Serendipty Theater - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 141 Old 07-11-2015, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Serendipty Theater

So the time has come to start my theater build thread. I've been a lurker on these forums for a while now and I spend probably a few too many nights combing through threads... what can I say, I'm hooked! Oh and yeah I know that isn't how you spell serendipity, but it's my wife's online name as the original spelling was taken.


Here's a little background on myself, which you can skip if you want to get right to the theater.
Spoiler!


The theater project is still a little in the planning phase though I have built a few speakers and a sub already as mentioned above. I have a few pictures attached to show everyone what I'm working with. The first is a top down view showing the basement as it is right now. The left side rooms (workout, bathroom, office) are all under construction.

The future theater area is roughly 15'8" X 28' X 7'8", note the back wall is not framed in yet and yes I am sad about the height especially with me being 6'5"... but it's what I have to work with. Currently the plan is to put the screen down on the left wall as shown in the second picture. I'm planning on a speaker wall about 30-36" away from the back wall with the screen about another 6" in front of that. You can see from the first picture that the ducting is all against one side of the room. We are going to move the cold air return to the opposite wall and then frame around them to give us the drop down around the perimeter.

That leaves the little cubby I have called out as option 1 for a possible equipment rack area... which brings me to my first real big dilemma in the build. I have identified two areas as possible homes for my equipment rack: option 1 and option 2. The first is open floor to ceiling and will have an access door behind it. My concern with it is how close to the screen it will be (8-12") and that the lights from the equipment may be distracting. The second option is limited by it's height only being 5'. It too has rear access but is limited in height so I would have to crawl under the stairs to get back there.

So those are my two options I have come up with. I'm open to any ideas as to better placement or how to best work either option as well as any ideas for the theater in general. I've been jotting down ideas and marking threads/posts with lessons learned or concepts for my build so I'm not going into this completely uneducated, but I will also take any advice. I've zipped up two of my sketchups and attached them just in case anyone wants to take a look.
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post #2 of 141 Old 07-11-2015, 09:05 PM
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I'd go with option 1 and a removable panel inside the theater to get at wiring, with the equipment facing into the workout room. The lights on the equipment will be distracting anywhere inside the theater, whether they actually shine on the screen or not. No matter what you do, you can't get a good angle to control IR equipment in either location, so that means RF or repeaters and the equipment can anywhere -- the furnace room, the storage room, the workout room.

The storage room might provide for the shortest cable run for HDMI to the projector, which is the only cable length that is really a problem -- not under the landing, but out in the open in the storage room. And if the ceiling joists run parallel to the screen wall, then the storage room will give the most direct run with the fewest joists to drill through and weaken. Cables under the stair landing, up the wall, across within a joist bay to the projector. But if you don't want to give up the floor space in the storage room or come and go to load blurays or adjust equipment, then Option 1.

I don't know how large your movie library is or where you intend to store them, but the "storage room" might be a good place to have a bookcase or two of discs. Likewise the room behind the french doors. In either case, having a space where the discs can be on display and the equipment rack in the same area is a thought.

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post #3 of 141 Old 07-12-2015, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Can't believe I never thought to put the rack in the storage room... that's brilliant! The joists do run parallel to the screen so it will be fairly simple to run them straight over to the new theater room. Thanks for the advice!
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post #4 of 141 Old 07-12-2015, 12:28 PM
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Oh yea, that storage room would make a lot of sense. Full access, no heat worries. Having an RF remote makes it all work. Now, will some of the longer speaker wire runs have any issues?
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post #5 of 141 Old 07-13-2015, 05:12 AM - Thread Starter
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So my next big hurdle is figuring out how to frame around the ducting to get the best sound isolation for the room all while trying not to lose too much height. I can take some pictures and post if that is useful. For those with Sketchup you can just see my drawings to get an idea of what I have to work with.
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post #6 of 141 Old 07-14-2015, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok attached are two pictures, one from the top and one from below, of my current ducting framing dilemma. I'm moving the cold air return to the opposite side of the room so I can have two equal sized drop downs.

I know I can do the standard framing around them by creating ladders to drop the ceiling down around each ducting, but my concern is sound isolation. I plan on doing the sheetrock in between the floor joists with GG and channels with double 5/8 and GG on the main portion of the ceiling.

I'm worried that I'll go to all that trouble and that the two ducting areas will just let all the sound through. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how best frame the drop downs for sound isolation?

Thanks!
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post #7 of 141 Old 07-14-2015, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerumas View Post
Ok attached are two pictures, one from the top and one from below, of my current ducting framing dilemma. I'm moving the cold air return to the opposite side of the room so I can have two equal sized drop downs.

I know I can do the standard framing around them by creating ladders to drop the ceiling down around each ducting, but my concern is sound isolation. I plan on doing the sheetrock in between the floor joists with GG and channels with double 5/8 and GG on the main portion of the ceiling.

I'm worried that I'll go to all that trouble and that the two ducting areas will just let all the sound through. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how best frame the drop downs for sound isolation?

Thanks!

The idea is to make the soffits part of the structure that you build for sound isolation. The vertical side portion of the soffit hangs down from the ceiling assembly and the bottom horizontal portion attaches to the wall assembly and the bottom of the vertical side portion. You keep it isolated from the ductwork and the house framing that is not part of your sound isolation. It becomes just another part of your sound isolating "bunker".


I attached a picture from the "Show me your Soffit" thread. This is just an example of one possible sub-structure. You would use this as a starting point and use the same technique that you use for the rest of the structure to build your soffits (double drywall or OSB & drywall, Green Glue, etc.) You don't need clips and channels as part of the soffit structure, since it is hanging from structure that is already "floating" on clips and channels. There are many possible techniques including the ladder construction. You could use less expensive OSB covered with drywall, rather than plywood as shown in the picture. I find that a 2x2 top and bottom with OSB is faster, easier and lighter than ladder type construction. If you use 5/8" OSB, it would take the place as the bottom layer of drywall in your double drywall construction.


In your case, the drywall on the side wall of the room could stop at or just above the bottom of the soffit. It would not need to continue up behind your ductwork.


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post #8 of 141 Old 07-14-2015, 04:34 PM
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Could all those small area around the end of stairs be reworked to combined to produce a
more open area and better path to the bathroom and office? I'm guessing some support posts
are buried in those walls, but do you really want to walk through the workout room to get
to the office or bathroom?


Why French doors? They will leak sound.


Wouldn't it be better to move the theater down to the end of the basement, and
put the AT space on the exterior wall?


Is the 7'8" height to the bottom of the joists, or the ductwork?
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post #9 of 141 Old 07-14-2015, 04:37 PM
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Dave, when I see that picture, I have to wonder if there's a further 1.5" of soffit that could be reclaimed, by
framing in the joist cavity?
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post #10 of 141 Old 07-14-2015, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
Could all those small area around the end of stairs be reworked to combined to produce a more open area and better path to the bathroom and office? I'm guessing some support posts
are buried in those walls, but do you really want to walk through the workout room to get
to the office or bathroom?
The wall directly in front of the bottom of the stairs has a very large I beam on the upper left corner as you look at it from the steps. That was a bit much to deal with in configuring our basement. Walking through the workout room doesn't bother us as it's just my wife and I.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
Why French doors? They will leak sound.
The bar area is getting the same sound isolation construction as the main theater, and whatever the door design, we were planning to put sound treatment on the sides facing the theater.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
Wouldn't it be better to move the theater down to the end of the basement, and
put the AT space on the exterior wall?
The end of the basement has a walkout as well as plumbing for our future bar area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
Is the 7'8" height to the bottom of the joists, or the ductwork?
That is the height to the bottom of the joists sadly.
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post #11 of 141 Old 07-14-2015, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Dave, thanks for the huge tip! I swear that I keep having these aha moments with this thread. That plan will work perfectly giving me all the sound treatment I'm after. Thanks!
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post #12 of 141 Old 07-14-2015, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerumas View Post
Dave, thanks for the huge tip! I swear that I keep having these aha moments with this thread. That plan will work perfectly giving me all the sound treatment I'm after. Thanks!
Tin ductwork can still rattle, even from air movement inside the duct, not just from bass inside the theater. There is a product call U-Seal that comes in rolls 33' long and 3' wide that is almost identical to Dynamat but available at hardware stores and much cheaper. It is intended for roofing edges to prevent ice damming. It is self adhesive and wrapping the ducts with it before building the soffits is something to consider.

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post #13 of 141 Old 07-14-2015, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerumas View Post
Can't believe I never thought to put the rack in the storage room... that's brilliant! The joists do run parallel to the screen so it will be fairly simple to run them straight over to the new theater room. Thanks for the advice!
Glad I could help. We get so used to IR remotes and pointing them at the device that we sometimes forget there are ways to place all the gear completely away these days. If the rear area is going to be a bar, that might be a great place to have the gear and the discs and movie posters, making it a "lobby" for the theater. You can run cables inside your soffit up to the right joist bay and then across to the projector. Just make the soffit a few inches wider than the duct to accommodate some 2" PVC conduit to pull HDMI through.

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post #14 of 141 Old 07-15-2015, 03:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Tin ductwork can still rattle, even from air movement inside the duct, not just from bass inside the theater. There is a product call U-Seal that comes in rolls 33' long and 3' wide that is almost identical to Dynamat but available at hardware stores and much cheaper. It is intended for roofing edges to prevent ice damming. It is self adhesive and wrapping the ducts with it before building the soffits is something to consider.
Yeah we planned on something just like that to dampen the ducting. The Dynamat looked a little pricey for the amount we needed but that U-Seal looks a lot cheaper, thanks for the tip!
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post #15 of 141 Old 03-08-2016, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Getting started...

So we finished the other part of our basement and the new theater and bar area are cleaned out. We're ready to begin construction on the theater. I've made a short list of the first few steps we are starting very soon.
  • Apply sheetrock with GG layer to the underside of the upstairs subfloor between each of the joists.
  • Apply sheet rock with GG layer to the sides of several of the joists for conduit runs.
  • Move the cold air return to the other side of the theater.
  • Cover both ducts with dynamat or an equivalent to sound dampen.
  • Frame the exterior walls of the theater and bar.
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post #16 of 141 Old 03-17-2016, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Pictures!

So I spent a little time last weekend starting on the theater. My wife and I spent most of one day clearing out the space... until now it has been used as storage. Here is the space we are putting the theater in. The dimensions are 15' 4" wide by 26' long and sadly only 7' 9" high... when I had the house built I didn't have the foresight to get a taller basement.



Then we took a trip down to Harbor Freight and picked up a cut off tool and some disks. In one short afternoon I managed to cut off all the protruding nails in between the joists in the ceiling in preparation for green glue and drywall layer to add some mass. So the plan is to spend time this weekend working on this. I'm also planning on bulking up the sides of several of the joists where there is ducting and where I plan on putting conduit and my atmos speakers as illustrated below.



More to come...
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post #17 of 141 Old 03-18-2016, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
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So here are my soundproofing plans as my goal is to attempt to block as much sound as possible from entering or leaving the theater... feel free to advise one way or the other.
  • Build up the mass of the subfloor between the ceiling joists with drywall and GG... thinking one layer but may go with two.
  • Adding drywall and gg to the sides of joists that contain vents, conduit, piping, etc.
  • Build isolated boxes for my atmos speakers to go in between the joists... currently planning on the DIY SoundGroup Volt 10LX that I am using for surrounds upstairs.
  • Wrap all the existing ducting with some sound dampening material similar to dynamat. Had a great suggestion earlier to use ice/water shielding for roofing.
  • Build 4 dead vents, 2 incoming 2 returns, for the room's HVAC needs.
  • All conduit boxes, electrical boxes, etc. wrapped with putty pads.
  • Insulated the walls and ceiling cavities with roxul... still determining what insulation works best.
  • Use sound clips on walls and ceiling with 1 layer of OSB and 1 layer 5/8 drywall with GG in between.
  • Build the drop downs around the HVAC supply and return vents by building onto the isolated walls.
  • Main theater door to be threshold solid core door with added layer of MDF and GG to build the mass up.

So this weekend we plan to get the first step or two complete. We are doing them all throughout both the theater and the bar area which altogether is about 42' long... going to be a long weekend. Here are a few other pics of the area to give everyone an idea of the space I'm working with.







And here is a sketchup of the space... theater is going to the end on the left and we are planning a bar area on the right end with a half bath up in that space to the right of the furnace.

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post #18 of 141 Old 03-26-2016, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Got a little over half of the subfloor reinforced with drywall and a few of the side runs for the cold air return cavities. We also took down the existing cold air return so it can be moved to the other side of the room. Going to spend a few hours prepping a few more drywall cuts for subfloor covering and then put those up on Monday.

Also have some of the shielding to wrap the hvac supply and return. Going to work on wrapping those Monday as well. We will see how ambitious I get having the day off and see how far I manage to go. Hoping to get that air return in its new home asap and all sealed up.
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post #19 of 141 Old 03-31-2016, 04:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Update!
We got the air return down and managed to get all of the drywall up between the joists. We also used GG sealant to seal all the edges of the drywall for half of the room so we can get the air return up in its new home. Moving it over to the opposite side so that our soffit drop downs are of equal size. Here are a few pictures of the progress.



So today we are going to work on getting the air return up and in place. After that's done its back to sealing the edges of the drywall in the rest of the ceiling. I know doing all of this will pay off but yeah this room is 42 X 16 (theater room plus bar room), but it's been slow progress for something you won't see at the end.

After this its time to start framing in the side walls and here is my dilemma. I already plan on using clips and channel with OSB/GG/DW, but would I also see any benefit on the inside walls (those shared with the other rooms of the basement) if I were to do a staggered stud on the already existing walls? I'm thinking losing an extra 2 inches on those walls may be worth it. I tried searching for people who did this to see if they feel it helped with the soundproofing but after reading down one forum post to another and another... I thought maybe I should just ask here.

Also, I am considering of contacting the Soundproofing Company but I'm just wondering how expensive it is to have them advise/plan on my theater. I want to do things right but I'm also working very hard to keep the costs down by doing the work myself and taking my time with it. I'm thinking perhaps it will be cheaper in the long run to go with them and purchase all of my soundproofing materials/supplies from them in one shot.

Hopefully I will have more pics to share later... and maybe I can get some momentum on this thing and start seeing the results of my work.
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post #20 of 141 Old 03-31-2016, 05:37 AM
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While the height is unfortunate the unobstructed 15.5' width is fantastic. The basement of my small old house is split down the middle by support posts, allowing a maximum width of about 11'.
I read your short bio; our path to the home theater hobby has been similar and my wife and I also share a love of movies. While I don't have as many as you, I have certainly helped support the industry with VHS, DVD, Bluray and a multitude of video game platform purchases over the years. 500 Blurays and counting, several will likely never be watched again, but most of them see a spin every few years, others several time each year it seems.
Now that there is some home theater action on this build thread I'm subscribed and will follow along. I appreciate your detailed Sketch-up renders. Have fun with the design and construction. My entire family enjoys our humble theater, but I am always jealous of someone at the beginning of the process...Theater 2.0 formulating in the back of my mind.
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post #21 of 141 Old 03-31-2016, 10:07 AM
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sorry I'm new here - have you explored moving the one duct to the other side of the room? I did that with my build.
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post #22 of 141 Old 03-31-2016, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah JRock that is exactly what we are doing. The cold air return we took down is moving to the opposite side of the theater as the main HVAC trunk. That way symmetrical soffits will enclose both.
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post #23 of 141 Old 04-01-2016, 07:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Got the cold air return covered and put up in its new home! We put several extra support hangers up since adding the shielding added some weight.
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post #24 of 141 Old 04-01-2016, 11:41 AM
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post #25 of 141 Old 04-07-2016, 06:19 AM - Thread Starter
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We finished moving and dampening the cold air return as well as dampening the main HVAC trunk. Now we need to start framing the walls and I have some soundproofing ideas.

We currently have two existing walls (front and right side of the theater space) and two that have to be built next to the foundation. I plan on using IB-3 clips to isolate the two new walls from the joists and I'm thinking about either staggered stud or double walls for the existing. I'd rather not lose any width so I'm leaning more towards staggered stud construction for the existing walls.

I've been all over these forums and the Soundproofing Company's website for a while now but wanted to toss out some ideas/concerns and see what other folks think. My goal is for extremely effective sound proofing... I know it won't be completely soundproof but I'm aiming for the strongest sound control I can provide within my DIY theater.
  1. As far as the two new walls are concerned... if I isolate them with the IB-3 clips then do I need to use clips and hat channel before putting up my OSB/GG/DW layers? I've read a few folks have skipped the hat channel and clips if they already isolated the wall as I intend on.
  2. My next question is much the same for the existing walls... if I go with staggered stud or double wall construction, then do I need to be concerned with clips and hat channel?
  3. My final question is when you do staggered stud construction, I read on the Soundproofing Company's website that you rip some strips to extend the perimeter of the wall (top plate, bottom plate, side studs, door rough ins) and stagger your studs in between the existing ones. But I also saw Big mention in another thread to not couple the top plate and so I'm wondering how to build that? I know double wall is likely the best sound solution but I'd really like to not give up that much space so I want to fully explore the staggered stud option.
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post #26 of 141 Old 04-07-2016, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerumas View Post
We finished moving and dampening the cold air return as well as dampening the main HVAC trunk. Now we need to start framing the walls and I have some soundproofing ideas.

We currently have two existing walls (front and right side of the theater space) and two that have to be built next to the foundation. I plan on using IB-3 clips to isolate the two new walls from the joists and I'm thinking about either staggered stud or double walls for the existing. I'd rather not lose any width so I'm leaning more towards staggered stud construction for the existing walls.

I've been all over these forums and the Soundproofing Company's website for a while now but wanted to toss out some ideas/concerns and see what other folks think. My goal is for extremely effective sound proofing... I know it won't be completely soundproof but I'm aiming for the strongest sound control I can provide within my DIY theater.
  1. As far as the two new walls are concerned... if I isolate them with the IB-3 clips then do I need to use clips and hat channel before putting up my OSB/GG/DW layers? I've read a few folks have skipped the hat channel and clips if they already isolated the wall as I intend on.
  2. My next question is much the same for the existing walls... if I go with staggered stud or double wall construction, then do I need to be concerned with clips and hat channel?
  3. My final question is when you do staggered stud construction, I read on the Soundproofing Company's website that you rip some strips to extend the perimeter of the wall (top plate, bottom plate, side studs, door rough ins) and stagger your studs in between the existing ones. But I also saw Big mention in another thread to not couple the top plate and so I'm wondering how to build that? I know double wall is likely the best sound solution but I'd really like to not give up that much space so I want to fully explore the staggered stud option.
How did you dampen the cold air return and HVAC trunks?
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post #27 of 141 Old 04-07-2016, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
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We used some ice/water shielding that was quite adhesive. It was quite the difference before and after.
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post #28 of 141 Old 04-07-2016, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
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So I've traded a few emails and spoke with John and Ted at the Soundproofing Company and I'm really leaning towards doing double wall construction on the two existing walls and then isolate the two new walls next to the foundation with IB-3 clips.



Also I should mention that my intent is to soundproof the two new areas (theater and bar) from the rest of the house.
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post #29 of 141 Old 04-08-2016, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Took some time today to visit with several HVAC specialists in the area... sadly I think the mini-split way is just a bit too expensive... the cheapest in my area was $2500. So I'm leaning more towards dead vent / muffler type HVAC with the existing feed and return. I'll do what I can to exchange air out with other areas of the basement.

We built an office/computer room last year and I have to say it always stays super cool all the time even with our big monster PCs running non-stop. So I'm hopeful that during the winter just running the house fan should help equalize the temps between the theater and the rest of the house.
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post #30 of 141 Old 04-15-2016, 05:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Soundproofing Company order placed and on it's way. Going to the lumberyard today to pickup all the wood for the walls and start the framing. Finally going to get some traction on this theater!
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