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Custom home construction starting soon - electrical layout for a dedicated home theater room

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

I haven't been on AVS Forum for a very long time (probably 7 years) as I have been happy with the home theater in my current house. But now I'm starting construction on a new custom house very soon and I am once again seeking sage advice from the experts here.

The home theater room has already been selected. It is shown in the picture below. The room is 15 feet wide by 30 feet long with a 9-feet ceiling. In the picture, the red pentagons are banana plug speaker wall outlets. Some of them will be near the floor while others will be 5 feet high or near the ceiling. The purple pentagon is a HDMI wall outlet for the ceiling-mounted projector. All of the pentagons are connected using speaker and HDMI cabling (red and purple lines) to the recessed cabinet/alcove (large red square) where all of the home theater equipment will be located. ALL PENTAGON LOCATIONS ARE APPROXIMATE! The exact location will be determined during the electrical install phase.



The questions are as follows:

1) Do the pentagon locations make sense for a 7.2 set-up? The screen will be located on the wall on the left.

2) Should I add any other outlets? If so, what type, where, and for what purpose?

3) Because this is a new custom construction, there exists an opportunity to add structural or electrical features to the room that would enhance the home theater experience. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations as to what I should include as part of the electrical plan? What about structural (i.e. behind the walls)?

4) Which flooring is better for a home theater: carpet or hardwood?

5) Any other suggestions/recommendations?

Thank you all!
post #2 of 20
Speaker placement , to me at least, is a compromise of what space you have and what is 'ideal'. Dolby.com has some layouts for various number of speaker.

Adding any outlet you may remotely need now is much easier then later!

Flooring should be carpet, hard surfaces will cause to many reflections and will probably lead to echoing.

I am building a home now and the dimensions of my media room are almost identical to yours.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
TNKen, thanks for your response. The architect revised the design and added speaker outlets and wall scones thoughout the room. See below.


I have one question: in many of the fancy home theaters, I noticed that the front L/R speakers, the center speaker, and the front subwoofer are nowhere to be seen. Where are they being located/hidden?
post #4 of 20
Those speaker are hidden behind an acoustically transparent screen and front wall. Sound passes through the screen like an actual movie theater.

You might want to take a step back and explore options. The room's dimensions are not ideal for audio, with the width being half the length.

Is this to be a dedicated home theater? Or simply a multifunction media room?
Edited by Tedd - 9/10/13 at 1:48am
post #5 of 20
Fire your designer. As is the location of the av rack makes it impossible to have any kind of a screen wall with an acoustically transparent screen with speakers behind, The only option is a wall mounted acoustically transparent screen with in-wall speakers. In that case you need speaker rough in boxes and the wiring goes to them not a surface plate.

This design does accommodate a non AT screen with speakers sitting on the floor out in the open. But since this is a new custom project you should set your expectations higher if you want the look and performance of dedicated home theater.

The room has the potential for a really great theater space, your guy isn't getting you there. Contact the Erskine group for their basic design service.

Also now is the time to think about soundproofing, before construction and I suspect there are no plans for that.
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post

Those speaker are hidden behind an acoustically transparent screen and front wall. Sound passes through the screen like an actual movie theater.

You might want to take a step back and explore options. The room's dimensions are not ideal for audio, with the width being half the length.

Is this to be a dedicated home theater? Or simply a multifunction media room?

Thanks for the info on acoustically transparent screen. I never knew that speakers were hidden behind movie theater screens - you learn something new on this forum all the time! I'll have to look into doing something like this for the room.

I had originally intended for the room to be a multifunction media room but decided to go with a dedicated home theater for the most part.
post #7 of 20
+1 to what BIG said. Get some design help from a designer who specializes in home theatres. You have a great opportunity to build an excellent theatre if you do the right preparation now.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Fire your designer. As is the location of the av rack makes it impossible to have any kind of a screen wall with an acoustically transparent screen with speakers behind, The only option is a wall mounted acoustically transparent screen with in-wall speakers. In that case you need speaker rough in boxes and the wiring goes to them not a surface plate.

To be fair, the room was designed by the architect of the entire house working with constraints including price, land use restrictions, room configurations, etc. I told him I wanted a dedicated media room in the basement and he delivered on that; Neither architect nor I knew anything about or were aware of the acoustically transparent screens, speakers behind the screen, false walls, and all that. My current home theater in my existing house has a non-AT screen with sitting on the floor out in the open and I mistakenly thought that's how most professional home theaters were configured.

The reason the AV rack is in that location in the first place was because there are virtually no other locations available. 3 walls are exterior walls where recessing is not possible and the 4th wall is used up by stairs and machinery room on the other side. The only space available was the crawlspace under the stairs landing which is where the AV recessed cabinet is located.

Would you recommend putting the AV rack on an exterior cabinet near the back? While it won't have that professional recessed cabinet look, at least I will get the AT + false wall + speakers behind AT set-up.
Quote:
But since this is a new custom project you should set your expectations higher if you want the look and performance of dedicated home theater.

The room has the potential for a really great theater space, your guy isn't getting you there. Contact the Erskine group for their basic design service.

Also now is the time to think about soundproofing, before construction and I suspect there are no plans for that.

I agree with what you said about setting my expectations higher. I did set my expectations higher than my current home theater but they were apparently not high enough, after seeing all the real professional home theaters on the AVSForum. I know I should have researched AVSForum earlier but hindsight is 20/20, I guess. The good news is that the architect is going to incorporate double 5/8 drywalls + Green Glue sandwich for that room so I think some of the soundproofing will be taken care of.

The only issue seems to be the double french doorway entry which someone mentioned would mess up the acoustics or allow sound to leak out. It was suggested that I replace them with a gasketed single solid door. I might go this route if it makes a major difference in the acoustics.
post #9 of 20
don't waste your money on double layers of 5/8 drywall with green glue unless you are going to use isolation clips and channel. Screwing the drywall directly to the studs and ceiling joists will have marginal benefit.
post #10 of 20
what is that at the back of your theater, is that a three part bypass door to what? with 30 ft of room length you have room to spare. as asked earlier is this a multi-use room?
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

don't waste your money on double layers of 5/8 drywall with green glue unless you are going to use isolation clips and channel. Screwing the drywall directly to the studs and ceiling joists will have marginal benefit.

Yes, I forgot to mention that I will be doing WhisperClips and hat channels to decouple the drywall. Thanks for the reminder!
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

what is that at the back of your theater, is that a three part bypass door to what? with 30 ft of room length you have room to spare. as asked earlier is this a multi-use room?

In the back of the theater is a sliding picture window overlooking the patio. This is obviously going to be covered with a heavy curtain when the the theater is in use.

What do you think of putting the A/V rack in one of the back corners?
post #13 of 20
A good start to getting yourself up to speed, would be to check out BigMouthinDC's PROJECTS: (at the bottom).

Depending on that east wall and that closet, you could close off the stair entry and do entry from the rear of the theater via that French door closet,
and have an av rack in that wall, or use current entry area for the av rack. An expanded view of the north theater wall and what is out there, would get
more design options. We lack details that would be helpful steering you into a better design. More space detail = more focused design options.

Do you have speakers for the room yet?

The heavy curtain might block light but it will also undo any efforts at sound proofing.
post #14 of 20
Let's go back to the beginning of your theater journey. What are you planning for seating and how were you planning to use the 30ft?
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Here's the entire basement floor plan. I showed only the RecRoom only in my previous posts because I wanted to show a close-up and the whole basement floor plan was a bit too big for a close-up.

You will see now that I have limited options with regards to the placement of the A/V rack in the walls.
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Let's go back to the beginning of your theater journey. What are you planning for seating and how were you planning to use the 30ft?

The journey started like this:

I started with a requirement for a dedicated media room. The architect got that for me.

Due to the length of the room, I came up with the vague notion that one-half of the room would be like the current home theater set-up in my existing home (screen on real wall, exposed front speakers, etc.) and the other half would be some kind of a library or something.

Then I belatedly researched home theater set-ups on AVSForum and on this website:

http://www.hometheater.com/category/av-interiors?page=1

At that point, I realized that I had set my expectations too low.

Now, what I want is something similar to this:

http://www.hometheater.com/content/ultimate-demo-theater

Something similar to the above in the sense that there is AT screen on false wall, two rows of seating, and some kind of bar behind the seats with 3 barstools.

That's where I am now.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by kharvel View Post

AT screen on false wall, two rows of seating, and some kind of bar behind the seats with 3 barstools.

That's where I am now.

you can do that in 25 1/2 feet. see my rawlinsway project. so start thinking about options to use the extra 4 1/2 feet on either end. Rethink the location of the equipment and I would also not assume that the screen goes on the wall shown.

Also think about putting up a wall in front of the sliding doors.
post #18 of 20
So why not the av rack under the stairs, outside the theater? An infrared repeater system with an infrared receiver under the screen,
could give you point at the screen control and get the gear light pollution, heat, and any cooling fan noise outside the room.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post

So why not the av rack under the stairs, outside the theater? An infrared repeater system with an infrared receiver under the screen,
could give you point at the screen control and get the gear light pollution, heat, and any cooling fan noise outside the room.

Problem is ingress/egress access. Suppose, I need to put in a Blu-ray disc or a USB thumb drive into a player. There is only one way to access the space under the stairs and the access to that space would be behind the false wall.
post #20 of 20
Middle Atlantic Slim5 rack, either AXS or roll out, for rear cabling access. You would give up the limited storage space beneath the landing.

Aren't there accessible usb (and hdmi) ports on the face of the gear? Pretty standard these days...
Edited by Tedd - 9/10/13 at 6:38pm
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