At a crossroad with HT build and need some help - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews

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post #1 of 23 Old 06-05-2016, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
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At a crossroad with HT build and need some help

I've been using these forums for a long time for guidance and ideas and finally decided to ask for help. I'm currently in the middle of my HT build and hit a crossroad as far as what to do. Started with a clean slate unfinished basement with 8' ceilings. I picked what I thought was the ideal spot for a 12 x 18 HT (which now I'm thinking is too tight). Began with a 1" foam barrier around the block and then 2x4 16oc stud walls with a 1" air gap between. After running all the wiring, electric, insulation and what not, followed up with two layers of 5/8 drywall. The main issue I'm dealing with is the soffit that was need to be made for duct work and the poor choice of lighting.

On a side note. I was deployed to Iraq during the planning, which an Uncle helped me with. This resulted in lack of theater lighting and overall lack luster design. The first set of pictures will show what I'm talking about. My main concern is that the soffit, while visually awkward, makes building the second row riser feel extremely cramped and the fact that doing a 7.2.4 system would require two left side speakers to be at 8' and the two right side to be at 6.5'.

Another option would be to scrap it and move to the other side of the basement where my current workshop and storage is located. The far wall would be roughly 11' wide at the screen and the walls step out to 13' in the rear, this would also allow me make the room deeper if needed as I can simply move the wall to the storage back. There still is duct work in the second location, but a soffit would cover it and IMO be a little be more visually appealing as it would follow the perimeter of the space and not cover 1/4 of the ceiling. In addition, I would like to build a false wall to hide the front speakers and build a stage, but I might have pigeon holed myself with the first layout.

I'm torn between the two and need to make a decision before moving further along. Any input and/or suggestions would be grateful.
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post #2 of 23 Old 06-05-2016, 10:53 AM
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do you have any pictures of the room pre soffit, and a picture of the soffit framing? Many uncles waste space with inefficient framing methods. Maybe you can just rework the the soffit in your original room.
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post #3 of 23 Old 06-05-2016, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Here are two pictures of pre and post soffit. I can also send the blueprints of the house it would be helpful.

Thanks
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post #4 of 23 Old 06-05-2016, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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My Uncle did the original drawing on CAD for me and then I did the construction. I used 2x4 construction for the soffit to support the weight of the drywall, might have been over board though.

Thanks
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post #5 of 23 Old 06-05-2016, 11:27 AM
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Built to last, but not to save inches!


How tall is the basement and how many seats do you actually need?
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post #6 of 23 Old 06-05-2016, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Ceiling height is 8'. After c clips and drywall, it measures out to be 7' 9''. Originally I was thinking 3 front seats and a couch behind on a riser. Afterwards it is looking that I'm going to have to reduce the number of seats to avoid it feeling crowded. The sweet spot in the room is at a viewing distance of 10' with the speakers all being located at ideal height and distance when I used the Dolby placement specs in relation to seated position.
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post #7 of 23 Old 06-05-2016, 11:55 AM
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Your uncle wasted 1 1/2 inches of height and 2 inches of width.
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post #8 of 23 Old 06-05-2016, 12:02 PM
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Agreed with Big. That soffit is bigger than it needs to be. Simply turn those studs so they do not protrude out so much.

Personally at that stage I would just stick with what you have. But if you are set on fixing it, take down the soffit and while you have that portion down, you should be able to get wires ran for more lighting.

My build thread: The Unprofessional Build
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post #9 of 23 Old 06-05-2016, 12:07 PM
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like this, skip the bottom framing use plywood for the first layer on the bottom.

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post #10 of 23 Old 06-05-2016, 12:12 PM
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the room, screen wall



the theater



more pictures in the Lemonade project
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post #11 of 23 Old 06-05-2016, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses. As far as the soffit goes, I can easily open it up and fix. I would rather take the extra time and do it right then just leave it. With that being said, I'm assuming that you guys feel the room is adequate for a HT and not to restart in the second location?

If I'm going to open up the soffit, then yes, I can add the extra lighting, but should I run the soffit around the room to make a coffer look? And being curious, what would it run me to have the stage/lighting drawn up for me? I have a basic knowledge of HT and can handle the construction no problem, but the planning/drawling is not my strong suit as you can tell. As in, if I'm going to dig into the soffit, I might as well take down the ceiling and remove the 4 can lights and maybe space them differently and use a different size and the cans feel like they should be in a normal room, not a theater if that makes sense.
At this point I'm just extra caution and moving forward as I'm still at the point where changes can be made.
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post #12 of 23 Old 06-05-2016, 12:59 PM
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If you are taking the soffit down, then could that inner HVAC be moved over closer to the wall while you are at it? I rebuilt my HVAC to a new wider/less tall profile and moved everything
over in tight to the main joist. A fair amount of work and expense, but when done, I was happy I went to that extreme. I pulled off two symmetrical soffits in 9' 5" of width, and gained a few
inches of height, while adding mass.


Another thought is live with it. and simply do four stadium rocker seats (8' wide), or thee recliners, and call it a "screening room". With the seating off the back wall, you could simply bring in some overflow chairs,
for a gang. I for one, like some of Art Installs' unusual 3 seat rooms. One could work that direction, on a small budget scale, do a DIY XD screen, and use the savings planted elsewhere. Maybe an anamorphic lens
or better projector?


http://www.artinstall.ru/en/
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post #13 of 23 Old 06-05-2016, 02:57 PM
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Here is a good video Big and Beast did that shows the soffit build.


My build thread: The Unprofessional Build
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post #14 of 23 Old 06-06-2016, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
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@BIGmouthinDC

I actually tried to send you a PM, but as I've only recently joined the forums, I'm unable to send one just yet.
If you have a spare minute to PM me. There are some specific issues/options I would like to discuss with you in regards to my HT build.
I would greatly appreciate it.
Thanks
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post #15 of 23 Old 06-07-2016, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Okay, after tearing down the soffit, I started to think about just redoing the layout and starting over. I went over what I currently did and the sound proofing could be better, so....here we go.

Added to photos of a quick drawling I did. I can move the rear wall back 2 1/2' to get a little closer to the furnace and also gain 3' by removing the walkway and incorporating the panel into the theater. This will allow for more comfortable seating arrangement and also by redoing the soffit, I can better balance the mirror soffit by increasing the width. Thoughts?
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post #16 of 23 Old 06-07-2016, 08:44 AM
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Thoughts: Major improvement.


Just how many seats do you actually need? Or is it more a "want" situation? That will narrow down suggestions and focus them more to
what you want.


Have you considered a "design look" where you go 15' wide, and do fabric side walls? Those walls would visually narrow the space, but could
hide acoustical treatments, and that bump out could be concealed. Add in a 2' deep AT space, and the room would visually be 14' wide, and 19'
deep but sonically, it would be the 15x21'. Those slightly deeper side walls could also hide the side surround speakers behind something as simple
as speaker grill fabric walls.


Any furnace service needs, on that side of the furnace, where you propose to lengthen the room to? Or is that the cold air return on that side?
(I wonder if some sheet metal rebuild there, might get you a little more length?)
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post #17 of 23 Old 06-07-2016, 09:57 AM
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Soffits not drawn in...
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post #18 of 23 Old 06-07-2016, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
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There are no issues with the furnace as its the backside of it and nothing needs to be moved. One concern I do have is the breaker panel. What is the best way to incorporate access to it and still be acoustically sound?

Already started ripping the room out and I'll be down to studs shortly so I can move the walls and re-wire (which then I can putty all the electrical boxes this time. As far as the riser is concerned, I'll be leaving the opening at ground level and stepping up into the second row of seating from inside as I don't want to raise the full bathrooms floor.

Since I would be gaining width to over 15 feet, I was also thinking of moving the wall with the ductwork in maybe a foot to make it less intrusive and might look better mirroring it on the other side and connecting across the screen wall. The window is going to be covered up btw and a false wall is planned to place speakers behind screen. Overall I really loved the design/concept of the Lemonade that @BIGmouthinDC did.
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post #19 of 23 Old 06-07-2016, 05:55 PM
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For the breaker panel, I'd build a custom sized, elevated door and gasket all four edges.
Easily accessable, yet visually invisible. So that reflective panel, or the fabric panels of the Lemonade,
could be leveraged to neatly deal with that issue.

Could the bathroom door be moved forward, in front of the riser? Is it located where there needs to be a
surround speaker (in any of the locations)? So I'd keep a careful eye on where that door ideally ends up, in any case.


One advantage of a full width riser is you can work in a full range absorber. Not exactly HT 101 design stuff, but it
might be a factor to use this approach.


A smaller riser is simpler and cheaper, though...


If you were to use 3/4" plywood for the soffits, side and bottom, you could use a biscuit joiner to glue the soffit up, and
save another 3/4" of an inch width-wise. (Might be a little too OCD there...) You also might consider a few support drops,
between the HVAC sheet metal runs, to guarantee against a large plywood soffit sagging over time.
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post #20 of 23 Old 06-10-2016, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Layouts

Mocked up a couple layouts on sketch up. I'm new to using it so it will look funny but should get enough of a visual. The first is the current layout that I've stripped down to studs after the soffit was an issue and many mistakes found. So, the big question is should I keep this current layout which is currently 12' x 18' or the second one, which I am leaning towards.

If I bring the panel into the room and nix the little path next to the room and move the back wall closer to the furnace, I get a 15-16' x 21'. First issue would be bringing the panel into the room to the point that it can accessed but not a huge sound leak. Alternatively, I could also move the right side wall in to reduce the protruding duct work and have a more natural looking soffit all together, which would bring the room to 13-14' x 21'

Also doing a AT sreen which will bring the length back down to 19'.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this and maybe throw out some suggestions. Thanks everyone.
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post #21 of 23 Old 06-11-2016, 01:44 AM
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Personally, and if you're thinking of heading down the 'larger space' option anyway, I'd go for maximising the area available to you. Accept, or modify, the 'non-natural' soffit as required - maybe even make a feature of it - ceilings don't have to be boring flat areas.

Take a look here for ideas!

HTH
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post #22 of 23 Old 06-11-2016, 08:54 PM
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Second layout would be the superior choice. I'd also go for the maximum foot print but I'd do a matching symmetrical soffit.
And then I'd adapt a "build inwards" design sensibility.


I personally would build the room out as wide as possible, and then leverage a fabric wall panelled type design, to
hide the cleanout and the electrical panel. These sections of panels could be attached by Velcro, or be hinged.


If that room is 16' wide, then you could go extreme and build fabric walls 1' off the side walls. And now your side surround speakers
could be hidden, and you could even build some in fill subs to hide away too. Two rows of 3 seats, would be pretty luxurious in the remaining
14' of width.
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post #23 of 23 Old 06-12-2016, 07:17 AM
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You could do a steeping back series of wall panels, and simply hinge the fabric panels up front, so they swing inwards. And simply have a solid core door, with gaskets for the electrical panel, and make a custom door/opening for the boxed cleanout.


A little trade off of fabrication work to hide these obstacles, yet meet sound isolation needs while providing access. The front panels could be dark fabric to absorb light coming off a woven AT screen. And if you built inwards, then maybe there's space to put the side surround speakers forward of the door, and behind fabric? And the soffits would shrink, as the fabric panels narrow the room.
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