I wish that I had BIGmouthinDC building my theater, but I will be doing the work myself. I have been lurking on the forums for five years, absorbing info and biding my time until my turn came around. I owe a huge thanks to the members who post and share their knowledge so generously here, namely BIGmouth and Ted White. I've honestly searched through thousands of threads to glean knowledge from those two. I've appreciated Dennis' contributions as well, but I am not an audiophile, so my main interests have been in creating a soundproof, decoupled room, and one that I can build myself...so Ted and BIG are my teachers. Ted has already been so helpful to work with in the early phases, and though BIG has no idea who I am, his builds have taught me plenty. Anyway, on to the build!
My basement was previously unfinished. I had almost 29' x 13' to work with, and I decided to dedicate about 23' x13' for the theater, and keep the back 6'x13' split between a dedicated lobby (with component closet) and a half bathroom (I can only imagine how important that toilet will become once the mini-fridge is installed!).
The current HVAC has been moved as best as it could, and the rest has been surrounded in a soffit. I'm paying an HVAC guy to put in a mini-split once the drywall goes up (I'm assuming I should wait for drywall?) The walls are all de-coupled. The ceiling is about 7'9" now, but with DD and hat channel it's going to be a bit low. Because of the room within a room and extra drywall, my dimensions are basically 12' x 22'8" x 7'6". The soffits are on both side walls, and stop about 15' from the front wall. They hold your standard HVAC returns, just under 2 feet deep and no room for lighting. So, this will be your standard 12 foot wide, two-row, five-seat theater, with a reclining HT couch on the back riser and two HT chairs for the first row (these are fantastic Cimematech seats I got off of Craigslist, weirdly, from an NBA All-Star's estate sale). I already own a JVC RS40 and a Carada fixed 110" screen, along with an SVS PB-12 NSD sub, DENON AVR-891 7.1, Focal Chorus 814 fronts and center (surrounds still need purchasing). All my gear is from a previous room and I'm trying not to upgrade any of it...let's see how strong I am!
Here's what I'm planning, and I'd be happy to upload a plan but I can't figure out how to work sketchup at the moment. The stage and screen wall will be built 30" out. The screen isn't AT so I need some room on the sides. I'll treat my front wall to deaden it behind the screen wall. since the screen is 110" 16:9, I would place the first row at about 9' back (11'6" total from front wall) and the second row on top of a riser 15' back (17'6" total). Behind the second row, also on a riser will be a three-seat counter/bar since I have five extra feet or so.
The entire room will be DD/GG (or OSB on first layer). No hush box, open to column/acoustic treatment suggestions. The room is already decoupled and framed. The projector will hang above the second row of seats.
So, here are my planning questions early on, if anyone has a chance to chime in:
1) How high should I go with the riser? Is it worth trying to suspend the ceiling drywall channel from between the joists so that I only lose a 1/2" or so, instead of hanging the channel from the joists directly? It's going to be a tight fit, but I fear this will be a pain in the arse.
2) Is it enough (for a non-audiophile) to just deaden the front wall, deaden the back wall, bass trap the corners, and treat the first points of reflection with panels? Or do I need to decorate the entire room in GOM and AT in the standard way, up to the ear level and batting above? I'd love to do minimal treatments, but I don't want to regret it later.
3) How much of the first layer of drywall should I substitute with OSB? I know it's handy to have an entire first layer of OSB, but besides where the projector will hang, what other areas are handy to do OSB in, and how much more cost/labor am I looking at? (I plan to do all the work other than the drywall and mini-split)
4) Does anyone know a good reference thread for designing a screen wall with a framed-screen (like the Carada) that can include a DIY maksing system (horizontal) and that leaves enough room on the sides for the front towers?
5) If I do decide to do GOM on every wall, how much would I need to budget if I wanted to run fabric channel instead of building frames?
6) I'm planning on lighting the riser with leds or rope, 3 canned lights on the screen, 4 cans above the seats, and 3 cans above the bar (these bar cans will likely be soffited since the projector is dangling there anyway, and that creates less holes in the DD for sound to leak through). Are those four zones enough? Is that too many backer boxes to build?
7) Is it worth it to go to 7.1, or is an audio NOOB likely gonna be happy with a 5.1?
8) Should my wife file divorce papers now, just to get a head start?
My budget from this point forward is only about $16,000, and that isn't much once you think of carpet, drywall, mini-split, and especially acoustic treatments. If anyone has any advice, now is the time -- I'm starting to run electrical and LV wires this week.