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Bencorn's Apartment Theater

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
OLD SETUP, SCROLL DOWN FOR ADDITIONAL PREVIOUS SETUPS AND NEW PICTURES OF THE CURRENT SETUP


Living in an apartment has provided a significant amount of struggles in making this home theater. I'd really like to change the color of the walls and ceiling and I'd also like to attach the pulldown screen to the wall, and attach the projector to the ceiling but no dice until I have a house. So I had to get a little creative in trying to get it setup without involving any alterations to the apartment itself. I'm looking to upgrade the projector and the speakers soon but I need to get a bit more cash flow.

The Equipment:
Main Computer
Cooler Master Stacker 810
Intel E6600
4gb ram
EVGA 8800GT
64bit Vista Business
11TB storage on raid 5 array


HTPC
Antec NSK2400
AMD X2 5000+
2gb ram
EVGA 8800GT
32bit XP
300gb drive for OS and programs and what not
Runs XBMC currently
Logitech MediaBoard for input right now, trying to get my remote to work

Audio/Video
Streem HT-808 surround sound consisting of 2 towers, a center, and 2 bookshelf speakers
JBL 12” woofer for the lows
Old pioneer receiver to send the 5.1
Panasonic 720p projector
106” GrayWolf pull down screen
42” HP 720p plasma


The main computer stores all the music/video and then streams it to the HTPC. The HTPC then shows a 720p image on the projector as well as the bedroom plasma. Audio for the projector is run through optical to the receiver and then out to the Streem surround. The audio is also sent through a stereo plug to the tv in the bedroom. The couch is a full U sectional that I got off a street corner. It was in pretty bad shape but after removing the stained slip cover and making a new suede slip cover it looks great and I just had to invest $80 in fabric. I don't have any progress pics because I didn't think of doing it while I was setting everything up. Living room is pretty cluttered right now but I wanted to get some pictures put up of the whole setup.


http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/a...heaterDark.jpg
Front Stage in the dark with the a kitchen counter lamp on for the background lighting

http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/a...sUncovered.jpg
Front Stage with the lights on and the speaker covers removed

http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/a...n/RoomRear.jpg
The rear of the room showing the projector mounted on a bookshelf and the two rear surround speakers on custom built stands. The fabric hanging near the window is a blackout curtain that I have with grommets in it so I can hang it up quickly during the day to improve projector performance but I can take down easily for wife approval. If it was a bachelor pad, all 3 windows would be blacked out completely 24/7 but gotta keep the lady happy.

http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/a...rn/WallArt.jpg
Represent the Iowa State Pride and a painting that I got for my wife's birthday.

http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/a.../Projector.jpg
The Panasonic projector up close

http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/a...orn/Streem.jpg
Streem speakers with the front port on the towers

http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/a...werSpeaker.jpg
Close up of the tower with the cover on

http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/a...rUncovered.jpg
Close up of the tower with the cover off

http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/a...roomPlasma.jpg
Bedroom Plasma setup

http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/a...terConsole.jpg
Close up of the center console. I really want to get a new stand for my equipment that is lower and wider than the one I have now. Need to hit up ikea again and see what I can find.

http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/a...rInstalled.jpg
HTPC installed

http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/a...inComputer.jpg
The Main System

http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/a...puterSetup.jpg
Desk currently setup in the rear corner of the living room. Makes a nice seat to watch a movie while browsing the forums

http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/a...nelRemoved.jpg
Front panel removed

http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/a...eforePaint.jpg
Front Panel waiting to get painted

http://i912.photobucket.com/albums/a...lePainting.jpg
Front Panel getting its first couple coats of paint
post #2 of 56
Hi bencorn,

Welcome!

I see your thread posted twice, I believe you can just delete one. But enough of that.

I like your setup, and I only wish I was more knowledgeable about computers to fully appreciate your pc. The pc I am using as music server has a loud power supply fan and that drives me nuts because it kind of negates all the work I've put into building a nice sounding system. Can you recommend anything, perhaps a particular brand of power supply?

One other question, it seems your left front speaker is very close to the wall. Does that impact the sound in any way?

What size is that screen? It fits perfectly in that space!!

Congrats and good luck with future upgrades!
post #3 of 56
Thread Starter 
I haven't noticed any impact on the sound from the speaker. I'm sure a more trained ear could catch it but I don't really notice. After I upgrade the speakers I might notice and then I'll have to move them a bit.

The screen is a 106" pulldown. I believe it is a 110" if you include the matting around it, but the viewable image is 106" and it does fit perfectly there. That space is actually a passthrough wall into the kitchen so that when you roll up the screen you can see from the living room into the kitchen. You can notice the empty space above the screen, there is another 2 foot gap in the middle where the kitchen countertop is. This is the reason that it isn't a fixed screen as the wife loves the passthrough wall so I need to have it open when it isn't movie time. She's the reason I don't have the blackout curtains mounted up in the windows permanently. Women and their need for light.......
post #4 of 56
Thread Starter 
Oh and to answer your HTPC question, I just used the power supply that came with my antec case. Most power supply fans that I've come across are fairly quiet. If your warranty is up on the power supply, you might want to just take it apart and solder a new fan into it. I did that with one of my old HTPC case power supplies that was getting too loud for my taste, and it silenced it right up. Otherwise you can just look into getting a replacement because newer power supplies usually offer better power efficiencies so they don't show up as intensely on the power bill.
post #5 of 56
Not bad, but a little house keeping would make a decent setup look good.
post #6 of 56
Thread Starter 
Yea, the couch is project zone for my wife who is a design student in college. I have the equipment under the screen organized a bit better now but I haven't gotten any new pictures taken of it. I also added another shelf to my desk so it is quite a bit more organized now. I can't wait to move so I have more space to put things. I definitely need more shelves and storage for all of our random junk.
post #7 of 56
To answer the power supply question, I would suspect your power supply has two small fans, likely 50-80mm, this means you have two fans with relatively high RPMs... What you want is a power supply with a single 120mm fan, larger fan = lower RPMs = much quieter.

Had the same issue with an old computer, got a new power supply and it was much quieter.

You can also get sound dampening materials for the sides of your case.
post #8 of 56
Hope you don't mind, I've embedded your pics for ease of viewing. Nice system by the way!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bencorn View Post

Living in an apartment has provided a significant amount of struggles in making this home theater. I'd really like to change the color of the walls and ceiling and I'd also like to attach the pulldown screen to the wall, and attach the projector to the ceiling but no dice until I have a house. So I had to get a little creative in trying to get it setup without involving any alterations to the apartment itself. I'm looking to upgrade the projector and the speakers soon but I need to get a bit more cash flow.

The Equipment:
Main Computer
Cooler Master Stacker 810
Intel E6600
4gb ram
EVGA 8800GTS 640mb
64bit Vista Business
4TB storage on 2 raid 5 arrays


HTPC
Antec NSK2400
AMD X2 5000+
2gb ram
EVGA 8800GT
32bit XP
300gb drive for OS and programs and what not
Runs XBMC currently
Logitech MediaBoard for input right now, trying to get my remote to work

Audio/Video
Streem HT-808 surround sound consisting of 2 towers, a center, and 2 bookshelf speakers
JBL 12 woofer for the lows
Old pioneer receiver to send the 5.1
Panasonic 720p projector
106 GrayWolf pull down screen
42 HP 720p plasma


The main computer stores all the music/video and then streams it to the HTPC. The HTPC then shows a 720p image on the projector as well as the bedroom plasma. Audio for the projector is run through optical to the receiver and then out to the Streem surround. The audio is also sent through a stereo plug to the tv in the bedroom. I would like to upgrade that to optical and put a Logitech z 5500 in there but this works for the time being. The couch is a full U sectional that I got off a street corner. It was in pretty bad shape but after removing the stained slip cover and making a new suede slip cover it looks great and I just had to invest $80 in fabric. I don't have any progress pics because I didn't think of doing it while I was setting everything up. Living room is pretty cluttered right now but I wanted to get some pictures put up of the whole setup.



Front Stage in the dark with the a kitchen counter lamp on for the background lighting


Front Stage with the lights on and the speaker covers removed


The rear of the room showing the projector mounted on a bookshelf and the two rear surround speakers on custom built stands. The fabric hanging near the window is a blackout curtain that I have with grommets in it so I can hang it up quickly during the day to improve projector performance but I can take down easily for wife approval. If it was a bachelor pad, all 3 windows would be blacked out completely 24/7 but gotta keep the lady happy.


Represent the Iowa State Pride and a painting that I got for my wife's birthday.


The Panasonic projector up close


Streem speakers with the front port on the towers


Close up of the tower with the cover on


Close up of the tower with the cover off


Bedroom Plasma setup


Close up of the center console. I really want to get a new stand for my equipment that is lower and wider than the one I have now. Need to hit up ikea again and see what I can find.


HTPC installed


The Main System


Desk currently setup in the rear corner of the living room. Makes a nice seat to watch a movie while browsing the forums


Front panel removed


Front Panel waiting to get painted


Front Panel getting its first couple coats of paint

Once I get a dedicated space that I can do what I want with I would really love to get the walls and ceiling painted in a nice deep red color and have a little more space to spread everything out. I'd also like to upgrade the projector to a Sony SXRD 1080p projector and increase the screen size to about 120" and have a fixed mount instead of a pull down. I would also like to be able to ceiling mount the projector and wall mount the rear speakers. Having a better equipment rack and hiding all the wiring is also a high priority for a future space. Feel free to make comments and ask questions. Any advice you may have about arrangements, equipment, or things to change would be great too. Thanks for looking.
post #9 of 56
Thread Starter 
Acer aspire sold, plasma sold, speakers sold, upgraded speakers and receiver, moved 900 miles, projector burned out, upgraded to a new projector, new furniture. Bascially a whole new setup in the past month or so. I know.... pics or it didn't happen. Will get them posted later today. In the meantime, here's some pictures I found from old setups.



My dorm room in college about 4 years ago. I had my old surround sound system and a 32" tube tv. That is my friend still passed out on the couch from the night before. Couldn't find a picture of the front of the setup though.

Move a year forward and my room mate and I had the same surround sound systems and 2 tv's set up on the same wall. Made it great when there were 2 college football games on to watch both.


post #10 of 56
Thread Starter 
Here we go, only thing that didn't change is the HTPC and the wiring.

New equipment:
Polk Lsi9 Fronts
Polk LsiC
Polk LsiF/X
Pioneer VSX-72TXV Receiver
Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 8100 Projector
Ikea Lack TV stand for both the equipment rack and the coffee table

Now.........on with the pics.


The rats nest I started with.



After organizing it a bit


Old projector sitting on the newly unboxed projector.



Fanart showing with dining room light on. Camera caused a flare on the middle of the screen, doesn't look that washed out normally. You can see my desk setup behind the couch so I can work and enjoy the movies at the same time.


Underwater scene with lights off but light coming through the side window.


Scene at night with the lights off as viewed from the dining room.


My view from the couch, my feet to prove it.


Lights on equipment rack. I know it isn't centered to the screen, I had to get in the side closet the day before and I forgot the move the rack and left speaker back over.


Little bit closer in on the main rack. Showing the receiver, LSiC, XBMC PC, internet modem, cablebox, and a dvd binder to help balance the appearance of the rack. I'm kinda ocd and wanted 3 things on each shelf.


Receiver being sexy and shiny.


Another Rack Shot


The rear speakers perched on the computer desk peaking over the back of the couch. They sound really good despite being about a foot lower than recommended.


Rears with the flash on.

Comments? Suggestions?
post #11 of 56
Very very nice Ben, its amazing how well you've managed to setup your system for an apartment and otherwise. How do your neighbors like it I've been wondering about burning all the dvd's to a hard drive and connecting that to the PS3, any suggestions on how to go about that?
post #12 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daman S View Post

Very very nice Ben, its amazing how well you've managed to setup your system for an apartment and otherwise. How do your neighbors like it I've been wondering about burning all the dvd's to a hard drive and connecting that to the PS3, any suggestions on how to go about that?

Thanks, No complaints or comments from the neighbors yet at this apartment or the last apartment. I did have the cops called on me at the apartment pictured above with all the posters. But that was more because we had about 20 people over and my friend kept turning the music up to reference levels pretty late at night.

As for the harddrive thing, I used DVD shrink to strip out all the extras/junk and then ran it through an encoding program to make it into the format of choice. I used to do AVI for everything, now I do AVI for tv shows and MKV for movies. Then I just store everything on my main computer and share it on the network for the other computers and HTPC to access.
post #13 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by bencorn View Post

Thanks, No complaints or comments from the neighbors yet at this apartment or the last apartment. I did have the cops called on me at the apartment pictured above with all the posters. But that was more because we had about 20 people over and my friend kept turning the music up to reference levels pretty late at night.

As for the harddrive thing, I used DVD shrink to strip out all the extras/junk and then ran it through an encoding program to make it into the format of choice. I used to do AVI for everything, now I do AVI for tv shows and MKV for movies. Then I just store everything on my main computer and share it on the network for the other computers and HTPC to access.

Don't want to sidetrack your thread here but one last question Does stripping it out with DVD Shrink and recoding it cause any loss in resolution/quality of the video? I tried the DVD Shrink and some other software(dont remember which one) to create some mp4 files a while back and noticed a decreased pq for the dvds.
post #14 of 56
Thread Starter 
If you set it to not compress then you don't lose any quality. By default I think it lowers it by 20-40 percent, but you can set the new default to 0 percent compression and it should basically just pull out the movie vob's/fob's and you can re-encode those with no loss.
post #15 of 56
Thread Starter 
Projector and both rear speakers have been moved up onto the plant ledge above the kitching/dining room area. This puts the rear speakers about 9-10 feet off the ground, about 6 feet above the listening position but they are far enough back and have a wide enough dispersion that they don't sound out of place. I thought I'd have to angle them downward but they sound great as they are. I may try tilting them downward the next time I climb up there to clean the filter and leave them tilted for a while to see which I like more. This makes the appearance of the rear setup look much cleaner and it allowed me to move my desk (which was acting like the rear speaker stands) to a different wall which opened the room up to the dining area so you can watch movies from there as well.
post #16 of 56
Thread Starter 
Pics or it didn't happen....

post #17 of 56
Thread Starter 
Update, I received a couple comments about the mirrors on the side wall and have since then convinced the wife that they should not be there. They have been replaced by some canvas art pieces that don't reflect light. Still wish I could paint the living room a darker color to help improve image quality, but it's good enough for now.
post #18 of 56
That's an amazing setup. I feel sorry for your neighbors though. I bet they hate movie night. The huge screen is great. Makes me want to return my little 50 inch and get a projector.
post #19 of 56
Thread Starter 
I went from a 20 inch tube to a 32 inch tube to 42 inch plasma, to 106" 720p projector to 106" 1080p projector. I want to bump to 120" but I don't think the wife will go for it. I haven't had any complaints about the volume but I don't have a subwoofer and I'm pretty considerate of volumes when people might be sleeping. Although we are moving into our new house in a few weeks and then all bets are off. The sub will be coming back and volume will definitely not decrease.
post #20 of 56
Nice. I love the stadium seating couches in one of the old setup pictures.
post #21 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bhpizza View Post

Nice. I love the stadium seating couches in one of the old setup pictures.

It was pretty popular with everyone except my dorm supervisor. Because the thing the back couch is sitting on is a dresser that I wasn't using so I flipped down on its front. He wasn't a fan of the idea but it never broke and it was a ton of fun having the theater seating in the dorm. After I offered to buy a new dresser if it so much as even cracked he lightened up a bit and even came and enjoyed a few movies from the upper deck.
post #22 of 56
Thread Starter 
What will become my first theater room. That closet? I wouldn't worry about that little guy.



Plan is to knock out the built in shelving and the closet wall to gain an additional 2 - 2 1/2 feet of length and then add a couch or sectional with a bar set behind the couch for second row of seating. I think a second row of couches might put the first row much too close to the screen.
post #23 of 56
Thread Starter 
Update before and after. Not quite done yet but close.

post #24 of 56
Thread Starter 
Dedicated room, finally. No more cramming stuff into my apartment or having to deal with white walls and mounting my projector on shelves. Tore out the closet and all the built in shelving. Pulled all the hardwood floors out and put in carpet. Took out the ceiling lights and put in 6 can lights controlled by a lutron ir dimmer. Painted the room a burnt orange color. Almost like rust but by far less reflective than the white semigloss I've had to deal with for years.

The Slightly Updated Gear
Pioneer VSX-72TXV Receiver
Harmony 880 remote
Epson 8100 Projector
Polk Lsi9 Fronts
Polk LsiC
Polk LsiF/X
AV123 MFW-15 Subwoofer
Luton IR Dimmer
Xbox 360
HTPC running XBMC
Server with 11 tb storage
106" Greywolf Screen
Another Sectional Couch


Front View


Covers Removed


Right Speaker with new stand


A welcome addition after being sub-less for far too long, and my center perched on top.


Left Speaker


A properly mounted projector, good riddance bookshelf.


Very slick once programmed into my harmony, probably the best 30 dollars I've ever spent in home theater.


Rear View, ignore the hole, that's where all my switches used to be.

Comments, questions, and most importantly... suggestions?
post #25 of 56
Thread Starter 
Decided to wall mount the center channel, move the subwoofer to a better location so I can pull the stands closer together and get the L&R speakers further from the wall.
post #26 of 56
Very nice Bencorn. I like it. Much nicer having a dedicated room
post #27 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post

Very nice Bencorn. I like it. Much nicer having a dedicated room

Thanks. The dedicated room was much easier to set up than my apartments were. Too many restrictions in apartments to get good results. It feels like I'm seeing and hearing an all new system.
post #28 of 56
Nice, looking good. It's always cool to see dedicated rooms like this.
post #29 of 56
Thread Starter 

Moved the sub, pulled the speakers in from the walls and hung the center channel


Film Reels


Admit One Sign


Wood lettering above the entrance
post #30 of 56
Wow! Some very, very nice setups :-)
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