Looking for advice and sage wisdom/guidance for my first home theater build - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-15-2014, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello all,
Long time lurker with few posts under my belt. I've always been an avid movie fan for as long as I can remember and I've had the itch to build my own theater room since deciding on a house. Since moving into my home in December of 2013, I've been biding my time until I got the go ahead from the wife. I've had surround sound in the past, but nothing remotely high end. I absorbed some components from my parent's home that I'm hoping to use, such as the seating, (4) floor standing speakers, powered sub and old receiver. The shape of the room is the oddest I've seen in any of the houses I've been, but I'm determined to make it work. I'm extremely limited in the size of the screen due to restrictions on the projected wall and the distance from the wall to the front seating. I wanted at least a 110" wide screen, but after looking at some measurements I think 93" wide is right there at the max.I still have to double check my riser height, but I'm getting closer. I'm wondering if it'd be worth it to look into sound dampening materials with the confined space I already have. I'm thinking I'll do a 5.1 set up, but I think I could manage to fit two in ceiling speakers to make a 7.1 set up (if I saw a deal on a 7.1 receiver). I'm going to be building a folding wall/door for the entrance.I was thinking I might go for a wall design to mirror the recent Great Gatsby poster, but I don't know if that would look right dominating the walls with the gold lines against the black walls.
I'm hoping to get some advice on :
- What size/type screen should I get? I am going to be able to control the light in the room and there won't be any light during most viewing times. Also, the room will be painted black.
- Suggestions on rear channel speakers?
- As far as projectors go, I'm fairly certain I need a short throw projector. I'm waiting on a sub $900 deal, but have my eyes on the BenQ W1070 or the Optoma HD131Xe, but I'm open to other suggestions. Anyone with experience with both know which is quieter, or is the difference negligible.
- In the video that I posted, I showed the potential set up of the front speakers. I think the left and the right is fine, but has anyone bridged two floor standing speakers together to make one massive center channel? Am I being too optimistic with what I have at my disposal or do I need to start looking for a center channel speaker?
- Is the powered subwoofer I have adequate for the space I have? Where would you set the sub? - In the front where the screen is, or to the side of the room?
- Do I need a power protection unit?
- Any other tips/advice is always welcome.
Thanks for your time!

http://youtu.be/JBpcMVxI8uw



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post #2 of 8 Old 04-16-2014, 02:33 PM
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Wow I think that's the first time I've seen someone post a video of their initial setup. Kudos to you.

What's on the other side of the wall on the right if I were sitting down looking at your proposed screenwall? Is there any way to put the entrance on that side? It would open up your options for rear seating a ton.

At first glance, I'd say your space looks good for a cinemascope screen seeing as you're height challenged, but not width challenged.

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post #3 of 8 Old 04-16-2014, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the first reply!
On the other side of the wall to the right is soil. The theater room is in the basement directly under my living room and is completely underground. On the other side of the wall to the left is nothing ( that would be room is directly under the garage). The odd bump out in the back left of the room is where the water heater is. My only access for an entrance is behind the seating, which presently is wide open with no door/doorway.
I have a rather large basement, but the center of the basement isn't doable due to the stairs being kind of in the center of the entire basement. The other side of the basement has a more optimal length, but not the width that I'd need for three chairs across, not to mention the only door/access to the outside is in that room and can't be moved.

I had never looked into cinemascope in the home before, but it seems like it would be awesome for movies, but when I'm watching HDTV or NTSC formats, wouldn't that minimize the grand size of the screen to that of a 65" hdtv? ( Just seems rather narrow to me height wise, but I understand where you're coming from.)
On the subject of the screen I would need for this cinemascope, I saw a vendor on ebay that has a DIY option that I think would work and is in the ballpark for the price I wanted to pay for a screen.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/DIY-SCREEN-MATTE-165-4-3-152-16-9-150-1-85-1-WIDE-SCREEN-145-CINEMASCOPE-/231203270488?pt=US_Projection_Screens_Material&hash=item35d4c9ef58

Do I need a special projector for cinemascope? I only saw one reference on youtube and with minimal googling, I've read that it can be expensive.
I just wouldn't be able to afford the anamorphic lens if they are still a few thousand, as that would double my entire budget (Probably around $1500/$1600). Also, while I think I'm certainly able to build my own DIY screen, I doubt I'd be able to build a motorized anamorphic lens track and the motorized curtains for the screen itself.

I'm wondering if I'd be able to project the image from the projector in the ceiling under the bulkhead on the left, that way I'd be able to get even more out of the width of the wall.
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-16-2014, 04:56 PM
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You can do a widescreen setup with many projectors without having to get a lens. They have memories on the zoom and shift lens settings - just zoom out for widescreen and let the black bars spill off the top and bottom of the screen. Epson, JVC, Panasonic and probably others do it. You'll need to black out the screen wall to absorb the left over light though. Works great!

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post #5 of 8 Old 04-16-2014, 05:12 PM
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That video is incredibly helpful!

Two speakers for center is not a good idea - You'll get all kinds of weird interaction and cancellations with them.

Don't let the soffit on the left worry you! I'd build a matching soffit on the right for symmetry and a soffit over the screen wall too. You could curve the screen soffit for a cool look.

Mount the top of the screen below the soffits and use a 2.40 aspect ratio. I'd also suggest using an acoustically transparent screen with the speakers behind. You lose 2 feet of distance but since your screen isn't as tall that shouldn't be a problem. My front row seat is less than eight feet eyeballs to screen and is great with a 47" tall screen (112" wide at 2.40). With acoustically transparent screens, you may be able to see the weave at that distance. Speakers behind the screen is important with two rows of seats so you can get the center high enough to properly paint the back row with sound.

I'd clip the corner off the sump pump closet to sort of mirror the angled wall on the opposite side. Looks like you could take a lot off the closet and still have access to the sump. You could even move the sump room door completely out of the theater and just have the face of your equipment rack in the new angled wall. Put the door in the room where the dog is hanging out.

You should center your seating! Put the back row on a riser with minimal isles on either side. If you clip the sump room you'll have enough space to get into the theater - It'll be cosy but doable. Off center seating will be tough as far as sound. The seats up against the wall will not have a good surround experience.

I'd mount the projector as far back as possible tucked right above the door into the theater. The lens can be a bit above the top of the screen on many projectors. Farthest throw helps contrast and black level, at the expense of some brightness.

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post #6 of 8 Old 04-16-2014, 05:14 PM
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If you don't want to do an acoustically transparent screen, you can build a decent screen with blackout fabric that's made for curtains for well under $100.

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post #7 of 8 Old 04-16-2014, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petew View Post

If you don't want to do an acoustically transparent screen, you can build a decent screen with blackout fabric that's made for curtains for well under $100.
This.

My first diy screen was joann fabrics blackout cloth. It was easy to work with, and durable as hell (not to mention cheap). I don't think you have the length to do an acoustically transparent screen with 2 rows of seating. I'd recommend mounting your center channel above the screen with 2 rows of seating. My first theater had the center channel below the screen, and the second row had a tough time hearing the voices clearly.

There's a small group on this forum that is dedicated to diy screens. If you need any advice, they're the ones to talk to.

That really sucks that you can't use either side wall. I'd try to entertain any idea possible to get the entry door as close to a side wall as possible.

I'd also recommend wiring for 7.1 surround sound. With 2 rows of seating.....the side surrounds act like additional fronts when you're sitting in the back row. So it's nice to have a couple speakers behind the furthest chairs. You won't be able to place the speakers in the best locations, but I'm sure you knew going in that your room wasn't exactly an acoustic paradise.

Enjoy the process and ask lots of questions. If you're handy and eager to do a lot yourself, you'll have a lot of fun.

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post #8 of 8 Old 04-16-2014, 05:58 PM
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Opps, forgot to address the screen issue. Petew is right. You don't have to buy a special projector or lens. All you do is use the zoom mechanism on the projector (manual or powered). It all depends on what you plan to use your room for. I built my room for 2.38:1 movies most of the time, and occasionally I'll have to zoom it out for 16:9 material. In my case, I have black bars on the left and right of my screen when watching 16:9 stuff. Some people make masking panels or add curtains to cover that part of their screen. I didn't bother because whenever I'm doing 16:9 stuff it's cable tv or gaming which means I have my lighting slightly up. So I sacrifice some contrast ratio.

I can't remember from your video....how much height do you have below the soffit? I'm sure you can fit a nice sized cinemascope screen that sits just below the soffit. My screen is 50" tall by 120" wide, and my front row is 10' away. I love it.

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