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Chasen the Dream Theater

post #1 of 101
Thread Starter 
4 years ago we finished our basement, but set aside a 12' 4" wide by 20' 8" long space to be finished as a home theater "at a later date". This space was chosen because it was the largest unencumbered space without significant ceiling height impediments (i.e., duct, beams, etc.).

Well, now it's "a later date". Although I'm very intrigued by all the DIY efforts on this forum, I have neither the time nor the skill to pull it off. So, after interviewing several A/V designers/installers in the Connecticut area, I contracted with Dean Smith at Design Installations.

I wanted the job done by professionals, but since I'm a bit of an enthusiast, it was important for me to find someone that would allow me to be fairly involved in the whole process and who was willing to listen to my input. Dean will be managing the project and will be fully responsible for all the gear, but will be working with AcousticSmart Home Theater Interiors for the design and construction of the room, acoustic treatments, and seating.

No work has actually been started yet, but we're moving along in the planning process, so I thought I'd start posting here in case anyone's interested and hopefully to get some tips and suggestions along the way.

Although technically this room will be a "dedicated home theater", I'm planning to get a lot of use out of it for general TV watching as well. Usage will probably be weighted more towards TV than movies. Also, I don't plan on going too crazy with soundproofing as it's not really a priority.

The Basement:

Here's the floor-plan of my basement, which is all fully finished with the exception of the future home theater:

Gear: (all equipment not yet purchased/owned except as noted)

Projector - Runco LS-12d
Screen - 120" 16:9 Stewart Luxus Deluxe Firehawk G3 Microperf acoustically transparent screen
LCR speakers - Triad Inwall Gold/6 LCR
Side and rear surrounds speakers - Triad Inwall Silver/4 Surrounds
Receiver - Denon AVR-4311CI (or possibly AVR-4520CI if it's out in time)
Amp for LCRs (surrounds powered by receiver) - Emotiva XPA-3
Subwoofers (2) - JBL Synthesis S4s in-wall subwoofers
Sub-woofer amps (2) - Triad RackAmp 600
Remote - Universal Remote MX-980 with MRF-350 RF base station
Rack - Strong 32-U rack with casters
Power conditioner - Panamax 5300
Blu-ray player - Oppo BDP-93
Other sources I already own - Roku 2 XS, AppleTV Gen3, Motorola DVR, Dune HD Smart H1 media player
Seats (9) - motorized recliners by AcousticSmart (probably their Metropolitan or Murano line)
  • Front row: 2 loveseats |xx|xx|
  • Back row: loveseat-single-loveseat |xx|x|xx|

The Plan:

The layout so far (still subject to change) will have the screen located on the wall closest to the entrance door. All speakers will be in-walls with the LCRs about 6" behind the AT screen and the two subs built-in to the screen wall below the screen (lying on their sides). The projector will be housed outside the room in a utility area, so there will be no projector or speakers encroaching on the already small space. I will try to post more specific plans once I check with AcousticSmart to see what it's okay to post.

Here's an initial rendering of the concept:

I know the seating is a little cramped and probably a compromise acoustically, but I want to be able to share the fun of this room with as many people as possible.
post #2 of 101
Thread Starter 
Front Wall:

  • Pocket door will be replaced with hinged door
  • Ducts on right side are part of main house heating/cooling system and feed rooms above
  • Ducts on left side are part of dedicated heating and cooling system for basement (with home theater being it's own zone)

Rear wall:

  • Opening to space under stairs will be closed
  • Opening to closet from theater will be closed (originally designed to allow access to equipment, with access to rear of equipment from door on other side of closet) - current plans call for access to equipment only from room outside theater

Ceiling (looking up from front of theater):

  • 3 supply ducts for home theater zone left hanging from ceiling because design of theater was not known at time of basement construction/finishing
post #3 of 101
Congrats looks good so far
post #4 of 101
Looks great! Love the rendering. My space is a similar length though wider by about four feet. Are you doing any soundproofing? And out of curiosity, no interest in a scope screen?
post #5 of 101
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by rs691919 View Post

Looks great! Love the rendering. My space is a similar length though wider by about four feet. Are you doing any soundproofing?

Not planning on going too far with soundproofing. Probably just 5/8" double drywall + green glue. I think it would be pretty difficult to really soundproof this space given 1) my unwillingness to sacrifice room width 2) inwall speakers 3) a projector shining in from outside the room.

Originally Posted by rs691919 View Post

And out of curiosity, no interest in a scope screen?

I thought long and hard about scope vs. 16:9 screen, but in the end I think it comes down to the fact that the percentage of scope material watched will be much less than 16:9 content. This room might really be considered a "Dedicated TV Watching Room" where we occasionally screen some movies.
post #6 of 101
Thread Starter 
Had a meeting today with the guys from AcousticSmart to begin making selections (fabric, carpet, etc.)
They gave me the okay to post some of the plans/drawings so here they are.
Hopefully this will stir the pot for some more comments / suggestions.

Overhead View:

Front Wall Elevation:

Rear Wall Elevation:

Right Wall Elevation:


post #7 of 101
Thread Starter 
Still working with the guys at AcousticSmart to pin down color, fabric, leather, carpet choices. They sent some updated renderings showing the current choices in place so here they are:

The carpet shown (our current top choice) is Stanton Hickory from the Kingston collection (http://www.stantoncarpet.com/Product...295&SkuID=1103)

Same carpet in a different color was used by marklabelle870 in the Village Theater Construction Thread and he seemed pretty happy with it.

For the seating we've picked Classico Chocolate from Optima Leathers.

The fabric for the acoustic panels is the Chamois color from the Vienna collection by AcousticSmart:

Any comments, critiques or suggestions on the colors and selections are welcomed.
post #8 of 101
Nice layout and equipment list. Your room is very similar in size to mine. The only comment I have on the elevations is the height of your surrounds. They seem a little low to me. I always thought they were supposed to be a bit higher.

I like your color scheme as well, but would like to see a little more contrast between the wood and the fabric. It looks like you tried to get the wood to match the leather on the chairs, but I think it would look just fine if the wood was just a bit darker. It might just be the renderings, but the floor really pops while the walls are a little washed out.
A slightly darker wood might improve that.

I love the look. Just had to find something to nitpick. If there is something special about those surrounds that require a lower mounting height, let me know. I have the bronze versions coming next week.
post #9 of 101
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the comments Spaceman.
I've been following your thread as well.

With regards to your comments on the color scheme, I agree. I don't think the rendering really does justice to the paint colors and especially to the fabric. I think the reality will have a lot more "pop" than the rendering.

Funny you should mention the height of the surrounds. Dean (my AV guy) already told me that he will be placing the surrounds higher in the wall than what is depicted in the plans. Dean (who recommended AcousticSmart to me) has done many builds with them but he said that, for some reason, they always seem to put the surrounds at ear level in the plans.
post #10 of 101
This is a very clean looking room and has a sophisticated color feel to it. The only suggestion I would make is one that is typically made for acoustics, which is your back row is very close to the back wall. It seems like you have the depth to bring both rows forward a couple of feet which is going to solve most of the acoustic concerns people seem to express about either surround speakers or rear speakers.
Regardless, good luck on your build.
post #11 of 101
Thread Starter 
I decided to slightly change the plans to add a crown molding to the bottom edge of the soffit to allow for an LED light strip or rope light to be used for an uplighting effect on the coffered ceiling.


post #12 of 101
I like the added trim. I think the rope lighting will add some drama and highlight that nice ceiling.
post #13 of 101
Great looking renderings … looking forward to following this build!
post #14 of 101
Thread Starter 
Work Has Begun!!!

I'm super excited!

On Friday, the guys from AcousticSmart came and did some of the framing modifications that were necessary to have the room ready to begin pre-wiring on Monday.

Here is what they accomplished:
  1. Build out front wall to accommodate 6" deep Triad in-wall Gold LCRs
  2. Close openings to area under stairs and to AV closet (which will now be accessed from outside of theater)
  3. Adjust framing to accommodate locations of side and back surrounds (Triad in-wall silver surrounds)
  4. Remove pocket door and frame for regular door

Front wall:

*Speakers are Photoshopped in


Rear wall:


View of front (from rear):
Yellow lines on floor represent reflection of plan for coffered ceiling layout.




View of rear (from front):

post #15 of 101
Thread Starter 
On Monday and Tuesday the electrician and installer from Design Installations came to do the pre-wiring.






They ran some conduit from the AV closet and projector locations to an area that will be hidden behind the screen to allow for future upgrades.

post #16 of 101
Thread Starter 
Yesterday morning the HVAC guys came to properly position the 3 supply ducts so they will fall in the correct spots relative to the coffered ceiling.

After delivery of drywall yesterday, these three guys showed up with a whole lot of Green Glue tubes:


Almost done sheetrocking the walls:



A/V Closet is now closed off on one side since it will only be accessible from outside the theater:


The Three Amigos will be returning tomorrow to work on the soffits and ceiling.
post #17 of 101
Thread Starter 
FedEx showed up today with 4 boxes of sconces. We chose the Boulevard Collection by Murray Feiss.


These weren't necessarily our favorite looking choice but they won out because they are much lower profile (only 4" deep) than our other top choices.
We were a little concerned because of our narrow room and aisle that any sconce with a significant projection on top of the already protruding pilasters might become a head hazard.
post #18 of 101
LoOking good. Really like the renderings and equipment choice. My room is the same width as urs but mine is 3 feet longer so I am able to do gold lcr's Inroom. I'm also doing the same silver installs as u too. I love triad. AwesOme company! Good luck I think u r going to have a great looking and sounding room! I'm on summer break from my build. Just no time in the summer.
post #19 of 101
Nice progress. Things are looking good. Based on the framing, it looks like your speakers will be penetrating your double layer of drywall & green glue? Is that the plan or will they sit inside the drywall shell?
post #20 of 101
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

Nice progress. Things are looking good. Based on the framing, it looks like your speakers will be penetrating your double layer of drywall & green glue? Is that the plan or will they sit inside the drywall shell?

Unfortunately, due to room size limitations, the in-wall speakers will be penetrating the room shell.
post #21 of 101
Thread Starter 
More Progress!

Soffits built, ceiling drywalled, riser construction almost complete:


post #22 of 101
Looking great, subscribed! Fantastic progress - the renderings look amazing, question though, how does one maintain the molding on the lower third of the wall and yet have acoustic treatment behind? or is the acoustic stuff not done? Thanks and keep up the progress pics smile.gif
post #23 of 101
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Brett Wilson View Post

Looking great, subscribed! Fantastic progress - the renderings look amazing, question though, how does one maintain the molding on the lower third of the wall and yet have acoustic treatment behind? or is the acoustic stuff not done? Thanks and keep up the progress pics smile.gif

There will be no acoustic treatment on the lower 1/3 of the wall (which will be constructed of 1" thick MDF with attached moldings).
post #24 of 101
Thread Starter 
More Progress:

Yesterday, the electrician did some more work including upgrading the size of the sub-panel for my basement to accommodate the additional circuits needed for the theater:


The guys from AcousticSmart also made some progress with taping and mud for the soffits and ceiling and constructing a small knee wall to house the 2 JBL Synthesis S4S in-wall subwoofers below the screen; while James from Design Installations installed the Triad inwall Gold/6 LCRs, and inwall Silver/4 surrounds as well as the back boxes for the JBL S4S subs.

Screen wall:


Closer view of mounted LCRs and subwoofer back boxes:


Rear wall:


Closer view of inwall silver/4 surround:


frown.gif Might not have too many more progress picks to post in the next few weeks since most of the trim fabrication and painting is taking place at AcousticSmart's factory.frown.gif
post #25 of 101
Thread Starter 
The guys from AcousticSmart worked a long day today and got a lot done.

Pics because it did happen:








And here's one of me holding a sconce up to the pilaster just for fun:


They will be back tomorrow for more millwork work, so stay tuned for more pics.
post #26 of 101
Looking good, thanks for all of the pictures. I can't wait to see that ceiling finished.
post #27 of 101
Thread Starter 
More Progress:
Here are some new pics showing progress on the crown moldings and coffered ceiling.






post #28 of 101
Thread Starter 
More Progress!!!

A lot has happened in the past few days. The screen frame was assembled and mounted (no actual screen material so obviously mounting is temporary). The riser step and a small stage were built. Most of the baseboard molding was completed and a door knob was installed. Also, most of the remaining equipment was ordered (projector, receiver, remote, subs, rack, amp, Blu-ray player, etc.).

We also ordered the glass to be used for the projector porthole. After doing a little research I decided on 6 mm thick low iron water white glass with anti-reflective coating that was ordered from OpticalCoatings.com

If things go according to plan the electrician will be here tomorrow to work on Grafik Eye wiring and to install the outlet boxes, sconce mounting boxes, and recessed lights for in front of the screen.

Installation of the fabric covered acoustic panels is scheduled for Monday. Can't wait to see how different the room will look.

I've also been busy working with Rick from Design Installations on the programming of my URC MX-980 remote. There was a bit of a learning curve as I've previously only programmed remotes in the MX-700, MX-800, MX-850 family. Even though it's a slightly different remote, I'm trying to make it function similarly to the multiple other MX-850's I have throughout my house since my wife and kids are very familiar with them.

Latest pics for anyone who cares:




post #29 of 101
Sweet! Great work.
post #30 of 101
Thread Starter 
Starting to look more like a finished room.

Fabric panels installed today. Definitely changes the whole look of the room.


Sconces were installed the other day. I put the glass shade on one for a photo op:

Installed the thermostat (theater is its own zone in a 2 zone system dedicated to the basement).
It's somewhat hidden behind a pilaster in the back corner, on the same wall with the door to the theater, so you don't really see it when you walk in:

Fiberglass panels wrapped in black fabric placed behind screen frame and lower kneewall containing subs covered in fabric:

Seems a shame to hide those nice looking Triad Gold LCR's. Does it matter that they're behind the black "speaker cloth" as well as the screen? I was thinking of having the fabric cut out and tucked back in around the cut-outs in the fiberglass panels to expose the speakers so the sound would only have to pass through one layer (the screen). Would the additional layer of speaker cloth have any significant impact on acoustics?

Also thinking we should put black paint on the the exposed 2x4s that the screen brackets are mounted to in case they reflect light passing through the screen.

Still need to finish the base moldings and install the chair rail that will cover the gap between wainscoting and fabric panel.
I can't believe we're almost ready for carpet!
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