What I'd do differently next time. - Page 19 - AVS Forum
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post #541 of 860 Old 04-14-2010, 11:27 PM
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"Please describe how to "pad the duct work"?"

Basically how we dealt with the duct work is to "pad" it with Roxoul acoustic insulation. We also used metal framing around the ducts with 5/8" sheetrock. The insulation is packed very tight to the ducts to minimize vibrations and sound transference. I thought that this might be the best solution given the budget. There are other solutions but they can be expensive. I wouldn't recommend just standard duct insulation as it's very thin and is built for retaining heat. We used metal tape to seal all cracks as well. So, we'll see if it all works once the remodel is done.
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post #542 of 860 Old 04-28-2010, 12:32 PM
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I have a nice family room in the lower part of our split level home. We have been using this for our home theater... 120" screen, panasonic projector, etc. The problem is that in the middle of the room we have walls that come into the room about 4 feet on both sides thus sort of splitting the room in half. We have talked about installing a steel I beam over the entire span. We finally decided to go for it and called in an engineer and a general contractor and will have the beam installed this Saturday. My wife surprised me a few days ago and said that as long as we were tearing down walls, we might as well take the time to install a nice dedicated home theater...( I know, I know... I'm a very lucky man!!!). I have been reading everything I can get my hands on for the past few years and have even had a file in my filing cabinet with a lot of ideas to incorporate. We have been going over the plans and are excited to get going. I have enjoyed reading all of the posts and have copied and pasted all the great ideas into a word document. I am excited to get going on this project. I appreciate everyone who has posted their ideas and thoughts. I am glad I am not a pioneer when it comes to this. I am glad there have been many who have blazed the trail for the rest of us...
I look forward to posting the progress...
let the journey begin!!!
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post #543 of 860 Old 04-28-2010, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

1. Projector Mounting:
---- projector mounted higher than the top of the image area on the screen (a real problem with masking screens)

Awesome, thanks Dennis. Isn't the above problem addressed by fine-tuning the upper mask? I must be missing something here..
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post #544 of 860 Old 04-28-2010, 03:38 PM
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Regarding "padding the ductwork", I've heard of using MDF as the duct itself, and incorporating bends in it, with some fiberglass insulation at relevant bends that will absorb noise from inside the theater. I was thinking of adding angled "dampers" on the sidewalls, that don't actually damper it, but catch the reflection.

Like:

Theater
|/ |
| \\|
|/ |
| \\|
HVAC

Anybody tried similar or (in keeping with the thread topic) have a horror story with this method?
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post #545 of 860 Old 04-28-2010, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:


Awesome, thanks Dennis. Isn't the above problem addressed by fine-tuning the upper mask? I must be missing something here..

Yup, you're missing something. In most masking screens you have
1. screen material
2. a 2" (or so) gap for the masking tracks and mechanism
3. a black border material.

If the projector is above the image area, the black border material will cast a shadow on the screen.

Dennis Erskine CFI, CFII, MEI
Architectural Acoustics
Subject Matter Expert
Certified Home Theater Designer
CEDIA Board of Directors
www.erskine-group.com
www.CinemaForte.net
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post #546 of 860 Old 04-28-2010, 10:33 PM
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Ah.. I thought about that, but figured there wasn't that big of a gap. Thanks.
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post #547 of 860 Old 04-29-2010, 03:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randyox View Post

all of the posts and have copied and pasted all the great ideas into a word document. I appreciate everyone who has posted their ideas and thoughts. let the journey begin!!!

I am in the same position only about 30-60 days behind you. I'm waiting on HVAC guys to enlarge duct and install 24 volt dampers. Any chance you could post word doc? I was planning on doing same!

Thanks
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post #548 of 860 Old 05-04-2010, 08:07 AM
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It's IN!!! I was able to get the 18' 4" steel I beam installed Saturday... big project but I had an experienced builder help me. Rented a lift from Sunbeam Rental and was able to position the 420 pound I beam in place and it made "easy" work of it. Removed all of the drywall from the room including the ceiling and have a room that is now 24' x 18' to install the home theater... next up... framing... hopefully this weekend. I will try and get pictures up this weekend... the only thing I would do different so far is that I would have started this project sooner and would have consulted with my builder more... I could have saved about $100 on the I beam install...

I will start a new thread in the theater design & construction with my build progress... as this one deals with "what I would do different"...
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post #549 of 860 Old 05-04-2010, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randyox View Post


I will start a new thread in the theater design & construction with my build progress... as this one deals with "what I would do different"...

Thank you. We don't want this turning into a blow-by-blow construction thread.

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post #550 of 860 Old 05-04-2010, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jscifres View Post

This is a great point and one that isn't made very often. I have an interesting solution for fire alarms in my lighting control system (I need to come back and fill in the product name). We are able to set a trigger within our fire alarm system which can be programmed to turn on and off the lights in my theater. We're not anywhere near ready to test this yet, but it was a criteria of mine from the start to get a visual cue if our smoke alarms in the rest of the house went off.

Another thing to consider... All these isolated rooms which have only one entrance/exit are a little scary too. Of course, it's probably already code, but I recommend that people think about their escape routes...I have an equipment closet in the back of my theater with shelving for the components. Today, I instructed my designer to leave those shelves disconnected from the wall so that in a pinch, if my theater door were not passable, I could push all my equipment over and scramble out the back closet (and outside, because my equipment closet has rear access).

My window plug is not (and will not be) attached to the framing what so ever. I'm going to install a few hefty pull handles on it so in an emergency it could be tugged out of the window and dropped to the side. I also have a whole house fire alarm system that has a unit in my theater. If there ever was a fire it will set off the alarm in the theater also. I have an input module for my Grafik eye that I may even be able to incorporate into the fire alarm system to turn on the lights in the room.
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post #551 of 860 Old 05-05-2010, 01:09 PM
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Lots of solid advice in here... will use this for a reference and must read before starting a new project in the future

-

"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #552 of 860 Old 05-05-2010, 09:06 PM
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I wouldn't have finished my basement when I built my house and had my in-laws living there for 8 years! I got them out, now I have to tear down half the drywall to creat my HT!

I'm in the framing/rough-in part of my HT. Luckily I poured 10' basment walls when I built the house. I have a HT pro helping with the layout and recommended I widen the room from 14' to 16.5'. This was great advice because I would have kicked myself later when my chairs didn't fit!

HT pro is pricey, but may come in very handy when I need him. Doing most the work myself! The build is great so far, but tons of decisions!
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post #553 of 860 Old 05-05-2010, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brushpharmd View Post

I wouldn't have finished my basement when I built my house and had my in-laws living there for 8 years! I got them out, now I have to tear down half the drywall to creat my HT!

I'm in the framing/rough-in part of my HT. Luckily I poured 10' basment walls when I built the house. I have a HT pro helping with the layout and recommended I widen the room from 14' to 16.5'. This was great advice because I would have kicked myself later when my chairs didn't fit!

HT pro is pricey, but may come in very handy when I need him. Doing most the work myself! The build is great so far, but tons of decisions!

Good call on widening. 16.5' is a good width... 4 seats across easy with good walkway space on both sides. It feels cozy but not crowded. It's nice to get the surrounds a little further away too.
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post #554 of 860 Old 05-06-2010, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miltimj View Post

Regarding "padding the ductwork", I've heard of using MDF as the duct itself, and incorporating bends in it, with some fiberglass insulation at relevant bends that will absorb noise from inside the theater. I was thinking of adding angled "dampers" on the sidewalls, that don't actually damper it, but catch the reflection.

Like:

Theater
|/ |
| \\|
|/ |
| \\|
HVAC

Anybody tried similar or (in keeping with the thread topic) have a horror story with this method?

I tried this with my return vent as it went from the floor vent up to the main return duct in the ceiling above the theater. But, either I got the angles wrong or put too many in because I wasn't getting any airflow through the return vent.

Finally unscrewed the drywall on the outside of the theater and pulled them all out and it fixed the airflow problem but definitely lets the sound move better through the duct. I occasionally debate putting a few back in to see if I can find a compromise, but in the end I'm probably just going to use duct liner to actually line parts of the ductwork and hope that helps some.
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post #555 of 860 Old 05-06-2010, 01:38 PM
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Hey Guys,

I don't want to be a party pooper but this is a really useful thread for keeping track of things we wish we would have done differently in our HT's. Any extraneous discussion kind of dilutes the usefulness of the thread.

Cheers,

Mo
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post #556 of 860 Old 05-06-2010, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moguy View Post

Hey Guys,

I don't want to be a party pooper but this is a really useful thread for keeping track of things we wish we would have done differently in our HT's. Any extraneous discussion kind of dilutes the usefulness of the thread.

Cheers,

Mo

What's extraneous? Dimensions? Soundproofing? Ductwork? Light control? What are you objecting to? (We should delete THIS exchange when we're done.)
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post #557 of 860 Old 05-07-2010, 08:03 AM
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If any of the above refer to items the poster implemented in their theater, and now looking back, they wish that they had done them differently, then they belong in this thread (IMHO).

Now I will stop being a hypocrite and will limit any further posts to this thread to ones that are relevant to the title.

Mods, feel free to delete this exchange.

Cheers
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post #558 of 860 Old 05-07-2010, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moguy View Post

If any of the above refer to items the poster implemented in their theater, and now looking back, they wish that they had done them differently, then they belong in this thread (IMHO).

Now I will stop being a hypocrite and will limit any further posts to this thread to ones that are relevant to the title.

Mods, feel free to delete this exchange.

Cheers

Oh, IC. Anyway... you and I can delete this exchange and I'll delete my part in a bit.
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post #559 of 860 Old 05-11-2010, 07:38 AM
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Anyone make a tray ceiling with a 8' ceiling? How does it look? Regret it?

I have an I-beam running perpendicular the width of the room. Running parallel to the i-beam are water pipes. So I'll have to drywall around them. It cuts the room almost in 2 even parts. I was thinking since I'll have that soffit, what about extending that all the way around the room and making a tray ceiling. My biggest worry is that it will make the room feel cramped. The soffits would be about 9" wide and extend to the top of the door frame. So the the ceiling height under the soffits would be about 6'8". Too low?
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post #560 of 860 Old 05-14-2010, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docwhorocks View Post

Anyone make a tray ceiling with a 8' ceiling? How does it look? Regret it?

I have an I-beam running perpendicular the width of the room. Running parallel to the i-beam are water pipes. So I'll have to drywall around them. It cuts the room almost in 2 even parts. I was thinking since I'll have that soffit, what about extending that all the way around the room and making a tray ceiling. My biggest worry is that it will make the room feel cramped. The soffits would be about 9" wide and extend to the top of the door frame. So the the ceiling height under the soffits would be about 6'8". Too low?

Will you have a riser for a 2nd row of seats that would make this even lower?

I've been wondering this same thing.
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post #561 of 860 Old 05-18-2010, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaofDoom View Post

Will you have a riser for a 2nd row of seats that would make this even lower?

I've been wondering this same thing.

Yes I will have a riser for the 2nd row. The only problem with the 2nd row would be stepping up on the riser, the soffit amy be in the way. Depends exactly where the step is in relation to the soffit, it may be a non-issue.
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post #562 of 860 Old 05-21-2010, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

I started this sticky some while ago because this forum is a beehive of individuals building DIY home theater projects. I thought it would be useful for those who are starting on such projects to discuss the errors, omissions and "oh oops" that have been made by others to avoid making the same mistakes. Hopefully this has helped.

Our firm is a design/build/install organization with the ability to completely turnkey a project. Clearly, our business doesn't fit the profile of a DIY forum (with the exception of the designs we produce which many DIYers have utilized). Because we can turnkey an entire project, we have a view of the total project and can control the entire process...which is why we prefer turnkey engagements (but don't insist on them). Today, I thought I'd add just a few "errors" I've encountered with "disjointed" projects (the designer, builder, installer are different groups) and those where the lack of experience has resulted in some hair pulling.

1. Projector Mounting:
---- throw distances incorrect for projector/screen combination
---- projector mounted outside the range of it's vertical offset resulting in picture distortion
---- projector mounted higher than the top of the image area on the screen (a real problem with masking screens)

2. Seating
---- Radius seating (curved rows) where the seating radius is smaller than the radius of the seating platform.
---- Radius seating where the radius of the seats has the viewers on the ends of the rows looking straight ahead to the opposite side of the screen (most manufacturers will custom make the radii)
---- Front row viewing angle has the viewer looking upward more than 10-12 degrees to the center of the screen (uncomfortable).
---- Second/third rows don't have an unobstructed view of the entire screen area.
---- First row is too close to too large a screen, second row is too far for an immersive experience.
---- Elevated second row platform plopped on the floor as a island in the back of the room.
---- Attempts to put too many seats in the room, making it crowded, expensive, uncomfortable for "general" use and looking like you've tried to put 50lbs of potatoes in a 5lb sack.

3. HVAC
---- Even in Fargo, ND in the middle of the worst winter, you MUST consider the cooling and ventilation requirements of these rooms.

4. Room colors
---- I don't like black "man caves" any more than your wife; but, light colors (tans, off white) and bright colors WILL ruin your picture.

5. Screens
---- Screen too big for the room. Screen widths should never be more than 80% of the room width. Keep the screen at least 3' off the floor (if not more) and don't mount it within inches of the ceiling. Big is not always better.
---- Screen too large for your projector budget. A dim picture is not wanted and will result in low utilization of a room you put a bunch of money into.
---- With all the "arm waving" and "oh, my goodness, it will ruin your sound" I hear about AT screens, the FUD factor will result in the big non-AT screen and then the speakers end up stuffed in the corner of the room. If you want to argue about the "damage" an AT screen will do to your sound, here's news flash ... what an AT screen might, or might not do, won't even begin to compare with the damage the corner stuffing will do.

6. Sound Isolation
---- I've said it many, many times before. You can read all of Ted's goodies, buy all the right stuff, and have little to no sound isolation when you're done. This is really, really anal stuff. 1/2 way is zero results. Get help.
---- The primary object of sound isolation is to keep the room quiet...not to keep adjacent rooms quiet (if my wife isn't in the theater with me, let her eat cake...hope she doesn't read this). Once you've done this proud work, why is all the equipment in the room room?
---- Now that you have this very quiet room and you can watch movies really, really loud, tell me...will you hear the smoke alarms go off in your house? (and, you were wondering if you bought enough bass traps from Ethan).

Nuff for now.

Wow, it seems that I did everything wrong.

Thanks for an informative post Dennis.
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post #563 of 860 Old 05-27-2010, 02:21 PM
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Superb and much appreciated post Dennis. Thank you.

Couple bits of input from this amature:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

---- projector mounted higher than the top of the image area on the screen (a real problem with masking screens)

How much higher does the projector tend to have to be in order for shadowing to be apparent?

I have the Carada Masquerade horizontal masking system (top/bottom masks). I vary my projected image size (zooming/masking) but often enough the top of my projected image is several inches below the bottom of my projector lens. Yet I get no visible shadowing (I'd hate it if I did; I'm very picky about such things).

I note you mentioned a 2" gap being typical for commercial masking screens: my gap is between 1/4" to 1/2", which I understand is typical for Carada. Although I remember seeing a Stewart masking system at one point and being quite amazed at how far the masks were from the screen.
It would seem odd to me that more expensive commercial systems couldn't get their masking as close as Carada (or even some DIYers on this forum achieve).

I also have automated side masking, hanging panels. They didn't end up as close as I'd hoped to the screen - they are 2" off the screen material. I figured I'd have to eventually move them closer, but to my surprise I still get no shadowing from those masks either.

FWIW to anyone here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post


4. Room colors
---- I don't like black "man caves" any more than your wife; but, light colors (tans, off white) and bright colors WILL ruin your picture.

Which is why I wrote before how surprised I've been at the number of professional installations that employ light decor. I have to presume this was due to pressure from clients and not first choice for the installers.
Still...it always amazes me to see so much money put into some of these theaters only to have image compromising decor choices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

6. Sound Isolation
---- I've said it many, many times before. You can read all of Ted's goodies, buy all the right stuff, and have little to no sound isolation when you're done. This is really, really anal stuff. 1/2 way is zero results. Get help.

I think this sort of depends on the goal. If the goal is total isolation, then sure I guess the anal-stuff pertains. But I have to disagree with the 1/2 way is zero results part.

My front living room was made into a home theater. Our bedroom is directly above it and the room has a large pillared opening to the hallway. I certainly have not done anything like full room isolation, but the measures I have taken have garnered very welcome results. As far as sound isolation (in terms of sound escaping the room) we did a build down of the ceiling, with acoustic material at points. The build-down doesn't cover the whole ceiling and the point of it wasn't actually to provide any sound isolation between the floors. But the sound nonetheless has changed since adding that section on the ceiling - the theater noise is less pronounced than it used to be when you are in the bedroom above.

And this makes some sense to me. Yes sound is like water in the sense it will move around and seep through "weak" or "unobstructed" points, which is why people looking for isolation would want to be anal about doing the isolation in a complete fashion. But that doesn't seem to mean that adding some obstruction doesn't render some degree of result. After all, even holding up a pillow between you and someone else in a completely open room affects the sound.

On the same note: the only thing I have to block off my theater room from the hall outside is pulling some fairly thick velvet curtains over the entrance way. Despite that these are hardly full-on sound isolation measures, the result is a MUCH better feeling of sonic isolation in the room - I used to hear everything going on down the hall during the movie; now it is rare for me to be distracted by such noise. And noise from the theater room escaping is muffled and less objectionable from the other rooms in the house. With only these meagre measures, I've achieved all the sound isolation that I personally need at this point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

---- The primary object of sound isolation is to keep the room quiet...not to keep adjacent rooms quiet (if my wife isn't in the theater with me, let her eat cake...hope she doesn't read this). Once you've done this proud work, why is all the equipment in the room room?

I certainly agree. I've placed all the equipment out of my room for heat/sound/aesthetic reasons and I'm very glad I did. I don't have the luxury of another room for the projector, but it's quiet and if I ever need to I can employ a hushbox.

Thanks again for the insights
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post #564 of 860 Old 05-27-2010, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post

I think this sort of depends on the goal. If the goal is total isolation, then sure I guess the anal-stuff pertains. But I have to disagree with the 1/2 way is zero results part.


I also have to disagree with that particular comment.

Here's one simple example: Blast the stereo in one room and stand outside of it, leaving the door open. Now close the door. Hear a difference?

Doesn't have to be a sealed door. Doesn't have to be a solid core door. It just has to block the sound in order to be an effective "halfway" measure.

Sure, it's not soundproof. But it's better than nothing by a longshot. And certainly the closed door baing a "halfway" solution does not equal "zero" benefit in that case.

--Drew


My basement theater build thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1243820

Started: 2/20/10
Completed: 10/10/10
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post #565 of 860 Old 05-27-2010, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew_V View Post

I also have to disagree with that particular comment.

Here's one simple example: Blast the stereo in one room and stand outside of it, leaving the door open. Now close the door. Hear a difference?

Doesn't have to be a sealed door. Doesn't have to be a solid core door. It just has to block the sound in order to be an effective "halfway" measure.

Sure, it's not soundproof. But it's better than nothing by a longshot. And certainly the closed door baing a "halfway" solution does not equal "zero" benefit in that case.

Most of the real sound isolation is on the order of 40 to 50 db. In that case, any little gap makes a big difference. So if you're looking at throwing insulation in an interior wall to get that 3 db of extra isolation, yeah... an unsealed hollow core door will make a difference. But if your target is 50 db, that unsealed hollow core door will absolutely destroy what you've done, just like any gaps. It all depends what range you're working with.
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post #566 of 860 Old 05-27-2010, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Perhaps some clarification is in order. In my mind it is absolutely a waste to go to extraordinary measures on a wall, or two, or perhaps just a ceiling and do nothing to the rest of the room. If you're looking for a 20dB TL in a door, there has to be a balance with respect to the effort (and expense) put into, say, the wall or vice versa. As well, one needs to define in specific terms what they want, or need to achieve. If you want an NC21 room so you can hear the full dynamic range of what Rich is laying down, that is a different issue than not doubling the ambient noise level in an adjacent room.

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post #567 of 860 Old 05-27-2010, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

Perhaps some clarification is in order. In my mind it is absolutely a waste to go to extraordinary measures on a wall, or two, or perhaps just a ceiling and do nothing to the rest of the room. If you're looking for a 20dB TL in a door, there has to be a balance with respect to the effort (and expense) put into, say, the wall or vice versa. As well, one needs to define in specific terms what they want, or need to achieve. If you want an NC21 room so you can hear the full dynamic range of what Rich is laying down, that is a different issue than not doubling the ambient noise level in an adjacent room.

I think the way "erkq" put it, I started to understand what you were trying to say. But I'm glad you clarified it. Makes sense.

--Drew


My basement theater build thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1243820

Started: 2/20/10
Completed: 10/10/10
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post #568 of 860 Old 05-28-2010, 07:53 AM
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My What I'd Do Differently Next Time:

1. I hope I have learned not to overestimate the competence of contractors.

(Now, I'm sure there are reliable contractors out there, likely as represented by some of the pros here...but my luck hasn't been good unfortunately...and it's partly due to my own learning process).

Since I'm not a builder, not a DIY guy, and frankly not generally handy at all in terms of building anything, I've had to rely on my contractors. In each case I would think "Well, THEY are the professionals, they do this everyday for a living, surely they know how to do the job and details of how to get the job done are best left to them."

Yet in every case this misplaced confidence would lead to some disaster or another. If I were to write out here the litany of woes on my job I'm sure that even the most jaded here would be astonished. Unless I was there overlooking practially every detail, something would get screwed up. And it seemed 1/2 the time it was me just having to make sure these guys did things that one would presume they ought to be doing as a matter of course.

"Did you lay down any plastic on our rug before opening up our ceiling?" "Uh..oh..yeah...do you have any plastic?"

And it didn't seem to matter that I'd provide actual emails and hard-printed lists of the things to do. Every time I'd ask the contractor if "Y" on the list was done I'd get a blank look as if they'd never been aware it was part of the job. I learned the hard way that it seems most contractors don't care that much. THEY don't care about the details...YOU have to care about the details for them. It's like I've had to learn various trades just to make sure these guys are doing their trades correctly.

And even today this continues: My GC sent one of his guys to patch up our basement ceiling, that had been opened up so the AV installers could run wires. I asked did he have the access panels, to be placed on the ceiling at certain points for running future wires. Blank stare. Yeah...the access panels. The ones I discussed with your boss - in fact the ones your boss suggested he could get at Home Depot for the job. The ones I re-iterated we needed in an email to your boss when arranging for this work to be done. Nope. Like the discussion about the panels had never occurred. I phone the GC. He sounds like he forgot about them and asks me "So...do you have the access panels?" Me? Isn't this your idea/job? Now I am the one off to find access panels! Friggin' hell.

So...I'll never expect a contractor to remember details...they just aren't as interested in the job as I am, and I won't expect something is going to be done right. Never. Lesson learned.
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post #569 of 860 Old 05-28-2010, 09:17 AM
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While I am not done with my theater/basement build here's the one thing so far that I would've done differently. I would've put my DeltaFL floor and T&G sub floor down first before putting up any walls. In CO we have to build floating walls due to our expansive soils so with the subfloor in place, the bottom plate 2x4 only stick's up about 1/4" above the floor. Then there is the 1.5" gap for the expansion before the bottom of the wall starts. I'm too far into the build to pull the walls back down to redo it all. Should be interesting when it comes time for drywall and trim....

I'm sure I'll have some more to add, but this thread has helped save me from making mistakes others have. For that I thank you all.
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post #570 of 860 Old 05-28-2010, 09:18 AM
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Hopefully it's not RRS Contracting!

Most people don't know what they want...but, they're pretty sure they haven't got it. ©

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