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First basement home theater build in Ortonville, MI... Need help / advice

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

I recently purchased my first house and its right in the middle of 5 wooded acres with no neighbors in sight.  Previously I was living in a condo.  I tried to start a home theater back then but things didn't work out as I planned.  I brought home some new Klipsch RF-82 ii speakers, and the day I tried them out my neighbors stopped by and were not to happy.  I was never able to use them to their potential until now...  The first thing on my list of things to do to this house is to build a home theater room.  I started planning out what I think might work, but I don't have experience with this stuff and was hoping for some advice from you guys.  I'm attaching the layout of my basement and what I've come up with so far, along with the equipment I have or plan on using.  Again any advice on any of it will be much appreciated.  I would like to do as much as I can by myself but I'm sure I am going to have to hire someone for most of the work.  With that said, if anyone can recommend a contractor near me (Ortonville, Michigan) that would be great.



Klipsch RF-82 II Floorstanding Speakers (2)

Klipsch RC-62 II Channel Speaker (1)

Klipsch RS-62 II Surround Speakers (2)

Klipsch RW-12d. Powered subwoofer (2)

Klipsch RB-61 II Wides


Denon 4520CI




Falcon Screens 130" wide 2.35:1 acoustic transparent

The first picture is what I have now in the living room


Here is the layout of my basement

This is what I have come up with so far



The window on the right wall will be a 320 gallon FOWLR marine aquarium





Edited by Black93fiveO - 2/23/14 at 5:01pm
post #2 of 32
Congratulations on making it out of the condo living situation. But my first gut feeling is you brought your condo into your theater. I am not a fan of Aquariums or sectional seating with a coffee table at the the rear of the theater, but it is your space and you should build it to suit your needs. I see a riser at the rear of the room and a door there but no transition for the difference in height.
post #3 of 32
Now for the scientific answer about the seating.

With surround sound processors and the location of your speakers there is a sweet spot in the room where you can hopefully expect excellent sound. Also the screen size and placement implies a preferred area of seating. Put those together and you get this.

While I imagine you already own the sectional, it doesn't fall in the sweet spot.
post #4 of 32
There are scientific reasons why not to have an aquarium, but I'll let someone else beat up the new kid on the block.
post #5 of 32

Welcome to the forum and the hobby.  I'm literally just a couple of miles away in Clarkston.  Too bad you didn't post a few weeks ago as we just had a get together at my house to discuss theater design.


Big is giving you some great advice (go look at a few of his many builds).  Do as much research and planning as possible before you start to build.  You will be much happier with the end result and will use your theater a lot more.


I can recommend a contractor.  Just send me a PM.


If you need any help along the way, let me know.  I would be glad to help.



post #6 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys for welcoming me to these forums and for your input. Ive always wanted a large in wall aquarium and a theater. The best wall for that happens to be in the area I think also works best for the theater. The aquarium would be light controlled and/or have a way to cover the glass when a movie starts to block any light. Noise shouldnt be an issue as the pumps will all be in the other room. What else should I be concerned about with an aquarium? Do you know of anyone who has done it before?


We don’t have any furniture yet for the room. We figured that it would be nice to have a living room type area to sit in when only watching tv and viewing the aquarium and move down to the first row when viewing a movie. My main priority is the theater room so if the aquarium complicates things, I can do without it and add a second row of theater seating.


The door is located in the back of the room.  Its hard to tell but I put a platform on the outside of the door that's level with the first step for the transition.  I could always move the door to the front side of the theater room to avoid the extra work.


The room will be used mainly for movies and some tv. It will be just me and the wife the majority of the time, with the occasional family and friends. I have the first row center seat at a distance of about 9’5’’ from the middle of the seat and the screen size I am planning on is a 138" diagonal 2.35:1 which is about 126" x 54"   Is that too close?

post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 

I took the advice of BIGmouthinDC and got rid of the the living room furniture and aquarium idea.  I also added pillars and sconces and some acoustic panels.  Can anyone recommend any changes the might see problems here?  Also, I'm wondering where would be the best place to mount the surround speakers?



post #8 of 32
Now you are headed in the right direction but you haven't crossed the finish line just yet.

I can't quite make out the distance from the front wall to front edge of the riser, If it is more that 12 you can bring the front row ahead a bit, For the second row you need 6 1/2 ft chair back to chair back for reclining theater seats.

As for the speakers where you have the columns is where you want the surrounds. You can use acoustically transparent fabric for the fronts and hide them. Move the sconces to over the acoustical panels and show of the richness/texture of the fabric.

What are your thoughts or goals on soundproofing this space? I know you have acreage, but will you ever be in the theater unwinding when someone else is trying to sleep?

Since you are going without a false front wall to hide the speakers. this project of mine might be of interest. I think Landshark1's screen is a little bit bigger than your plans, his room is about the same length maybe a little shorter. for more click "staggered walls" in my signature.

Something I try to do in every project is wash the screen with 3-4 recessed lights about 10-12 inches in front of the screen. Theaters are naturally dark and washing the screen, lights up the room as your guests arrive.

Another thing I've learned in soundprooofing rooms is not to cut holes in the ceiling for lights. Instead build a soffit inside the theater and place down lights in the soffit and over the screen,.

In this case the room is lit entirely with a ring of 3 inch recessed lights (Lowes) and an accent of a rope light in a light tray. (Bacon Race)

Edited by BIGmouthinDC - 12/17/13 at 3:24pm
post #9 of 32
Or you can use wall sconces which can be better for overall lighting the space......................I'm using 6 sconces that are dimmable from 100 watts down to almost nothing. I decided to use eleven 4 inch can lights in a sealed soffit to highlight my columns/screen.................my main lighting fixtures are sconces. Using the right combination of both can make the room multifunctional. My wife tends to use the room for reading due to being dead silent when the door is closed. Wall sconces are easy to install while still keeping soundproofing measures.........................getting the right electrical box is key.............and of course using 2" thick acoustic treatments to help hide fixture base.

Edited by doublewing11 - 12/17/13 at 4:46pm
post #10 of 32
Thread Starter 

It’s hard to tell from my drawing but I will be using a false wall with the front speakers behind the screen. The distance I have from the front screen to the first row is about 11’ from the chair back. The second row distance is about 16’ from the chair back. The distance I have for the second row leaves 5’1” from chair back to chair back. I should probably move the front seats forward about 16” for the recliners.


The distance I have for the second row leaves about 2.5’ from the back wall. I like the idea for putting the surrounds into the columns, although the surrounds im using (klipsch RS-62’s do look nice on their own. I will try out moving the sconces onto the acoustical panels and see how that looks.


I haven’t got into soundproofing yet. I still have a lot to read about. Even though it’s just me and the wife, I would like to keep the sound out from upstairs. Im going to go check out those other builds you have now…

post #11 of 32
start reading the articles at soundproofingcompany.com
post #12 of 32
Like Nick said, welcome to AVS.
Big is a great resource for AVS members, honest, straight forward, no nonsense.

Visit Nick's HT - heck he's your neighbor, then you have open invite to visit mine, Hartland US-23/M-59.
Since you have some ideas and feedback, now is time to see some HT's to help your planning process.

I've got too much to say in a post....

HT Layout:

HT (2013) ......................... Screen shot ........................................ Rear shot
HT%252011.3%2520cover%2520off%2520Pano-b.jpg . _MG_5464.jpg
Edited by mtbdudex - 1/27/14 at 9:30am
post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the invite mtbdudex, I think I may take you up on your offer after a little more research.


I'm having a hard time deciding on what to do for the ceiling.  I wanted to do a soffit type ceiling around the outside with lighting but not sure if they will work with the ceiling height/beam and air ducts in the way.  I also was thinking about doing a drop ceiling with the acoustic fiber optic star ceiling panels.  Does anyone have an idea of what would work best in my situation.  Here is a picture of the space im working with. 


The ceiling height is 8'8".  Air ducts are 8' and the beam is 7'10"


post #14 of 32

Feel free to stop by and take a look at how I masked my beam.  I'm only a few miles away and would be glad to help you with your design.



post #15 of 32
We had a beam

We kind of made it go away, the concept is to draw your attention to everything else in the room with the accent trim and lighting and leave it a dark color. IMHO the further back in the room the better, You may want to consider flipping your room.

For more click Rawinsway
Edited by BIGmouthinDC - 12/31/13 at 8:45pm
post #16 of 32
Thread Starter 

BIGmouthinDC you're a genius at this stuff.  I should of thought of that. (flipping room around) and thanks for the tips on how to hide the beam. It also opens up my options for a star ceiling.  I have some idea of what I could do now.  I'm thinking of having the star panels on both sides of the beam and either leaving it open or possibly a 2'x2' frame to make it look like skylight windows. 


If I do the star panels I can do the drop ceiling or drywall the ceiling and hang the panels.  I'm leaning towards going the drop ceiling route as Im hesitant on closing of the ceiling completely.  is there any reason I should go one way over the other?




Edit:  Here is what im thinking...  I want to treat the walls like Bzbase did for his theater


Edited by Black93fiveO - 1/1/14 at 3:06pm
post #17 of 32
Thread Starter 
I'm pretty happy with it. I think I may start building soon.
Edited by Black93fiveO - 1/27/14 at 9:08am
post #18 of 32
Thread Starter 

Subfloor is in!  Ended up using Dricore


Would it be better to start building the soffits around the perimeter or frame the walls first?  Since my ceilings are 8'8",  I figure if I do the soffits first I can use regular 8' 2x4s instead of cutting down 10' boards.  Does this make sense?  Anyone know of the best way for me to build the soffits and attach them to the outside wall?  Sorry, I'm new at this and trying to learn as I go. appreciate all the help I can get.




Also about to make a projector selection.  I decided to do a JVC with eshift so I can have the front row a little closer and not see pixilation.  I found a refurbished RS48 on ebay for $3200 from the jvcprostore seller.  Is that a safe purchase?  I also spoke with Craig at AVS Sience and got a quote from him for the RS4910.  Anyone have a recommendation?  is eshift worth1-2k more compared to a RS46?


Edited by Black93fiveO - 1/27/14 at 9:07am
post #19 of 32
1 example is look at how Nick G did his soffits, from this post:
post #20 of 32
Build the walls first and around here they sell studs designed for framing 9 ft walls. They don't cost much more than the 8 ft variety. http://www.lowes.com/pd_7013-99899-24SS.104+5/8_0__?productId=3604942

It will easier and if you plan on any soundproofing you will be glad you did. Building solid sealed walls and ceiling is critical step and if you frame in soffits first it makes it harder. The walls also need to be isolated, insulated and massive with dampening.
Edited by BIGmouthinDC - 1/27/14 at 12:42pm
post #21 of 32
Not sure if your building your walls on top of the dricore, but if there is ever a possibility of water damage you may want to reconsider. Repairing such damage is a lot easier when you can just pull the dricore up.
post #22 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks BIG, I didn’t know they made that size 2x4

I was planning on building on top of the Dricore. I’m not expecting any water issues but you make a good point about it being easier to replace. I may consider doing that way now.

Ordered my projector today from Craig at AVS Science! I bought the JVC RS-4910
post #23 of 32
Yeah, I did it that way and it paid off. Logan built his walls on top of the dricore and had to go around the perimeter to cut it out.

Looks like a great projector. When you receive it, open it, test it, put it away... or else everything will come to a halt. Good luck.
post #24 of 32
Thread Starter 

Any ideas on how to attach the top plate of the front wall that's under the air duct?  I suppose I could use the wall that's already there but I was planning on doing wall with in a wall for soundproofing.

post #25 of 32
IB3 clip. sometimes you might have to secure them directly to the concrete with an appropriate anchor.

post #26 of 32
Thread Starter 
Making some progress

post #27 of 32
Nice progress, and that's one of the best floor tape jobs I've seen! Really gives you a feel for how the room is going to look. Subscribed.
post #28 of 32
Thread Starter 


Just waiting for a second hand with drywall and still haven't figure out how to do a return for the HVAC.

post #29 of 32
Man many of you are right near me! We live in White Lake off White Lk Rd and Ormond. Were on 2.25 acers and have nothing but woods and a swamp behind, neigbors are quite far also i doubt I could hit a golf ball to their houses. Ive lurked for awhile and found your thread while looking into how to do my ceilings. Im not sure if i want to do a dedicated theather per se. I mostly have a height issue only maybe 20% of the basement is 8' the rest is 6'11 from concrete to the bottom of the ducts/ beams so my plan after talking to a guy at work (Fire Dept his side job is building) is make a extensive bulkhead with 1/2 osb for structure and 1/2 or even 1/4 drywall to try and keep it at 6'10 and maybe offer a slight bit of soundproofing (using some R13 to R19 fiberglass also) Its the only downside to our house is basement ceiling heights....... Also what programs are used to get a nice blueprint like that my hand sketches are terrible
post #30 of 32
As I'm in the planning stage of building my own HT (http://www.avsforum.com/t/1514892/the-belgian-connection-small-dedicated-ht-project#post_24394481 ) I subscribed to yours to follow your progress and idea's.
I thought the idea for your aquarium was was supercool and very Bond-like. I realise it's far from perfect for a HT, but It would have been extremely cool to somehow make it happen. Like with a pair of sliding doors that you wrap in fabric? I think that would be doable, even with some acoustic insulation?
I'm just a sucker for Bond stuff smile.gif

Best of luck on your HT Build man!
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