After a four-year break from the HT scene, I'm ready for a new build.
Wow, things have changed around here - the size, complexity, and quality of rooms have really shot to the next level. What used to be wild - full decoupling, green glue everywhere, 2.35 - has become the norm. Price tags seem to have gone up too, and the modest build community doesn't seem as active as it used to be. No lack of inspiration though!
Well, I've got a tiny space and budget, so like my last build - Theater For Hobbits 1.0
- the goal is to steal some of the great ideas from your amazing projects and miniaturize/cheapify them while still aspiring to a quality feel. Here's the plan....The Space
A semi-open basement alcove that measures approximately 10x12x8, adjoining a small office, and an under-stair storage room that offers some extra space to recess an equipment rack and subwoofer. The original plan was a more "normal" configuration with the screen on the short wall, but after hours of sitting on the floor and staring at blue tape, we decided that rotating 90 degrees opened up the room, allowed more space for the office area, and just felt right.Theater Design
Until last week, this was to be a 16:9 build - hence the blue tape. Then I discovered the Panamorph CineVista lens
for $1K, and that opened up a can of worms. So Hobbit 2.0 will now be a short-throw 2.35 CIH setup with a 106" wide scope screen (115" diagonal), curved to partially compensate for the nasty 2% pincushion that this setup will create. After mocking up both 1.78 and 2.35 screens, I can't believe how narrow the former looks.
For now, seating will be the same cheap couch that travelled across the continent with us from Hobbit 1.0. Eyeballs will be just over 9' back, providing a nice 2.5x screen height, 42 degree field of view. Based on the blue tape, it feels perfect. If I scoot the couch forward a few inches, I can just get the surrounds to 100 degrees from center, per Dolby standards. I'm sticking with 5.1 - there's not much point going further with this room layout.
Everyone loved the miniature curved stage in my last room, so I'm going to do another one. In classic AVS fashion, there will be fabric panels over acoustic treatments, and little integrated corner columns to conceal the surrounds and bass traps. One thing that I really wanted to do in the last build - but couldn't because of the 6 3/4' height - was a tray ceiling with rope light, so l'm hell bent on doing it this time.AV Considerations
I'm a wuss and don't listen at reference levels, so to keep the budget down, we will not go the fully monty with isolation. That said, the far wall is shared since we live in a duplex. It's already decoupled with two stud walls, insulation, and 5/8" sheetrock, but to make it better, I will do another layer of 5/8" drywall with GG, as well as relocating and sealing off any holes in this wall.
Inside our unit, the only consideration is that sound not travel to the second floor bedrooms. I ran some tests, and with the main floor acting as a buffer, the biggest issue is noise leaking through and around the cheap door that closes off the basement. I will replace this with a Safe n' Sound plus seals and an automatic bottom, which hopefully improve things.
Street noise and light comes through the large window in the rear wall, so I'll seal that off with two layers of 5/8" + GG and fabric panels to match, turning it into a little shelf and alcove for the projector. Since I need every inch of throw, this bumpout is actually quite welcome.
Like Hobbit 1.0, I don't have enough length for an AT screen setup, so I'll be using shadowboxes again. I scored 2 very nice pairs of Paradigm On-Wall Mini Monitors on Craigslist last month, which will allow me to design a very shallow screen wall. Coupled with the depth of the curved screen, I think the boxes will almost disappear. The screen backs onto a closet, from which I will steal space from for a small equipment rack and a sub alcove, both concealed in the lower box. This will force the LCRs to go above the screen, where they will be mounted and angled to the listening position. It's the most compact setup I can think of.Equipment List
Small, humble, and tight is the name of the game. Everything that I don't already own, I'm trying to get used, refurbished, or on clearance.
- Epson 8350 projector
- Panamorph CineVista anamorphic lens with homebrew mount
- Elite Screens Lunette 115" curved 2.35:1,106"x45" viewable, CineWhite 1.1 gain, 40' radius
- Onkyo TX-NR818 AVR - world's cheapest Audyssey XT32 + HQV Reon unit
- Darbee Darblet processor
- 3 x Paradigm Mini Monitor-OW v3 LCR
- 2 x Paradigm Atom Monitor v3 SL, SR (5.1 setup)
- SVS SB-12NSD 12" powered sub
- Sony PlayStation 4 preordered!! - for gaming and BD
- AppleTV - for streaming and music library
- Cisco CIS430 PVR - for broadcast
- Belkin PureAV PF60 power controller and conditioner
- Harmony 900RF universal remote
- Smarthome Insteon lighting controllers, tied into PC-based home system