Unfinished Basement, Completely Removable, With No Budget - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 02-11-2014, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Why's the basement unfinished? Why's everything removable? My wife and I love our house, but the neighborhood is just OK and not where we'd like to raise a family. So the plan is to live here for another 4-5 years (been here 2 already) and then move to our "forever house". So, I didn't want to spend all the money to finish the basement that I wouldn't reap back after selling the house. And I plan to take all the theater equipment with me when we go. Nothing is permanently attached - just a few screws that can be backed out.

I built the screen myself, with help from the wife (she actually really enjoyed it!), and I'm pretty proud of the result. I bought spandex online that was recommended in a few DIY Screen section threads. Gunmetal gray underneath matte white moleskin. I built the frame using 1x4 poplar and then wrapped the edges of the spandex around the yardstick to help stretch it evenly. Then we used a staple gun to staple straight through the yardstick into the poplar. This gave the spandex a nice consistent stretch because the yardstick was evenly applying pressure. And the yardsticks were only 98cents each at the local blue bigbox store. Then I built a larger frame around using 5/4x6 pressure treated decking and wrapped it in velvet and attached the two frames in the back.

Because the screen is acoustically transparent, I really wanted cool effect of having the speakers to sit behind the screen. So I used eye-hooks and 3/32" thin metal wire to hang the frame from the ceiling joists. The only holes drilled were through the velvet. No holes were through the spandex, except the staples through the yardsticks.

The projector is hanging using a peerless mount, and then an extender that I threw together using 2x4 and 2x6 scraps. Not the prettiest mount ever but works flawlessly and is strong.

All the furniture is leftover and hand-me-down. Don't laugh! :-) Yeah it's not fancy, but its comfortable and works great. And 95% of the time it's just me and the wife.
Unfinished Basement, Completely Removable, With No Budget


I also did not want to see any lights or anything distracting, so I put all the equipment behind the couch against a wall. I didn't have the budget to buy or build a fancy rack, so I'm using an Ikea table for now. Works great, fits everything - again, just not very pretty. But the components are easy to access and use, and most importantly are out of eyesight while watching a movie.

The PJ is a BenQ w1070 (my first PJ ever). A single HDMI run down to the receiver, a Pioneer VSX-523-k. It's works well enough. That is connected to Polk speakers (tsi300 for L&R, CS10 for center, and monitor 30s around back). They also work well enough for now. For subs I have a TSC-ASW10 (company went out of business) and a JBL 10" but not sure of model. I think the TSC sounds better, bigger, and cleaner, but I might try connecting both. I'm thinking of stacking behind the screen? Just waiting for a long cable to get shipped.

Future plans: get some cheap carpet or carpet squares. Or maybe even some free scraps to cover the floor. Also thinking about making a few acoustic panels to deaden the sound a bit. Floor is currently concrete, walls are block, and ceiling is just wood joists and subfloor. Sound proofing is not a concern.

So there it is. Thanks for reading. Please let me know feedback and suggestions! (But save the "it sucks" comments, because I know it's not as awesome as most of the other theaters people build here. But it also only cost me a few hundred bucks after the cost of the PJ.)

Finished product. The stuff on the far right is our workout area, so you can see rubber tiles and dumbells on the floor.

During fabric stretch and mounting:

An "after" view...camera quality is bad. Looked a lot better on the screen.

Another finished shot, without furniture in the shot.

The equipment "rack". The subs are going to moved from this position to behind the screen. Currently I have receiver, xbox 360, ps3, record player, and an HTPC running XBMC.

Casey

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post #2 of 17 Old 02-11-2014, 11:47 PM
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Nice job on the screen! A temporary theater is still better than none at all and you can pick up items that can go with you when you move. Seating is one of those things so if you want to upgrade check craigslist now and again. A local builder was using some in a model home and put them up on craigslist to off load them cheap. YMMV.

panels and carpet will obviously help with sound and I found the panels easy to make. As far as picture quality, paint is cheap if you want to darken the walls some. its surprising how much that helps. Also think about some cheap window covers.

Congrats on your new theater space. Enjoy!

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post #3 of 17 Old 02-12-2014, 07:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Nice job on the screen! A temporary theater is still better than none at all and you can pick up items that can go with you when you move. Seating is one of those things so if you want to upgrade check craigslist now and again. A local builder was using some in a model home and put them up on craigslist to off load them cheap. YMMV.

panels and carpet will obviously help with sound and I found the panels easy to make. As far as picture quality, paint is cheap if you want to darken the walls some. its surprising how much that helps. Also think about some cheap window covers.

Congrats on your new theater space. Enjoy!
Thanks for the feedback and advice! Good idea on the seating...I'll keep an eye out on Craigslist, though this couch and chairs are working OK for now.

I think panels is probably my next investment, since they are pretty cheap to build. Might even make the walls look a little nicer.

I like your suggestions about painting the walls to improve the perceived picture quality. The only reason I hadn't done that was that I was worried about reselling the house with weird black walls in the basement. But I guess I could always repaint them white at that time.

The window cover is something I overlooked because so far we've only watched movies at night. During the day that would obviously be a problem. I'll have to whip up a removable plug.

Thanks again! I love the feedback.

Casey

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post #4 of 17 Old 02-12-2014, 08:26 AM
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You don't have to do black to realize an improvement. Ideally the ceiling would be black but that's not really practical for you. The wall behind the screen being black would be best but Whatever color you choose for the walls just ensure it's a flat paint so it's not reflecting the light. No gloss or semi gloss.

Of course if you done any reading on the site you probably know all this already.

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post #5 of 17 Old 02-12-2014, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
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You don't have to do black to realize an improvement. Ideally the ceiling would be black but that's not really practical for you. The wall behind the screen being black would be best but Whatever color you choose for the walls just ensure it's a flat paint so it's not reflecting the light. No gloss or semi gloss.

Of course if you done any reading on the site you probably know all this already.

Yep, I've read about the matte paint. I'll look into that for sure.

I wonder if it would help to get some fabric for the ceiling and just staple it up to the joists? Might be better than seeing the wood? Perhaps that would help give the matte black effect, at least a few feet in front of the screen. Ceilings are 8.5 feet high.

Casey

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post #6 of 17 Old 02-12-2014, 09:59 AM
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Couldnt hurt as long as you are careful to avoid any potential fire hazards from wiring

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post #7 of 17 Old 03-06-2014, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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We've watched about a dozen movies and are extremely happy with the theater. But in true DIY fashion, there is always something to "improve".

The next thing on my list is to improve the sound a bit. Because the walls conrete block, and the basement is wide open without walls, the sound is quite "live". Some mid-bass is boomy, and generally inconsistent sound. The high frequency stuff is a little muddy, probably due to many reflection points. I don't need a complicated solution that is scientifically proven. I've read a bunch about making DIY panels and those seem easy enough. My issue here is, how do I mount these on the wall? I don't think I want to drill into the block. Or is there some other creative way to hang panels?

Thanks for the advice!

Casey

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post #8 of 17 Old 03-06-2014, 11:44 AM
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You could make something like the real traps mondo stands with 2" OC703,http://realtraps.com/p_stand.htm, put them at your first reflection points, symmetry is best, then re-use the that OC703 when you move. Wrap them in simple black speaker cloth from Joanns.


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post #9 of 17 Old 03-06-2014, 11:57 AM
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But some unbacked fiberglass insulation between your ceiling joists.

Get a cheap carpet remnant or even some used but good condition carpet off craigslist and just throw it down on the floor.


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post #10 of 17 Old 03-06-2014, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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But some unbacked fiberglass insulation between your ceiling joists.
Yeah the joists are mostly wide open. Would the insulation up there make a big difference? Going for sound treatment, not sound proofing for upstairs.
Quote:
Get a cheap carpet remnant or even some used but good condition carpet off craigslist and just throw it down on the floor.
Yep, this is in the plan. Just trying to be patient to find something really cheap or free.

Casey

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post #11 of 17 Old 03-06-2014, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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You could make something like the real traps mondo stands with 2" OC703,http://realtraps.com/p_stand.htm, put them at your first reflection points, symmetry is best, then re-use the that OC703 when you move. Wrap them in simple black speaker cloth from Joanns.

So I could DIY the box, and make up some simple legs for the stand. That could work. Thanks!

The board insulation like OC 703 is not available in local big box stores. I guess I'll need to call an HVAC place? The boards seem quite a bit more expensive than batt insulation.

Casey

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post #12 of 17 Old 03-06-2014, 03:02 PM
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Search local hvac places, online is more $$. For less than 8" you want stuff like oc703/equiv, it's based on gas flow resistivity, thicker than pink fluffy is fine.
Look in my signature the DIY acoustic treatment link has more info. You could tame modal ringing by corner broadband bass traps, movable.


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post #13 of 17 Old 03-07-2014, 04:36 AM
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Why not just hang the panels like you did with the screen?
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post #14 of 17 Old 03-07-2014, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Why not just hang the panels like you did with the screen?
The side wall where the panel is most needed is directly below the fireplace upstairs. Meaning, there is no joist to hook into above. frown.gif

Casey

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post #15 of 17 Old 03-07-2014, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
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But some unbacked fiberglass insulation between your ceiling joists.
Yeah the joists are mostly wide open. Would the insulation up there make a big difference? Going for sound treatment, not sound proofing for upstairs.

Does anyone know? Would putting unfaced pink insulation between the ceiling joists, and leaving them exposed, be helpful? Worth doing? Would probably cost $100-$150 to cover the theater area.

Casey

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post #16 of 17 Old 03-07-2014, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djkest View Post

But some unbacked fiberglass insulation between your ceiling joists.

Get a cheap carpet remnant or even some used but good condition carpet off craigslist and just throw it down on the floor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by caseyparsons View Post

Does anyone know? Would putting unfaced pink insulation between the ceiling joists, and leaving them exposed, be helpful? Worth doing? Would probably cost $100-$150 to cover the theater area.
Of course it would and to echo the carpet thought if you can get a nice size black carpet staple it to the ceiling. eek.gif We are talking cheap after all. biggrin.gif I used some black poplin fabric from SYfabrics on my back wall it comes in 118" wide pieces you could use the R19 bats in the ceiling (if you get the faced it is easier to staple) if comes in 16” on center and 24” on center so get the right one. Then staple the fabric on the joists. I think it would look nice. Also just hang the fabric down behind the screen. For $6 per yard 118" wide you cannot go wrong

http://www.syfabrics.com/View.aspx/Poly-Poplin-118-/Black-118--Wide-Poly-Poplin/5701/554


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post #17 of 17 Old 03-07-2014, 01:42 PM
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Ok, to get fact based and objective data, spend $100, get a calibrated USB mic, and use REW to identify your listening space current condition and them come up with a holistic strategy and plan to tackle your acoustics, even in your temp setting.


Calibrated MiniDSP UMIK-1 mic from Herb:
http://cross-spectrum.com/measurement/calibrated_umik.html

Great thread with helpful members:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1449924/simplified-rew-setup-and-use-usb-mic-hdmi-connection-including-measurement-techniques-and-how-to-interpret-graphs

The learning and mic will be invaluable to your next HT.

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