Erskine Group layout service is back - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 02-18-2014, 06:23 PM - Thread Starter
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I reached out to Erskine Group a couple months back to see their offers for layout and design services. I've heard many good things about their services and have seen a couple disgruntled customers on this forum. Dennis sent me the list of their design offerings that start at $2000 for a basic design and go up to $27k+ for the THX certification. I was interested in more than the set of services provided by the basic plan, but not interested in spending $4-$6k for verification of what I think I already know, and solutions to a few specific concerns I have.

I followed up to that email discussion to Dennis with the question: What about the old layout service? In other words: What about a simple layout service for the DIY crowd or anyone versed in this forum who may not need all the detail, the back and forth for a detailed design, but rather just needs some guidance?

Good news: Yes is the answer.

Shawn Byrne (SierraMikeBravo) apparently convinced Dennis to re-offer the layout service that was previously offered directly through AVS. The AVS offering now is provided through Rives Audio- I don't have any information or comment on that offering. The Erskine Group Layout Service is not offered through AVS, but is available to folks like me or any of you reading this. This is a layout service, not a design service. Don't sign up for this service and expect to have hours of back and forth with re-design submittals over many iterations. This time around the layout service is provided in conjunction through EG and Jeff Parkinson (BigMouthinDC). EG is doing the layout, providing their intellectual property (much of what has been shared in pieces on AVS by Dennis, Shawn and others through the years), and Jeff is the main contact for support throughout the remaining life of your project utilizing the layout.

Pricing is $600 right now for the layout service, and I was told will go to $700 on April 15, 2014.

The base price provides speaker placement, subwoofer placement, seating placement, screen size and placement, acoustical treatment plans for Quest panels, all into front-right-rear and floor elevation drawings. So this to me is pretty close or identical to the old EG\AVS layout service.

Additional services can be added to the layout for riser constructions details, soffit details, stage details, equipment recommendations in good-better-best tiers, alternative (non-Quest) acoustic treatment schedule, door placement/construction, and additional phone support time, each at additional cost. The phone support time post drawing completion is provided by Jeff (30 minutes included in base layout). My understanding is that Jeff will be the guy to guide on-site construction, who can advise the DIYer or consult with a General Contractor. Jeff probably has more experience than anyone outside of EG's contractors in implementing EG designs, so I, for one, am pleased with this business arrangement.

Dennis, Shawn, Jeff - please correct anything I misrepresented here.

All in all, I must admit I am happy to know this service is available again. I expect to have my layout from Shawn in a few weeks, so I may provide further information and perspective at that time.

Cheers,
Thomas
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post #2 of 32 Old 02-18-2014, 08:48 PM
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I think you hit it, What I bring to the table is construction know how. I've worked both from Erskine basic design service plans and from the full Signature plans and understand how to translate the plans to a theater. Obviously there are only so many projects I can personally tackle on site, my target in this arrangement with the Erskine Group is the DIYer who wants to have access to a contractor who will coach you (or your local contractor) through the process via a Skype video conferance.
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post #3 of 32 Old 02-19-2014, 08:15 AM
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Awesome! Shawn did my basic layout and this has been a tremendous help with my DIY build! Adding Jeff to the mix makes this a no brainer!!! Highly recommended!
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post #4 of 32 Old 02-19-2014, 08:50 AM
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That's some great news.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #5 of 32 Old 02-19-2014, 09:08 AM
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Great. Is there a link to get more information and pay for the service?
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post #6 of 32 Old 02-19-2014, 09:46 AM
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post #7 of 32 Old 02-19-2014, 10:39 AM
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Thanks @BIGmouthinDC.
I would be another one interested in basic layout service. I tried to reach to you in past but I understand you have lot on your plate.
Please provide details on payment, whom to contact to avail such services.
Thanks
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post #8 of 32 Old 02-19-2014, 01:34 PM
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We are working on a link to the website. Stay tuned! Otherwise, contact Jeff directly for additional info.

Shawn Byrne
Erskine Group
HAA Design Certified -THX Certified Professional

Design-Video & Audio Calibration Information

The original Pro Theater Layout
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post #9 of 32 Old 02-20-2014, 08:57 PM
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post #10 of 32 Old 02-20-2014, 09:45 PM
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Hey BIGmouthinDC... you aren't in Colorado working on a theater there, are you? I was just there last week and Dennis' crew is doing the theater. Incredible what goes into making a theater soundproof and nice. Anyway, I would have said hi if you are there, and I'd known. Maybe someday.

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post #11 of 32 Old 02-21-2014, 04:59 AM
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Nope, I was in VA. My relationship with the Erskine Group is separate from his construction crew. Basically I'm an "a la carte" homeowners construction coach for Erskine designs. Are you headed to CEDIA this fall? Or, if you are painting in this area let me know and I could zip by.
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post #12 of 32 Old 03-04-2014, 10:13 AM
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This is great to know and a service I am considering using. Will be starting a build thread soon, currently in the process of moving from England to Colorado. CEDIA is in a Denver this year so perfect for me as I've never attended.
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post #13 of 32 Old 03-04-2014, 10:51 AM
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This is Great news. Can I also get the link to information?
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post #14 of 32 Old 03-04-2014, 11:49 AM
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post #15 of 32 Old 03-04-2014, 12:57 PM
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Could you send a PM to me as well to help my decision. Thanks
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post #16 of 32 Old 03-04-2014, 01:45 PM
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I got my plans the other week from Shawn and couldn't be happier. Whole process too about 2-3 months, which included Christmas and some delays from me in getting the info to them.

What I got was a middle ground between the lasic layout service and their other packages. This was due to some very specific requests relating to the ceiling baffle, front wall and the riser.

My only complaint is they recommended a $30k projector......which I understand why (noise, heat, throw), but its just too expensive.

They recommended a rather affordable set of gear from an audio perspective (I've got a small room so its not hard in that respect). But I will go down the DIY route (which will actually cost me more...a lot more, but again that's on me so if I stuff it up its not their doing)

Its up to me to deliver now.

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"what is worth knowing is difficult to learn"

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post #17 of 32 Old 03-04-2014, 08:01 PM
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Too bad on the timing. I found Shawn and Jeff easy to work with. Shawn was limited to pre-sales due to timing, but Jeff was onsite. In retrospect, I think I would have been a lot happier with an offering like this.

For those considering the higher end plans, I wouldn't recommend it unless you plan on having EG primary contractors do the build. If they build it, they own the answer to every last detail. If you build, you're going to be on your own for a lot of stuff and at that point you're better off embracing DIY (which this service caters to).

There's also the matter of cost. Unless you're making north of $250k with a $1.5+ million home, it's hard to justify what Dennis and his contractor want for a room. I had $100k budget for just the room - nothing fancy, paint grade wood, GOM fabric, no equipment/chairs/screen. After paying for a Signature plan, they were unwilling to discuss options to meet my budget. It was take it or leave it. So know what you're getting into before going down that route. Chances are, you're poor folk like the rest of us, and would be better served with the DIY offerings.

"a la carte" is a welcome addition, especially in the low price offering. Had it been available to me, I think things would have ended a lot better. Hopefully for everyone else, their new DIY oriented services will mesh better with the needs of the AVS community.

 

 

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post #18 of 32 Old 03-08-2014, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
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In case you've turned off signatures in this forum or not noticed, Shawn's signature now contains a link to contact EG regarding their Pro Theater Layout. (See post #8)

As a personal update, I expect to receive my layout within the next week after a good couple conversations with Shawn and my re-measuring a few areas of my theater-to-be-room.
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post #19 of 32 Old 03-13-2014, 02:06 PM
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Can I get the link/contact info by PM? Thanks!
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post #20 of 32 Old 03-13-2014, 03:22 PM
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post #21 of 32 Old 03-13-2014, 04:26 PM
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Would this be something that once I get the actual plans for the house, I could forward them on, and then get plans back that I could pass along to either the contractor or subcontractor? Also, the base price listed on the site that I saw was $2000. Didn't I see something about starting at $600? I'm just worried that the subcontractor that AVI uses isn't going to give me what I want. With a dedicated plan for seating, screen height and width, floor levels, soffit and accoustic isolation this would solve all of my questions. It would be nice to just hand over plans and say "build this".
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post #22 of 32 Old 03-13-2014, 05:38 PM
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Basic design service would not be appropriate to hand over to a contractor unfamiliar with theater construction and say here build it. I can do it and so can a lot of homeowners who have spent time reading various build threads and are generally familiar with theater construction techniques. If you or your contractor aren't willing to invest the time you should get a more complete set of plans (more money) to hand off

For example the basic design won't:

Show you sound isolation framing and wall construction techniques.
Include a wiring diagram
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post #23 of 32 Old 03-13-2014, 06:52 PM
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Fair enough,I don't think that the company who we're going through (AVI-utah), would use a general contractor if he didn't know what he was doing. I guess I've just got to hold my horses and wait and see.
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post #24 of 32 Old 04-11-2014, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I received my layout a few weeks ago. After some questions to Jeff and Shawn, both my contractor and I have a thorough understanding of the layout. I am very pleased with the results of this service. The layout in total is not very different from what I had designed on my own by research mostly on this site, but there are a few very significant and important things I learned through this process. If I was on my own, I am sure I would have run into some challenges and would have made some mistakes, but I am much more confident now to follow this layout precisely.

Base layout: I received top, front, back, right side, left side views with all the specifics of door, speaker, seating, stage, riser, column, screen, projector placement on each drawing. It also included general design for basic acoustic isolation, but this was not in sufficient detail for a contractor without prior knowledge or experience.

The adders I paid for:

Riser and stage details: Good detail for construction on exact placement, size, location and construction techniques for all framing and platform wood, including how to isolate where required from the walls and floors. I specifically requested the riser be designed as a broadband bass trap and I am happy with the detail to make this happen.

Equipment tiers: Highest tier is well beyond my current budget as I expected, but the lowest tier is very close to the budget I provided (though it is still higher). I have not yet received an offer to sell on any of the recommended equipment from Erskine Group.

DIY Acoustic panels: Very good detail for exactly where and how to place exactly what commonly available OC treatments in the space.

Hopefully that's enough detail for those of you on the fence to commit one way or the other. If not, freely shoot me a PM on my experience.

The best way I can think to explain it is that you can get maybe 30% of the way by some basic research and gut instinct from an experienced GC, 80%+ of the way there with a few hundred focused hours of research and reading a few of the best build threads from start to finish here, and 90% of the way there with this service. Top tier equipment would maybe get me that next 5% and of course, that last 5-10% will come from proper calibration.
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post #25 of 32 Old 04-26-2014, 06:06 AM
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Could I please also get. Pm about the link / contact offer please.
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post #26 of 32 Old 04-28-2014, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmhouse View Post

I received my layout a few weeks ago. After some questions to Jeff and Shawn, both my contractor and I have a thorough understanding of the layout. I am very pleased with the results of this service. The layout in total is not very different from what I had designed on my own by research mostly on this site, but there are a few very significant and important things I learned through this process. If I was on my own, I am sure I would have run into some challenges and would have made some mistakes, but I am much more confident now to follow this layout precisely.

Base layout: I received top, front, back, right side, left side views with all the specifics of door, speaker, seating, stage, riser, column, screen, projector placement on each drawing. It also included general design for basic acoustic isolation, but this was not in sufficient detail for a contractor without prior knowledge or experience.

The adders I paid for:

Riser and stage details: Good detail for construction on exact placement, size, location and construction techniques for all framing and platform wood, including how to isolate where required from the walls and floors. I specifically requested the riser be designed as a broadband bass trap and I am happy with the detail to make this happen.

Equipment tiers: Highest tier is well beyond my current budget as I expected, but the lowest tier is very close to the budget I provided (though it is still higher). I have not yet received an offer to sell on any of the recommended equipment from Erskine Group.

DIY Acoustic panels: Very good detail for exactly where and how to place exactly what commonly available OC treatments in the space.

Hopefully that's enough detail for those of you on the fence to commit one way or the other. If not, freely shoot me a PM on my experience.

The best way I can think to explain it is that you can get maybe 30% of the way by some basic research and gut instinct from an experienced GC, 80%+ of the way there with a few hundred focused hours of research and reading a few of the best build threads from start to finish here, and 90% of the way there with this service. Top tier equipment would maybe get me that next 5% and of course, that last 5-10% will come from proper calibration.

Great summary.
Like you stated, it does take 100's hours (or more) of focused research and reading, and then Q&A via posts and some basic real world frame of reference, since it's impossible to learn and apply that by just reading.

For those who want a truly engineered HT the best way is layout service.
These companies have many "best practices" from PDCA
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post #27 of 32 Old 05-02-2014, 09:02 PM
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Blish

PM sent

Shawn Byrne
Erskine Group
HAA Design Certified -THX Certified Professional

Design-Video & Audio Calibration Information

The original Pro Theater Layout
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post #28 of 32 Old 05-26-2014, 06:15 PM
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I've decided to just use the company who's building our house, as I trust him to give us a great end result for a reasonable price. He's built some theaters before, but not with the details like sound isolation I'll be wanting. Jeff, (BigMouthinDC), once I get the house plans all settled up, (having them move the room that will have the water heater) would I be able to use this service to get some guidance for him on sound isolation, like plans or some such? I've learned a ton here, and I have literally taken a whole bunch of notes. What would I need, and what would a timeframe look like?

 

Edit: Would I also be able to get like a price estimate on materials (not necessarily standard building supplies, but the extra stuff like GG and clips and channels)?

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post #29 of 32 Old 05-26-2014, 07:55 PM
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$2000 estimate for the extra cost of materials. The basic design service it is not specifically designed to provide all the details for soundproofing your space but that could be negotiated with Shawn. You can also get the information for free from Ted White at soundproofingcompany.com. But you need a basic room diagram and placement in the house to start the dialog of recommended soundproofing steps.
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post #30 of 32 Old 05-27-2014, 02:29 PM
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Hmmm..... I like the sound of free. I've eagerly read everything I can at Ted's website, but I hadn't considered ever asking for a consult. Thanks Jeff!

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