HT of the Month: Staggered Walls - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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Community News & Polls > HT of the Month: Staggered Walls
Scott Wilkinson's Avatar Scott Wilkinson 03:31 PM 02-03-2014

When AVS member Gary Ngo (landshark1) moved from a townhouse to a brand-new, single-family home in Silver Spring, MD, he knew he wanted a larger home theater than the previous dwelling could fit. "I wanted at least eight seats to accommodate my growing family," he says. Acoustic treatment was also high on the wish list. "This is important to me, because I truly believe that expensive speakers can still sound bad in an untreated room." Interestingly, sound isolation from the rest of the house was not important to his family, and they are totally fine without it.


The entrance to Gary's theater is flanked by two LED-illuminated frames that hold movie posters.


Gary turned to theater designer/installer and AVS member Jeff Parkinson (BIGmouthinDC) for help. They started by working with the builder to modify the basement layout to include pre-wired locations for the projector, speakers, electrical outlets, etc. as well as a riser for the second row of seats.


Gary's contractor built an empty shell of a room in the basement using conventional drywall; no sound-isolation construction was done. The room measures about 20x15x9 feet with a 12-inch riser.


In terms of the design, Gary wanted something modern but different than what most other home-theater owners seem to do. "You know, a room with four or six columns along the side and rear walls, tray ceiling with rope light—most home theaters on AVS have the same basic design! I was browsing the Internet for some inspiration, and I saw a large home theater with staggered square panels on the back wall. I showed the pic to Jeff Parkinson, and we came up with the current design of my room—staggered-thickness panels on the wall with rope light at the top and bottom of the wall panel."


The design of Gary's home theater started as a rough sketch.


Next, Gary and Jeff got busy building all the panels they would need to cover the side and rear walls. The frames are of different thicknesses to provide the desired appearance and some acoustic diffusion. Behind the outer fabric of each panel is Johns Manville Linacoustic RC material, which is normally used to line HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) ducts and provide acoustic damping.


Gary had to build a lot of square frames for his staggered-wall theater.


Each panel is lined with Linacoustic material, which provides acoustic damping.


Once the panels were built, it was time to install them—nearly 70 altogether!


After Jeff showed Gary how to hang the panels, Gary had his work cut out for him.


The panels on the back wall hide Auralex diffusers.


Gary decided to go with speakers in the room—Definitive Technology all around with SVS subwoofers—so he didn't need an acoustically transparent screen. He did want a 2.35:1 screen for movies, using a JVC DLA-RS4810 projector and its ability to memorize and recall different zoom settings for different aspect ratios rather than an anamorphic lens.


The front speakers include Definitive Technology BP7001SCs for the front left and right, CLR3000 center-channel speaker, and one of two SVS PB12-Plus subwoofers.


Another thing Gary wanted was a real equipment rack, which would house a Denon AVR-4520CI AVR for its preamp/processor and two amp channels for the height speakers, Emotiva XPA-2 power amp for the front left and right speakers, and Emotiva XPA-5 power amp for the center and surround speakers. Also living in the rack are an Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player, DirecTV receiver, and various other goodies.


The equipment rack is in the back corner of the room. Note how neatly the cables are dressed behind the rack.


Once the theater was more or less finished, Gary discovered a problem. "When everything was done, I heard no bass at all in my main seat, while the second row was getting a nice bass massage," he recalls. "With help from some forum members, I found out that my main seats are in a null! Later, AVS member Bryan Pape (bpape), who works at Gik Acoustics, advised me to install at least six inches of Owens Corning 703 along the back wall as a bass trap, which I've now done. I also added a second SVS PB12-Plus subwoofer in the opposite corner to even out the bass across all seats."


After installing 6" of OC703 on the back wall and adding a second subwoofer, the low-frequency response at main seating position is exceptionally smooth all the way down to 15 Hz or so.


Gary has been enjoying his home theater immensely—even before it was close to being finished. "The greatest moment was the first time we lit up the projector while it was sitting on top of a stack of boxes and watched a movie with a piece of white cloth as the screen," he recalls fondly.


Gary is beside himself watching the big game.


Now, of course, the experience is far better than a sheet on the wall can deliver. It took a year of careful planning and seven months of actual construction, but it was worth it. And the cost? Around $40,000 to $50,000, all told. That's not chump change by any means, but it's a relatively small price to pay for the theater of your dreams.


Gary's home theater is a thing of beauty.


I love this shot looking toward the back of the room from the screen.


For much more detail about how Gary Ngo's home theater came together, check out the build thread here. The theater was also featured in Electronic House.


If you'd like your home theater considered for Home Theater of the Month, PM me with the details and a link to your build thread if available.







Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player

DirecTV receiver/DVR

Popcorn Hour A300 streaming player

DIY HTPC (Windows, 10 TB)

Xbox 360 game console

Wii game console

Sonos audio system


AV Electronics


Denon AVR-4520CI AV receiver (preamp/processing, power for height channels)

Emotiva XPA-2 (front left & right channels)

Emotiva XPA-5 (center, side & rear surrounds)

DarbeeVision DVP-5000 video processor








Seymour-Screen Excellence Radiant White (138" diagonal, 2.35:1, 1.3 gain, non-AT)




Definitive Technology BP7001SC (front LR)

Definitive Technology CLR3000 (center)

Definitive Technology BPX (side & rear surrounds)

Definitive Technology Di6.5S (height LR)

SVS PB12-Plus DSP subwoofers (2)








Logitech Harmony 900 universal remote

Insteon (lighting)


Power Conditioning


Panamax M5300-PM




Palliser HiFi (8)



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brwsaw's Avatar brwsaw 04:26 PM 02-03-2014
This just sealed it...
Black ceiling, check.
Tacklebary's Avatar Tacklebary 04:27 PM 02-03-2014
Wow very impressive!!!
javanpohl's Avatar javanpohl 04:54 PM 02-03-2014
Nice room! But... are those ... sprinklers on the ceiling?
cjrubes's Avatar cjrubes 04:59 PM 02-03-2014

Looks great!

xvfx's Avatar xvfx 04:59 PM 02-03-2014
Originally Posted by brwsaw View Post

This just sealed it...
Black ceiling, check.

Hmm, that would be interesting. The black ceiling looks so classy. As I too have gold coloured down lighters thats barely used except the ceiling is white.

Wonder how it would look in a fairly big room thats not as big as the above. Think I might try going for these colours after seeing this when it's time to decorate. Black ceiling, with gold lights, tan side walls and a black wall sounds cosy and classy. Plus a side uplighter.
BNestico's Avatar BNestico 05:30 PM 02-03-2014
Originally Posted by javanpohl View Post

Nice room! But... are those ... sprinklers on the ceiling?
Sprinklers are code in new construction in a lot of areas now
N8DOGG's Avatar N8DOGG 05:52 PM 02-03-2014
Originally Posted by BNestico View Post

Sprinklers are code in new construction in a lot of areas now

Must only be in the US because they aren't in Canada, I've never even seen that before in any home.
vikgrao's Avatar vikgrao 05:52 PM 02-03-2014
Congrats again Gary! I like both your Home Theater and your garage pics on your build thread!
Phrehdd's Avatar Phrehdd 05:54 PM 02-03-2014
Absolutely great set up there. So yes, feel free to make the rest of us "living room only" movie watchers drool with envy.

Seriously - really impressive.
snickers1's Avatar snickers1 05:54 PM 02-03-2014
Congrats Gary!!! i was lucky enough to spend a couple hours in this theater and it is a thing of beauty for sure. Again thank you for having me over.
PcGeek626's Avatar PcGeek626 05:57 PM 02-03-2014

O_O very nice theater!. so jealous right now! 

popalock's Avatar popalock 06:06 PM 02-03-2014
Congrats Gary!
C*Tedesco's Avatar C*Tedesco 06:28 PM 02-03-2014
Wow, that is seriously impressive. Great choice for the speakers!
landshark1's Avatar landshark1 06:46 PM 02-03-2014
That's for all the kind words guys! The members on this forum and BigMouthDC (Jeff) really helped to make my dream comes true. smile.gif
kopkiwi's Avatar kopkiwi 07:00 PM 02-03-2014
Mate, that is one awesome theater you have. Great work
hauz20's Avatar hauz20 07:01 PM 02-03-2014
Ngo doubt about it. That's a sweet theater, sir.
DLPProjectorfan's Avatar DLPProjectorfan 07:04 PM 02-03-2014
Beautifultheaterishious !!!

Gary and Jeff set a new industry and AVS standard in which many will be inspired to copy.
slimDub13's Avatar slimDub13 07:50 PM 02-03-2014
Congrats partner. Truly inspiring!
prophets92sho's Avatar prophets92sho 08:05 PM 02-03-2014
Beautiful...well done!
audiofan1's Avatar audiofan1 10:43 PM 02-03-2014
Well done smile.gif
Avgass's Avatar Avgass 12:00 AM 02-04-2014
This is the first build which has had me excited about the idea of a dedicated theatre room. Very cool.
Cyrano's Avatar Cyrano 02:24 AM 02-04-2014
Beautiful room. Solid and stylish.
lovinthehd's Avatar lovinthehd 03:18 AM 02-04-2014
I am so jealous, nice!.....but you guys have no one else on the 'Skins to root for? smile.gif
bwolf240's Avatar bwolf240 04:33 AM 02-04-2014
Love the home theater! I live in germantown maryland and its great to see a local get ht of the month. Go redskins!
bighvy76's Avatar bighvy76 05:07 AM 02-04-2014
Looks great. The rear and surround speaker near the ceiling.... do the sound good up that high?
superleo's Avatar superleo 06:17 AM 02-04-2014
Congrats Gary (and Big) on HT of the month!!!
DarthDoxie's Avatar DarthDoxie 06:34 AM 02-04-2014

Simple and elegant in design and execution.  Nicely done and the best part is Monoprice cables!

landshark1's Avatar landshark1 06:41 AM 02-04-2014
Thanks guys! smile.gif
Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post

I am so jealous, nice!.....but you guys have no one else on the 'Skins to root for? smile.gif
LOL.... That shot was taken at last year's first playoff game in like 4-5 years. tongue.gif

Originally Posted by bighvy76 View Post

Looks great. The rear and surround speaker near the ceiling.... do the sound good up that high?
The rear & side surround is about 2.5' above the ear from the 1st row, about 1.5' above ear from the 2nd row. Which are all very close to the surround spec/recommendation, 2-3' above ear level.
bighvy76's Avatar bighvy76 06:46 AM 02-04-2014
Originally Posted by landshark1 View Post

The rear & side surround is about 2.5' above the ear from the 1st row, about 1.5' above ear from the 2nd row. Which are all very close to the surround spec/recommendation, 2-3' above ear level.
I placed mine at ear level but. Its my first theater build and I don't really know what I'm doing lol I must have read it somewhere. I also am eye level with the bottom 1/3 of my screen but I like it.
Tags: Oppo Bdp 93 Blu Ray Player , Sonos Connect Wireless Music Streaming System For Home Theater Or Stereo Zoneplayer90 , Jvc Dla Rs4810 3d Home Theater Projector , Xbox 360 Console , Definitive Technology Bp7001sc 120v Tower Speaker Single Left Channel Black , Home Theater , Home Theater Of The Month
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