Noob planning my first HT build - looking for a designer - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 03-20-2013, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello AVS members, I am in the initial planning stages of building/planning my first HT room. I'll be converting a vaulted ceiling (ie wasted space IMO) into a dedicated HT room and would love to get a recommendation on some designers?

The room should be the following dimensions (two choices):
1) H=8', W=13.5', L=16', or
2) H=8', W=15.5', L=18'

Since this will not be in a basement, but on a 2nd level floor and within 15' of two bedrooms I would like to ensure some decent sound isolation to avoid late night complaints (within reason of course) as well as neighbor consciousness.

The materials do not need to be exotic (ie crazy fancy hardwoods etc) but I would like to have a well designed room that once I enter I'll be impressed. I can give more details later on specifics, but I am looking for a great designer in the Portland, OR area or even online that I could get drawings and advice from. Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 22 Old 03-20-2013, 09:55 AM
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I can see it now "Big goes West!"

I believe AVS has a design service and a number of members have used it as well as the Erskine Group. I thought I had a URL but it seems to be out of date, here is their FB page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Erskine-Group-Inc/134577633257657


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post #3 of 22 Old 03-21-2013, 06:23 AM
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Yes - as many members will tell you in this section, you'd be wise to check out www.erskine-group.com. Dennis has an incredible wealth of knowledge and is a true professional. If I was starting my HT (or even making changes), my first step would be to call him. I think many members here would agree...

The Esquire Theater Construction Thread:

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post #4 of 22 Old 03-21-2013, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you both for the links and suggestions. I also have a local place out here called Electronic Essentials based out of Vancouver, WA that I'm looking into. This could be a very fun summer project!
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post #5 of 22 Old 03-21-2013, 12:21 PM
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If you want someone local you might inquire with Madrona Digital. They are based in WA.

I also do remote design work; our specialty is acoustics; please check out my website. Once your theater is built make sure you have someone help you with post construction verification acoustic measurements (i.e. did it turn out the way the designer intended) and preferably also calibration (i.e. the setup of the audio and video systems for optimal performance).


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post #6 of 22 Old 03-22-2013, 07:32 PM
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Also take a look at these guys, they are helping me finish up my theater build....

http://www.theaterdesignnw.com
Theater Design Northwest
tel: 877 397 0468
fax: 360 543 5667

_________________________________________________
My Gear:
JVC RS4810, Prismasonic HD6000M anamorphic lens, Screen Excellence 4K 115 inch wide
Lumagen Radiance 2021
Onkyo 818, Emotiva Amp
B&W CT700 Series Speakers, (2) PowerSound Audio XS30s
Custom HTPC running Mediabrowser, 12TB Server for storage
...
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post #7 of 22 Old 03-22-2013, 10:37 PM
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Things to look for when choosing a design company:

1) Are they certified designers. Organizations such as CEDIA and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA) certify members who meet qualifications. For CEDIA, you may want to make sure they are Home Theater Design Certified. There is a major difference between a CEDIA certified designer and a CEDIA certified HOME THEATER designer.

2) Have they taken industry courses such as HAA, THX, CEDIA and ISF and are they certified in those courses? Are they CURRENT in those certifications? Plus, what experience do they have in applying the knowledge they learned from such courses?

3) Interview them. Can't stress that enough. Designers who know their stuff and those who don't will likely be readily apparent. Anyone can say, "oh yeah, we do that design stuff".

4) What knowledge do they have outside the AV industry? Are they engineers, scientists,
IT, architects, interior designers, what?

5) What do others have to say about them? Can they provide references if asked? Can you view their work if asked and if possible?

6) Are they willing to work within your budget?

7) Get a feel for their perspective. If they start talking about equipment right off the bat, then you know where they're coming from. Most "designers" sell from the perspective of a box rather than the science.

Just a few random questions to get the creative juices flowing. smile.gif

Shawn Byrne
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post #8 of 22 Old 03-24-2013, 04:02 AM
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Highly recommend Erskine group.

I'm more than half way through my build, and as I follow the plans and work my way through the steps, I realize time and time again how much time I've saved following their plans. And time and time again I'm grateful for the plans - there's always another detail on there that I didn't notice when I first reviewed them a couple years ago (yes.....taken me a long time to implement).

I would have made so many mistakes if I had designed it myself.

To name a few..... door location and type, acoustic treatments, screen size, equipment location.

As I look at that short list, I realize those are pretty some fundamental things to get wrong.
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post #9 of 22 Old 03-27-2013, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the recommendations. I've had my GC get together with a designer to make initial measurements, as well as pull the plans from the city to know what we are up against.

I've also had to make some adjustments due to budget. Now I may be down the road of doing staggered studs, and double sheetrock vs the more elaborate floating floor/walls route I was about to go down. Ah the pains of budget - grrrr.

Should have drawings and options by next week and then I'll know for sure how bad the budget gets blown. Especially since there will be the need to move an exterior wall and roof.
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post #10 of 22 Old 04-19-2013, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
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So I have an estimate now for rough construction costs...but now have a bigger issue to think about. I was all set to have a 16x20' room constructed, but was advised to open up the room behind it (additional 10 feet) and have a wet bar put in. OK that sounds great...16x30' room now with one row of seating at roughly 14' back, granit slab behind the row with bar stools and then the wet bar at the extreme back of the room.

Sounds great to me, but I just read that having sound absorptive panels placed on the front, side, and ceiling will wreak havoc on good 2CH music listening? I did not even think about that as I was hoping to build a great 2CH music room with the ability to do movies...now I am confused. Help? Here is a rough sketch of what I'm talking about:

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post #11 of 22 Old 04-20-2013, 12:57 AM
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May I ask who recommended a wet bar? Sorry guys, but wet bars are NOT recommended in a theater room. Doesn't mean you can't do it, but it just isn't the best place for it. However, they are recommended outside the room. Further, 30' is a BIG room. May I ask why you chose that dimension? Just because you opened the room up behind your original planned back wall doesn't mean you have to use it all. In fact, I would highly recommend against doing so for numerous reasons. Your designer should be able to explain the pros and cons.

Shawn Byrne
Erskine Group
CEDIA Certified Professional EST II - HAA Level III Certified -THX Certified Professional


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post #12 of 22 Old 04-20-2013, 05:05 AM
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From personal experience in my young and foolish days, opening up the back wall of a theater (My room) is a huge compromise in the sound quality and soundproofing potential.

Your 7.2 surround sound effects will never reach the level of performance that a closed space provides, A controlled degree of reverb off the back wall turns out to be pretty important in creating the surround sound field. You will need Multiple huge sub-woofers to make your pants flutter, a common goal. Ask Shawn to design your room, it will be the best money spent.


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post #13 of 22 Old 04-20-2013, 09:25 AM
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Thanks BIG! smile.gif

Shawn Byrne
Erskine Group
CEDIA Certified Professional EST II - HAA Level III Certified -THX Certified Professional


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post #14 of 22 Old 04-20-2013, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraMikeBravo View Post

May I ask who recommended a wet bar? Sorry guys, but wet bars are NOT recommended in a theater room. Doesn't mean you can't do it, but it just isn't the best place for it. However, they are recommended outside the room. Further, 30' is a BIG room. May I ask why you chose that dimension? Just because you opened the room up behind your original planned back wall doesn't mean you have to use it all. In fact, I would highly recommend against doing so for numerous reasons. Your designer should be able to explain the pros and cons.

The GC recommended it, but I was thinking in the back of my mind wait a second...where and how would the two surround speakers play into this? And that's a big space which WOULD require some big subs. As to why I chose it, I didn't. The space is already there and it was just a discussion point - this is why I chose to sketch it up and bring it here for discussion. Now I'm glad I did!
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post #15 of 22 Old 04-20-2013, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

From personal experience in my young and foolish days, opening up the back wall of a theater (My room) is a huge compromise in the sound quality and soundproofing potential.

Your 7.2 surround sound effects will never reach the level of performance that a closed space provides, A controlled degree of reverb off the back wall turns out to be pretty important in creating the surround sound field. You will need Multiple huge sub-woofers to make your pants flutter, a common goal. Ask Shawn to design your room, it will be the best money spent.

Ok thank you - this is what I needed. I've been frustrated at the local support of designing the room. Being an engineer, I wanted drawings and ideas with dimensions to determine where speakers, lights, sound panels, seating, etc are located to assist in the decision making process. I have not been getting that so I'm reaching out now. If the room is not opened up, this means that it will be better to close the wall at the 18' mark and figure out what to do with the space behind it - keep it as a loft, or put a door there and still have a wet bar back there. Now the problem becomes what would I do with a room which is only 18' deep? I plan on re-using my Stewart Firehawk 123" screen. From my calculations (which may be wrong) I determined that a 36deg viewing angle means I'll have to sit around 13.75' back from the screen. Looking at my drawing, that means with a granite bar behind the seats/bar stools, there will only be around two feet to the back wall? That's pretty cramped right? This was another reason why we chose to open the back of the room up for additional room.

At the front of the room, we may not be able to get full height due to some structural reasons (where it says slope) and why I have a 2' false wall indicated. If I had that additional two feet we would be golden, but I'm not sure I could get the screen further away from the seating area. If I could, then it would be easy. This drawing may help (attached).
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post #16 of 22 Old 04-20-2013, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Ugh, I'm frustrated due to the size of the room I have to work with. Is this a better option realizing that these are external dimensions? Also note the slope at the front of the room which limits ceiling height. Ugh.
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post #17 of 22 Old 04-20-2013, 04:49 PM
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Put your screen wall (fabric covered false wall) at 2 ft from the front, put the chair backs for the first row at 11 1/2 to 12 ft from the screen. You could move yours in the drawing 1 ft closer.
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post #18 of 22 Old 04-20-2013, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
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OK I know I'm getting annoying, but here is one more option that I've been sketching out. Since the room is small depth wise, I could do this at the back of the room. Two 3' doors opening up to a wet bar in the back. Imagine it with bar stools, bar obviously, and built in cabinets on the back wall (dotted line). This would be cool for sports when I have more people over and I could open the two doors for a 6' wide peep hole. Realistically this would only allow two ppl to view through, but I really wanted to find a use for this space behind the theater. Would this be ok to do considering 7.1 surround sound?

p.s. too bad they don't make doors that slide INTO the walls to avoid hitting ppl/chairs.
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post #19 of 22 Old 04-20-2013, 09:46 PM
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Actually they do it is called converging pocket doors. johnson sells the hardware. Pocket doors are frowned on here because you can't seal them tight for soundproofing. If that is not and issue, it is something to consider.

http://www.johnsonhardware.com/pdgal.htm#
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post #20 of 22 Old 04-21-2013, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
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Ok thank you - this is what I needed. I've been frustrated at the local support of designing the room. Being an engineer, I wanted drawings and ideas with dimensions to determine where speakers, lights, sound panels, seating, etc are located to assist in the decision making process. I have not been getting that so I'm reaching out now. If the room is not opened up, this means that it will be better to close the wall at the 18' mark and figure out what to do with the space behind it - keep it as a loft, or put a door there and still have a wet bar back there. Now the problem becomes what would I do with a room which is only 18' deep? I plan on re-using my Stewart Firehawk 123" screen. From my calculations (which may be wrong) I determined that a 36deg viewing angle means I'll have to sit around 13.75' back from the screen. Looking at my drawing, that means with a granite bar behind the seats/bar stools, there will only be around two feet to the back wall? That's pretty cramped right? This was another reason why we chose to open the back of the room up for additional room.

At the front of the room, we may not be able to get full height due to some structural reasons (where it says slope) and why I have a 2' false wall indicated. If I had that additional two feet we would be golden, but I'm not sure I could get the screen further away from the seating area. If I could, then it would be easy. This drawing may help (attached).

It's NEVER too late to get help with the design. It is MUCH worse to have a design that is poorly thought through and does not deliver the performance is should for the price paid. The reputable designers around here will provide speaker placement, seat placement, acoustic treatment placement, projection system design, etc as all of that is CRITICAL to the end reproduction quality.

I hate to see people who have put a lot of money and effort and love into something that could have been way better had they got the right people involved at the start!


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post #21 of 22 Old 04-23-2013, 05:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Getting funds together. This should be a very fun addition to the house. I will most likely go with an Erskine design and will update soon.

Thanks all for the suggestions, they have been immensely helpful.
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post #22 of 22 Old 04-23-2013, 06:13 PM
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will most likely go with an Erskine design and will update soon

Good idea I say! And make sure you budget for someone to come over and calibrate the system properly once the room is finished!


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