Uh...2, 4 years?...I've been planning my theatre since 1991 when we bought our 1907 home. I don't like to rush into things...apparently.
Needless to say it has gone through a "few" changes. I could list the huge mistakes that I didn't make because the addition, for many reasons, didn't get built until two years ago. But what's the point, people can only take so much laughter.
By this time I had come across this site (much food for thought!!!), talked to many idiots in the business (many ideas to stay away from), talked to many salesmen in the business (unfortunately short-sighted with only one thing in mind), some in the business with interesting ideas and lucked into an honest(!) service guy that made some great recommendations. Sadly, Robert's business, All-In-One Electronics in Toronto didn't survive the recession and the trend to disposable equipment, but I still have his email address. When I was forced to consider buying a new Theatre Receiver, Rob said that even the best receivers are designed to self-destruct due to internal cooling issues and recommended splitting it into components. He said to dump as much money as "available" into the power amp(s), because that fundamental technology will "never" change, and treat the Pre-amp as a disposable item. When I expressed my frustration in getting sound advice (sorry) on speaker placement, he gave me the name of a friend who used to design audiophile speakers. Mark is going to design/I'm going to build speakers for the room and tune them in place. I like a little R&D.
With all the comments about bad experiences with contractors, I'm embarrassed to admit that I am a GC...so, I'm doing "it" to myself. So far, I have a concrete box. Three walls are ICF (insulated concrete forms) filled with 8" thick poured concrete and the fourth is the old 2' thick stone foundation wall. A suggestion from my ICF supplier was to use a corrugated steel pan and a poured concrete slab for the floor above. There is 6" of concrete poured over an 8" pan for a total floor thickness of 14". There will be isolation clips on the underside for a drop ceiling and my flooring guy suggested a 5 mm rubber isolation mat glued to the top side with 3/4 plywood glued to it, plus 3/4 hardwood. The hardwood is nailed to the plywood but the nails don't penetrate to the rubber. The room was designed as big as possible given the other rooms required and city bylaws on over-all size. I ended up with 16' x 26', and being able to say "keep digging" ended up with a clear 9' ceiling stepping down to a clear 11' at the screen end. The 6" poured floor is isolated from the walls and has radiant floor heating. There will be a dedicated ventilation/A/C. There are three rows of seating planned with 12" risers.
The kitchen above, also part of the addition, has had to be the priority (since I do most of the cooking, this project has turned out to be something of a win/win endeavor), so the theater is currently my carpentry shop. Sometimes, I just sit in there and dream...of more money to finish!
The finished room will be a combination theatre and music listening room with two dedicated sound systems. One advantage of the delays, is that when you aren't looking, you stumbled across some amazing finds. A friend, knowing I was into audio asked If I knew how his friend could dispose of an unwanted stereo inherited from his father...I now have a barely used 1990 vintage 270 w Macintosh component stereo with XRT 23 speakers and all the trimmings. The one I drooled over when I bought a new, more modest, stereo in 1990! That's the music system. There was also a new Bryston Amp on e-bay located in Texas. It was bought by a dealer when the Canadian dollar was $0.70 US and I bought when the Canadian dollar was $1.05 US.
I've read some of the problems people have Q's about. If I might offer some suggestions:
For those of you with forced air systems, try decoupling the metal ducts from the furnace with a neoprene sleeve (available from an HVAC supplier) before the pipe gets to the room, that should eliminate vibrations from the furnace. The last four feet before the vent opening should be lined with sound insulation (comes ready-lined from the HVAC supplier) and should have at least one 90 degree turn (sound travels in straight lines until it gets reflected, hence he lining). Same deal for the air return (yes, you need one). The space under the door should be minimal if not sealed to keep the sound "out".
There has been much talk here about finding the blackest black for walls. W. Eugene Smith, a famous photojournalist, from a by-gone era, suggested that the best background colour for viewing photographs was a Zone V ("5") grey. This is a mid-tone flat grey. He would insist that the walls of the galleries exhibiting his work were painted this grey. In fact, he even patented a paint with the proper pigment blend. The theory was that the neutral grey was restful on the eyes and allowed the viewer to focus on the B&W photograph without the distraction and contrast of a glaring white, dead black or coloured wall. The sheen level would be "flat". The shinier sheen levels of the paint is what is giving the problems with glare and reflection. I was planning on "starting" with this finish around the screen and see where it takes me for a colour scheme.
I started reading at the beginning of this thread about wiring in a UPS for the projector. I was thinking,"the LED units don't need the cool down period in case of a power failure." Then I noticed the date, 2005. At the rate I'm going, it might even be affordable by the time I need one.
Great site guys! Thank you!