In the first part of March, I decided to hire Bryan Bape to help with the acoustical design. Bryan runs a company called Sensible Sound Solutions in the St. Louis area that does acoustical designs and consulting among other tings that I've missed as well). Quite a few of the folks on this forum have secured the services of a designer to complete their room design. I chose Bryan.
I corresponded with Bryan via email and sent him some information about my build, and he called nearly immediately. Bryan was concerned that I was so far along and that I needed to understand the ramifications of some of the decisions that I had made. These included:
1. Placing the projector against the back wall - 23 feet away from the 140" screen. This would require a higher end projector to handle this image. He walked me through options that will save a significant amount of money.
2. Building the soffits before the walls were built. I wanted to have lights in the soffits, and he walked me through the pros and cons of my approach.
3. Overall orientation of the room. Bryan was concerned that the back corner of my room would not accommodate 8 chairs as I had in the initial design. He was also concerned about the reflections from my double doors and the pole that I'll have behind the screen wall (affecting speaker placement).
4. Location of the false screen wall.
Overall, it was an eye opener for me. I had asked Bryan to give me the straight poop as he saw it...I needed to know where I was introducing issues into my build that would compromise the acoustics and overall performance of the room. I'd then be in a position to determine whether I wanted to make the change or introduce the compromise to the project.
After an hour long phone call, I was quite confident that Bryan was the guy I needed on the project. We corresponded a bit more, and I completed the questionnaire that he sent along complete with photos and measurements. He completed the room layout and started me on the path to a better room.
I can only say that I wish I had brought a designer into the picture sooner. Some of the work that follows are, shall we say - "do-overs".