THX Certified Professional

Design-Video & Audio Calibration Information

The original Pro Theater Layout
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post #4 of 145 Old 12-02-2012, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeBon View Post

I am in the near the end of a "Signature" level plan process with Erskine Group. I'm particularly interested in the build-out option, as I don't want to do this one DIY (my 3rd theatre). I'm thinking more of doing the signal wiring and equipment installations, but having the rest of the construction contracted out.
Obviously, one option is to have Erskine Group do it. I would like to find other options on the West coast here for this type of construction.

KYDG is a top notch design firm located in California. They also build theaters. I found Keith very approachable despite his stature, with a genuine interest in helping people. If they can't build it for you (due to price), they probably know someone that could.

If you're just looking for someone to build the shell, you could see who built your local studios. i.e. the local radio station, local NBC affiliate, or music recording studio. They're usually experienced in low noise design which is useful for translating the HVAC requirements provided with the signature "design" into something usable. They're also familiar with sound proofing techniques and while a DE plan may differ somewhat from mainstream solutions, you should at least be dealing with a crew that is cognizant of the attention to detail that's required. I looked into this for myself, but my local studio guy is Wes Lechot who it turns out is a world class designer, with a 6 months waiting list, and $$,$$$.

Jeff (BigMouth) is another option. Ted basically gives away soundproofing designs for free, but ties the design back to products he sells. Jeff started with that free knowledge and now has the several theaters worth of practical application experience. The Erskine plans are based on the same soundproofing theories and methodologies, so Jeff is a natural fit for building an Erskine room. Not as good as Erskine group you would have to assume, but he's also much cheaper, has a good work ethic, and would be much more knowledgeable than a local builder's construction crew. I am not sure if he would travel to CA, though, and last i checked he had a 2 month waiting list.

I believe Erskine group also has construction supervision. They don't build it for you, but they will send someone to work with your builder and supervise / inspect construction. Maybe Shawn or Dennis could elaborate. I looked into it for my build, but the guy who does it never got back to me.

Erskine group, as you said is the obvious choice. I got pricing just for the room. Slab, framing, clips, GG, DD, electrical, HVAC, and drywall all done to plan specifications. Room is prepped and ready to go. No equipment. Just finish the interior structure of the room. Price: eek.gif

Then there is always DIY, be your own GC and sub stuff out, or hire a GC to do it. It's at this level that I wonder if the plans should take into account who is building it. Clips, GG, and DD are complicated. Not complicated for those who specialize in it, I understand. But realistically it is complicated for regular construction workers and most see it as foolishness. Mistakes can be made due to lack of skill, lack of understanding, not caring, or even vindictive for putting them through the extra hassle. One mistake and all the time, money, and effort put into soundproofing is wasted. I think if you plan to have a GC build the theater, it might be worthwhile to give Erskine group a requirement such as "can be built by un-specialized labor". That would force the design down the path of double stud walls, MLV, or engineered drywall. Maybe not quite as cheap as field assembled GG+DD, or as space saving as clips + channel, and maybe not even as good peak theoretical performance... but something a regular construction crew could do without high risk of screwing it up.

 

 

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post #5 of 145 Old 12-03-2012, 08:58 AM
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I suppose I'll play. I used the Pro Theater Layout Service. First and foremost, let me say that I am pleased with the product that I received. With that in mind, I'll give you my thoughts on the process.

Originally, I was considering a set of Signature design plans, but between my rapidly deteriorating budget, and quite a bit of confusion regarding what was actually included in the upper tier plans, I finally settled on the Pro Layout Service. I likely would have a gone with the Signature plan, but I was never able to get enough detailed information on what was included in each of the plans to make me comfortable with the price. There were a few items that I would have liked to have, such as a lighting plan, but I just couldn't justify the incremental cost to get just that.

At the outset, I was asked to complete a questionnaire and submit a dimensioned layout as well as videos and photos of my space and adjacent spaces. However, once I was ready to provide all of this, I was told all they really needed for a simple layout was the questionnaire, a floor plan, pictures of the walls (low res), and an equipment list if I had one.

The plans that I received included a front, back, left and right side elevation detail as well as a top down floor detail. These showed the location and size of the recommended screen (including a false wall), the location of the speakers for a 7.5 system (yes, 5 subs) and the associated column locations, soffit dimensions, seating locations along with the riser dimensions (in my case, the riser height was fixed by my room), as well as the locations for all of the Quest acoustic panels in the room and treatments for the front wall. Items missing of note were details regarding the materials to use IN the soffits, riser, and stage, but most people that visit this forum are aware of how to treat those areas, and one could easily argue that those items are not part of the acoustic design.

My only complaints about the service are really in regard to the engineered panels. I'll try not to derail the thread here, but I was very clear at the outset that I wanted the option to use absorption based acoustic treatments. Before placing my order, I confirmed that this would be acceptable. Long story short, I have a plan for using the Quest panels, and instructions for how to substitute fiberglass panels. However, the absorption based plan is not as detailed or thorough as I had expected. The absorption based treatment plans that I am familiar with use more than just fiberglass panels along the walls. There didn't seem to be any real design effort put into an absorption based plan, and the layout really felt like a vehicle for advertising the Quest panels. So, if you intend to use absorption only for your acoustic treatments, you would probably be better served with a different service.

Now, why did I feel this service was right for me? When I contracted these plans, i already had a good idea of where I "thought" things should go. However, being my first theater build, I really wanted that second check to make sure I wasn't overlooking something. It turns out that I had everything within an inch or so of the locations recommended in my plans. So with enough time and research on these boards, you can DIY a layout that is very close. However, you still need an acoustic design. Knowing what I know now, I might consider hiring someone else to do the acoustic design as I'm still not sold on the engineered panels. But, all-in-all, I'm happy with my investment.

I think there are few groups that this service is a great value for.
  1. Someone that doesn't want to spend the time to research how to layout a room
  2. Someone that just wants that second check
  3. Someone planning to build the room yourself and already know "how" to build the room, but maybe you're not sure "where" everything goes (probably a subset of 1 or 2).

EDIT: I thought I should update this to document my ongoing experience with the Erskine Group. I contacted Dennis about a question I had regarding my layout; specifically, I wasn't sure why a side array was not included in my original layout. Dennis explained the reasons for not including it to begin with, but provided a set of updated plans. This was about 4 months after my plans were delivered. So this is excellent service after the fact. I do wish there was a little more dialogue on the front end of the basic service, however. This would have prevented the need for the reworked plans. Dennis updated them without complaint, though smile.gif Again, It's hard to beat the value of the basic service.

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post #6 of 145 Old 12-03-2012, 11:04 AM
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Hi JPA,

Not sure what you mean by just absorption based? The Quest panels are absorption based, yet they are engineered for so much more. The perfsorber in particular not only absorbs, but also diffuses and preserves high frequencies...a necessary element to preserve and expand the space as well as the soundstage, and to provide that apparent seamless cohesion between the front speakers and the side surrounds. Straight up absorption is not recommended in any theater unless your off axis response of your front speakers are poor. In that case, I would recommend new speakers.

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Design-Video & Audio Calibration Information

The original Pro Theater Layout
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post #7 of 145 Old 12-03-2012, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabident View Post

but they will send someone to work with your builder and supervise / inspect construction. Maybe Shawn or Dennis could elaborate.

Hi Jon,

Steve is the best choice for this, but if he is unavailable, I would be more than happy to assist anyone in this effort. smile.gif

Shawn Byrne
Erskine Group
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Design-Video & Audio Calibration Information

The original Pro Theater Layout
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post #8 of 145 Old 12-03-2012, 02:21 PM
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I was one of the first (if not the first) to take advantage of the Pro Layout Service offered through AVS when they introduced it on here. Only problem is I'm still not done with the build yet, but that has nothing to do with the service, only the labor (me). I had a basic layout on paper based on valuable input from the forum, but since this was my first build of this kind I was not that confident that I had everything correct. The layout I received was close to my original design, and gave me enough detail that I was confident I could do it on my own.

Since DE & Co. put the layout together based only on pictures, my measurements and a few email/phone conversations, I was very impressed with how the layout turned out. I have made a few tweaks along the way based on things that came up during construction, so if anything is screwed up it's on me. Even with the minor tweaks, I am amazed that the measurements are as close on the drawings as they are in the room considering clips, channel, DD+GG (1/8"-1/16" tolerance from my measurements).

As for the acoustic treatments, I knew ahead of time that I would most likely be DIYing that part as well. However, knowing which Quest products were recommended and where they should be located is a big help for me in starting to understand the acoustic side of things. I know it won't be perfect, but for this level of plans I knew I wasn't paying for perfection since I would be both GC and labor.

Bottom line is that the Pro Layout Service was well worth it for me. It confirmed some things I thought I already knew from research on the forums, and provided answers to things I was only guessing at. Based on the overall cost of this project, the $ spent on the layout service doesn't bother me one bit. If you are the DIY type that is comfortable with moderate level construction techniques, I would not hesitate to recommend the Pro Layout Service. If you can barely swing a hammer without hurting yourself, I would consider upping the plan to a higher level and hiring out the construction. The $$ will be more substantial, but it will probably be completed in 1/4-1/2 the time.

And I agree with JPA on the groups that this level of plan works well for. Pretty sure I belong to all three, and any subsets thereof. tongue.gif
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post #9 of 145 Old 12-03-2012, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraMikeBravo View Post

Hi JPA,
Not sure what you mean by just absorption based? The Quest panels are absorption based, yet they are engineered for so much more. The perfsorber in particular not only absorbs, but also diffuses and preserves high frequencies...a necessary element to preserve and expand the space as well as the soundstage, and to provide that apparent seamless cohesion between the front speakers and the side surrounds. Straight up absorption is not recommended in any theater unless your off axis response of your front speakers are poor. In that case, I would recommend new speakers.

Again, I don't want to derail the train, but an absorption based acoustic plan can use more than just 2" rigid fiberglass panels. I've seen other builds where rigid panels of varying thicknesses are used in conjunction with cotton batting and fiberglass batts as well (I understand this still doesn't address diffusion). Also, soffits are treated and areas for potential bass trapping are utilized as well. So I was hoping for a more systematic approach. Without question it falls on me for not having conveyed my expectations better.

Also, I don't question that the engineered panels are superior than just plain 'ol absorption. However, I wouldn't buy an Aston Martin without a test drive smile.gif, but there aren't any places to "test drive" these engineered panels. For me, the cost differential may be too much for something that I haven't experienced. The one thing I keep coming back to is I have never left a commercial theater commenting on the acoustics (unless it's just too loud). So I'm not sure if I'm someone that would truly notice the difference. But I still haven't made up mind about the engineered panels. It will probably just boil down to what's left in the budget at the end biggrin.gif

EDIT: Just to clarify, I would still recommend the service. It's just up to the buyer to make sure it fits their goals wink.gif

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post #10 of 145 Old 12-03-2012, 04:45 PM
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We can truly understand and appreciate the leap of faith it requires to invest in something sight unseen. I fit in this boat as well! I am a native Missourian. wink.gif. However, for all those that have and or are thinking in investing in any of the services that EG offers, what you are investing in is our experience and knowledge. We have designed hundreds of rooms, built them and calibrated them. From sheer experience and understanding, we pretty much know how a room will behave acoustically. I honestly dislike tooting my own horn, but this seems like a good place to do it. We keep many things in mind when designing a room, budget and acoustics are the main driving force. Every one of Dennis' rooms are incredible sounding. Experiences like most have never had. People hired us to BE their experts. Let us be those experts. All I ask is that folks consider the suggestions we make. Nothing more. smile.gif

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Design-Video & Audio Calibration Information

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post #11 of 145 Old 12-03-2012, 07:01 PM
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Perfect Timing - Subscribed

I am considering going with the Select Plan to redo my existing theater.
Does anyone have any experience with this plan or know of a thread that was built off of this plan?

For anyone that has gone with one of the plans above the AVS Pro-Layout service, can you shed some light on what the initial design process was like for your project? Does the design process start with ones inspiration and budget and eventually lead to a 3D rendering of your room followed by the build plans?

Also any insight into the following would be appreciated:

Do the plans show specific dimensions for all elements of the project...riser, stage, screen wall, columns, soffits, etc...?

Do the plans show any finish details for walls, ceilings, lighting, soffits etc...that would coincide with your design?

Does the acoustic analysis and design show specific types of absorption and diffusion and specific dimensions on where to hang them?


Thanks
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post #12 of 145 Old 12-04-2012, 06:57 AM
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LeBon...if you want to take a trip South to Ventura County, you can see first hand the quality of our work. Just a thought.

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post #13 of 145 Old 12-04-2012, 07:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraMikeBravo View Post

I honestly dislike tooting my own horn, but this seems like a good place to do it.

It's not. The owner threads are not sales threads. Questions and responses should be directed at owners.

 

 

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post #14 of 145 Old 12-04-2012, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabident View Post

It's not. The owner threads are not sales threads. Questions and responses should be directed at owners.

Interesting.. We will be more than happy to answer questions, but I shall answer them how I wish to. If that is an issue for you, you have many choices which include having the thread removed, move on, or enjoy the posts and responses. smile.gif

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post #15 of 145 Old 12-04-2012, 03:14 PM
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I would definitely like to hear some input from folks that have had the Erskine Group calibrate their rooms. I remember the KBlaw build and I think Shawn worked on that room and he (KBlaw) was more than impressed. I am sure there are others on AVS that can get into this a little bit.


FWIW.....Im sold!
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post #16 of 145 Old 12-04-2012, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraMikeBravo View Post

We will be more than happy to answer questions, but I shall answer them how I wish to.

There are, or at least there were, AVS posting rules restricting dealer marketing and self promotion. Past that there is forum etiquette to stay on topic. An owners thread is intended for discussion with or between owners. Why don't you start your own thread "Q&A with Erskine Group" if you want to sell, promote, and interact with new clients? I welcome your participation here - your responses to JPA, Dennis response to LeBon, plus any future corrections or clarifications you want to make. I just ask that you leave the sales rhetoric at the door.

 

 

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post #17 of 145 Old 12-04-2012, 05:52 PM
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This is my first post. I’ve been a long, long, long time lurker and I recently purchased the Select Design from Erskine Group and will be completing most of the room DIY.

Many AVS posters have shared beautifully designed Erskine theaters with owners complimenting the great acoustics. This was the primary reason I decided to go with Erskine Group. I did comparison shop at local home theater stores. They simply wanted to know my budget and fill my room with equipment with no regard to room acoustics, lighting, HVAC, etc.

I’ve been working with Shawn for the last 3+ months on my Select Design. The design has changed significantly (at least 3 times) due to me changing the requirements. To make a long story short: Initially my plan was to convert an existing room to a dedicated theater, that changed to adding on a room to serve as a dedicated theater, and that finally changed to use an existing room as a game/media room. Each step of the way Shawn was there to provide expertise to help produce the best room within a specified budget. We talked several times per week, often in the evening.

About 2 weeks ago I received my Select Design drawings. The completed effort contains 13 total pages – each page detailing a certain aspect of the room. Without going into too much detail, the 13 pages illustrate:
- Detail dimensions and build techniques for all features in the room (i.e. soffit, stage, columns, etc.)
- Electrical details (high and low voltage), including lighting details
- Acoustic design: Includes type and location of acoustic panels
- Seating location
- Speaker locations and mounting details
- Screen wall details
- Equipment selection.
- Basic HVAC details.
I’m probably leaving something out, but those are the major items. In addition, the plan does include a set amount of phone support during the build process.

I recently realized I was not happy with the proposed screen size. Shawn went back to the drawing board and redesigned the front of the room to accommodate a larger screen. He’s a trooper and has been patient with me during the entire process. I should be receiving the updated drawings soon and hope to start construction within the week.

So far I am very impressed with the service. The overall design is beautiful and I’m excited to start construction. The final verdict will be when I fire up the first movie (post calibration)!

If I had one complaint – There were a couple times the cell phone signal was temperamental, causing some communication difficulties. Not a show stopper, just a little frustrating.

I’m contemplating whether or not I should create a thread for my build. It is a game/media room – not a dedicated theater room. There are windows, no sound isolation, one row of seating, etc. We’ll see….
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post #18 of 145 Old 12-04-2012, 07:21 PM
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Getting near the end of my build ... a DE Signature Design room. Dennis has been fantastic to deal with and even with the long distance / time zone difference, his responsiveness has been awesome.

I have a couple of quite unique features, being the ceiling baffle and bass baffle, and both were easy to construct using Dennis' drawings.

The sound quality is superb and I haven't even gone beyond distances and levels in my processor. I can't wait to hear what it sounds like after a full calibration. biggrin.gif

Cheers,
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post #19 of 145 Old 12-04-2012, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabident View Post

There are, or at least there were, AVS posting rules restricting dealer marketing and self promotion. Past that there is forum etiquette to stay on topic. An owners thread is intended for discussion with or between owners. Why don't you start your own thread "Q&A with Erskine Group" if you want to sell, promote, and interact with new clients? I welcome your participation here - your responses to JPA, Dennis response to LeBon, plus any future corrections or clarifications you want to make. I just ask that you leave the sales rhetoric at the door.

Agreed. smile.gif

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Design-Video & Audio Calibration Information

The original Pro Theater Layout
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post #20 of 145 Old 12-05-2012, 06:04 AM
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Quote:
I would definitely like to hear some input from folks that have had the Erskine Group calibrate their rooms. I remember the KBlaw build and I think Shawn worked on that room and he (KBlaw) was more than impressed. I am sure there are others on AVS that can get into this a little bit.
No, I did that room and I had Adam Pelz do the calibration for me.

BTW...Erskine Group does not use Vizio ... PMI (Tony Grimani) uses Vizio.

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post #21 of 145 Old 12-06-2012, 10:52 AM
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To say I was impressed would be . . . uhm a bit of an understatement. I cannot imagine how my room would have turned out if I had never made that first phone call to Dennis. I am sure it would be a room that falls into disuse because of severe disspointment in audio and video performance.

Instead, our family spends 3-4 nights in our theater every week. Movies, games, audio - all outstanding.

Dennis and his network couldn't have been better to work with. He held my hand through every step and tolerated the dozens of email questions that I sent each week. And, although their "turn-key" product is out of most people's budget (mine included), Dennis is thoughtful and good at tayloring his group's level of involvement to each project's needs and requirements.

I am a picky person. If a service is poor, I am not afraid to voice complaints. Dennis is a 10 out of 10.

Here is my build thread if you would like to read more Dennis-worshiping sentiments. smile.gif

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1339780/another-erskine-designed-masterpiece-if-i-dont-screw-it-up
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post #22 of 145 Old 12-06-2012, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

No, I did that room and I had Adam Pelz do the calibration for me.

Yes I am well aware it was one of your builds, I would not have posted in this thread otherwise smile.gif

I am also well aware what folks have said about the Erskine Group, I only wish there was something in my neck of the woods that I could listen to.

Keep up the good work and anyone else that could add to the calibration discussion would be great.

@KBlaw Love your room/build, one of my favorites !
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post #23 of 145 Old 12-06-2012, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been working with Dennis 1 year and 4 months on plans. He's talked to me twice on the phone for design related discussion. I believe an end is in sight. I am supposed to receive my blueprints in the next week or so. I'll reserve judgment until I get the final product.

 

 

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post #24 of 145 Old 12-07-2012, 09:53 PM
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All - Just received my plans for the Pro Theater Layout. Very, Very Happy with the service!

Only took about a week and a couple of phone calls with Shawn Byrne.

I printed the plans out on a large size plotter/printer and my wife is happy with them as well. (Except she still wants a bigger screen size rolleyes.gif)

She agrees that it is too bad we didn't know about this service before we finished the basement (and is even warming to the idea of a do-over to sound proof the room - not in the current budget though eek.gif)

Shawn came up with a couple ideas that I hadn't thought of, including the placement of two additional walls that should help out with the sound in the room.

Definitely recommend the service!
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post #25 of 145 Old 12-10-2012, 12:43 PM
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I used the Pro Theater service. The results are excellent - the $600 was a stone cold bargain.

That being said, I would offer two suggestions:

1)I think it needs to be stated very clearly that the acoustic design is going to be spec'ed with Quest Acoustic products. These products are not cheap (particularly not compared to the $600 design fee - the shipping alone for the panels for me was almost $600!). I have had a number of PMs asking me how to DIY equivalent panels. I repeatedly respond that the Perf Sorber product (which is the centerpiece of the designs as far as I can tell) is not DIY-able. Anyone retaining this service for the acoustic design should expect to spend multiple times more for the panels.


2)I think it needs to be stated more clearly the level of interactive support (Q&A by mail or phone) that comes along with the service. I received a more than fair amount of service, but I was never explicitly told what I had purchased . This caused some friction at a certain point in the process. Stating up front that, for example, you are purchasing 1hr of support (or no hours of support) would be helpful to calibrate expectations.
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post #26 of 145 Old 12-10-2012, 02:07 PM
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Good feedback kromkamp! Generally speaking, I usually offer 1 hour worth of support time to cover any questions associated with the layout. This does not include construction details or advice, but references any questions about the layout itself. The layout service has developed throughout the past year or two to meet specific customer demands throughout the period of time we have been offering the service. Some of those demands were upgrade paths of the Quest products and post support time on the product itself. We have incorporated both over the past 6 months. I will certainly answer any and all questions regarding specifications such as equipment or the acoustical treatment plan. If you require more support time, that is available as are more detailed and specific design packages. Hope that helps to answer your questions.

Shawn Byrne
Erskine Group
HAA Design Certified -THX Certified Professional

Design-Video & Audio Calibration Information

The original Pro Theater Layout
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post #27 of 145 Old 12-11-2012, 02:57 PM
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The "layout service" was originally intended for existing rooms to provide professional advice with respect to where stuff should go, viewing angles, seat and speaker placement, riser height and the like. In addition, we'd provide advice with respect to appropriate acoustical treatments for the space. We have never "told" anyone they must, have to, are required to spend any amount of money on anything or they "must" purchase Quest or any other company's product. One is free to get quotes from Glenn at GIK, Peter at RPG, or Tony at MSR. We have also specified products from other companies where that product is appropriate for the space. We have had clients substitute other materials ... one of those eventually used the products specified and reported on the differences. To quote "Subjectively, the room sounds just plain awesome. The perf-sorber has created an acoustical signature that has very precise imaging in the middle of the room, but also feels much wider than the room".

We utilize diffusion, defraction, reflection and absorption where called for. In our experience the products from Quest are (1) the most cost effective, (2) specifically engineered for small rooms; and, (3) many of those products achieve in 2" what others require 4" (do you want to lose 8" in a 12' wide room?). Many, if not most, of the products from RPG, and others, are designed for large venues and, cost aside, would provide some undesireable side effects in smaller rooms.

We are obligated to provide our best professional advice. You, the client, are not obligated to take that advice. If you have three rows of seating and we recommend three pair of side surrounds, the acoustic police will not show up outside your door when, for budget reasons you prefer one pair of side surrounds. Naturally, you can put the other two pair on your Christmas, Birthday, and Anniversary wish list. If you wish to substitute for fabric covered fiberglass, you are free to do so and potentially upgrade later.

My intention was to extend our expertise to those with smaller rooms, smaller budgets, more constraints and likely starting down this Home Theater sickness path for the first time ... to provide direction they were not likely to get elsewhere, and to hopefully provide an opportunity for a better result than just hanging a screen, projector, and speakers any which way in a room ... noting of course the room has a bigger impact on sound quality than speakers, amps and receivers. Apparently, it was a poor idea.

Dennis Erskine CFI, CFII, MEI
Architectural Acoustics
Subject Matter Expert
Certified Home Theater Designer
CEDIA Board of Directors
www.erskine-group.com
www.CinemaForte.net
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post #28 of 145 Old 12-11-2012, 04:32 PM
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Well, this was exactly what I DID NOT want to have happen. Previous post deleted. Let me re-summarize what I should have said better the first time:

Erskine will give you the BEST design possible for your room. In this I have no doubt. Simply having dimensioned drawings that you can trust are ACCURATE is well worth the 600$ in my books.

Even without acoustic treatment, and proper DSP, my room sounds amazing, I am excited to hear what it sounds like when I install my Quest acoustic panels, and get the delay settings dialed in for my surround speakers.

I DID have to wait to purchase my second set of surround speakers. And I WILL have to wait to get a DSP and purchase the Quest panels. But I WILL be getting them.

You have already convinced me on the value of the Quest products. My only comment on the Quest stuff in my last post was to pre-warn others that it is NOT as cheap as many of the DIY materials. One does not have to search the forums long to find examples of how the Quest materials out-perform DIY materials (as you alluded too).

For the average save-money DIY type, I think it is fair to say, "Expect the RECOMENDED equipment and material list to be higher than you may have have expected initally, IF you plan to go with the Erskine design".

The disconnect I was trying to elaborate on (clearly I did a terrible job initally) was that I feel the educational aspect of this layout service left me wanting more. I asked (in no uncertain) terms WHY two rows of surround speakers were selected. The response I got back was "for various reasons". That left me with the question, am I spending 1000$ for a 5% increase in sound quality? Will I even notice the difference? Or is it a 50% increase in sound quality? I WOULD happily spend another 600$ for some of these questions to be answered in further detail, so that I can feel like an informed consumer.

Finally, I WILL utilize Erskine group next time I do a theater. My primary intention was to inform potential customers that if they are looking for answers to some of their design questions included in the purchase price, they MAY be left wanting. I guess I had an incorrect understanding of what the service truly was: Many people do NOT have time to wade through hundreds of pages of posts to find the right answers, (answers which you yourself Dennis may have posted) I guess I expected the Layout Service to expedite some of that fact-finding.

Understandibly, you have to protect your intellectual property too, and prevent Joe-Blow from taking your suggestions out of context (or worse re-marketing them). I would only hazard a guess that without SOME design explanation, many DIY'ers may be left in the same boat I feel like I am in, going on faith that the added quality WILL be truly reflected in the added expense.

Once again, it was never my intention for this to be insulting, specifically to you Dennis. The amount of time and effort you spend posting and explaining on AVS is to be aplauded.

Thanks again

Nathan
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post #29 of 145 Old 12-11-2012, 05:17 PM
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Dennis - It is a GREAT Idea! - Please do not take the service away as I plan to recommend it to others to use it as well.

I have been reading the forums nonstop lately and I just received my plans from you guys last week and I think they are terrific. I am glad that Shawn made the recommendations that he did.

One of the reasons I went with the service was to see what was even possible with my particular room. (Even if I can't afford to do everything at once - I now have a well defined direction to go and will eventually get there!)

I am only sorry that I didn't know about the service before I had my basement finished earlier this summer and bought all of the things that I did before hand - I am pretty sure I could have used that money and "done it right" the first time had I used your service from the beginning.

i spoke to Shawn today with some follow up questions and I learned more during that call than I would have just reading the forums or doing other research. In fact I learned some things I am sure I would have never come across in the forums!

So I just want to say thanks again, please keep up the excellent work, and also - please keep this service available!

Jim
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post #30 of 145 Old 12-12-2012, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J_P_A View Post

....
My only complaints about the service are really in regard to the engineered panels. I'll try not to derail the thread here, but I was very clear at the outset that I wanted the option to use absorption based acoustic treatments. Before placing my order, I confirmed that this would be acceptable. Long story short, I have a plan for using the Quest panels, and instructions for how to substitute fiberglass panels. However, the absorption based plan is not as detailed or thorough as I had expected. The absorption based treatment plans that I am familiar with use more than just fiberglass panels along the walls. There didn't seem to be any real design effort put into an absorption based plan, and the layout really felt like a vehicle for advertising the Quest panels. So, if you intend to use absorption only for your acoustic treatments, you would probably be better served with a different service.

I would echo your thoughts JPA. I considered the layout service mainly for the included acoustic treatment plans. I felt fairly confident I could DIY when it came to the sizing and positioning of riser, seating, speakers, screen. I was able to extract an estimate from EG for the cost of Quest products for a room of my size prior to committing. Since the cost of the products were outside my budget (ie I wasn't convinced the bang was worth the buck) I realized the EG service was not well suited to my situation. I chose to go with another oft-mentioned provider that would tailor the treatment plan around my budget right from the outset. My recommendation to others is to make sure the plan factors in your implementation budget otherwise consider alternatives.
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