New Construction build in Kansas - My first dedicated theater! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 08-08-2013, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
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**UPDATE: Getting very close to completion. New pictures posted on Page 2.



IMG_0026.jpg

IMG_0042.jpg



Hello,

I've been a long time lurker on this forum but this is the first time I've had an opportunity to build a decent theater. I realize this is very modest compared to some of your amazing theaters - I strive for greatness someday, but I only plan on being in this house for a couple more years smile.gif

We moved into this house last July and I'm now working on finishing the basement. I've attached some floor plan pictures from floorplanner - the theater room is 13x19 and I've decided to keep it open to the rest of the basement. I came to this decision mostly for resale value, but also because I like the feeling of having the open space when I'm just casually watching or playing video games, etc. I am undecided if I will do a tiered seating setup, but most likely I will just keep the single row.

With that being said, now that the framing is up and I've had a chance to mock up the screen and speaker locations, I'm wondering if it would be wise to close in the back area of the theater room. There is currently a 24" wide column that houses a support beam and my left side surround speaker. In positioning my sofa for an ideal viewing distance (135" 2.39:1 screen) I discovered the side surrounds are slightly in front of our heads, and I think they sound better slightly behind as recommended by Dolby, etc. I've considered making the column wider so I can move the speaker back, but at that point it seems like it might be more logical to just enclose the entire opening with a wall.

Can you look at these pictures and tell me what you would recommend? I'm wondering if having it enclosed would benefit my acoustics at all, specifically the subwoofer and surround speakers. I plan on upgrading the sub to something fairly beefy as I realize I have the entire basement area to pressurize, but I'm wondering if having the room "less open" will make any difference in that regard? Also in terms of maximizing my surround field, would having it boxed in have any impact? I do plan on hanging DIY acoustic panels to take care of reflection points.


I'm also open to any other suggestions or comments. I'm at the point where I'm ready for drywall to go up but I'm second-guessing myself about a lot of things.. I want it to be perfect when I'm done!

Thanks








Looking into the back of the theater. I'm still experimenting with the surround height and location:


This is the wall in question:


From the back of the theater. Hard to see, but I had a soffit framed around the screen area. My temporary screen is just primed drywall, but I have a 135" Jamestown 2.39:1 screen waiting to go up.


Closer view of the soffit, which will eventually house 3 can lights:
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post #2 of 38 Old 08-08-2013, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Reserved for completed pictures.
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post #3 of 38 Old 08-09-2013, 12:42 AM
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Personally I would enclose the whole thing. It looks like that column is pretty thick so this gives you the opportunity to really seal that room off from the rest of the house. The narrow side where you put the red question mark is where I'd put the door.

Have you played with moving the seating position closer? It may still feel pretty good and you could then put a riser and 2nd row in behind.
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post #4 of 38 Old 08-09-2013, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
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As much as I would love to do the full-on dedicated theater, I don't want to turn off potential buyers when I go to sell the house. If I was going to be there for 5-10 years it would be different and I'd go for it. Trust me, it was a hard decision because I do have the perfect space to do it.

As far as the seating position, the closest I feel comfortable is about 12 feet which would allow a second row to be built, but I haven't decided if I want to go that route yet. I never imagined how many decisions would be involved in this process. Now I'm thinking I want to build a stage which will require some re-wiring.
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post #5 of 38 Old 08-09-2013, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Any comments on the difference in sound quality?
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post #6 of 38 Old 08-09-2013, 05:44 PM
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I'd close it off. You could even completely drywall the space with the openings, take a $-load of pictures and then in-fill the openings with studs and sheetrock. New buyers could remove the infill easily to open the space up.

You will have some serious difficulty getting the sound right with the left side of the room missing.

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post #7 of 38 Old 08-09-2013, 06:23 PM
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Find a way to enclose the whole room and add a closet, and you just added a bedroom to your house. Plus you can use the closet to house your equipment.

The symmetry of the sound field makes it a lot more acoustically manageable, resulting in an improved sense of immersion and a greater chance that you don't "hear the room" as much when you listen. If you're not hearing the room, you can hear the space in the recording.
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post #8 of 38 Old 08-09-2013, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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You've got me thinking about it. We do live in a younger neighborhood (lots of 30s with young kids) so I think a theater would appeal to some buyers.

I've decided to close off the back of the theater and extend the front column out far enough to build a proper stage up front. I have a feeling I'm on a slippery slope. I've been reading about DIY subs today... make it stop!! tongue.gif
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post #9 of 38 Old 08-10-2013, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Now I'm contemplating just closing the entire room off. Who thinks I should go this route?
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post #10 of 38 Old 08-10-2013, 06:21 PM
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Only if you want a quality image and sound, other wise leave it wide open. Has anyone brought up the sound proofing issue, can't really do it with a wide open space.
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post #11 of 38 Old 08-10-2013, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Yup - I will have total light control either way, but I'm not concerned about sound proofing. I will be using R30 and 5/8" drywall, but nothing special beyond that. I plan to rock the house when we're enjoying the theater smile.gif

Think I've decided to leave a 6 feet or so opening into the theater just so it still feels somewhat open during the day and when I have company. Will look into some heavy blackout curtain material to hang in the opening, or possibly even a French door setup. Can't wait to get started framing it in! I've seen the "show me your stage" thread, but does anyone know of a good place for specific stage building plans? I'd like to build a simple 6" or so tall stage just for aesthetic purposes.

I'm also interested in doing some crown molding with blue LED lighting all the way around the room. I can't remember who's theater I saw it on, but the effect was awesome! If anyone can point me to a good source of how-to info, I'd really appreciate it!

Anyone in the Topeka / KC area? I'd love to check out someone else's theater to see how it's done.
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post #12 of 38 Old 08-10-2013, 08:43 PM
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what about household noises in the theater, Furnace, Water heater, Refrigerator, Washing Machine, Dishwasher, Passing cars, Planes, Neighbors leaf blower etc.

When you have a really well soundproofed room it is a remarkable event to close the door and realize how noisy your house really is.

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post #13 of 38 Old 08-11-2013, 12:32 AM
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Looking at the drawing of your floor plan it looks like the space behind the theater room may be usable as a bed room. Granted it meets all your local code requirements and what not.

If you plan on selling in a few years given as you said it's a young neighborhood...listing it as having a theater space will be a huge selling point. I'd do 2 rows, and leave enough space up front for the next family to scatter a bunch of bean bag chairs for the kids and their friends.
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post #14 of 38 Old 08-11-2013, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianAbington View Post

Looking at the drawing of your floor plan it looks like the space behind the theater room may be usable as a bed room. Granted it meets all your local code requirements and what not.

If you plan on selling in a few years given as you said it's a young neighborhood...listing it as having a theater space will be a huge selling point. I'd do 2 rows, and leave enough space up front for the next family to scatter a bunch of bean bag chairs for the kids and their friends.

Yep, the room behind the theater has an egress window and will be the 4th bedroom. There's plenty of open space in the other half of the basement, so I'm not as worried about closing off the theater section as I was previously. I'm going to start framing the back part of the theater in this afternoon, so we'll see how it goes!
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post #15 of 38 Old 08-13-2013, 08:12 AM
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The highest performing version of this room, would be dedicated. You'd have light control and you'd gain a lower noise floor, plus symmetrical side
walls for improved audio from the front speakers. Make the screen acoustically transparent, and you could get the LR mains off the side walls, and do three
identical speakers up front.

And if the room is dedicated, you can go with a dark color scheme to enhance the video performance.
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post #16 of 38 Old 08-17-2013, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Excited that I made the decision to close the space off and go full-on dedicated. I had originally planned to have my AV equipment up front in a piece of furniture, but now I'm considering moving everything to the back right corner of the theater. I don't want to build an equipment closet, but I am thinking about just a small square AV cabinet that could hold the receiver, cable box, bluray player, xbox, etc. I really don't have much equipment so it wouldn't take up too much space. I will put an IR repeater up front to bounce the remote signals back to the corner. Has anyone seen this done before or have any pictures or ideas?
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post #17 of 38 Old 08-17-2013, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedigitel View Post

Excited that I made the decision to close the space off and go full-on dedicated.

Congrats on the "upgrade"! biggrin.gif
Quote:
I had originally planned to have my AV equipment up front in a piece of furniture, but now I'm considering moving everything to the back right corner of the theater. I don't want to build an equipment closet, but I am thinking about just a small square AV cabinet that could hold the receiver, cable box, bluray player, xbox, etc. I really don't have much equipment so it wouldn't take up too much space. I will put an IR repeater up front to bounce the remote signals back to the corner. Has anyone seen this done before or have any pictures or ideas?

IR repeaters don't "bounce" the IR signal, they convert it to an electrical signal, which is carried via wiring back to the gear. At the gear, the signal is turned back to IR with emitters. You can either go that route - Monoprice has a super-cheap system for this:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=109&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011009&p_id=9895&seq=1&format=2

Or you can use any of the RF remote control solutions, which IMO is a better way to go in a theater, as you don't have to point the remote at anything.. Harmony RF models would be the simplest solution in that arena.

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
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post #18 of 38 Old 08-31-2013, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Here's an update.... lots of changes were made to the design. I decided to flip the orientation of the room around so I could build an equipment rack under the stairs. I also changed the lighting around, I have 3 dimmer zones - the front zone has three 3" cans focused on the screen, along with two 6" cans. The rear zone has two 6" cans and there will be two wall sconces on either side of the room. The additional zone will be used for LED strip lighting that will go in later.

I built enclosures for the in-wall speakers to seal them up, and the speaker locations are drawn up on posterboard so the drywall guys know where to cut out. All speaker wire, HDMI, CAT6, electrical, HVAC, etc is done. R30 insulation in the ceiling and the right wall, R13 in the rest of the walls.

Drywall is going up today and tomorrow, I will update soon with completed pictures.




Looking to the front:
photo IMG_0067.jpg

Looking to the rear:
photo IMG_0066.jpg

A look at the 3" cans:
photo IMG_0069.jpg

In-wall speaker templates and future sconce location:
photo IMG_0065.jpg
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post #19 of 38 Old 08-31-2013, 04:12 PM
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May be too late for this advice, but I wouldn't recommend mixing the lighting on the dimmer zones the way you've indicated. It will be difficult to balance the light levels between the 6" cans and the sconces, as well as the screen-wash cans (which you'll want off completely when the screen is in-use, anyway). With the screen-wash cans off, you're also cutting off half of your ceiling lights. Depending on your choice of sconce designs, those may need to be kept at very low levels during movies, too.

Hard to keep those four light sources in three dimmers - four separate switches would be much better. You may not need a dimmer on the screen-wash lights - a simple switch might be fine. Same for the future LED strips...

Jeff

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post #20 of 38 Old 08-31-2013, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Unfortunately it is too late to change anything now as the ceiling is rocked.

We did the lighting that way so if we want some light during a movie it would only be lit back near the sofas and not in the front of the room. The back cans and the back sconces could be on very low. I contemplated doing 4 switches, but figured I'd rather just flip two switches as opposed to three when I want all the lights on.

Hopefully I don't decide I want more zones once it's all done smile.gif
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post #21 of 38 Old 09-01-2013, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Drywall is up! Things are really coming together now, I'm happy. I'm going to start working on building the stage next. How much gap should I leave between the stage and the walls, or should I just screw it into the walls?



photo IMG_0071.jpg


photo IMG_0072.jpg
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post #22 of 38 Old 09-01-2013, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedigitel View Post

I contemplated doing 4 switches, but figured I'd rather just flip two switches as opposed to three when I want all the lights on.

Hopefully I don't decide I want more zones once it's all done smile.gif

Hopefully... At least you've thought through the usage. A Lutron Spacer or similar single-location lighting panel would be a good choice to create scenes and have only one button to press...

For future reference for others reading - combining zones is much easier than attempting to separate them later. A bit of extra romex run to the switch locations gives you a lot of flexibility in choosing what is switched with what...

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
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post #23 of 38 Old 09-19-2013, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Been a while, but the drywall is done and the primer is up. Trying to decide on final paint colors now. What's the latest best flat black paint for ceilings?

I had planned on painting the front wall black and attaching black velvet panels around the screen, but now I've been wondering if I should use linacoustic somehow. Has anyone used linacoustic on a screen wall that is not using an AT screen? How would I attach / hide everything?
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post #24 of 38 Old 09-20-2013, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Bump.
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post #25 of 38 Old 09-20-2013, 06:52 AM
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Rosco Supersaturated Velour Black is the flattest and blackest paint you'll find.
http://www.stagelightingstore.com/Rosco-Supersaturated-Paint-6003-Velour-Black-5-Gallon_2?sc=44&category=542192 (You should be able to find it a little cheaper locally.)

The Esquire Theater Construction Thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1289590
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post #26 of 38 Old 09-20-2013, 06:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Rosco Supersaturated Velour Black is the flattest and blackest paint you'll find.
http://www.stagelightingstore.com/Rosco-Supersaturated-Paint-6003-Velour-Black-5-Gallon_2?sc=44&category=542192 (You should be able to find it a little cheaper locally.)

Thanks. If I can't find this locally, is Mickey Mouse Ears still a good choice, or is there something better?
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post #27 of 38 Old 09-20-2013, 10:51 AM
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Yes I have heard that Behr/Disney Mouse Ears works well but I have no personal experience with it. There was some talk here on the forum a while back that the Mouse Ears paint was discontinued, but I *think* the conclusion was that it's just under a different name now. I believe that if you go and ask for the darkest black they have, you'll get the same thing. Search for mouse ears here on the forum and you should come up with a thread that has a picture of the mouse ears formula. I think Bigmouthindc posted a photo if I'm remembering correctly.

Also be sure to get the flattest sheen they have.

The Esquire Theater Construction Thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1289590
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post #28 of 38 Old 09-20-2013, 06:42 PM
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My understanding is that Behr's "Beluga" 770F-7 is the current equivalent of the Disney "Mouse Ears."
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post #29 of 38 Old 09-21-2013, 09:10 AM
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All of the HDs around here still have the mix codes for the Disney line in the computer. If yours doesn't, you'll get the same mix by simply requesting the darkest black.

This is the mix code on my cans that came up using the Disney code. I believe the same code is used for Beluga that skater2 mentioned above. Or you can just give them the code and not worry about what they are calling it these days. It's all the same.

Colorant ..... .. OZ.... 384th
B-................... 12...... 0
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post #30 of 38 Old 09-22-2013, 10:49 AM
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Sorry I did not see your thread until now. It is probably too late but if you would like to see some theaters in the KC area I know of 3-4 folks who would most likely show you around. I am in the process of finishing mine hopefully in the next month or so. You are welcome to check it out as well.

It looks like you made some great choices already. Closing off the room since the cost isn't really much more. Deciding against soundproofing was the right call since you won't be in the house for the rest of your life. It gets expensive and affects everything you do so best to leave it out and wait till you get your forever house. I am plus minus on the stage in your situation. One of the reasons for a stage would be to act as a dampening layer if filled with sand and decoupled from the walls. But, since you are not doing soundproofing there is not much of a point. Another reason would be to raise the level of the speakers to get the tweeter height to reach the second row unimpeded. Did you decide on a second row? If no second row on a riser then there is no point again. Bean bags on the floor is a great option. I plan to do that for the kids when we have more people than seats. Of course aesthetics are another reason but I would weigh that against the cost and see if it is worth it to you.

I would guess that linacoustic on the front wall is a good idea but acoustics is a complicated subject and all rooms cannot be treated the same. You could cover the front wall with fabric frames to hide the insulation. If you were going to go to the trouble of doing that then you might as well make some more fabric frames for the rest of the room so you can add treatments to the first reflection points and a few other key areas.

Lot's of tough decisions to make. Personally, I tend to scrutinize everything way too much and take way too long doing it. Then in the end I still end up with a compromise (because everything is) and an imperfect solution. So I think you should just get it done as soon as you can and get to watching movies and having fun. I probably say that because I am currently very frustrated with the length of my build but there ya go.
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