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My CIH theater

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
Our humble theater is almost done. I'll update this with more "finished" pictures later.











The gear
  • BenQ W7000
  • ISCO 4XL with Cineslide
  • Seymour Centerstage XD 125" wide 2.37
  • Oppo BDP-93
  • Toshiba HD-XA2
  • Odyssey Stratos Stereo Extreme
  • Sunfire Cinema Grand
  • Onkyo PR-SC885
  • JTR Triple 12HTs for LCR, four JTR S8s for surrounds, two JTR Captivator S subs
  • SurgeX XR315 and XF2 surge protectors for components and projector
  • URC MX-980 remote incl. lighting control,
  • Primacoustic Broadway Broadband, Control Columns and FlexiFusers.
  • Monoprice XLR cables & Belden UTP speaker cables
post #2 of 42
Thread Starter 

Background:
We had a new home built in mid Jan 2012. One of the key reasons we chose our house was that it has a rectangular room on the first floor that could be optioned as a "Club room" instead of a downstairs full bedroom + bath.



Room dimensions: 22' 5" length x 11' 11" width X 9' height.

It's a tract home so I could not alter the room dimensions, HVAC, the location of the two windows, etc. The color of the walls are a beige/tan for lack of the name of the exact color. And the ceiling is white. WAF has kept it white thus far. The builder did offer to wire the room for HDMI and speakers so I took advantage of that.

Our first theater was DIY 16:9. My goal this year was to build a CIH theater but this time around I was interested in partial DIY. I really wanted to get professional help with acoustic treatment design and baffle wall design & construction. My inspiration was Pocoloco's theater. Understated .. clean lines. I looked up several local CEDIA installers and interviewed them. Originally I told them I wanted to leverage a lot of my old equipment,

• Definitive Tech BP2000TL + CLR2000 center + matching BPX surrounds ( I later decided JTRs were the right speakers for me)
• Onkyo PR-SC885 SSP
• Sunfire 5x200w

Overall, I didn't have much success with the CEDIA guys. I lived too far for one CEDIA installer (~ 1 hr). 2nd CEDIA guy was very nice and spent a lot of time with me on the phone but wanted me to go with his turnkey solution. 3rd CEDIA guy seemed nice but again, I had to buy brands he carried + his terms were that he would collect a % of total cost of equipment as design fee on top of installation fee. Frustrated that I wasn't making progress, I almost considered going this route but after thinking about it for a few days I just didn't feel any of the brands carried by the CEDIA installers delivered on the value I was looking for. 4th CEDIA guy seemed knowledgeable about acoustics (THX certified fwiw), was willing to let me use my own gear and was willing to charge me for time and materials. But he never returned my follow up phone calls. I don't want to generalize but purely based on my experiences above, I think it's harder for an AVS'er who likes DIY but also wants help to find a good match with a CEDIA installer because of their business models. I also spoke to CinemaForte' and while the packages they offer are very nice, it was still out of my budget.

I was discouraged for a while not sure what to do. Given that I really want to get the acoustics done right, I decided to check out the HAA website. It was there that I found Acoustic Frontiers. They are based in Northern CA. Nyal Mellor is the founder of the company and is a certified HAA level II. Originally I was going to have Nyal help with the acoustics design only but he also offered help with the baffle wall design and overall installation. Now, it was not him personally designing the baffle wall but he knows a well qualified individual. Nyal was upfront about this. Nyal was also very willing to work with my existing gear as well as new gear that I selected on a time and material basis. Given my concerns about budget, we worked out an agreement that was fair to both of us. What really impressed me early on was the proposal report that accurately captured my objectives, budget, and concerns. The reports you get later on (Diagnosis, Design, Post Calibration) are also impressive if you want to have a deeper understanding of the "before & after" results.



Build progress in pictures:


3D render of the ceiling mounted projector, anamorphic lens, and Cineslide solution from techht.



CAD side view of projector, anamorphic lens, and Cineslide from techht.



Nyal Mellor of Acoustic Frontiers taking measurements in order to design the acoustic treatments solution.






Baffle wall design from Acoustic Frontiers



Screen wall design from Acoustic Frontiers




Before.. I used a 2' x 2' x 3/4" birch plywood from Lowes to mount the projector, anamorphic lens and Cineslide. I applied veneer edging and black satin finish.



and after.. I thought it would be a 30 min job but it took me several coats and repeated sanding to get to a richer finish and acceptable level of smoothness.



Unboxing of JTR LCR speakers and starting of the screen build.



Grommets on the Seymour make it very easy to install.



Back of Seymour.



Front of Seymour .



BenQ W6000 vs my older Mits HC3000. I now have a W7000 due to a sharpness defect I had on the W6000.



Custom plate for the BenQ & Chief mount made by Techht.



Picked up an Odyssey Stratos Stereo Extreme for L&R



Under the hood of the Odyssey.


Start of the baffle wall















Close up showing the three layer constrained layer damping technique to minimize vibration.















Installation of Flexifusers on the rear wall. They're a combination absorber / diffuser product to absorb some of the incoming sound from LCR and at the same time reflect other parts to the sides for envelopment and control of reflections.






3" control columns used to absorb off axis reflections from the S8s and prevent flutter echo.


Techht also provided me a life sized template on exactly where to drill the holes for the Chief mount with BenQ and Cineslide. This made installation and alignment of the Cineslide with ISCO and the BenQ much, much easier.


Was not that hard to install with the template!


Eq box for the subs made by Acoustic Frontiers


Edited by quack724 - 8/3/12 at 6:02pm
post #3 of 42
What lights are using to uplight the JTR's behind the screen? They look like projectors, maybe? Also, how far in front of the speakers are they? Nice build. Love the black absorption panels behind the screen. Shame you have to cover that and those beautiful JTR's with a silly screen. ;-)
post #4 of 42
That looks great. Looking forward to seeing pics of the completed room.
post #5 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unacceptable View Post

What lights are using to uplight the JTR's behind the screen? They look like projectors, maybe? Also, how far in front of the speakers are they? Nice build. Love the black absorption panels behind the screen. Shame you have to cover that and those beautiful JTR's with a silly screen. ;-)

I used Hampton Bay 8 ft. Black Linear Track Lighting Track (Model # EC751BK), Black Linear Live-End Power Feed with 15 ft. Cord (Model # EC707BK), three Black Pinhole Cylinder Track Lighting Fixture GU10-16 (Model # EC7210BK).. all items from Home Depot. And for the actual blue lights, I used three dimmable blue LEDs from an online retailer called Fusa Corp, item # 486867.

I don't remember the exact distance between the lighting fixtures and the speakers but they are inches and close to what you see in the design drawing.

Yah, I wish I could see more of the Auralex wedge pattern with the JTR speakers when the blue lighting is on. What we learned after we installed the blue LEDs was that they simply aren't as bright as we had hoped. It's actually hard to find dimmable colored LEDs. I don't know if there are brighter ones available.
post #6 of 42
I bet you don't have many issues hitting reference cleanly with that setup in that room! Awesome build, I really like it and am considering a lot of the same equipment you've chosen, please report back on your thoughts on the JTR's.
post #7 of 42
Very nice, and interesting build. I always love seeing JTR speakers. Can you share your before and after acoustic reports? Did you get the powered Caps?
post #8 of 42
Nice looking theater, Quack. I really like the wedge absorbtion squares... haven't seen alot of others use them. Do you have a sense of what effect they have and/or what Nyal thinks of them?

Can you show/tell us how you handled the entrance to the room too?

Thanks,

Dale
post #9 of 42
Nice job and thanks for the info on the behind-the-screen lights. I'll definitely be researching those.

Do you get much light spilling onto the light-colored side walls?
post #10 of 42
Very nice! That baffle wall is very impressive. The one thing I always wonder with baffle walls is what if you want toe-in, I guess its pretty much out of the question? Maybe speakers that benefit from aggressive toe-in (such as waveguide based) just aren't very good candidates for baffle walls.

Now all you need is to work on the WAF on the white ceiling.

Hard to buy "humble" with that speaker setup.
post #11 of 42
Nice setup so far, can't wait to see final product!!
post #12 of 42
The theater turned out really well from a sound quality perspective! Whilst not the last word in refinement, tonal color or clarity the JTRs certainly are extremely dynamic. There is absolutely no issue in this theater with cleanly reproducing reference level. For the price there isn't much out there that is equivalent.

In the subwoofer range below 80Hz or so the use of dual sealed Captivator S in a width-mode canceling arrangement yielded the same seat-to-seat bass response width ways across the seating area. Funds did not allow for 4 subs, which would have been optimal, or bass trapping. We added a sub EQ to dial out a few low frequency resonances. The end result is a tight, punchy and basically bottomless dynamics with extension below 20Hz.

The JTR speakers require quite aggressive treatment off axis (particularly vertically) to tame them since they aren't the smoothest...hence the use of thick absorbers on the side walls and ceiling. One thing I always try to do if the possibility is there is measure the speakers vertically and laterally off axis before coming up with the acoustic treatment plan. The acoustic treatment for the mid and high frequencies (>250Hz) is there in my opinion to match the response at the listening positions to the speakers on-axis response. Some speakers need a lot, others don't need very much at all. Obviously there is a need to provide a basic level of sound absorption so that the room is not too live.

The use of the foam behind the screen with the cross-hatches doesn't do much acoustically. It was more there for dramatic effect with the behind the screens lighting turned up. There is a second layer of very high density foam behind the 'cosmetic' layer, which does the bulk of the work. The same foam is also used to decouple the JTRs from the baffle wall. BTW the baffle wall is basically bomb proof, 2x6 construction and three layers on the front. Mass is essential to cleanly reproduce the low mids. Too many skimp on the baffle wall construction!

The URC remote was programmed so that when the 'Watch Movie' button is pressed the rear lights go out but the behind the screen lights stay on, then they fade out to black just as the projector comes on. Pretty slick! Lessons learned with use of LEDs: they tend to turn off quite abruptly at the end of their range (they don't dim cleanly below say 30% output, tending to just switch off), they don't have much light output, and finding the exact one you want (in this case blue dimmable line level voltage) is difficult! Unfortunately for use behind the screen, and without allowing a boatload of clearance, there aren't many options. Halogens and other light sources would put out a lot more heat and would require increasing the spacing of the screen and baffle walls, losing room space.
post #13 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CKWells View Post

That looks great. Looking forward to seeing pics of the completed room.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbraden32 View Post

Nice setup so far, can't wait to see final product!!

Thank you both! Actually the "completed room" won't look much different. I guess I will call this a phase 1 where instead of two rows of real theater seating + riser, I will get by with a single row using an old futon. Other home projects getting bubbled up in priority

I'm going to try and borrow a wide angle lens from a friend to get better "completed" shots and update the first post
post #14 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brady84 View Post

I bet you don't have many issues hitting reference cleanly with that setup in that room! Awesome build, I really like it and am considering a lot of the same equipment you've chosen, please report back on your thoughts on the JTR's.

Brady84, thank you. Nice theater you have as well! I don't know if I can add much to what has already been said about the JTRs. In combination with the acoustic treatments, film soundtracks simply sound clean, effortless, and overall "just right" to my ears. No harshness at all even at very high SPL. I still can't get over how incredibly dynamic the JTRs are. What has really stood out to me is how intelligible the dialogue is especially on more dialogue driven films like The Social Network.
post #15 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvmiller View Post

Nice looking theater, Quack. I really like the wedge absorbtion squares... haven't seen alot of others use them. Do you have a sense of what effect they have and/or what Nyal thinks of them?

Can you show/tell us how you handled the entrance to the room too?

Thanks,

Dale

Dale, thank you. As Nyal responded, the wedges were more for decor and the dense Auralex foam behind the wedges are the part doing the heavy lifting.

The room entrance in it's original form is simply a "bull nose" or rounded edge opening. At the time of the theater design and build, I couldn't make up my mind if I had wanted a door or simply a thick, heavy stage curtain so the acoustic design and measurements were performed without a door. I have since decided on a solid core, 2 door solution but I am still waiting for the doors to arrive. For now the entrance looks like this,

post #16 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCaboNow View Post

Very nice, and interesting build. I always love seeing JTR speakers. Can you share your before and after acoustic reports? Did you get the powered Caps?

Thank you. I'll post excerpts from the acoustic calibration report in a bit. I have two Captivator S subs - each with 2400 watt RMS, class D amplifier according to Jeff's page.
post #17 of 42
Thread Starter 
First row seating has been designed to be about 13 ft from the screen. Second row seating has been designed to be about 18 ft from the screen. Also there is currently no door installed.

A lot of the acoustic concepts are new to me like Decay time and Reflections/ETC so the Post Cal report has been very informative.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Measurements - Frequency Response < 300Hz.
According to Nyal, targets (LCR + Subs playing together) were
  • Within +/- 10dB at 1/12th resolution
  • Within +/- 5dB at 1/3rd resolution













--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Measurements Decay Time < 300Hz
  • Spectrogram plot - Target: no resonances should extend beyond 250ms before decaying 30dB
  • Spectral Decay plot - Target: SPL should decay 20dB in first 150ms







--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Measurements - Frequency Response > 250Hz
  • Target : Each speaker within +/- 3 dB
  • Target: No Deviation > 3dB between speakers







--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Measurements - Decay Time > 300Hz
  • Target: Near constant +/- 25% decay times across 250Hz to4kHz (critical midrange). Actual values can be between 0.2 and 0.5s ; dedicated HT rooms trending lower and two channel rooms higher.





--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Measurements - Reflections

Targets
  • Be Down to -10dB by 40ms to prevent breakdown of the precedence effect
  • Show decrease in the amplitude of energy over 0 - 40 ms. Decay pattern may or may not be continous.
  • Be consistent over the spectrum from 250Hz to 4kHz.





post #18 of 42
Thread Starter 
I performed basic Greyscale Calibration using an Eye One LT and DVE HD Basics.

RGB Levels:


Luminance:


Gamma:


Color Temp:


CIE:


Screenshots.. I am using a Canon 50D with 24-70L. I set everything to full manual and adjusted the exposure to capture how I see it on the actual screen as best I could. But you guys know the disclaimer







post #19 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

Nice job and thanks for the info on the behind-the-screen lights. I'll definitely be researching those.

Do you get much light spilling onto the light-colored side walls?

Spaceman, thank you. I just posted some screenshots above. The shot with Tony Stark in his race car. Is that the light spilling you are referring to?

If you meant the blue LED lights, then no, I don't think there is any blue that spills over to the side that I can remember. I'll double check though.


Edited by quack724 - 6/6/12 at 2:45pm
post #20 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Horstkotte View Post

Very nice! That baffle wall is very impressive. The one thing I always wonder with baffle walls is what if you want toe-in, I guess its pretty much out of the question? Maybe speakers that benefit from aggressive toe-in (such as waveguide based) just aren't very good candidates for baffle walls.

Now all you need is to work on the WAF on the white ceiling.

Hard to buy "humble" with that speaker setup.

Thanks Brad. Very nice build you have there as well. I've never seen a baffle wall set up with speaker toe in. I also don't know if that would work or or not.

What i meant by humble is that the theater looks pretty bare bones in terms of decor. ie no wall to wall paneling, soffit, sconces, etc.
post #21 of 42
Yes, I was referring to light spilling onto the walls from bright scenes like this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by quack724 View Post


When you start phase 2 of your theater, you might consider a darker color for the ceiling and at least a portion of the walls in the front of the room so more of your scenes look like this.


That's a fantastic picture either way. Hope you are enjoying your room.
post #22 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

Yes, I was referring to light spilling onto the walls from bright scenes like this.



When you start phase 2 of your theater, you might consider a darker color for the ceiling and at least a portion of the walls in the front of the room so more of your scenes look like this.


That's a fantastic picture either way. Hope you are enjoying your room.

Yes, I completely agree re: the need for darker color on walls & ceiling. The image with ScarJo is probably darker and more contrast-y in the screenshot than in real life due to my exposure settings.
post #23 of 42
What is the fan noise level like on your W7000?

Great job on your build, it looks very nice. Pictures with seats?
post #24 of 42
Nice job on the HT Warren. It is hardly "humble" ... but you are wink.gif
BTW, I am expecting an invitation when you complete phase one so keep me posted.cool.gif
post #25 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by b curry View Post

What is the fan noise level like on your W7000?
Great job on your build, it looks very nice. Pictures with seats?

Thanks b curry. Currently the projector is about 5.5 ft away from the head position in the first row. Running in ISF mode + ECO lamp mode. Noise level from fan is not distracting to me but you can hear it if you are listening at low volume. At typical listening levels, I can't hear it or I don't notice it. At high lamp mode, you can definitely hear it and its distracting to me.

We haven't determined the final seating solution yet. Just using an old futon for "phase 1" until we figure out what to get. I'm thinking of two rows of home theater seating with riser for 2nd row but that will be "phase 2" i think. I'm waiting to see if I can borrow a wide angle lens to get better shots.
post #26 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RMK! View Post

Nice job on the HT Warren. It is hardly "humble" ... but you are wink.gif
BTW, I am expecting an invitation when you complete phase one so keep me posted.cool.gif

Thanks Rob. It's not as elaborate in terms of decor as many of the theaters shown in this forum but I'm absolutely thrilled with the audio and video that was achieved with the budget I had.

One of my Cap S had to go back to Jeff (I'll explain to you later) and I'm waiting for the theater entrance doors to be installed. Might be two to three weeks before phase 1 is complete. You will definitely be invited! Maybe you can bring over the same demo disc you used when I came over? biggrin.gif
post #27 of 42
Thanks Warren, looking forward to it and I'll make you a copy of the demo bluray as they are hard to get these days.smile.gif As for the room, we are of a like mind in terms of function over form. Hopefully over time your wife will see the wisdom of darker paint in the room.
post #28 of 42
Wow, love your theater!! Your thread makes me wish I had a projector with better contrast and a didn't have to use the poor mans zooming method for 2:35:1. Congrats man, looks awesome. cool.gifsmile.gif
post #29 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by carp View Post

Wow, love your theater!! Your thread makes me wish I had a projector with better contrast and a didn't have to use the poor mans zooming method for 2:35:1. Congrats man, looks awesome. cool.gifsmile.gif

Thanks for the generous comments Carp. I do want to disclose that my screenshots are not 100% reflective of what you see in real life. Blackwidow (ScarJo) looks a bit more contrasty in the screenshot than in real life.. still, not bad at all to my eyes. Tony Stark in race car with sunlight looks about right in real life showing limitation of W7000. That said, I don't want to be overly critical of the W7000. I love (and need) the brightness of the W7000 and I absolutely love it's razor sharpness. Those characteristics were the most important for me. Re: zoom, I probably could have been satisfied with the zoom PQ. But the lack of zoom memory probably would have driven me batty. The ISCO was also more of an emotional purchase.. one of those items that I've admired over the years and simply just wanted to have it even though it arguably may not have been the "best value" (subjective, I know). I guess it was out of character for me to get an A-lens to begin with as I typically am very price-to-performance sensitive. The ISCO and Cineslide work so well together that I take it for granted now. Even with my coarse adjustments, the picture looks amazing to my eyes ( I don't think I have perfect corner-to-corner focus yet).

BTW, I love your room too. It looks quite spacious and comfortable. Our theater is a bit narrow than my ideal. 158" diag! Must be very immersive. Nice Seatons!
post #30 of 42
Hi Quack

I really like what you have done and wonder if you might help and offer me some advice. I have since been told since I built my HT that it was a shame I had not placed foam on my baffle wall before I installed the screen. I never knew about this and have finally decided to remove the screen and add the foam. My problem is I'm having problems buying something black. I probably only have approx 10MM of space between the back of the screen and the rear wall so I have to get something fairly thin.

I have found a rough finish very dense black rubber underlay that comes on a roll, they use it under carpets. I can get this in 6mm and 10mm, do you know if this type of product will be ok for the job since it is not foam? I have been told when you add these fabrics to the wall behind the screen they should only be stapled and not glued, do you have anything to offer in way of help please?

You can see my behind screen wall in my signature.

Regards Murray.
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