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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I'm now onto my third home theater, and this time it's in a new house that has an unfinished portion of the basement that I will use as a dedicated theater.

I am about 6 months away from move-in, and I imagine that it will take me 3-4 months after I move in to get everything done [famous last words...] Attached is a basic rendering of the design. The room layout is fixed, but what I do in it is still open to suggestions.


Speakers:
  • L/C/R: Elusive 1099s
  • Surrounds and Backs: Volt-8
  • Current Subs: Currently two 4.0cf boxes with 18-22 Ultimax drivers
  • Future Subs: I am talking to the legendary folks at GSG Audio about doing four Full Marty subs. :D

Equipment:
  • I will have three racks in the back to house all of the gear, and I designed a 4' "closet" behind the rear wall for audio gear and random stuff that needs to be kept (original boxes, etc.)
  • The current screen is an AT 135" - and it could work in the new space too. 150" would be better, but that's a lot of cost for an incremental upgrade
  • The second row of seats will be on a riser -- jury is still out about elevating the first row; I've never done butt kickers, but it could be interesting
  • Epson Faux-K projector is a gem and I'll be bringing that over
  • 6 Crown XLS 1002 amps + 2 Behringer NX6000D amps + 4 Dayton Audio APA102 amps for Atmos

Room & Treatments
  • Concrete pad in basement
  • 2 Dedicated 20amp circuits (chime in if you have a valid argument for 3 circuits)
  • Double 5/8" drywall + Green Glue + Hat Channel
  • Roxul or Pink Fluffy -- my eyeballs have dried out reading the comparisons and science, and I'm tempted to go fluffy at this point
  • Acoustic panels -- no idea how to make these, so if you have best-practice threads - let me know

That's where I am right now. The equipment will almost all transfer over to the new house, so my thoughts are more centered on the build itself to make sure it's something I will enjoy for 10+ years
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Previous lessons learned from builds 1 and 2:

Stage/Screen:
Allow more than 24” behind the AT screen if possible. 18” sub boxes are often 22” or 24” inches deep and it cuts it too close for comfort. I wired my speakon inputs on the side of the sub cabinets just in case, but 4-6 inches of extra depth would have been nice. Sand is heavy, but it is a worthwhile endeavor to get a solid base below your bass. 2x8s for the main cavity lumber seemed like a good height. If you are doing two steps, use cheap 2x4s for the bottom one. Why two layers of 3/4” plywood/OSB on top of the sandbox framing? Because @BIGmouthinDC says so. Trust his experience and don't be stubborn. Plus, 1.5” of OSB/plywood makes for easy round-overs with a router. Leave a 1” gap around the entire sandbox perimeter so that it does not touch the wall. Sound dampening/isolation is the whole point of the sand. Don’t degrade that by rattling your walls and the china cabinet upstairs.

Riser:
The height depends on your needs and the best angle to see over the first row of chairs while being able to view the bottom of the screen. I went with 2x10 with 1.5” of decking on top.
Add power outlets in places where you might need them in the future. Maybe you will want near field subwoofers behind the second row of chairs. Maybe you will want to have power for an iPad charger near each chair. You can hide outlets with black faceplates, but it’s very hard to add them after the fact. Really hard. Pink fluffy insulation is cheap. Line the empty cavities with it so that your riser doesn’t become a resonant drum, even if you are on thick carpet. If you want an LED or incandescent rope light lining the underlip of the riser, plan ahead for that. I couldn’t extend my lip after the fact and needed to black rope light channel strips to hide the bulbs. The channels disappear in low light and create a diffuse effect, but it would have been cleaner to have a proper lip to begin with.

Labor:
An extra pair of hands can cut the work time down by 75%. I hired two guys off of Craigslist (the odd-jobs and gigs section) who were between construction jobs and paid them $15/hour. Best move ever. While it was my project and I was “in charge” - I made it clear that I wanted their suggestions and input, which definitely helped the project along. I had the vision, but they had the years of expertise and had a few tricks up their sleeves to make things go faster/better.

Lighting:
Accent lighting added a really great look to my room. I went with cheap 3” 50w halogen downlights ($14.99 each) and I’ll add in LED bulbs when they burn out. Buying them separately is oddly still much cheaper than starting off with LED housings. Some people go with 4” downlights - I liked the accent effect of the 3” bulbs; my tray ceiling was 10” so it seemed to be better balanced. It’s 1000x easier to add the accent lights when you’re building a tray ceiling. If you are doing it after the fact, just get the power up into the tray and then pull your Romex through. Don’t make the spacing between light holes too far or it is much hard to fish the wire through.

Paint:
If your spouse allows it, painting the ceiling black has an enormous effect on the perceived contrast — night and day difference. I was tossing out my carpet so I didn’t care about the drips, but keep that in mind and carefully prep your space when you are painting on the ceiling. The blackest of the black paint still has some reflection so heed the advice that so many here give on making a wider screen frame made out of black crushed velvet. It is like a black hole for light and really makes a tremendous difference. Get MDF or cheap plywood and a stapler and you’re done in a few minutes. I used SyFabrics and loved the result. JoAnne Fabrics is probably fine too, but the price fluctuates too much and I just wanted it done.

Speakers:
Seriously, check out the DIY offerings from DIYsoundgroup and GSG Audio. Premium components and the only catch is that some assembly is required! Flat packs from them, and from Parts-Express are the best investment you will ever make. Pre-drill your holes for mounting woofers. Put your hand between the woofer and the screwdriver or you will be buying a new woofer when it slips (mine did, and I was being careful). If using sealed enclosures, get speakon receptacles that are air-tight. Parts-Express.com has speakon connectors with different colors (blue, white, green, yellow, red) and it might help your sanity to color code your cables at the speaker end (ex. red for Fronts, yellow for subs) and then with the same color at your amp end if you are using.

WAF:
Double the amount of time that you tell your spouse that you will be working. Things always take longer than expected. And, if possible, take a night off and just do something nice for her/him and say thank you for being patient. I initially failed and this and got some deserved backlash, but was able to make it right eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
First row viewing distance of 15 ft is pretty far for my taste. 12-13 would be my preference.
Fair point -- 13' still works for my taste so I'll probably move things up a few feet to gain space on the back end. Thanks BIG! Once this new house gets framed up, I'll have to get you over!
 

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Subscribed. Your "previous lessons learned" post was enough to convince me that this will be a thread worth following.

How do you plan to get power to the riser if it's on slab and it doesn't extend out to the side walls (it's an "island" if you will)?

There may be a commonly accepted way of dealing with this that I'm unaware of, so apologies in advance if that's the case.

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, getting power to the riser is a bit of an issue. I could do a little riser in the back by the bar to allow for electrical, or go peninsula style to the side. I guess people in the second row would have to step up no matter what.

Anyone else out there have any elegant solutions for getting power to a second row riser?
 

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Trenching a concrete slab floor for electrical is a one weekend job or less. Loud, dusty project but if you rent the right tool nothing a DIYer can’t tackle. Better yet if the slab isn’t poured yet have them put in a conduit from a side wall to the riser.
 

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Yeah, getting power to the riser is a bit of an issue. I could do a little riser in the back by the bar to allow for electrical, or go peninsula style to the side. I guess people in the second row would have to step up no matter what.



Anyone else out there have any elegant solutions for getting power to a second row riser?
I'm not sure what the regulations are where you are but can you chase into the slab? If so do that then run your power and terminate with a floor box under the riser, then you can do whatever you want.

Chasing is annoying but it's not too terrible.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm not sure what the regulations are where you are but can you chase into the slab? If so do that then run your power and terminate with a floor box under the riser, then you can do whatever you want.

Chasing is annoying but it's not too terrible.

Sent from my ASUS_Z017DA using Tapatalk
My builder is not moving at the pace I would like, so I think it's a great idea to see if I can get some conduit (1 pipe for power, 1 pipe for signal cables) run into the concrete. Great idea!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
If anyone in the VA/MD/DC area has ever wanted to get a Marty Sub flat pack, I am putting together a small group buy. The guys at GSG Audio are awesome and have answered a ton of questions about sob coverage, butt kickers, etc.

Right now, I'm partnering up with some other local AVSforum guys to get:

  • 4 Full Martys
  • 2 Mini Martys
  • 2 UM18-22 18" drivers
  • 2 RSS460-HO 18" drivers
  • 2 Behringer NX6000D amps

If you want in on some Marty Sub flat packs and want to save a bundle on shipping (or if you have a business loading dock where we can unload to save on the huge residential markup) -- let me know!
 

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Go for four dedicated equipment electrical circuits

One for the recievers/pre pro/amps for speakers

One for the subwoofer amps

One for the projector

One for all the other gear (disc player, video game systems, roku/satellite box/cable box)

The last one can be shared with other outlets in the room for vacuuming, charging phones, etc

Lights should be on a seperate circuit as well, possibly shared with other rooms
 

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LOL....that "percepto" device in the link reminds me of the 4D movie experience at Disneyworld's "A Bug's Life". The part of the movie where the ticklers physically poke out of the seats at the perfect time and everybody screams....lol....classic. Let alone some other surprises that I won't spoil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Go for four dedicated equipment electrical circuits

One for the recievers/pre pro/amps for speakers

One for the subwoofer amps

One for the projector

One for all the other gear (disc player, video game systems, roku/satellite box/cable box)

The last one can be shared with other outlets in the room for vacuuming, charging phones, etc

Lights should be on a seperate circuit as well, possibly shared with other rooms
Playing devil's advocate -- doesn't 4 circuits seem like overkill? Why would the projector be on its own circuit? It doesn't use that much juice. I was thinking:

1. Amps and Lights (when one of those is on, the others are off)
2. Subs
3. Equipment

I have a ton of equipment, 6 Crown XLS1002 amps, lights, etc. on one circuit right now, and an iNuke 6000D on another circuit. I actually had all that on one 20amp circuit and everything was fine. Peak wattage comes with few devices on, few lights on (they are LEDs anyway) and just a momentary boost of the amps/subs.
 

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Yeah, getting power to the riser is a bit of an issue. I could do a little riser in the back by the bar to allow for electrical, or go peninsula style to the side. I guess people in the second row would have to step up no matter what.

Anyone else out there have any elegant solutions for getting power to a second row riser?
Peninsula style to the side is what I did, makes running any cables so much easier since that riser goes all the way over to the wall on one side. Glad I did it this way 20 years ago because I've added 3 additional cables back there so far in addition to the power (added Cat6 for back row bar, low voltage cable for LED lighting and USB charge ports for bar and an HDMI cable for a secondary screen in the back row bar. Never know what the future will bring, but it seems it always means adding another cable of some sort...lol.

If you're looking for awesome, low cost ULF and TR, check out the BOSS in my build thread (signature link below).....no need for buttkickers or tactile transducers if you have a BOSS or 2 in your theater. One member has even recently constructed a curved BOSS which would be perfect for your front row while the full riser BOSS would be perfect for your back row.
 

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I imagine that it will take me 3-4 months after I move in to get everything done [famous last words...]
Ha Ha Ha Ha...….HAAA HAAA HAAAA....stop it you're killing me!

I would run at least the 4 circuits. My room is open concept so I ran a circuit along each side wall of the room, plus the two for equipment and 1 for lighting.

Speaking of lighting circuits....I would STRONGLY suggest that you run power to the switch box and then to the fixtures. Yes, it takes a little longer and uses a little more wire, but it gives much better control and declutters wiring at the fixture. ESPECIALLY if you are going to use remote switches, and particularly Insteon, which requires a neutral at each switch. And, if you ever need to do any work after the fact, you know that if the switch off, the fixture is dead.

And when wiring outlets, pigtail the outlet so that one bad outlet doesn't take out the rest of the outlets on the circuit.

And what is this "if your spouse allows it" stuff? I'm watching you, Bub.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Ha Ha Ha Ha...….HAAA HAAA HAAAA....stop it you're killing me!

I would run at least the 4 circuits. My room is open concept so I ran a circuit along each side wall of the room, plus the two for equipment and 1 for lighting.

Speaking of lighting circuits....I would STRONGLY suggest that you run power to the switch box and then to the fixtures. Yes, it takes a little longer and uses a little more wire, but it gives much better control and declutters wiring at the fixture. ESPECIALLY if you are going to use remote switches, and particularly Insteon, which requires a neutral at each switch. And, if you ever need to do any work after the fact, you know that if the switch off, the fixture is dead.

And when wiring outlets, pigtail the outlet so that one bad outlet doesn't take out the rest of the outlets on the circuit.

And what is this "if your spouse allows it" stuff? I'm watching you, Bub.
Not to be a complete dummy, but how else would someone wire lights? I thought the line always came into the light switch, and went from there to the lights.
 

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Builders will do it the cheaper way....run the power to the ceiling in a kind of main line to each fixture, usually down the center of the ceiling to use as little wire as possible. Then they run a line from the hot at the fixture box down to the switch. If you're lucky, they connect the black from the box the switch, then color the white at the switch with a black marker and run it back up to the fixture. It adds extra wires and connectors in the fixture box, and can be confusing if the wires aren't all marked properly.
 
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