Problem: My wife and I bought the home she grew up in on 2 acres in a rural area, but her mother lives with us, hence - I can't turn anything up. Worse still, I've heard high end audio and know what I'm missing. Call this my obsession, or perhaps my mid life crisis, but rather than a Jaguar convertible, I must have high end, deep bass at reference levels.
Over the past 3-4 months I've been designing and rejecting different options as too expensive. I can't put anything in the house (size and sound proofing), but I could build out in the backyard.
I started with a two story, three car garage with a 24x36 theater above that would give me everything. Contractor estimated about $100k.
I scaled down to a single story, 20x32 that would give me most of what I wanted. Contractor estimated $60k.
I visited a manufactured home factory about an hour away that could build a shell, about 12 x 32 with just finished electrical and lighting and AC, no plumbing or cabinetry. $21k, plus another couple thousand for shipping and to trench and run electric. So about $25k for the powered building. Saving a lot of money not to have to pour a foundation. I may go this route, although the manufactured home rep said the county may not approve a manufactured home for that use as 2nd structure on property. (Looks like no joy. I contacted Skyline Manufactured Homes local rep for a 2nd bid, and he wrote, literally a few minutes ago, "We are coded either to HUD, Park Model, or MOD ( Washington ) or Canada. All are pre-approved prints for residential. What your looking for is an “add-on” type structure and we have no approvals for these.")
As a final consideration, I'm near a shipyard (Portland, OR) and the delivered cost of an 8x20 shipping container is just $2100. This is well used, and would need a few hundred just to clean it up and paint the exterior. But something so small would by a huge compromise. Is there any way to fit a 7.2 system in there in 140 square feet? Wondering what it would look like, I worked it up roughly in sketchup:
After two layers of drywall and green glue all the way around, I would have internal dimensions of about 19'3" x 7'3" by 7ft tall. (I have since learned they make a High Cube 20ft container as well, with 9'6" height, I'll look for those, but didn't put it in the Sketchup. That would allow for lighting up in soffits and headroom.) First seating position is 8' from screen, 2nd position is 15.5ft, on a 1ft riser. That extra room between spots is to allow for a 2nd door to access the rear seats. I've found a couple possible 3 wide theater seats that will just fit in that width.
That's a 7 ft wide acoustically transparent screen on a hinged, fixed frame that can swing to allow access. Behind it I am imagining three, Fusion 8 Alchemy MTM speakers from the DIY speaker group, 2 ported Martycubes with Stereo Integrity SI18HTs , two Fusion 6 speakers for the rear wall, and some form of dipole speakers for the side surrounds since with full occupancy, someone will be right up against them. It's a compromise.
A split unit AC on the back wall to keep temp controlled. I haven't figured out how to control air exchange, but I imagine a supply and return register under the riser to pull and exhaust air from under the container (which would be up on poured 1' x 1' blocks). Some low flow, always on PC type fan to push and pull a little air through, ducted to either end of the riser step might work.
I'd save a ton of money from not having to pour a foundation, trench electric, lay down extra gravel to allow a cement truck to get to rear of property (I could put it right next to the house, instead of 100ft away where I planned the larger structure) and a very small capacity heat pump
Rough Cost breakdown:
Shipped container, sand blasted and painted: $3,000.
Two Doors: $300
Lumber and drywall and Green Glue: $1,100
3 DIY Fusion 8 MTM: $900
2 DIY Fusion 6 rear: $300
2 Dipole Side Surrounds: $400?
2 DIY Martycubes: $750
Amp for subs: Behringer EP 2000: $250
DIY acoustic panels. $500
Projector: Will use current Optoma HD33 until a reasonable 4k projector comes out. Will reserve $3k.
Receiver: Using current Sony 7.2 system.
Transducer: Use current Buttkickers and Amp.
Electric and AC: Unknown. I'm guessing $5k if I do most of the work myself. (Ex Navy Electrician). Never done residential wiring though and would need to pay to have someone do the final work after I rough it out. May need to have a certified HVAC guy handle the coolant. Not sure.
So that's about $18,500 total, assuming max cost for HVAC and Electric is ~$5,000, but even a few thousand more there would be doable.
I know it probably makes more sense to skip the side surrounds and go 5.2, but I've been in a really tight 7.1 room before watching Master and Commander really desire that level of sound field.
Thanks for letting me ramble. If you've gotten this far, does anyone have any suggestions?