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My 2nd house and media room, a budget build with questions

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello folks! I've in need of any thoughtful ideas or experience you can shed on what I hope are easy questions. I'm on a fairly modest budget of about $1000 per year, give or take. So here is what I have:

A new house due to be finished in June with a dedicated media room. It's a good builder (Highland Homes) so they did some things right in setup, but nothing completely serious compared to some of the build threads I drool over on here! The room is mostly square, with maybe 18' x 20' size. It is an upstairs room so the 3 walls have a vaulted angle. It is prewired for 7.1 with the surround back channels ready for in wall speakers in the vaulted part of wall.

Equipment I currently own:
  • Sony STR-DH820 Receiver
  • Panasonic PT-AE3000U Projector
  • Elite EZ Screen 120" Fixed 16:9 CineWhite
  • Center - Polk Audio CS20
  • Front - Polk Audio TSI500
  • Sub - Polk Audio DSW Pro 600
  • 500 GB Slim PS3

Unfortunately I had to leave behind four Polk RC65i in my previous house.

Hope that sets the stage, and I'll have pics soon enough, but here are my questions:
  1. I definitely need to buy rear surround speakers. Pre wire is for 7.1, but I am contemplating a 5.1 installation initially. I was very pleased with my former Polk RC65's but am leaning towards the RC85s this time.
  2. My receiver in 5.1 configuration supports bi-amping my front speakers. Which is something I know my TSI500s desperately want and need, but can someone recommend a better option for me? I am trying to plan the future, but have never ventured past a single A/V Receiver install. These speakers are rated for 20-275 watts. UPDATE - I will plan to upgrade my receiver for one with pre-outs and also an Emotiva XPA-3 amplifier.
  3. My projector's bulb is running on borrowed time! I have reset the warning twice, so it's somewhere around 3500-4000 hours. Trying to debate paying 200 for a potential knock off or 400+ for an authentic replacement, or completely blowing my budget with a new projector. Think I'll just go the safe route for a new lamp for now, unless there is something under 2k worth looking into but this will break my budget for a couple years because I also need... UPDATE - Found an official bulb for 300 bucks. Will order that after we move in
  4. Seating! Not looking for recommendations on this yet but just wanted to make that a known future need. I may finagle a deal with the wife that she gets new downstairs furniture, I get the current leather couches and maybe a projector? Maybe?
  5. Last is the media closet. I have an open closet / nook that is pre wired and have planned an open shelving wooden rack space. I have decent carpentry skills so it will be 100% DIY. Will not be enclosed, will have wooden shelving and will try to help cooling as best as possible (open rear spaces in shelves with generous spacing.) That's why I'm needing to plan any future amplifiers.
  6. Power conditioners? I think they are out of my budget and class of media room. True statement?

Sorry for the huge post and loads of questions! Feel free to point out any dumb questions as I'm here to learn in any fashion possible! smile.gif
Edited by Johnny Mnemonic - 5/30/13 at 11:01pm
post #2 of 7
What is the builder providing in terms of electrical? You will want to look at at least one (possibly more) dedicated 20A circuits in the equipment area, especially if you are planning for multiple amps in the future.

Are you planning on putting the screen on the 18' dimension and letting the room be 20' deep? 2 rows of seats? Is the builder putting in the riser or are you doing that later?

I didn't see any mention of acoustic treatments, but I think you will be very happy if you can squeeze those into the budget. Lots of money on amps and surrounds will be wasted if you haven't addressed the room's acoustics. Delaying a new pj purchase (going with a new bulb instead) might allow you to move acoustic treatments up the priority list.

What is the builder providing in terms of HVAC in this space? A single supply isn't going to cut it.

You have a nice size space to work with. My guess is some of your initial spending will be room-related instead of equipment-related, which is fine. Upgrading equipment is fairly easy, assuming you have the cash smile.gif. Making sure you have sufficient electrical and HVAC is a little trickier, but just as important. Good luck.
Edited by Spaceman - 5/8/13 at 5:33am
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
I will have to check on electrical. Luckily the upstairs game/media room has ample access for adding wiring or circuits- .

Seats will likely be one row couch with a chase and recliners of course. Final decision on that is a ways off as we will use existing leather couches.

But what do you mean by acoustic treatments? I plan on adding black out curtains and similar fabric to cut down on reflective walls, but not sure what all you could mean.

Ac has two supplies and one return in the room.

I did order the RC85s for the rear. But I think I'm out of luck to biamp the front speakers unless I run a 2nd set of speaker wires to the speaker. It didn't look like it wanted it in series to biamp, only parallel.

Will try for good pictures soon enough.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Correction, it's a 16 x 18 foot room. Challenges are a large window on one 18' run, and a double door on the other side. Not shown is the 4 columns on the 18' wall. They are roughly 6" out and 12" wide and will have a lighting sconce installed on each one. Doesn't affect much except my side channel speaker placement.

Now a floor plan pic and other random photos of construction. Unfortunately this is the builder's construction, not me being able to do the full blown media room build out seen in other threads.



Screen wall.


Windows and columns.


Wiring "closet". It will be dry walled, but I do not plan to enclose it.


Rear wall/ceiling. You can see the wiring in the vaulted wall for rear channel speakers.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Drywall phase

Screen wall


Rear wall, Showing off the future wet bar, A/V area and side wall with entrance.


Trim arriving adding definition to columns and other features


Painting has started, but not done. It's a very dark hunter green, and the phone or bright white trim door is throwing it off some. I know I will need to do something to cover the trim color after we move in.




So just a reminder that this is a new home build in progress. Really wish I had the budget and time to do it all from scratch, but I think it's coming along fine for a builder media room. Posting these as a record and to also invite any tips for the future. We're currently finishing out the electrical install, then the next month has all the trades returning to finish whatever got missed the first time. Move in date is July 8th!
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi Gang!

It took me way too long to get all the little projects associated from moving into a new house done and I am finally in my home stretch to get my home theater room up and running. The only thing that is left is:
1. Build shelving for A/V rack.
2. Hang screen
3. Final cleanup
4. Media furniture (Couch with 4 recliners and a couple bean bags up front)


Here's my back wall. To the left is the future wet minibar, and the middle is the A/V rack.





My plan for the A/V rack is to build and stain shelving for a built in bookcase look. The area is 27" deep, 26" wide and over 7 foot tall. From top to bottom, shelving will be:
1. Projector ~16-18" shelf height airspace
2. Uverse Receiver / Future PS4 ~ 12" airspace
3. PS3 ~ 12" airspace
4. A/V Receiver ~ 16" airspace
5. Future Emotiva AMP or 2nd Receiver ~ 16"
6. Future Power line conditioner / UPS ~ whatever is left

Looking for advice here:

I will keep a 4-6" open gap in the back of the shelving for airflow and wiring. I may add a few fans in the back to encourage airflow too if needed, but I'm mostly concerned about the shelving airspace and planning for the future. Think I've got enough or too little/much planned? The emotiva AMP I want is 7 3/4" so I think 16" is over generous. But could I need another component in the future? I do have loads of attic space behind my rear wall for anything that could safely operate out of sight...







And just for reference, here is my entry/side wall:


And the screen wall:
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
I'm almost done with the AV shelving in the rear (
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1503502/critique-my-custom-a-v-rack-book-shelf#post_24110115) but I messed up. Expect big delays in the future as I hung my projector! smile.gif

Crappy cell phone pic....



I also measured and think I can easily fit a 150" screen (have 120" now). But that will have to wait because I need to get rid of the front cabinet first. I will build out a shelf tied into the wall just below the screen.

Been contemplating upgrading the center channel, but not quite able to afford to replace other speakers at this time. Plus I'm completely voice matched now, But would welcome any ideas or opinions.
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