Cygnus X-1 Theater Construction Thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 97 Old 05-27-2006, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Well on Thursday I got my plans approved and got my Building Permit, so I now declare myself officially started working on my home theater. I've been reading here and planning for about 8 months, and now I finally will start building. To acknowlege the start, I thought I would start my construction thread to document my progress.

I guess what I'm building should be considered more a general purpose room than a dedicated home theater, but just barely. It will basically be a home theater with a ping pong table in the back.

If you're wondering where the name came from, we'll it's a song by my favorite band, Rush, about a black hole. I felt a black hole seemed pretty appropriate for the dark theater in my basement I intend to build.

Here are the plans that were approved:


I'll include the plans with the home theater layout & some before pictures shortly.

Guy
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post #2 of 97 Old 05-27-2006, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are the plans with just the home theater layout info:

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post #3 of 97 Old 05-27-2006, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are my "Before" pictures. When I moved in there was some framing and soffit around the HVAC already done, presumably by the previous home owner. I'll need to do a bit of fixing up, but I'm hoping to use most of what he already did.

This picture is from the back of the room, over the ping-pong table, looking at the front wall where the screen will be.



This one is from the back, over the ping-pong table, at the wall to the rest of the basement. In the center there, under the stairs, will be my AV closet and will hold a 100A sub-panel I'm installing.



This one is from the front, looking at the back. Notice the ping-pong table has been indefinately converted to a work bench.



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post #4 of 97 Old 05-27-2006, 09:34 PM
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Love the name, but I guess I am biased as Rush is my favorite band. Good luck on your progress, looks like it will be a nice setup.

Drew

"Never trouble another for what you can do for yourself."
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post #5 of 97 Old 06-02-2006, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been playing around with Sketchup to try and capture the ideas in my head to show what I want it to look like. Here is my first attempt. I'm sure it will change over time, but this is what I'm envisioning now. The seating will be black, not red, but when I tried to change the color to black it just looked like one big black blob.

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post #6 of 97 Old 06-06-2006, 09:50 PM
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What are you using to draw? I like it. Is it shareware? How is the learning curve?

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post #7 of 97 Old 06-06-2006, 11:08 PM
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Quote:


What are you using to draw? I like it. Is it shareware? How is the learning curve?

That's Google Sketchup. It's a freeware program and extremely easy to learn.

DigitalMan,
Nice job on the renderings. Did you do the popcorn machine and speakers yourself?

I would rethink that doorway into the theater near the screen. Any time that door is opened it's going to splash a ton of light onto the screen. Is it a necessary door? Can it be moved? Can it open the other way?
One other thought: I don't know how serious of a table tennis player you are, but that area seems pretty cramped for ping pong.

Overall looks very nice. Keep up the good work and the updates. I love a good construction thread.
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post #8 of 97 Old 06-07-2006, 10:28 AM
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The name certainly caught my attention. Man I hope Rush goes on tour again soon!
Oh, nice start so far. The render is pretty good. I messed around with SketchUp a bit and haven't touched it since. Yours looks really good.
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post #9 of 97 Old 06-07-2006, 10:50 AM
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The visio plans are very nicely done/labeled. Been looking to update my basic layout with those kind of details. Clarence also has some nice plans, too. I will reference them when doing my plans. Thanks for posting them.

Room looks real nice, BTW.
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post #10 of 97 Old 06-07-2006, 01:02 PM
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FYI...www.neilpeart.net has some info regarding the possibility of another upcoming studio album.....


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post #11 of 97 Old 06-07-2006, 01:52 PM
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Your leaving less than two feet for an aisle from ping pong to the seats.

Thats pretty cramped.

Also, did I see that the door into the theater goes thru another room (bathroom)

You might want to rethink those two things.

Just my .02

-Brian
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post #12 of 97 Old 06-07-2006, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lektern View Post


DigitalMan,
Nice job on the renderings. Did you do the popcorn machine and speakers yourself?

I would rethink that doorway into the theater near the screen. Any time that door is opened it's going to splash a ton of light onto the screen. Is it a necessary door? Can it be moved? Can it open the other way?
One other thought: I don't know how serious of a table tennis player you are, but that area seems pretty cramped for ping pong.

I found the popcorn machine in the Google Sketchup 3D Warehouse at http://sketchup.google.com/product_3dwh.html. The speakers were already included in the program. I do have Sketchup 5, not the free Google Sketchup, but I would expect it is similar. I really like Sketchup. I only spent about half a day completely learning how to use the program and drawing that. Just make sure you go through all the tutorials, they are very helpful.

As for the door, it will almost never be opened, so I'm not worried about the light on the screen. I didn't want to put it there, but the wife wanted access to the laundry room from that side so she didn't have to trip over the toys in the kids playroom by going the other way. If that's the only thing she has an issue with, then I'm happy to put the door there. The main entrance to the theater is down by the popcorn machine.

We are not serious ping pong players, but we have table in place now and it seemed like there was room to play. We do have some flexability to more it any which way when things are done to give more space if necessary.

Thanks for the comments,
Guy
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post #13 of 97 Old 06-07-2006, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKaps View Post

FYI...www.neilpeart.net has some info regarding the possibility of another upcoming studio album.....

Awesome, I'll head there and check it out next. Thanks.

Guy
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post #14 of 97 Old 06-07-2006, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleeks View Post

Your leaving less than two feet for an aisle from ping pong to the seats.

Thats pretty cramped.

Also, did I see that the door into the theater goes thru another room (bathroom)

You might want to rethink those two things.

Just my .02

The location of the ping pong table and the seating is still pretty flexible. I was going to wait until the room and fairly complete to decide exactly where I want the seating, and how much of an aisle I can have, etc. I think it will work out OK.

The door that goes into the big unfinished space (where we may add a bathroom in the future) will hardly ever be used. The main entrance is on the other side of the theater. The reason it's like that is that there are holes in the floor for the shower drain in a really awkward place. Putting the two doors like that was the only way I could think of to make it work. Plus the wall is already framed with the door there, and that's about the only place it could fit due to HVAC and the floor drains in the bathroom.

Thanks for the feedback,
Guy
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post #15 of 97 Old 08-16-2006, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I suppose it's time for my first update just so you don't think I totally dropped off the face of the earth. I was pretty happy with my slow but steady progress in June & August, but I didn't go down there to work once in July. We totally over-scheduled July, and it was torchure not being able to keep working. Anyway, here is the update:

HVAC: I hired this out and now have two sends and a return installed in the theater room. This should be all the HVAC work.

Electrical: My main 100A panel was full, so I hired an electrician to do a service upgrade. He upgraded my main panel in my garage to 200A. He only wanted $300 extra to install the 100A sub-panel for the theater (that I was planning on installing myself), so I had him do that too. He also installed the electrical for all house air conditioning that we hope to add soon. You don't need it very often in Colorado, but it will be nice to have for a few months of the year. I will do the rest of the electrical myself.

Framing: I have now completed framing and building soffits around exposed heating ducts. The previous homeowner had already framed about half the room which I originally thought was great, but it turned out to be the biggest problem I faced. In Colorado we have expansive clay soil, so you have to "float" the basement walls which means you hang the walls from the joists, and you must leave a 1 1/2" gap at the bottom to allow the slab to raise if the soil expands. Well, most of his framing didn't quite have a 1 1/2" gap, most likely because the slab must have raised over time. So I had to rip down every wall he framed and shorten the studs by a hair. That was WAY more work than the other walls I framed from scratch.

I am now learning about fire blocking, and will do that next so I can get my framing inspection.

Here are some pictures of how it currently looks:












Not a lot of description necessary at this stage I guess. The last picture shows a small soffit I built where I will put a 4" or so conduit between the AV closet in the middle of the picture & the projector. I will be building an in-wall rack for my components in the wall so they will face the theater and the back can be accessed from the AV closet. I'll probably put a cabinet door of some type to cover the components and use an IR repeater.


Guy
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post #16 of 97 Old 09-01-2006, 09:39 AM - Thread Starter
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OK, I could use some advise as I need to make some decisions soon. I have been struggling with the decision between a smaller dedicated home theater (14' x 17'), or a larger multi-use room (14' x 17' HT plus 9'9" x 22'5" Ping Pong Room in an L shape) since day one. My construction techniques would be the same either way, so if I do the multi-use room, the whole big L area would be built the same way I would build the smaller dedicated HT. I would like the smaller dedicated cozy HT for family use, but would like the bigger multi-use room for Superbowl parties and the like. What I REALLY want to do is do both, by having something like a curtain right behind the seating that I could open up when I need the space. As you can see in the following drawing, I have a steel pole & support beam at 17' back from the screen, so that would be where we could hang a curtain. But that idea has its own set of complications:

1) What would I do with the rear surrounds? Ideas I've had are:

a) Buy two sets of rear surrounds, one on the back wall and one directly between the rear row of seating & the curtain, and be able to switch between them. The complication is that I want the rear surrounds about 2' behind the seating, and with only 17' to work with, I really don't think I have the space to do this.

b) Can an acoustically transparent curtain be made? Then I would only have one set of rear surrounds on the back wall, but they could be heard through the curtain if it's closed.

c) Any other ideas?

2) Is my spacing of my two rows of seating OK? Can I fit two rows of seating in 17'? My front row will be a little closer than recommended at 1.38 time screen width if I go with an 8' wide screen. I plan on my second row being the sweet spot, however. We have 5 people in our family, so I have to be able to seat at least that many.

Thanks,
Guy



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post #17 of 97 Old 09-23-2006, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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So anyone know the answers to my questions in the previous post?

I especially want to know if an acoustically transparent curtain exists, and how it would work to have my rear surrounds go through it? They would be mounted about 10 feet behind the curtain.

Thanks,
Guy
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post #18 of 97 Old 09-23-2006, 11:29 AM
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Well, while it is surely a matter of personal opinion, I would go with the dedicated theater room. In fact before I got to you last posts, I was going to suggest removing the ping pong table and having two rows of seating.

My room is only like 16' long and I still do two rows of setting (I wish I had another 2 feet or so), you 17' would be about idea, I would think.

Also, it has been mentioned many a time, typically you don't want a popcorn popper in the movie room. You got the smell, lights, people getting up and making noise, etc.

Since my rear row is also within a few inches of the rear wall, I put my surrounds near the ceiling and within a couple of inches of the rear wall. This is not idea for the rear row, but it still works well. I have a rear CC in a 6.1 set up and this helps at the rear wall when movies have that track.

Personally, I would just go with your latest plan and put up a wall between the theater and ping pong room. IMO this would ad more versatility as say some could be playing ping pong, while others are watching a movie.

If you moved your rear row over a few inches, you could probably put your door in at the rear of the theater between the pole and common wall to your mechanical room.

Note, these are just ideas more then suggestions. But with the space you have, I would keep everything separate and avoid the "multi use" room, just MHO

edit, you might also consider real theater seats for one of the rows. You can fit more in and still be comfortable. I fit six in my rear row in the just about the same space I could have had four recliners. Tho if you want more comfort in the rear rows, you could put the theater seats in the front row.
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post #19 of 97 Old 11-11-2006, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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OK, if have reached a milestone so it seems like a good time for an update. This week I passed my framing, mechanical and electrical rough in inspections. It's starting to get pretty exciting. The framing inspector seemed blown away that I actually knew what fire blocking was and had done it properly. Thanks goes to everyone here that helped me learn about fireblocking. The mechanical inspector spent the most time there, but passed me too. It took me two tries to pass the electrical insection, however. I read that for rough in you were not supposed to connect any fixtures. You mainly needed to mount your boxes, run the wires, and pig tail the grounds. Well he told me that for rough in you also need to make up your neutrals in switches, and I needed to completely connect my recessed cans, but leave the box open. So I finished that about 20 minutes after he left, and he passed me when he came back out.

Here is a picture of the screen wall. I ran ENT conduit for 7.2 surround, plus one run to a column next to my riser location for future Buttkickers. I also ran a conduit from my AV closet upstairs to our family room TV for future use. I pulled in 14 AWG speaker wire rated for in wall use from HD, but since I have it all in conduit I can easily replace the wire at any time if I want better wire or have any problems. I ran RG6 in the conduit to both sub-woofer locations and next to the riser for Buttkickers. I also ran a conduit to the top center of the screen wall so I can put an IR repeater there and it runs back to my AV closet.



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post #20 of 97 Old 11-11-2006, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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This next picture is looking toward the wall where I'll build my in-wall rack that will open up to a closet behind. The boombox is sitting where the rack will be. To the left of the picture is a column I framed with a box for future Buttkicker installs since it will be right next to my riser. The top of the picture shows soffit I built around a big heating duct, and you'll see many of my ENT conduits heading back to the AV closet. I used Carlon adjustable boxes for all my high and low voltage electrical. I drilled holes in the ones I used for low voltage to insert the ENT conduit. Towards the top of the walls you can see the two boxes I installed for my sconces.

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post #21 of 97 Old 11-11-2006, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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This next picture is looking towards the rear wall. You'll see the two boxes for my rear surrounds. At the top right of the picture in the dark, you can see the 3" PVC conduit that runs to one of my two possible projector mounting locations.

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post #22 of 97 Old 11-11-2006, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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The final picture is taken from the entrance to the room looking past the AV closet in the direction of the screen wall. You'll see the 100A sub-panel I had installed in my AV closet on the left. Also you can see the second run of 3" PVC I put in that runs from the AV closet to the second possible projector mounting location. You can see all the ENT conduits terminating inside my AV closet, which is already starting to become a mess of wires.

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post #23 of 97 Old 11-27-2006, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a question about what I should do with some duct work that I have built soffit around. I can't do much due to ceiling height limitations with building code. All I can do is one layer of drywall right on the framing. My question is would it be good to fill the space between the ducts and the drywall with Linacoustic or something else? Since it's framed with 2x2's, I have 1.5" between the drywall and the ducts. I'm trying to do the most sound isolation of these ducts I can given the limitations I have. Look at the very top of this picture to see the ductwork I'm talking about:

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post #24 of 97 Old 11-28-2006, 07:34 AM
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The framing looks pretty tight to the duct work. Does it actually wrap it, touching the duct?

Dan
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post #25 of 97 Old 11-28-2006, 08:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKaps View Post

The framing looks pretty tight to the duct work. Does it actually wrap it, touching the duct?

Dan

Nope, the framing doesn't quite touch the duct work. There are places that it gets within a half inch or so, but doesn't touch.

I'm wondering if I should line the outside of the duct with some Linacoustic, basically filling the space between the horizontal framing members. I may also line the sides of the ducts if it will help. I have already covered the bottom of the duct with some 1/8" duct liner by Frost King that I had left over in hopes that might help a little too. I took pictures of the ducts after the duct liner, but haven't put them up yet.

Here is a close up that gives a better view:

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post #26 of 97 Old 11-28-2006, 09:47 AM
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OK. Great. That had me concerned. Yes, do that. Also, be sure to fill that larger space with some pink fluffy.

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post #27 of 97 Old 12-23-2006, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Time for another update. I finished insulating and passed my insulation inspection a few weeks ago. I'm hiring out the drywall, and hopefully he will get started next week. These pictures just document the status of the room right now.

This is looking towards the screen wall:


This is looking towards the back of the theater. At the top of the picture, you see that I covered my ducts with Linacoustic in hopes it will help cut down on noise transfer.


Close up of the ducts:


Looking towards the entrance. You can see the space I left in the wall for my rack at the right of the picture.


Looking from the entrance into the theater:


Inside my equipment closet. I love ENT coduit. I ran it everywhere. To all 7.2 speaker locations, to in front of the screen, to our upstairs TV room, and to my office.
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post #28 of 97 Old 12-27-2006, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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The drywallers I hired should be starting in a day or two, so while we're waiting for the drywall to get done we are planning out the next stages. This includes picking a color scheme, picking paint & carpet, designing & building the in-wall component rack, and trying to make a decision on some of the equipment we want to buy. To help us decide on a color scheme, I updated my Sketchup model to reflect our current plans. We plan to use this model to try out different color schemes to help us decide.

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post #29 of 97 Old 12-28-2006, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I just had to share one of those home theater building horror stories with people that might appreciate it. There is another big snow storm moving through Colorado. My home theater is in construction right now. We had the drywall delivery scheduled for this morning to try and get it in before the snow hits. I didn't hear from them in the morning, so I figured they cancelled the delivery since the snow actually started at around 9:30 am. Well sure enough, they called at around 1pm and asked if they could deliver it. I told them our area already had around 3 inches, and that I live on a long gradual hill, and my house is at 7000 feet. They decided to try and do the delivery. It took them a long time and the snow got much worse by the time they arrived. I look out and there is this massive flat bed truck with a boom (crane) across the street. Then they backed the truck up to move it in front of my house by going downhill. They had a hell of a time getting back to my house. It was REALLY scary to see a drywall truck slipping all over the place sliding down my street, almost taking out light poles, mail boxes and fire hydrants. Eventually they got to my house, and delivered it, but it was very nerve racking. All my neighbors were at their windows watching the insanity. I'm sure I'll have lots of explaining to do. I am very glad it's over and the truck made it safely out of my neighborhood. I told them they could give up and deliver it some other time, but once they were up my hill I suppose they thought they might as well make the delivery. Then I saw an RV and a jogger on the same road, that I could barely stand on it was so slippery. Insanity all around.

Guy
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post #30 of 97 Old 01-05-2007, 02:32 PM
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Looking forward to more of your updates. I live in Colorado myself - Yes, what a snowstorm that was. Biggest we've had in a while. I'm hoping to start my theater later this year after we buy a home. I may contact you with questions then if that would be alright. In the meantime I'll be following your thread....drooling

Gary
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