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Laminar's Home Theater

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
I spent the last year or so restoring an old motorcycle. The buyer came yesterday to pick it up and now I have a wad of cash that's telling me it's time to start the home theater. I have about 700sq. ft. of finished basement space in the house my wife and I bought last April. It includes a bedroom, bathroom, rec area, and the future theater room. Theater room dimensions are 15'x19'x8.5'. The previous owner had a wall-mounted TV and wiring run for 5.1 sound. I have bigger plans.



Screen dimensions are roughly 51"x120", 130" diagonal. 2.35 ratio with manual masking for 16:9. Other views of the theater room:

Looking in from the rec area:


I will have light to contend with:








The door off to the side leads to a combination storage area and furnace/water heater room.



Here's a lights-off no-flash picture. The windows face west and this was 7AM. There's no sun protection in the back yard so after 6PM the light gets more intense.



And the rec area, it's approximately 11'x21' with a sliding glass door to the patio outside:





Purchased equipment:
- Mitsubishi HC6800

- Onkyo TX-SR608

- JBL ES250PBK x2
- JBL ES25CBK
- JBL ES90BK x2
- JBL ES20BK (x1 for now because that's what budget allowed. Once I'm ready for 7.1 I'll probably pick up another pair of these)

- Mac Mini (2.0GHz C2D, 4GB, 320GB 7200rpm + external drives)
- LG Blu-Ray player

Planned equipment:
- Cyberpower 1500VA UPS for PJ and computer
- EyeTV of some sort (Hybrid or HDHomeRun? I don't have cable or satellite, only OTA, I'd like to use the Mini as a DVR)
- IR extender of some sort
- DIY Melamine screen similar to this one

Planned room modifications:
- Soffits with recessed lighting and rope lights using this design
- Stage, similar to Ronnie's home theater
- A couple of columns per side
- Equipment cabinet built into the storage room with some sort of camouflaged access door
- Riser for second level of seating, again similar to what Ronnie did
- Window treatments to reduce light bleed

- Stage 2 of the build will be doing a wet bar in the rec area, but the theater comes first.

A few questions:
1. Any recommendations on EyeTV product? I've seen plenty of posts in the HTPC section but I'm still confused as to what would best meet my needs

2. Is there any issue with putting my equipment in the same room as my furnace and water heater? Moisture?

3. Any suggestions on the best IR extender? I've seen the straight repeaters and the transmitter-in-battery solutions, I don't want to buy something and have it be terrible. I also have a spare 1st gen iPod Touch lying around that could be used as a remote.

4. If possible, I'd like to put my PJ up inside of the soffit to keep the install as clean as possible. Based on this calculator, a screen gain of 1.2 and a throw of 17.5 feet should be doable without too much ambient light interfering. Is this unreasonable?

Looking forward to having this thing operational and awesome!
post #2 of 38
I'd suggest mounting the screen lower. You could build out a false wall and possibly put your speakers behind it.

You really need total light control, and dark colors (especially ceiling) to get the best picture.

Good start, looking forward to following your progress.
post #3 of 38
Thread Starter 
I'd thought of that, but I like the ledge for the sliding masking. Is there a good reason to have the screen lower? Between reclining seats and the riser I didn't think it would be an issue, though I see most people do have their screens a bit lower.
post #4 of 38
Where the screen is shown you would have no room for soffits unless you were only planning on running them down the sides.

I think most people install their screens a little lower because it gives you the same feel as being in the middle rows of a commercial theater vs. being in the front row of the theater. Less neck strain possibly...
post #5 of 38
Having the ceiling that close to the screen is distracting. Even if you paint it black you'll still see it. If you covered the ceiling with black fabric it might "disappear".

My screen is about 32" above the floor. Lower would be better in my room.
post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 
Okay, false wall and lower screen then.
post #7 of 38
Thread Starter 
Also, if I do dimmable can lighting in the soffit and rope lighting inside the "tray," would it be reasonable to eliminate the three existing ceiling fixtures entirely? I would keep those specific fixtures either way, but I think I can get away with removing those fixtures for good.
post #8 of 38
Welcome, it looks like you have some good space to work with.

On the projector in the soffit for a clean look that is an excellent idea and has been done by others. You do need to plan carefully for ventilation so that the unit doesn't overheat.
post #9 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post

Also, if I do dimmable can lighting in the soffit and rope lighting inside the "tray," would it be reasonable to eliminate the three existing ceiling fixtures entirely? I would keep those specific fixtures either way, but I think I can get away with removing those fixtures for good.

It depends.
  1. How many recessed fixtures you want
  2. How big each fixture would be
  3. How many lumens each fixture produce at certain distances
  4. How many footcandles you are comfortable with at your seating level or the floor
  5. How many lumens the rope light produce
  6. How big are the soffits

For reference, an office should have about 50 footcandles at the working surface. A corridor should have 10 footcandles at the floor. An outdoor parking lot, between 1 and 2 footcandles at the paving.
post #10 of 38
Thread Starter 
So last night I laid down a little tape to get a picture of what the room would feel like with the seating in its place and a stage up front.





The riser is an approximate size and won't be decided until I get real furniture.
post #11 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post

So last night I laid down a little tape to get a picture of what the room would feel like with the seating in its place and a stage up front.





The riser is an approximate size and won't be decided until I get real furniture.

That stage seems rather deep to me. How much room do you have from the couch to the stage? How far would your eyes be from the screen if the couch is approximating the front row? What are you planning for seats in the second row? If you are talking about recliners in the second row I've seen the rule of thumb on riser depth to be 6 1/2' on many threads. Just my 2 cents
post #12 of 38
Here's another build that's going on that is very similar in size and layout to your space. If you haven't checked it out I think there might be some good reference stuff in there.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1173345&page=6
post #13 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinw73 View Post

That stage seems rather deep to me. How much room do you have from the couch to the stage? How far would your eyes be from the screen if the couch is approximating the front row? What are you planning for seats in the second row? If you are talking about recliners in the second row I've seen the rule of thumb on riser depth to be 6 1/2' on many threads. Just my 2 cents

Thanks for the feedback! After taking those pictures, I reduced the stage depth by about 6 inches (at the wife's request), it helped some with the room balance. My goal is to have a functional stage should the need arise, and as-is it's just deep enough for a drum set.

I left two feet behind the riser for a walkway and estimated 5.5 feet for the riser. I hope to have some sort of reclining seats, but we'll see what shows up and what I can get a good deal on.

The couch approximates the front row, viewing distance is in the 10ft range.
post #14 of 38
Thread Starter 
Day 1 of construction:


My screen; 3/4" MDF with white Melamine on one side and maple veneer on the other. The Home Depot guys assumed I was using the maple side so the white side got marked up. I had to go over that with some Simple Green and then a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.



Got the saw set up for cutting the 16ft. boards:



Stage framed and set in place:



UPS man dropped off a couple presents halfway through the day:



More framework:



Screen wall put together:



At the end of the day:



Not bad for one day.
post #15 of 38
Thread Starter 
I only had a couple of hours today.

Making the French cleat:





1 1/4" screws plus Liquid Nails:


1 5/8" screws plus Liquid Nails:




My center channel and surrounds showed up today, they didn't leave my mains and projector though because I wasn't around to sign for them. I'm out of town for the weekend so I'll have to wait until Monday to get those.
post #16 of 38
Thread Starter 
With the couch out of the room I'm noticing a lot of echo. I plan on putting something up on the wall behind the screen, some bass traps in the corners, and some kind of acoustic treatments on each side wall, one of which will hide the equipment cabinet.
post #17 of 38
Thread Starter 




I started framing the soffits, I'll need to get some more plywood before I can continue with that.



This is a bare Melamine sheet. I can see the light coming through the doorway on the screen, but in the few minutes I watched after getting the focus and zoom set I didn't notice any hotspotting. I still have the acrylic clear matte paint to put on, we'll see how much of an improvement it makes.

Looks like the place I bought my speakers from forgot to send me one of the mains. I'm working with them now to get it figured out. Looks like I'm leaving for a week or so for work so progress will be halted.
post #18 of 38
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post #19 of 38
Thread Starter 
















Coming along...
post #20 of 38
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post #21 of 38
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Obviously everything has yet to be calibrated. This is at the brightest part of the day in a room with west-facing windows and simple blinds closed.
post #22 of 38
Coming along nicely. Wish I had that much progress!
post #23 of 38
Thread Starter 




Two new circuits wired in from the main box, one for electronics and one for lights. All but two of the recessed lights are installed and all wiring is run to the switch box and is ready to be hooked up. I need to finish up some trim and repair some drywall and I'll be ready for paint. Then I can tear out the carpet, build the riser for the second row of seating and I'll be ready for carpet.

Then I'll finish off the screen wall and install some acoustic treatments. That should about do it...
post #24 of 38
It's looking awesome, what is that diplaying on your screen? LG Bluray player?
post #25 of 38
Thread Starter 
Yep, that's The Fast and the Furious on Blu-Ray.
post #26 of 38
Thread Starter 
Lighting installed and wired up.



No flash picture with screen lights on.





Recessed lighting, speaker holder, and new switches installed.



Remote power inputs for the projector and subs wired and installed.



Fresh wall paint.



Fresh ceiling paint still drying.



No flash.





Room cleaned up a bit.



No flash, movie mode with side lights at half and screen lights off.



Rope lighting in the soffits.

post #27 of 38
Thread Starter 
Okay, long time with no reply. I've gotten a bit more done, and we'll really enjoying the space:

Enclosing the lower space:




Speaker cover frames built:




Left frame wrapped and installed, areas behind speakers and beside screen painted Mouse Ears Black:




Both speaker covers installed:


Mounts for Surround Rear speakers installed:




Left to do:

- Order furniture (I'm liking the Berkline Tangiers)
- Build second row riser
- Install carpeting
- Apply acoustic treatments
- Get iPod Touch working as a universal remote

So not a lot left to do, but those five things probably constitute around $3200. They will come as funds are available. Also, my receiver has been flaky, cutting out randomly and showing artifacts on the screen. I didn't get much help in the TX-SR608 thread and I haven't heard anything back from Onkyo tech support. I should get this taken care of before the 1 year warranty runs out, though.
post #28 of 38
Thread Starter 
And finally some more progress. My seats came in and I started working on the riser this morning.

I installed one back to get the feel of the seat (comfy!) and left the rest off for easy maneuverability.

The seats are in place where they will be permanently, minus 13" of elevation.




View from the far right seat:


And far left:


Riser frame with stair squared in:




I priced out OC703 at my local Home Depot yesterday, here are the prices I got:

4'x8' x 1" 12pcs/pk, $233
4'x8' x 2" 6psc/pk, $233
2'x4' x 3" 8pcs/pk, $116

There's a 5 pack minimum order and a 14 day lead time. My previous calculations had used 4" thickness for the bass traps, so I'm going to have to redo this to see if ordering online will be a better deal or not.

Of course it just struck me that since I went with the straight seats instead of curved, the far left recliner is going to recline directly into the corner bass trap. Again, might have to rethink this...
post #29 of 38
Looking really nice - What color of rope light do you have - it looks amber in a few shots.

I did not know that OC703 came in 4'x8' sheets.
post #30 of 38
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