North Dakota Basement Theater - Nothing Special - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 163 Old 03-25-2018, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Post North Dakota Basement Theater - 4k and Dolby Atmos Budget Biuld

Now that my Theater Build is officially underway, I thought I'd start a build thread for it. Really my goal is to just document my journey and hopefully pick up some good tips and advice from the community along the way.

The goal is to have a relatively simple setup in terms of style and cost.
We built our house about 2 years ago and left the basement unfinished so I could finish it myself.
The Room is about 20ft long by 18ft wide. It's in the basement adjacent to 2 spare bedrooms, a bathroom, and the mechanical room.
I'm planning 1 row of seating to begin with, leaving the option for two rows.
I am building to support Atmos 7.2.4 -

Update 8/6/18 - I did go full hardware for version 1 - here's what i have:

Optoma UHD65
Panasonic UB820
Elite Screens Sable Frame 2 - 135"
Denon AVR-X6300H
Polk 265-RT - L/R
Polk 255c-RT - Center
Polk 65RT - Side and Rear Surrounds
Polk MC80 x4 - Ceiling
2x PSW505 - Sub

So I guess on with the show.

10-15-18 - THEATER CONSTRUCTION FINISHED - Full photo dump on Page 5 :
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...l#post56962046

Quick Finished Pics:






This is the initial Sketchup of the room - basic layout




3/18/18
Last week I cleaned up from the construction of the other three rooms and have my blank canvas
(Just FYI - our city building code requires the basement ceiling be sheetrocked even if it's unfinished, so I've been dealing with that. It has it's Pros/Cons)










3/25/18
Since I completed all the framing at the same time as the other rooms, my first task is to run the electrical and speaker wires. I've settled on In-Wall speakers and decided on their location, so that's part of this step as well. Unfortunately, as I was looking around the room and planing my electrical wiring runs, I wasn't happy with my wiring options. So, I decided to add some soffit to the room, both to house the normal room lighting and some LED strips. This also gives me a super easy wiring solution for both the lights and the outlets.

I decided to make a simple box made out of 2x2s and 2x4s. It's only 6" from the ceiling and 12" wide. I have plenty of ceiling height, but if I made it too much larger, it would interfere with the headroom coming down the stairs. 6" works great though since I can still get 4" diameter recessed lights that will fit easily in the 6" cavity and provide plenty of light. There will be 3 on each wall.

The LED strip plan (at the moment) is to get some crown molding and just attach it to the bottom side of the finished soffit to hide the LED strip. I haven't looked into the LED stuff at all yet.

This part of the project cost approximately $300 including the 12 recessed lights, wood and screws.



Completed:








The recessed lighting I am using. Still undecided on the baffle type and color i'll be using, as well as bulbs and color temp.


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post #2 of 163 Old 03-25-2018, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
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post #7 of 163 Old 03-26-2018, 09:08 AM
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Looking good so far! I like the way soffits look, and they give you a place to run all the wiring.

Weird that the city requires drywall on the ceiling. Did the inspector give you a reason? I could see how it might give you some fire protection.
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post #8 of 163 Old 03-26-2018, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbarland View Post
Looking good so far! I like the way soffits look, and they give you a place to run all the wiring.

Weird that the city requires drywall on the ceiling. Did the inspector give you a reason? I could see how it might give you some fire protection.
Yea - It the city made it code the year before we built. It is for fire protection, at least that's what the builder told me. I guess if I had to choose between having it or not, it was pretty handy to have it done so it's one less things to deal with (I really don't love drywalling) but it has posed some issues when I need access to the trusses but also need to put up walls. I had to have the electrical inspector come twice for the bathroom because I needed to have the bathroom fan wiring inspected before I closed up the ceiling, but I needed to close the ceiling to finish one of the walls that had outlets in it lol.

Either way, going forward I should have no problem now that I am putting all the lighting in the soffits. I pre-wired the ceiling speakers when the house was being built before drywall, so i'll just have to cut the holes and there it is.

I really want to look into the LED strips next. What I THINK I want is:
120v powered system - i'm going to put outlets for it up there
Multi color - able to change via remote, dimming levels, etc
Either some sort of diffuser so you can't see the individual LED blooms, or LED strips that include that

Any recommendations?

I want to avoid this effect:

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post #9 of 163 Old 03-29-2018, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Pretty excited - my Optoma UHD65 showed up today

It's a lot bigger than I expected. (Lego Han Solo for scale)
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post #10 of 163 Old 03-29-2018, 06:27 PM
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Looking good so far! I'm down the road from you in MN...St.Cloud area. I too am working on my basement theater build. Just wondering why you decided not to do a room with in a room? I didn't see any clips or channel for soundproofing. Also no insulation to adjacent rooms? Just wondering why not other than budget reasons.
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post #11 of 163 Old 03-29-2018, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbarland View Post
Looking good so far! I like the way soffits look, and they give you a place to run all the wiring.

Weird that the city requires drywall on the ceiling. Did the inspector give you a reason? I could see how it might give you some fire protection.

Most of that is because of the new engineered lumber. They don't hold up at all in a fire compared to traditional lumber like a 2x12's/10's ect. Apparently less than 20 minutes to collapse a floor. I built my floors with 2x12's to avoid either drywalling the ceiling or having to spray fire proofing underneath. The only downside to traditional lumber is the engineered lumber is much straighter and easier to work with.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Helander View Post
Yea - It the city made it code the year before we built. It is for fire protection, at least that's what the builder told me. I guess if I had to choose between having it or not, it was pretty handy to have it done so it's one less things to deal with (I really don't love drywalling) but it has posed some issues when I need access to the trusses but also need to put up walls. I had to have the electrical inspector come twice for the bathroom because I needed to have the bathroom fan wiring inspected before I closed up the ceiling, but I needed to close the ceiling to finish one of the walls that had outlets in it lol.

Either way, going forward I should have no problem now that I am putting all the lighting in the soffits. I pre-wired the ceiling speakers when the house was being built before drywall, so i'll just have to cut the holes and there it is.

I really want to look into the LED strips next. What I THINK I want is:
120v powered system - i'm going to put outlets for it up there
Multi color - able to change via remote, dimming levels, etc
Either some sort of diffuser so you can't see the individual LED blooms, or LED strips that include that

Any recommendations?

I want to avoid this effect:
]
Are you trying to avoid the color change or the seeing the LED light element? The color change can be avoided by running strings in parallel and load balancing. The seeing the light element can be avoided by buying regular diffusers. They make them for the LED strips but they are expensive. I'd buy 2x4 sheets and cut them up because I'm cheap. Or if you angle the lights away from the ceiling you won't have that issue. I can't see the individual lights in my ceiling
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post #12 of 163 Old 03-29-2018, 09:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTman View Post
Looking good so far! I'm down the road from you in MN...St.Cloud area. I too am working on my basement theater build. Just wondering why you decided not to do a room with in a room? I didn't see any clips or channel for soundproofing. Also no insulation to adjacent rooms? Just wondering why not other than budget reasons.
Hey - not far at all!

So - it's a combination of factors. The MAIN reason why I don't plan on doing any proper soundproofing is because of the entry at the stairwell. I can't frame that off to normal door, or i'll never be able to get anything remotely large up or downstairs (One of the rooms will have storage) So - having to leave it open as it is now, pretty much would negate any other soundproofing methods i'd do - That open stairway is just an echo chamber and the sound would escape that way. I've looked into sound absorption curtains, maybe an panel or pocket door to cover the space (not enough room) etc - But at the end of the day, from what i've read, If I can't have it all, i'm not going to waste the money on any of it.

That being said - all the adjacent rooms are just extra space - Guest Bedroom / Bathroom, Workout/Storage room, Mechanical room - none of them will likely be occupied when the theater is in operation.

The other main reason is that we have a full two story house - so the wife and kids are all an entire floor up at night - which should be just fine for sound control - they don't hear me whacking away with the hammer or anything now during construction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalWhitey View Post
Most of that is because of the new engineered lumber. They don't hold up at all in a fire compared to traditional lumber like a 2x12's/10's ect. Apparently less than 20 minutes to collapse a floor. I built my floors with 2x12's to avoid either drywalling the ceiling or having to spray fire proofing underneath. The only downside to traditional lumber is the engineered lumber is much straighter and easier to work with.



Are you trying to avoid the color change or the seeing the LED light element? The color change can be avoided by running strings in parallel and load balancing. The seeing the light element can be avoided by buying regular diffusers. They make them for the LED strips but they are expensive. I'd buy 2x4 sheets and cut them up because I'm cheap. Or if you angle the lights away from the ceiling you won't have that issue. I can't see the individual lights in my ceiling
I guess I didn't think about color change - the light element was my main concern. Really though - I have ABSOLUTELY no idea where to start with LED strips, and what is chinese junk from ebay or a quality product (that probably comes from China also) Really looking for some good recommendations.

I have two Outlets available on either side of the room in the soffit, and would be looking for a full RGB kit with remote. Thanks!

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post #13 of 163 Old 03-29-2018, 09:42 PM
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Just wondering why you decided not to do a room with in a room? I didn't see any clips or channel for soundproofing. Also no insulation to adjacent rooms?
His living room is open to upstairs so soundproofing wouldn't do much good.

Edit: Matt beat me to it.

Liking the soffit so far, Matt!

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post #14 of 163 Old 03-29-2018, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
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His living room is open to upstairs so soundproofing would do much good.

Edit: Matt beat me to it.

Liking the soffit so far, Matt!
Haha Thanks! Had my electrical rough in inspection today - but need to change a few things apparently. City code says you must have an outlet at within 6 feet of any major opening (door, etc) - so on two walls where I put one outlet centered, I need to move it and add a 2nd. Ok, I can deal with that, but one I really don't like, is the wall where I have three outlets already, needs a 4th. Code also says any wall space greater than 2 feet must have an outlet in it. There's a 26 inch space between the bedroom and bathroom door, so now I need to put an outlet there. Just dumb lol. At least it's not too much work.
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3/29/18 - Got all the outlets and recessed lighting wired. just used tape to temporarily hold the bulbs in the fixtures until the drywall is on and I install the baffles. I was worried that I wouldn't have enough light to fully light the room using ONLY the soffit lights, so I got 1100 lumen (12w) led bulbs. Light is not going to be a problem as it turns out lol.





Also a quick shot of the side outlets for whatever LED strips etc I run on the moulding, as well as the supply for the projector. The box on the right side will have 1 1/4" sch. 80 pvc ran to it as a conduit back to my rack.





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post #16 of 163 Old 03-31-2018, 08:22 AM
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Nice start to a good looking theater! Great place to watch some Bison road games.
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Another ND guy!

You know you're going to have to have all us ND and MN members over when it's done, right Matt? lol
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post #18 of 163 Old 04-02-2018, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Another ND guy!

You know you're going to have to have all us ND and MN members over when it's done, right Matt? lol
ND, Sure - MN - that could be an audience.
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4/1/18 - Got a little bit of time to finish all the electrical last night and put in the conduit for the Projector cables.

I used 1.25" Schedule 80 PVC, the more rigid, gray stuff. Drilled a 2" hole through the framing into the mechanical room so I'll be able to change out HDMI, Cat6, etc as necessary.

Quick question - do most people do an outlet plate (Keystone, etc) or do they just run the cable out of a finished cover? I think the projector will only be about a foot away from the box, and I'm worried about getting a wall plate that is up to the same spec as the HDMI cable and projector. Thoughts?


Tested with an extension cord, worked great!


Even though the soffit is only 6" tall, I had plenty of room to run the conduit


Through the framing into the mech room


And the final destination where I can easily run the cabling over to the rack

Last edited by Matt Helander; 05-15-2018 at 09:26 PM.
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post #20 of 163 Old 04-02-2018, 02:48 PM
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I use a brush plate like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072L2J5DF..._rtQWAbPFM9DMQ

You might like a more "finished" look of an HDMI keystone jack or similar, but you'll want to avoid interconnects that aren't absolutely necessary.
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post #21 of 163 Old 04-02-2018, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbarland View Post
I use a brush plate like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072L2J5DF..._rtQWAbPFM9DMQ

You might like a more "finished" look of an HDMI keystone jack or similar, but you'll want to avoid interconnects that aren't absolutely necessary.
Perfect - That's easy enough and kind of the route I wanted to go. I also was leery of a Keystone cover and then trying to coil up a 3ft HDMI cable in a 1ft space and having that look stupid.

Thanks!
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post #22 of 163 Old 04-03-2018, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Helander View Post
Quick question - do most people do an outlet plate (Keystone, etc) or do they just run the cable out of a finished cover? I think the projector will only be about a foot away from the box, and I'm worried about getting a wall plate that is up to the same spec as the HDMI cable and projector. Thoughts?
I used one of these:



And I can't remember what size screen you were shooting for but this popped up on Craigslist today.
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post #23 of 163 Old 04-03-2018, 10:17 AM - Thread Starter
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I used one of these:



And I can't remember what size screen you were shooting for but this popped up on Craigslist today.
Damn, 120 was the initial goal - now i've been thinking about 135" BUt, that's a crazy good deal.

I just ordered a Sony UBP-X700 so I can play UHD content, so I'll have to do a quick temp setup in the basement to judge screen size etc.

Also passed electrical inspection today, so It's just speaker wire and then I can do drywall!
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post #24 of 163 Old 04-03-2018, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Opinion time! That 120" Screen on Craigslist really got me thinking about if I should do a 120 or 135. With the zoom, my Optoma UHD65 is easily capable of both. The question comes with room size / speaker placement.

Here are the dimensions of everything in the following Image:

Wall width - 17', 10"
Wall height - 7' 6" (with the soffit installed above)

Center point of either screen - 4' 3" off the floor

135" Screen is 6" from the soffit (12" total from the ceiling)
120" Screen is 9.5" from the soffit (15.5" total from the ceiling)

135" Screen is 18" off the floor
120" Screen is 21.5" From the floor

(black lines running horizontal on both screens are the 1/3 mark of the screen, which I've heard should be at eye level?)
1/3 Line on 120" Screen - 3' 5" off the floor
1/3 Line on the 135" Screen - 3' 4" off the floor

with 135" screen, LR Speakers are 12" from the screen (Would be adjusted for the 120")
Center speaker is 8" off the floor, 4" down from the screen

Projector is 16' 9" From the screen. With Zoom, it will do both 120" or 135"

Just doing 1 row of seating for now - Call it 4 seats across. Seating distance is currently about 13'

My Questions/concerns:

1. Is the 135" just too dang big for this wall? I feel like the center is really close to the floor.
2. Is there an ideal screen height from the floor ceiling?
3. Should I adjust my seating location?
4. Any other considerations I should make / things I am missing?

Front View


Side View


Thanks!

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post #25 of 163 Old 04-04-2018, 06:08 AM
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The issue is the center channel speaker and how low it gets forced, which means early reflections.

The "four seats for now" might impact on the screen size when the day comes, you decide you want a second row. Then the front row seats,
with a larger screen pushing the center channel low, means being able to hear the dialog in the second row, is an issue.

It appears you could raise the center channel in either size size case, and that would be better.

Why is it an either or choice? 120" or 135". I suspect you'll want the larger screen but maybe the best overall size is somewhere in between.
You could come at the screen size decision by using a sixty degree LR speaker spread, and seeing that works with screen size.
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Quote:
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The issue is the center channel speaker and how low it gets forced, which means early reflections.

The "four seats for now" might impact on the screen size when the day comes, you decide you want a second row. Then the front row seats,
with a larger screen pushing the center channel low, means being able to hear the dialog in the second row, is an issue.
My center is on a stand (built with the top pitched up at 10 degrees) on the floor and I have no sound issues in the back row.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Helander View Post
1. Is the 135" just too dang big for this wall? I feel like the center is really close to the floor.
2. Is there an ideal screen height from the floor ceiling?
3. Should I adjust my seating location?
4. Any other considerations I should make / things I am missing?
1 - If you have the option to go larger, you'll undoubtedly kick yourself later if you don't. As I stated above, my center is less than a foot off of the floor, pitched up a bit and it works great. I don't think you'll have a problem there.

2 - My image is admittedly a bit too large as the projector does cast some light onto the ceiling but it's not something I ever notice while I'm watching a movie. With your soffit, you'll need to make sure your image is down low enough to not clip it (and both of your examples look like they'll be plenty good there) so I don't see a problem there, either.

3 - You could probably stand to move it a bit closer to the screen, especially if you're planning on a second row at some point. Down side being it will look a bit odd in almost the middle of the room with nothing behind it. For now.

4 - It looks like the couch placement is based off of where you can place the speakers? If so, my comments for #3 might be a bit pointless!
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post #27 of 163 Old 04-04-2018, 01:55 PM
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Go big, unless you've got a compelling reason not to (not enough space, pj not bright enough).
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post #28 of 163 Old 04-04-2018, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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The issue is the center channel speaker and how low it gets forced, which means early reflections.

The "four seats for now" might impact on the screen size when the day comes, you decide you want a second row. Then the front row seats,
with a larger screen pushing the center channel low, means being able to hear the dialog in the second row, is an issue.

It appears you could raise the center channel in either size size case, and that would be better.

Why is it an either or choice? 120" or 135". I suspect you'll want the larger screen but maybe the best overall size is somewhere in between.
You could come at the screen size decision by using a sixty degree LR speaker spread, and seeing that works with screen size.
So - as far as seating goes - I'm not really sure i'll ever do a 2nd row - Its really mostly for me and the family, but at least I know i'll have the space if need be in the future. I just don't have any plans for it at the moment. I guess if that day came, and I had issues with the sound, I suppose I could switch to at AT screen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodgieroo View Post
My center is on a stand (built with the top pitched up at 10 degrees) on the floor and I have no sound issues in the back row.


1 - If you have the option to go larger, you'll undoubtedly kick yourself later if you don't. As I stated above, my center is less than a foot off of the floor, pitched up a bit and it works great. I don't think you'll have a problem there.

2 - My image is admittedly a bit too large as the projector does cast some light onto the ceiling but it's not something I ever notice while I'm watching a movie. With your soffit, you'll need to make sure your image is down low enough to not clip it (and both of your examples look like they'll be plenty good there) so I don't see a problem there, either.

3 - You could probably stand to move it a bit closer to the screen, especially if you're planning on a second row at some point. Down side being it will look a bit odd in almost the middle of the room with nothing behind it. For now.

4 - It looks like the couch placement is based off of where you can place the speakers? If so, my comments for #3 might be a bit pointless!

1. I agree - but that damn 120" screen is a good deal lol.
2. What size are you projecting now?
4. Yes - that's my main motivation now, is that i'm trapped when it comes to side speakers, so I was hoping to line up as close as possible with them.

I actually spent an hour or so watching some netflix on the projector with a white sheet on the wall last night. I got it to about 103" Diagonal before I ran out of sheet. But it's amazing how much better that made the picture vs the bare wall upstairs with texture, etc.






Last edited by Matt Helander; 05-15-2018 at 09:27 PM.
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post #29 of 163 Old 04-04-2018, 02:49 PM
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What size are you projecting now?
One hundred and sixty-three glorious inches. 🙂
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post #30 of 163 Old 04-05-2018, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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One hundred and sixty-three glorious inches. 🙂
FFS man - that's huge. Still no screen huh. Did you paint the wall special or just normal wall stuff?

I ACTUALLY talked my wife into watching the last jedi in 4k last night in the basement. We got out some camp chairs from the garage, I put a space heater next to her, and we watched it on a 102" bedsheet lol. I even stole the soundbar from the upstairs living room. I Really i'm surprised at how well that setup worked. I did however immediately order the 135" screen on Amazon. Went with Elite Screens Sable Frame 2 135" White. Only $395.

I did talk more with the guy selling the 120", and he was willing to do down from $300 to $250, but I figured I should just go bigger.

Awwww yea.


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Last edited by Matt Helander; 05-15-2018 at 09:28 PM.
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