Any experience with Magnolia Design Center installations? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 12-04-2012, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Does anyone have experience with Magnolia designing and installing a theater? I was in one of the Magnolia design centers (the nice ones with a full blown theater), and it was awesome. So, my wife and I sat down with one of their guys to discuss what it would cost. Our discussion was very general with no specifics, but the total estimate was around $60,000. This was for all equipment including seating, but I'm not sure how much construction this included (false walls, lighting, etc).

My question, other than if anyone has experience/opinions of them, is what kind of room can be expected for $60,000?

Also, I can swing a hammer and usually hit what I aim for, but what should be DIY and what should I hire others to do?

This theater is happening, for sure, so any advice is greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 19 Old 12-04-2012, 07:08 PM
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IMHO the things you might need to contract for are:

A good plan (Erskine basic layout service)
Some extra labor to help with installing the drywall, get it delivered to the basement for $1-2 per sheet.
A drywall finisher to tape, mud and sand. worth every penny.

Read the library of articles at soundproofingcompany.com.

There are other things that might come up as it relates to HVAC, Plumbing and Electrical but a lot of related minor tasks are still DIY with a little research.
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post #3 of 19 Old 12-04-2012, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. So, you're saying buying plans and hiring contractors myself is a better way to go than a one stop shop? I know how DIY projects go sometimes (for me anyway), where mistakes and time overrun eat up any savings to be had, not to mention the frustration. But, I suppose if the plans are detailed enough I should have fewer problems.

I see Erskine is the one usually suggested around here. Is he that good? There are a few design firms around me in Minneapolis, but if he's that good then I'll look into it.
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post #4 of 19 Old 12-04-2012, 10:59 PM
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post #5 of 19 Old 12-04-2012, 11:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Huh? I didn't realize I was asking for details.
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post #6 of 19 Old 12-05-2012, 12:31 AM
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You said 'detailed enough', I think that's what BIG responded to... that the more details you need, the more it will cost you.

Under construction: the Larch theater
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post #7 of 19 Old 12-05-2012, 12:49 AM
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Mag Sucks. After Best Buy Neutered them, its never been the same.I would look els wear.
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post #8 of 19 Old 12-05-2012, 05:33 AM
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What I meant is if you want plans so detailed that a person not familiar with construction and limited DIY skills can successfully build a theater, it will cost you more money than a basic layout service.
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post #9 of 19 Old 12-05-2012, 06:19 AM
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Back to your original question. Can an equipment dealer who offers installation services be considered a Home Theater builder.

Yes if they

Use soundproofing techniques to construct the room, Generally the application of multiple layers of drywall with dampening compound on isolation mounts
Install a beefy door with perimeter seals
Modify the HVAC to accommodate the increased load and provide for sound management
Pre-wire the room in anticipation of needs beyond the equipment you purchase and install appropriate lighting.
Build a sand filled stage and an appropriately sized seating riser for second row seating
Provide for equipment heat exhaust.
Install acoustical treatments and build the room to suit your design tastes
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post #10 of 19 Old 12-05-2012, 06:47 AM
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So, if I hire you and don't want a sand filled stage, you stop being a Home Theater builder?

Under construction: the Larch theater
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post #11 of 19 Old 12-05-2012, 06:59 AM
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I spoke with Magnolia prior to my build. IMO, they were more interested in selling equipment than addressing my needs and interests. Suggest that you speak with specialists in HT design and development. Lots that you will learn. Those guys can adjust for the surprises and help keep your best interests in mind. Take advantage of the consultive expertise available, especially those that understand the science that goes into the solution. You can settle for putting up 4 walls, installing equipment, some chairs, and enjoy yourself immensely. I don't think that's what you want and if you are considering spending $60K you can have an awesome room.
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post #12 of 19 Old 12-05-2012, 07:18 AM
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+1. If the $60,000 estimate didn't you make you fall out of your seat, than you are obviously looking for a quality, high-end room. Not to say you won't get a nice looking room from Magnolia, but I'd be willing to bet it isn't going to perform as well as a room designed by a company like The Erskine Group. While not a $60,000 comparison, I think you are currently looking at a pimped out, fully loaded Camry when you could really get a better performing, base model BMW for the same price. And if you are willing to do the work yourself, or hire someone like BigMouthInDC to help you, the base model BMW becomes a nicely equipped one for the same price.
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post #13 of 19 Old 12-05-2012, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightlord View Post

So, if I hire you and don't want a sand filled stage, you stop being a Home Theater builder?

Nope. That has more to do with the person writing the check than the person driving the nails biggrin.gif

Dude, are you made of leprechauns? Cause that was awesome!

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post #14 of 19 Old 12-05-2012, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

What I meant is if you want plans so detailed that a person not familiar with construction and limited DIY skills can successfully build a theater, it will cost you more money than a basic layout service.

I understand now. I thought maybe I had reached the end of your free advice, haha.
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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Back to your original question. Can an equipment dealer who offers installation services be considered a Home Theater builder.
Yes if they
Use soundproofing techniques to construct the room, Generally the application of multiple layers of drywall with dampening compound on isolation mounts
Install a beefy door with perimeter seals
Modify the HVAC to accommodate the increased load and provide for sound management
Pre-wire the room in anticipation of needs beyond the equipment you purchase and install appropriate lighting.
Build a sand filled stage and an appropriately sized seating riser for second row seating
Provide for equipment heat exhaust.
Install acoustical treatments and build the room to suit your design tastes

I'm pretty sure Magnolia does all that, at least the demo room had all/most of those things, and they said the room was an exact copy of one they did for a previous client.

The soundproofing is where I get concerned with price. I can add up equipment costs to stay under budget, and even acoustical treatments to some degree, but soundproofing and HVAC not so much. I have to imagine soundproofing and rerouting HVAC, installing dead vents, etc, will eat up a large chunk of a 60 grand budget, won't it? Is it even worth soundproofing if I don't care if I hear the theater in other rooms, or does it have as much to do with lowering the sound floor of the theater? Are acoustical treatments enough?
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Originally Posted by willmo View Post

I spoke with Magnolia prior to my build. IMO, they were more interested in selling equipment than addressing my needs and interests. Suggest that you speak with specialists in HT design and development. Lots that you will learn. Those guys can adjust for the surprises and help keep your best interests in mind. Take advantage of the consultive expertise available, especially those that understand the science that goes into the solution. You can settle for putting up 4 walls, installing equipment, some chairs, and enjoy yourself immensely. I don't think that's what you want and if you are considering spending $60K you can have an awesome room.

That's sort of the impression I got from Magnolia too. They were nice guys, but I could tell they were trying to sell me equipment they had available. We went into one of the speaker demo rooms, and he suggested a possible speaker combination of speakers from different companies. I asked about timber matching and he said it would be "fixed". Then I said I wanted three identical speaker for the front, and he said the center channel should be smaller (like the one he was trying to sell me), so as to not "drown out the mains". I don't know, maybe he's right and I'm wrong, but I don't think so. That's not to say the guys doing the theater wouldn't be more knowledgeable, but it's not a great first impression.
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post #15 of 19 Old 12-05-2012, 10:41 AM
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I've worked with many companies in mpls getting bids for a few rooms.  Most of them are "ok", but seem to be mostly interested in pushing the speaker and equipment lines they've partnered with.  The most flexible and reasonable of the companies I worked with was probably http://jedison.com.  They're good at audio (that's mostly their expertise), but not so much the building portion.

 

From what I've read and seen here, I'm throwing my vote in with getting a design from Erskine or maybe Orion (they're local, but pricey) if you don't want to go with Dennis' Company.  It also seems that AdmitOne may be good, but I have no personal experience with them.


My home theater build thread
LEVEL 4: Center for Entertainment
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post #16 of 19 Old 12-05-2012, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tin_Can View Post


Then I said I wanted three identical speaker for the front, and he said the center channel should be smaller (like the one he was trying to sell me), so as to not "drown out the mains". 

That does not strike me as sound advice. (see what I did there...)

 

Every time I've had mismatches, I can tell I'm hearing the "center channel".  Every time I've had three of the same across the front, there is a seamless sound to the experience.  I'm not an expert, but that comment rubs me the wrong way.


My home theater build thread
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post #17 of 19 Old 12-05-2012, 11:11 AM
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Three identical speakers Is the gold benchmark standard. I like them behind an acoustically transparent screen.
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post #18 of 19 Old 12-05-2012, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevegravley View Post

I've worked with many companies in mpls getting bids for a few rooms.  Most of them are "ok", but seem to be mostly interested in pushing the speaker and equipment lines they've partnered with.  The most flexible and reasonable of the companies I worked with was probably http://jedison.com.  They're good at audio (that's mostly their expertise), but not so much the building portion.

From what I've read and seen here, I'm throwing my vote in with getting a design from Erskine or maybe Orion (they're local, but pricey) if you don't want to go with Dennis' Company.  It also seems that AdmitOne may be good, but I have no personal experience with them.

Thanks. I've been meaning to make an appointment with AdmitOne. Their portfolio is fantastic, but maybe a bit expensive.

Your build thread is nice BTW.
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post #19 of 19 Old 12-05-2012, 01:37 PM
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I'd look elsewhere. And before you do, I'd do tons of research here first. Educate yourself so you can know what you want out of your theater, what are your expectations...do you want a cool looking room, or are you more interested in sound and picture quality than aesthetics? Do you want both? Is it ok to hear some rumbling from the theater in the adjacent rooms or do you want it as soundproofed as possible? Ask questions and be honest with yourself, what can you DIY and want can't (shouldn't) you do. What is a realistic budget that you can afford? If you go into it without something in mind ahead of time, your spending can go wildly out of control. (it probably will anyway wink.gif )

After you've read till your eyes bled and looked at pictures of hundreds of others theaters and you decide to contact someone to do some design work for you...Trust them to do it. Even though you've done your homework, they are still the professionals, stay informed and ask good questions. If you find yourself arguing with them at every turn, they probably aren't the designer for you. If you find that you are arguing with anyone you speak with, Its you not them. smile.gif

If your budget is realistically somewhere around 60k....if you do your homework, and are comfortable doing some of the leg work yourself, you should expect and incredible room by anyones standards. (assuming you dont have to build a house for the room to be in first tongue.gif )

Just my .02

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