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New Theater Design

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I am starting to design a new dedicated home theater in my basement and would love to tap into the collective knowledge of AVS. As the picture shows, the room is 16' x 15' with 8' ceilings. The window in the room runs nearly to the ceiling and the door cannot be moved to facilitate building a stage.

There are many things I would like to do in the theater (stage, screen wall, raised seating, bulkhead with rope light, fiber optics etc.) but am limited due to the available space and room configuration. Still, I would like to make the room spectacular and the envy of all of my friends!

Can anyone offer some advice regarding the direction I should take on:

- Speakers (floor standing, wall mounted, set into columns etc.): I am currently leaning towards in-walls/in-ceilings (7.1) with the fronts and centers behind an acoustically transparent screen

- Screen & projector - I am thinking 120", preferably 2.35:1. Not sure what do do for masking, gain, color.

- Ceiling - I have to build a bulkhead on one side of the room (by the door) and will mirror it on the other side. I will also be doing a drop ceiling, probably black acoustic tiles

- Seating - my wife has insisted the room be "comfortable"

- anything else worth discussing!

I will appreciate any advice to make this room a success. I will also take plenty of pictures during the build to keep everyone up to date.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01
post #2 of 12
Best option for screen would be on wall by the stairs, and covering the window with a curtain, there you can center the screen and allow for more seating. If you are doing a drop ceiling, you are going to be dropping it down by 3", unless you are going further with lower ceiling. You can get away with floor standers, but for your surround you may want to get some wall mounted speakers. Not so sure on the projector in such small area, but I know nothing of projector setup.
post #3 of 12
If it were me I would cover up the window and put the screen on that wall. Your seats could then go about 12' back to give you a 12' viewing distance. This would leave you 4' of space behind your seats so you aren't too close to the rear speakers. I think doing an AT Screen will cut too much length from your room. Get on-wall speakers for the surrounds and a nice set of towers for the front. If you build it right you could put the equipment rack in the space under the stairs.

Any reason for the dropped ceiling? If you are set on it I wouldn't worry about sound proofing.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Believe me, this window is the bane of my existence. I should have fought my wife harder about including it!

My plan is to put the screen on the stair wall with the equipment mounted under the stairs (as you've both suggested).

The drop ceiling is just a personal preference. I've seen too many people with ruined ceilings because of a spill that happens upstairs... especially with kids around.

The reason I lean towards in-walls with an AT screen is for a cleaner look to the room. Do you really think it will eat up that much room?
post #5 of 12
A lot will depend on how far away you want to sit and how big you want your screen. As a reference, I'm planning on using an 11' wide screen (130" diagonal) 2.4 screen with a view distance of about 12'.
By stair wall I assume you mean the one opposit the window. I see a bunch of issues with trying to place it there, especially with a false wall. If your door swings in and against the wall it could block part of the screen or the speaker. You also have very limited space to build a false wall there. If you were using floorstanding speakers you typically want 2' behind the screen, if you use in--wall as you have planned you can get away with less but you would have no room for the door handle to be when the door is open and could hit your screen. When you mount your equipment will it be facing into the room? If so - how are you going to access it with a wide screen? The lights from the equipment can also be distracting at the front.
post #6 of 12
Hi Adlot,


I'm planning a 16' by 12' HT room in a new build extension and so am in a similar situation. My own thoughts currently are to use Floorstanders at the front and onwall surrounds; also considering the possible insanity of no centre speaker. Here in Europe, Dali, Focal and Monitor Audio offer suitable speakers for this conifguration. In celing is neat and is used in actual cinemas but I dont think you will get as good an effect (Especially in the sweet spot). I'm planning In Celing for the multi room audio only.

Screen wise I'm not even sure if I want a PJ for this build (Have lived with both FP and Plasma). 84" UHDTVs will likely be <10000 by the time my room/house is finished.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the good advice James.

I am really starting to reconsider putting the screen on the stair wall. I envision watching movies with the door closed but this probably won't happen in reality.

Ideally, I could put the screen on the window wall but I know that covering the window won't fly. Perhaps the best option is to put the screen on the wall opposite the door. I think in the long run, I won''t be bothered by the room being 12" shorted than intended.

As for the equipment, I was going to put it under the stairs and run either an IR repeater or an RF system so they won't be visible in the room. If the screen is on the wall I'm suggesting, this won't be a problem now either.
post #8 of 12
Here are some things I've noticed.

I'd put your sub under your stairs and have it fire through the wall into the theater.

Have your theater door open away from the theater, not into it. This will save you some space inside the theater.

I had a theater about this size once and built a false wall to hide my speakers. Tower speakers behind the false wall should only take about 1.5 -2 feet.
Be sure if you make a false wall, you design it in a way to get access to your speakers in case something goes wrong with them.
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Have your theater door open away from the theater, not into it.
This is a code violation and a potential life safety issue.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

This is a code violation and a potential life safety issue.

I didn't think of that.

How about a pocket door then?
post #11 of 12
You gotta do what you gotta do; but, (you just knew there was a 'but' in this somewhere) pocket doors are poor for sound isolation and can be very nasty with the rattles.
post #12 of 12

Does room size play a role in dictating between a 5 channel and a 7 (or more) channel system?  Or is it a sonic performance issue?  I've heard some speakers that throw startingly realistic images up and around my listening area 10-12 feet from the speakers.  It would seem that a single pair of rear effects speakers would be able to convincingly fill in the soundfield in that case.  And how far do your ears need to be away from the side speakers before you start to consider a direct radiating design vs. a dipolar design, which theoretically should be better if you're forced to sit close to the side wall/speakers?

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