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Home theater help please

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Hi, starting a home theater project. I am pretty familiar with electronics, computers and have several surround systems I put together in the house already. Finally time to start on the real thing.

To begin with I just want to get a projector system up and running, I am going to use some parts I already have lying around for audio. I have an old Paradigm seven speaker set, subwoofer not included, I have a VTF-2 MK4 sub in the living room I can use and a Pioneer Elite VSX-56txi as well. The sub and Elite are currently in the living room, so I'll need to replace those with a smaller sub and a more modern hdmi passthrough system for the living room. I was thinking the Benq W1070 for the projector, fits the budget and a DIY painted screen. The room is already wired for surround, there is an unfinished basement room behind the screen wall, was thinking of placing electronics back there, I'd prefer a cean look and don't mind going back there to load a DVD. Also want to tie in an xbox or two, which I already have, a PS3, ditto and my Alienware X51 for gaming and media server. Router is already back there.

AM getting ready to put two daughters through Ivy league schools, oldest starts her high school senior year this fall and youngest is two years behind. I can pour more money in later after they finish school, but for now was thinking, paint, carpet, PJ, screen and window treatments. Already in the process of Zwave my home lighting so can add remote lighting as well. The room is 20 foot wide by 28 foot long. But there are two doors on the screen wall, a bathroom and access to the unfinished room. The major challenge is a soffit that I assume has duct work in it 13 or so feet back from the screen. Otherwise the ceilings are nine foot. Oh and there is one post under the soffit as well, but it's off to the side enough not to interfere with seating I think. Total screen wall available between the doors. Oh and no wiring for the projector in place, with the beams running crosswise between where it and the electronics will be, was thinking running them in a ceiling surface mount covered with a channel cover.

Here are some photo's. Would love any suggestions on how to make this work with an eye to ultimately also being ready for a much more through revamp of everything in the future when I can afford to throw some money at it. Oh, one other concern, master bedroom is directly above, I like loud movies and gaming, am a night owl and the wife goes to be early. So any suggestions for soundproofing welcome. Here are some photo's of the room.

post #2 of 31
Thread Starter 
Sorry, total screen wall size is 117" between the two doors. Wondering what size screen given the projector and limitations of the room.
post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 
Another possibility for the electronics, if you look at the last picture, that closed door is an under the stairs area, could maybe put electronics in there, easier access. But that would also require getting internet there as well, I would prefer to be hardwired and not wifi for that.

Oh and I am going to have to use an HDMI switch since my older Elite was bought right before HDMI and doesn't have it. I found one that works fairly well that I use in my bedroom surround set up. Just an occasional handshake issue.

And yes, I know, current set up is a mess heh, room has been strictly for the kids up to now.
Edited by Jabippy - 6/3/13 at 3:41pm
post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 
Ok, after doing some lurking around here I have ruled the above room out, too large, too many windows and just all around bad layout with the soffit, fireplace and post. Luckily, the room right next to it is perfect I think.

One small window to deal with, doesn't get direct light, sound isn't an issue neighbor wise, nearest one is pretty far away, two acre lot. Will still want to soundproof eventually to isolate from the main floor, our bedroom is on the main floor.

The alcove you see in the second photo is where I was thinking of putting the screen, it's not wide enough right now but should be easy to knock that wall on the right back and get plenty of room. At least I can't think of any reason besides the alcove that it is there, shouldn't be any infrastructure back there, if anyone can think of any your knowledge would be appreciated. Room dimensions counting the alcove is 20Lx18Wx9H, I could always mount the screen in front of the alcove or build the wall out if there is something behind those walls but that would give me a square room and I understand that's not good sound wise. Also only being 20' knocked to the back wall and 18' if I have to build out that makes two rows awfully tight.

Decided to go ahead and cannibalize my Ascend front sound stage from the living room instead of using the old paradigm's, will use those for sides and surround, question is, use which sizes, floor and mids or mids and bookshelf paradigms for that?

Also, Using the BenQ calculator for the W1070 I come up with a screen size of 140", is that ok? Puts the projector at 13'3" and front row, all I am doing at first, eventually want to shoot for two rows of three or four seats, at around 15'.

My other question, keeping in mind I will be gaming on this set up is should I use the Elite receiver I mentioned above or use what I was going to replace it with, probably a Denon 2113cl. Oh and will obviously close off the door in the back you see that opens onto the larger room that has all the windows.

Any help is greatly appreciated, thaks in advance.
post #5 of 31
Thread Starter 
Ok, scaling the screen back to 130", was going to be impossible to work in a second row starting that far back I think., Moves first row to 13 feet. 16:9 ratio. Think I am going to start with just a paint on the wall type screen and upgrade later. Since I am going to rip the screen wall down to the studs I am wondering what surface is best to paint a screen on?

The wall is underground so I don't think there is any need to soundproof right?

Going to rip down the ceiling and redo it for soundproofing while I am at it. Double layer sheet rock with channel/clips and green glue? Suggestions for lighting? Am going to add some sconces on the side walls at some point too but would be nice to have some small dimmable ceiling lights as well, currently has four can lights in there. Might upgrade the ceiling to quietrock if anyone thinks it is worth it? One or two layers? I would really love to be able to crank it up down there late at night without waking the wife on the floor above.
post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 
Pulled the trigger on the BenQ W1070 and Elite fixed cinewhite 135" screen today. Decided I wasn't going to be happy with a painted screen on the wall and I know it's not a great screen but should be ok until I am ready to either invest more or tackle a DIY. Now I need the mount, nine foot ceiling, 12'9" throw distance. So I need about a foot of drop on the mount. Any suggestions?

Just going to knock that alcove back, paint the walls flat brown and the ceiling maybe dark to mid grey and seal the back of the room with solid core double door, get a motorized black out shade for the window and pick up a center channel speaker mount and that should get me up and running for now. Oh yeah and put an outlet on the ceiling and run the HDMI cable. I'll build the floor, riser and carpet next then start tackling soundproofing, lighting etc.

Any suggestions welcome.
post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 
Oops, can't knock the alcove back, basement wall protrudes there on the right, footing I guess? I am going to wall over the open doorway and make that the screen wall, also walling over the window. The wife is, umm, less then pleased but I am claiming man space rules on the basement with a promise to put the doorway and window back if needed if we ever go to sell. I am going to put my equipment in a media cabinet in the alcove now. Taking down the ceiling is a pain. Took out the door and window framing, ready to frame for dry wall, have two leather power recline sofas coming today. Need to get the ceiling down so I can run my speaker wiring. Turns out current ceiling height is 8'7". I am hesitant to use RSIC clips and double 5/8 dw on it, hate low ceilings. Maybe the low profile clips, mass loaded vinyl and one layer of DW? Thoughts?
post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 
Keeping sub bass from traveling upstairs is pretty important, our bedroom in on the ground floor and while not directly above the theater it is one room over. There are currently four recessed can lights in there. I understand its not good for sound proofing, the wife really wants both noise containment and ceiling lights. Any ideas? Best idea I can come up with so far are surface mounted ceiling lights but having a really tough time finding something that looks decent in that form, most surface mounted ceiling lights are big, eleven to thirteen inches. Only found one in an eight inch size but they are kind of ugly "mushroom" lights. Anyone know of anything that would be smaller, low profile and look good in a theater?
post #9 of 31
Before you start framing back up, you need to be sure your work will get you the soundproofing you require. Low frequency isolation is especially difficult and requires decoupling and mass.

Can you post a floor plan and some pictures? I know you said your overall expectations were lower for now and you figure you'll upgrade some stuff in a few years, but the framing, ventilation, and electrical will be one-shot deals. So let's see some more details and get this nailed down.
post #10 of 31
Originally Posted by Jabippy View Post

Any ideas? Best idea I can come up with so far are surface mounted ceiling lights but having a really tough time finding something that looks decent in that form

You can do all the recessed lights you want, just use backer boxes, Please read all the articles on soundproofing at soundproffingcompany.com. Take two aspirin and come back in the morning with a soundproofing plan for us to review. If you aren't prepared to rip the walls and ceiling down to the studs you might as well just invest in quality surround sound headphones because containing the sub-woofer rumble is only achieved by using some serious construction techniques.
Edited by BIGmouthinDC - 6/21/13 at 2:41pm
post #11 of 31
Thread Starter 
Pictures are already posted, second set of the above pictures. It's essentially just a rectangle with the exception of the one alcove. As for having to do both walls and ceiling to get results, although I am doing ceiling only for now I am not ruling out doing the walls at a future date. I have done quite a bit of reading on the subject but still have questions. It's my understanding that it is not really an all or nothing deal and that I can expect at least partial results from doing the ceiling.
post #12 of 31
Thread Starter 
I have also read conflicting things on backer boxes with some saying to steer clear of them for fear of fire. I don't think I would be willing to risk those on anything but LED (low temperature) lights.
post #13 of 31
Thread Starter 
Oh and I already have good surround cans, a set of Sennheiser RS 170 and a set of Astro A40's. my ultimate goal is to not have to use them. I realize just doing the ceiling won't cut it, especially as for now I won't even have a door on the room at the bottom of the stairs. I am more concerned with doing what I can on the ceiling now since I have to rip it out anyway to get my wiring done and add a solid core door with seals next and then if its still needed I'll do the walls. Oh and I'll be doing some acoustic panels right away and building a stage and riser later as well. Just trying to do it in manageable stages so as not to bust the budget.
Edited by Jabippy - 6/21/13 at 4:58pm
post #14 of 31
Originally Posted by Jabippy View Post

I have also read conflicting things on backer boxes with some saying to steer clear of them for fear of fire. I don't think I would be willing to risk those on anything but LED (low temperature) lights.

I can't recall a single report of a fire started by a backer box, In fact backer boxes are REQUIRED in many fire rated ceilings.
An IC rated can has a built in Temp sensor that turns off the light if it gets too hot.
You can always use the newer LED bulbs.

If it still keeps you up at night, you shouldn't leave the house as frozen $hit falling out of a passing plane may kill you instantly.
post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 
You can also see the only hvac vent in the room in the photo's, in the alcove. I won't know how much duct runs through there until I get the ceiling ripped down. I wouldn't think there is much in there though, what is running to the one vent and there is a little bit of soffit in the back corner near the other room as well.

Oh and thanks for your responses, I appreciate them a lot.
post #16 of 31
Thread Starter 
Lol, ok, I had just read several people saying they wouldn't use them so I was concerned. That will make the wife happy and I'll just use some LED bulbs in them to help me sleep at night just to be sure. I had also read several people who said using recessed lights at all was a really bad idea. Which is of course why I was asking.
post #17 of 31
Thread Starter 
Do I need to worry about ceiling height? It's at 8'7" now, if I go with RSIC clips and double 5/8 with green glue. Oh and is there anything that prevents isolating the walls later if I do the ceiling first?
post #18 of 31
Isolating (decoupling) the walls later will require tearing them back out. Better choice is to decouple now and add more mass later if needed.

Re: the ceiling height, will you need a riser?
post #19 of 31
Thread Starter 
Walls are already up, do you mean decoupling walls later will mean tearing the ceilings out later?

Room is roughly 16x18 , would like a riser later.
post #20 of 31
I mean if you don't decouple the drywall or entire structure up front, at a minimum the drywall will have to come back off for the addition of hat channel or similar.
post #21 of 31
Sound containment is an all or nothing proposition. Only just south of pointless to spend the effort on the ceiling and leave the walls for a later date. Not only do the ceiling and walls work as a system; they should be constructed as a system.

Please take this in the spirit it is intended:

Originally Posted by CptnRandy


I'm afraid you've fallen in with a bad crowd here.

Here's my advice - leave here and don't log in again

Seriously. We're all maniacs. The advice you'll get here will not make your wife happy. It will cause you to spend much more than you though you'd ever spend.

I mean it. Log off. Have the builder run you some wires, drywall the room, and you can get a nice projector, maybe some new speakers at Best Buy.

There's no other way to put this: we're serious geeks about this. That means that no home builder will meet our standards and understand our obsession. We represent a very small niche market. And as I said, we're all pretty much nuts.

But if you really want to dig into it, you'll find some very nice, extremely helpful people here. We'll help you empty your bank account, too! We are the holders of some very interesting secrets, but as I said, learning about them will be expensive.

I spent over six months just planning, asking questions, and talking with people here online, then another eight months building. My wife doesn't want to know what I spent (it's a good thing she doesn't). And our family is very happy with our theater. It's an amazing space and we love to entertain and to use it ourselves almost every day. There's nothing like experiencing a movie in a well designed and executed home theater.

I'm sorry, but your builder can't do it. Even if he says he can. He just won't have the experience or the knowledge to design and build a proper acoustic environment. It's not as simple as putting up some drywall.

Most people are very happy with their simple home theaters without going to the lengths that we go to. But if you ever get a chance to visit one of our theaters, you'll know why we've gone slightly off kilter about the subject.

Good luck to you!


End Quote:
post #22 of 31
Thread Starter 
Hmm, I really can't see any reason the drywall would have to come off a RSIC ceiling in order to do the walls later. Not as long as I shorten the wall drywall to under final ceiling height anyway. Is there some hidden reason I can't just cut the wall drywall so it is under the final ceiling height and come back and take off the wall drywall later and add RSIC?
post #23 of 31
You're right. I think we were misunderstanding one another somewhere in there. The only advantages to doing them both (walls and ceiling) is not having to demo again later, and getting overlapping seams in the corners for a better fit.
post #24 of 31
Thread Starter 
I thought it might have been a miscommunication.
post #25 of 31
Once you demo the ceiling and redo it, no matter how bad the result is once you've set up the theater and are watching movies, You will never tackle the walls. GUARANTEED. If you want to do it right, do it all from the beginning. One mess, one time, Cheaper, Quicker, better.
post #26 of 31
Thread Starter 
I imagine that would depend on the results I get from doing the ceiling. If I am getting complaints afterwards from the wife resulting in my having to turn down the volume or use headphones I can assure you I will address it at some point. If I am not of course I won't. It's just not in the budget at this point, as I said earlier I have two daughters to put through college right now. After that is finished there will plenty of money in the budget to finish the project.
post #27 of 31
Thread Starter 
Any ideas for plugging holes of existing electrical in the walls until I get around to ripping them down to the studs at a later date? Can't exactly apply putty pads from the front, so just do what I can with acoustical caulk for now I guess?
post #28 of 31
You can shoot some caulk in the box as you mention. They also sell a variety of products to make outlets draftproof and that is a form of sealing them.

post #29 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks. Have the ceiling drywall ripped down now. Brief pause while I head to the lake in Wisconsin for vacation next week.
post #30 of 31
Thread Starter 
Ok, more then a brief pause heh.. Hat channel and clips up, backer boxes for the lights up, everything wired, putting up 5/8 inch OSB today. Hopefully green glue and drywall tomorrow.
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