Advice on a Challenging Space in Basement - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 08-05-2013, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Like many others, I am a long time lurker and have finally worked up the nerve to ask: I have a somewhat oddly-shaped space in my basement that I would like to turn into a theater, but am unsure if doing so is feasible/worth it. I was hoping for some advice on whether it could be turned into a good theater space or whether I would be better off giving up my dream of a dedicated theater and turning it into a kinda-fancy TV area off of the basement family room.

Here is a dimensioned plan of the space:




For simplicity, assume the top is "North". I think the most workable location for the screen is on the North wall. I'm hopeful the shape of that foundation wall will allow for enough room to put speakers behind the screen.

On the East wall, there is a window and the main circuit breaker panel. Keeping access to the window is not essential, but is desirable just for safety reasons (there are other escape windows elsewhere in the basement). Some form of access to the electrical panel is needed, of course. Are there good ways to hide such things without compromising the integrity of the theater? Is the fact that the East wall is offset from the center-line likely to be a problem?

The South wall's location is somewhat flexible (a guest bedroom will be on the other side of it). The drawing shows the preferred depth for the theater, but if it would help, that wall can be moved around some.

Here's the biggest challenge: The West "wall" is, as shown, going to be open to the basement family room. I don't think there will be an lighting issues related to this (light in that whole area can easily be controlled), but I just don't know what the sound implications are of having a (mostly) open wall on the left side of the theater are. I was thinking that much of it (aside from a "doorway") could be a half wall and a column or two where necessary for speakers. In general, for a variety of reasons (primarily the wife wink.gif ), it would be best if it could be open. Is this a deal-killer? Does having the open wall make treating the area as a dedicated theater pointless? Of course, I'm hoping the answer is "no" (although my bank account my feel otherwise biggrin.gif ).

I don't feel competent to build this space myself and was thinking about employing professional design services. However, before I dove into that, I wanted to try to assess the feasibility of this entire project. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated! Let me know if more dimensions/pictures would be useful; I didn't want to clutter things up too much on my first post smile.gif
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post #2 of 28 Old 08-06-2013, 01:42 PM
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So I have a similar(ish) situation with a mostly open west wall to my theater, it definitely simplifies some aspects I.e. there's no point soundproofing but of me gives me more issues with light control as it's a main floor room. I have all the main speakers hidden in the screen wall with an AT screen and then have used the pillars for surround speakers etc. I'd rough together a plan and ask for advice, if you look through my thread you can see how my design evolves based on some great input.
Good luck and enjoy. smile.gif


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post #3 of 28 Old 08-07-2013, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you both very much for your input! Looks like I still have a lot to think about, which isn't helping my paralysis by analysis biggrin.gif

On the seating front, I was kind of hoping (perhaps wildly optimistically) to get 2 rows in. I've not been able to find able to find a good guide on minimum room size (depth) for having 2 rows. How far does the back row need to be from the back wall? How close can the front row be? I know there are issues with being able to see the weave in an AT screen, but I've seen suggestions anywhere from 7ft to 11ft minimums (which is a pretty big spread with the space I've got available). I feel like there are so many inter-related variables for seating and screen size and I can't seem to lock down any of them to solve for the rest smile.gif

Regarding soundproofing, this area is right under the kitchen. Is there no point in even trying to apply some soundproofing to the ceiling? I've done some reading on various soundproofing techniques, but the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of partial measures has been difficult for me to judge.

I will try to put together a couple of design options on paper and see where that takes me.

Thank you again and, of course, any additional thoughts are most welcome!
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post #4 of 28 Old 08-07-2013, 06:58 PM
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The sound implications are going to be an issue, when the Mrs doesn't want to join you to watch your action movie. You'll be disturbing the
rest of the house, or you'll be listening at greatly reduced levels. Someone isn't going to be happy.... You'll also lose the symmetry of the missing
wall and accept reduced audio quality of any speakers you select.

A window plug will keep the window functional and offer light control.

Sound proofing is an "all or nothing" thing. The open side wall will undo any soundproofing efforts. Adding the missing side wall will be best money
you will spend in the room.

Ten foot viewing distance to the XD works excellent.

I'd suggest staking out a little more width, work in the av rack, and stick with a single row of seating.

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post #5 of 28 Old 08-08-2013, 05:45 AM
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I'd actually suggest flipping your room 180 degrees. Put the screen on the south wall. I think that little alcove on the north wall is useless to you if that's your screen wall. I might use it as a media rack and hang your rear surrounds back there. I'd also recommend walling off the west side because I don't think the counter offers much extra in the way of more viewers. They'd be looking at a pretty hefty angle, you lose more brightness on your screen, need more subwoofer power, and lose the possibility of sound isolation. If you want an equipment rack, you could put it in the northwest corner. You could actually build a closet in the northeast corner of the living room area. Lastly, 2 rows is really not feasible in this room unless you plan to use actual movie theater seats. I think I'd just go with a single row of 4 seats (loveseat in the middle gives you a little more space off the walls).

My build thread:

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post #6 of 28 Old 08-08-2013, 06:20 AM
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What you haven't told us is what the current state of the basement. Finished, not finished at all, partly finished?

I have an open concept and have what I believe are excellent results in "soundproofing". I did decouple the ENTIRE basement (ALL walls and ceilings, yes, even the bathroom!) and used 5/8s x-type DD and green glue. My room is under the kitchen and family room. A couple of weekends ago I demo'd for a coupel of neighbors and with the door to the basement OPEN, people i nth eliving room only felt the floor shake (they thought it might be another earthquake!) during the Iron Man "Gettlemen, I give you...." scene.

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post #7 of 28 Old 08-08-2013, 04:05 PM
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Bright scenes on any screen with surface texture, can reveal that texture, if you have good vision. A sample swatch doesn't quite equate with having the entire screen being XD, and
having no other screen surface to compare to, in real time.

I did put the alcove to work, for a shallower AT space depth, and still have room for the speakers to be 6" off the back of the screen, and hide the subwoofers (which
shouldn't have ports or drivers facing the screen). The wing section can be put to work to hide some bass traps.

Rotating the room ninety degrees, so the east wall is the screen wall might work well with the room being kept open concept with a single row of seating. The bay window alcove could
recess the av rack into a straight side wall. The rear surrounds could be in ceiling, in the family room. You lose the window but you can use a standard screen, with a standard exposed
speaker layout.

I suspect decoupling a whole basement might have something to do with the term "LOGANED". wink.gif Quite the undertaking.
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post #8 of 28 Old 08-08-2013, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxtrot4 View Post

Thank you both very much for your input! Looks like I still have a lot to think about, which isn't helping my paralysis by analysis biggrin.gif

On the seating front, I was kind of hoping (perhaps wildly optimistically) to get 2 rows in. I've not been able to find able to find a good guide on minimum room size (depth) for having 2 rows. How far does the back row need to be from the back wall? How close can the front row be? I know there are issues with being able to see the weave in an AT screen, but I've seen suggestions anywhere from 7ft to 11ft minimums (which is a pretty big spread with the space I've got available). I feel like there are so many inter-related variables for seating and screen size and I can't seem to lock down any of them to solve for the rest smile.gif

Regarding soundproofing, this area is right under the kitchen. Is there no point in even trying to apply some soundproofing to the ceiling? I've done some reading on various soundproofing techniques, but the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of partial measures has been difficult for me to judge.

I will try to put together a couple of design options on paper and see where that takes me.

Thank you again and, of course, any additional thoughts are most welcome!
So it all depends how you intend to use your theater, when we use ours, the whole family is there so there's no-one else to disturb so I've spent $0 on soundproofing smile.gif
We have 2 rows, adults are at ~14' and the kids are at ~10' from a 150" XD screen, I'm sure they could go closer without noticing any weave or complaining, I would have gone bigger but that's the largest image I can project without moving the PJ (+1 on the get a PJ and sheet/material in the room and try out how it feels before committing to a screen etc.), best advice I read was to go to a cinema with your wife and try out different seats to get an idea of how immersive you both prefer, turns out I'd prefer to be in the front row (if the screen wasn't so high up) and my wife prefers to sit further back but it's hard to work this out without trying the different seating positions.
Just remember there are people here who've spent a very wide range of money on their HTs. from pretty much $0 to enough to buy a high end car and beyond, way beyond, it's about deciding what your budget for this HT is and then working out how to make as good an experience as you can whilst staying in budget.


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post #9 of 28 Old 08-08-2013, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
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The sound implications are going to be an issue, when the Mrs doesn't want to join you to watch your action movie. You'll be disturbing the rest of the house, or you'll be listening at greatly reduced levels. Someone isn't going to be happy....

That's just crazy talk wink.gif

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You'll also lose the symmetry of the missing wall and accept reduced audio quality of any speakers you select.

The effect on audio quality of the asymmetry was a definite concern, but I have not had a chance to dig into the implications of it yet. Given that I have seen quite a few examples of theaters that don't have all their walls, I am guessing that this is either something that non-audiophiles can live with and/or something that can be compensated for? How big a of reduction in quality are we talking about?

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Ten foot viewing distance to the XD works excellent.

I'd suggest staking out a little more width, work in the av rack, and stick with a single row of seating.

foxtrot.jpg 43k .jpg file

Thank you for the sketch of a layout, that was very helpful. I'm hoping to put together a couple of revised plans myself this weekend to play with these ideas some more. On the (long) list of things I'm still trying to get my head around, how far towards the edges of the room/screen should the L/R speakers be? I had hoped to use the alcove as you showed - as a way to place the speakers behind the screen without losing much room depth. The edges of the alcove, however, could potentially negate that if the speakers need to go all the way to the edges of the screen (or the screen size will be limited, of course).
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post #10 of 28 Old 08-08-2013, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
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What you haven't told us is what the current state of the basement. Finished, not finished at all, partly finished?

My apologies, I had intended to include that in my original post. The basement is completely unfinished. This whole project started when we wanted to move forward with finishing it and I was trying to figure out how much space to leave for a theater that could be finished out later. I didn't want to do the rest of the basement and then discover I hadn't left enough room...

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I have an open concept and have what I believe are excellent results in "soundproofing". I did decouple the ENTIRE basement (ALL walls and ceilings, yes, even the bathroom!) and used 5/8s x-type DD and green glue. My room is under the kitchen and family room. A couple of weekends ago I demo'd for a coupel of neighbors and with the door to the basement OPEN, people i nth eliving room only felt the floor shake (they thought it might be another earthquake!) during the Iron Man "Gettlemen, I give you...." scene.

That's amazing! And way more hard core than I'm willing to go this first time around! Maybe for my next one smile.gif
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post #11 of 28 Old 08-08-2013, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Rotating the room ninety degrees, so the east wall is the screen wall might work well with the room being kept open concept with a single row of seating. The bay window alcove could recess the av rack into a straight side wall. The rear surrounds could be in ceiling, in the family room. You lose the window but you can use a standard screen, with a standard exposed speaker layout.

That is an intriguing idea. There is actually a lot of flexibility in depth available if the screen is on the East wall (it basically opens into a family room as currently drawn up), although there will have to be "negotiations" if things extend too far. In this variation, the seating will be around where the West wall is currently shown, so the footprint isn't really any bigger from that standpoint. How much additional space is needed behind the seating for speaker placement, etc? I've tried to focus my research so far on the general room configuration and have not really explored 5.1/7.2/etc in terms of speaker configuration. Would any other speakers need to be in the ceiling? Are there significant performance differences in ceiling mounted vs. wall-mounted for the rear surrounds?

In either configuration, there is some amount of space behind the single row of seating. I've seen in several designs a bar with higher stools behind the last row of "normal" seating. Would that be an option here? It seems like that would take up a lot less space than the traditional riser and second row I'd initially be thinking about. I'd really like to get the capacity above the single row, if possible, even if the single row has the best seats/will get the most use. Would it have much impact on the speaker placement, since the ears would generally be a lot closer together? Are there issues with being too close to the back wall (not an issue in the 90-degree rotation one, but I think there could be room for a similar setup in the original orientation)?
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post #12 of 28 Old 08-09-2013, 05:47 AM
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I suspect decoupling a whole basement might have something to do with the term "LOGANED". Quite the undertaking.

It probably does!
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That's amazing! And way more hard core than I'm willing to go this first time around! Maybe for my next one

It really not as hard core as you would tihnk. By using a DC04 type clips (and I know there are less expensive versions around and I can point you in the right direction if you want to persue it) to decouple the stud walls allows you to attach drywall directly to the studs. Then clip and channel on the ceiling and you're good to go.

Ah, what the heck...check out Ted White's site at http://www.soundproofingcompany.com and then the Soundproofing 101 tab.

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post #13 of 28 Old 08-09-2013, 01:43 PM
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The ninety degree rotation was more with staying with the open concept room, and keeping the back wall open and using in ceiling surrounds. It would work for a bar seating row too.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1022589/the-get-away-theater-under-construction

Raising surround speakers is a commonly used design trick. Bar seating can work ok for adding capacity, but bar seating is seldom all that comfortable
over the length of a movie.
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post #14 of 28 Old 08-09-2013, 03:22 PM
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OK... I just paint stars, so these other guys are the ones to listen to about soundproofing (although I did build an office in my backyard with things I've learned on this site, and from good suggestions from other members). But about the open wall... Why can't you just get some thick, theater curtains to put along that wall that you can open and close as needed? It won't soundproof the room, but it will go a long way to making the sound better (My feeble brain thinks).

And if you go with one row of seats... why not get some bean bags for the kids to throw down in front?

Jeff


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post #15 of 28 Old 08-11-2013, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
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The ninety degree rotation was more with staying with the open concept room, and keeping the back wall open and using in ceiling surrounds. It would work for a bar seating row too.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1022589/the-get-away-theater-under-construction

Raising surround speakers is a commonly used design trick. Bar seating can work ok for adding capacity, but bar seating is seldom all that comfortable
over the length of a movie.

Thank you so much for that link! Not sure how I had missed that particular theater, but it opens up a world of ideas!
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OK... I just paint stars, so these other guys are the ones to listen to about soundproofing (although I did build an office in my backyard with things I've learned on this site, and from good suggestions from other members).

I was just looking through some of your ceilings this afternoon - pretty incredible, Jeff! More things to think about... smile.gif

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But about the open wall... Why can't you just get some thick, theater curtains to put along that wall that you can open and close as needed? It won't soundproof the room, but it will go a long way to making the sound better (My feeble brain thinks).

That is an interesting idea. I have no clue whether that would help with potential sound issues from the "missing" wall, but would be interested if anyone else knows. Thinking through these acoustical considerations makes my head hurt... I'm much more visually inclined.

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And if you go with one row of seats... why not get some bean bags for the kids to throw down in front?

Definitely! It's just harder to sell the grown-ups on that smile.gif
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post #17 of 28 Old 08-11-2013, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
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So, I've played around with some potential layouts and ideas, and I think I'm converging on one of two options that are actually pretty similar, except for their orientation.

Option 1: This option keeps the screen wall on the North wall, as originally planned, and draws heavily from Tedd's suggestion (thanks!). The L/R speakers are 9 feet apart and partially fit into the alcove. I wasn't sure what a typical depth for speakers was, so I assumed 2 feet (and 1 ft wide) and then tacked on another 6" to the screen. Presumably if speakers are not that deep, I could move the screen a little closer to the North wall. The seating position (one row) is 11 feet from the screen to where your head would be. I've assumed as 120" wide 2.35 AT screen, which might be a little big, but I figured I could size that out a little more accurately once I had some of the other variables figured out. If it gets smaller, however, the L/R speakers would be outside (or partially outside the screen) - is that a problem? I spaced the speakers to have a 45 degree separation with respect to the seating position.



As you can see, the side surrounds are a bit of a sticking point. I put in two different options in terms of alignment for them, but I assume they will be symmetrical. The left surround is shown in a column on a short wall extending off of the planned hallway wall. This is a preferred location from the standpoint of the rest of the basement layout, but looks a little tight in the theater. How far should the surround speakers be from the seats? Also, I wasn't sure what dimensions were appropriate for those speakers either, so as shown, they are 1 foot deep and 2 feet wide. Perhaps an in-wall speaker rather than a column would open things up a little more? The right surround speaker is also shown in a column, but is further away by virtue of having some additional horizontal space in that part of the basement. That wall could be brought out to make it symmetrical, of course (or the column extended or something). Seems like there is less of an issue on the right side.

The West "wall" could potentially be moved out some, but there is a pole that is dictating some of the other wall positions in the basement (shown in the South-West corner of the theater). While most of that side would be open, I was planning to run a soffit to help define the West edge of the space (and possibly hang a curtain as Jeff suggested if that could help improve sound quality).

I didn't draw any rear channel speakers. From some of the numbers I ran, it seems like there is not enough distance from the seating position to the back wall (about 2.5 feet, I believe) to have much separation for those channels (60 degrees)? Will in-ceiling speakers improve that? Should I just accept a wider-than-optimal separation as a consequence of the room? How will that impact the sound from those channels? It may be possible to move the South wall back a foot or two, but that is not preferable. This narrower distance probably eliminates any form of second row seating, also, unfortunately.


Option 2: This option rotates the room 90 degrees, and I am really falling in love with this approach (thanks again Tedd!). Again, the L/R speakers are shown 9' apart, 30" from the East wall to the screen position, and 11' from the screen to the seating position. As shown, the screen is a retractable 2.35 120" AT screen. This approach leaves a lot of flexibility on some form of additional seating and I hope with full side walls, greatly improves the audio possibilities. I'm not sure what to do with the alcove and whether leaving it open will cause sound problems, etc, but that seems like a minor issue at this point.



There are two main sticking points with this option. First, a minor one - there is a window in the wall in the area where the center speaker would go. Since I do not believe I need to have access to this escape window, I think either some kind of blackout shade/tinting or window plug should address any light issues. The window is just under 3' from the floor. I don't think it will cause any problems with mounting the center speaker because the speaker should be completely in front of it, but thought I would mention it.

Second, a major (and potential deal-killer) sticking point is that there is an electrical panel (which will need to have a sub-panel placed on one side or the other when we finish the basement) pretty much right behind the left channel speaker. I've been wracking my brain all weekend trying to figure out how I can go with this orientation option and still allow relatively easy access to the panel. If it helps, here's an actual photo of the space, towards the North East corner (you can just see the pole in the bottom right of the picture):




Any thoughts? Can the left speaker be mounted in such a way that it is easily moveable? Additionally, if I did a screen wall (which I would prefer over the retractable screen), is there some way to move the screen out of the way and/or get behind the wall easily? I've seen a few threads discussing hinged screens, but even that isn't complete, as there is still the lower portion of the wall in the way. Maybe curtains on the edges and not having the screen wall go all the way to the North wall? I'm not sure if that will leave enough room to get to the panel. The panel has to be accessible - I'm sure code requires it and also, if a breaker trips, I don't want someone stumbling around in the theater in the dark trying to get to it and walking through the screen eek.gif

As always, thanks again for everyone that has chimed in so far, your help has been invaluable, and more input is greatly appreciated!
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post #18 of 28 Old 08-11-2013, 06:02 PM
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You could do fabric panels for the front wall. One panel could be the window plug, and another electrical panel access. The screen could be cleat mounted
to be easily removed. With the wider room layout, you could skip the AT screen. With the speakers exposed, the left hand speaker could be simply moved
out of the way....

Keep a rechargeable flashlight plugged in somewhere, and you'll have light to remove the screen, or find the electrical panel, if a breaker needs resetting.
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post #19 of 28 Old 08-13-2013, 03:27 PM
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I was just looking through some of your ceilings this afternoon - pretty incredible, Jeff! More things to think about... smile.gif

Very cool, thanks. Well, whatever you decide to do, if you decide to go with a ceiling... I will be happy to help you DIY, find someone near you who would hopefully do a nice job for you, or I'd be happy to help you with it. Either way, if you decide to go for a star ceiling (and I think everyone should) :-) ... then I am happy to help in any way that I can, no matter if you want to use me or not. One recommendation is to get suggestions early on in the build for things that will make a mural/FO ceiling work out the best.

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That is an interesting idea. I have no clue whether that would help with potential sound issues from the "missing" wall, but would be interested if anyone else knows. Thinking through these acoustical considerations makes my head hurt... I'm much more visually inclined.

I have worked in some theater rooms where they had curtains over an open wall, or partial open wall... and it did deaden some of the noise from out in the other part of the room, but it also helped to darken the room when others were using the other areas. All of this stuff makes my head hurt! :-)

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Originally Posted by Foxtrot4 View Post

Definitely! It's just harder to sell the grown-ups on that smile.gif

Sure, I'd take a chair over a Lovesac (little higher quality bean bag)... but it there's no room for a second row, then I'm all over the thing. :-)

Good luck.


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post #20 of 28 Old 08-15-2013, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, with some time to further consider all of your helpful input, I'm starting to feel like this is doable and that the electrical panel won't be a deal breaker (and my bank account is starting to cry wink.gif ). If you'll indulge me, I have a few more questions that I haven't been able to find "best" answers for:

1) Would it be possible to mount the screen on some kind of sliding mount? It will overlap the electrical panel access by only a foot or less, and if I could just push it aside when needed, that would be ideal. I was thinking maybe re-purposing a drawer slide or something. The only problem I can think of is the potential for rattling? My concern with the cleat mount that Tedd proposed is that, not knowing how heavy the screen is, I fear it might be awkward for one person to remove it when needed. Maybe that isn't the case?

2) What is the proper speaker width behind an AT screen? I had read many places that 45 degrees was the ideal separation for L/R speakers, but that would tend to put the speakers at the edges or even outside the screen at many common viewing distances. I've seen a lot of recommendations for having the speaker well in from the edges of a 2.35:1 AT screen and one or two mentions of having them at the edge of where a 16x9 image would be on such a screen. But that results in much less than 45 degree separation. Any advice on the "right" answer (or at least where I might look to get a better understanding of the tradeoffs)?

3) If I ditch the AT screen and just go with speakers outside of the screen, any suggestions on how to mark where the L speaker would go for when it inevitably gets moved to access the electrical panel? I'd at least want to be able to reliably put it back where it belongs smile.gif

4) Earlier on, some of the proposed designs people provided included space for the A/V equipment/rack. I was already planning on having an equipment rack for other whole-house A/V stuff in another part of the basement (near my wiring closet). Is there any reason any A/V equipment needs to be in (or nearby) the theater room, beyond maybe a Blu-Ray player? Are there any issues with speaker wire lengths? I'm pretty comfortable with the video issues, but know little about restrictions on speaker wires.

As always, all of your feedback is greatly appreciated! Hoping to sketch up a new design this weekend, but it might be tough with some out of town travel.
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post #21 of 28 Old 08-16-2013, 02:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxtrot4 View Post

Okay, with some time to further consider all of your helpful input, I'm starting to feel like this is doable and that the electrical panel won't be a deal breaker (and my bank account is starting to cry wink.gif ). If you'll indulge me, I have a few more questions that I haven't been able to find "best" answers for:

1) Would it be possible to mount the screen on some kind of sliding mount? It will overlap the electrical panel access by only a foot or less, and if I could just push it aside when needed, that would be ideal. I was thinking maybe re-purposing a drawer slide or something. The only problem I can think of is the potential for rattling? My concern with the cleat mount that Tedd proposed is that, not knowing how heavy the screen is, I fear it might be awkward for one person to remove it when needed. Maybe that isn't the case?

Screens aren't heavy. And the Mrs could help. I'd be more concerned about damage to the screen then weight.

2) What is the proper speaker width behind an AT screen? I had read many places that 45 degrees was the ideal separation for L/R speakers, but that would tend to put the speakers at the edges or even outside the screen at many common viewing distances. I've seen a lot of recommendations for having the speaker well in from the edges of a 2.35:1 AT screen and one or two mentions of having them at the edge of where a 16x9 image would be on such a screen. But that results in much less than 45 degree separation. Any advice on the "right" answer (or at least where I might look to get a better understanding of the trade offs)?

Optimally, the L and R will be 30 degree spread, off center, for a 60 degree spread total in total. But those numbers can flex as the design should be start with seating and placement of eyes and ears.

3) If I ditch the AT screen and just go with speakers outside of the screen, any suggestions on how to mark where the L speaker would go for when it inevitably gets moved to access the electrical panel? I'd at least want to be able to reliably put it back where it belongs smile.gif

You are way overthinking a lot of this.

4) Earlier on, some of the proposed designs people provided included space for the A/V equipment/rack. I was already planning on having an equipment rack for other whole-house A/V stuff in another part of the basement (near my wiring closet). Is there any reason any A/V equipment needs to be in (or nearby) the theater room, beyond maybe a Blu-Ray player? Are there any issues with speaker wire lengths? I'm pretty comfortable with the video issues, but know little about restrictions on speaker wires.

Hdmi cable length can sometimes be tricky. My personal preference is to have the av rack outside the theater. No light pollution from av gear, no noise, and no heat from gear. I've had my av rack up front which I considered a mistake, then in the rear side wall (much better) and my last rebuild has the av rack
right outside the room. Any theaters in my future will be done this way.

As always, all of your feedback is greatly appreciated! Hoping to sketch up a new design this weekend, but it might be tough with some out of town travel.
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post #22 of 28 Old 08-16-2013, 07:43 AM
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Here's what I would do. I borrow about a foot from the bedroom and from the adjacent room, full wall with sealing door. This allows you 2 full rows and plenty of width. Front soundstage will be a little narrow but doable.

theater_plan_fox.png


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post #23 of 28 Old 08-16-2013, 07:49 AM
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Have you thought about moving your entrance door further down the wall? I'd look at moving it to the very back of the room (the bottom of the wall it is on now). That may cause you to move/lose a seat, but it may be a better placement.

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post #24 of 28 Old 08-16-2013, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidK442 View Post

Have a look at pocket door hardware.

Will do, thanks! That could be a lot simpler than the drawer slide configuration I was envisioning. Is rattling/shaking likely with suspending the screen that way?


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Originally Posted by Tedd View Post

Screens aren't heavy. And the Mrs could help. I'd be more concerned about damage to the screen then weight.

The screen getting damaged was definitely another concern I had. It seems like it would be very awkward for a single person to move it and Murphy's Law clearly dictates that the screen will need to be moved when I'm not around to help smile.gif . That's why I was trying to find a way to allow it to slide the foot or so to the right that would be needed. I think the pocket door/drawer slide approach could work well, but I worry it might rattle being nearby (but admittedly several feet above) the subs.

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Originally Posted by Tedd View Post

Optimally, the L and R will be 30 degree spread, off center, for a 60 degree spread total in total. But those numbers can flex as the design should be start with seating and placement of eyes and ears.

The reason I'm trying to nail down the L/R placement is because we'll have to add a subpanel to the electrical panel to finish the basement. The subpanel will probably go to the left of the existing panel. If the speakers an can be "inside" (the L speaker being to the right side of the existing panel), then that isn't a problem, it just comes at a cost of a narrower spread between the L/R speakers: ~7', which is about 37 degrees at an 11' seating position. I don't know if that is unacceptably below the 45-60 degrees that have been recommended. If so, and the speakers need to be wider (closer to the corners), then I will have to go with free-standing speakers, rather than in-walls/behind-the-screen types. So the speaker placement is actually going to dictate the screen wall positioning/construction. That's why I'm trying to figure out which way I need to go with the speakers.

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You are way overthinking a lot of this.

It's what I do biggrin.gif . Still, I'm glad I've asked because I've learned a ton from everyone!
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post #25 of 28 Old 08-16-2013, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djkest View Post

Here's what I would do. I borrow about a foot from the bedroom and from the adjacent room, full wall with sealing door. This allows you 2 full rows and plenty of width. Front soundstage will be a little narrow but doable.

That is in line with what I was originally envisioning, but there is a column in the South-West corner (didn't show up that well in the original figure, sorry about that), so I can either take some space from the bedroom or take some space on the West side, but I can't do both:



Regardless, an unfortunate design constraint is that the left wall can't be built/room cannot be completely closed off, as dictated by higher power wink.gif
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post #26 of 28 Old 08-16-2013, 09:22 AM
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That's not a problem.
theater_plan_fox.png
Just integrate that post/beam into the AV closet. You lose 1 set in the back, but it's not a major issue.

Also, tell the [higher power] that the theater gets to be the way you want it, and [it] can dictate the other rooms. smile.gif It's your house as much as [theirs]. There are lots of benefits that [THEY] would appreciate to being able to close the room off. Light control, noise control.


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post #27 of 28 Old 08-16-2013, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxtrot4 View Post

That is in line with what I was originally envisioning, but there is a column in the South-West corner (didn't show up that well in the original figure, sorry about that), so I can either take some space from the bedroom or take some space on the West side, but I can't do both:



Regardless, an unfortunate design constraint is that the left wall can't be built/room cannot be completely closed off, as dictated by higher power wink.gif

'Perfect is the enemy of the Good' - Voltaire
In an ideal world we'd all like a fully sound insulated/isolated HT but if I'd held out for that then I still wouldn't have an HT, so decide on what you can get approval for and go for it! smile.gif


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post #28 of 28 Old 08-20-2013, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
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After playing around with the design some more, here is the latest plan:



Still have the 11' seating distance, which seems to match up very well with the 120" screen width. The bar/second row is just a doodle to see how it might fit.

A big question now is with respect to the center channel. If I put it behind the screen, in this configuration, it will have to be a very short depth - basically in-wall (4-6" deep), as I just don't think I can give up the 30 or so inches needed to do a true false wall. Here is an elevation of the screen wall:



As you can see, the window is pretty much exactly where the center channel needs to go. Is there any way, short of building a full wall in front of the window, to put an in-wall speaker in this space/in front of the window? Could I just put up some framing for the speaker itself, leaving most of the window exposed/semi-accessible? Is that going to cause sound quality issues? And would those issues be worse than positioning the center above/below the screen?

And, speaking of sound quality issues, I'm guessing the alcove on the North wall and the lack of any real back wall will have an impact on the sound quality - are those likely to be major problems? Are they things that can be compensated for? I know four real walls make so many of these concerns go away, but I just don't see that happening...

Seems like there are always more questions with this project smile.gif Still, I feel like the plan is starting to come together biggrin.gif
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