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post #1 of 11 Old 05-10-2014, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello AVS Forums!

I’ve been reading for months now (thanks for all the guidance) and I finally felt it was time to start my own thread (plus construction started and I need advice!). I’m building an addition to my home, underneath the home (lots of digging!). The house is on a hill, and there is space under the house, but we're doing plenty of digging. I had a simple projector setup in college and I miss it dearly. Now that I own a home, of course I want to build a theater! I want it to also be a comfortable place to hang out as well. The first phase of construction just started yesterday (after a very long long permit process). I'm calling it the Diablo Theater for now because I work at Diablo Canyon.

Floor Plan:

Upstairs Plan:


Sketchup:


Some project specifics
  • Screen Wall: ~15’ (W) x 9’ (H)
  • Total Room Size: 26’ (L) x 15’ (W) x 9’ (H)
  • Ambient Lighting: Room will have a large window and a french door. Will have to find an effective light blocking method that is not too hard to put up and take down.
  • I want to do a false wall or maybe just a frame that I could wrap in black cloth. I would like to be able to easily get back there upgrade the speakers.
  • Screen: DIY AT screen with speakers behind (Seymour?)
  • Don’t think I’ll do a riser.
  • Couch seating (not Berkline or similar)
  • Bar behind couch for extra seating.
  • Expected Use: 70% movies, 10% TV, 20% Games
  • Lighting: I want to do lighting inside molding around the top of the walls. I all the lighting to be remote controlled, with several zones.
  • Electrical: putting in a new sub-panel for the downstairs circuits.
  • I want to make it easy to work on things and upgrade in the future (empty conduits, more wiring than I currently need, etc.)
  • I'm going to wire out some speakers for the patio and a pre-out to the wine cellar area.


Equipment

Have:
  • HSU VTF-2 Mk3 Sub (Hopefully this will work with the plans, otherwise will have to sell and get another one (or two))
  • Receiver: Sony STR-DN1020 7.2 receiver. It’s not the newest thing ever, but I think I can use it for a while.

Need:
  • The rest of the speakers (7.1 or 7.2 setup)
  • Projector
  • Cables & Misc (monoprice)
  • Harmony remote
  • Lots of other stuff I'm sure.
  • Inputs: (1) Game Console: Have an xbox 360. Might get a PS4 or XB1 (2) XBMC Box. I have a raspberry Pi with XBMC. Might get something more powerful, maybe with a blu-ray player. (3) Chromecast (4) OTA Antenna Box or Cable box. I have an antenna I could use, but cable down there might be nice.


To quote user jabrown in this theater thread: “My main objective is to reproduce the movie experience at home while preserving the open-ness of my basement so that this entire area can be used for entertaining. Please note that I do not wish to subdivide my home theatre area for the sake of creating a state-of-the art sound environment.”

I have a general contractor. I'm thinking about having him work the project up to a point, then I'll take over. I can do electrical, low-voltage wiring, outlet installation, fixture install, painting, trim work, etc. It sounds like hiring drywallers is money well spent, so I'll do that. The general is going to take care of excavation under the house, temporarily supporting the house while framing is installed and concrete is poured, and a few other things. I want to strike a balance between doing things myself to save money, and hiring things out when there is good reason to.

Questions:
  • Sound Isolation: I want to do DD with GG on clips/channels for the ceiling. I’m not sure how much I should worry about the walls. I’m not worried about sound coming from/to the adjoining room (wine cellar, see layout picture). I am worried about sound coming from/to the upstairs. It’s a quiet neighborhood. I’m not sure how much I should worry about bothering the neighbors. Closest house is about 40 feet away. I also want to make sure the ceiling lighting does not decrease the effectiveness of the sound isolation.
  • Flooring: We were thinking of leaving it bare concrete floor, maybe with a nice seal/stain. Would this create bad acoustics or other issues?
  • AV Equipment Location: Not sure where best to put my AV equipment. I might be able to incorporate it into the wet bar area (bad idea?) or maybe in the false wall by the screen. Any thoughts?
  • Screen Size: I’d be willing to create a masking system (probably manual masking). I'm not sure if I’ll make a 2.4:1 or 16:9 screen.
  • False wall depth: What is a good amount of space behind the false wall?
  • Bass Traps: I've seen lots of people put triangular prisms of material, I believe for "bass traps" behind their false walls. It doesn't look too hard. Is this recommended?

Thanks for looking! I hope there is some progress soon, but it could be a while before things get rolling.

Here are some pictures of the very beginning of construction:





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post #2 of 11 Old 05-10-2014, 12:08 PM
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Welcome to the madness! Your room is almost exactly the same size as mine so I feel I can comment. smile.gif

I can answer some of your questions but as you can see from my build I'm a noob so any detailed answers I'll leave for the pros here.

It looks like you're going 1 row and bar so you probably don't need a riser. If you decide on 2 rows you will.

For sound isolation - I wouldn't bother with just the ceiling. If you aren't going to do it all then just the ceiling really doesn't do much. (At least from my understanding) Save your $.

Concrete floor - I think for acoustics it could be fine (once again...noob) but think about temperature and comfort. Carpet is much nicer.

Screen wall - I left 30" from front wall to false screen wall. This seems right for me and about what most people use. I put my equipment in the back but if I planned better I might have put it in front. Everyone does this so differently there really isn't a wrong way. (Well, I guess there could be) I'm going with a 2.35:1 - that way I won't have screen upgrade envy as soon.

Triangular bass traps behind the screen and in the back or soffits stuffed with insulation make for good bass trapping overall and most all do them. I bought mine because I can't get the insulation panels to make them here in the boonies but they seem easy to DIY.

Good luck, I'm looking forward to see how this turns out!
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post #3 of 11 Old 05-12-2014, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Jeff. The room is under the living room, and is pretty far from any bedroom, so I'm not worried about bothering anybody that's sleeping (or I hope not). Anyone else have an opinion? I'll be using 5/8 drywall even if it's just a single layer with no further attempts at soundproofing.

I will probably go with carpet in there.

They started digging today. The next step is to lift the house up on "I" beams. A part of the reasoning for this project is a cracked foundation, that will be fixed as a part of this construction.



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post #4 of 11 Old 05-12-2014, 08:08 PM
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Did they let you work the backhoe?
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post #5 of 11 Old 05-14-2014, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wingm8 View Post


Floor Plan:

Upstairs Plan:


Sketchup:


Questions:
  • Sound Isolation: I want to do DD with GG on clips/channels for the ceiling. I’m not sure how much I should worry about the walls. I’m not worried about sound coming from/to the adjoining room (wine cellar, see layout picture). I am worried about sound coming from/to the upstairs. It’s a quiet neighborhood. I’m not sure how much I should worry about bothering the neighbors. Closest house is about 40 feet away. I also want to make sure the ceiling lighting does not decrease the effectiveness of the sound isolation.
  • Flooring: We were thinking of leaving it bare concrete floor, maybe with a nice seal/stain. Would this create bad acoustics or other issues?
  • AV Equipment Location: Not sure where best to put my AV equipment. I might be able to incorporate it into the wet bar area (bad idea?) or maybe in the false wall by the screen. Any thoughts?
  • Screen Size: I’d be willing to create a masking system (probably manual masking). I'm not sure if I’ll make a 2.4:1 or 16:9 screen.
  • False wall depth: What is a good amount of space behind the false wall?
  • Bass Traps: I've seen lots of people put triangular prisms of material, I believe for "bass traps" behind their false walls. It doesn't look too hard. Is this recommended?

Thanks for looking! I hope there is some progress soon, but it could be a while before things get rolling.

Here are some pictures of the very beginning of construction:





 

 

 

  • Sound Isolation: I want to do DD with GG on clips/channels for the ceiling. I’m not sure how much I should worry about the walls. I’m not worried about sound coming from/to the adjoining room (wine cellar, see layout picture). I am worried about sound coming from/to the upstairs.

 

I would think it is worthwhile for the Ceiling definitely, if you can't go the decoupled route.   Meaning, you could likely 'span' the width of your theater with LVLs/ Floor Trusses, that were placed 'inside'/ between Floor Joists  and rest them on the vertical framed walls.   I don't know which is more cost efficient, but that would likely be more straight forward for a contractor.In terms of the 'walls', I might be inclined to make the wall between the theater and 'wine' are either a double 2x4 wall or maybe a 2x6 staggered stud wall.   IF you search for STC ratings of Wall Assemblies on GOogle, it will show you these.  I likely wouldn't bother on the other walls if you aren't too concerned.   I would consider there to be a fair degree of risk that with out that wall, the sound would 'escape' that theater wall up into your main level.   The other walls don't seem to have interior living space above them.

 

  • Flooring: We were thinking of leaving it bare concrete floor, maybe with a nice seal/stain. Would this create bad acoustics or other issues?
    • I believe I have read that Carpet is many times somewhat 'absorptive' of sound, thus, ideal.  Cork flooring is supposed to be fairly good absorption as well.  The 'good news' is you could start with bare concrete and change that later if it was deemed to be an issue.   When looking at where to spend my money, I am choosing the more structural/ hard to change things later items now.
  •  
  • AV Equipment Location: Not sure where best to put my AV equipment. I might be able to incorporate it into the wet bar area (bad idea?) or maybe in the false wall by the screen. Any thoughts?
    • person opinion only... I 'stole' room from what is going to be my exercise room, to create a AV closet space (fairly large at almost 4'x12').  I'll use this in part likely for  a Dead Vent for air circulation.  In your situation, I don't know how critical your 'wine' area is, but I might 'steal' some of that area.   This also for me was partly a 'sound transfer' help as well... so, in my above comment on a double 2x4 wall or 2x6 staggered stud, if you used that area for your AV closet, that is creating a 2nd wall with an 'air lock' to help with sound transfer to the upstairs.   Obvious downside is it takes space out of other planned areas.  The other benefit of this is it reduces the 'Heat' from the equipment directly into the theater room.

 

  • Screen Size: I’d be willing to create a masking system (probably manual masking). I'm not sure if I’ll make a 2.4:1 or 16:9 screen.
    • Most of what I have seen is people love the 2:35:1 (or 2:4) screens.   I am debating a DIY 'custom', which would allow me to maximize both width & height constraints.   If I go 'max width' with my 2.35, then I am sacrificing a bit of 'height' on a max size 16x9.   So, I am planning to essentially determine my max width of screen for a 2.35 comfortable viewing, and then custom make it to be 'taller' such that I can also maximize the 16x9 size.  Masking is likely more important in your less light controlled environment.
    • my plan, as I have read in several different places, is to do my screen 'last thing'.. mount the projector put some white paper up, and play with it to see what works... THEN get the screen.
  • False wall depth: What is a good amount of space behind the false wall?
    • I am not planning to have one (planning in wall speakers, and AT screen right on the wall to maximize useable floor space), but I have read 30" is probably better than 24".   If other say putting the AV equipment behind the screen is an option, that definitely would be more attractive to me then.
    •  
  • Bass Traps: I've seen lots of people put triangular prisms of material, I believe for "bass traps" behind their false walls. It doesn't look too hard. Is this recommended?
    • this is a question I have, so far, I don't know... some of the stuff I read says 'wait to determine your bass trap requirements until later', but no idea of that is good advice.

 

 

In terms of lighting, it seems like a popular option is Grafik Eye, which requires a large 4 Gang Box.. your illustration only 'shows' 3 switches, but not sure your plans.   The zoned nature could be nice given the mutli-use of the room.  I believe you can achieve this lots of ways, so, not real sure.  There is an entire 'sticky' on Grafik Eye.

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post #6 of 11 Old 06-14-2014, 07:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Progress Update 6/14/14:

Huge progress since last time! The house has been lifted. Digging is mostly complete. Massive amounts of dirt/concrete removed from site (probably 15 or so of these). Concrete pouring is next week.

Cabinets are ordered for the wet bar. See picture for design. There will be a sink, space for a refrigerator (/kegerator), cabinets, and shelves in the middle. I'm planning to put the equipment in the cabinets (lower right). We're going to try and put in vents to the outside for heat, perhaps with a fan.

I've been talking with Ted White. Gotta order the soundproofing stuff.

I found some speakers on Craigslist. The guy was leaving all his wordly possessions behind to travel the world. $1000 buckets for this stuff. I think I got a good deal:
2x JBL ES90BK floorstanding speakers
1x JBL ES25CBK Center
2x JBL ES20 bookshelf
1x JBL ES350PBK Sub
Denon 1912 AVR

I also had fun a monoprice to the tune of $1686.51. I got all the audio/video wiring I'll need (wall plates, connectors, IR stuff, and lots more). Plus I got in wall speakers for the entire downstairs + 2 sets for outside. See the parts List Link.. I'm wiring the whole house with Cat 6 and doing some stuff upstairs too.

I'll be using these for the in-wall surround and rear speakers: Monoprice 6816

I want to do this for screen masking: jikkjack-s-diy-horizontal-masking-documentation

Someone complained that there was dirt on the sidewalk (where we were loading trucks with dirt). The city person came by and said we needed a right of way permit and needed to put up all kinds of fences and signs. See picture. The guys put up a "surveillance cameras in use sign" (which of course is not true). I think they were just poking fun at the insanity of the rules around here.
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post #7 of 11 Old 06-14-2014, 07:33 AM
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Wow. We don't see many dig out HTs here...always interesting!

How are you going to condition/move the air in the space? It is something that is often overlooked. Being underground, you will HAVE to make sure the air is turned over enough to avoid the "musty" smell as well.

Dedicated AC? Minisplit? If you are worried about sound travelling, I definitely would not tie in to the rest of the house unless you do it very carefully.

How high are your ceilings going to be? My general rule of thumb is to go a foot higher than you think you need...ie: if you think 8 feet will be enough, then go 9 feet. Dark basements are a big claustrophobic and higher ceilings really help open the space up.

Any issues with water drainage around the house? Any thoughts on protecting the basement?

Hiring out drywall and mudding is the BEST use of money one can do in construction, in my humble opinion. It is messy, exhausting, and tedious...and a good drywall team makes it look amazing and easily hides framing issues (which EVERY room will have).

Just a few thoughts and welcome to the build forum!

John

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post #8 of 11 Old 06-15-2014, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnsteph10 View Post
Wow. We don't see many dig out HTs here...always interesting!

How are you going to condition/move the air in the space? It is something that is often overlooked. Being underground, you will HAVE to make sure the air is turned over enough to avoid the "musty" smell as well.

Dedicated AC? Minisplit? If you are worried about sound travelling, I definitely would not tie in to the rest of the house unless you do it very carefully.

How high are your ceilings going to be? My general rule of thumb is to go a foot higher than you think you need...ie: if you think 8 feet will be enough, then go 9 feet. Dark basements are a big claustrophobic and higher ceilings really help open the space up.

Any issues with water drainage around the house? Any thoughts on protecting the basement?

Hiring out drywall and mudding is the BEST use of money one can do in construction, in my humble opinion. It is messy, exhausting, and tedious...and a good drywall team makes it look amazing and easily hides framing issues (which EVERY room will have).

Just a few thoughts and welcome to the build forum!
I live in a very temperate area. It is uncommon for people to have air conditioning where I live as it only gets hot for a few days every year. The plans show us putting in some PTAC units, but I really don't want to use those because they are unsightly. I'm looking into installing a furnace for the house. Right now, the house has no natural gas (something we're fixing as part of all this), and has electric baseboard heaters (terrible!). I had planned to just keep some windows open to get some circulation (when I'm not trying to heat the place).

The ceilings will be 9 feet down there. When I stand down there in the dug out space, I am very happy with the height.

There are no big issues with drainage. However, the foundation has been planned with a drainage system in mind. There will be paths for water to travel around the foundation and the concrete walls will be protected from water.

I've seen so many people echoing that statement about hiring out the drywall work. I will definitely be doing that.

Thanks for the welcome, good to be here!
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-19-2014, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Pouring footers tomorrow. So much excitement! Unfortunately, I can't be around. I'm going to try and get a gopro or a webcam set up to film the pour.
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post #10 of 11 Old 06-27-2014, 08:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Footers in:


Unfortunately, OSHA is taking issue with our shoring plan that was submitted. They think the wall of dirt is going to fall on the workers. My soils engineer says no way. Trying to get it all hashed out, but right now the guys aren't allowed on the job-site.

I went ahead and bought a Grafik Eye QS. I got model QSGRJ-8E, which is the ecosystem model. It only has 3 line-voltage zones, with the remainder being "Ecosystem" zones. I bought a compatible LED driver, model L3da4u1uks-ha070 so I will be able to control 4 zones total. I got the ecosystem model because I found the GE QS for cheap on ebay ($300!). The led driver was $44. There are still more available from the sellers. PM me if interested. I hope I got the right stuff. Should be okay though, I asked a Lutron rep and he said it would work.

I bought a box for the GE too, a Raco 698 - Masonry box 4 gang steel 3-1/2d. $18.48 shipped from cpesupply.com
http://www.hubbellcatalog.com/raco/R...eet.asp?PN=698

Edit: the GE is here




Edit #2 : Footing pour video.

Last edited by wingm8; 07-25-2014 at 09:39 AM.
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post #11 of 11 Old 06-27-2014, 08:28 AM
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WOW! "Way to commit soldier."

This is going to be fun to watch. Subscribed.

BTW, I've spent some time in nuclear industry as well. Duane Arnold and Browns Ferry. I will say that Diablo Canyon has some of the post recognizable containment in the industry

Dude, are you made of leprechauns? Cause that was awesome!

The Plains Theater Has Begun
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