Small Space Basement Theater (First Timer) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 41 Old 04-14-2014, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
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For many years now I have been dreaming of my own dedicated theater. However I was never able to either afford it or find a space to build one. But then last week my wife said to me out of the blue "why haven't you built your theater yet?" I looked at her with a stunned look on my face, not knowing for sure if this was a trick question or if she was serious. After a few quick questions of my own I realized she was serious, she wanted me to build my theater......so all my gear would be out of her newly furnished living room rolleyes.gif

Quickly I ran for my laptop and started reading all the reviews I could get my hands on. I have always had an Idea of what I would build and what gear I would like to use, but figured I had better slow down and do a bit more research before I spend any of my hard earned cash on the wrong gear. I live in an area of Alberta, Canada where auditioning higher end gear is very hard to do as there is only one store within an hours drive that carries a small amount of "good" equipment. So long story short, I am relying mostly on reviews to base my purchases on.

The Room:
My room for building my theater is in the corner of our basement under the kitchen and is 17'(L)x12'(W)x8'(H). I know its not the perfect sized room, but its all I have to work with. I had to hire a tin smith to move furnace ducting and cold air intake from the center of the room to the outside edges of the ceiling. I will build soffits around the ducting after I finish the demo on all the existing drywall.

I plan on installing RSIC clamps onto the existing frame work and then I will be putting two layers of 5/8" drywall with Green Glue sandwiched in between the drywall for soundproofing and dampening. This will change my rooms dimensions to approximately 16'6"(L)x11'6"(W)x7'6"(H), I am also isolating the floor.

Last Friday I stopped by the nearest home theater store to order in the RSIC clamps and Green Glue. While in there I started to chat with the sales people and store owner about my room. They seemed impressed with what I was about to build (I guess most people don't isolate and dampen their theater rooms in my area).

The Equipment
I currently have two Paradigm Ref. Studio 60's (L&R), one CC-490 (Center), two JL Audio Fathom F-10's, Marantz AV 7005 processor, Emotiva XPA-5 amp & a bunch of audio quest cables & interconnects. Since last week I have ordered a Seymour Center Stage XD 100" 2:35-1 screen, JVC DLA-X500RB projector, 4x Paradigm Studio ADP-590's (Rears) & Oppo 103D blue-ray player. I also contacted GIK and ordered a bunch of acoustic treatments for the ceiling, side and back walls.


As soon as I get home from work next week, my green glue and RSIC clamps should be in. Hopefully I will be finished with the drywall by late next week. I will post pictures of all the steps I take in building my theater.

Also if anyone has any advise, please feel free to comment. This is the first time I have ever done this and I will be doing most of the work myself.
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post #2 of 41 Old 04-14-2014, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are a couple pictures of the room after I moved the ducting. Both will have soffits built around them. Also there is currently walls only on three sides. I plan on building a fourth wall to completely isolate the room from the rest of the basement.
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post #3 of 41 Old 04-14-2014, 03:40 PM
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Exciting times! Looks like you've got some motivation to complete the room with all the gear you just bought. Do not underestimate the amount of time this will take you. Considering you just started, I'd say having drywall complete by the end of next week is an ambitious target. Perhaps you're off work and won't sleep until then... then I'd say maybe that's doable. I started 20 months ago and haven't drywalled yet, however 5 months ago, the Mrs. decided to pull back the entire remaining budget towards a bathroom reno which didn't help. Good luck with the build- I'm subscribed!
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post #4 of 41 Old 04-15-2014, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
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The wife has just informed me that my Oppo Blue ray player showed up today. I can see it now...... when I get home I will not be able to wait to try my new toys out and I will be sitting on a wooden dinner table chair in my totally unfinished soon to be theater watching my new projector blasting pictures from the Oppo onto white drywall surface. rolleyes.gif
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post #5 of 41 Old 04-17-2014, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Seymour 100", 2.35:1 AT Center stage XD screen came in today biggrin.gif One more piece of the puzzle attained.
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post #6 of 41 Old 04-18-2014, 01:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Is anyone here running mono block amps in their theater? I am considering it. I sent an email to Emotiva about buying seven XPA-100 amps if they would be willing to drop the price a bit. They have responded that they will get me a price on Monday.

I just think it would be cool as hell to have seven mono blocks in my equipment rack. I am going to be hiring an electrician during my theater build, so finding power for them shouldn't be an issue.

If anyone knows of someone on here who has done this, please let me know so I can check out their threads.
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post #7 of 41 Old 04-18-2014, 01:40 PM
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Excited to follow this thread! Good luck Canuck!
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post #8 of 41 Old 04-19-2014, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Swervepf & Rjloper9 thanks for following my thread/ theater build. Just bear with me as I take my time planning the room. I thought I would be home Monday to start tearing down the old drywall, but work had a different plan for me and now I don't know exactly when I will be home again. Although it's probably for the best as the gear I have bought recently has put quite a dent in my bank account and I should probably try to get it back up to a respectable level again.

I have an other question, this time it is about seating fabrics. I am trying to figure out how big of a difference leather vs cloth seating will affect overall sound? I do realize that leather might not be able to absorb sound like cloth and if it doesn't absorb sound, then it must reflect it then right? I want leather in my theater as most of do, but at the same time I don't want to ruin the effect of the acoustic treatments I have had custom made for my room. If nobody answers I will probably go with cloth. However if some of you have tried both in your theaters and didn't notice any difference, I would buy leather as it is easier to keep clean and is fairly kid friendly.

Also I am still waiting for any help with my previous question about the mono blocks in a home theater, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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post #9 of 41 Old 04-19-2014, 10:21 PM
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I have 7 outlaw audio m200 monoblocks that will be in my future theater. I agree - when I had them setup on just a shelf style rack and with only 5 at that time, it looked great. I purchased these as I operate on the theory that the amps themselves don't get outdated as fast while the processor continuously does for new formats and connectivity.

I say go for it. Depending on your future rack plans, it will cost more as you (and I) will need 7 sets of parts to mount. 7 power cords that need routed and plugged in...
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post #10 of 41 Old 04-19-2014, 10:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks PApilgrim. I have been thinking about doing the theater with the monoblocks for a while now and am definitely leaning in that direction. I will see on Monday what Emotiva has to say about giving me a bit of a deal on the amps. If they do drop the price a bit I will probably buy them.

Anyone in Alberta want to buy an Emotiva XPA-5 (200w X 5)? rolleyes.gif
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post #11 of 41 Old 04-20-2014, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
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How far from the back wall do the rear seats need to be for decent sound? The guys at GIK acoustics have told me at least 6' for the optimum sound, but what I want to know is the distance for "OK" sound. The reason I ask is because my 17"x12" room is so tight and I absolutely need a minimum of four seats for my two kids, wife and myself to all watch movies. Also the AT screen/false wall will consume ~2' of my original 17" length, leaving me 15" to work with.

My screen is 100" horizontal 2.35:1 so that puts the optimum/minimum viewing distance ~ 8' from the screen (I think). I can cheat a bit and take my 8' measurement from the reclined position of my seating as most people will sit in these chairs reclined and their feet up. This should leave about 7' of room behind the fully reclined first row of two or three seats. Is 7" enough room for a second row of reclining seats and still sound "OK"?

In my opinion, I think sitting closer to the rear speakers would be better than sitting to close to a side speaker which would be the case if I put a single row of four seats. Am I right? Or am I wasting my time? Also all my rear and rear-side speakers will be the Paradigm Studio ADP-590's (I have already bought these), I would think this should allow the rear seats to be a little closer than if they were direct firing speakers and still sound good (I'm just guessing).

Please give me any advise you can as I am puling out my hair on this one. Thanks.
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post #12 of 41 Old 04-20-2014, 03:48 PM
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Could you go with in-ceiling speakers slightly behind and above your seats for your rear surrounds?
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post #13 of 41 Old 04-20-2014, 04:02 PM
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Sounds like a nice build can't wait to see how it turns out.

What's the price for the xpa-5?
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post #14 of 41 Old 04-20-2014, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Angus.Young View Post

What's the price for the xpa-5?

I paid a little over a thousand to get it up here, I would probably sell it for $500 obo. Very strong amp, sounds and looks great. No dents or scratches.
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post #15 of 41 Old 04-20-2014, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Rjloper9 View Post

Could you go with in-ceiling speakers slightly behind and above your seats for your rear surrounds?

I read somewhere on this site that ceiling speakers in a basement set up is not the best way to go. I for get why, but I have seen this more than once. Also I just paid $4000 for the four Paradigm ADP-590's so I am committed to using them.

I just finished reading the manual on Paradigms web site for the speakers and they say about 3' is as close as you would want to sit to them. So if they are hung at approximately 7', and I keep the seats two feet from the back wall I think I might be okay. The rear row will not be optimal especially in a reclined position, but the kids and most guests should be fine back there.

I will probably have to get power reclining seats as they can hold a partially reclined position better than manually reclining seats can. This will allow slightly tighter spacing between the front and rear seating rows.

Definitely nothing easy with this build frown.gif
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post #16 of 41 Old 04-20-2014, 04:47 PM
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I hear ya! I'm dealing with a tricky space myself. http://www.avsforum.com/t/1506769/help-with-basement-theater-layout/0_100

Maybe you could mount your current surrounds up higher and angled downward to give you more distance. Either way I'm sure they'll sound great.
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post #17 of 41 Old 04-20-2014, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by CrazyCanuck75 View Post

How far from the back wall do the rear seats need to be for decent sound?
For the main row of seating, I would put the listeners' ears at 1/3 room length (5.5 feet) from the back wall, since that is where low frequencies will be smoothest (fewer/smaller peaks & dips). That will leave enough space behind for overflow seating AND give good rear-vs-side separation in the surround field (assuming rear speakers on the back wall and sides speaker directly to the sides of the main row).

Where do you plan on placing your two subwoofers? Front and back wall?

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post #18 of 41 Old 04-20-2014, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
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For the main row of seating, I would put the listeners' ears at 1/3 room length (5.5 feet) from the back wall, since that is where low frequencies will be smoothest (fewer/smaller peaks & dips). That will leave enough space behind for overflow seating AND give good rear-vs-side separation in the surround field (assuming rear speakers on the back wall and sides speaker directly to the sides of the main row).

Where do you plan on placing your two subwoofers? Front and back wall?

Thanks sdurani, I was hoping to put the two JL Fathom F110's under the AT screen behind black AT materiel. Both would be firing forward. I think the room correction software for the subs should be able to optimize them from there. Trying to hide as many speakers as possible.

As for the seating, I am slowly coming to the conclusion that I am going to have to put in two rows of three where they fit and hope for the best. Its just such a shame as I have bought really good speakers and might not be able to utilize them to their fullest in this small room. Mind you I am sure it will still sound better than 99% of the general public's theaters that are not in dedicated rooms. I will still have all the dampening of the walls, ceiling & floor as well as the acoustic panels from GIK to assist in better overall acoustics in this room.
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post #19 of 41 Old 04-20-2014, 06:21 PM
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I was hoping to put the two JL Fathom F110's under the AT screen behind black AT materiel. Both would be firing forward.
That's fine. Your room width is going to result in peaks & dips at roughly 49Hz, 98Hz and 147Hz across the seating area. Centering your subs at the 1/4 and 3/4 points of room width will minimize those, giving you much better consistency from seat to seat.
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As for the seating, I am slowly coming to the conclusion that I am going to have to put in two rows of three where they fit and hope for the best. Its just such a shame as I have bought really good speakers and might not be able to utilize them to their fullest in this small room.
I would be careful sacrificing the sound at the main row for small improvements at the overflow row, which is why I suggested placing the main row at 1/3 room length from the back wall. The only other suggestion I would make is not putting the rows at even divisions (half, quarters, sixths) of room length, because that's where nulls are located. Your receiver's room correction can bring down a peak but it can't do anything to boost a null. Best solution is to not sit in a null.
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post #20 of 41 Old 04-21-2014, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Today I started my day by calling the folks at Lutron in an attempt to order a Grafik Eye QS. Their customer support was very weak to say the least. They were unable to assist me in confirming that the Grafik Eye QS was in fact the best unit for my application. All I wanted was a unit that would be able to handle a LED light rope, two wall sconces, three pot lights and a curtain. I didn't think this would be super complicated, but after transferring me to three different "Specialists" apparently it was to much for them to handle and they told me that their system probably wasn't going to work for me!

I thought this unit would work for me as it has five function buttons on the right hand side that I figured I could have them programed to do the following:

Button 1: Turn on all lights at 100% and leave the curtain closed (Cleaning and maintenance mode)
Button 2: Turn on all lights to say 70% and leave the curtain closed (Entrance mode)
Button 3: Turn off all lights except the wall sconces. I would want the sconces set to a very dim level and also open the curtain. (Dark movie watching)
Button 4: Same as button #3, except wall sconces would be on ~30-50%. (Low light movie watching)
Button 5: Turn everything off and close the curtain

Am I expecting to much out of the Grafik Eye QS? Did I unfortunately get the three most incompetent customer service reps at Lutron? Or is it because I called first thing in the morning after the Easter long weekend? I'm not sure and I am also not impressed either. I guess they don't want my business.

Rant done!

After accomplishing absolutely nothing this morning with Lutron, I decided to put aside the automated lighting for a day or so and move onto ordering my Green Glue, decoupling clips and other miscellaneous sound proofing materials. I called up soundproofing.com. As green glue is very hard to find in Canada and very expensive as well. I talked with Ted (I think he is the balding guy in the picture at the bottom of their web page).

He started by asking quite a few questions about my room and what I wanted to do. He made suggestions and saved me from buying a bunch of stuff I didn't need. He also taught me so much about basic soundproofing. Ted saved me from buying about $600 in stuff I didn't need and he probably made my local hardware store a small fortune in sales. I felt he was very knowledgeable and honest. I really enjoyed talking to him and the ordering process was very easy and stress free. Honestly I haven't enjoyed talking to a salesman as much as I did talking to Ted. Two thumbs up for soundproofing.com.
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post #21 of 41 Old 04-22-2014, 02:17 AM
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Since you need to build in the side wall, why not rebuild the front section of the wall, and bring the drop of the round ductwork into the side wall?
This would give you symmetrical soffits and allow you to keep the full length of the room.
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post #22 of 41 Old 04-22-2014, 07:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Since you need to build in the side wall, why not rebuild the front section of the wall, and bring the drop of the round ductwork into the side wall?
This would give you symmetrical soffits and allow you to keep the full length of the room.

I would definitely have knocked out that wall if I could have, but unfortunately there is a staircase behind it. That is why the round cold air intake in the picture comes from ground level and then up to the ceiling (It had to be routed under the stairs). I do plan on adding second wall in front of the existing wall to double it up for sound proofing. Then I will box-in and enclose the round ducting, this will all be hidden by my screen wall placed approximately 24" from the original front wall. There is ducting running down both sided of my theater room, so I plan on building two soffits the full length of the room and they will both be the same dimensions to be symmetrical and look good....I hope.
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post #23 of 41 Old 04-22-2014, 07:31 AM
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Is there anything in the wall cavity that prevents using rectangular ductwork in the wall cavity itself?
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post #24 of 41 Old 04-22-2014, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Is there anything in the wall cavity that prevents using rectangular ductwork in the wall cavity itself?

No, their isn't anything in the wall, but I am planning on putting the duct in between the two walls and boxing in the remaining two or so inches that will be exposed.
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Gotcha..... smile.gif
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post #26 of 41 Old 04-22-2014, 10:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I definitely have a smile on my face this morning as I just bought the seven XPA-100's. Emotiva was kind enough to drop the price by 10%. So I now have seven 250watt monoblocks biggrin.gif Its a good thing that the equipment is going to be outside the theater.
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post #27 of 41 Old 04-22-2014, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Has anyone seen or tried these seats? They are called the "Finesse Plus" and are sold by theaterseatstore.com but they are $599 each, very pricey for this seat. I am thinking if I do use this or this type of seat my dual row spacing dilemma might be solved. I am just really cautious about buying online especially when comfort is involved. I guess I could just put 4 of them in the back row (103") for the over flow seating and use bigger reclining chairs for the front three seats (90").

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post #28 of 41 Old 04-22-2014, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCanuck75 View Post

I definitely have a smile on my face this morning as I just bought the seven XPA-100's. Emotiva was kind enough to drop the price by 10%. So I now have seven 250watt monoblocks biggrin.gif Its a good thing that the equipment is going to be outside the theater.
Now that's some serious power! I'm living vicariously through you at the moment:D
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Has anyone seen or tried these seats? They are called the "Finesse Plus" and are sold by theaterseatstore.com but they are $599 each, very pricey for this seat. I am thinking if I do use this or this type of seat my dual row spacing dilemma might be solved. I am just really cautious about buying online especially when comfort is involved. I guess I could just put 4 of them in the back row (103") for the over flow seating and use bigger reclining chairs for the front three seats (90").

Those are pretty cool looking chairs and actually look comfy. I have found some good deals (what i consider good deals) on www.4seating.com
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post #29 of 41 Old 04-23-2014, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Rjloper.

I looked into www.4seating.com but they have a very limited selection of rocker style stadium seating. If I was buying lounger style theater seats, that would probably be where I would go for them but unfortunately my room doesn't have room for them. And yes those seats look cool, could do a bumblebee theme from Transformers lol.

By the way I changed my order with Emotiva to the XPA-1L amps, still 250watts per channel, but they also double as a space heater too (Class A-AB amp) biggrin.gif I think these amps are slightly better build quality and more comparable to the XPA-5 I currently own. I didn't realize the XPA-100 amps are the old UPA-100 and that would not have been what I wanted.
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post #30 of 41 Old 04-23-2014, 05:26 PM
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I have always liked the emotive products. Just wasn't sure I'd truly "need" them haha. I have also looked into Crown amps for good power/price ratio.
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