HT of the Month: Duck and Cover - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
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HT of the Month: Duck and Cover



Tall people can't even stand up straight in Terry Huntington's home theater, but once they sit down, it's show time.

When composer Terry Huntington (KBMAN) moved to his new house in Grass Valley, CA, he had to say goodbye to his 7.1-channel home theater/family room. He was determined to have a dedicated theater, but the house, which had been built in the 1930s, offered only one location for it—a small basement with a low ceiling.


The basement in Terry's new house was the only place to put a theater, but the quarters were quite cramped.

The first step was to remove the support posts in the middle of the room and reinforce the existing beams with "wafers." Then Terry and his father got to work with the help of contractors to do the heavy lifting.


Terry's father was amazed that the support pillars could be removed without compromising the structural integrity of the house. Low cinder-block retaining walls were installed to keep the dirt from intruding.

The water heater and HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system couldn't be moved, so Terry had to build a closet around them. "The new wall includes heavy insulation," he says. "When the heater or even the A/C is on, it basically sounds like a projector; you would be hard-pressed to hear any hum or rumble."


The water heater and HVAC system had to be enclosed in a closet to tame their noise.


With the framing and insulation installed, it's starting to look like a theater just might fit.

One of the many challenges Terry faced was making sure his JVC DLA-RS20 projector with Panamorph PS-100U anamorphic lens would fill his Carada Precision 115-inch 2.40:1 screen in such a limited space. With no formal plans, he carefully measured and calculated ("and guessed!" he laughs), and found that it would—just barely.


Terry is about six feet tall, and his head brushes the lowest beam in the theater if he stands up straight—hence the name Duck and Cover Theater.

Terry decided on red carpeting and doors with off-white walls, so I was very glad to see that he created a black shadowbox around the screen. This reduces reflections from the nearby walls and especially the ceiling, improving the image dramatically.


Surrounding the screen with a black shadowbox really helps the picture pop.

Another problem Terry anticipated was acoustics. "I did not have high hopes for good sound," he says. "But with the carpet and seating installed, the sound totally exceeded my expectations; the acoustics are very good, and much better than my previous house!" In fact, the sound is so good, he disabled the Audyssey room correction in his Integra DHC-40.1 pre/pro and never looked back.

Speaking of the seating, it's now a few feet closer to the screen than his previous setup, because, well, he had no choice. "I have come to appreciate the closer, Imax-like experience," he notes. Actually, it will be even better when he upgrades to a 4K/UHD projector—assuming he can find one with the right throw range.

One and a half months and about $20,000 later, the theater was complete. "The best moment was when the carpet was finally installed," he recalls. "And working with my dad during the construction was a real joy."


The seating consists of three Salamander Designs Mateo recliners and two traditional movie-theater chairs on an 8" riser. Each row has a ButtKicker LFE transducer to shake your booty during intense low-frequency action.


The custom equipment cabinet in the left wall includes shelves that leave a 4" gap behind them for easy cable accessibility.


The finished theater is small but fully functional and beautifully appointed.

Several AVS members have told me they face the challenge of shoehorning a theater into a small space, and the Duck and Cover Theater is a perfect example of how it can be done. (Another excellent example is the Theater for Hobbits, which was HT of the Month for December 2013.) Kudos to Terry Huntington for making the most of a tiny space. Now, it's time to lower the lights, grab some popcorn, and get lost in a movie...

For more detail about how Terry's home theater came together, check out the build thread here.

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

EQUIPMENT LIST

Sources

Apple TV 3
Sony PS3 Slim
Nintendo Wii
Marantz CC-45 CD carousel
Apple iPod

AV Electronics

Integra DHC-40.1 preamp/processor
NAD 925THX 5-channel power amp
NAD 216THX 2-channel power amp

Processor

Darbee Darblet

Projector

JVC DLA-RS20
Panamorph PS-100U anamorphic lens

Screen

Carada Precision (115", 2.40:1, 1.4 gain)

Speakers

Paradigm Studio 60 (LCR)
Paradigm Studio 20 (side and rear surrounds)
Epik Tower 15" subwoofer
Hsu MBM-12 mid-bass module (paired with center speaker)

Cables

Monoprice Remere
Kimber Cable

Control

URC MX-500 universal remote

Power Conditioning

Panamax M4300-PM

Seating

Salamander Designs Mateo recliners (3, front row)
Traditional fold-down theater seats on 8" riser (2, second row)
Giant bean bag (1)
ButtKicker LFE transducers (1 in riser, 1 under front row) powered by BKA1000-N power amp

---------------

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post #2 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 01:44 AM
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Sweet set up!
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post #3 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 05:55 AM
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niceyou and your father did a great job
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post #4 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 05:55 AM
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Nice and cozy. I think it looks great!
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post #5 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 06:03 AM
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Congratulations. Turning the "pit" into a theatre must have been a daunting task.
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post #6 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 06:50 AM
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Very nice! Doin' what it takes to make it work.
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post #7 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 07:44 AM
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Looks cool! I can't wait to start our theater next year!
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post #8 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 07:52 AM
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I would fit perfectly ! Nice work !!


Art
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post #9 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 08:30 AM
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Looking like brilliant use of space
What's the distance from the first set of seats to the screen?
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post #10 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 09:05 AM
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Too short for me!
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post #11 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 09:38 AM
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Nice job. How about a demo one of these days? I'm not far away and would be happy to reciprocate.

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post #12 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidK442 View Post
Congratulations. Turning the "pit" into a theatre must have been a daunting task.
THANKS EVERYONE!....and actually, with the help of my Dad and a few contractors, it really wasn't as daunting as you would think.....I think the hardest part (LOL) was the painting; it's actually pretty hard to paint with such a low ceiling, esp. with the LED lights.....However, watching 'Master and Commander' with the buttkickers is really amazing!

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post #13 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RMK! View Post
Nice job. How about a demo one of these days? I'm not far away and would be happy to reciprocate.
I would be totally happy to invite you over....there's not too many AVS'rs around in these parts...PM me and we can negotiate lol......

Terrence
"Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?...."No, have you?" -ALIENS

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post #14 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ubikutz View Post
Looking like brilliant use of space
What's the distance from the first set of seats to the screen?
just under 10 feet, which was my fear that it would be too close. After a few viewings I fell in love with the 'IMAX experience'. It really does put you more into the movie imo....

Terrence
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post #15 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 10:01 AM
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Congrats man. I have read this page awhile back and it turned out to be a great theater. I had told KBMAN it was one of my favorites. I can appreciate this build because I have a tough space, but I am making it work. I actually think this is the fun side of this hobby watching guys build a theater in a space that is difficult and challenging. I would really like to see more build threads like this. I think there are allot of guys out there that don't realize that they could have a dedicated media room in that small room or small space. You don't need 50K and a huge room, you can make it happen.
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post #16 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 10:36 AM
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I really liked what you said, Reefdvr27 I would like to see your theater some time.............working with what you've got is kinda like using models and stop-motion animation movies like 'The Empire Strikes Back'..before the digital age! Heck, even the original King Kong

Terrence
"Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?...."No, have you?" -ALIENS

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post #17 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 10:52 AM
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Great story Scott, and great results Terry -- congrats on the transformation! Smart use of space at every turn, which was a must have. My favorite part of the story is that you did the work side by side with your Dad. That makes the D&CT an extra special room.
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post #18 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 05:17 PM
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Nothing better than a "can do attitude" great job!
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post #19 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 06:26 PM
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Very good job!!!!
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post #20 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 06:50 PM
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Shadowbox material/paint?

Hey, looks great and I'll be using your as inspiration for mine! Just wondering, since I didn't see it mentioned in your build thread, what material or paint you used to create the shadow box? If it's paint...that's some really flat paint - just what I need!

Thank you in advance
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post #21 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 07:00 PM
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Great change. Did well for the space, very cozy set up dude.
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post #22 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 07:31 PM
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Nice job!
Removing support beam and do an alternation for support, now that a project that most people would not adventure them self into.
So congrats on the job well done.

Like you my Carada is 10 feet away 1:85 apect ratio 114"
I don't think I would want to seat further.
Once you get use to the big picture you can't go back to smaller.

Home Theater of the months!
Now you brag to your friends

Ray
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post #23 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
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Hey, looks great and I'll be using your as inspiration for mine! Just wondering, since I didn't see it mentioned in your build thread, what material or paint you used to create the shadow box? If it's paint...that's some really flat paint - just what I need!

Thank you in advance
I used a standard flat black interior paint for the front of the room....It IS dark, however I believe that the LED lights 'focus' on the lighter paint, leaving the contrast of the black paint even blacker....True Value paint BTW....I used a black velvet curved 'diffuser' on the top of the screen/ceiling to prevent reflections (since the screen is so close to the ceiling), and you can't beat good 'ol black velvet!!!

Terrence
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post #24 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 07:36 PM
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Great change. Did well for the space, very cozy set up dude.
wait till you fall into my new 4ft bean bag!!!!!

Terrence
"Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?...."No, have you?" -ALIENS

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post #25 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 07:37 PM
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Masterfully done! Your 6' ceiling has given me hope that the 7' I have between the floor and the lowest joists in my townhome will be enough. I too am cursed with "tallness." Great work, thanks for sharing your project with us all.
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post #26 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 09:07 PM
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For those of YOU that missed the build thread, here are a couple more pics....
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post #27 of 49 Old 07-13-2014, 09:11 PM
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I think I appreciate these 'do the best with what I have' type of home theatres more than the 'built from the ground up' perfect theatres. I'm always amazed with what ppl can come up with.
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post #28 of 49 Old 07-14-2014, 05:41 AM
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On behalf of all of use who have had to start out with very challenging spaces and morph them into something workable, i bid thee congratulations! Great work!!!!!
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post #29 of 49 Old 07-14-2014, 06:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post


Tall people can't even stand up straight in Terry Huntington's home theater, but once they sit down, it's show time.

When composer Terry Huntington (KBMAN) moved to his new house in Grass Valley, CA, he had to say goodbye to his 7.1-channel home theater/family room. He was determined to have a dedicated theater, but the house, which had been built in the 1930s, offered only one location for it—a small basement with a low ceiling.


The basement in Terry's new house was the only place to put a theater, but the quarters were quite cramped.

The first step was to remove the support posts in the middle of the room and reinforce the existing beams with "wafers." Then Terry and his father got to work with the help of contractors to do the heavy lifting.


Terry's father was amazed that the support pillars could be removed without compromising the structural integrity of the house. Low cinder-block retaining walls were installed to keep the dirt from intruding.

The water heater and HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system couldn't be moved, so Terry had to build a closet around them. "The new wall includes heavy insulation," he says. "When the heater or even the A/C is on, it basically sounds like a projector; you would be hard-pressed to hear any hum or rumble."


The water heater and HVAC system had to be enclosed in a closet to tame their noise.


With the framing and insulation installed, it's starting to look like a theater just might fit.

One of the many challenges Terry faced was making sure his JVC DLA-RS20 projector with Panamorph PS-100U anamorphic lens would fill his Carada Precision 115-inch 2.40:1 screen in such a limited space. With no formal plans, he carefully measured and calculated ("and guessed!" he laughs), and found that it would—just barely.


Terry is about six feet tall, and his head brushes the lowest beam in the theater if he stands up straight—hence the name Duck and Cover Theater.

Terry decided on red carpeting and doors with off-white walls, so I was very glad to see that he created a black shadowbox around the screen. This reduces reflections from the nearby walls and especially the ceiling, improving the image dramatically.


Surrounding the screen with a black shadowbox really helps the picture pop.

Another problem Terry anticipated was acoustics. "I did not have high hopes for good sound," he says. "But with the carpet and seating installed, the sound totally exceeded my expectations; the acoustics are very good, and much better than my previous house!" In fact, the sound is so good, he disabled the Audyssey room correction in his Integra DHC-40.1 pre/pro and never looked back.

Speaking of the seating, it's now a few feet closer to the screen than his previous setup, because, well, he had no choice. "I have come to appreciate the closer, Imax-like experience," he notes. Actually, it will be even better when he upgrades to a 4K/UHD projector—assuming he can find one with the right throw range.

One and a half months and about $20,000 later, the theater was complete. "The best moment was when the carpet was finally installed," he recalls. "And working with my dad during the construction was a real joy."


The seating consists of three Salamander Designs Mateo recliners and two traditional movie-theater chairs on an 8" riser. Each row has a ButtKicker LFE transducer to shake your booty during intense low-frequency action.


The custom equipment cabinet in the left wall includes shelves that leave a 4" gap behind them for easy cable accessibility.


The finished theater is small but fully functional and beautifully appointed.

Several AVS members have told me they face the challenge of shoehorning a theater into a small space, and the Duck and Cover Theater is a perfect example of how it can be done. (Another excellent example is the Theater for Hobbits, which was HT of the Month for December 2013.) Kudos to Terry Huntington for making the most of a tiny space. Now, it's time to lower the lights, grab some popcorn, and get lost in a movie...

For more detail about how Terry's home theater came together, check out the build thread here.

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

EQUIPMENT LIST

Sources

Apple TV 3
Sony PS3 Slim
Nintendo Wii
Marantz CC-45 CD carousel
Apple iPod

AV Electronics

Integra DHC-40.1 preamp/processor
NAD 925THX 5-channel power amp
NAD 216THX 2-channel power amp

Processor

Darbee Darblet

Projector

JVC DLA-RS20
Panamorph PS-100U anamorphic lens

Screen

Carada Precision (115", 2.40:1, 1.4 gain)

Speakers

Paradigm Studio 60 (LCR)
Paradigm Studio 20 (side and rear surrounds)
Epik Tower 15" subwoofer
Hsu MBM-12 mid-bass module (paired with center speaker)

Cables

Monoprice Remere
Kimber Cable

Control

URC MX-500 universal remote

Power Conditioning

Panamax M4300-PM

Seating

Salamander Designs Mateo recliners (3, front row)
Traditional fold-down theater seats on 8" riser (2, second row)
Giant bean bag (1)
ButtKicker LFE transducers (1 in riser, 1 under front row) powered by BKA1000-N power amp

---------------

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Great job!

Do you have any pictures of your Projector & Panamorph PS-100U anamorphic lens setup. How does that work with other formats on your 2:35 screen?
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post #30 of 49 Old 07-14-2014, 01:07 PM
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It's a CIH system (contant image hieght), where all I have to do to change aspect ratios, I enable (or disable) the 'V Stretch' in the projector....The lens is a 'vertical stretch' lens, and requires the projector to be 16 feet back from the screen....which is actually where I wanted to put the projector in the first place. BTW, one gratious AVS'r GAVE me the lens! Hope that helps
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