How come people spend so much on HT GEAR but have such crappy rooms ? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 50 Old 07-16-2013, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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So I've been researching and reading, and researching, and reading some more- and one thing that always stands out to me is some people seem to have unlimited budgets on HT gear and electronics.

I see products that costs thousand and thousands of dollars, more than my entire build is being budgeted to cost me. The room and theaters' look so plain and generally crappy.

If you had a $20,000 budget with nothing but studs- how much would you spend on the "build" and how much would you spend on the gear ?

I'm thinking something like:

$11,000 for room
$3500 Speakers+subs
$2500 Gear (electronics)
$3000 Seating

It's probably going to be the smallest spend I make in my theater in the first two years. My thinking is if I can get a decent 1080p 3D projector and AVR to start I'll likely upgrade then in future when tech changes and I have more cash. I'll build my screen big enough to accommodate the future projector I have not bought yet and probably suffer a little less light in the short term.

I see tens of thousands spent on gear- and then I look at the room and it's ugly, small, and generally unimpressive. Even the rooms look terrible, like sheet rock walls, hard wood floors, white trim, windows etc... Doesn't all that defeat the purpose of spending tens of thousands on the gear ?

I mean a window is a good bass trap right ? Just open it up and the bass goes right out tongue.gif

I'll be curious to hear everyone else opinion on this.

Let it begin:

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #2 of 50 Old 07-16-2013, 09:53 AM
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My guess? Two things:

1. Lack of education on the topic.

2. It depends on people's willingness to want to alter their environment in a semi-permanent to permanent fashion.

On point 1, you don't know what you don't know. People visiting a site like this for example might run straight to the receivers and amps and read up on those topics a fair bit and may never come into contact with the idea that they should also look at their environment, or at the very least, not realize just how important it is. On point 2, they may be aware of point 1, but due to limitations like living in an apartment, or not wanting to start a domestic dispute, tend to shy away from wanting to set up the room in a preferable fashion for the sake of the audio and video.

My two cents.
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post #3 of 50 Old 07-16-2013, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirpie View Post

My guess? Two things:

1. Lack of education on the topic.

2. It depends on people's willingness to want to alter their environment in a semi-permanent to permanent fashion.

On point 1, you don't know what you don't know. People visiting a site like this for example might run straight to the receivers and amps and read up on those topics a fair bit and may never come into contact with the idea that they should also look at their environment, or at the very least, not realize just how important it is. On point 2, they may be aware of point 1, but due to limitations like living in an apartment, or not wanting to start a domestic dispute, tend to shy away from wanting to set up the room in a preferable fashion for the sake of the audio and video.

My two cents.

Agreed. The Dedicated Theater Design & Construction Forum has without a shadow of a doubt completely changed my understanding of how to achieve a good HT experience. I went from 'just buy a good mid line receiver and "better" speakers' kind of guy before finding this forum to a 'you first need good sound isolation from the rest of the house, then acoustic treatments to the room, followed by good equipment. If you ignore 1, you will undermine the potential of the overall HT system. My budget and timeline to achieve my project ballooned solely because of this very forum. Thanks a lot, AVS! wink.gif

Ignorance is bliss in some ways, but now that I've learned so much right here and understand the difference, I'm building it. So sincerely, thank you, AVS. smile.gif
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post #4 of 50 Old 07-16-2013, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
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But I am talking about enthusiasts with tens of thousands invested in high end gear- Not the general person who just wants a home theater. I can see some crazy speakers, amps, and projectors - that are way out of my price range. But the set up seems so crappy it makes me wonder what is the point ???

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post #5 of 50 Old 07-16-2013, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

But I am talking about enthusiasts with tens of thousands invested in high end gear- Not the general person who just wants a home theater. I can see some crazy speakers, amps, and projectors - that are way out of my price range. But the set up seems so crappy it makes me wonder what is the point ???

You'd be shocked at how often this still falls under 1 or 2. They still think it's worth throwing more money at the equipment because... well... they just don't realize how beneficial it it. For what it's worth, I consider "too lazy" to be under #2's umbrella. ^_^
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post #6 of 50 Old 07-16-2013, 10:40 AM
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I've also seen $20k rooms with $3k worth of equipment. Not as common but still possible.

There was a pic of someone with a $300,000 2-channel system in an untreated room with a marble floor.
Quote:
If you had a $20,000 budget with nothing but studs- how much would you spend on the "build" and how much would you spend on the gear ?

I'm thinking something like:

$11,000 for room
$3500 Speakers+subs
$2500 Gear (electronics)
$3000 Seating

$20k ?
Here's what I would do
$10,000 Room (includes screen and acoustic panels, I guess)
$4000 Speakers + Subs (I would DIY my speakers and subs)
$3000 Electronics (PJ, Reciever, Sub amp(s)
$3000 Seating (can't really get 2 good rows any cheaper than this)
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post #7 of 50 Old 07-16-2013, 10:48 AM
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That's probably a good target. Using your categories, my final costs (on a percentage basis) were very similar and came to:
Room: 49%
Speakers & Sub (7.1): 14%
Gear/electronics (receiver, projector, screen & remote): 21%
Seating (7 total): 11%
Tools/misc. supplies: 5% I would suggest adding this category to your budget even though it sounds like you have access to quite a few tools. Like all home theater builders before you, you will be on a first name basis with everyone at Home Depot and Lowe's by the time you are done. You need a slush fund for misc. tools/supplies.
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post #8 of 50 Old 07-16-2013, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirpie View Post

My guess? Two things:

1. Lack of education on the topic.

2. It depends on people's willingness to want to alter their environment in a semi-permanent to permanent fashion.

On point 1, you don't know what you don't know. People visiting a site like this for example might run straight to the receivers and amps and read up on those topics a fair bit and may never come into contact with the idea that they should also look at their environment, or at the very least, not realize just how important it is. On point 2, they may be aware of point 1, but due to limitations like living in an apartment, or not wanting to start a domestic dispute, tend to shy away from wanting to set up the room in a preferable fashion for the sake of the audio and video.

My two cents.


I was almost a victim of number 1. "You don't know what you don't know". I have always wanted a theater room and now have one in process, if it were not for countless hours of reading and study I did on this site god only knows what my theater would have looked like. In the beginning I knew nothing of acoustics, heck, I didn't even know what an AT screen was. My initial plan was to have a sheet rocked room, chair rail, two different colors on the walls, (White trim of course, because isn't all trim white?) and hang a screen on the wall which would have been way too small. Originally I was thinking 80", I mean 80" is huge compared to my 50" LCD right? Lol. Ignorance is bliss.

My budget is $30K on my current build, I am just past halfway on the room itself. I keep a spreadsheet of the project costs by stage and have the project broken down into about 12 stages with the final stage being furniture. The room will be carpeted and ready for a screen wall in about a month, which is 2 stages away. Currently I am $7K into the room itself with $1800 budgeted for another layer of sheetrock, texture, trim, and paint which will be next week, then $3K for carpet, and another $1200 for final acoustical treatments. That will put me right at $13000 into the room, regardless of whether my budget was $20K or $30K I could not imagine spending any less on the room itself. I originally raised my budget from $22K to $30K just because I said to myself if I am going to do this I am going to get the components and speakers I really want so my speaker/rack/component budget is just over $13K which leaves me just under $5K for nice seating and any other incidentals I may want.

Many thanks to the guru's on here such as BigMouth, Spaceman, and countless others. Without you I would have been destined to watch movies in a lazy boy, eating microwave popcorn, on an 80" screen, and chasing flutter echo's around the room.
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Budget? What's that?

The Meta Theater
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post #9 of 50 Old 07-16-2013, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

That's probably a good target. Using your categories, my final costs (on a percentage basis) were very similar and came to:
Room: 49%
Speakers & Sub (7.1): 14%
Gear/electronics (receiver, projector, screen & remote): 21%
Seating (7 total): 11%
Tools/misc. supplies: 5% I would suggest adding this category to your budget even though it sounds like you have access to quite a few tools. Like all home theater builders before you, you will be on a first name basis with everyone at Home Depot and Lowe's by the time you are done. You need a slush fund for misc. tools/supplies.



14% on speakers?

Yikes!!!!

IMHO, the largest percentage out of the equipment category should be your speakers...........

But then again.........do as I say, not do as I do.
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post #10 of 50 Old 07-16-2013, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

But I am talking about enthusiasts with tens of thousands invested in high end gear- Not the general person who just wants a home theater. I can see some crazy speakers, amps, and projectors - that are way out of my price range. But the set up seems so crappy it makes me wonder what is the point ???

Besides the "don't know no better" - it's also a matter of personal priorities. Some folks want to spend all available $$$ on the gear - aesthetics of room be damned. Which is kinda a guy thing, anyway. Guys spending $5k on speakers would get high-fives from friends. Same guy spending $5k on curtains - not so much.

And I agree that for every photo we see with 90% spent on gear - there's a "Audio Video Interiors"-grade photoshoot with only 10%, too...

From my theater build, a 40% gear, 60% room split that matches well with Spaceman and djkest's percentages:



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 50 Old 07-16-2013, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doublewing11 View Post



14% on speakers?

Yikes!!!!

IMHO, the largest percentage out of the equipment category should be your speakers...........

But then again.........do as I say, not do as I do.

Speakers were the largest percentage of my equipment budget. The 14% I spent on speakers is the percentage of the entire project, not the percentage of my equipment cost. I only broke speakers out as their own category because that is what the OP did in his allocation example. When I include speakers as part of my overall equipment cost, they eat up 40% of that category.
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post #12 of 50 Old 07-16-2013, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

Speakers were the largest percentage of my equipment budget. The 14% I spent on speakers is the percentage of the entire project, not the percentage of my equipment cost. I only broke speakers out as their own category because that is what the OP did in his allocation example. When I include speakers as part of my overall equipment cost, they eat up 40% of that category.

First time I looked at your theater build...........nice job.

My theater budget broke 40% room-60% equipment......................though the Sony 1000 purchase tweaked the % toward equipment.
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post #13 of 50 Old 07-16-2013, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doublewing11 View Post

First time I looked at your theater build...........nice job.
Thank you.
Quote:
My theater budget broke 40% room-60% equipment......................though the Sony 1000 purchase tweaked the % toward equipment.
Nothing wrong with that. It could have been even worse (say 35% room-65% equipment) if it wasn't for your custom fabricated thermostat cover. wink.gif
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post #14 of 50 Old 07-16-2013, 05:15 PM
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Maybe "simple and plain" is a purposeful acknowledgement that a home theater's usage is that 95% of the time spent in the dark, so
maybe simpler with better gear, equals a better investment.
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post #15 of 50 Old 07-16-2013, 06:49 PM
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I prefer not to think about how much im spending, ignorance is bliss right smile.gif

I figure since im building it myself the room is free. Yea sure everyday I spend 200 at home depot and ive been doing that for a year, but Im sure that dosent add up to much!

I also spent a few thousand on tools because I started from zero.
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post #16 of 50 Old 07-16-2013, 09:15 PM
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In my short research and development project I've realized the goal is to work with what I have (I'm allowed a dedicated room, pitch black, etc). I started with a 10k budget, but my BASE room is built already.

Sure I could have opened up the ceiling and double sheet-rocked, clipped, green glued, made side walls symmetrical, etc.... but that wasn't the route I wanted to go.

I did wall off the windows....biggrin.gif

I have a bit of 'the best option' as in I can do whatever in my room (wife is cool whatever).

With that said I find myself in the middle of what I see on this forum.

I see rooms dominated by kids and wives, or other limiting factors a side form money.

Then I see room to the extreme. Built from the ground up to look and perform like a theater. Or gutted from to the studs for a fresh build.

I consider myself just below middle. I've spent a considerable amount on room treatments and seeking room advice. I've made a few room modifications that the typical 'throw it up' theater guy would not do, but I've also made some of those same 'throw it up guy' decisions for my room.

As someone mentioned above. When it's all said and done you're sitting in an almost pitch black room anyways. SO..... if I can make my room sound audio and projected image as for 10k (ok I'm approaching the 12k mark quickly, might have passed it today) sounds and looks the same in the dark as the guy who spent my entire budget on the front real cherry wood front wall I'm happy.

FWIW I spent ~2500 on speakers, ~2500 on subs, ~2500 on gear (got the smokin' Costco deal on the Pioneer SC 1522) and 2300 on theater chairs, 350 on 36 sheets of OC 70, and God knows all the little things that are now adding up.

I went cheap on the projector because that's an easy upgrade in the future. I went with JBL Pro speakers because the value was huge. Did I say HUGE?

For the room itself there won't be much spent. I already had a sheet rocked basement that is half above grade.

To me it's all about the sound and the picture. I can nail both of those to my desire in my space.

Now, a few years ago I would have had to have had all the aesthetics. But not today. What's not touched in aesthetics is money in the bank. And I have money, but not THAT much money. : )

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post #17 of 50 Old 07-17-2013, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

$11,000 for room
$3500 Speakers+subs
$2500 Gear (electronics)
$3000 Seating

That's not a bad breakdown. I think that budget presumes 5.1 speakers only and a flat screen TV - if you are doing 7.2 or higher and a projector those equipment numbers simply won't get you there IMO. $3000 seating presumes about 6-8 seats I am guessing. You don't want to be spending much less than ~$500/seat.
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post #18 of 50 Old 07-17-2013, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kromkamp View Post

That's not a bad breakdown. I think that budget presumes 5.1 speakers only and a flat screen TV - if you are doing 7.2 or higher and a projector those equipment numbers simply won't get you there IMO. $3000 seating presumes about 6-8 seats I am guessing. You don't want to be spending much less than ~$500/seat.

I have two rows and my theater is 34x24 so I might end up spending more than normal. I'll need at least 6 chairs and I want a full couch/sofa in black leather so I can enjoy it laying down when I am lazy biggrin.gif

First row, 12' back- 4 nice theater chairs. Half arc probably.

Second row- Couch in center up on riser, flanked by two chairs (non recliner)

Possibly a third row of cheaper folding theater seats if room allows. It might compete with bar area space though. I will have to see when I get going and make a judgement call.

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #19 of 50 Old 07-17-2013, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

$11,000 for room
$3500 Speakers+subs
$2500 Gear (electronics)
$3000 Seating

As long as the $11k room budget includes the acoustic treatment then I think that makes sense.
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post #20 of 50 Old 07-17-2013, 01:49 PM
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The speaker budget for that big a room will be an issue if you want reference levels, unless you build speakers, or indulge in some
pre-owned speakers.
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post #21 of 50 Old 07-17-2013, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post

The speaker budget for that big a room will be an issue if you want reference levels, unless you build speakers, or indulge in some
pre-owned speakers.

I will probably do a DIY SEOS or Pi type thing

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post #22 of 50 Old 07-17-2013, 02:01 PM
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Interesting post. I see the pics of peoples rooms with their great gear and it just doesn't match. I compare it to this: The neighborhood across from mine has about 300 really crappy houses. They each cost about $400,000 to build and are just crappy and crammed together. I for the life of me can't figure out why so many of them have really high end cars and many times multiple new Mercedes or whatever in their tiny driveways. In my simple mind, I wouldn't spend a dime on anything until I got the heck out of the trailer park of houses. It is simple to go out and lease any level of car. It is simple to go out and buy a bunch of high end home theater gear on credit. It is not simple to go out and buy a decent house without the means to pay for it like is used to be in the easy money days.
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post #23 of 50 Old 07-17-2013, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

Thank you.
Nothing wrong with that. It could have been even worse (say 35% room-65% equipment) if it wasn't for your custom fabricated thermostat cover. wink.gif

yeah......too funny!!wink.gif
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post #24 of 50 Old 07-17-2013, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxrealtor View Post

In my short research and development project I've realized the goal is to work with what I have (I'm allowed a dedicated room, pitch black, etc). I started with a 10k budget, but my BASE room is built already.

I set the same budget for myself since I was just converting a room. I was coming in under budget, but ended up going $2k over because of new equipment purchases. A B-Stock Onkyo 1010 and dual SVS Subs.

My theater came out nicer than I had hoped, but no where near as flashy as some of the others I've seen. I am totally happy with it. Looking into the future when I sell my current house and buy another one I can't see theater 2.0 being a whole lot more elaborate since I tend to go for "bang for buck". There are some things I wanted to do with the current theater, but it wasn't worth the hassle to do so. I paid for everything out of pocket and no credit was used. Considering I "only" have $12k into everything, when I sell the house I can take it or leave it.

Looking back A/V equipment ate up the majority of the budget. I think the second largest expense would be custom woodwork I hired out. Seats were $500, paint and supplies maybe $300 on the high estimate..lighting maybe $400..carpet and pad about $450.. So not a whole lot in the "room" itself.
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post #25 of 50 Old 07-17-2013, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I have two rows and my theater is 34x24 so I might end up spending more than normal.

That's a HUGE room. Based on your other posts, it sounds like you want to do it right with decent equipment, some level of soundproofing, as well as acoustic treatments. Not to say it can't be done, but finishing out 816 sf for $20k will be a challenge. I could fit 3.5 of my theaters inside yours and my final cost was closer to $30k, with fairly modest equipment and no soundproofing measures. I'm not a speaker expert, but my guess is you will have to be pretty selective in order to properly equip that space. $3,500 might not get it done in the speaker category.

Can I ask why you want/need a 24' wide theater? I haven't seen a floor plan of your space yet, but I'm wondering if it would make more sense to carve out a smaller space if your seating requirement is only 6 chairs and a couch. Even with a 3rd row, 34 feet is deeper than you would need.
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post #26 of 50 Old 07-17-2013, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by pdxfj View Post

I set the same budget for myself since I was just converting a room. I was coming in under budget, but ended up going $2k over because of new equipment purchases. A B-Stock Onkyo 1010 and dual SVS Subs.

My theater came out nicer than I had hoped, but no where near as flashy as some of the others I've seen. I am totally happy with it. Looking into the future when I sell my current house and buy another one I can't see theater 2.0 being a whole lot more elaborate since I tend to go for "bang for buck". There are some things I wanted to do with the current theater, but it wasn't worth the hassle to do so. I paid for everything out of pocket and no credit was used. Considering I "only" have $12k into everything, when I sell the house I can take it or leave it.

Looking back A/V equipment ate up the majority of the budget. I think the second largest expense would be custom woodwork I hired out. Seats were $500, paint and supplies maybe $300 on the high estimate..lighting maybe $400..carpet and pad about $450.. So not a whole lot in the "room" itself.

Are you in PDX? If so when you sell your home let me know. I can help. smile.gif

I too spent no credit, not a penny. Paid in full. And I too spent most of my money, well as you already know, on equipment. The largest room expense will most likely end up being the wire fishing, dedicated circuits and lighting changes I made.

Just got done finishing the second coat of mud over all the patches from running wire. A light sand and texture tomorrow and then I will paint.

I too, like you, will take it or leave it if we ever sell the house.

Do you have any pics?

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post #27 of 50 Old 07-17-2013, 08:26 PM
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Different people have different priorities. Are you an audio person? Video person? Someone who wants a theater room to show off? If you want all three; it can get pricey........
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post #28 of 50 Old 07-18-2013, 05:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

That's a HUGE room. Based on your other posts, it sounds like you want to do it right with decent equipment, some level of soundproofing, as well as acoustic treatments. Not to say it can't be done, but finishing out 816 sf for $20k will be a challenge. I could fit 3.5 of my theaters inside yours and my final cost was closer to $30k, with fairly modest equipment and no soundproofing measures. I'm not a speaker expert, but my guess is you will have to be pretty selective in order to properly equip that space. $3,500 might not get it done in the speaker category.

Can I ask why you want/need a 24' wide theater? I haven't seen a floor plan of your space yet, but I'm wondering if it would make more sense to carve out a smaller space if your seating requirement is only 6 chairs and a couch. Even with a 3rd row, 34 feet is deeper than you would need.

It's above a two car garage. I might double wall down to 20 feet wide ... Lose 3 feet for a baffle wall screen wall - now after two rows I'm limited in space for the back wet bar.

Space goes fast frown.gif

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post #29 of 50 Old 07-19-2013, 07:32 AM
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Is the house already built? That's a big 2 car garage. There are 3 car garages that aren't that big. It's also very rare to have all that space above available. Usually the space over a garage is clipped by the roof eaves and the walls are brought in when framing.

I'm with Spaceman on the room size & budget. It's good to plan ahead and give yourself room to grow, but there needs to be a balance. Have you looked at where you want to eventually get to and the cost? Start with price for an appropriately sized screen for your 24 x 34 room and seating, then look at the price for projector & supporting infrastructure needed to do it well. Realistically, could you ever get there?

I took a look for mine and couldn't so something had to give. For me, I will trade aesthetics of the room for better on screen performance. So less money on room, more money on electronics, and the room will look "plain and generally crappy" in photos and during the 2 minutes spent walking in & out of the HT before the lights go down.

 

 

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post #30 of 50 Old 07-19-2013, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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I am trying to do 10 foot walls if I can. I want the height.

My screen would be a DIY variety to start out.

I would use existing projector, HTPC, AVR etc... I would build DIY speakers.

As far as size this is outside dimensions. Yes, inside will be smaller.

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