Putting the Home Back in Home Theatre (II) - Contemporary multi-media room - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 01-20-2013, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Folks

Inspired by Zamboniman's bold vision of putting the Home back in Home theatre, I too decided to punt on going the dark, basement, dedicated theatre route and instead decided to (quoting Z-man) "break all the rules" and make an HT in a room utterly inappropriate for it smile.gif LOTS of windows? Bring it on!

We recently moved to a new house, which has an amazing room above the garage. The room dimensions and key facts:
▪ Width x Length x Height (feet): 23 x 39 x 9. Vertically, room has 9 ' of flat wall, followed by 4’ angled at 45°, resulting in average height of ~12’
▪ One door opening: 5’ x 7’
▪ Ceiling has an 8’ attic, with lots of thick insulation between attic and this room
▪ One length of the room touches the house, the other length has almost an entire wall of windows, with built-in window seats. One width has another almost entire wall of windows; the other width has a bathroom and two storage rooms



This is a view of the front, main wall where I decided to put the HT even though the wall had multiple doors leading to multiple rooms. Acoustically, this was the only option even thought the previous owner and builder had his TV on the side wall. As you can see, it was the Room-to-put-our-crap while we settle for some time smile.gif




This is a view looking to the back of the room.

As you can see, the room is bright, has major problems but it is also beautiful and where we figured we would actually spend time. It is in the flow of the house ....

So here were the problems to solve:
a) How to make a wall which has 3 doors in it, the HT wall?
b) How to watch video in a room with so many windows?
c) How to seamlessly fit in the pool table and the HT? How to allow 8-10 people to watch easily, with swing capacity for at least another family?
e) How to make it acoustically adequate, yet beautiful?
f) and many more.....

I set myself a budget of $100,000 to get it all done. From 10+ years in this hobby, I already had the speakers, an old projector and screen and assorted wires, amps, etc to fill a small house smile.gif

Watch this post to see how it is turning out!!
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post #2 of 21 Old 01-20-2013, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
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A few more thoughts:
1. Our style is what I call "warm contemporary." Contemporary, clean lines but not cold. I love Kandinski and Mondrian and wanted a flavour of that in this room
2. I have MBL 111 speakers which I wanted to make the core, main speakers. I figure I would buy the rest of the gear. The Martin Logan Summits you see here would go to the family room


here is another closer image of the wall where I wanted to put the HT and the speakers
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post #3 of 21 Old 01-21-2013, 01:08 AM
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Nice room.

What's behind the doors? How much will be DIY? With that budget, you could consider a good deal of professional help.

With all that light, maybe both TV and retractable screen/projector would be a good option. For a projector, you'll want some track mount blackout shades. Not sure how to cover that half-circle window.

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post #4 of 21 Old 01-21-2013, 04:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Left door is a bathroom. Middle door is a closet. Right door is a small childrens activity room with painting easels and such like.

Project will be PIY ("Plan-it-yourself") but executed by my trusty contractor and A/V guy.

So the first two challenges to tackle in Phase I (nearly complete)...
a) How to make a wall which has 3 doors in it, the HT wall?
b) How to watch video in a room with so many windows?

On (b), Agree with you - decided to go both Plasma and Projector. For now, I am going with re-using my old Pioneer Elite Kuro 60" and Elite RPJ-1 projector, with Da-Lite retractable screen.

For a), decided to get rid of the middle door and dry-wall it, break the wall that separated the right and middle closets and make it one large closet which will double as an A/V equipment room and small children's activity room. The trick was how to make the doors disappear since doors on either side of a TV/screen might look strange.

I decided to cover the wall in contemporary wood panels from Dayoris (http://www.dayorisgroup.com/). BTW, Melissa at Dayoris is amazing. Everything you would want in a sales person and a project thought partners. I called a bunch of panelling companies but went with Dayoris for that reason. Plus, they have an incredibly broad selection.

I also decided to install 4 diffusers to break the sound from my speakers a little bit (from GIK) alongwith a bunch of Bass absorbing panels covered with our favorite movie posters.

The overall design was inspired by Mondrian paintings such as...
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post #5 of 21 Old 01-21-2013, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adanny View Post

a) How to make a wall which has 3 doors in it, the HT wall?
You could turn that end of the room into a hallway, with access to those 3 rooms. You'll still be left with a single door for access to the new hall, but it could be located far to the left, giving more room for a larger screen.

Your AV guy may have some input on covering the walls with wood, and keeping a wood floor. It will sound like a gymnasium. Your AV guy could meet with your designer, and find ways to duplicate the wood panel designs using acoustic treatments. I don't think a few diffusors will cut it.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #6 of 21 Old 01-21-2013, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I decided to instead go the plasma, with a drop down route versus a full, fixed screen. Here is how its shaping up...







And another picture with more of a panaromic view...






The doors have totally "disappeared" smile.gif we have actually fooled people into believing there are no doors there at all....
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post #7 of 21 Old 01-21-2013, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are two more shots with a full panoramic shot of the room facing the disapearing HT wall....





And looking to the other side of the room with the back to the HT wall...

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post #8 of 21 Old 01-21-2013, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Still lots to do....

Haven't got the projector and screen up yet (and I will likely upgrade the projector and screen)....

Still have to buy new furniture. These are just pieces left over....

Still have to (significantly) improve the acoustics....(they are getting better but a long way to go)...
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post #9 of 21 Old 01-22-2013, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Just had a crazy idea. In this room, as you can see, I need to drop down a screen in front of my speakers. It needs to be acoustically transparent, ideally ~160" diagonal, 2.35:1, ideally with very good ambient light performance.

Big tradeoff is that you cant get a curved screen in a drop down, the dollars rack up pretty fast compared to a fixed screen, and any of the new screens such as Black Diamond or DNP supernova are not even an option since they dont make retractables in those screens?

What if I installed a Fixed screen on a drop down TV lift!? Is that a completely effin crazy idea or sheer genius? Has anyone done it before? The way I see it, I could then get a Stewart Cine-W curved screen with no restriction on which ambient light friendly, AT material to use; or the DNP supernova Epic CS (but not sure if it is AT?), or a curved screen from Screen Innovations (i think its called Reference) with AT material.

Thoughts? Is it appropriate protocol to cross post this question on the Screens forum or is that bad form?
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post #10 of 21 Old 01-22-2013, 09:39 AM
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That is a cool looking room. I like the transformation so far. Nice color palate !!

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post #11 of 21 Old 01-22-2013, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you! I wanted to try and strike a balance between...
....Black near the screen but but not a fully black cave.
...the warmth and beauty of wood panelling (and the ability to make the doors invisible which could only be done via wood panelling) versus making the room acoustically bright

So I ended up with an all black wood panelled back wall, with 4 black diffusers blended in. There are two large bass-absorbing panels (with AT fabric printed with movie posters), at the first side reflection points. I will almost certainly be adding more Bass panels on the ceiling first reflections, and a few more on the top of the back wall as well to further reduce reflections without making the room too dull.

On the back wall, even the strips between the wood panelling are in solid black. To break the monotony of all black, I installed the panels in two shades - deep black, and dark grey. The only color in the front of the room are touches of Mondrian Red, one blue panel and some grey lines. At night, the plasma is literally suspended in a sea of black smile.gif

As you move to the back of the room and the pool table area, the colors gradually become black to grey to red, blue and yellow. The inter-wood strips become aluminum to show more contrast with the wood panels. There are several more bass absorbing panels all over the room. I have also cut away two large ~12' x 4' sections of dry wall from the ceiling and will be stuffing that with absorption material, covered with GOM/AT fabric to make two "natural" enormous bass traps on the ceiling

Also, the back of the room has two large art pieces (4' x 4') that we found that I thought would make very good diffusers! They are made from inter-woven copper, aluminum and other very thin metal strips. You can sort of see them in the pictures although you cant see how thin the thousands of metal strips are which will "cut" the sound. Beats ugly standard diffusers smile.gif

You can sort of see them in the pictures below...






The wine cellar, bar etc will all be moved to reduce vibrations...
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post #12 of 21 Old 01-22-2013, 02:28 PM
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Those are some purdy speakers you have there. Just a little jealous. rolleyes.gif

How are the QRDs working out on the front wall? It seems most people just go with absorbtion on the front.

-




Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?
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post #13 of 21 Old 01-22-2013, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks smile.gif Speakers like that (MBL 111s) require all kinds of hoop jumping for the video. if not for these, i could easily have made a ginormous fixed screen on the wall, curved for under $5k and put speakers behind it. instead, i gotta care and feed the speakers and think about drop down, AT screens et al. Buts its worth it. I am addicted to the sound

the qrds are working very well actually. MBL does not recommend absorption behind the speakers (as doesnt martin logan - my other favoourite speaker company). It takes some of the life out of the sound.
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post #14 of 21 Old 01-26-2013, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
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So lots of progress yesterday, thanks to my trusty installer. (http://www.egahabs.com/) Steve and Eric are ideal installers for tinkerers like me. They put up with all my insane and often changing demands!

Put my old screen and projector (Da-lite pearlescent; Pioneer Elite FPJ1) up. This should keep the family busy for the next few months as I decide on what projector and screen to upgrade to smile.gif


fonrtviewprojectorandTV_zps5d7717b1.jpg



The ceiling is 12', and my old projector only had 1' of black drop (da-lite and my old installer screwed up - long story). So I had to jury rig an "industrial" looking drop system with 2 heavy duty square aluminum rods from Home depot through which Eric drilled holes at the top and bottom. Doesnt look bad and goes with the contemporary look of the room. Of course, the new projector screen that I am hunting for will have a totally flush look

projectorandscreencloseup_zpsa9a751a2.jpg
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post #15 of 21 Old 01-26-2013, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Who doesnt love a hot rack?

Old, smaller rack on the right. new, steroidal, XXX rack on the left

oldandnewrack_zps3ae0ce34.jpg


Rack has lights which for some reason look impossibly cool for something so small and simple...

racklights_zps76b24a8d.jpg
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post #16 of 21 Old 01-27-2013, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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While I wait to upgrade the screen and projector, I think I'm going to take on motorized blinds and seating next. I think I'm pretty much set on seating.

For blinds, I read a lot of the old threads but was surprised not to find a master blackout-blinds thread or sticky
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post #17 of 21 Old 03-02-2013, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
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After the inevitable work and family busy-ness, I finally put some research and had some conversations and exchanges with friendly folks such as vikgrao, BigmouthinDC, DanFrancis, Craig Peers and others....

Here is how I am thinking of phasing this room over the next ~year. Tell me what you guys think...

Phase 1 (Basic Furnishings and Ambient Light Kill): Make the room dark on demand via blinds. Aint easy because of the star-burst and ~10 very large windows. Planning is nearly done; execute by end of March. Im doing this first because it is the single biggest addition that will make the room use-able immediately

Phase 2 (Clean up the sound): Measure room response via REW etc. Use additional diffusion, absorption, ceiling cloud creation etc and perhaps sub woofer addition to get as flat a response as possible without electronic correction. Plan now; execute by end of April. I'm doing this second because the sond really needs a lot of work.

Phase 3 (Upgrade new projector and Screen): Get rid of the old Kuro RPJ1 and Da-lite Pearlescent screen and install larger screen and mother of all projectors. Lots of big decisions to be made here (what size screen; what material; what type of screen; what projector; should I wait for 4K. Doing this third because I am ambivalent on whether to plunge now or wait a year for 4K/laser to evolve

Phase 4: Upgrade speakers to the next level smile.gif Doing this last because I certainly dont need new speakers smile.gif But am thinking maybe I get the MBL 101es, put the MBL 111e's on rear duty, and add a set of MBL 121e's for surround back - thereby getting a full 7.4 system versus the current 5.2. At some point, I will also have toi decide whether the sides should be a pair of 2 pairs given the size of the room

Would love your thoughts and suggestions
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post #18 of 21 Old 03-02-2013, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
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So my black out blinds requirements are the following:
A. Semi-circle shaped "starburst" window. The window is 72 x 42 (wide by tall).
B. 4 windows below the starburst, side by side, each is 34.5 x 52 (wide by tall). This would need 2 blinds (2 motors), each about 79" x 56"
C. 6 windows on the right. Each window is 30" x 53". This would need 3 blinds(3 motors), each about 72" x 59".

So here is the gist of what I found on blind options. Lots of old threads here but very few new threads.

1. Lutron is of course the gold standard especially for Motorized blinds. Lots of options but the basic choices are:
- Honey comb (cheapest; looks the most "blindy"; I am told by Lutron dealer that they are equally as effective as rollerblinds - do the experts here agree??). Installed, with all associated equipment (motors, wireless repeater; pico remote; Control4 programming), Lets "normalize" this price to "X" per window, installed, programmed (I say "X" so I dont get into forum price rule troubles).
- Rollerblinds (many options of quality ranging from stuff that looks plasticky to stuff that looks like cloth); price range is 1.5X to 2X per window especially if you add the side trackes that block ALL incoming side-edge lights. With side-edge blinding, price is north of 2X per window, installed.

2. Hunter Douglas. Poor mans Lutron. I found pricing to be roughly 50%-80% of "X".

3. BTX: Another poor man's Lutron. Sounded sort of like Hunter Douglas, maybe ~10-20% more than hunter douglas. Can be had with BTX or Somfy motors. Somfy motors are ~10% more than BTX motors.

This is the classic Hyundai versus Toyota versus Lexus argument.

I am on the verge of finalizing to go with the Lutron Honeycomb. For my project, the price will end up being about ~$7k installed and programmed. Seems like the best tradeoff, the best motors, and the dealer has been great. Lutron rollerblinds would been slightly less than double that. BTX rollerblinds would have been ~20% more. My dealer was emphatic in stating that the performance of the Honeycomb is the same as the rollerblinds; only difference is looks. The performance of the Lutron-with-tracks is of course the best die to the side-edge light elimination but that is more than double the price. I decided against Hunter Douglas because of concerns around motor quality and reliability.

what do the experts think of the above reasoning?
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post #19 of 21 Old 03-09-2013, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Went to my installers store and checked out the Lutron Honeycomb and roller. Confirmed that the light performance of both is comprarable and very good. Lutron silent as a mouse. Confirmed the order. Will be installed by end April.

Will be controlled with Control4. Also decided against GrafikEye and with a Control4 light controller instead. Apparently its much more versatile.
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post #20 of 21 Old 07-15-2013, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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So work has progressed.. Blinds are in and installed and programmed. It makes a truly huge difference. The room is cooler and more importantly can become a bat cave on demand

I also decided to put a simple BD 1.4 gain screen on the wall. Despite blinds, we always keep the lights on. It's 142" , curved, scope.

Will let you know when it gets installed

Next phase is get the screen up, put the pass labs mono amps in the back room, led lighting everywhere, strobe abd disco lighting on demand, 2 more subs in the rear, and clouds on the ceiling for sound absorption and lighting .
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post #21 of 21 Old 07-31-2013, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Has anyone done a build which basically replicated a disco or a lounge in a dedicated or multi purpose room or a basement? I am putting in a bunch of RBX controlled LED lights anyway in this room, and also want to put in RBX controlled disco ball, lasers, and strobe lights for parties. The disco ball will be detachable of course cause you don't want that in the room when a movie is playing.

Would love to get some ideas on how others may have done something similar?
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