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post #1 of 121 Old 01-24-2016, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Cat-Fisch Cinema

EDIT: I originally intended my room to be a general media / game room. So I had the thread in the general media room forum. But I've evolved to walling off 2/3 of the basement to create a dedicated home theater. So I had the thread moved to the dedicated forum. But unlike most here, I'm contracting out the detailed design and construction (though I'm purchasing a significant amount of the gear myself rather than through the installer).

I'm creating a non-dedicated home theater and entertainment room in my basement. I don't have the luxury of a dedicated build, and I'm starting with a finished basement so I can't design from the framing up. Plus, it's a narrow, oddly shaped space that's forcing compromises. I'm hoping for ideas on how to best use the space while maintaining WAF.

The first graphic is the flat dimensions showing the full basement, with unfinished storage and equipment space. The second graphic shows the current concept; the basement is prewired for 5.1 surround in this orientation. The third image shows a rotated concept; this would require significant remodeling since the pre-wire doesn't support this.

I have these goals:
1) Home Theater with ~120" screen and seating for 6 - 8 and 5.1.4 Atmos.
2) Space for playing (and storing) board games for 4-6 people.
3) A small wetbar (upper right corner), taking advantage of the plumbing rough-in. Sink, mini-fridge, snacks and mixed drinks.

I have these WAF constraints
1) Comfortable, flexible space. Strongly wants a sectional sofa with coffee table for general use. We will likely watch TV, and eat dinner down there in front of the 'big' screen.
2) No speakers 'randomly' placed in the middle of the room. Don't want speakers on stands that can be toppled or create an obstacle course for us or guests.

Some freedoms:
1) Riser acceptable for second row seating, including dedicated theater seats
2) Boardgaming requires a modest table and chairs, and some bookshelves to hold our closet-full of games
3) Conduit to ceiling for Projector should have space for speaker wire to enable Atmos without remodel and fishing new ceiling cables
4) Open to aesthetically attractive acoustic treatments like wall panels
5) It's in the basement. The windows can be blacked for total light control.

Since 4k projectors are ~$10k, I think I'll do a 1080p projector and upgrade to 4k when good projectors are available for under $5000.

My budget is currently $16k. I might be able to double it to $32k, TBD.

It's both a great space and a limiting space. If push comes to shove, WAF wins and it's a comfortable living space over a dedicated theater space. But I'd love some ideas and inspirations!
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post #2 of 121 Old 01-24-2016, 06:21 PM
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Not a bad space at all. I think you'll be very happy with it. However, a $16k budget and a $32k budget are VERY different. When can you finalize budget? And what exactly does that budget include? Furniture too?

Front L&R: Polk RTi A3 (cherry finish)
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post #3 of 121 Old 01-25-2016, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zpatter1 View Post
Not a bad space at all. I think you'll be very happy with it. However, a $16k budget and a $32k budget are VERY different. When can you finalize budget? And what exactly does that budget include? Furniture too?
Indeed...I'll know about the budget in a couple of months. That budget is currently all inclusive: electronics, furniture, wetbar installation, and so on. I'm looking for ideas. Ideas that fit in a $16k budget are great. But ideas that fit in a $32k budget are also welcome and can help me prioritize.

I did a guesstimate on the electronics and speakers and board-game table of about $10k, leaving $6k for 'theater' seating, wetbar, and misc. Conversely, if there are strong motivations to grow the budget because of what it brings, I'll be more motivated to enable that. I budgeted for a $1500 screen, but DIY wallpainting is negotiable to manage how money is spent. Similarly, a second row of seating could be postponed to make budget for something better on the core setup.

Conversely, I don't think I'll go to a 4k projector since the additional ~$5k premium doesn't make sense for me in 2016, even with a $32k budget. I'll save to upgrade in a couple of years when 4k media is common and native 4k projectors are more affordable.
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post #4 of 121 Old 01-25-2016, 02:55 PM
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I agree the 4K projectors aren't worth it yet. You could also wait on Dolby Atmos, although that is basically already here. The only reason I'd wait it to make sure the processor could handle DTS X sound as well. And to get a better price. If you'll be doing construction I would put the in ceiling speakers in though even if you don't hook them up.

In terms of budget, it's most helpful to know what you can spend on the audio and video side. I have no idea how much a wet bar costs or how pricey your wife likes her furniture. In terms of what you can get with a budget increase, every little bit will be an improvement but what is recommended in a 10k system versus a 20k system are likely to be very different.

Must speakers be in wall for aesthetic purposes? If so I'd look hard at Triad. For a receiver I'd look at Yamaha or Denon. For a projector I'd go with JVC for the superior blacks.

Front L&R: Polk RTi A3 (cherry finish)
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post #5 of 121 Old 01-30-2016, 06:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Agree about the budget. That's a big issue that I hope to nail down next month.

The speakers aren't in-wall. They're floor-standing. The ceiling speakers will be hung on mounts. I don't plan to tear out the ceiling to install in-ceiling speakers. I'm re-using my SVS 5.1 system, and adding ceiling speakers.

I haven't looked up JVC projectors yet to see what's in my budget. That's a brand I hadn't thought of yet. Will add it on the comparison list.
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post #6 of 121 Old 04-09-2016, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
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My latest iteration of Sketchup models. Doing a false-wall for the screen forces the room to be deeper which pushes everything back. We're trying to preserve as much room in the non-theater portion, which argues against that. I still need an attractive way to hide the sub-woofers. We're thinking about columns to wrap around them and frame the screen.

Thinking about building a closet of the electronics, to give easy access to the rear. The other option is to build in a pull-out, swivel rack underneath the stairs. The closet gives easier access. The under-stairs preserves free space which we might later add a table and chairs for super-mini lounge. 7.2.4 is my optimistic plan. The surrounds are all slightly compromised in location due to room constraints. Suggestions are welcome.

I've met with two location home theater firms and should have a consult with a third next weekend.
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post #7 of 121 Old 04-10-2016, 07:30 AM
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Looks like a great space! Since you are starting with an already finished basement it looks like all of your 16k - 32k will be "fun money" to spend. I had to finish my basement from scratch so that ate into most of my theater budget.
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post #8 of 121 Old 04-10-2016, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
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I'll be doing some retro-fit work because the finished design isn't quite right for the theater as now imagined But I'm hoping to save some money with that to put more of it into the theater proper.
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post #9 of 121 Old 04-19-2016, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Considering flipping the space to put the screen on the front wall of the room. Considering in-room subs, cubes flanking the rear seats.
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post #10 of 121 Old 04-23-2016, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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This is where I'm on at conceptual design. One of the designers we met we recommended flipping the room to have the screen on the front wall, and use a full-width rear riser. The alternate flooring in the bar is my idea.

Likewise, it's my idea to use in-room cube subs under the screen for space and aesthetics. If we go this way, we'd have a custom cabinet built to enclose them and provide some storage space between. Pursuing this idea further, I now like the idea of building that front wall deep enough to contain the front speakers and subs. That cleans up the aesthetics, but wife loses the storage space.
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post #11 of 121 Old 04-23-2016, 11:27 AM
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So it's seating for six, and that's a need, not a random want?


Most of those drawings have audio compromised seating and a seat buried in the corner is going to very compromised audio.
There's also a lack of symmetry which also hurts audio. Hence the question about seating needs...

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post #12 of 121 Old 04-23-2016, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Regarding contractors: I sent inquiries to five local firms. Two I found from the local county paper in the best-of issue. Three I found from google maps. My basic request was for a designer builder, understanding that I already own a projector and I'll purchase receiver and speakers on my own. One company didn't reply. One company responded with a 'no thanks'. Three I had consultations with.

1) Very much liked the owner. He was knowledgable and open about his interests and skills and work process. He explained that his focus is home automation, home electronics integration. (And he has a satellite office in Miami, doing installs in Yachts.) And his bread and butter is on the electronics sales. But he'd work with me, with a different structure, Time and Materials based. His design and construction work is done by third party partners that he's worked with for years. To further save money, he'd have me serve as coordinator between the groups instead of him being the middle man, passthrough.

2) A similar guy, but I think a smaller company, emphasis on home automation and devices sales. He works with a single GC for the design and build, who has his own home remodeling company. I was less enthused, but then I met his GC for an in-home consult. He's not a dedicated home theater installer, but he obviously had experience. He said he's currently doing a music studio for a home owner. He had with him illustrative plans from the sound proofing website company that's recommended strongly here as a resource. We had a good conversation about whether middle-ground construction (e.g. 2x drywall and green glue, but not full standoff) is worthwhile. I'm waiting an preliminary design and cost proposal from him.

2b) An option I have in mind, that I've not yet discussed with him, is to contract detailed design from Erskine and have him build it. I've had some preliminary emails with Mike F., but I'm holding off until I have a sense of whether going with an out-of-state, third-party designer is realistic for me. And can get WAF.

3) Local dedicated home-theater design firm. My impression is they're the premier regional firm for this work. They have office and manufacturing space in a local light-industrial park. The owner is a CEDIA member, and competes in the CEDIA room build competition. The company is ISF certified too. This is in all-in-one company, with the trades on staff. After exchanging some emails about my room and goals, he came back with a 15 page proposal with price. The following weekend, my wife and I met with him at his office and talked. In talking with him, I derailed the conversation for 20 minutes as we started talking about amplifiers and speakers and other gear issues. In closing up, he showed us the drawings they do to layout the room, design for sight-lines to make sure the riser is the appropriate height. I've seen a theater that he did in our neighborhood. The layout and design is very nice. I didn't get a full demo, so I can't speak to its true quality. I'm guessing it's a $100k to $150k theater. The homeowners said he was obsessive about details. I was impressed. But he's expensive.
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post #13 of 121 Old 04-23-2016, 11:48 AM
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Alternative thinking perhaps. Four seat front row and secondary seating as a bar row in the back alcove.
Eats up less basement space, and would be a cheaper to finish space overall.

You could do a couple of upholstered swivel chairs for the bar row, with a low riser and have a countertop dining option.
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post #14 of 121 Old 04-23-2016, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Pricing snippets from proposal of (3).

$43,000 total budget with (3)
This doesn't include AVR and speakers, or seating.
All-in, this is a $75k design with the "Expensive" Gear.

I think I just fainted for a moment.

Gear cost is MSRP. I think I can find better pricing and bring this down under $70k. The cheaper system with 5.1, DefTech speakers, and AVR with single amp cuts $10k from the cost. More desirably, staying with 7.2.4, but going from Triad Silver to DefTech RSIII saves about $6000.

But while the proposal has acoustic treatments, it has no sound mitigation. Adding some sound mitigation and adding either custom cabinetry to the front wall or making it a deep, hidden-speaker wall will add another $5000 to $10,000.

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post #15 of 121 Old 04-23-2016, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Alternative thinking perhaps. Four seat front row and secondary seating as a bar row in the back alcove.
Eats up less basement space, and would be a cheaper to finish space overall.

You could do a couple of upholstered swivel chairs for the bar row, with a low riser and have a countertop dining option.
I lament to my wife that my theater would be cheaper and/or have fewer compromises if I didn't care about friends. I need two seats for me and her. That's the great majority of use. I want four more to have friends over once in a while for a movie night. Getting one couple over is easy. Getting two at the same time is more difficult. Getting three couples at the same time is about impossible, so I'm not shooting for seating for eight.

The room is weirdly shaped. It seems so spacious and well suited when I bought the house. And compared to other options in my price range, it's great. But now that I'm really planning, it's a frustrating space with challenging compromises.

The acoustic problem is the motivation for flipping the room around. My original plan, screen on back wall, had speakers facing corners of the alcoves. And everyone is telling me that's less desirable.

To your suggested orientation: the emergency exit window is in the upper left alcove, and can't be hidden behind the screen and speakers.
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post #16 of 121 Old 04-23-2016, 12:32 PM
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ShoutingMan. As you know I'm in the process of building my theater. It has evolved dramatically since I started, mainly due to AVS user input. There are many similarities between your project and mine. While I have read through (and subscribed) to your thread, I know your ideas and budget has also been evolving, so I wanted to understand where you are currently.

How much of this project do you want to do yourself? What specific things will you be doing and what do you want to hire out? What is your time-frame? Have you decided what your end budget will be? What are your goals?

Evolution of My Theater Build

Current Gear: Procella P8 (LCR), Procella P6V (2 Front Side), Procella P5 (2 Rear Side, 2 Rear, 4 Ceiling), Crown DCi 8|300 (2), Deep Sea Sound Custom 18" Mariana (4), SpeakerPower SP2-12000-HT, Yamaha CX-A5100, Xilica XP-8080 (2), JVC RS400, 2.37 Seymour AV 120" UF Screen, Kaleidescape Strato.
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post #17 of 121 Old 04-24-2016, 06:54 AM
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Six it is. I was simply wondering if a four seat wide layout made better sense, in that space. It sure does from a cost perspective, and seating (with good audio) perspective.
That's not always something people ask themselves, and then they misallocate their budget, to gain compromised seating, which often sees little use.


Are you limited to having that emergency exit open and exposed? Could it not get a simple exterior door with gasket, and would not a simple to remove, lower
fabric panel plus cleat hung AT screen, create fast and easy egress?


Those windows won't be doing your room any favors, audio-wise. They will undo any sound isolation efforts you make, and the flip side to that, is they will
raise the room's noise floor, which means you just compromised the ability to not touch the volume key during an entire movie. As for the room flip, that's always an
option I look at. But just how well is that working when it upsets room symmetry, and the majority of seating (4) is on the back wall and compromised? That's why I
suggested going wide, and having less compromised seats, and shaving costs.


Another option I personally would consider is to use stadium style seating in that room, and use that to advantage to shrink the seating foot print. And still go with a
wide layout like I proposed. Now that doesn't fly with a lot of people who love their recliners, but I'd also make a case that non reclining seating is also forcing the back
row in your designs, too close to the wall and right on top of the surrounds.


Another thought is to do a single row of four seats, with a wide layout, and simply bring in two chairs and plant them in the aisles, when you need to seat six. They would be
audio compromised but you would have four good seats, and two overflow, and save substantially, in the process. The coffee table could also be something that could "flex"
out of the room.
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post #18 of 121 Old 04-24-2016, 07:28 AM
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Would the Mrs go for a fabric framed room? Then you could disguise the alcoves, and have hidden fabric panelled doors.


Three wide seating in 13.5' of width is a pretty nice layout, and you'd have a more predictable rectangular room, and all speakers could be
off the seating.

BTW, have you also considered what a small refrigerator will do for your noise floor? If you care about your audio performance, then don't put it in the
viewing environment. They are typically noisy, and once again, you should be aiming for a low noise floor.


Does that bathroom exist? Or is it simply a rough in? Wondering if there's a possibility of jogging the layout a little, and create more gaming room space?
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post #19 of 121 Old 04-24-2016, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aareses View Post
ShoutingMan. As you know I'm in the process of building my theater. It has evolved dramatically since I started, mainly due to AVS user input. There are many similarities between your project and mine. While I have read through (and subscribed) to your thread, I know your ideas and budget has also been evolving, so I wanted to understand where you are currently.

How much of this project do you want to do yourself? What specific things will you be doing and what do you want to hire out? What is your time-frame? Have you decided what your end budget will be? What are your goals?
Reading your thread is like reading my own thoughts from a split dimension

I want a dedicated big-screen room with 16:9 120" or larger screen, 7.2.4 Atmos, a wet bar, and seating for six. All in my odd-ball, compromised basement space. I will use daily for watching TV with my wife from the TiVo. I'll play PS4 video games in there on the weekend. We will watch movies occasionally; perhaps more than we do currently when we've got this brilliant room. I hope to have friends over for movie / TV events monthly.

I'm contracting out the design and build. I'm not going DIY. I have respect for the folks that build their own theaters. I'm jealous of them, in fact. They get awesome rooms for half the cost. (That's my tension, DIY with a $50k budget, and I could have a minimum-compromises room.) I appreciate their insights and knowledge here on how to get the best results; it's helpful in talking with designers. Even a good designer is busy running his company and isn't necessarily perfectly knowledgable bout the latest Dolby Atmos approach or whatever. But I'm impatient. I want to enjoy my room this year. I don't want to give up all my free time for a 12 to 36 months to build this. (And I've been reviewing DIY threads. I repeatedly see it takes people a least a year to get the basic structure done and then another 6 months to get it completely finished. And it's no uncommon to find people working on it for three years before completion.) Also, having some minor back problems, I don't want them to become medium to major back problems from a year of lifting and carrying heavy things and doing hard work while tired and in awkward poses.

So, pay all my money to someone to design and build for me.

I want to buy most of my electronics myself. There's tension here in working with a home theater firm on this. I'm opposed to paying a builder MSRP for equipment that I can buy on sale cheaper. Or paying $4000 for a Screen Innovations product when I can direct-order a Seymour screen for $2000 and get same quality. But that 50% markup on gear implicit in full MSRP is the real profit for the dedicated home theater company. The hourly rates on their trades-people doesn't pay the owner's mortgage, so to speak.

I want the room done this year. Hopefully late Summer. The only obstacle is my own schedule is figuring out what I want, picking a contractor and going forward.
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post #20 of 121 Old 04-24-2016, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Six it is. I was simply wondering if a four seat wide layout made better sense, in that space. It sure does from a cost perspective, and seating (with good audio) perspective.
That's not always something people ask themselves, and then they misallocate their budget, to gain compromised seating, which often sees little use.
The room isn't wide enough for 4 seats centered and maintain 36" walkway, unless I go with the screen at the front entrance wall and the seats are distinctly farther than minimum viewing distance for the maximum "big screen" experience. Which is what my current design illustrates. I'd like to get the rear seats off the wall, but I'm struggling with the space available and WAF on total volume of the theater space versus keeping the rest of the basement available for whatever. And what I see in typical home theaters is the rear seating is against a wall. It's a common compromise.

You're suggesting reasonable compromises a person might go with. But we're set on seating for six.

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Are you limited to having that emergency exit open and exposed? Could it not get a simple exterior door with gasket, and would not a simple to remove, lower
fabric panel plus cleat hung AT screen, create fast and easy egress?
Emergency exit will have blackout shades or something to block light but easily moved out of the way. This is a below-grade basement, so the emergency egress must be accessible; it can't be walled off behind a screen and stacks of speakers.

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Those windows won't be doing your room any favors, audio-wise. They will undo any sound isolation efforts you make, and the flip side to that, is they will
raise the room's noise floor, which means you just compromised the ability to not touch the volume key during an entire movie. As for the room flip, that's always an
option I look at. But just how well is that working when it upsets room symmetry, and the majority of seating (4) is on the back wall and compromised? That's why I
suggested going wide, and having less compromised seats, and shaving costs.
Windows won't severely compromise the audio from exterior noise. It's a quiet neighborhood and the windows are 50' back from the road. And if I can get WAF, I'd like to have removable inserts to fill the windows.

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Another option I personally would consider is to use stadium style seating in that room, and use that to advantage to shrink the seating foot print. And still go with a
wide layout like I proposed. Now that doesn't fly with a lot of people who love their recliners, but I'd also make a case that non reclining seating is also forcing the back
row in your designs, too close to the wall and right on top of the surrounds.
Riser is planned for rear seating; it might not be obvious in the top-down images I'm used.


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Would the Mrs go for a fabric framed room? Then you could disguise the alcoves, and have hidden fabric panelled doors.
Yep. We like that look. It's just more money

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Three wide seating in 13.5' of width is a pretty nice layout, and you'd have a more predictable rectangular room, and all speakers could be
off the seating.
That's a intriguing idea. We're exploring it. But the wet-bar goes in the right alcove, so it can't be storage.

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Does that bathroom exist? Or is it simply a rough in? Wondering if there's a possibility of jogging the layout a little, and create more gaming room space?
The space outside of the theater has a finished bathroom, and we're not moving the bar outside the theater.

To clarify, board-gaming is no longer a use for the basement. That will remain upstairs on the dining room table The space outside the theater is finished, but not specific purpose. Storage or whatnot. The driver here is the nebulous "resale value": don't want it to be so small that no one could find a use for it should we need to sell the house.

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BTW, have you also considered what a small refrigerator will do for your noise floor? If you care about your audio performance, then don't put it in the
viewing environment. They are typically noisy, and once again, you should be aiming for a low noise floor.
I had not. I hate you for making me think of it. Please go away now.
...


Great comment. We really want a functional bar with convenient drinks. I'll have to think about this.
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post #21 of 121 Old 04-24-2016, 09:10 AM
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The devil is in the details, and better to be challenged and have to give careful consideration to details now, then be blind sided later....


Is there such a thing as a quiet neighborhood? We're so used to ambient noise then we tend to ignore it, but when a typical home has a 50-55 db noise floor,
you are already deep into eating up the dynamic range of a sound track. Further, large glass windows act as low pass filters and that effect is audible. But it's
really nice to be able to air a home theater out once in a while, so I am a fan of window plugs.

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Reading your thread is like reading my own thoughts from a split dimension

I want a dedicated big-screen room with 16:9 120" or larger screen, 7.2.4 Atmos, a wet bar, and seating for six. All in my odd-ball, compromised basement space. I will use daily for watching TV with my wife from the TiVo. I'll play PS4 video games in there on the weekend. We will watch movies occasionally; perhaps more than we do currently when we've got this brilliant room. I hope to have friends over for movie / TV events monthly.

I'm contracting out the design and build. I'm not going DIY. I have respect for the folks that build their own theaters. I'm jealous of them, in fact. They get awesome rooms for half the cost. (That's my tension, DIY with a $50k budget, and I could have a minimum-compromises room.) I appreciate their insights and knowledge here on how to get the best results; it's helpful in talking with designers. Even a good designer is busy running his company and isn't necessarily perfectly knowledgable bout the latest Dolby Atmos approach or whatever. But I'm impatient. I want to enjoy my room this year. I don't want to give up all my free time for a 12 to 36 months to build this. (And I've been reviewing DIY threads. I repeatedly see it takes people a least a year to get the basic structure done and then another 6 months to get it completely finished. And it's no uncommon to find people working on it for three years before completion.) Also, having some minor back problems, I don't want them to become medium to major back problems from a year of lifting and carrying heavy things and doing hard work while tired and in awkward poses.

So, pay all my money to someone to design and build for me.

I want to buy most of my electronics myself. There's tension here in working with a home theater firm on this. I'm opposed to paying a builder MSRP for equipment that I can buy on sale cheaper. Or paying $4000 for a Screen Innovations product when I can direct-order a Seymour screen for $2000 and get same quality. But that 50% markup on gear implicit in full MSRP is the real profit for the dedicated home theater company. The hourly rates on their trades-people doesn't pay the owner's mortgage, so to speak.

I want the room done this year. Hopefully late Summer. The only obstacle is my own schedule is figuring out what I want, picking a contractor and going forward.
Yes! There are many similarities between our situations to say the least! Haha.

You should contact Nyal Mellor and talk with him. He is a highly certified designer, who sells gear. He also does integration and calibration. Nyal gives package discounts on gear. I haven't received his quotes yet, but its possible I could be buying some of my gear from him. I am also buying gear from other sources as well.

While I don't know you and can only get some details from what you have written, it seems like you are pretty much heading in the same direction as I am. The thing that worked for me is getting good designs from Nyal, then using AVS and my own research for all the decisions, including gear. It is more time-intensive, but not nearly as bad as the time it takes for DIY. I too am hiring out all the contractors to do that work. I am pretty much the project manager (with AVS and Nyal's assistance), not doing the work, but making sure the work gets done correctly. While I still have some more learning to do on the sound isolation portion of construction, I know what correct is now through Nyal's designs and AVS.

Evolution of My Theater Build

Current Gear: Procella P8 (LCR), Procella P6V (2 Front Side), Procella P5 (2 Rear Side, 2 Rear, 4 Ceiling), Crown DCi 8|300 (2), Deep Sea Sound Custom 18" Mariana (4), SpeakerPower SP2-12000-HT, Yamaha CX-A5100, Xilica XP-8080 (2), JVC RS400, 2.37 Seymour AV 120" UF Screen, Kaleidescape Strato.
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Pricing snippets from proposal of (3).

$43,000 total budget with (3)
This doesn't include AVR and speakers, or seating.
All-in, this is a $75k design with the "Expensive" Gear.

I think I just fainted for a moment.

Gear cost is MSRP. I think I can find better pricing and bring this down under $70k. The cheaper system with 5.1, DefTech speakers, and AVR with single amp cuts $10k from the cost. More desirably, staying with 7.2.4, but going from Triad Silver to DefTech RSIII saves about $6000.

But while the proposal has acoustic treatments, it has no sound mitigation. Adding some sound mitigation and adding either custom cabinetry to the front wall or making it a deep, hidden-speaker wall will add another $5000 to $10,000.
Everyone of course is different. We all have our different tastes and make different decisions. I don't know your tastes at all, except your room will be more for watching TV than movies. Looking at your information, here are a few observations:

- Your budget is approaching $80,000, just like mine! Ouch. That was my cold hard reality also.

- Your budget for acoustic treatments seems very low.

- Your budget for equipment does not match the budget for your room. As a general rule, room and equipment are about the same cost. Although you may have categorized things differently. If you categorize correctly, if room costs $30,000, your equipment should match at $30,000. Based on a $50,000 budget, some of your equipment choices make more sense, but then your room cost should be much lower. The key is more balance between the two.

- While SVS subs can be good, my research has found that for that type of performance HSU is a better choice for value in what I would call the 2nd tier subs (which SVS is in). Of the top tier subs, I personally think Deep Sea Sound is the best value. The owner, David Gage is incredible to work with. Like really incredible.

- For $23,000, I personally think you can do better for your equipment. You can get better performance for the same cost than the equipment you list. I believe you should go one of two ways here. If you are watching mostly TV, why spend even $23k on equipment? TV is not that high quality of a source. If your source is not of the highest quality, then spending a ton of money on gear to me is somewhat overkill. If you are getting the higher end equipment for the limited movie watching you do, then I can understand why you want to spend your money on the higher end equipment. As I've said though, if that is the route you are going, then you can get better performance for the money you are spending. I started out looking at Monitor Audio also. It is good stuff, no doubt. But for that movie performance, it paled in comparison with direct listening tests to other systems, which were meant for movie performance. There was a huge discussion about this on my thread early on. I encourage you to read those posts about pro cinema speakers compared to say Monitor Audio, which I started out thinking I would get. After many demos, I'm glad I didn't.

Based on a $75,000 room...

In other words, if you are building your room for an entertaining space for games, bar activities and TV, you would be better served to save your money. You can get a really nice room and equipment to meet those goals for FAR less than you are proposing here. If those activities compromise 90% or more of what you do, save your money.

If you are building your space for performance from high quality sources (CDs, Blu-rays, UHD, etc.) to listen to music or watch movies, then build the room, get it professionally designed, better acoustic treatments and higher performing gear for the money.

Evolution of My Theater Build

Current Gear: Procella P8 (LCR), Procella P6V (2 Front Side), Procella P5 (2 Rear Side, 2 Rear, 4 Ceiling), Crown DCi 8|300 (2), Deep Sea Sound Custom 18" Mariana (4), SpeakerPower SP2-12000-HT, Yamaha CX-A5100, Xilica XP-8080 (2), JVC RS400, 2.37 Seymour AV 120" UF Screen, Kaleidescape Strato.

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post #24 of 121 Old 05-01-2016, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Everyone of course is different. We all have our different tastes and make different decisions. I don't know your tastes at all, except your room will be more for watching TV than movies. Looking at your information, here are a few observations:

- Your budget is approaching $80,000, just like mine! Ouch. That was my cold hard reality also.

- Your budget for acoustic treatments seems very low.

- Your budget for equipment does not match the budget for your room. As a general rule, room and equipment are about the same cost. Although you may have categorized things differently. If you categorize correctly, if room costs $30,000, your equipment should match at $30,000. Based on a $50,000 budget, some of your equipment choices make more sense, but then your room cost should be much lower. The key is more balance between the two.

- While SVS subs can be good, my research has found that for that type of performance HSU is a better choice for value in what I would call the 2nd tier subs (which SVS is in). Of the top tier subs, I personally think Deep Sea Sound is the best value. The owner, David Gage is incredible to work with. Like really incredible.

- For $23,000, I personally think you can do better for your equipment. You can get better performance for the same cost than the equipment you list. I believe you should go one of two ways here. If you are watching mostly TV, why spend even $23k on equipment? TV is not that high quality of a source. If your source is not of the highest quality, then spending a ton of money on gear to me is somewhat overkill. If you are getting the higher end equipment for the limited movie watching you do, then I can understand why you want to spend your money on the higher end equipment. As I've said though, if that is the route you are going, then you can get better performance for the money you are spending. I started out looking at Monitor Audio also. It is good stuff, no doubt. But for that movie performance, it paled in comparison with direct listening tests to other systems, which were meant for movie performance. There was a huge discussion about this on my thread early on. I encourage you to read those posts about pro cinema speakers compared to say Monitor Audio, which I started out thinking I would get. After many demos, I'm glad I didn't.

Based on a $75,000 room...

In other words, if you are building your room for an entertaining space for games, bar activities and TV, you would be better served to save your money. You can get a really nice room and equipment to meet those goals for FAR less than you are proposing here. If those activities compromise 90% or more of what you do, save your money.

If you are building your space for performance from high quality sources (CDs, Blu-rays, UHD, etc.) to listen to music or watch movies, then build the room, get it professionally designed, better acoustic treatments and higher performing gear for the money.
I'm going to reverse your critique to express it as my concern: My gear budget is about right but my room construction costs are too high. I've got a ~$25k gear estimate, paying full MSRP. I could pay less for the same gear with price shopping. My worry is I've got a $43k proposal to: build a bar, fourth wall, large riser, equipment closet, and do the screen and all treatments and aesthetics. I'm not really sure that's a $43k job; it might be a $25k job at home-theater installer prices. I'm looking for a competitive bid to get ground truth on this.

As for categorization, I'm always interested in taxonomies, so how do you prefer to categorize budget items? (Anything producing acoustic or light waves is gear. Anything requiring a hammer is room. If it's about where your butt goes, it's seating. )

Regarding the quality of the gear: At full MSRP there are better options than Marantz amps (e.g. Outlaw or perhaps Emotiva). I'm budgeting full MSRP assuming a baseline approach of paying MSRP through an installer. If I piecemeal it, I'll pay less than MSRP on such gear or I'll go to internet-direct brands like Outlaw for amps and so on.

The biggest price challenge is in-wall speakers. Remind which speakers you've settled on?

I like Paradigm a lot, but they don't have in-ceiling speakers with backer boxes. Def Tech is appealing for price reasons, but I can't get handle on their relative to quality to what installers want to sell (e.g. Triad); But they're no where to be found for demos; and their in-ceiling are dipoles / bipoles which I'm unsure about. Triad is used by all the area installers, and clearly targets custom install options with their in-wall and in-ceiling designs. They might be overpriced, but they continue to seem like a decent choice.

Subs. Subs are a religious matter on the internet, I think I am partial to SVS for sundry reasons; once upon a time they were the arguable price/performance king. HSU is an excellent brand, but I've never owned them. I'll have to take a second look at HSU.

Deep Sea Sounds: With no slight to the brand or Mr. David Gage, with whom I'm currently talking speakers...I don't think they fit my goals. At $2600 for an 18" sub, I can buy three SVS PB2000 12" subs, have 33% more driver area and $200 left in my wallet. And I can get better room balance by positioning multiple subs. The negative is 1500W vs 3000W. My experience suggests that two subs is more than sufficient for my tastes. But this suggests a test to try with my current SVS cylinder in my living room (when my wife is out of the house )

As for source material: I'm designing to suit the highest-quality material I might watch. TV doesn't do Atmos, but I want that option for movies. And I used to watch movies more than TV; I might swing back that way if this current golden age of TV ends. But while "TV" doesn't have the dynamic range of a blu-ray, modern "TV" has full-range audio and benefits from a competent system. Moreover, "TV" includes e.g. Netflix products which are going 4k and presumably higher quality audio. Likewise, I'm hoping video games will embrace Atmos in the next generation. I'm skating to where the puck will be (or might hopefully be), as it were.

Which, I'm self aware enough to know, is all self-justification. There's no excuse to spend $50k on even a blu-ray room, when that would pay for going out to the movies weekly for the next 20 years. We buy these ridiculous things because we want to.
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Taxonomies is my new word for today.
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post #26 of 121 Old 05-01-2016, 08:54 AM
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Taxonomies is my new word for today.
Haha...mine too! While TV and streaming services may be using better and better formats, such as what Tedd indicated here, there is a huge difference in audio quality. Blu-ray and other pure sources use lossless audio and video, meaning it will play the full range and be a lot more dynamic, especially on a higher end home theater. TV and streaming services are highly compressed audio, which quality is substantially lower in a $75k theater. Video is however getting closer, just not quite there yet.

Interstellar: Blu-ray vs. iTunes vs. Vudu vs. Amazon

Evolution of My Theater Build

Current Gear: Procella P8 (LCR), Procella P6V (2 Front Side), Procella P5 (2 Rear Side, 2 Rear, 4 Ceiling), Crown DCi 8|300 (2), Deep Sea Sound Custom 18" Mariana (4), SpeakerPower SP2-12000-HT, Yamaha CX-A5100, Xilica XP-8080 (2), JVC RS400, 2.37 Seymour AV 120" UF Screen, Kaleidescape Strato.
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post #27 of 121 Old 05-01-2016, 08:56 AM
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I'm going to reverse your critique to express it as my concern: My gear budget is about right but my room construction costs are too high. I've got a ~$25k gear estimate, paying full MSRP. I could pay less for the same gear with price shopping. My worry is I've got a $43k proposal to: build a bar, fourth wall, large riser, equipment closet, and do the screen and all treatments and aesthetics. I'm not really sure that's a $43k job; it might be a $25k job at home-theater installer prices. I'm looking for a competitive bid to get ground truth on this.

As for categorization, I'm always interested in taxonomies, so how do you prefer to categorize budget items? (Anything producing acoustic or light waves is gear. Anything requiring a hammer is room. If it's about where your butt goes, it's seating. )

Regarding the quality of the gear: At full MSRP there are better options than Marantz amps (e.g. Outlaw or perhaps Emotiva). I'm budgeting full MSRP assuming a baseline approach of paying MSRP through an installer. If I piecemeal it, I'll pay less than MSRP on such gear or I'll go to internet-direct brands like Outlaw for amps and so on.

The biggest price challenge is in-wall speakers. Remind which speakers you've settled on?

I like Paradigm a lot, but they don't have in-ceiling speakers with backer boxes. Def Tech is appealing for price reasons, but I can't get handle on their relative to quality to what installers want to sell (e.g. Triad); But they're no where to be found for demos; and their in-ceiling are dipoles / bipoles which I'm unsure about. Triad is used by all the area installers, and clearly targets custom install options with their in-wall and in-ceiling designs. They might be overpriced, but they continue to seem like a decent choice.

Subs. Subs are a religious matter on the internet, I think I am partial to SVS for sundry reasons; once upon a time they were the arguable price/performance king. HSU is an excellent brand, but I've never owned them. I'll have to take a second look at HSU.

Deep Sea Sounds: With no slight to the brand or Mr. David Gage, with whom I'm currently talking speakers...I don't think they fit my goals. At $2600 for an 18" sub, I can buy three SVS PB2000 12" subs, have 33% more driver area and $200 left in my wallet. And I can get better room balance by positioning multiple subs. The negative is 1500W vs 3000W. My experience suggests that two subs is more than sufficient for my tastes. But this suggests a test to try with my current SVS cylinder in my living room (when my wife is out of the house )

As for source material: I'm designing to suit the highest-quality material I might watch. TV doesn't do Atmos, but I want that option for movies. And I used to watch movies more than TV; I might swing back that way if this current golden age of TV ends. But while "TV" doesn't have the dynamic range of a blu-ray, modern "TV" has full-range audio and benefits from a competent system. Moreover, "TV" includes e.g. Netflix products which are going 4k and presumably higher quality audio. Likewise, I'm hoping video games will embrace Atmos in the next generation. I'm skating to where the puck will be (or might hopefully be), as it were.

Which, I'm self aware enough to know, is all self-justification. There's no excuse to spend $50k on even a blu-ray room, when that would pay for going out to the movies weekly for the next 20 years. We buy these ridiculous things because we want to.
Yep! That's what I said in the second-to-last sentence in my second paragraph. "Based on a $50,000 budget, some of your equipment choices make more sense, but then your room cost should be much lower." We're on the same page. Of the items you mentioned in your first paragraph, typically all but your bar and screen would be added in a room cost. As for what goes in the room, my classification would be anything that makes your TV room/theater perform. Nyal can show you the right design for your room. He also offers budgeting as a service, so he could help you make sure your costs are accurate and where they need to be. The more I hear from you, the more I see a reflection, the more I think you should talk to Nyal about your space. Your Sketchups should help make that process go more quickly.

From what you've said, the vast majority of your content will be what I would call lower quality. Since you are aware of that, but still want to build the performance in your theater for the 10% of the time you will watch movies...OK. I just wanted you to be aware you don't have to spend the money you are planning for TV. You are. So, you are building the theater to perform for those occasional movies. You've said you want Atmos and performance. What kind of performance? Do you want the best performance you can get within a budget? What is your budget for just equipment? Assuming with a $75k budget that would be about $35k, leaving $35k for the room and $5k for your bar and screen. These are of course assumptions. Let me know if that is correct. With $35k in gear, you can get almost the identical system I am. If you go with a $25k budget, you can still do much better, but the cost of your room should be far less. There are many other choices though. So, a few more questions.

Do you care about the size/form factor of the speakers/subs? Do you need them all in-wall or would you compromise putting speakers on your walls to get more audio performance? How big could they be for you and the WAF?

For subs, I thought the same as you indicated here. What I can say is the assumptions you wrote here about subs is incorrect. I went through that same idea and found I was wrong. When you start adding multiple subs with the big 3 (DSS, JTR, Seaton), the price goes down sharply because of the way you can go about it. Nyal's design for my room was four subs, to balance and EQ the low frequencies, he calls it low frequency optimization. All the sub manufacturers I spoke with agree with the design for my space. Do you need four subs? Ask Nyal. One would think going with four smaller subs is more cost effective. I didn't find that to be true at all. I found I could get WAY more sub performance for just a little more compare to some manufacturers and the same as others. We aren't talking volume. We are talking frequency range and response. You won't get the lower frequencies at reference with those or similar subs. Some frequencies you won't get at all. I will have to find it, but there is a guy that tested the frequency responses to a ton of major subs, from 5Hz to 120Hz. The chart showed it. Displacement from an 18" is also much better than from a 12". On AVS, I would highly recommend you speak with Beastaudio and Madhuski. Those are two great sources (of many) on subs. Without a doubt you should contact David Gage @dgage with Deep Sea Sound and just talk to him. He is SUPER awesome to work with. He will give you the info you need and of course pricing, which will be different from what you are currently thinking.

As for source material, TV (cable/satellite/OTA) or streaming services cannot hold a candle to a Blu-ray audio quality. The video quality also is not as good. I've compared the two extensively on my 3.2 system and it's dramatic. Playing the two sources on a high end home theater will only exacerbate the weakness of the TV or streaming sources more.

To summarize, talk to Nyal about a room design and budgeting plan, to make sure you are spending your money wisely. If you are building for performance, you can do better for the money indicated. Balance your room and equipment more. You can do much better for sub performance, right around the same cost. Talk to David Gage and Beastaudio, Madhuski on AVS. For source, make sure you know 90% of the content you want to watch will be highly compressed video/audio. On a high end home theater, that massive difference in audio quality may bother you once you've listened to the same thing on Blu-ray or uncompressed sources like Kaleidescape to name one of many. If you respond to some of the questions above, I can help direct you more if you want.

Evolution of My Theater Build

Current Gear: Procella P8 (LCR), Procella P6V (2 Front Side), Procella P5 (2 Rear Side, 2 Rear, 4 Ceiling), Crown DCi 8|300 (2), Deep Sea Sound Custom 18" Mariana (4), SpeakerPower SP2-12000-HT, Yamaha CX-A5100, Xilica XP-8080 (2), JVC RS400, 2.37 Seymour AV 120" UF Screen, Kaleidescape Strato.
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post #28 of 121 Old 05-01-2016, 09:36 AM
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Making bass is pretty simple. Watts + surface area/excursion = spl. It doesn't have to cost a lot.

Designer subwoofers can be cool, but are never a high value. If your are on a budget you can do so much better for less money.

The key to bass is in the design. How many, where they go, and how the room is designed, and set up, and treated and calibrated- will matter so much more to how good it sounds than what fancy brand you buy or what your sub costs. There's basically a zero correlation between cost and brand and looks to how good it will sound in your room.

You should be spending more on acoustic design and treatment and allocating some cost for calibration and fine tune details by a professional at the end. It's in reality an excellent bang for the buck when you weight the cost vs the results. Spending +10k on gear won't ever get you the same result. Drop your budget in other areas if needed

It's a mega mistake to dismiss the importance of design and acoustic treatment and setup/calibration. No amount on construction materials or AV gear will make up for it either.
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post #29 of 121 Old 05-01-2016, 09:48 AM
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Making bass is pretty simple. Watts + surface area/excursion = spl. It doesn't have to cost a lot.

Designer subwoofers can be cool, but are never a high value. If your are on a budget you can do so much better for less money.

The key to bass is in the design. How many, where they go, and how the room is designed, and set up, and treated and calibrated- will matter so much more to how good it sounds than what fancy brand you buy or what your sub costs. There's basically a zero correlation between cost and brand and looks to how good it will sound in your room.

You should be spending more on acoustic design and treatment and allocating some cost for calibration and fine tune details by a professional at the end. It's in reality an excellent bang for the buck when you weight the cost vs the results. Spending +10k on gear won't ever get you the same result. Drop your budget in other areas if needed

It's a mega mistake to dismiss the importance of design and acoustic treatment and setup/calibration. No amount on construction materials or AV gear will make up for it either.
Mfusick is saying many of the same things I have, in a different way. I completely agree with his comments. His comments ^ are spot on.

Evolution of My Theater Build

Current Gear: Procella P8 (LCR), Procella P6V (2 Front Side), Procella P5 (2 Rear Side, 2 Rear, 4 Ceiling), Crown DCi 8|300 (2), Deep Sea Sound Custom 18" Mariana (4), SpeakerPower SP2-12000-HT, Yamaha CX-A5100, Xilica XP-8080 (2), JVC RS400, 2.37 Seymour AV 120" UF Screen, Kaleidescape Strato.
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post #30 of 121 Old 05-01-2016, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aareses View Post
The more I hear from you, the more I see a reflection, the more I think you should talk to Nyal about your space. Your Sketchups should help make that process go more quickly.
Once I've got my alternate quote from a GC with HT experience, I'll be able to consider the 'piecemeal' approach with an outside designer. I've got MFusick / Erskine Group waiting in the wings for that potential approach.

Quote:
Do you care about the size/form factor of the speakers/subs? Do you need them all in-wall or would you compromise putting speakers on your walls to get more audio performance? How big could they be for you and the WAF?
Speakers must all be in-wall. Full stop. End of transmission.
Subs very much strongly preferred to not be in-room.

If you go back to my first or second post, my original plan was a media / game room. I was going to move my living room 5.1 system with tower LR and large satellites to the basement. Or perhaps upgrade to a new 7.1 in-room speaker system (since my speakers are discontinued and I can't find mates for surrounds). But the room isn't wide enough to have in-room surrounds. Which lead to the complete change of a dedicated room and the new constraints:

1) WAF desires in-wall, hidden speakers.
2) I want behind-screen LCR per normal home-theater advice.
3) Room width requires side surrounds be in-wall.
4) Room depth urges rear surrounds be in wall.
5) Aesthetics & WAF desires in-ceiling Atmos. I'm looking if I need to lobby for suspended & angled speakers to get better results.
6) Room size, aesthetics and WAF motivate hidden subs. I've got an option for rear-of-room subs flanking the second row. But we're happier with hiding them in the screen wall with the LCR.

Quote:
For subs, I thought the same as you indicated here. What I can say is the assumptions you wrote here about subs is incorrect. I went through that same idea and found I was wrong. When you start adding multiple subs with the big 3 (DSS, JTR, Seaton), the price goes down sharply because of the way you can go about it.
Perhaps he's got other options not on the website, but a single DSS sub exceeds my entire subwoofer budget allocation, let alone multiples (even with master/slave configurations). Seaton is even more expensive.

Quote:
We aren't talking volume. We are talking frequency range and response. You won't get the lower frequencies at reference with those or similar subs. Some frequencies you won't get at all. I will have to find it, but there is a guy that tested the frequency responses to a ton of major subs, from 5Hz to 120Hz. The chart showed it. Displacement from an 18" is also much better than from a 12".
My question is how does a single 18" compare to 3x12" subs. At a glance, a pair of 15" HSU make a lot of sense. But trying to crack my foundation with a quad of 18" subs is not a goal...which leads me to...

An important design goal for me, that's different from most here, is I'm not going for Reference volumes. That's not a priority.

For all this, I'm open to revising my plan and hardware selections.


What I realize is I need to change approaches slightly: I've been waiting for the GC to get back to me with pricing. I need to ping him and explain the change in plan I'm considering, with the third-party designer, and see if he can work with me like that. That can help move me forward more proactively.

Because I'm getting impatient and want to get on with the real planning
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