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post #1 of 275 Old 01-15-2004, 10:30 AM - Thread Starter
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All -

This is my first time on this forum...I am planning on building a home theater in my basement. My area is approx 14 ft wide by any amount long. I have been working for some time on the designs.

I plan on using accoustic board on the studs, covered by drywall. On the floor i will have (unless i hear any better recommendations from this forum) plywood and then a very plush carpet.

I have done some research on how to calculate first order and second order reflections. Having that info, I plan on putting some wall treatments on my walls. Unfortunately, the sky is not the limit in terms of construction funding...so I can't afford the nice panels supplied by companies like owens corning. So I need to find other alternatives. Since I am mainly trying to quite down the room, i was thinking that taking foam and covering it with a cloth might at least help some. But i wasn't sure if there would be some better materials to use.

Input would be appreciated.

thanks
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post #2 of 275 Old 01-15-2004, 02:37 PM
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Jay,

> I can't afford the nice panels supplied by companies like owens corning ... i was thinking that taking foam and covering it with a cloth <

If you don't want to pay OC for their fancy panels just make them yourself. But you can do much better than foam! For less than the cost of foam you can buy raw rigid fiberglass, which is what OC uses inside their panels. You'll have to cover it with fabric, but you said you're willing to do that with the foam anyway.

Look in the yellow pages under Insulation and call around to ask for either 703 or 705 rigid fiberglass. 705 is twice as dense as 703 and so absorbs to a lower frequency, but it costs about twice as much. So just get the thickest, densest rigid fiberglass you can justify buying, and use that.

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post #3 of 275 Old 01-15-2004, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the great input...i'll check that out.

One other thought...I will have somewhat low ceilings in this room. I am probably going to end up with a drop ceiling. Is there one type that is better than others for this?
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post #4 of 275 Old 01-15-2004, 09:55 PM
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If you have low ceilings, why lower them further with a drop ceiling? I'd definitely reconsider.

Anyway, you've come to the right place for ideas and info. I've been browsing here for months picking up ideas for my new HT. Still early in the design/planning process at this time, and everytime I visit this site (my wife thinks I'm obsessed...) I change/modify/or add some idea to the existing design. Try some searches in the Archives for specific topics, or, like I do, just browse, take notes, and enjoy.

Welcome to a new obsession. :-)

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post #5 of 275 Old 01-16-2004, 07:55 AM
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Jay,

> I am probably going to end up with a drop ceiling. <

I agree with Schmid - it makes little sense to lower it further. What's the ceiling now, bare joists? Let me know what you have now, and I'll suggest a way to treat it without lowering it further.

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post #6 of 275 Old 01-16-2004, 09:00 AM
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Ethan - If you want to offer your ideas for low ceilings, I'll take them along with Jay. My joists are 7'3" from the floor. Code says I need 7' for >50% of the room, with <50% a minimum of 6'6" (Which limits my riser height to 6 inches). I'm planning to use DriCore on the floors (1"), which leaves me with 2 inches of ceiling treatment. Enough for RC & 2 layers of drywall. Anything else you'd recommend?

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post #7 of 275 Old 01-16-2004, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
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My situation is the following...i have an area just under 14 ft wide. The last 4 ft or so of one side has an air duct going the long way down the room. This area is about 80 in off the concrete. I was planning on putting down 1/2 in plywood and carpet on the floor (is that the best way to go)? That only leaves me around 78 in or so to the vent. I was told that i could get drop ceiling that could essentially sit against the vent. I haven't gone looking for this yet. Do you know what they were referring to?

i was also told to stay away from drywall ceilings if I could. For one thing, the studs plus drywall would reduce the height more than this type of drop ceiling. The second point was that since i have low ceilings, having a reflective surface on the ceiling (like dry wall) would not be advantageous.

As a side note, i didn't mention that i was planning on having the center part of the room (once you get by the vent) that the ceiling would jog up vertically. This way the room isn't so low all around, plus it may be necessary for hanging a front projector. I had planed on mirroring the ceiling drop on the other side.

Any input you have would be appreciated.

jay
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post #8 of 275 Old 01-17-2004, 08:18 AM
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Jay - Instead of using just plywood on the floors and risk moisture problems, you may want to look at DriCore , as it adds a layer of air between the subfloor and concrete. Another thread recently discussed this solution as well.

You also may want to think about using MDF to box in your HVAC vent for a soffit, then cover the bottom of the MDF with ceiling tiles or linacoustic and the vertical portion with ceiling tiles or drywall. If you look at some of the awesome HT's on this forum, most of them used drywall on the ceilings. The idea, from what I understand, is to try to control the accoustics, not deaden the room, so drywall is OK on the ceiling.

Perhaps one of the Accoustical Engineers can add some qualitative information. Or you can try some extensive searches from past threads, where it was covered previously.

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post #9 of 275 Old 01-17-2004, 08:30 AM
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Schmid and Jay,

The first thing to decide is how much you care about preventing sound from getting upstairs. The tradeoff is that less isolation improves the sound in the room, and more isolation makes the sound in the room worse.

If you don't care about isolation, then fill the entire cavity between all joists with the thickest fluffy fiberglass that will fit. I've used one foot thick batts with great success. Then you can staple fabric to the bottom of the joists for appearance, and install wood trim strips to cover the staples and seams. This makes the entire ceiling totally dead, which helps the bass response and avoids echoes between the floor and ceiling. It also lets you retain the maximum height. A ceiling that's totally absorbent is acoustically identical to a ceiling that's infinitely high, which is a good thing. And with a dead ceiling, you can then have a reflective floor to retain some sense of ambience.

If isolation to the upstairs is important, then you'll need sheetrock on the ceiling. I'm not an isolation expert, so I don't have much to offer there. But I believe resilient channel is often used to further reduce sound transmission. The problem then is the reflective ceiling worsens the acoustics in the room, so you need more treatment which makes the ceiling even lower.

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post #10 of 275 Old 01-17-2004, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ethan Winer
Look in the yellow pages under Insulation and call around to ask for either 703 or 705 rigid fiberglass. 705 is twice as dense as 703 and so absorbs to a lower frequency, but it costs about twice as much. So just get the thickest, densest rigid fiberglass you can justify buying, and use that.

--Ethan

I too have room issues with LOTS of reflections and am also looking for a
cost effective solution.

If I use the 703/705 panels can they just be wrapped themselves or will I
have to build a wood frame around them before wrapping ?

I had also heard that these panels are most effective when not right up
against the wall, so that they catch sound waves reflected off the walls -
both those that have passed through (reflecting back) as well as ambient
reflection waves from other parts of the room.

Hmmm...or maybe I could just fasten them to the wall through the panels,
using a 'standoff' in behind that holds them .5"-1" away from the wall.

What about using 2'x4' ceiling tiles as an alternative ? I found some
reasonably priced "Armstrong" ones (US$38 for 64 sq. ft) that have a NRC
of 0.65. They are nice and rigid, so I expect they will wrap easily too.

Has anyone here tried using these on walls or ceilings as a "panel" to
absorb sound ?

-Sporty

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post #11 of 275 Old 01-17-2004, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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If you don't care about isolation, then fill the entire cavity between all joists with the thickest fluffy fiberglass that will fit. I've used one foot thick batts with great success. Then you can staple fabric to the bottom of the joists for appearance, and install wood trim strips to cover the staples and seams. This makes the entire ceiling totally dead, which helps the bass response and avoids echoes between the floor and ceiling. It also lets you retain the maximum height. A ceiling that's totally absorbent is acoustically identical to a ceiling that's infinitely high, which is a good thing. And with a dead ceiling, you can then have a reflective floor to retain some sense of ambience.

I'm not really concerned about the sound getting upstairs. I do, however, need to worry about the sound when the heater is on. In this case, issolation in the room might be important. Also, if i go with this plan, how do i handle the heating vent...as in how do i get around it. Box it in and use the same material?

If I use the cloth, are you recomending to go with a reflective floor...or just saying i don't have to worry about it as much?
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post #12 of 275 Old 01-17-2004, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ethan Winer
If you don't care about isolation, then fill the entire cavity between all joists with the thickest fluffy fiberglass that will fit. I've used one foot thick batts with great success. Then you can staple fabric to the bottom of the joists for appearance, and install wood trim strips to cover the staples and seams. This makes the entire ceiling totally dead, which helps the bass response and avoids echoes between the floor and ceiling.
Are you kidding? This would make the room overly dead unless you added a hardwood floor or some other very reflective surface. Since you are going to make one of the surfaces reflective, make it the one farther from the speakers.

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post #13 of 275 Old 01-17-2004, 01:45 PM
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Bry,

> If I use the 703/705 panels can they just be wrapped themselves or will I have to build a wood frame around them before wrapping ? <

I guess it's time to link to my Acoustics FAQ again. :) You'll find it second in the list on my Articles page:

www.ethanwiner.com/articles.html

You can build a frame or not - your choice. And yes, rigid fiberglass works best when spaced away from the wall or ceiling. What happens when you space it away is the absorption extends to lower frequencies.

> What about using 2'x4' ceiling tiles as an alternative <

It depends on what they're made of. Standard office style tiles are not good for acoustic treatment. Rigid fiberglass is the best material, and some ceiling tiles are made of that. But that costs a lot more than raw rigid fiberglass, and you'll still have to dress the edges. And I don't think you can buy tiles that are very thick. So you might as well just get the good stuff cheaper and wrap it yourself.

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post #14 of 275 Old 01-17-2004, 01:48 PM
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J,

> I do, however, need to worry about the sound when the heater is on. <

Where's the heater? Not in the ceiling I hope!

> how do i handle the heating vent <

However you can. I'm not a construction expert, but I assume you'd install one of those diffusing vents like you see in regular ceilings.

> If I use the cloth, are you recomending to go with a reflective floor <

Yes, I think that will give the best sound. A hard floor with an absorbent ceiling gives a very nice, open sound. And all that fiberglass in the ceiling will go far to taming the low frequency problems.

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post #15 of 275 Old 01-17-2004, 01:50 PM
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Lava,

> Are you kidding? <

Um, no.

> This would make the room overly dead unless you added a hardwood floor or some other very reflective surface. <

Yep, just as I suggested above!

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post #16 of 275 Old 01-18-2004, 11:54 PM
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Ethan -

Is ductboard as good as the 703? I don't want to have to build a frame. I just want to wrap material around it and put it on the wall with spacing in between the panel and the wall.
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post #17 of 275 Old 01-19-2004, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ethan Winer
Jay,


Look in the yellow pages under Insulation and call around to ask for either 703 or 705 rigid fiberglass. 705 is twice as dense as 703 and so absorbs to a lower frequency, but it costs about twice as much. So just get the thickest, densest rigid fiberglass you can justify buying, and use that.

--Ethan
I have done some looking around, but haven't had any luck, as of yet, finding this material. Any hints on companies that i should look for?
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post #18 of 275 Old 01-19-2004, 10:18 AM
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Paradigm,

> Is ductboard as good as the 703? <

I assume it depends on the ductboard. 703 rigid fiberglass has a density of 3 pounds per cubic foot (PCF), and 705 is 6 PCF. So duct board that falls within that general range should be fine.

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post #19 of 275 Old 01-19-2004, 10:20 AM
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Jay,

> Any hints on companies that i should look for? <

Where are you located? My company sells it, but if you're far from us (in Connecticut) the shipping gets expensive.

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post #20 of 275 Old 01-19-2004, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
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I hear that i should be covering this with an "acoustically transparent" material. Is this correct? If so, how important is this over any other fabric?

I have heard GOM or soundfold are good transparent fabrics...are there any others recomended?
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post #21 of 275 Old 01-19-2004, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm next door in mass
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post #22 of 275 Old 01-19-2004, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ethan Winer
Jay,

> Any hints on companies that i should look for? <

Where are you located? My company sells it, but if you're far from us (in Connecticut) the shipping gets expensive.

--Ethan
I see that the panels you sell are 2x4...Can these panels reasonably be joined together...i was hoping to make treatments that were 3x5. Does doing this adversely affect the benefits of the panel?
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post #23 of 275 Old 01-19-2004, 03:13 PM
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Some of you guys' questions are if these are magic panels or electronic pieces. They are insulation and basically insulation is insulation. It doesnt care if you stack it up or join it together and it doesnt really care whether its John Manville or Owens Corning.

Buy it by the thickness. 703 Owens Corning=1-inch other brand
705=2-inch other brand

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post #24 of 275 Old 01-20-2004, 05:03 AM - Thread Starter
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On an un-related subject...I am using one of the room setup design files to calculate the ideal dimensions for the room. I have been told that i should avoid nulls/peaks in the mid range frequencies, as these are frequencies covered by most human voice in movies. I believe i had heard to avoid 130 - 180 whenever possible. Does this sound accurate?

With my current set up, i have peaks at 89, 179, 268 and nulls at 44, 134, 156, and 223. Is this a reasonable number of peaks/nulls? Should i try to adjust things to get rid of the 150/179?
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post #25 of 275 Old 01-20-2004, 10:36 AM
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Jay,

> I hear that i should be covering this with an "acoustically transparent" material. <

Not necessary. You don't want fabric that's shiny and reflective, but unless you're putting it in front of your loudspeakers there's no need for it to be acoustically transparent. If it absorbs a little extra on it's own, no harm is done.

> Can these panels reasonably be joined together <

Sure. In that case you'll need to build a frame to hold it all together mechanically. But as Brian said it's just insulation material.

> I have been told that i should avoid nulls/peaks in the mid range <

You should avoid response anomalies at all frequencies.

> i have peaks at 89, 179, 268 and nulls at 44, 134, 156, and 223 <

Trust me, that's just what you measured or calculated. You surely have response peaks and deep nulls at other frequencies too. This is exactly why broadband low frequency treatment is the most practical solution. If money were no object you could consider adding one or tuned absorbers too. But broadband absorption alone usually does a great job, as long as it absorbs well to low frequencies.

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post #26 of 275 Old 01-20-2004, 10:42 AM
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Are there standard locations to place these panels ranked by importance so that if someone can afford a certain # of panels, they know where to place them? Is it really room layout specific or just standard HT layout? (e.g. on side wall, in front of main speakers or on back wall facing main speakers etc..)

Jim

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post #27 of 275 Old 01-20-2004, 12:07 PM
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Jim,

> Are there standard locations to place these panels <

Yes, absolutely. For maximum low frequency absorption, which all rooms need, they should be placed straddling the room corners at an angle. This includes the regular wall/wall corners and also the ceiling corners where the tops of the walls meet the ceiling. Floor/wall corners are great too for bass trapping, if you have a place like behind a curtain where they're not in the way and won't get kicked or stepped on.

The other prime place for acoustic panels is on the side walls and ceiling, at "early reflection" points. This is described in detail in the RFZ sidebar in my Acoustics FAQ, linked earlier in this thread.

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post #28 of 275 Old 01-20-2004, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ethan Winer
Jim,

Yes, absolutely. For maximum low frequency absorption, which all rooms need, they should be placed straddling the room corners at an angle. This includes the regular wall/wall corners and also the ceiling corners where the tops of the walls meet the ceiling. Floor/wall corners are great too for bass trapping, if you have a place like behind a curtain where they're not in the way and won't get kicked or stepped on.


--Ethan
For the traps in the corners, does the trap need to be angled toward the room (making a triangle) or can it wrap along the wall (like an "L")? Does it make sense to use the same material as on the wall reflection traps?

I have seen some rooms have a border made of carpet (like trim board). Does this act as the bass trap?
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post #29 of 275 Old 01-20-2004, 05:12 PM
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Ethan,

This fabric ceiling idea has my interest peaked. I would stuff the joist cavities with R19, attach a fire resistant fabric to the joists, then cover with some sort of molding?

thanks
steve
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post #30 of 275 Old 01-21-2004, 06:10 AM
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There is a product called:

"Ceiling Max"

which is an acoustical tile and track system designed to hug the joists and only drop the ceiling a minimum. I believe the pricing is competitive.\\

www.ceilingmax.com

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