Budget Theater - Dedicated Home Theater on a Budget - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 189 Old 02-02-2015, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Budget Theater - Dedicated Home Theater on a Budget

Goal: - While a member of AVS, I have seem some immaculate dedicated Home Theaters. I have always been enamored with the elegance and dedication that some members can put into their theaters. Also, I have been amazed at the allotted budgets some have for a dedicated home theater. As for me, I am a new home owner and realize that although, I would love to have a $50,000 dedicated Home Theater, it really isn't in the cards. So I am attempting to show that one can have a dedicated Home Theater, tat you can enjoy for a modest budget.

Budget: - $5000. This includes all cabling, carpet, projector, seating, and material.

Equipment: - There are a few pieces of equipment I already have, which will not be going into the budget. This includes a modest receiver: Pioneer Elite VSX - 50. For Speakers I have 2 Klipsch F3 tower speakers, C3 center and 2 S3 Surrounds, along with a Cadence CSX-12 subwoofer. One Bonded Leather Love Seat and ottoman.

Room: - For this build, I am taking an already existing room in the basement and converting it to a dedicated Home Theater. The room is 10'6" wide, 25' long and about 7'2" high. The room was already insulated, but no other soundproofing will be done at this time, to conserve costs. The finished room will consist of 3 rows of seating. Two rows will be for couches and one will be a counter behind the couches.

Equipment Needed: - Here is a list of the Equipment needed along with the costs associated with the material.

BenQ w1070 - $700
Peerless PRGUNV - $97
120" AT Jamestown Screen - $560
50' Media Bridge Ultra Series HDMI: $25
250' Monoprice 12ga In-wall Speaker Wire - $85
50' Monoprice CL2 Rated Subwoofer Cable - $10
50' IR cable extender - $15
Misc Wall Plates: $20
Black Outlets and Covers: $50
Insteon Dimmer Switches: $115
Misc Building Supplies (for false wall, stage, riser, insulation, speaker cloth, etc): $500
Drywall: $45
Paint: $200
Carpet, pad and installation: $700
6 pair of Estar 3D Glasses - $240
100' of r30 Insulation: $40

Currently I sit at around $3430 for the grand total. This will allow others flexibility if they do not have some of the equipment I already possess. I hope in the end I have a theater I am proud of, while inspiring others to start building their own theater off their modest budget.
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post #2 of 189 Old 02-02-2015, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are a few shots of the room. As you can see, the previous owner thought this should be two rooms. I humbly disagree. Time to knock some walls down!


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post #3 of 189 Old 02-02-2015, 10:27 PM - Thread Starter
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The walls came down. Then we had to do a test fit. A special thanks to my friends Nate, who is taking a break after all our hard work.



It looks like everything will fit, as I was expecting. The Theater will consist of these two rows and a bar/counter behind the second couch. The bar will be an unusual height, so it looks like I will have to custom build some bar stools.



Budget Tip: Do a test fit, before you build it all. You will save yourself a lot of time and money finding out it will or will not fit, before you build it. Also, don't forget about were the projector will be sitting. You don't want that in your eye sight.
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post #4 of 189 Old 02-02-2015, 10:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Please let me know, if you have any concerns with anything I am doing. I am willing to listen to observations, equipment upgrades, etc. So if there are any concerns or you think that I should be doing something I am not, please let me know.
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post #5 of 189 Old 02-03-2015, 03:17 AM
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Opening up the room was a smart idea! I'd recommend getting a redmere hdmi if you are doing a 50 ft run. I've had bad luck with standard hdmi at long runs and redmere helps eliminate that problem. If you are running cables in wall, make sure you test the cable before putting the drywall up. Or you can run tubing (smurf tube) to future proof cable runs (low voltage).
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post #6 of 189 Old 02-03-2015, 05:09 AM
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It is a pretty big room you may want to add more than one sub. Consider a kit from DIY sound group.
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post #7 of 189 Old 02-03-2015, 06:40 AM
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The more time you spend on this forum, the higher your budget will go. It's inevitable. If you want to keep under that $$ number.. stay away!



I think if I had a room that was already drywalled and insulated I would have a really hard time with the idea of tearing it down to rebuild it for soundproofing. Hopefully you'll be ok with the existing structure.

Your room dimensions are pretty similar to mine. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress and maybe stealing an idea or two from you.
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post #8 of 189 Old 02-03-2015, 07:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
It is a pretty big room you may want to add more than one sub. Consider a kit from DIY sound group.
Ditto with BIG...that is a large space for a single 12" sub. I would use 4 subs in that space for optimal bass performance across the seating area. DIY sound group is a great place to get a lot of bang for your buck. If you are not a bass fanatic 3 additional 12" subs should do the trick at minimal cost. If you love bass, like most on AVS, and want reference level then 4 15" or 18" would be recommended.

This should be a fun build to follow, more in line with my future plans than the ubber theaters.
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post #9 of 189 Old 02-03-2015, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ch1sox View Post
Opening up the room was a smart idea! I'd recommend getting a redmere hdmi if you are doing a 50 ft run. I've had bad luck with standard hdmi at long runs and redmere helps eliminate that problem. If you are running cables in wall, make sure you test the cable before putting the drywall up. Or you can run tubing (smurf tube) to future proof cable runs (low voltage).
That's a great idea! I actually forgot about redmere. I know monoprice sells some redmere HDMI's. Is there any that you recommend?
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post #10 of 189 Old 02-03-2015, 07:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
It is a pretty big room you may want to add more than one sub. Consider a kit from DIY sound group.
You are right. I'll never be able to pressurize the room with just my existing sub. The room, is way too big, the sub doesn't go as low as some would like. I did a test fit today. It sounds good, but definitely not pressurized. I will take a look into some of the DIY subs. Though, I'm not sure in the budget now. Thanks for the input! I've never visited that site before

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post #11 of 189 Old 02-03-2015, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Here were the first sketches I did. Unfortunately, I could not find two couches that fit the way I wanted to on the top riser, so the plan has changed a little. I ended up pushing all the seating to the right hand side of the room. This allowed an alley down the left for people to get to their seats. I still like this design better, but it won't work in my setup. Maybe someone else can use it

Also, I noticed that the doorway placement, although would work, seemed a little tight. Therefore, I went ahead and moved it to the very back of the room. The door has to open inwards, due to hallway limitations.. This means I lost a little of the back of the room counter space. But don't worry, I still have room for a mini-fridge!

Obviously my design has changed a little. But do you guys see anything inherently wrong with it?





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post #12 of 189 Old 02-03-2015, 07:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eikon View Post
The more time you spend on this forum, the higher your budget will go. It's inevitable. If you want to keep under that $$ number.. stay away!



I think if I had a room that was already drywalled and insulated I would have a really hard time with the idea of tearing it down to rebuild it for soundproofing. Hopefully you'll be ok with the existing structure.

Your room dimensions are pretty similar to mine. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress and maybe stealing an idea or two from you.
Lol. Thanks for the advice. I hope you like the progress. I too, could not see myself tearing everything down, just to rebuild it. Luckily, this is on the complete other side of the house, then the master bedroom. I plan to add a solid core door, to help further cut down sound transmission. And of course finish the drywall and insulation.
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post #13 of 189 Old 02-03-2015, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Toid View Post
That's a great idea! I actually forgot about redmere. I know monoprice sells some redmere HDMI's. Is there any that you recommend?
+1 on the redmere I used the 30' ft on my install from the wall plate to the projector; works great. I also took extra effort to run the electrical for the projector in the opposite direction from the HDMI ie not parallel to it in the ceiling.
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post #14 of 189 Old 02-03-2015, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Or you can run tubing (smurf tube) to future proof cable runs (low voltage).
I like the idea of putting some tubing up. I had not thought of that. I'll have to go look at some tonight at HD.
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post #15 of 189 Old 02-03-2015, 12:59 PM
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Subscribed! I wish there were more threads on theaters on a budget. This is going to be very helpful to me as I am in the middle of purchasing my first home and will have to try and find room for a Theater on my limited budget.
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post #16 of 189 Old 02-03-2015, 01:17 PM
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That's a great idea! I actually forgot about redmere. I know monoprice sells some redmere HDMI's. Is there any that you recommend?
The monoprice ones are fine.
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post #17 of 189 Old 02-03-2015, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
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I got my Speaker wire in and sub cable! What to do next? Install it of course! I installed the front 3 speaker wires and sub, but running it through the wall. Luckily I have a big gap between the two walls, due to the steel support beam being straddled by the two walls. THis made running the wires a cinch. After wards, I tested the speaker placement. I move the rear speakers 3 times before I decided on a final placement.



I still have to permanently hook up the rear speakers. For now, I just hooked up some old Monster CL3 rated 16 ga wire to them. This is due to the fact, that the right rear speaker wire will be going through the 12" riser once that is built. Since it is not built, there is no speaker wire ran.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/attach...1&d=1456980566

Enough talk, let the testing begin!
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post #18 of 189 Old 02-04-2015, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
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I was able to run a few wires today. Unfortunately, I needed some electrical wiring for the projector. I ended up running to Home Depot to get some. I decided on 100' of 12-2 wiring (yellow). I am running not only the projector, but also 3 more outlets that will hook up a mini fridge, my receiver and all other electronic devices. I figured I might at well run the 12-2 now, as it gives me plenty of room to upgrade to stand alone amps later down the road.

While at Home Depot, I also decided on my color scheme. I plan to paint all the trim and ceiling in Behr Broadway (the same paint you see the wall behind the screen painted). The top of the wall will be painted a dark grey, Behr Intellectual. All paint will be the Behr Ultra Plus, which includes the primer. I've also been playing with the idea of putting up some wood paneling and faux columns. Of course, I have a plan that will keep costs down. I'm thinking the color stain will be Rustoleum cabernet. Here's a mini mock up of what I am thinking. If it works, I'll let you all know my secret to make it look nice, while staying within budget.

*The colors are not an exact match

What do you think?
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post #19 of 189 Old 02-04-2015, 08:50 PM
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Sounds like you are making great progress. Look forward to seeing it complete.
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post #20 of 189 Old 02-04-2015, 08:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Sounds like you are making great progress. Look forward to seeing it complete.
Thanks! I just saw the pictures of your theater...very nice! I hope mine looks a quarter as good as yours when I'm finished. I love the color scheme, chairs, honestly the whole layout.
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post #21 of 189 Old 02-05-2015, 05:23 AM
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Thanks! I just saw the pictures of your theater...very nice! I hope mine looks a quarter as good as yours when I'm finished. I love the color scheme, chairs, honestly the whole layout.
Thanks, we are really happy with it. Still have some little things I would like to do.
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post #22 of 189 Old 02-05-2015, 06:25 AM
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Looks good so far. I will also be doing one on a budget, so I'm very interested in yours.
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post #23 of 189 Old 02-05-2015, 07:52 AM
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I'm trying to keep to a $4k budget myself.. but that's really just for room construction. I'm not counting A/V equipment or furniture (I have most of it already).

I should have been an easy task to stay well under this, until I started reading about soundproofing techniques.. My house has terrible sound transmission (I can hear a pin drop on the first floor from my master bedroom). So with that in mind I was quickly convinced that I need to really work hard on sound. I want to be able to enjoy my space without keeping the wife and kids up.

I can't believe the money that i've been spending on things I hadn't even considered prior to starting this project. The cost of double drywall, green glue, decoupling clips, HVAC ducting and fans and lighting.. though I'll admit that lighting has been an extravagance for me that I probably could have done without. Anyhow.. I think I'm going to be at $5k easy when I'm done.. that sucks! Hopefully the IRS is kind to me this year.
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post #24 of 189 Old 02-05-2015, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
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until I started reading about soundproofing techniques...
I completely understand this. It seems every time you read, there is more and more sound proofing you can do. I was lucky/unlucky all at once. Lucky, my room was already partially finished with brand new insulation. It really does dramatically cut the sound transmission tot he upstairs. THe only thing that really travels is the bass, but even that is fairly minimal (that may have more to do with my 1 sub). But I'm also unlucky, in the sense that I'll never have as good of soundproofing as you.

I did not have the furniture, but I was able to find a dual reclining real leather couch on craigslist. THe thing was in great shape and I feel I got it for a steal...$350! I still am on the hunt for another one. I thought about theater recliners, but passed for a few reasons. First, they are very expensive and second with only 10'6" wide, I was very limited to the amount of space I could reasonable fit them. It honestly was going to be a little cozy with theater seating. Another idea I had, which I think would be great for someone on a budget and with kids, is to do some XL Cozy Sacs. They are relatively inexpensive, comfortable and save ceiling space, if that is an issue.

Budget Tip: Check Craigslist and think of alternative seating for your theater room. You can always add Theater Recliners later, if that is what you really want, but isn't in the budget. I got my reclining couch for $350. This was originally a $1200 couch. I'll take that savings anyday!

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post #25 of 189 Old 02-05-2015, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Good news. I went to Home Depot today to buy some R19 insulation for my riser. Unfortunately, they sold their entire lot in the morning. Instead of going home disappointed, I thought I would try my luck at Lowes. I picked up some stain I wanted to try on a few test samples of wood and went to look at their insulation. I was amazed, as all of it was on clearance. Unfortunately, they too were sold out of R19, which is what most use for their riser. I could have gone R13, but would need more insulation, so I didn't really want to do that. Low and behold I saw R30 attic insulation being clearanced out for $13 a roll! That was a huge discount so I went ahead an picked up 3 rolls (31.25 sqft a roll). Now I have a dilemma.

First, should I use r30 for my riser, most use either r13 or r19? Second, if I do use it, should I pack my 11 1/2" riser full of it or should I leave some room in it? The r30 insulation is about 9 1/2 inches tall. So if I just laid one strip down, it would leave about 1 1/2 inches of space. Otherwise, I could cut them in 11 1/2" segments or if you have suggestions, I am open to them.

I figure I can always return it, if you guys think I should. Let me know your thoughts.

Budget Tip: Check local stores for clearance material you can use, Don't just go to the one supplier for all your material. If you are on a budget, it helps to shop around.

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post #26 of 189 Old 02-05-2015, 04:32 PM
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one strip is fine, don't pack it. 1 1/2 inch gap won't make a difference

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post #27 of 189 Old 02-05-2015, 08:05 PM - Thread Starter
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one strip is fine, don't pack it. 1 1/2 inch gap won't make a difference
Thanks Bigmouth! I knew you would know. I did miscalculate,it looks like it'll be about a 2 inch gap,but if you don't think It'll make a difference, I am going with it.

So for less than $40,I got all the insulation I need for my riser and for my stage! Thank you Lowes clearance!
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post #28 of 189 Old 02-06-2015, 07:07 AM
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Nice find on the insulation. You are making good progress.
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post #29 of 189 Old 02-06-2015, 08:54 PM - Thread Starter
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I know I haven't posted in a few days, but I thought I'd give an update on the progress I've been making. I've been working on drywalling a few areas and moving outlets. So far, I have moved a light switch that was previously in the wall I took down. I've also wired an outlet for the projector ran an HDMI and an IR extension cable (which will be used with my older than dirt Harmony 1000 remote).

I'm hoping to start painting sometime this week, if not this weekend. In the meantime I though I would share some pretty awesome deals I've found. All of these deals are shared, so you can later find something like it if you are also on a budget.

Budget Tips:

1. I got some speaker grill fabric from Joann Fabrics. They ran a sale for $6.99 per yard. Their speaker cloth is 60 inches wide for every yard. That means by getting 4 yards (12' x 5' for $28), I got all the fabric needed for my false wall. I plan to wrap the false wall in it. Similar to the minimalist false wall BigmouthinDC built.

2. I believe in banana plugs. I currently have enough plugs for 3.5 full sets of speakers (so a total of 7 pairs of plugs). I got these Monster Cable banana plugs various times at Best Buy or on sale. But, I really like to have all my plugs the same. So after searching for Monster, they ran $20 a pair and I needed 2 pair ($40). I really didn't want to spend $40, so I was looking for a cheaper alternative that others could also use. That's when I came across these. They are $28 for 12 paris! That means you can hook up a 6.1 speaker system with just this one pack. Assuming, you go straight to the receiver to your speakers. The best thing, they are made exactly like the Monster Cable, but at a fraction of the price!

3. Wall plates, are not the most expensive, but they can add price to your theater, with just having to get more banana plugs and cabling to accomodate them. That's when I found these covers. I bought 2 of them. I hooked one up by my front speakers and ran the speaker wire as well as the sub cable. The second one, I hung from the ceiling to allow the cables going to the projector. It is a very nice wall plate and the best thing about it, is it comes with a cut out template as well as the wings that secure it to the drywall.

The second cover I got to put behind the receiver. I would have used the kind I previously used, but there really wasn't enough room in it. So instead I bought this. This thing is great! It has enough room to run a thick HDMI cable, 7 in-wall CL2 12ga speaker wires, a CL2 rated subwoofer cable, an IR extension cable, CL2 rated RG6 cable and could still fit some more The only thing you need to keep in mind with this is you need to buy a low voltage bracket for is to screw into ($1.38 at HD).

There probably are cheaper wall plates, but these are really nice and I highly recommend them!

4. Camel! If you are building a theater on a budget get to know Camel Camel Camel. It is a web browser extension that will keep track of price from Amazon. It can also e-mail you whenever a specific product you want gets to a price you designate (This can even be from 3rd parties). It is very useful to help save some money. I recently was able to get the Peerless PRGUNV mount for under $97 (that includes tax).

Last edited by Al Toid; 02-15-2015 at 09:27 PM.
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post #30 of 189 Old 02-07-2015, 08:46 PM
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Looks good so far. Check out my budget build...

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-ded...d-theater.html
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