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post #1 of 59 Old 07-07-2018, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Blue Room Theater

This will be my first dedicated home theater build. We just closed on our new construction home a month ago, and it has an unfinished basement where I can finally build a theater! My wife is all in on the idea and has been helping with some of the design ideas along the way.

I intend on doing the work myself. The builder was great and constructed us a quality home, but I really wanted a project. We have no kids, so having time-sucking hobbies and projects are okay in our house. I'm pretty handy and have done some decent sized projects in the past, but this is the most ambitious and largest in scale.

We've been planning it since February, when we first got the blueprints to the house. I've been reading for months here on AVS, including the master sound proofing thread and countless build threads from beginning to end, as well as other building and audio related sites. The bulk of what is incorporated into this plan was learned here. I feel pretty well armed with info and ideas, and I think I have a pretty solid plan in place. However, I'm still learning as I go, and I am by no means any sort of expert. If you have suggestions or see me making a mistake, please speak up.

I had vacation days piling up at work, so my wife suggested I jumpstart this project by taking two weeks off. That sounded like an awesome idea, so here I am. I'm not due back to work until July 23rd. I have no idea how much I will get done over the next two weeks, but at a minimum I want the whole basement framed. Once the 128 2x4s showing up on Monday morning, I'll have everything I need to frame it out. *Except all the stuff I forgot and will have to run to the store for.

Here are some initial general goals we had for the theater:
  • stop as much sound as possible from entering and escaping the theater
  • acoustically treated for good response
  • high quality fit/finish like the rest of our home, and in the same taste/style so it "fits"
  • balance budget with time (the more we spend the longer it'll take)
  • the biggest screen we can fit
  • high quality 4k projector
  • 7.2.4 sound

Lets take a look at what we have for a space to work with. This is the part of the basement where the theater is getting built, with the screen wall being the concrete wall furthest to the right in the pic:

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This is a view of what will be the back wall (it's 12' 6" across before being finished):

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This will be the front wall of the theater (windows will be blocked off behind screen wall):

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And this is the opposite side of the basement where the mechanical room, a bathroom, and a workshop will be (no need for a 4th bedroom with no kids).

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Next post will be the plan!
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post #2 of 59 Old 07-07-2018, 09:03 AM - Thread Starter
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EDIT: Some of this plan has changed dramatically, since I chose to flip the room orientation 180°

Sound Proofing

Our house is a modern open floor plan. The main floor is one big open space, other than a 1/2 bath and a small study. We love it, but sound goes everywhere. Even the stairwells are open with no doors. As such, use of the TV and stereo on the main floor dominates the living space, and travels up to the bedroom with ease. We also want to be able to crank it without disturbing neighbors (we normally watch at -10 to -5 dB). We are on a 40’ wide city lot, so our walls are only about 15’ from one house and 10’ from the other. We also want to be able to escape individually to the space to play video games or other loud and annoying activities without bugging each other. The theater is in the basement, which will help with transmitting sound to the neighbors, but that’s only half the battle. Here is the plan:

Walls:
  • SPC Solution 3 — Double Stud Walls
  • Single stud wall set 1/2” or so away from the foundation, double stud walls for interior walls
  • Double 5/8” drywall and green glue throughout (and on both sides of interior walls)
  • All walls decoupled from ceiling joists with RSIC-DC04
  • Minimize outlets/penetration on sheetrock walls, routing outlets to columns

Ceiling:
  • SPC Solution 3 – Soundproof Ceiling
  • Planning to recess the clips with blocking to save a bit of ceiling height
  • Ceiling is a perfectly flat 8’ 1-1/2” high with an open web truss above
  • will probably have to make a few extra provisions for flanking noise due to open web truss
  • No can lights to limit penetration
  • backer boxes for Atmos speakers
  • baffle/muffler setup for HVAC penetrations

Door(s):
  • communicating door setup (double doors) from the lobby to the hallway

Equipment & Gear

Below is the currently planned gear list for the big items. I already have the Denon, but will need to buy/build the rest. Since the speakers will be completely hidden and the visual quality of the finish doesn’t matter, I’m going to save some money (at the expense of time) by building them all myself (15 total). I'm assuming this will be a giant time suck near the end of the project.
  • AV Receiver - Denon AVR-X4300H (11 channels plus 2 independent sub outputs)
  • Projector - JVC 4K Projector (not settled on exact model just yet, maybe NX7)
  • Screen - Seymour AV Center Stage XD 144" diagonal 2.4:1 - CIH at 55" tall
  • Masking - DIY automated screen masking
  • Inputs - Apple TV 4k, PS4 Pro, Tivo, and a Plex Media Server full of stuff
  • Speakers - Front stage: 3 DIYSG Elusive 1099’s
  • Speakers - Surrounds, Rear, Atmos: DIYSG Volt 6’s
  • Subwoofers - 4 Dayton Ultimax 18” in sealed flatpack enclosures
  • Amp for Subs - 2 iNuke 6000's
  • Automation and IOT - Home Assistant tied into Apple’s HomeKit to start
  • AV Rack - not sorted out yet

Lighting

I’m planning on doing recessed RGB LED strip lighting in a very small soffit along with 11 small lights aiming down on the walls from the same small soffit. There will also be lighting for all of the steps. This should be plenty of lighting to negate the need for can lights in the main room. I’m sure I’ll come up with some additional accent lighting ideas as I work through the project.

I'll keep this thread updated as I work, but don't be surprised if there are some longer quiet periods when life gets busy. Aside from the initial 2 week push, this will be a side project for me to chip away at.
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post #3 of 59 Old 07-07-2018, 09:45 AM
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Very well planned out.. It looks like you have done some homework. Good job.



Only a couple of things I see that you may want to re-consider, in no particular order.

  • Double check to see if you are going to have enough room between your first and second row if these are reclining home theater seating. I think @BIGmouthinDC recommends a minimum of 6-1/2' distance, otherwise feet from the second row will hit the head of the first row occupants.
  • I would consider rotating the rack in it's location 90 degrees, so you can see the screen and be able to control the equipment simultaneously, otherwise you are walking around the pillar allot.
  • The Workshop right next door is an awesome location. I would install that wall last, as you will want to be able to move large, long, materials from the workshop into the room easily Those corners might make it difficult.
  • Double check angels of speakers to MLP per Dolby spec's
Otherwise it looks like you have done allot of reading and thought coming up with renderings as well.



Looking forward seeing your progress. Sub'd.

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post #4 of 59 Old 07-07-2018, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirjaymz View Post
Double check to see if you are going to have enough room between your first and second row if these are reclining home theater seating. I think @BIGmouthinDC recommends a minimum of 6-1/2' distance, otherwise feet from the second row will hit the head of the first row occupants.
Yeah, that's a good question. I've seen Big's comment's on that. The second row riser is 6' deep. Based on the seating I'm looking at, I calculated that there should be enough room to recline both rows fully, but you won't be able to walk between row 1 and 2 when both are reclined. I'm okay with that trade off since row 2 won't be used a ton. Providing enough room to walk through fully reclined wouldn't leave enough room for the back bar.

Quote:
I would consider rotating the rack in it's location 90 degrees, so you can see the screen and be able to control the equipment simultaneously, otherwise you are walking around the pillar allot.
I've gone back and forth on that. I felt in it's current orientation we'd be less likely to hear any fans, but you bring up a really good point. In this sketch there isn't quite enough room for sideways, but in reality the lobby will be about 1' wider than this sketchup drawing (toward the shop), so I could widen the gear closet and move it to the side you suggest. Now I'm going to noodle on this more — thanks!

http://The Workshop right next door ... it difficult.

I was planning on sheetrocking the walls in between the shop and theater last, but I'm definitely framing it all in the next two weeks.

Quote:
Double check angels of speakers to MLP per Dolby spec's
I did a lot of reading on this, especially as it relates to the side surround channels. The side channels are a tiny bit in front of each row, and I found a lot of opinions and evidence that with 7.2.4 that this can actually sound better, especially if you are running redundant side channels for each row like I am. For the second row I plan on adding a second amp off the surround pre-out to run the second row side channels and then doing level matching. If it doesn't work as well as I hope, I can just pick the column that sounds better, and then repurpose the extra 2 Volt 10's in my workshop for music on a second zone.

Quote:
Looking forward seeing your progress. Sub'd.
Thanks! Me too
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post #5 of 59 Old 07-07-2018, 12:55 PM
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Wow. This is great. I’m in the pre-planning phase of our upcoming basement HT room also. Unfortunately, our basement won’t be as open as yours. The steps come down pretty much in the center and we’ll have some first floor support posts to plan around ( don’t know the feasibility of moving them ).
So, I’m really interested in your progress and any adjustments you have to make along the way. Great job on the sketch up pics too. I wish I knew how to do that.
Keep us posted and thank you for sharing.
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post #6 of 59 Old 07-08-2018, 02:10 PM
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What width/model seats are you using in your design? If you end up with 12' width there are some nice narrower theater seating options out there that would leave you room to center the seats, especially if you went with in-wall surrounds. I didn't have any trouble using a row of 3 of Roman's Fusion Lagoon seats in a 12' room.

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post #7 of 59 Old 07-08-2018, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I pulled out the ceiling drywall today, and I'm really happy I got a sheetrock joist.

I have 2 HVAC ducts running over the theater. The main rectangle feeder and the round one that comes off it and runs the length of the theater up to the screen wall. The round duct goes to a small study that I'm not very worried about, but the main one feeds the living room and dining room. I'd like to minimize noise transfer here. I still have to sort out how to treat them, or if I should change them, so I'm open to suggestions.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schneeds View Post
What width/model seats are you using in your design? If you end up with 12' width there are some nice narrower theater seating options out there that would leave you room to center the seats, especially if you went with in-wall surrounds. I didn't have any trouble using a row of 3 of Roman's Fusion Lagoon seats in a 12' room.
Thanks for the tip on the seats. I hadn't looked at those, and they are a bit narrower than other ones on my list. I don't want to do in wall speakers, and the columns eat up about 6" on each side, so I don't know if I'll center them. However, they would at least pull the far left seat a bit further from the speaker.

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post #8 of 59 Old 07-08-2018, 07:59 PM
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you can reduce the ability of the sheet metal ducts to pick up and propagate sound by applying self adhesive damped mass. This is a technique that is well utilized by the guys who like to deaden road noise in cars.

DynaMat extreme is one product there are many imitators. Some cheaper.

You don't need 100% coverage but the more the better the results. After a bunch of that is in place you can wrap insulation around the ducts.

You can also replace the metal with alternatives, duct board or insulated flex duct. You can also retrofit the ducts with Linacoustic duct liner.

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post #9 of 59 Old 07-08-2018, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Big, of the three methods you mentioned, which one do you think is most effective, and would you treat both HVAC lines the same way? Thanks!

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post #10 of 59 Old 07-09-2018, 07:49 AM
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Looks like a fun build. I would be a little worried about the 6' depth riser. Even with space saving chairs, if you ever have tall people sitting in that 2nd row their feet will hang over the recliner. I did quite a bit of meausuring and 6'5" is really the minimum, ideally I think a 7' depth riser is more approrpriate.

It may not matter to you as much and you can just put the taller people in the front row, but you could look at just having 2 rows vs three and that would give you more room to work with. Just a thought.

The other thing to consider is for your riser and ceiling height. I ended up building one riser that was 6" tall before pad/carpet and another mini riser that my 2nd row seats sat on that was 4" before pad/carpet. I think it ended up being just under 11" when all was said and done and gave me back some headroom and is perfect for my screen size in the 2nd row (my 127" 2.35"1 screen was mounted 31" off the floor. Here is a pic:


My other receommendation is to wait to buy your projector. I bought my JVC late last year after the new models were announced and started shipping. By buying the current year model I was able to get a brand new unit at closeout price of 50% off from an authorized dealer. PM me for dealer details if you would like and I would be happy to share
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post #11 of 59 Old 07-09-2018, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post
Looks like a fun build. I would be a little worried about the 6' depth riser. Even with space saving chairs, if you ever have tall people sitting in that 2nd row their feet will hang over the recliner. I did quite a bit of meausuring and 6'5" is really the minimum, ideally I think a 7' depth riser is more approrpriate.

It may not matter to you as much and you can just put the taller people in the front row, but you could look at just having 2 rows vs three and that would give you more room to work with. Just a thought.

The other thing to consider is for your riser and ceiling height. I ended up building one riser that was 6" tall before pad/carpet and another mini riser that my 2nd row seats sat on that was 4" before pad/carpet. I think it ended up being just under 11" when all was said and done and gave me back some headroom and is perfect for my screen size in the 2nd row (my 127" 2.35"1 screen was mounted 31" off the floor.
Thanks a lot for the the riser info. Between that and sirjaymz earlier comment, I'm going update my plans for a better second row. Any more depth and it does eat up too much of that back row, but it'd get used so infrequently I'll just remove it. That'll save me money anyway. With the back row out of the way, I'll just go a full 7' deep.

Quote:
My other receommendation is to wait to buy your projector. I bought my JVC late last year after the new models were announced and started shipping. By buying the current year model I was able to get a brand new unit at closeout price of 50% off from an authorized dealer. PM me for dealer details if you would like and I would be happy to share
Yeah, the projector and the seating will be the last things I buy, and I'll hit you up for dealer details when the time comes. Thanks!

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post #12 of 59 Old 07-09-2018, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Today was mostly a "prep" day. I finished removing the last couple of ceiling drywall panels, unloaded and hauled 130 2x4's down into my basement (the sucky part of a basement theater). I also cleaned up and organized my work space and moved a bunch of stuff I knew would get in my way. I can't start framing until my new air compressor shows up.

Anticipating keeping myself busy next week, I ordered 5 gallons of green glue. That's how much it should take to do the first layer on the subfloor above the ceiling. The subfloor process in the theater will take 26 sheets of 5/8" fire rated drywall to the tune of $260. On top of that will be $500 worth of green glue. That puts the subfloor portion of the ceiling soundproofing at over $760 on it's own. Ouch. I know I have to do it though, with the open web truss joists, the first floor acts like a drum. I need all the help I can get.

Tomorrow I'm going to start dealing with the stairs. I will have a 2x4 wall with 5/8" DGD on the theater side, and I also want the same sandwich on the outside wall to maximize sound reduction. I hate to pull out the stair carpet, trim, and drywall the builder just finished a few months ago, but I have to if I want it done right. The single layer of 1/2" drywall won't cut it. I also plan on drywalling inside wall under the stairs with DGD.

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I'm also thinking I should run acoustic caulk along the crack where the drywall meets the stairs after I install the new drywall.

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Also, I was doing some math and I think when this is done there will be over 9,000 pounds of drywall for this thing. Wow!

My soundproofed drywall estimate:
  • 13 sheets x2 in ceiling on subfloor
  • 12 sheets x2 for ceiling
  • 9 sheets x2 outside room
  • 30 sheets x2 inside room

Total = 128 sheets of drywall at 71 lbs a piece

That's 9088 pounds... not counting backer boxes for atmos or HVAC baffle treatments. That also means I'll need 6 of the 5 gallon buckets of green glue.

And I have to carry it all down there.

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post #13 of 59 Old 07-10-2018, 07:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Tomorrow I'm going to start dealing with the stairs. I will have a 2x4 wall with 5/8" DGD on the theater side, and I also want the same sandwich on the outside wall to maximize sound reduction. I hate to pull out the stair carpet, trim, and drywall the builder just finished a few months ago, but I have to if I want it done right. The single layer of 1/2" drywall won't cut it. I also plan on drywalling inside wall under the stairs with DGD.
I thought about this idea this morning after looking closer at everything. The stairs have 1/2" wide baseboard trim on them that cannot be removed without removing the carpet, and the carpet will get ruined if I pull it. I realized that adding another sheet of 1/2" drywall over the existing 1/2" drywall in the stairs would bring it flush with the base board trim. Then I could add another 5/8" with GG over that and the baseboard trim, covering it all up. I could just put new trim on the outside of the last layer to finish it. It would save a ton of work, and the cost is a bit less since I wouldn't have to have the stairway carpet replaced. So it'll be 1/2" + 1/2" + GG + 5/8", which should be even a little thicker than I was planning. Maybe GG in-between the 1/2" also? So that's my new plan... and that also means I don't have to deal with it for quite a while.

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post #14 of 59 Old 07-10-2018, 09:05 AM
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With the stair way wall open you can apply damped mass to the back side of the the stairwell wall. Basically green glue and drywall. Cut strips and screw into position, be careful of the screw length and you only need a few to hold the drywall into position until the GG cures. We did this on the Beast Unleashed project. we added two layers of 5/8 to the back of the existing 1/2.
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post #15 of 59 Old 07-10-2018, 12:19 PM
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Big, of the three methods you mentioned, which one do you think is most effective, and would you treat both HVAC lines the same way? Thanks!
I think I would consider replacing the round duct with an insulated flex duct. UNLESS you are already concerned about the study getting enough cool air. Flex duct offers more resistance and will reduce the airflow a bit.

The big square trunk I would slap on some self adhesive sound deadening panels and surround with insulation, the best solution would be to take it down and have it lined with Linacoustic but that may be too pricey. Lining would be in addition to the damped mass and surrounding with insulation.
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post #16 of 59 Old 07-11-2018, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
I think I would consider replacing the round duct with an insulated flex duct. UNLESS you are already concerned about the study getting enough cool air. Flex duct offers more resistance and will reduce the airflow a bit.

The big square trunk I would slap on some self adhesive sound deadening panels and surround with insulation, the best solution would be to take it down and have it lined with Linacoustic but that may be too pricey. Lining would be in addition to the damped mass and surrounding with insulation.
The whole ceiling will get stuffed with insulation, including around all of the duct work. I think your suggestion of replacing the round duct with flex duct sounds like a good plan, and I have no ventilation concerns with the study since it has french doors open to the main living space 24x7. Damping the big trunk with adhesive deadening panels is easy enough, but I'll have to think about lining it. I'm not sure how I'd go about that. I'm trying to find a good local HVAC guy for helping me sort out what needs to happen to get 6-10 exchanges per hour in the room, so when I get one lined up I'll ask him how much lining it would be. I'm assuming lining all 4 interior walls of the square truck would also reduce air flow some, but I think that trunk is pretty big for it's current duty. I'm sure it's intended to serve HVAC to the downstairs family room, gym, and 4th bedroom that the builder had in his plans. Thanks for the tips Big!

I spent the morning sealing up a bunch of cracks in the stairs with OSI Quad Max silicone. Also, my new air compressor finally showed up after lunch, so I got the first wall up — even if it's a small one. It's just held in place with a nail on each side because I need to get some insulation and back-side sheetrock in a few spots that will be inaccessible once it's permanently mounted. This wall is faced 2x4's to save me 4" of room width (combined the opposite wall). I picked the straightest 2x4s out of my pile for these two walls. All theater framing will be spaced 24 on center.

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To get through the 3.5" width of the faced 2x4 base plate, I'll use 1/4" x 5" Tapcon screws to get deep enough into the concrete floor, combined construction adhesive. The top will be mounted with the RSIC-DC04 in the pic below, through the 1/2" plywood into the stud. The theater wall is spaced 1/2" away from the wall behind it, so the plywood lines up the top of the wall for the clip.

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I'm expecting to make quite a bit of framing progress tomorrow now that I have all the stuff I need.

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post #17 of 59 Old 07-13-2018, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
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I moved the stairwell wall I made out of the way and sealed up the gaps along the stairwell. Next week I'll drywall the rest of the inside of the stairs with DGD layers. My first 5 gallon bucket of green glue showed up today, so once the area under the stairs is drywalled and sealed, I'll apply a layer of 5/8 drywall and GG to the back side of the stair riser area based on Big's suggestion. Once all that's done, I can finally get that wall in place permanently.

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I did manage to get a few sections of other walls up. I got the whole back wall and corner of the theater framed. I also made sure to stuff insulation back in the corner before the framing boxed it out.

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Blocking for the the RSIC-DC04 brackets has been pretty easy with the trusses.

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Here is my plan for the windows. I'm going to run 1/2" plywood up to about 1/2" from the window framing. Then I'll do DGD over the plywood to finish around it the window, but it won't touch the window frame. I'll stop the drywall it just shy of the window lip, and then seal the gap, so the inside will be finished. I'm pretty sure I'm drywalling right over the back corner window anyway, but I wanted to leave the option open for a plug or access panel. I plan to not drywall over the lobby one for sure. Once all the trim is done, I'm thinking of making a hinged plug for the lobby window that will be will blend in when closed.

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I'm taking the weekend off and going to the cabin, so I won't get back to work on the theater until Monday.

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post #18 of 59 Old 07-13-2018, 04:19 PM
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I'm always the one raining on parades but I have mentioned this in a number of other threads. The standards for emergency egress in finished basements has evolved over the years and local jurisdictions have changed as they see fit. It used to be if you had a bedroom in the basement it had to have a window of sufficient size, no more than 44 inches off the floor leading to window well with a ladder. Or, a door in a walkout basement. The standards have evolved and now my county requires an exit if you finish any portion of the basement, doesn't have to be a bedroom. I saw one addtional window in your pictures and it is hard to say how high off the floor the sill sits. While you might not be doing this project with a permit and inspections, if it is not up to code, it may come back to bite you when you get ready to sell.

the window in your future workshop, that sill looks over 44 inches but not sure. They can cut your foundation and put in a new window if it is over 44.


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post #19 of 59 Old 07-13-2018, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm always the one raining on parades but I have mentioned this in a number of other threads. The standards for emergency egress in finished basements has evolved over the years and local jurisdictions have changed as they see fit. It used to be if you had a bedroom in the basement it had to have a window of sufficient size, no more than 44 inches off the floor leading to window well with a ladder. Or, a door in a walkout basement. The standards have evolved and now my county requires an exit if you finish any portion of the basement, doesn't have to be a bedroom. I saw one addtional window in your pictures and it is hard to say how high off the floor the sill sits. While you might not be doing this project with a permit and inspections, if it is not up to code, it may come back to bite you when you get ready to sell.

the window in your future workshop, that sill looks over 44 inches but not sure. They can cut your foundation and put in a new window if it is over 44.
Thanks for the heads up on that. Luckily the house is fully up to code as they just finished building it a coupe of months ago. It's 40" high and has a ladder. It does look higher in the photo you referenced. I think the iPhone distortion makes it look that way. On the builders plans the workshop was supposed to be a bedroom.

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post #20 of 59 Old 07-13-2018, 05:37 PM
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good news. good builder. Thinking about an alarm for that window?
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post #21 of 59 Old 07-13-2018, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
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good news. good builder. Thinking about an alarm for that window?


Yes. And I definitely need to hook up an open/closed sensor for it to my smart house stuff. I open it to air out the workspace and frequently forget to close it.

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post #22 of 59 Old 07-16-2018, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Today I got another wall built, until I realized I can't put it up until I replace an existing hard duct with a flex duct. Unfortunately I don't currently have a car while my wife's at work, so I had to put that on hold until I go buy a duct this evening. Instead, I got the inside of stairwell wall sealed up and done so I can put the theater wall in front of it. I added drywall to the back side of under the stairs, then sealed up all the gaps with caulk. After that I followed Big's suggestion and added drywall over the stairs with green glue on the inside of the wall, and then sealed the edges with caulk also.

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The entire other side of this stair wall (including the lower area) will eventually get covered with 2 more layers of 5/8" drywall and green glue.

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post #23 of 59 Old 07-17-2018, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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I had a little stroke of luck today. The city inspector dropped by to see if I was home so he could do a final inspection on the garage (it was just finished about a month ago). Turns out I was since I'm framing out the theater. After he was done, I asked if he would be my inspector for my home theater basement finishing project, and he confirmed he would.

He seemed like a super nice guy, so I asked if he'd mind taking a moment to just peek at what I've started and answer a few questions on fire stopping with my framing. I haven't finished the permit paperwork because I started the project on short notice, but he understood that I was just starting on the framing and I had no intention of working past what would be needed to be open for a first inspection once the permit work is done.

I was concerned I'd need to use drywall to cover the .5" to 1.5" gap between the decoupled walls and the foundation (or other walls). I told him I didn't want to compromise the decoupling, and he was curious about that, so I showed him how it works. I showed him the RSIC-DC04 brackets and then pounded on the framing to show how it doesn't transmit vibration. He was still curious to I drove a screw through the new wall along the stairs until it coupled with the load bearing stairwell wall. Then I hit the wall again, and as you can imagine that 1 little screw made the entire stairwell echo the thump vibration.

He was pretty impressed with how effective decoupling was, and understood why I didn't want to risk any connection. I asked if I could simply use mineral wool, and he said that was just fine, even in the larger gaps. He said they are just looking for a draft stop, and using mineral wool is fine for the top gap, as well as the every 10 feet horizontal fire stopping as well.

That's great news — it makes all the fire stopping nice and easy!
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post #24 of 59 Old 07-18-2018, 08:34 AM
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This is what I did with my HVAC, basically the stuff Big mentioned.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...l#post55722706
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post #25 of 59 Old 07-18-2018, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
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This is what I did with my HVAC, basically the stuff Big mentioned.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...l#post55722706
Holy crap, that's awesome — thanks for the info! I'll be digging into this more once the framing is done.

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Today I made more progress framing. First I had to swap out a rigid vent for a flex vent in the back corner of the theater where the lobby is before I could put up a wall. I wanted to get a flex vent in there to help a little by at least decoupling the main square duct that runs over the theater from this particular vent that goes to the dining room. There were screws to remove the rigid vent that would have been inaccessible once the wall is up. I still have to finish off the insulation ends with big zip ties, but the inside flex duct part is attached.

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I also got the wall that will be behind the screen up, as well as the wall to the left of it:

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I also got the main lobby wall that was blocked by the vent mentioned above done. All I have left now are the wall with the doorway into the theater, and the wall from that back to the stairs.

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If all goes well tomorrow, the wall framing of the main theater space will be done. Once that's finished, I plan on framing out a bunch of the other rooms in the basement since I have all the lumber and tools out.

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post #26 of 59 Old 07-21-2018, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
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The theater is now fully framed, with all double-stud walls in place. The inner theater wall is decoupled from the house. The theater walls stop 1.5" below the joists, so the sheetrock should line up nicely once the clips and channel are installed on the joists. The double stud walls outside the theater nail into the joists above.

I am also sealing all of the baseplates inside the theater:

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Below is a pic from the outside of the theater taken from the mechanical room. The double-stud wall to the left is where my future workshop will be. That wall has a 5.5" gap because of some plumbing between the rooms. The theater doors open to the hallway at the bottom of the stairs. The plan is to do a communicating door setup with one door in each jam, and a gasket of some sort between the frames so they don't touch.

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The pic below is looking back the opposite direction from the back corner of the theater. The blue tape is the rough area of where the gear closet will be. I'm going to build that after I put up the drywall. That way it's in the room and I don't have to worry about soundproofing it beyond ambient noise concerns.

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Here is a look at the screen wall:

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I also realized I know an HVAC expert, so he's going to swing by to consult over a few beers sometime in the near future. I'm thinking of lifting the main rectangular 12x8" duct that runs over the theater off the ceiling joists to decouple it. The clips and channel are screwing into the same trusses, and it doesn't seem like it'd be that hard to do. I have to lift it up to put dynamat material on it anyway.

EDIT: I was planning on finishing framing the rest of the basement before I worked on the theater. I still have the rest of the hallway, which includes rough-ins for the doors to workshop, the bathroom, the mechanical room, and the storage closet under the stairs. Then I have to frame the back wall of the workshop, the wall between the workshop and the bathroom, and the wall between the bathroom and the mechanical room. However, if I do that now, I'll have more walls in the way was I store and move materials around.

Also, now that I'm done with my two weeks off work, this will definitely slow down.

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post #27 of 59 Old 08-05-2018, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I took a week off working on the theater after my initial 2 week push, but other than that I've been chipping away a little here and there each evening. I've spent quite a bit of time making framing tweaks in the last week. I realized that with the last layer of sheetrock ceiling lining up just about perfectly with the bottom of the top plate of the walls, I left myself with no attachment surface for the wall sheetrock where it meets the ceiling. Ideally, I would have thought about that before I built the walls, and then just used 2 top plates, but instead I got to cut up dozens of short pieces to slip in between the studs. While doing that I also realized that because of the multiple layers of sheetrock, and them overlapping, that I needed a few extra studs here and there for attachment (mostly in the corners).

Another thing I did was improve on the decoupling with the wall that runs along the stairs. I had the RSIC-DC04 brackets screwed to the stair wall, since that was the only place to attach them. However, the stairwell is so "boomy" and sensitive to noise transmission that when I thumped on the theater walls with the meat of my hand, it would still resonate a some in the stairs. Nothing like hitting the stair wall itself, but it was coupled more than I wanted. I created 2 beams to cantilever out from the next 2 closest joists, stopping just 1/2" from the stair wall. I turned the RSIC-DCO4 90° and then screwed it into my new beams.

This method of decoupling proved to be FAR more effective! When hitting the wall with my hand, there is probably 25% as much transmission as before, if not less. You really have to give it a wallop to get the stairwell to resonate the boom. This is a definite upgrade to my soundproofing goals for sure. I'm super happy I thought to do this. Here is a pic of how I did it:

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I also took care of the fire blocking with the decoupled walls, except for 2 small spots I need to leave open for now. To meet code, you can't have an open cavity in a wall (or between walls) leading to a subfloor above, even if it's just a small gap. You also can't have an open cavity more than 10' across. Both of these things happens when you have two decoupled walls next to each other. Normally those gaps are just covered with sheetrock, but that would couple the walls and defeat the purpose.

I talked to my inspector and he said that rock wool or mineral insulation is perfectly acceptable to fill the gap with. I picked up a bunch and cut it carefully to the correct lengths and thicknesses so that it would hold in place, but also so that it wasn't compressed such that it could transmit vibration. I ran it horizontally between the outside of the top plate of every wall and the wall next to it (whether that was concrete or another wall). I also ran it vertically between some studs and walls to break up any spaces wider than 10' across. Here are a few pics that show some of it. In the first pic you can also see the extra 2x4's I had to slip in between each stud at the top for the sheetrock.

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post #28 of 59 Old 08-22-2018, 03:52 PM - Thread Starter
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The next wave of this project will be a pallet of 5/8" drywall and two more 5 gallon buckets of green glue so I can soundproof the bottom side of the subfloor over the theater. I think I'm about 3 weeks from getting that stuff, so in the meantime I've spent a considerable amount of time sorting out what I'm doing for HVAC.

I had an HVAC contractor come out last week and take a look at what I'm up to. What I learned from him is that my current HVAC setup is right sized for the house, and there isn't quite enough extra capacity to divert a full 300 CFM (for 6 exchanges per hour) over to the theater, zoned or otherwise. What I can do is use an existing 6" duct off the trunk that runs over the theater, and then run in another 7" duct directly from the furnace, which is nearby and has good access. Since those are both going to end up running through flex vents at the end, they should deliver a combined 185 CFM.

The theater is 100% under ground with 3 exterior foundation walls that are already R15 insulated, and I'm adding insulation in the walls I'm building against the foundation as well. It'll be a very well insulated room. The basement already stays quite comfortable temperature wise. It's a bit cooler than the rest of the house, so I think ventilation/circulation will be more important than heating/cooling.

Here is TLDR for what I'm planning:
  • Theater is about 3000 cubic feet, so 300 CFM is 6 exchanges per hour
  • HVAC 6" and 7" supplies for heating and cooling entering the front of the room (185 CFM)
  • HVAC 6" and 7" returns exiting the back of the room in the lobby through the same muffler
  • Intake Dead vent with 8" fantech XL for 500 CFM pulling air in the front
  • Exhaust Dead vent with another 8" fantech XL pulling air out the rear in the lobby
  • Dead vent fans are run from the same variable speed controller to balance the air

The HVAC contractor thinks this is a good plan, but he's also not familiar with home theaters. I'd love input on this plan, as well as a couple of specific things:

1. For the HVAC and dead vent supply vents, they will both be entering the room behind the screen where there will be two 18" subs and 3 Elusive 1099 front speakers (it'll be loud there). Is it worth it or advisable to build a duct muffler on both sides of the theater shell, such that each muffler seals to the shell where the duct passes through. I have the space, but it's a bit of work (although I do have the time). If it's not worth it for 2 mufflers, is it better performance with the muffler on the inside or outside of the shell, irrespective of the space used up?

2. The dead vent will pull air from two 36"x4" vents installed in the bottom two risers of the stairs. The hallway at the basement landing is 600 cubic foot, and it's open to the rest of the house (the stairs have no doors anywhere in the house). It's also the coolest part of the house. Seems like the best spot to grab air.

3. The dead vent exhaust will go into the 1200 cubic foot workshop next door at floor level. The workshop will have a large passive open vent over the door to allows air to flow back into the hallway when the dead vents are running. There is a 7" return vent in that hallway at the same end as the vent above the workshop door. This should keep the hallway from getting warm.

I do not intend to ever have to run the dead vent fans at full speed. I think that 50% is the most I should ever have to run them. I upsized for quieter operation. See any problems with this plan?

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post #29 of 59 Old 02-20-2019, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by htpc-geek View Post
The next wave of this project will be a pallet of 5/8" drywall and two more 5 gallon buckets of green glue so I can soundproof the bottom side of the subfloor over the theater. I think I'm about 3 weeks from getting that stuff, so in the meantime I've spent a considerable amount of time sorting out what I'm doing for HVAC.



I had an HVAC contractor come out last week and take a look at what I'm up to. What I learned from him is that my current HVAC setup is right sized for the house, and there isn't quite enough extra capacity to divert a full 300 CFM (for 6 exchanges per hour) over to the theater, zoned or otherwise. What I can do is use an existing 6" duct off the trunk that runs over the theater, and then run in another 7" duct directly from the furnace, which is nearby and has good access. Since those are both going to end up running through flex vents at the end, they should deliver a combined 185 CFM.



The theater is 100% under ground with 3 exterior foundation walls that are already R15 insulated, and I'm adding insulation in the walls I'm building against the foundation as well. It'll be a very well insulated room. The basement already stays quite comfortable temperature wise. It's a bit cooler than the rest of the house, so I think ventilation/circulation will be more important than heating/cooling.



Here is TLDR for what I'm planning:
  • Theater is about 3000 cubic feet, so 300 CFM is 6 exchanges per hour
  • HVAC 6" and 7" supplies for heating and cooling entering the front of the room (185 CFM)
  • HVAC 6" and 7" returns exiting the back of the room in the lobby through the same muffler
  • Intake Dead vent with 8" fantech XL for 500 CFM pulling air in the front
  • Exhaust Dead vent with another 8" fantech XL pulling air out the rear in the lobby
  • Dead vent fans are run from the same variable speed controller to balance the air



The HVAC contractor thinks this is a good plan, but he's also not familiar with home theaters. I'd love input on this plan, as well as a couple of specific things:



1. For the HVAC and dead vent supply vents, they will both be entering the room behind the screen where there will be two 18" subs and 3 Elusive 1099 front speakers (it'll be loud there). Is it worth it or advisable to build a duct muffler on both sides of the theater shell, such that each muffler seals to the shell where the duct passes through. I have the space, but it's a bit of work (although I do have the time). If it's not worth it for 2 mufflers, is it better performance with the muffler on the inside or outside of the shell, irrespective of the space used up?



2. The dead vent will pull air from two 36"x4" vents installed in the bottom two risers of the stairs. The hallway at the basement landing is 600 cubic foot, and it's open to the rest of the house (the stairs have no doors anywhere in the house). It's also the coolest part of the house. Seems like the best spot to grab air.



3. The dead vent exhaust will go into the 1200 cubic foot workshop next door at floor level. The workshop will have a large passive open vent over the door to allows air to flow back into the hallway when the dead vents are running. There is a 7" return vent in that hallway at the same end as the vent above the workshop door. This should keep the hallway from getting warm.



I do not intend to ever have to run the dead vent fans at full speed. I think that 50% is the most I should ever have to run them. I upsized for quieter operation. See any problems with this plan?
Hey man I was just going through my subscribed threads and I noticed you haven't posted in a while. Any updates?

Sorry that I can't give any helpful suggestions since I'm realistically a year minimum behind you with my build, but your room dimensions (screen wall at least) are similar to what I'll be working with and you've already posted the answers to tons of questions that I didn't even realize I had.

Anyway, here's one guy who hopes you keep posting!

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post #30 of 59 Old 05-12-2019, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Construction has commenced again! Also, I completely redesigned the room.

In my last post, I said I was hoping to order drywall and green glue to go between the rafters... which I did, except it was 9 months later instead of 3 weeks. Yep, it's officially a DIY theater build now that there has been a 9 month delay.

Green glue and 48 sheets of 5/8" drywall were delivered last week, and I've just started the incredibly tedious process of cutting them down into ~16" wide pieces to sound treat against the subfloor above the theater. It feels good to get back to work on it! I suspect this will take me a few weeks to chip away at.

The reason for the long delay was budget. Right when I was about to order that stuff, a pair of Focal Aria 936 towers went on sale for half price at my local dealer. I had the Aria 906 book shelf speakers, and they just couldn't fill the space in our new house. It was still a $1500 upgrade/trade from the 906's I got for $1000, but the 936's normally cost $4k. That delayed the theater budget just long enough to hit winter here in Minnesota, so I waited until spring. I hate to say it, but the joy I have got out of the 936's for the last 9 months has been worth the delay with the theater.

The big news is that putting this thing on hold was the best move I could have done. I ended up completely redoing my plans and rotating the room 180 degrees. The result is a massive improvement! I've been scratching my head all winter trying to sort out how to run the HVAC. With the original plans, there was no way for me to have HVAC supply in at the front of the room and the return in the back without crossing the supply and return lines somehow in my rafters. I couldn't come up with a good way or place to do it. Two weeks ago I mused to myself how much easier it would be if the room was flipped, and I didn't have to try and cross the ducts.

That was my Eureka moment! The evolution of design is a funny thing. My original plans were facing the other way because of the windows. In the beginning I didn't want to block them with the screen, so I oriented the room with the windows at the back so I could still use them. Over time the design evolved to where the windows were going to get covered anyway and I would never open them. However, I never reconsidered the other orientation! I can't believe I've been fine tuning these plans for a YEAR and it never occurred to me to flip the room! I was just somehow stuck on my original idea.

Improvements due to flipping the room orientation:[*]running HVAC ducts greatly simplified and now very straight forward[*]have space for a soffit for the HVAC return along the rear ceiling (head room problem in the old plans)[*]more room for a slightly bigger screen at the front of the room since it's wider[*]front sound stage no longer right next to stairs (should help reduce sound transmission to the house)[*]gained room for 1 extra seat in the rear row[*]no longer entering the room at the rear elevation means more headroom when entering, no need to constantly step up or down unless you use the rear row, much easier riser construction[*]better speaker placement options for rears and surround[*]easier and bigger gear room location and wiring[*]it just looks better, and more natural

Beyond that, basic construction is the same plan with decoupled walls and clips for the ceiling with double drywall and GG for sound proofing. DIY acoustic panels made from GOM and OC703. I dropped the speaker columns in favor of recessing the speakers into the walls with backer boxes. Volt 6's can mount shallow enough that they will only stick out of my walls by 2" and the acoustic panels will stick out 2.5, so I can hide them completely behind the panels. I'm saving effort by skipping the columns, but will be making far more acoustic panels, so it's probably a wash.

I had to bump up the brightness from the Sketchup renders, but the room will be relatively dark. I'm making the acoustic panels on the walls vary in depth, and be either 2.5" or 1.5" thick.

Top View:
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Entering the room:
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Views of seating:
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Screen view:
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And then I'm planning on ceiling trim that has LED strip lighting running through it like this:

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--
Denon AVR-X4300H, Speakers: R/L: Focal Aria 936, C: GoldenEar SuperSat 60C, S: Def Tech ProMonitor 1000's
Sub: JL Audio E112, TV: Vizio P65, Media Console: BDI Corridor 8173
Misc: TiVo Bolt, Apple TV 4K, PS4 Pro, Mac mini w/ Plex, Harmony One Remote

Last edited by htpc-geek; 05-16-2019 at 04:51 AM.
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