Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine
You want to keep sound OUT of the room and reduce noise from "stuff" you put in the room (like projectors, equipment, HVAC, etc.) The softest sound recorded is at 22dB. The typical background noise (noise floor) in a quiet home in Salt Lake City is 33dB. Therefore, if you want to hear the softest sounds, and enjoy the full dynamic range of a sound track, you need to raise the volume by a factor of 6 to 8. I don't believe normal dialog playing at 8 times normal speech levels meets your "listen at low levels" preference.
Thanks for reminding me of this. The biggest concern I have had is that since it is under daytime living space, what will people walking around/talking/living upstairs while I try to enjoy my show going to do? What about those quiet parts of the movie? Will I be able to hear the nuance? Am I going to be turning it up to drown out unwanted noise within/entering the room?
As an engineer, I'm paid to converge on the ideal solution. So I am having fun doing that for my HT. But for some reason I am always disappointed some with the solutions our teams come up with at work due to almost always these three things: 1) time, 2) money, 3) the status quo. The latter is usually the customer resisting change and/or being uneducated.
I have found it is the same while building my theater - constraints and things to consider that take me away from the ideal, or change my idea of what ideal even is:
- since much is DIY, and my wife wants the basement DONE (so do I too I admit)
- And sometimes I have to spend money to save time...
3) Space (or lack of it) and the configuration thereof.
Can't raise the ceiling. Can't move the ductwork, can't move the bearing wall, can't drill that big of a hole in the joist, can't move the power panels, can't move that blasted cold storage door, can't make the room wider, or deeper, etc.
4) My own preferences.
I love lights, for example. When I was a boy I took all the lamps in the house and hooked them together outside under all the bushes, hanging from trees. Used all the extension cords from the house. Then I lit up the yard in the middle of the night. I did this once again (after receiving a tip-off) to scare the @#$%@# out of some kids toilet papering the yard. So I know there are things that "do it" for me, that may not for others. That's why I keep having to scale back my lighting plan. And I guarantee most will think it was overkill. But it's fun for me. So when it comes to preferences, that's a big input. Plus my preferences change. Part of that moving target.
5) My lack of knowledge.
Definitely a constraint. One guy at work says we should have the funds for every project to design a prototype, then start over again from scratch. And do that twice. I read things on here and it's constantly changing what I think is important. Hard to hit a moving target. And I always worry about what I'm missing.
6) Reselling the house.
This is our first home. As such, I know I'll be selling it and want the room to double as a regular recreation space. So the riser(s) will not be built permanent, and my wife and I want the room to be able to feel open and bright (maybe with a coat of paint)
Do I invite gobs of people over? Do I need to maximize seating? Do I listen to music or revel in the details of a soundtrack? Do I love to be overwhelmed visually? Do I watch sports, action, cartoons, romantic comedies, or old TV shows most? how do I balance all this if I LOVE variety? (which I do)
8) Other people's preferences.
As I share my ideas, inevitably people have different parts of the hobby they are big on, or different preferences. Ultimately, my wife's preferences matter - a lot. So do my friends since they'll hang out here. To be honest, the preferences of those on the forum matter less than just their sheer brilliance and experience.
Selfishly (and I am sure all would agree) - in the end I want my theater to suit myself more than I care how it suits anyone else. One of the reasons I am on avsforum so much reading is that I don't know what will suit myself! But in the end that's my goal. I will guess that it is impossible to build a theater in a given space and have the choices made completely please everyone that ever sees it or comments on it. But if in any way you have helped me build a theater I love, I'll always be grateful to the community here.
It is also impossible to share with all of you all the nuances in the decision-making process. I have had discussions with others - why the heck did you do that? - oh, well there was a beam here holding up my roof that couldn't move, or I couldn't possibly route that duct, or code restricted me to X lights on a circuit, or I couldn't get inside the wall here, or other such little things. Some can be creatively worked around, some just end up changing your plans.
Now to try out some other floorplans on my wife...
When it comes to speaker placement, I'll probably redesign the whole thing again! Should I put two center speakers in, one above the screen and one below? Do I need amp to do that? Can I drive them in parallel if I do? Just a sampling of the questions that riddle my mind.
There should be a "psychology of home theater" forum...