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EJ Husker1 05-22-2020 12:15 PM

Flatwater Theater - Build Thread
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Hi all. This forum is an amazing collection of information and community and I would like to give back a little in case this might help others.

I have always wanted a home theater ever since I was a teenager and a friend brought over two old box speakers (70's vintage probably), an amp, and hooked up it to our family 24" wood console TV and watched the movie Twister on VHS. At that moment my eyes were opened that you can get more in a movie experience:eek:. I was hooked. I found the AVS forum in 2002 and that threw gas on the fire.

Through the years I never really got the opportunity to build out a decent space. Finally life got to the point where I could start, though I don't have the budget to hire experts like the Erskine Group or Shawn Byrne, so this is a design of my own creation.

After nearly 10 years of owning this house, it was time to get started. The basement I have is a great space. High ceilings (9'-4") and quite a few possibilities as it was entirely unfinished. Along with a theater space this build will finish out most of the basement.



Goals of the space was more of an open concept room that will serve to both watch a great action movie, watch the superbowl, and do plenty of Xbox. Acoustics won't be ideal, but I know compromises will be made to get the look and function that we needed. Below is the final layout. Wanted an all in-wall speakers for a very clean, custom look.



The biggest problem was the subwoofers. I really wanted a full sound and low, deep bass. Given my budget limitations I was off to the DIY forum for ideas. Custom ported boxes was my first choice but then I stumbled upon Infinite Baffle (IB) and down the rabbit hole I went. Via the huge amount of information provided by mthomas47, markmon1, and others I found the solution I wanted. Since I have a huge space, I planned to build a 24" deep cavity to hold the IB subs.

More details on that later.

EJ Husker1 05-22-2020 12:16 PM

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With the layout in mind, my next goal was sound isolation. Seeing as the Soundproofing Company is a great resource for folks here, i called them up and got some more info and purchased materials.

The plan is to set the outside walls about 1" off the concrete and frame 16" O.C. to an inch or so below the joists. I used IB-3 clips at 48" c-c to build an isolated frame around the room. For existing walls, i built a second wall and used IB-3 clips to isolate the framing. All walls in the open concept area are built using decoupled framing techniques. Ceilings were planned to be 1B-1 clips and channel. Double drywall (5/8") with green glue was to be used. From all I read this was the best bang for the buck sound isolation strategy.

Pulled the needed permits and off to the lumberyard!


Green treated lumber for the baseplate, normal studs for the walls, and an extra glulam beam to stick under the living room area in case I ever wanted to put a large fireplace in. The beam will provide the extra support for the potential weight of a stone fireplace. Framing went ok, I'm not a professional and a few of my walls were a little out of square.

Recessed lights, ceiling Atmos speakers, and HVAC was to each have a box built to control sound as well. This was my least favorite part of this project. I ended up "cheating" and only using 3/4" MDF to build the boxes with no second layer and green glue. Too many #$%^ boxes!


There are 12 can lights, 4 ceiling registers, two cold air returns, 4 Atmos speakers, and two side surround speakers in the blasted boxes. Of course I screwed up the measurements and made all the boxes too deep. So after having assembled, screwed, and glued, i had to go back to the table saw and cut them down 1". So advice to anyone, double check your measurements and remember you have to have a way to hold the boxes in place with 1"x 2"s on the sides in each joist bay. Mine got a little tight and probably is short circuiting a little of the sound isolation.


Electrical wire was run everywhere. 12/2 to the outlets, 14/3 and 14/4 to the lights/switches. CAT6 to anywhere I thought it might be needed someday. 12 Ga wire to the sub locations (future BOSS), front three speakers. 14 Ga wire to the surrounds and Atmos speakers. 1 1/2" Conduit ran to the projector location and behind the screen wall for future pulling of HDMI cables. RG6 to a few locations as well for TV and/or Sat. Care was taken to keep good separation between 120v wire and low voltage wire.


EJ Husker1 05-22-2020 12:17 PM

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I went ahead and found the cheapest insulation i could find and stuffed all the walls and ceiling. If nothing else, my basement and entire house is much warmer now when compared to before. I should note, that I did put R-5 foamboard glued directly to the concrete walls initally. Taped up the seams with Tyvek tape and cut the foamboard to fit between each joist bay. All larger gaps were foamed with great stuff. This provided the needed vapor barrier. The R-5 along with the R-11 fiberglass has really lowered our utility bills!


The guides from the Soundproofing Co. were invaluable in laying out the clips and channel. Using a nice laser level, i was able to get the channel lined up right and boxes up.

From there we were finally ready for Drywall. Now here is where I would recommend to anyone, hire this out unless you are really good at this and like doing it. I found a drywall company that would listen to the sound isolation needs I wanted and seemed to get it though this was new to them. In order to save time and joints, they used 4 x 12' sheets! It was a challenge getting the sheets down the stairs, but again I didn't have to do it so whew!

1st layer going up.


Listening to BIGmouthinDC and his suggestion to put up one sheet of plywood where the projector goes.


Second layer with lots of green glue!


After the drywall shell was done, then the soffits got done. Now I hired the drywallers to do the soffits and they used metal studs instead of wood due to less weight and easier for them to build.


At this point this thing is starting to finally look like something!


EJ Husker1 05-22-2020 12:17 PM

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At this point the drywall guys took a weekend break and I had to build the screen wall.

Again this was to be in-wall speakers with an IB subwoofer setup. The plan is to put an AT screen in front.

To make this as sound isolated as possible, the shell of the room was built first and drywall installed as described with clips/channel on the ceiling and isolated framing on the walls. So now I needed to create enough space to allow the IB subs to work properly at at least 4x Vas and better at 10x Vas. I then framed up a second wall about 24" away from the outside shell. With the ceiling height it give me about 250 cubic feet of open area. I chose the Fi Car IB3 subwoofers as my source. I wanted to go 18", but was getting crowded for room so I went with the 15's. Even at 15", these are beasts!!


Frame going in:


I also love sports, so I set up the ability to add two small TV's next to the projector screen to have the ability to watch three games at once.


So the frame was specifically measured to set the centerline of the space and have equal distance each side space for the IB Subs and front speakers.


In following what rms8 did in his amazing theater, I went line array for the setup. My budget was limited to two IB subs for now but I left room to add two more later on. I left room to build a 2 x 8" frame and simply glued to the floor and provided one brace back to the back wall. I also covered the entire screen wall with one layer of 5/8" plywood followed by green glue and 5/8 drywall.

I followed what many other have done with the IB line array and did a sandwich design of 3/4" plywood covered by 1/2" MDF glued together. Cut the holes out with a borrowed router from my neighbor.

From there the room got painted, trimmed, doors installed (all solid core), finished the bathroom, tile and carpet installed, etc.

EJ Husker1 05-22-2020 01:15 PM

6 Attachment(s)
For the fun stuff i went with Paradigm Home Series in wall speakers. I don't see too many folks discuss these as they are on the lower end, but for my purposes they are awesome.


Front: H55 LCR
Side Surround: H55 IW
Ceiling Atmos (TF & TR): H55RE

Projector: Epson 3800

Screen: Silver Ticket 120" WAB

Receiver: Denon 4500H

Amp: Behringer NX3000D

Blu-Ray Player: Sony X700

Seats: HTMarket Warwick

Near final pics here:




The table was made with some help from my father. Poplar wood top, pine legs, finished with a dark stain and whitewashed. Came out really nice for some folks that aren't carpenters.


Performance is excellent to my ears and eyes. No, its not perfect and I didn't build a perfect dimensioned room that is a bat cave, but we like it. Its a good compromise in my mind between a true home theater and an open concept great room. Light control is good when we want it and sound is acceptable to my untrained ears.

The sound isolation works well for me. I would say I went about 80% of the way to a "complete" sound isolated room. DD/GG/clips and channel, boxes around all penetrations, putty pads around outlet boxes and solid core doors. This room contains sound very well at loud volumes except for bass. The Fi subs can put out too much and it will vibrate the main floor of the house. Using the Denon low frequency containment feature does work well so I can turn it up at night and not wake the kids upstairs.

Yet to go is find some good stools for the table, finish up 7 more fabric panels (shout out to Nickbuol for his amazing help) and maybe find a poker table for the back corner.

This isn't much, but I hope it might provide some ideas to others looking for a way to bring the theater home.

Thanks to you all!

skylarlove1999 05-22-2020 02:06 PM

This is a well designed multimedia room. Love the color scheme and the table your father made. You can tell you put a great amount of thought into the layout of the space. Enjoy.

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BobbyColtrane 05-22-2020 05:59 PM

It looks great and I'm planning out my own similar space with theater seats and a bar behind it.

2 questions -

How far from the screen is that couch?

How wide is the seating area?

EJ Husker1 05-23-2020 07:46 AM


Originally Posted by BobbyColtrane (Post 59693278)
It looks great and I'm planning out my own similar space with theater seats and a bar behind it.

2 questions -

How far from the screen is that couch?

How wide is the seating area?

The seating is about 10' from the screen to where your eyes are. The room width between the support post and the wall is about 10'-4". I ordered the space saving seat style to be able to get 4 across to fit.

Good luck with your plan.

BobbyColtrane 05-23-2020 04:54 PM


Originally Posted by EJ Husker1 (Post 59695308)
The seating is about 10' from the screen to where your eyes are. The room width between the support post and the wall is about 10'-4". I ordered the space saving seat style to be able to get 4 across to fit.

Good luck with your plan.

Right on, that's about the dimensions of mine - 21x13. I wanna do 3 seats up front and 4 barstools.

Black95tt 05-26-2020 06:47 AM

Great looking room. Nicely done.

EJ Husker1 05-27-2020 03:23 PM


Originally Posted by Black95tt (Post 59708872)
Great looking room. Nicely done.

Thanks. We have been really enjoying the ability to watch movies at home.

Was able to crank up Inception the other day and I love the ability to turn it up.

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