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The Austin Home Theater

post #1 of 405
Thread Starter 

Update with pics of the completed room.  The movie premier was on June 10, 2012.










The Austin Home Theater DIY construction video:



Original Post:


Well it's finally time...my own build thread!

I'd like to start off by thanking everyone on AVS Forum. I feel so lucky to have all of you here to help and support me on this journey!

A little background: I'm a senior in High School looking to finish this theater so I can get some time in it before I have to leave for college. My mother, two sisters, one brother, and five dogs just moved into a new house. At our old house I had a projector set up with a cheap box sound system so I'll be reusing the projector but getting new 5.1 surround.

The room is in the basement which is currently home to my sisters bedroom and an (almost) complete bathroom. The theater will be in a section of the unfinished half. Room dimensions are 11ftx12ft with 7ft ceilings. The plan is to have a couch and recliner along the back wall with a 96in 16:9 screen. Soundproofing measures will include staggered stud walls, decoupled ceiling with whisper clips, fiberglass insulation, and DD + GG. Soffits will be along the two sides and back wall to hide some ductwork and hold recessed lights. Floor will be wall to wall carpet.

Gear which I have:

Projector-Optoma HD20
Receiver-Onkyo TX-NR609
FL and FR-Polk Monitor 60
Center-Polk CS2
Cable Box

Still need:
Subwoofer (considering Bic f12 but friend has offered a deal on B&W ASW1000?)
Surrounds (Considering Dayton B652)

I'd love to have it operational by Christmas (at least a screen and sound) so I'm looking forward to some hard work after school and on weekends!

Feel free to share any suggestions/comments/words of support and thank you all!

Edited by aaustin - 6/27/12 at 1:46pm
post #2 of 405
Thread Starter 
Here's some pictures of the before.

The screen will be on the wall which currently has empty studs from previous construction.


The back wall will protrude out from where the concrete block comes out.

The doorway on the screen wall will be sealed and the entrance will be through a door underneath the HVAC trunk in a small hallway.

post #3 of 405
Thread Starter 
And here's what is done so far:

The outlet on the concrete block wall was moved to the workbench area of the basement and I put up the rigid foam insulation on the wall.

post #4 of 405
Thread Starter 
And here's some Sketchup models that I put together:






post #5 of 405
Nice of mom and dad to let junior experiment in the basemet! I bet they're upstairs cringing everytime they hear the circularl saw LOL.

From the looks of it tho - you are going to blow them away with how great it's gunna turn out. Nice job on the rigid btw.
post #6 of 405
Thread Starter 
Haha thanks a lot! I remodeled our small family room into a laundry room with some closets and things over the summer so I have some experience building walls and finishing drywall
post #7 of 405
Ahh - I get it, your the free contractor now that you've proven yourself.
post #8 of 405
Thread Starter 
Exactly! I would have started the theater earlier but according to the mother the laundry upstairs comes first. I think I'll call it the MAF (mother acceptance factor).
post #9 of 405
Thread Starter 
I just placed my order at The Soundproofing Company for Whisper Clips, IB-3 brackets, and Green Glue. Thanks John, Ted, and everyone working there!!!
post #10 of 405
I've got an ASW1000 sub. It's okay if the price is right. I'll be following this one.
post #11 of 405
Thread Starter 
Thanks petew. He will sell it to me for $150. My concern is the age. With an older speaker you don't really have to be as worried about failure because all of the parts are passive. But with a powered sub you've got the amp and the speaker. I'm worried that a ten year old amp will be getting towards the end of its life.
post #12 of 405
Thread Starter 
Ok so here is a weekend update. I didn't get as much work on the theater as I would have liked this weekend but the basement bathroom was finished and it turned out very nice. In the theater I rearranged the lights and moved the switch for the unfinished storage area and framed the screen wall. My current goal is to have the room framed, wired, and drywall hung by the end of Thanksgiving break. Keeping my fingers crossed as that will keep me on schedule. Pictures follow.

The framed wall:

Some pictures of the basement bathroom:

post #13 of 405
Thread Starter 
I received my Whisper Clips and IB-3 brackets from The Soundproofing Company today. Once again thank you to Ted, John, and everyone working there! I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Green Glue.

The framing is coming along nicely. I hope to have all of it complete soon so that I can begin the electrical (my favorite part of the build) this weekend.

I have a question for all of you experts. My plan is to recess my projector into the staggered stud wall so that the lens is just about flush with the inside drywall. This is to maximize screen size in my small space because the projector (Optoma HD20) does not have a very good zoom. My plan is to build a projector "backer box" according to Ted White's specifications. This will be an MDF 5-sided box with a layer of green glue and cement board lining the inside. Does anyone see a problem with this or have a better alternative from a sound isolation standpoint? My concern is that this configuration is meant for smaller boxes like for recessed lights.

My other concern is ventilation in the box. It will be open in the front and the projector has a front exhaust. The room air return will also be located in a soffit above the projector to remove heat. Do you think their will be enough airflow to reach the projector intakes along the side and back of the unit? I would add some kind of vent and possibly a fan in the back of the box but I feel like this would then be detrimental to sound isolation.

As always, THANK YOU!!!
post #14 of 405
Thread Starter 
So does anyone having any recommendations for the projector box?
post #15 of 405
Maybe make the box taller than needed and install a shelf with ventilation holes to support the projector. Let convection pull room air into the box below the projector.
post #16 of 405
Thread Starter 
Thanks petew. The projector will be hung upside down inside the box as this will result in the smallest amount of keystone correction necessary. So airflow around it shouldn't be too much of a concern as there will be space around it on all sides. I am more worried about it being in such an enclosed space. Do you have any recommendations for how much empty space should be around the projector?
post #17 of 405
Thread Starter 

Nothing like a shipment of Green Glue to get you excited!!!

After reading about this stuff for the last few months it feels surreal to actually have it in my own house. Time to throw the builder in me into high gear so I can get to installing it. Now to find a contractor size caulk gun...

I have to thank everyone at The Soundproofing Company one more time. You gave me the greatest advice I could ask for and allowed me to get the best sound isolation I could with a limited budget. Everyone should call you guys for everything relating to soundproofing!
post #18 of 405
Thread Starter 
This weekend was very productive. I was able to frame all of the walls (The staggered stud ones are HEAVY). It's really starting to take shape and I can picture it now. The next step is the electrical rough in. Pictures of the completed framing will follow when I get home and I can post them.
post #19 of 405
Thread Starter 
Here are some pictures of the finished framing:

The doorway from the entrance hallway:

Screen Wall:

Back and side wall:

Looking in from the storage area:

Staggered stud wall construction:

I also picked up two wall sconces for the "entrance hallway":

And the IR Repeater System came in the mail:

I also went to a local lumber yard to order a door. I asked for a solid core pre-hung unit cut down to the height that I need. They will call me tomorrow to give me a price quote. Should I be looking for anything more specific in the door? When I told him solid he said Masonite. Is that correct? I might end up just getting one from Home Depot or Lowes and cuttting it down myslef if they charge a high fee for the cutting.

Thanks for taking the time to follow this!
post #20 of 405
What size door you need? If you need less than about 78" tall (slab size) it will need to be special ordered. It you take off more than a few inches you will cut into the core of the door which is MDF or particle board.

You should go to a real door shop. Home centers aren't too good at special orders.

Masonite is a brand name - one of many.
post #21 of 405
Thread Starter 
Thanks Petew. Yeah the slab height will have to be 72" (Small I know. It's under the HVAC trunk). So I guess special order it is. I will see what the lumber yard gives me for a price. We ordered some hollow core doors from them that had to be cut down for the rest of the basement so I trust their craftsmanship.
post #22 of 405
Thread Starter 
Ok so the lumber yard got back to me. $150 for a solid core door pre-hung and cut to the dimensions that I need. Sounds like a pretty good price to me. Any thoughts? My thinking is that I can use an extra tube of Green Glue and a piece of MDF to make it more soundproof as well.
post #23 of 405
Sounds like a good price. You might ask for an exterior frame with weatherstrip. They may have quoted you a frame with applied stops which won't be as solid.
post #24 of 405
Thread Starter 
Thanks Petew. Any reason I can't add my own weatherstripping to an interior frame? Is there an advantage to the exterior frame as it will likely cost more?
post #25 of 405
Most residential doors are 1 3/8 thick, You can also get 1 3/4 Masonite solid core safe and sound doors. Get the thicker, Yes you can buy weather stripped door stops off the shelf at Lowe's. You want kerfed wood door stops that accept vinyl weather stripping not just the peel and stick variety that get stuck to a standard interior door stop.
post #26 of 405
Thread Starter 
Thanks Big. I'm going to go tomorrow and mention the Safe and Sound specifically. I will also look at having it put on an exterior jamb with seals or as you said I may just put them on myself if it is cheaper. Thanks!
post #27 of 405
Usually an exterior door frame is one piece, with a kerf cut to accept the weatherstrip. An interior door frame is usually just a flat piece of lumber with a door stop nailed on.

Crossed out in red is brickmould which you won't need.
Kerfed weatherstrip highlighted blue.
post #28 of 405
Thread Starter 
Ok so the $150 quote that the lumber yard gave me was for a hollow core door. The solid core will be $225, which is more than I want to spend. They also do not carry Masonite Safe and Sound. Home Depot has the safe and sound pre-hung for only a little over $100, which is what I want to spend. But the fact that the slab height can only be 72 inches raises some concerns. I'm not scared to cut it down myself but how would I go about doing this? Cut it to the right height and then glue a piece in the bottom like a hollow core door?
post #29 of 405
Here's a cutaway of a typical flush solid core door:

Note the top and bottom rails are only 1.5" or so. If you cut more than that off the door you will get into the particle board core. It shouldn't be a problem to do so, although the door will be more easily chipped on the bottom since the particle board is not that tough. I'd recommend fortifying the bottom of the door by painting wood glue into the exposed particle board.

A router with a straight bit is the best way to cut the door without splintering the veneer. Second best is to use a circular saw with a fine blade. Score the veneer with a utility knife and apply blue painters masking tape to the door to help prevent chipping.

You may find a door shop willing to cut down a stock door for you. Otherwise you'll end up having to do it yourself and route the door and jamb for hinges. Try to find a door specialty shop that has the tools to prep the door in-house. Most lumber yards buy their prehung doors from a wholesaler. The wholesalers are generally not too cooperative on doing custom work.

Give me a zip code and I may be able to locate a supplier for you.
post #30 of 405
Thread Starter 
Thanks petew. I hadn't thought about the hinges. Rerouting for them will be difficult and I don't have a router anyways. If you can find a place then that would be great! I'll pm you with my zipcode. Thanks.
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