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post #1 of 14 Old 12-07-2016, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Starting "The Panic Room" Theater

It's finally time to start my first theater build. I've been in the house for 15 years but have never had the time/money at the same time to get the basement finished.

I'm looking for some productive input from all of the experience in this forum to help me maximize my space. Here are some basics on what I have in mind so far:

The space is currently unfinished. 9' ceilings throughout the basement with what will need to be a soffit on one end. I plan on trying to do a "room within a room" so my ceilings will be lower. I want to minimize the sound leaking out of the theater as much as possible.

I have 15' x 12-14' to work with so I know it is going to be a relatively small theater. The house is a walkout (no windows on the end of the basement where the theater will go, I always intended to build one and had the house built without windows in that area). I have one wall that is concrete and the floors are concrete.

Right now, my early plan is to install XPS on the concrete wall and build my 2x4 wall inside that. I intend to use Roxul in all the walls and ceiling and double drywall with green glue and acoustic drywall as the second layer. On the one wall that the theater will share with the rest of the basement, I will build a second wall and am considering using a double exterior door setup.

One wall (probably the front of the theater) will have a storage space behind it where I intend to put all of the equipment. Most of the equipment is TBD.

I have two projectors that I plan on installing in the space. For movies and TV, I'm planning on using an Electrohome 8500 CRT. I have an inexpensive Sharp DLP that will go in there too so my kids can play videogames without me worrying about burn in. I'm sure some will question the massive CRT, but I do like the picture and until the true 4k digitals come down from the stratosphere, that's what I'm going with.

I attached my simple drawing of the space.

Now that I have that out of the way, here are the questions I have before I start buying materials:

Any thoughts on the XPS on the walls before I start the stud walls?

For my "room within the room" should I plan on creating a ceiling through setting the lumber across on top of the walls or build the walls a little higher and use hangers from the top plate?

2x4 or 2x6 for the ceiling?

Attaching the walls to the concrete floor - should they be placed on something to isolate them from the floor?

Inside the theater, I'm planning on using the Dricore R+ for the floor and build a riser on that.

I've tried to dig around the forum to get as much as possible before I threw this out - I'm trying not to ask questions that have been answered dozens of times before but forgive me if some snuck in.

I'm really excited about getting started on my little theater and look forward to input!
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-07-2016, 09:08 PM
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http://www.awc.org/codes-standards/c...tware/spancalc

use the ceiling joists, lowest possible live load. 2x6s of some species. spacing and quality can do your 12-44 ft width. Doubt there are any 2x4s that can. For planning I usually look at No 2 SPF lumber in the table, you may have access to better.

You can mount them between the existing joists just sticking down an inch and rest them on top of decoupled walls.
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post #3 of 14 Old 12-08-2016, 05:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Big,

That is a great resource. I may end up losing more ceiling height than I wanted. I think I'm going to have to go perpendicular to the floor joists above because of the HVAC at one end of the room. It shouldn't be too big of a deal though, I should still end up with 8-8.5' ceilings.

Anyone have thoughts on how many seats I can comfortably get into a theater this size (15'l x 12'w)? I would like to have comfortable reclining seats in there and am thinking 6, but I just don't want it to feel too crowded either. I do plan on a riser for a second row.
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post #4 of 14 Old 12-08-2016, 06:10 AM
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here are the dimensions of some of the smallest width chairs. You really don't have the room for two rows of reclining chairs. That takes a room at least 17-18 ft long at a minimum. If two rows is critical you need to think about upright seating at least for the second row. You could flip your theater and use the 15 for the width and have a wider single row of seating.

http://www.rtheaters.com/FusionColle...-Jive-1013.pdf
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post #5 of 14 Old 12-08-2016, 06:15 AM
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food for thought, I've successfully hid a sump pump in a seating riser accessible through a trap door, you could include that storage area in your theater and have more room for seating. See my lemonade project. I see the pole, maybe move?
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post #6 of 14 Old 12-08-2016, 06:45 AM - Thread Starter
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I have thought about turning the room sideways but think I'd prefer one row of 3 theater chairs with a couch behind it on a riser. I know that I'll be giving up some advantage doing it that way, but think having seating for 6 is best even if not everyone gets the joy of their own seat. I'm concerned that turning the theater the other way will limit me to 4 max.

I've looked at the pole and it would require a structural engineer to move it. Not a move that excites me too much as you can imagine. It is worth looking at extending into the storage room - especially if I put the screen at that end of the room since that will require a lower ceiling due to the steel I-beam and HVAC running beside it.

Your responses are the reason I posted, things I haven't been thinking about on my own seem pretty obvious to someone who's done it before!
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post #7 of 14 Old 12-08-2016, 06:49 AM - Thread Starter
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On another note - do you think it is silly to try to decouple the stud walls from the floor? We do have a TSC nearby and I'm thinking of buying one of the rubber stall mats and cutting it into strips to put all the walls on. This would also save me from needing pressure treated lumber for the base plates I would think.
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post #8 of 14 Old 12-08-2016, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seewolf View Post
On another note - do you think it is silly to try to decouple the stud walls from the floor? We do have a TSC nearby and I'm thinking of buying one of the rubber stall mats and cutting it into strips to put all the walls on. This would also save me from needing pressure treated lumber for the base plates I would think.
I don't. I think any measure you can make will help. Whether it will only help during a certain octave or whatever is beyond me but one thing I've learned about soundproofing from reading on here and various studio building projects is that it takes a lot more than what most do around here for it to truly be completely sound proofed. Will it contain the majority of sound, sure but it won't be 100% sound proofed and the low bass will be far far less even though you are on concrete so isolate as much as possible for the best results as possible.

I didn't do any sound proofing just because of the bass in my room but really wish I had so my noise floor would have been more acceptable. Hindsight is twenty twenty. But I did rattle proof my room which is going to give me major headaches during HT2.0 remodel since everything is literally overly glued and screwed to the max. But I don't have rattles over powering those 10hz scenes where 99% of the rooms with major major sub displacement like mine 10 21" subs rattle like crazy and move objects all over the place.
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post #9 of 14 Old 12-09-2016, 06:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
food for thought, I've successfully hid a sump pump in a seating riser accessible through a trap door, you could include that storage area in your theater and have more room for seating. See my lemonade project. I see the pole, maybe move?
Big - I like the look of the lemonade theater with the sump under the riser. Do you have any ideas if the sump ends up on the screen end of the theater? The way the room is set up, I will lose more ceiling height on the end with the sump if I do go that way because of the structure and HVAC so it seems logical to me to have the screen on that end rather then have a riser and a lower ceiling on the same end.

I may end up leaving that end as storage since that is also where I plan to put the equipment rack but am seriously considering the longer room for better seating.

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Originally Posted by audiovideoholic View Post
I don't. I think any measure you can make will help.
audiovideoholic - that is what I'm thinking - every little thing I can do to aseparate the room from the rest of the house is worth it. The rubber mat under the base plate seems like a relatively inexpensive measure to at least try.

Last edited by seewolf; 12-09-2016 at 08:29 AM.
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post #10 of 14 Old 02-25-2018, 05:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Riser as bass trap

It's been a while since I started this thread but have finally made progress on the theater. I ended up going with a space that's a little bigger than 14'x10'. I built the entire room on DriCore R+ as a room within a room. I'm now at a point where I could use the group's input before I make an irreversible mistake.

In this photo you can see the riser I'm starting to build. It is 5' deep (no recliners on the riser) and built out of 2x12 with the portion to the left 2x6 (30" wide) to act as a step up to the riser and provide a place to put a small rack with a few components so I don't have to leave the theater to change a disc. The main components will be housed in a different room.

My big question is - Is it a mistake to build the riser open on the ends like this? I plan to fill it with a combination of Thermafiber/Rockwool toward the front and back with the rest fiberglass. My thought is I can use the riser as a big bass trap. If it absorbs too much, I can experiment closing off the sections one at a time until I get the right balance.
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post #11 of 14 Old 07-23-2019, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Theater is nearly complete

I wanted to post an update on my theater. It's been a long time in the making but I am finally watching movies in the space!

The process took longer than I wanted but am very happy with how it turned out. I didn't post a lot during the process but lurking on the forums made a huge difference in the final result. There were definitely some compromises in the process but it sure is nice to hole up in the room and get a better than commercial theater experience.

Construction focused on being a completely isolated room with 2x4 walls on a DriCore R+ subfloor. The walls and ceiling have the Owens Corning Safe n Sound rock wool insulation (glad to be done working with that stuff!). The ceiling joists go perpendicular to the floor joists above with both cavities filled with insulation to minimize sound traveling to the kitchen above. Two layers of drywall with the top layer being acoustic on all walls and ceiling (not sure of the brand - I had a friend who does a ton of commercial drywall help me out with that part).

The riser is 12" and works out great - there is no obstruction. No matter how the front row is sitting you can see the full screen. That was a concern because I had to put the screen a little lower than I wanted because of the box around the HVAC right above the screen location. Seating is all Octane with powered recliners in the front row. The back row has a rocker type reclining back but I have them pushed against the wall so there is more space to the front row and it works out fine. There is a 6" intermediate step where I placed a small rack for components that needed to be in the theater room.

There is a Panasonic ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator) to keep the air fresh since there is no connection to the house HVAC. I did provision for power in case I need to add a mini split in the future, since it is a small room I am concerned that with the projector and multiple people it might get warm in there after a two hour movie - but so far that hasn't been an issue.

HDMI cables are Monoprice Cabernet active with Cat6 and fiber optic in there as well to hedge for the future.

Speakers are 7.2.4 with Monitor Audio all the way around and Martin Logan subs. The projector is a Sony 695ES (on a 120" Screen Innovations Black Diamond screen) going through a Pioneer Elite LX901 receiver. Sources are an Oppo UDP-203 player and a Kaleidescape Strato S player. There is also a Roku Ultra for streaming, a TiVo Bolt for cable/DVR and an Xbox One X for gaming. Control is tied in with the rest of the house through a URC Total Control 2.0 system. Lighting is controlled through a Lutron Radio Ra2 system.

All the components, except for the Oppo and Xbox are located in a rack in the room behind the screen. I left those two in the room to make it easier to change discs.

Still some tweaking to do (which will likely never end) but the process and the results have been a lot of fun and very worthwhile.

Thank you to everyone on this forum for helping make this dream a reality!
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post #12 of 14 Old 07-23-2019, 05:50 PM
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Wow, looks good! You did a great job.

How do you feel the sound isolation worked out?
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post #13 of 14 Old 07-24-2019, 04:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow, looks good! You did a great job.

How do you feel the sound isolation worked out?
The sound isolation worked out pretty well I think. An action movie at reference volume (with two 12” 1000 watt subs going) will still get some rumble outside the theater but anything else is basically imperceptible from the room above. The real test is that my wife isn’t storming into the room telling me to turn it down! She is very sensitive to noise and was the driving factor in the effort to isolate the room as much as possible.
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post #14 of 14 Old 07-24-2019, 04:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
http://www.awc.org/codes-standards/c...tware/spancalc

use the ceiling joists, lowest possible live load. 2x6s of some species. spacing and quality can do your 12-44 ft width. Doubt there are any 2x4s that can. For planning I usually look at No 2 SPF lumber in the table, you may have access to better.

You can mount them between the existing joists just sticking down an inch and rest them on top of decoupled walls.
Jeff - I just wanted to thank you directly for your input on this project. I don’t think it would have turned out nearly as well if you hadn’t popped in to my thread and taken the time 2 1/2 years ago to get me pointed in the right direction!
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