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post #1 of 14 Old 01-16-2013, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
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I am in the process of conceptualizing my first ever basement home theater. The basement is odd shaped and not very large. The area I am planning on using is a 14.5 foot x 20 foot space (See illustration below). Measurements are not accurate to the inch but close enough. The space currently has a concrete floor with a concrete wall on one side (Left wall). The remainder will have to be framed. I have attempted to illustrate placement of the components just for representation. By no means does this represent a finalized plan.



I have specific questions to start off my build.

1. Are the dimensions appropriate for visual and acoustic purposes? The ceiling may be only 7 feet tall.

2. Is it ok to position the screen and the television on the wall adjacent to the utility room that houses the furnace and water heater?

3. I know this is an amateurish question but, how much should I budget for the construction part of the project?

4. I have components from my current setup which are entry level/ low end. I was planning on buying a projector and screen only. Can I upgrade my other components down the road if my finances allow?

5. Is the configuration appropriate or should I make specific revisions?

6. Are there special paints/ finishes/ carpets out there to enhance the acoustic properties of the room? If so, are there specific products that can be installed by general contractors (no home theater specialists in my area)?

I hope to get started shortly and will keep updating this post with pictures and details chronicling my progress. Hopefully this does not turn into a never ending story.
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post #2 of 14 Old 01-16-2013, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by abhi30882 View Post

1. Are the dimensions appropriate for visual and acoustic purposes? The ceiling may be only 7 feet tall.

Welcome to the forum!

You've got plenty of space for a theater - the question will be about how many people you can fit (seating-wise). With a 7' ceiling, you're going to be limited in headroom, and that may rule out a riser that would give your second row proper sightlines. The alternative would be a comfy front (main) row with a bar table and barstool overflow seating behind them.
Quote:
2. Is it ok to position the screen and the television on the wall adjacent to the utility room that houses the furnace and water heater?

Yes. You may want to address sound coming from that room if it's a problem, and speaking of, you'll certainly want to take a hard look at the HVAC requirements for the room, too - as theaters tend to get warm, regardless of the season...
Quote:
3. I know this is an amateurish question but, how much should I budget for the construction part of the project?

Hard to say - will depend on your location (local labor costs, etc.) and how "nice" you want the room. My builder charged $35/sqft to take an unfinished room to "finished", with walls, trim, paint and carpet... But I spent a lot more than that on making it look and act "like a theater". Depending on your needs, it will start at the normal cost for your area of finishing any basement space, and go up from there (infinitely expanding to consume all available budget! eek.gif )...
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4. I have components from my current setup which are entry level/ low end. I was planning on buying a projector and screen only. Can I upgrade my other components down the road if my finances allow?

Yes, absolutely. This is encouraged!
Quote:
5. Is the configuration appropriate or should I make specific revisions?

Second row can be a problem as they won't be able to see past the chairs / heads in front of them. You might be able to build a 6" riser, but that may not be enough. Back to my suggestion of a bar table and stools instead.

Also - is that really a pool table in the room behind or something else like a foozball set? Because that's nowhere near enough space for a pool table cue...
Quote:
6. Are there special paints/ finishes/ carpets out there to enhance the acoustic properties of the room? If so, are there specific products that can be installed by general contractors (no home theater specialists in my area)?

What's your area? I'll bet there are folks local to help... Check the CEDIA website for members (www.cedia.net). As for paints/finishes/carpets, specifically, no, those will not help with acoustics. But there are a bunch of products that can be applied to the construction to aid in "soundproofing" (sound in/out of the room) and "acoustics" (quality of the audio experience inside the room). There are experts here on these subjects, and it will be best to read up on these topics before doing anything so that you don't waste your money.

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 #3 of 14 Old 01-16-2013, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response Jautor!! Awesome theater build BTW.

That pool table was a little bit of optimism on my part. This theater will be taking up 3/4 of my basement and I wanted to squeeze all I could from the space. However, there is no way I can put anything in that space. I will probably use it as a storage closet. Wanted to do a wet bar against the wall with counter seating facing the screen. However, there is a rather large egress window at that end of the basement that will leak light into the theater. I do not want to board it up. Hence the storage closet idea. Any other configuration ideas are welcome though.

A few more questions:

1. Where is the ideal location for the component rack/ closet? Based on what I see on the forum, I guess its a good idea to have easy access to the back.

2. Which is better, prefabricated rack system or custom shelving?

3. I am looking at prefabricated ATS acoustic panels for the walls. Can these be attached (glued/ nailed) directly to standard dry wall?

4. I am looking at a dual output system, 60" LED with a ceiling retractable projector screen in front. Is this is an acceptable configuration? Does anyone have any experience with this? What problems/ issues should I expect?

5. I am planning on sourcing wiring/ wall plates from Monoprice. Is this the most cost effective solution? ? I ask because their shipping costs are high. Almost, 10% of the order price.

6. I plan on spending the bulk of my equipment budget on a projector and screen for now. What is a good place to buy projectors? I hear people say good things about projector people. Is there a cheaper source?

7. Currently, I am planning on using my Polk audio CS1 Series II Center Channel Speaker and Polk monitor 50 floor standing speakers as my fronts. I have a few speakers bundled with a Onkyo HTIB package which I plan on using as surrounds/ rear speakers. Should I spend some money on better fronts (possibly MartinLogan Motion 12 or Axiom audio millenia M50 v3)? Or should I invest in in walls or bookshelf speakers for the front? Any suggestions will be welcome.

8. I was hoping on installing a soffit to accommodate a motorized projector screen. I am entirely unfamiliar with this. Any suggestions regarding which brands and sources are good?

9. I am thinking of keeping my Onkyo receiver that I bought as part of the HTIB package (HT-S6300). Is this a good idea? I intend to buy a more upgraded receiver down the road. Possibly a Marantz.

10. I am planning on buying my TV in March. I hear this is the best time to buy a TV because of the post- superbowl inventory and impending model refreshes. Is this true? Can I extrapolate this to pricing on all components (including projector/ speakers)? If not, what is a good time to buy high quality hardware at lowest price?

Waiting for my contractor to show up and give me an estimate tomorrow. Hopefully we can work out the pricing!
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post #4 of 14 Old 01-16-2013, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhi30882 View Post

Thanks for the response Jautor!! Awesome theater build BTW.

Thanks!
Quote:
That pool table was a little bit of optimism on my part.

Actually, a lot of optimism... biggrin.gif
Quote:
1. Where is the ideal location for the component rack/ closet? Based on what I see on the forum, I guess its a good idea to have easy access to the back.

Yes, you will inevitably need access to the components - and if you can do a rack (or shelves) that allows some sort of access to the back, it will make life a lot easier. Mine pulls out for access, but I will say I've had to get behind it more often than I would have expected... If you put a storage area in the back of the room, having the equipment rack there, perhaps poking through the wall to make it easy to load discs, etc. works well. Side wall would be even better.
Quote:
2. Which is better, prefabricated rack system or custom shelving?

I think you mean, a true "rack" where components are either mounted, or sit on adjustable shelves, compared to a built-in cabinet / shelving. Racking gear will be more space efficient, allow for better cooling / wire management, but will generally be more expensive. If the rack is positioned out-of-sight (so it doesn't have to look nice), Craigslist is an excellent source of used computer racks.
Quote:
3. I am looking at prefabricated ATS acoustic panels for the walls. Can these be attached (glued/ nailed) directly to standard dry wall?

They can be, but I'd suggest using a z-clip, mounting screws or other solution so they can be moved or otherwise adjusted. Gluing them to the drywall will mean drywall repair if you (or someone else) needs to take them down for whatever reason.
Quote:
4. I am looking at a dual output system, 60" LED with a ceiling retractable projector screen in front. Is this is an acceptable configuration? Does anyone have any experience with this? What problems/ issues should I expect?

For what purpose? This is common in non-dedicated spaces, where light control is an issue or the room needs to be more than a theater. Motorized screens are expensive or troublesome (one or the other).
Quote:
5. I am planning on sourcing wiring/ wall plates from Monoprice. Is this the most cost effective solution? ? I ask because their shipping costs are high. Almost, 10% of the order price.

By far... I've made <$10 orders from Monoprice that were >50% shipping costs, and it was still cheaper than any local place...
Quote:
6. I plan on spending the bulk of my equipment budget on a projector and screen for now. What is a good place to buy projectors? I hear people say good things about projector people. Is there a cheaper source?

AV Science, sponsors of the forum would be the suggested folks... biggrin.gif Projector People are also quite popular.
Quote:
7. Currently, I am planning on using my Polk audio CS1 Series II Center Channel Speaker and Polk monitor 50 floor standing speakers as my fronts. I have a few speakers bundled with a Onkyo HTIB package which I plan on using as surrounds/ rear speakers. Should I spend some money on better fronts (possibly MartinLogan Motion 12 or Axiom audio millenia M50 v3)? Or should I invest in in walls or bookshelf speakers for the front? Any suggestions will be welcome.

I may be biased... wink.gif

You need to be careful mixing brands, as speakers will have very different timbres and may not mesh well. But surrounds are the place where that's somewhat less of a concern. If those speakers came from an HTiB package, make sure they're "normal" 8 ohm speakers (I think the Onkyo bundles usually are), and that they can handle the power presented by a good AVR / amplifier... If you spend money on speakers, put most of it in the L/C/R channels. L/R get the bulk of the music, Center gets dialog.
Quote:
8. I was hoping on installing a soffit to accommodate a motorized projector screen. I am entirely unfamiliar with this. Any suggestions regarding which brands and sources are good?

No, but for your design I'd suggest a cheaper, fixed frame screen instead...
Quote:
9. I am thinking of keeping my Onkyo receiver that I bought as part of the HTIB package (HT-S6300). Is this a good idea? I intend to buy a more upgraded receiver down the road. Possibly a Marantz.

Nothing wrong with that receiver - upgrade down the road...
Quote:
10. I am planning on buying my TV in March. I hear this is the best time to buy a TV because of the post- superbowl inventory and impending model refreshes. Is this true? Can I extrapolate this to pricing on all components (including projector/ speakers)? If not, what is a good time to buy high quality hardware at lowest price?

TVs are the only A/V component that really shows this type of fluctuation. Everything else will just get discounted when new models appear. Projectors tend to get announced in September (CEDIA) and shipped soon after. Regardless, don't buy a projector until you're ready to put it up. But do the research and have models picked out, know where they'll be placed, and that they will work for the screen size and that placement.
Quote:
Waiting for my contractor to show up and give me an estimate tomorrow. Hopefully we can work out the pricing!

Take a look at a lot of the basement theater projects here. Especially regarding sump pumps, dricore and lots of other stuff I didn't have to worry about... 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 #5 of 14 Old 01-31-2013, 05:57 AM - Thread Starter
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After much thought, planning and discussions with the wife, have made some changes to the plan. Also, Got some accurate measurements to update the schematic. There appears to be some more place at the end of the basement for a minibar/ treadmill perhaps. Have come up with a list of components (mostly budget limited) which I have listed below. I have a fresh set of questions at this point. After reading most of the posts on the forum, my questions sound almost childish! However, I would prefer to look like a noob now and not after my build is done!

1. For wall treatments, I am going with standard insulation and possibly double layer of drywall. My contractor has no experience with HT builds. Is there anyone who can do a basement design for a reasonable sum (even Lowes/ HD maybe)? How do I go about designing and placing columns along the length of the room?

2. I intend to use acoustic panels for the walls. What is the most cost effective method of going about this? Is there a particular layout of panel placements that is ideal?

3. I am not very handy and do not own any power tools. I was considering getting pre- assembled panels. Which company should I go with? I was considering ATS.

4. Being relatively naive, I was planning on using the receiver to power my speakers. After observing quite a few people using Emotiva amplifiers, I am intrigued. Are there any posts/ videos about using/ connecting these amplifiers?

5. Since this is a smallish house, I am not looking to go crazy with the finishes (no starry ceilings or rope LED trickery for me). I was researching various recessed LED lighting options and found very little information. Does anyone have experience with recessed LED lighting (comparison with conventional, etc) and where can I source them for the lowest cost? Also, what's the cheapest way of using dimmers with the setup and integrating it into the theater automation/ remote? I have seen people mention grafik eye but it sounds expensive and complicated.

6. I am considering installing a drop ceiling with ceiling tiles. Are there any special products out there that are more suited to a theater? Any special soundproofing measures that can be used with a drop ceiling?

7. I was thinking of going with two rows of seats. Back row with four seats and front row with three seats. Based on the layout, would it be reasonable to attempt a four seat front row?


Updated Layout with Dimensions: (Please feel free to make suggestions)



List of Components: (Going all out with projector/ screen setup. Mid range AV Receiver. Affordable speaker setup. Feel free to make suggestions)
Projector: Panasonic PT-AE7000U

Screen: Elite Screens ER120DH2

Surround/ Back speakers: Polk Audio New Monitor 45B  (2 pairs)

Front (RL) speakers: Polk Audio RTI A9

Receiver: Pioneer Elite SC-65

Seating (Affordable Solution)
Seatcraft Argonaut
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post #6 of 14 Old 01-31-2013, 07:34 AM
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I may have missed it but are you planning on running a sub? Did a sub come with the HTiB? You may want to look into upgrading that as well.

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post #7 of 14 Old 01-31-2013, 07:40 AM
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Drop ceilings are bad for theaters as sound will transmit into the house. Also they will take up some of your remaining height. No reason to green glue and double layer drywall if the ceiling is weak.

You can buy 2'x2' panels that literally hang with a hook like pictures. If you go to the acoustical treatments thread you'll find plenty on where to put them.

If you have a few zones properly pre-wired, you can literally use a $15 dimmer on each and get a good effect for less money.

Yes, you have enough room for two rows. Build a 6" or 8" riser with your low ceilings.

Doug
Terra Ceia, FL

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post #8 of 14 Old 01-31-2013, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by UGAd13 View Post

I may have missed it but are you planning on running a sub? Did a sub come with the HTiB? You may want to look into upgrading that as well.

I have a stock 8" powered sub as part of the Onkyo HTiB. Plan on shelving it for now. Currently looking at subs for the setup. Zeroed in on BIC America RTR-12S x2. Suggestions welcome for other subs in this price range.
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Originally Posted by Bucsroom View Post

Drop ceilings are bad for theaters as sound will transmit into the house. Also they will take up some of your remaining height. No reason to green glue and double layer drywall if the ceiling is weak.

You can buy 2'x2' panels that literally hang with a hook like pictures. If you go to the acoustical treatments thread you'll find plenty on where to put them.

If you have a few zones properly pre-wired, you can literally use a $15 dimmer on each and get a good effect for less money.

Yes, you have enough room for two rows. Build a 6" or 8" riser with your low ceilings.

Would it be too tight to squeeze in 4 seats in the front row?

My contractor was just here. He wants to do the framing, drywall and painting prior to wood work. Is this advisable? A lot of builds on the forum have woodwork columns go in before completion of painting.
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post #9 of 14 Old 01-31-2013, 08:22 AM
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14' would allow room for 4 seats and one side aisle, but maybe not an aisle on each side.

Most folks add faux columns after everything is dry walled.

Doug
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post #10 of 14 Old 01-31-2013, 08:34 AM
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After reading most of the posts on the forum, my questions sound almost childish! However, I would prefer to look like a noob now and not after my build is done!

That the less expensive approach, certainly! biggrin.gif
Quote:
1. For wall treatments, I am going with standard insulation and possibly double layer of drywall. My contractor has no experience with HT builds. Is there anyone who can do a basement design for a reasonable sum (even Lowes/ HD maybe)? How do I go about designing and placing columns along the length of the room?

The AVS Theater Layout Service offered by Dennis Esrkine's company ($600) would be money well spent.
Quote:
2. I intend to use acoustic panels for the walls. What is the most cost effective method of going about this? Is there a particular layout of panel placements that is ideal?

The Acoustic treatment master thread already mentioned is the place to read. There are general rules of thumb, but this is an area of both art and science.
Quote:
3. I am not very handy and do not own any power tools. I was considering getting pre- assembled panels. Which company should I go with? I was considering ATS.

There are several - I went the same route with Acoustical Solutions and I'm very happy with the product. ATS and others may be less expensive, and a lot will depend on your design.
Quote:
4. Being relatively naive, I was planning on using the receiver to power my speakers. After observing quite a few people using Emotiva amplifiers, I am intrigued. Are there any posts/ videos about using/ connecting these amplifiers?

Modern AVR's are quite powerful once you get out of the entry-level stuff. The Emotiva amps are crazy good and cheap. If you select an AVR (mid-range) that has "pre-amp outputs" you can always add an external amp later - perhaps just for the three front channels and let the AVR drive the surrounds.
Quote:
5. Since this is a smallish house, I am not looking to go crazy with the finishes (no starry ceilings or rope LED trickery for me).

You say that now... biggrin.gif
Quote:
I was researching various recessed LED lighting options and found very little information. Does anyone have experience with recessed LED lighting (comparison with conventional, etc) and where can I source them for the lowest cost? Also, what's the cheapest way of using dimmers with the setup and integrating it into the theater automation/ remote? I have seen people mention grafik eye but it sounds expensive and complicated.

GrafikEye isn't complicated in concept, but is tricky to install if the electrician doesn't know what he's in for. Smaller systems (Lutron Spacer) or just a few dimmers can work, too. The most important thing is to separate the lighting sources into logical groups on separate dimmers, so they can be adjusted individually. One concern about LED lighting is that many inexpensive dimmers won't work with them because they pull so little current - make sure you select dimmers that mention LED compatibility, and LED lamps that explicitly state "dimmable".
Quote:
6. I am considering installing a drop ceiling with ceiling tiles. Are there any special products out there that are more suited to a theater? Any special soundproofing measures that can be used with a drop ceiling?

Earplugs. tongue.gif

If you go with a drop ceiling, don't bother with the double drywall on the walls. It would be a waste of money, IMO.
Quote:
My contractor was just here. He wants to do the framing, drywall and painting prior to wood work. Is this advisable? A lot of builds on the forum have woodwork columns go in before completion of painting.

Well, painting before woodwork seems odd! But yes, this is something I did wrong in my theater - the columns were made as part of the room and framing, instead of being decorative elements built INSIDE the room. From a soundproofing perspective, it's much better, assuming you put speakers in the columns, to have that completely inside the room. From a construction standpoint - the woodworkers will build them like that anyway. They're not "structural", so no real downside, either.

Hope that helps,

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 #11 of 14 Old 01-31-2013, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by abhi30882 View Post

I have a stock 8" powered sub as part of the Onkyo HTiB. Plan on shelving it for now. Currently looking at subs for the setup. Zeroed in on BIC America RTR-12S x2. Suggestions welcome for other subs in this price range.
Don't have much experience with those but I'm a fan of the BIC F12.

Check the budget sub threads for more/better info than I can provide:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1396482/budget-subwoofers-discussions-opinions-and-questions-thread
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1364182/list-of-budget-subwoofers-300-and-less

This thread is helpful too:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1449563/velodyn-vx-11-dayton-sub-1200-or-bic-f12

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regarding subs, UGAd13 provided some good threads to check out. i'd like to throw out another thought for you. in my experience, a good sub can make a big difference in your home theatre audio experience....especially if you watch a lot of action movies where things go boom. having said that, you might consider chugging along with your 8" hitb sub and save up for a nicer sub. you can get a really nice sub ~ $800. then you can upgrade the rest of your audio as you go.
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post #13 of 14 Old 01-31-2013, 02:13 PM
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Welcome to the madness!

I agree that a bit of an upgrade on the subwoofer would be good. In your room, why the door in the front corner? There is an opening shown on your plan to the right of the theater, is that not sufficient to get into the space behind the screen wall? Also, the drop ceiling will effectively eliminate any sound isolation on the walls, that's why so many (myself included) do not suggest them in theaters. They also have a tendency to vibrate when certain frequencies are hit.

Enjoy the ride. smile.gif
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post #14 of 14 Old 01-31-2013, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UGAd13 View Post

Don't have much experience with those but I'm a fan of the BIC F12.

Check the budget sub threads for more/better info than I can provide:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1396482/budget-subwoofers-discussions-opinions-and-questions-thread
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1364182/list-of-budget-subwoofers-300-and-less

This thread is helpful too:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1449563/velodyn-vx-11-dayton-sub-1200-or-bic-f12

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Originally Posted by grubadub View Post

regarding subs, UGAd13 provided some good threads to check out. i'd like to throw out another thought for you. in my experience, a good sub can make a big difference in your home theatre audio experience....especially if you watch a lot of action movies where things go boom. having said that, you might consider chugging along with your 8" hitb sub and save up for a nicer sub. you can get a really nice sub ~ $800. then you can upgrade the rest of your audio as you go.

Thanks for all the suggestions! I guess I have some more research to do.
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Originally Posted by warrenP View Post

Welcome to the madness!

I agree that a bit of an upgrade on the subwoofer would be good. In your room, why the door in the front corner? There is an opening shown on your plan to the right of the theater, is that not sufficient to get into the space behind the screen wall? Also, the drop ceiling will effectively eliminate any sound isolation on the walls, that's why so many (myself included) do not suggest them in theaters. They also have a tendency to vibrate when certain frequencies are hit.

Enjoy the ride. smile.gif

Thanks for looking through the design. I intend to leave the space behind the screen wall for a utility room. The space on the right will be a part of the remaining basement finishing (eventually to be a bedroom) and will have an access door to get to the furnace and boiler. I guess I will skip the double dry wall and green glue for now. Will speak to my contractor about a drywall ceiling and how that affects the cost. Given the situation with my funding, I might skimp on the sub for now and possibly get a couple of high end subs later in the year (hope Santa is listening) !!
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