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post #1 of 19 Old 10-05-2017, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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need advice. 36'x16' theater. what would you do? not do?

Hello,

I am currently planning the house I will be building and I am, primarily, centering it around the theater. I have managed to open up a spot in the basement that is approx 36' x 16' x 10'.

I have build a few theaters before, however, they were never aesthetically pleasing or soundproofed or anything of that nature. As of now, I am not really even looking at equipment...I am trying to decide on room layout so that once the house starts getting built I haven't missed anything that will interfere with my design.

I have attached a sketch of the theater as well as a few theaters I like.

What I am looking for but have no idea how to proceed or what questions to ask etc are...

* I like the look of the conferred ceiling with lighting around the perimeter. No idea how to do this.

* Can I 'hide' the front and center in custom built cabinets? I may get a perforated screen but I don't think I want to pay that much.

* Where do the subwoofers need to go?

* I like the columns with sconces but, again, no idea how to do it.

* I have read alot about double drywall, double walls, glue, acoustic treatments etc. Too much information to digest. Thoughts?

I have many, many more questions but this is a good start. I will do my research but would like to learn from everyone's mistakes and successes. Please chime in.

Btw...it will be 4k projector with painted screen (prob) and 7.1. Haven't picked out equipment...focused on the build right now before house construction begins.

Thanks,
Greg
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post #2 of 19 Old 10-05-2017, 12:51 PM
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Can you make it wider?

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post #3 of 19 Old 10-05-2017, 01:22 PM
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There are a couple of ways to do it. You can build a basic room, hang a projector and screen, hook up your equipment and be done with it. Don't expect a lot from the results.

If you want to do it right, it isn't unusual to spend more time on planning than on actual construction. The results will be much better. You are wise to look at the design of the room long before you lock down the specific equipment.

A few thoughts...

I assume that you mean coffered ceiling. There are a number of examples if you do a search. They can be a nice design touch, but take a lot of precision design and construction. While they add a nice architectural touch, they won't directly add a lot to the theatrical experience. Consider putting the money and effort into something that will improve the theatrical experience in terms of your sound and picture.

You can hide left/center/right speakers in cabinets, but you can get much better speaker placement by putting them behind an acoustically transparent screen, especially the center speaker. Do some more research and consider investing in an AT screen for a much better experience.

Do some research on subwoofers. Two will give you better coverage and flatter frequency response than just one. Four will be better than two. Centered on the each of the walls is a good place to start. The sides might be problematic unless you can build them into some sort of cabinet or column. Front is generally not a problem, especially if you have an AT screen. Rear could be integrated into your shelves for movies and equipment.

It is generally best to build the structure of the room first, and add in the columns inside the structure. Think of them like bookcases that attach to the wall.

Double drywall and green glue is only part of an entire system that works together. All of this is important if you want decent sound isolation. It is necessary to do a great deal of research before you will have a good understanding. This is necessary if you want to do it right.

A great place to start is to read through some of BIGmouthinDC's threads. He has been involved in many of the theaters in this forum and has years of practical experience. If you invest the time and effort, almost everything that you need to know in order to get started is well documented.
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post #4 of 19 Old 10-05-2017, 01:47 PM
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the room is too long for that small riser at the back. My back of the envelop calculation says the viewing distance to the three theater style seats sitting in front of the riser is 24 ft, for this theater it should be 12-14 max.

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post #5 of 19 Old 10-06-2017, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you guys so much for your input. For my last two theatres, I have painted, thrown in some equipment and that was it. They were nice but for this one I want to put just as much time into asthetics/theme, sound etc as I do equipment. I have the added benefit here of building from scratch and want to take full advantage of that.

I might be able to increase the width to 18'. As far as length, I can always build it smaller by placing walls elsewhere.

I plan on doing my own research, however, I am on a bit of a time crunch considerimg the building of my house will commence soon. So, any advice/thoughts is greatly appreciated.
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post #6 of 19 Old 10-06-2017, 08:45 AM
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Four seats wide in 17' is nice. Three seats wide in 16' is luxurious. You then have the width to get
the side surround speakers further off the seating, and to have room for acoustical treatments, and even allow
for balancing subwoofers to be hidden. (There's a LOT of good stuff going on, in The Savoy, then you see.)

36' is overly long, but some of that space could be utilized as movie storage, and entry/lobby.
And you might want to consider an acoustically transparent screen since you also have room
depth for a proper AT space. You also could eat up some room and give yourself the luxury of
having 5' behind the rear seats.

How far down does the foundation come, at the top of the floor plan? How low is that HVAC run
in the middle of the theater?

The first step in design, is the number of required seats.
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post #7 of 19 Old 10-06-2017, 08:47 AM
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BTW, a perforated screen can be had much cheaper then custom cabinetry.
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post #8 of 19 Old 10-06-2017, 09:02 AM
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I had 35' to work with. Ended up doing a lobby and still was easily able to have two rows of seating.

Race to the finish home theater buildhttp://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-ded...ter-build.html
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post #9 of 19 Old 10-06-2017, 09:07 AM
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Look in the DIY screens section for ideas on AT screens. As far as construction goes try to have the area of your theater as free of obstacles as possible and keep everything that has to be there up in the joists or between studs. With your 10' ceilings I would seriously consider adding Atmos speakers. If you do make sure you have room in the joists at the overhead speaker locations. Also with a room your size you might want to consider the room-within-a-room concept for sound control.
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post #10 of 19 Old 10-06-2017, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Again, thank you guys.

Yeah, I did think 36' might be too long. I can increase the width to 18'...would that help?

I do plan on putting equipment and bookshelves for movies at the rear of the theater which will cut into the space some.

Thank you for suggestions on screens. I thought a perforated screen might not be worth the money but am going to look into it.

I have ask the builders not to put anything below the floor joist and they responded with they will try but cannot guarantee it.

Some follow-up questions:

Would the bookshelves and equipment at the rear of the theater be bad as far as sound?

Someone mentioned four subwoofers, which I've never heard of before but it sounds like a great idea. Whether I do 4 or 2 where can they be placed in this space?

Has anyone ever used the software "the cinema designer"? If so, thoughts?

I love the suggestions and input. It is very helpful. Please keep it coming.

By the way, I haven't mentioned a budget yet. That is because I do not have one. If necessary, I will put more money into the build of the theater and less into equipment and upgrade the equipment later as it is more difficult to change the room than the equipment. But, I do have money to sink into this project, and will likely not have to make any concessions. So, when it comes to suggestions and advice think big, think awesome. Let me know what you would do with the space if you had plenty of money to do it.

Eventually I will need some suggestions on equipment but right now I'm more interested in the build as I want to make sure everything is pretty much set in stone before construction starts on my house.

For the member who suggested the double walls, thank you I will look into that.

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post #11 of 19 Old 10-06-2017, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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I forgot some questions that I wanted to ask...

What screen size would you recommend? Was looking at paint, same as my other theaters, but checking out my other options in the DIY screen section.

Can anybody point me to any software or calculators etc that help with determining sound/picture quality, placement of speakers/subwoofers etc?

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post #12 of 19 Old 10-06-2017, 10:38 AM
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Screen size will be a function of screen gain, projector brightness, and seating.

You should start the design with defining the number of seats, as all other decisions flow outward from there.

The other numbers that are missing, that might impact on the design, is the height of the HVAC (assuming those
blue lines in the middle of the theater are HVAC runs. And having the length of the foundation wall at the top of the
plan, might impact on room orientation choice, and entry door locations.
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post #13 of 19 Old 10-06-2017, 10:51 AM
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I saw you mentioned 7.1 sound. I would plan for the addition of ceiling speakers at some point, even if not right away, that will take you to a 7.1.4 (or better) layout. This will let you implement Atmos / DTS:X functionality down the road.

Even if you aren't going to do it now, I would consider pulling the wire for those ceiling speakers while you are doing the construction since that will save you a headache later. You could also work out the positioning of those speakers now to make sure you won't have any vent, ducts, etc. in the way when you are ready to install those speakers. Since wire is cheap, relatively, I would pull six lines up into the ceiling since it is looking like upcoming systems will start supporting six top/height speakers on the ceiling.
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post #14 of 19 Old 10-06-2017, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbgordy7 View Post
I can increase the width to 18'...would that help?
More width always helps. Allows for wider soundstage. Keeps side speakers from distracting listeners at either end of the seating.
Quote:
Someone mentioned four subwoofers, which I've never heard of before but it sounds like a great idea. Whether I do 4 or 2 where can they be placed in this space?
Four subs in the four corners of the room or the quarter points of the front & back walls. Two subs at the midpoints of opposite walls (front/back or left/right). Should give good consistency across the seating area; room correction can smooth the results later.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbgordy7 View Post
What screen size would you recommend?
I would start by placing the listeners in the best locations acoustically (smoothest frequency response). Figure out what viewing angle you are comfortable with (45 degrees, 55 degrees, or ...?). Then get a screen that give you the desired viewing angle from your seating distance. It's better than the alternative: deciding on a screen size that ends up forcing listeners to be in a bad location acoustically (nulls, peaks, etc).

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post #15 of 19 Old 10-06-2017, 11:31 AM
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You asked for comments so here goes?

Shelves in the back will affect the sound of the room but not so much to not put them in. Any hard surface will do this but then again, a simple boring look may not be what you are going for so I wouldn't sweat it.

My question regarding shelves is do you really want a ton of shelves for "Movies"? It is true that Blu Ray and Blu Ray UHD isn't going away tomorrow but furniture and built in shelves are pretty long term adds. I would consider Shelves for Movies to be somewhere akin to built in cabinetry for a 36 inch CRT based screen of the late 80's. Yep old guy here! Will you want movie shelves in your room when in less than 5 years (At an affordable Price - looking at you Kalaidescape!) We will probably be seeing affordable download or stream options of high quality content for the masses. My 2 cents is design the room and cabinets for the viewing experience or use.

Along that thought, 36' is a very long room. I just built a smaller media room with internal dimensions of a little less than 15' Wide by a little less than 18' deep and was able to get a huge sectional upfront and a raised bar counter in the back. I am using a 125" Diagonal motorized screen. Viewing is pretty close for the sectional but when I do go to a movie, I tend to want to sit about 1/3rd the way back in the theater. So, for me I like the large screen up close. I have read that building a personal theater, start with how you like to view content. Close to the screen or far back?

With 36', I'd shrink the room to 24' of usable space and use that back space as an entirely different purpose; perhaps a game area, poker table or something? It could be part of the room or a foyer or whatever you can dream.

In my build, I couldn't use green glue or channels. Our builder wouldn't do it and it was a pre-sale spec house - sort of. Having said that, my advice is to soundproof the room if it's the center of your home as much as you can; keeping in mind budget of course. Just like anything, find your price/performance point. Soundproofing can be as simple as cramming a heck of a lot of insulation in a wall but you get better results by layering material and creating an air space. Since you are in the basement, try and avoid a lot of cuts in the ceiling and use or build speaker boxes if you place Atmos speakers in ceiling. You can add a coffered look and place lights in that. (I did that) The more cuts you make, the more complex your sound isolation is. I placed no lights/cans in the ceiling. I used soft HVAC runs (no metal). Really, there is a ton of material out there on how to make your room sound isolated. There is even material you can place under your hardwood/carpet that is not very expensive for the floor above.

If you do stick with a longer room, wire the crap out of the room in anticipation of affordable Atmos type systems of the future. Also run speakers wires for multiple sub placement locations if you don't build them in? Put power in the riser or seating area for things like remote chargers, powered seats, some future gizmo!

Spend time on lighting. I really like the sconces we did in our room but lighting matters and adds to the quality look of a good theater. Also consider step lights.

Consider control of lighting and gear. Do you need a Cat line to the projector? Triggers? System and Light Control? All I/P, old school RF?, Hybrid? Note that some new lighting options can still be buggy and maybe hard wired is still the way to go. I used Lutron but that's an expensive option. Wemo or Hue may work for you? But again, wiring now is super cheap... Later - not so much.

Think about your entry both for aesthetics and practical use. If possible sound isolate the door as well. I as only able to use a quiet door and nothing else. Our door actually keeps most of the sound in but you can seal it, use double doors and if you have an area outside of the theater, it will be easier to get away from the movie sound and maybe talk or something.

With a room that large, consider a separate HVAC zone and good air flow. 12 people in a room can really heat up a space and if you design a back area you might have 20 in your room; it's a big space.

Perforated screens are nice but I have my speakers placed in traditional L/R and the Center under the screen and it too looks good. Your call as there was a window where my center would have been. If I had your length of room, I would have done speakers behind the screen.

Good luck in your build.....


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post #16 of 19 Old 10-06-2017, 11:51 AM
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If you are in a time crunch and you want to do it right, the best plan is to leave the space unfinished, don't even do drywall. Focus on the rest of the house and come back to the theater later when you can give it your full attention.

Don't count on the builders "trying" not to put anything below the joists. That promise is about as good as the paper it isn't written on. They will do it the easy way, the way that they do it for everyone else. If you want anything better than this, get it in writing as part of your contract and check up regularly so that when they do deviate you can catch it quickly, and at a stage where it can be corrected. Anything less and you will either have to pay to fix it later of live with it.

Bookshelves and equipment in the rear won't significantly impact your sound quality, with one exception. Any equipment that generates noise (from cooling fans, motors, etc.) will be close to the audience.

This is good information on speaker placement. Subwoofers are covered near the end.

While you are at it, this one covers acoustic treatments.
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post #17 of 19 Old 10-06-2017, 12:22 PM
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So much this ^^.
Leave the space unfinished for now. Do not rush into this.
That will end badly.

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post #18 of 19 Old 10-06-2017, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow!! So much helpful information. Thank you. Especially SeattleHTGuy...taking the time to post all of that. I trully appreciate it.

I have a lot of research ahead of me. I actually have not heard of the atmos or 7.1.4 but definitely will be looking into it. This theater will be my grand achievement, my crowning jewel and I want to do it as perfect as possible.

I am focusing on getting the space right and will not even be putting up drywall for some time yet. It will actually be 4 months before my house is even completed as I have yet to even give them my final plans.

With the length what it is perhaps I should actually consider putting a bathroom in there accessible from the theater. Thoughts? Of course that is something I would need to decide before they build as I would need to have them rough in the bathroom.

I will continue my research I will have more questions. Again, thank you for your help.
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post #19 of 19 Old 10-06-2017, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbgordy7 View Post
I can increase the width to 18'...would that help?
Definitely.

I can tell you that my below garage room should end up 19'4" wide, but I had an option to go another 3.5' wider and damn sure wish I had taken it at this point. With the seating for 5 across, it is going to leave my aisles narrower than desired at 2.5' or so...which places the side surrounds 4-4.5' from the end person's head...again, another 1.5-2' would have been great.
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