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Madhouse Theater project

post #1 of 232
Thread Starter 


After 3 years in our new home, my wife and I are ready to take on the basement. After getting a few quotes, we realized we don't have the cash to pay someone to do it. My dad finished their basement and is a very good all around handy man. I seem to botch everything I do related to woodworking, but I'm a mechanical engineer and I'm confident if I take my time, I can make things work. So after a few conversations we are planning to start framing this weekend. I've been working on plans for a couple of years now and we think we have a pretty solid idea of what we want to do. My current plans are to do all the framing and wiring in walls. If the two of us can't figure out something with the electrical, there are plenty of EE's where I work to help me along. I figure I'll hire out the HVAC, drywall (at least the mudding and taping), and the plumbing for the bathroom and wet bar.



Here is my current plan in AutoCAD. I am planning to start getting into more detail in SolidWorks.





Most of my detailed plans/ideas so far revolve around the theater (of course.) The rest of the space will be an office and a kids play area, so there won't be much detail to it other than a few can lights and some paint/trim. In the theater, I am limited by a wide path of duct work (4 feet or so) where my ceiling will be limited to around 76-80 inches. I hate that as I am 6'2", but I'm really limited in what I can do here. The theater room will be about 14 x 22 or so. I could go a bit longer. If I switched the theater to the other side where there are fewer duct limitations, my width and depth options decrease. So my current plan is to box out the duct work, but I don't think I'll have room for clips or anything. With that boxed out, and being an engineer and liking symmetry, I decided I want to do a tray ceiling, with a matching box/sofit on the other side as well as front and back. I can make this ceiling up to 88 or so inches (the joists are about 91.) Then I would like to build my projector into the back of the tray so it is out of sight. I will be putting my equipment under the stairs with access from the play area to wiring and probably some fabric panels in the theater with one being a hidden door to the front of the equipment. Seating will likely be a first row with 2 recliners and a second row elevated with 4 recliners.



I've been reading here for a while now and get overwhelmed by the information available and all the acronyms! I'm learning and figuring things out as I go. I do have a few questions before I set out on this journey...



1 - Sound isolating the duct work - how do I do this with my height limitations already? Just from out the duct work and put insulation around it?

2 - Best option for walls; 2x6 staggered studs or double 2x4's with clips? Realistically both options are still on the table for me as I haven't bought anything yet. I was planning to do staggered studs for simplicity.

3 - Are clips going to be worthwhile for this ceiling arrangement? I saw someone elses thread today where they elevated the clips into the joists to get the drywall as close as possible to the joists but still isolated.

4 - How to isolate the projector from the floor above? Do I just build a box/shelf and attache it to the joists with clips?



Here are a few pictures of the basement. I am so excited to get going on this project! I don't know how fast things will progress with my dad and me, but my hope is to get the wall for the storage area framed this weekend, including a 36" door. After that I'd like to get the unfinished side of it drywalled so I can shield the stuff over there from the impending dust storm...



The TV box is about where my screen will be. Looking at a 120" 2.35"1 screen. It would be 2' off the floor and 8" from the ceiling. The room will be from the poles to the wall.





Between the poles will be the entrance to the theater. As a concession to the wife, I am planning double doors. That is still in negotiations.





The equipment will be under the stairs where the stobe is in this shot. There will be an office about 14x14 where the window is.


Edited by randy98mtu - 10/26/12 at 9:49am
post #2 of 232
Why bother with clips, if there's going to be a double door?

If you narrowed the theater a foot, the duct work soffit would be a foot narrower. As well as the symmetrical soffit. You also could go with an acoustically transparent front wall and screen. You could hide that jog in the HVAC up front in a front soffit, and have a fractionally narrower side soffit. Another plus is the center channel would no longer be so low, and the front row won't be blocking the center channel audio for the second row.
post #3 of 232
Moonlighting as a professional photographer Randall? I see your sig in the bottom right of your pixs, not to mention looks like a tripod, ISO 200, and F8?

Good luck with your build. Cheers!
post #4 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mondo Rock View Post

Moonlighting as a professional photographer Randall? I see your sig in the bottom right of your pixs, not to mention looks like a tripod, ISO 200, and F8?

Good luck with your build. Cheers!

ISO 400, f/5.6, and a fellow 7D user based on the EXIF data!
post #5 of 232
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
Why bother with clips, if there's going to be a double door?

If you narrowed the theater a foot, the duct work soffit would be a foot narrower. As well as the symmetrical soffit. You also could go with an acoustically transparent front wall and screen. You could hide that jog in the HVAC up front in a front soffit, and have a fractionally narrower side soffit. Another plus is the center channel would no longer be so low, and the front row won't be blocking the center channel audio for the second row.
I can't really make it narrower because I'm building the center wall of the basement to enclose the poles. I was just going to do a rectangle sofit, but it will be large; 54" on the sides. Should still leave me with about 5 feet in the middle that is raised. Like I said, I need to model it up to see what I want to do. I am thinking more about moving the theater to the other side of the basement where there are no ceiling restrictions, but then my office doesn't work in the corner with the large window and I hate to put that in the back as a cave. I need to talk to the wife on that aspect. I need to hurry though because that decision will dictate where I put the door to the storage area.

Not a professional photographer by any means! Just a hobbyist. Those were taken handheld with my 7D and 24-105. I have a pair of 430 flashes on stands with the umbrellas. I did take a couple of shots without flash. Those were the ones around the stairs after I moved the shelving. I set the camera on my saw horse for those.
post #6 of 232
Think a little more creatively.

The poles can go in the other half of the basement. They can be disguised as columns for the entry doors, or simply do a thicker wall and put the cavity to use, for built in storage, or media shelves, or even display shelves.
post #7 of 232
Thread Starter 
Well after much debate, I have completely redone my layout. I swapped the theater to the other side, pushed the storage space over so I could make the theater deeper. We lost the office, but have a larger, what I think will be more functional, hang out area. The kitchen will be much larger as well. Here is where the theater will be now:



As you can see, aside from a few pieces of duct work, I can make the ceiling as high as I want. I'm going to convert that duct work to the shorter oval type I think and get the ceiling up close to it. I'm thinking I can end up at 84-86". I would like to get rid of those, but I don't think I can. I was going to have the theater entrance from the back with a "lobby" area, but then I was running into trouble with seating. The wife wasn't happy with losing the double doors or having so few seats (I was down to a single row of 3 with some bar stools at the back.) With her displeasure, I went back to work on it and I really like what I've got now. Double doors about where I was going to have them before, but now they will be on the left side of the theater. I can fit a 4 seat row in the first row, then a 3 seat row between the stairs and the wall. I am really excited about this new layout and actually think it's much better than what I had before. The theater will be about 13 x 19, plus that area by the stairs is almost 9 wide by 10 deep or so. It's not an optimal shaped space, but I think it will work. I'm thinking I'll have 2 sets of surrounds, one for the first row and one for the second row. Hopefully that works ok.

I'm at home right now as it was too icy to get to work. I called in a 2 hour delay after driving for 20 minutes to go a mile from home and back. I saw 2 accidents and almost slid off the road myself! I'll try to upload an updated layout at lunch today (assuming I get to work by then.)
post #8 of 232
Just peaking in on your thread, looks like a great space to work with. I see that your dimensions shrunk to 13 x 19. A row of 4 chairs may start to feel tight, so make sure you account for wall thickness and any columns going in the room. Oddly enough, the chairs you go with will really determine a lot of the rest of the room layout, so make sure you decide early and do some scale drawings.

My room is about 19 feet deep after walls are up, and it's just deep enough for 2 rows of recliners with an AT screen. I think you'll have to go AT if you want a 10' wide screen in a 13' room. I left 2' behind the screen, and it puts my front row eyes 9.5' from the screen, back row about 16' when reclined.

Look forward to seeing your progress.
post #9 of 232
Thread Starter 
Here is my updated layout.



Matt, I went to the Berkline page and found some seats that seem to work out well for both my seating rows. You probably can't read them. They are 45042 group, 2x5400's and 2x3900's in the first row. Then 1x5200 and 2x3900 in the second row. I still have a 30" aisle next to the first row.

Still catching flack from a friend about the double doors, but it's a concession to the wife to make the project possible without anybody having any resentment issues later. I think it's a small concession to make to have my dedicated theater. It also works out nicer for the 2 rows of seating.

Not sure how wide I'll go on the screen yet. Hopefully I'll find time at lunch to work on that.
post #10 of 232
Will your screen be off center, along with the seating?

Double doors are a challenge to soundproof I understand, but I do like the look too. I went with them for my entry, but of course my situation is much different (the theater isn't attached to the house, the entry is from the outside).
post #11 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Horstkotte View Post

Will your screen be off center, along with the seating?

Double doors are a challenge to soundproof I understand, but I do like the look too. I went with them for my entry, but of course my situation is much different (the theater isn't attached to the house, the entry is from the outside).

I'm not sure if I've seen any builds on the forum where they successfully soundproof a room with double doors side by side. Even doing it with one door is tough enough! You'd almost need 2 separate jambs, and that sort of defeats the look you're going for. I'd consider consulting Ted White or John Hile about it before you invest a lot of money in GG, channel and clips.
post #12 of 232
Thread Starter 
I saw your thread, Brad. I've been following it closely. Incredible project you've got going there. Nice work!

I'm not terribly concerned about sound proofing. I'm going to do what I can, knowing that the double doors will be an issue. I'm not planning on clips. I saw something in another thread today that inspired me to perhaps frame my ceiling like the walls and support it on the walls, completely isolated from the ceiling. For the walls I was going to do 2x6 with staggered studs for the interior walls. I may end up doing a 2x6 on the one exterior wall to deal with the drain pipes running along that wall.

I did figure out how to deal with the long round duct, but the short one I will just have to swap out to a low profile to maximize my ceiling.

I am thinking the screen will be centered on the room. The forth seat along the right wall will just be less than optimal. I'll get one of the 2 in the center.
post #13 of 232
Thread Starter 
Pretty happy with our progress for this weekend. Friday night I bought all the lumber and put it in the garage. Saturday morning my dad and I carried it all downstairs. We got to work by about noon. We worked until about 6 and had 2 storage walls up.



First section with the 36" opening for the storage area door.


My oldest showing off the progress at the end of day 1.


We put in another 6 hours on Sunday. Got the center all finished.


The double door entry to the theater.


Looking slightly left inside the theater back at the entry. I'm about where the second row will be, maybe between the 2 rows.


Next we solved my duct problems. We finished moving one and got the supplies to move the other one. Here you can see the 2 pieces that were going to force the ceiling lower.


Here is the after. Like I said, we moved the long one and we will move the other one later. I'm just going to extend it out to the right, duck under the joist, then come back. Not the most efficient, but there is a cold air return in the way of any other fix. This will put all my lowest items off to the right for either a sofit or a tray ceiling.


Not much left of all that lumber! That was 70 2x4's. I used more of that last night completing my first shelving unit. I just need to assemble it now. I only have 9 2x4's left.


Next up I'm planning to fix all the cracks in the floor and 3 cracks in the walls. My dad is gone the next 2 weekends, so that and the storage units should keep me moving forward, though it won't look like as much in pictures!
post #14 of 232
Thread Starter 
No major progress on actual construction this weekend. I have been working on the storage area and more planning. I finished one storage shelf and realized I need to finish the floor in there before I can finalize and stock the storage area. So I took everything out of that area, filled the cracks in the floor. Now I just need to clean the floor and paint it in the evenings this week.

On the planning front, I've been going crazy figuring out where I want my rack. I've gone back and forth between the back of the room under the stairs, and the front left of the room. I think I'm going with under the stairs. At the front of the room, I'm having trouble with the layout in the storage area and I don't want to let too much noise in from the furnace and water heater. So at the back of the room I won't have room to access the back of the equipment and I think I'm going to get a Middle Atlantic rack, SRSR series with pullout and swivel. I had a few questions related to that. Is it easiest to have the rack before I construct that wall section? Also, how do I determine how large a rack to get? I know how tall each unit is, but I'm just having a tough time visualizing how tall a rack ends up being and how much equipment I could ever want in there. In the beginning I don't see much. A receiver, a cable box, maybe an Apple TV and a network switch on one unit.

The other decision point I'm stuck on is deciding if I should do the DIY epoxy fix on some cracks in my walls. They don't leak at all, but I'm concerned if they ever will or if they would ever cause any structural issues. I see a lot of people do fix them, just wondering how to determine if mine need to be fixed or not. I do know the builder gave us a 30 year guarantee against leakage. We're only 3 years in, but I've never seen any leakage yet.

Thanks for any help on these issues!
post #15 of 232
Hi Randy,

Saw your question on my thread about the whisper clips. I ordered 175 however I did my theater and a bedroom / bathroom all together with those. If you know the size of your room ceiling you can find a calculator on Soundproofingcompany.com website. Ted and John there are extremely helpful. When you look at the site you will see the whisper clips is actually 2 pieces, you can just order the clip portion and save some money if you prefer. If you want to really decouple the ceiling, you should really consider this option.
post #16 of 232
Thread Starter 
I went to their site after seeing your thread. It said I should use 144 clips if I did all the walls and the ceiling. I need to run it again for just the ceiling. I know I have the double doors which will negate some of my efforts, but if I can keep some sound from the kids rooms and keep some foot traffic noise from above, that's all I can hope for. The theater is below the laundry room, hallway, powder room and foyer. So there could be a lot of traffic above.

I wet mopped the floor where I plan to paint for the storage area tonight. It's been a busy time for my family, so things aren't moving as fast as I'd like. I think I'm going to take a week off soon and try to knock out the framing.

Still on the fence with the equipment. At this point I'm considering putting it behind the fake wall at the front with something to mask the display lights on it. That or I may just put it in the storage area. I am going for a classy, minimalist theater. I don't care to see the equipment in the room at all. The only thing I plan to need to access the actual device is the blu ray player. To that end, I've considered putting the equipment on a shelf in the storage area facing into the open "hang out" area of the basement. I need to make a decision soon.
post #17 of 232
I also planned on putting clips on walls and ceiling. Once I talked to Ted, I was advised that if the walls are constructed as staggered studs it overkill and to just do the ceiling.

I can tell you this: We are doing our entire basement. When I am in the main room without clips and dd and gg I can hear our dog walk across the floor above. In the theater and bedroom where I put all the above...I cant hear a thing....Its worth it!
post #18 of 232
Thread Starter 
Awesome! Great to hear. I was just reading at soundproofingcompany for a while. My plans are coming together in my head. Definitely going to DD/GG the entire room. I've got staggered studs on the wall dividing the 2 rooms. I'm going to do either staggered studs or 2 2x4 walls on the screen wall and the same for the back wall which will be the bathroom on the other side. I'll go check things out tomorrow on how many clips I need for just the ceiling.

I did remember another question. Where did you get the furring channel and how expensive is it? I'm planning to do a tray ceiling just like yours, so yours is a great example for me.
post #19 of 232
I got the channel at a local drywall supply house. It is called 'hat channel' and there is a specific gauge you want...I think it was 25 gauge. if it is too stiff it will not vibrate as designed...Ted or John can give you more info on this. If I remember it was relatively inexpensive...like 200 bucks to do all three rooms. So yours should be less.

Thanks for the kind comments! I cant wait to use it!
post #20 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post

Why bother with clips, if there's going to be a double door?

Ummmm, because the clips will reduce noise that will transmit to the floor above? Sound leaking out the door will be greatly reduced and should only affect the adjacent rooms on the same floor.

And yes, you want 25 gauge HAT channel. Some flex is good.
post #21 of 232
Isolation from impact noise above is a plus, but the double door will short circuit the sound isolation efforts.
post #22 of 232
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by carboranadum View Post

Ummmm, because the clips will reduce noise that will transmit to the floor above? Sound leaking out the door will be greatly reduced and should only affect the adjacent rooms on the same floor.

And yes, you want 25 gauge HAT channel. Some flex is good.

That's what I figure will happen. I'm going to insulate everything, even the ceiling in the non-theater area. And I'm going to try to insulate all of the ductwork. I'm going to try to bulk up everything in the theater and do what I can with the double doors. I don't care much if sound gets into the rest of the basement. I don't want it going 2 floors up to the sleeping babies. I figure the easiest path for that sound is the ducts.

I am contemplating doing drywall between the joists as I have seen in some other threads here as well as on soundproofingcompany. My wife thinks I'm wasting my time with all of this. Fortunately her hair dresser yesterday was telling her all about his theater and how the sound travels through the house. I think she is starting to understand.
post #23 of 232
Thread Starter 
Something just hit me on the equipment front and I think I have a plan! Tell me if anyone has seen this done before. I'm sure it must have been done. I don't care enough to see all the equipment. As I think I said, I'm after a classy, minimalist theater. So I am comfortable with just putting all the equipment in the storage area, but then I don't want to have to go back there every time I want to put in a blu ray. Then it hits me, the face-palm moment. Put the equipment in the storage room, but put the blu ray player under the stairs along with shelving for the movies! I still want to work on having a panel that I can close in front of it all, but I'm really excited about this plan!

Between this and my soundproofing plan, I feel like my plans are solidifying!
post #24 of 232
Randy,

I am having the same issue. My room is too small to find a place for all the equipment. I have a cutout under the stairs in the back of the room, but it is going to be extremely hard to get to the player. One thing I have that will help is all of my music and dvd's are burned / stored on a NAS and using XBMC to play on a mac. However, I have yet to find a way to store Blu-Ray... There always seems to be more reading and research to do.
post #25 of 232
Thread Starter 
Yeah, under the stairs I would not be able to access the back of the equipment for wiring. I will need a long HDMI for the blu ray and for the projector if I put the equipment in storage at the front, but I think otherwise it is the way to go.

I was reading the what would you do different thread and got to all the posts about the screen wall. Because of my room height and width, I'm having a tough time with the screen. What I am leaning towards is a 2.35:1 AT screen, 125" diagonal. Here is a quick mockup. Some estimates in there, but it should be close. 8" sofit at the top, 8" down to the top of the screen. This leaves the bottom of the screen just a hair under 2 feet off the floor. Will I be unhappy with this? I haven't decided on an elevation yet for the second row riser. Because of my ceiling and my sofit, I'm thinking it will be only 8-10".

post #26 of 232
Thread Starter 
Progress has been slow around here. It's tough with both of us working and 2 kids under 2 years old! I have managed to paint the floor in the storage area. That provided me some information that may be helpful to someone else. I was trying to get the roller under things a bit. So 2 days later I couldn't get hot water for my shower. Turns out my water heater has a flammable vapor sensor. I thought the curing process of the paint just tripped this sensor. Turns out I painted the sensor! Oops. Still haven't been able to get a replacement, but I found instructions to bypass it with a resistor and found the right resistance to get hot water at least! I did finish the second storage shelf and have all the sleves ready to assemble for the third unit. Saturday I went out buying supplies. Got some of the pink board to seal up my rim joists. I have put in 10 or so of those now. That process really sucks. I got great stuff all over my hands tonight. I shouldn't have gone back down there. I also found a joint between 2 boards that is a touch damp. Not sure where to go with that. I need to take the evening off and think that one through tomorrow.

I still haven't done anything about the cracks in my walls either. I keep going back and forth on it because they aren't leaking.

I also ran a couple RG6 lines from my cable splitter to where I'm planning to put the equipment.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed / discouraged at this point. I just need to keep plugging away, get my storage area done. Try to get the rim joists sealed. I also ordered all my GG and clips. I guess that's what I need right now is a goal for this week. So hopefully tomorrow night I can finish the storage unit. The rest of the week I'll try to get the rim joists sealed.
post #27 of 232
whats up fellow michigan tech grad?

Did you start in 98 like me or graduate in 98?
post #28 of 232
Thread Starter 
I started in 94. I graduated in 98.
post #29 of 232
Your plan for the screen position looks fine to me - puts the 1/3 point up on the screen about 39" from the floor - front row seating eyes would be around 42" I believe with recliners, so a little above that 1/3 point, which is good. Also check the riser height calculator to see how the screen position impacts riser height.
post #30 of 232
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback, Brad. I will try the riser height calculator, but I think I am going to be limited by my ceiling height as much as anything else.

I got my last shelving unit assembled last night. I think I'm fighting a cold and not feeling much motivation these days. I did just order all my HDMI and Cat6 cable from Monoprice. I'm ready to run all my cabling as soon as we get the framing done. I'm still thinking through all the cabling in my head. I'm a bit concerned as I was going to run it in PVC, but now I'm thinking that will just be a direct channel for sound in and out of the room. How do people handle this?
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