What are people doing for easily accessible components in a dedicated HT? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 46 Old 04-26-2019, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
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What are people doing for easily accessible components in a dedicated HT?

I’ve been scouring for pics with limited success:

I am considering keeping my pre-pro, amps, switches, etc hidden away, but I want easy access to a game console, Blu-ray, and possibly even a turntable.

1) Anybody have any thoughts or examples of this? The goal is an improved WAF and a system that doesn’t rely on an instruction booklet for people to use.

I’ll mention I’ll have IR extenders and other programmable stuff for controlling inputs, volume, etc.

2) Any recs on actually DISPLAYING things like input and volume? I will have a Marantz AV7705.
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post #2 of 46 Old 04-26-2019, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinHeadroom View Post
2) Any recs on actually DISPLAYING things like input and volume? I will have a Marantz AV7705.
The AV7705 doesn't have an OSD?
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post #3 of 46 Old 04-26-2019, 09:16 AM
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I have a hinged faux column in front of my equipment rack
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post #4 of 46 Old 04-26-2019, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
I have a hinged faux column in front of my equipment rack


Thank you for this, that’s my plan A. Plan B is making the prepro/amps similarly accessible, but with a shelve or something for components I don’t mind guests messing with.
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post #5 of 46 Old 04-26-2019, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smcmillan2 View Post
The AV7705 doesn't have an OSD?


I assume it does, though there may be times when music is playing, or when it is about to play, and I would like to know the volume before blowing people away. I assume Marantz has a RESTful/IP based interface from where I can query info like this (im a home automation geek as well).
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post #6 of 46 Old 04-26-2019, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
I have a hinged faux column in front of my equipment rack


That’s pretty sexy.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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post #7 of 46 Old 04-26-2019, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinHeadroom View Post
I’ve been scouring for pics with limited success:

I am considering keeping my pre-pro, amps, switches, etc hidden away, but I want easy access to a game console, Blu-ray, and possibly even a turntable.

1) Anybody have any thoughts or examples of this? The goal is an improved WAF and a system that doesn’t rely on an instruction booklet for people to use.

I’ll mention I’ll have IR extenders and other programmable stuff for controlling inputs, volume, etc.

2) Any recs on actually DISPLAYING things like input and volume? I will have a Marantz AV7705.
While my idea isn't as sexy and invisible as Jeff's, it works for our space and needs. The "rack" you see is actually in one wall of a small 3' x 3' closet accessed from an adjacent room. The rack is installed in the back wall of the media room and the backside of the equipment (and all wiring) is easily accessible (via the closet). I don't have any ventilation issues and the UHD player and game console are easily accessible for changing discs.

I like Jeff's idea and wish I would have thought to incorporate something like that. Ventilation shouldn't be too much of an issue if you're early in the process.

Best of luck with your project!
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post #8 of 46 Old 04-26-2019, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd G. View Post
While my idea isn't as sexy and invisible as Jeff's, it works for our space and needs. The "rack" you see is actually in one wall of a small 3' x 3' closet accessed from an adjacent room. The rack is installed in the back wall of the media room and the backside of the equipment (and all wiring) is easily accessible (via the closet). I don't have any ventilation issues and the UHD player and game console are easily accessible for changing discs.



I like Jeff's idea and wish I would have thought to incorporate something like that. Ventilation shouldn't be too much of an issue if you're early in the process.



Best of luck with your project!


I like this approach a LOT, it makes the process a tad less daunting for an innocent bystander to my obsession.
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post #9 of 46 Old 04-26-2019, 09:18 PM
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post #10 of 46 Old 04-27-2019, 04:05 PM
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My rack is just outside the room at the entrance.

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post #11 of 46 Old 04-27-2019, 05:46 PM
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Ever consider what you could personally do, custom-wise with a cheap $10 Harbor Freight 4" angle grinder?

I cut a 2 post computer rack apart several times, and cleaned up the rack rash, and used rattle can hammered paint to make it look brand new. This L side pieces ended up lagged
to doubled up studs, and I used some drywall J channel to create a clean drywall edge for an exposed opening in the drywall wall face. I've also created some rack parts out of steel, to
create cheap fittings for my various racks.

I could see where you could cut apart four post computer rack or a Middle Atlantic Slim5 and create 2 racks. The "gaming" rack could be rotated to face into the theater, while the
rest of the gear is stacked above, and faces outwards, if you used that front wall and corner. You could even grab a new (used) top and bottom for a Slim5 via eBay. I also like the idea
of simply making one's own faceplates. Either out of some aluminum plate or even out of painted MDF.

I've rolled a fair amount of gear over, so the faceplates are where I've spent money. But all of my av racks have been accomplished inexpensively, and little has been bought new. I've
even managed to acquire a fair amount of various faceplates and keep thinking some hammered paint could actually create a unified look out of the various finishes. I also am going to
try to make new openings on some of those mish-mash faceplates. And I also have thought about powder coating the faceplates, and simply using a cheap single burner counter top stove
burner, with a piece of metal ductwork contain the heat to bake the finish.
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post #12 of 46 Old 04-27-2019, 05:54 PM
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I have my equipment; receiver and other stuff in a closet that's in an adjoining room to where my theater is and I control everything using a Logitech IR extender through the wall which works slick.
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post #13 of 46 Old 04-28-2019, 04:02 AM
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Art Install often stuffs a lot of gear up front, in low racks/cabinets. https://artinstall.ru/

You might build something, based on what you can find a deal on. If you can find a cheap MA credenza, like I stumbled across last week, then something like that, could take
you in a different direction. Here's the bare frame of one of those, and I always thought one could section a tall four post computer rack and create rack, and make a three bay
DIY version. (I don't know where you are located, but there's a 2 bay credenza on eBay lingering around right now for $200 in Florida.)

My future plans for my credenza is to build it out to a full width credenza, for a media room. I am thinking wall to wall top, with fabric framed end panels (to hide dual subs) and open
up a door or two, and use some perforated metal panel to expose some gear. A bit of a DIY project for sure, but it would be a very inexpensive statement piece of built in furniture that
wouldn't show off much of it's av orientation. I expect to cover the doors and top, in some nice exotic veneer, or simply make new doors, if I section the rack to reduce it's height.

Building such a frame out of a cheap used server rack, would allow you to easily custom size it to exactly what height you want, and you could hide the cleanout and hide or expose gear as you need
or want to. Considering all the other work that has gone into that basement thus far, this might not be much of a reach..... If that is something you might consider, I could outline the steps to do so, and
even provide you with detailed pictures of my Credenza.
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post #14 of 46 Old 04-28-2019, 04:40 AM
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There's not much in rack bits with this local rack, but the asking price is a budget busting $10. Throw in a $10 Harbor Freight 4" angle grinder and a pack of $10 cut off disks, and you would have the start of a rack that could be totally custom for your space. The shelves could be sectioned and used also.

The top and bottom could be cut off, and flipped and secured to the floor. The extra rail lengths could used to create more bays, by bolting the rails together. The 4" angle grinder could clean up any rash, and a nice coat or two of hammered spray paint could hide any remaining minor imperfections. If you used some wood to space the rails apart, you could not only add support, you could add somewhere to add doors to, and create room for vertical airflow. You could also brace the front to the back wall, and a top would also add support and offer the potential to work in some active exhaust if so desired.
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post #15 of 46 Old 04-28-2019, 09:17 PM
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Rack Placement.

I like Big's hidden rack an awful lot.

I'd emulate it, but I don't have the width, nor, due to other constraints could I put it anywhere but all the way in the back of the room..... and I really don't like the idea of having to start a movie by going to the back past both rows to get the show started when entertaining.

As a general comment, on my last room, I did put all the stuff in the back, it was visible, and I initially Liked the idea of having it visible to (well, lets be honest) show off the gear I had.

I learned very painfully that those damn LED lights for displays, especially some "power on" ones really put a lot of light onto the screen you don't want. Granted that was all back in the Sony G70 CRT days... but still, its sub-optimal.

Similarly, as tempting as up front and visible is, you don't want those LED's pointed at you in the audience either.

Probably going to have to use a nearby closet with access from behind, almost a crawlspace unfortunately.

One of the things I have not seen, that I think would be so cool... is to use side columns that mask side speakers to have hidden flip down doors that hold say a rack of 6 pairs of 3-d glasses, and hidden charger with wires in the drawer, and a second column to hold remotes, or game controllers etc...

Seems like such a no-brainer.
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post #16 of 46 Old 04-28-2019, 11:13 PM
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I like Big's av rack also, mostly because you don't have gear seen up front. But there's also a potential negative audio-wise, in that the av rack might now be a near
boundary and upset the front of the room symmetrically. All of which means I like Big's 2 post AT front end even better. And I'd prefer to host the av rack outside the room, and
go for a low noise floor.


I see all kinds of great looking rooms on the internet, but if one starts to think about what's needed for great audio, then the flaws start to show. But one might need to make some
compromises to accommodate wants, needs, and maybe a less then perfect room that one has to work with.


Did you zone your lights in that theater, where a lighting controller would give you all kinds of flexibility to build scenes? Full on screen wash lighting is maybe good only for
a room cleaning scene. One advantage of HT 2.0 is you can change out what didn't work for you.

If you have a rack, you can "host" remotes in a rack drawer. And maybe you don't even really need access to a remote (or lighting controller for that matter) with some of the stuff I
have seen Alexa do. Maybe all the controller you need these days, is a tablet or Alexa……

I have seen pictures of a home theater where the charger station and 3D glasses are hosted in a column. I just am now in a place these days where I question if I want or need columns at all?
Maybe that energy is better invested elsewhere?

You want to show off your av gear and I once upon a time, I did too. These days it's back to htpc and server and no gear in the room. No heat load, no rack fans, no light pollution, and I don't want nor
need to see gear.
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post #17 of 46 Old 04-29-2019, 01:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluer101 View Post
My rack is just outside the room at the entrance.
I'm trying to work out what to do with our kit in a new build and that looks very cool! Quick question - can you control the kit from within the room? Do you have a pic of what the otherside of the rack looks like from inside?
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post #18 of 46 Old 04-29-2019, 03:46 AM
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The answer to controlling rack mounted gear outside a room, might be as simple as an inexpensive infrared lighting controller. Either with washer ir emitters that spray a wide path of infrared, or with individual buds that attach
over built in ir receivers that most gear has. Those are fairly cheap, with the components being a infrared block, infrared emitters and an infrared receiver, and a wall wart power supply.

Some higher end receivers and prepros also often have some low voltage triggers that will have the ability to turn on amps, and other gear.
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post #19 of 46 Old 04-29-2019, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by howiee View Post
I'm trying to work out what to do with our kit in a new build and that looks very cool! Quick question - can you control the kit from within the room? Do you have a pic of what the otherside of the rack looks like from inside?
I use iRule to control my rack from inside. It’s an app on my iPad. They have stopped support for it though but continues to work. Some of my equipment is ir controlled, some ip controlled with feedback, and others are trigger controlled.



The rack is on the left in this picture.

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post #20 of 46 Old 04-29-2019, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I use iRule to control my rack from inside. It’s an app on my iPad. They have stopped support for it though but continues to work. Some of my equipment is ir controlled, some ip controlled with feedback, and others are trigger controlled.







The rack is on the left in this picture.





Drooling over the cable tidiness!

These are all really helpful. I’m definitely cool with a DIY approach, and I love an excuse to buy a grinder.

I plan to use IR repeaters/ IP control as much as possible. It’s the tactile component- putting a record on, putting a bluray in, that makes the room a tiny bit less daunting to guests. To be continued with more ideas...
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post #21 of 46 Old 04-29-2019, 09:09 AM
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You can check out my theater build in my signature for more rack build photos.

I built the rack out of 3/4 birch plywood. The rack rails are middle Atlantic.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ..._Rackrail.html

The lacing strips I bought off eBay cheap and cut them to my desired length for location.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...strips_42.html

All my dedicated power outlets are wired dinto the rack. Then used home made power bridges to projector, rear subs, and poster display. This way it allows me to have my items plugged into my battery backup or power conditioner.
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post #22 of 46 Old 04-29-2019, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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What are people doing for easily accessible components in a dedicated HT?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluer101 View Post
You can check out my theater build in my signature for more rack build photos.



I built the rack out of 3/4 birch plywood. The rack rails are middle Atlantic.



https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ..._Rackrail.html



The lacing strips I bought off eBay cheap and cut them to my desired length for location.



https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...strips_42.html



All my dedicated power outlets are wired dinto the rack. Then used home made power bridges to projector, rear subs, and poster display. This way it allows me to have my items plugged into my battery backup or power conditioner.


Definitely bookmarked

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post #23 of 46 Old 04-30-2019, 04:20 PM
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One thing I like about a Middle Atlantic Slim5 rack is how a 37U rack can easily be cut down in height, and how one can utilise all those holes down the rails, to add plywood sides if you want to encase it.
The other main attraction is how cheap I seem to find these used, kitted out with parts, that make them even more attractive.

Pic one is my latest rack, for a media room. $300 CDN (about $220 USD). Ten shelves, about 20 faceplates ranging from 1/3rd U to 2U, and mix of vented and solid shelves,
plus one 2U drawer. Rear doors, front wood doors, wood topper and end panels, plus the credenza itself. And wheels.

Pic 2 and 3 is up for sale currently as a rack and five shelves, and at $150 CDN has drawn zero interest in 3 days. Paid $300 CDN for it, as it is pictured there. Keeping the wire management and blank plates.

Pic 4 is one of my Slim5, at $100 US counting shipping, eBay find. My second one was $120 CDN, and it had shelves and a ton of wire management pieces.

Pic 5 is a bunch of leftovers assembled from previous rack buys and sold to a local AVS for $150 CDN.

I do have a motley collection of blank faces that came with various racks, Everything from bare aluminum to minty anodized face plates, 6U down to 1/3rd U now. If the weather ever gets nice, I
am going to try sandwiching some of the plates that have equipment cut outs for gear I don't own, and see if I can route larger openings, and salvage them. The final step will be to use some rattle
can hammered spray paint to unify the look of all the different finishes, and semi gloss black for any custom made metal pieces.
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post #24 of 46 Old 04-30-2019, 04:51 PM
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Some DIY ideas here:

Memmo's interpretation of plywood side panels for his utility room rack.

The picture that inspired me to think pegboard and perf'ed metal for cheap vertical lacing. And you could also add plastic networking conduit too.

Jimin's raised Slim5, GPower's selective reveal doors. And someone's use of wood to make the industrial nature of these racks, less so.

And it seems to me perforated metal could make some larger fill panels cheaply. And maybe create ventilation if one simply went with wood shelves. Might be a bit red neck but you could use some suspend pipe strapping to hold gear down, and some metal L corner brackets to make stops so gear doesn't slide back. But that's not exactly in sight, but it's dirt cheap and functional. (I did score some clamping bars, and eBay'ed a few.)
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post #25 of 46 Old 04-30-2019, 05:05 PM
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You could lag in a two post computer rack, into a wall. Double up the studs on each side, and maybe even frame out a closet in back, with a gasketed door for rear of rack access.
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post #26 of 46 Old 04-30-2019, 05:53 PM
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Slim5 racks come with a brace, and many years ago, I saw this brace put to work, for more then rack stability.
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post #27 of 46 Old 04-30-2019, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
Slim5 racks come with a brace, and many years ago, I saw this brace put to work, for more then rack stability.

Holy cow awesome inspirational ideas and pics. DIY rack mount seems like it should be more obvious.


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post #28 of 46 Old 05-01-2019, 06:04 AM
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I've done so much metal work-wise for theater, that I picked up a 12" metal chop saw. Just installed cut off disk two, in it.

I might do some sconces, similar to these. And I have wondered how well they might do to light up an av rack, either as end wall sconces, or wall mounted above the av rack, with the slopes facing the av rack.
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post #29 of 46 Old 05-01-2019, 06:54 AM
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I saw a post by dasa2131 and recognized his use of a 2U shelf, to create a wood and metal tube amp foundation.

It really caught my eye because I often have thought one could make a really nice htpc case from a couple of my excess rack shelves, and some MDF, given a gloss black piano finish. This was a custom fabricated faceplate made by a really talented AVS'er, many years ago, and it simply attached to an Antec 780B desktop case. Now I think wider for rack ears, simple routed MDF panel, with hand rubbed gloss black piano finish. Rattle can spray paint and some fine wet sand paper.

Now if some manufacturer could just make me a slot loaded 4K optical drive...

I'm also thinking using a 2U shelf with three optical drives, and some painted MDF, for ripping my movies.
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post #30 of 46 Old 05-01-2019, 06:58 AM
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And if one has a htpc with no optical drives, one could hide a computer entirely out of sight, and simply put a momentary contact push button in a 1U metal spacer rack plate, and simply extend the wiring to the mother
board's power on pins.
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