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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings all,


I had previously asked this question (along with probably too many others under another thread) and am breaking it out for a more specific discussion.


I am trying to get some advice regarding how to tackle a design challenge presented by my theater room. The problem is that my right wall has three windows, all spaced closely together. If you go to this link:

http://rbarner.home.texas.net/ECMG7330/WebStoreProject/


and click on the "Gallery" button on the left you will see what I'm talking about. (disclaimer -- This webpage through that link is not in any way a real store. It's a remnant of a school project where we were faking a themed storefront and I choose Home Theater. It's just the easiest way to show you my room right now.)


As you can see, those windows take up a large portion of the wall. Previously, I've approached the problem with the tubetraps, but they haven't grown on me appearance-wise and people are always confused by them. Bottom line, they detract from the theater in a way that columns or fabric-covered acoustic wall panels wouldn't.


I'd like to take the tubetraps out and do something like the TheaterShield / GoM fabric solution, but what to do with the windows? My wife refuses to allow me to close them off and her requirement is that they have to remain functional.


My only thoughts so far have been to use curtains on the windows and the TS / GoM solution everywhere else, but I think that might unbalance the room since the left and right walls would be so different, or to build something that might lower over the windows to block them when the theater was in use.


Does anyone have any suggestions? I've been wrestling with this for quite some time and would appreciate any input you might have.


Thanks,

Robert
 

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I thought I had a similar problem to yours. After looking at your gallery though I see mine is quite different. Nice TH by the may.


My window problem is actually self inflicted. I had to ask myself what is the ultimate purpose to my room? Is it just for HT or is it for something else?


In my case the HT to be is a 1 season porch soon to be converted to a HT (over the next couple of years). The room provides the only access to the back yard so an exterior door needs to stay. It also needed to provide light to the next room over, the living room. The living room has a fireplace at one end and one window at the other. I needed to make light available to this room and the only way I could do it is through the HT. In order to get the light to the living room my HT needs windows. I wrestled with this for a long time then got to thinking about the TH and when it would be used.


Answer, primarily on the weekends and in the evening to boot. Are windows a light problem then? Not really, nothing that room darkening blinds could not take care of. There are blinds and shades that provide enough of a light seal on the edges to darken the room.


As to sound? I'm not an accoustic engineer (I'm a civil/environmental engineer) so I cannot say anything with authority. I can say this though, after reading the "Master Hanbook of Acoustics," 4th addition (see also for your base trap issue) by F. Alton Everest I have come to the realization that you cannot build an acoustically perfect room. As recommended by the book the best thing to do is move the speakers until the room sounds good to you. The room is part of the sound system that can be tuned by simply moving the speakers.


A white paper by Floyd E. Toole, VP of Acoustical Engineering at Harman International (not a plug, just a referance), "Understanding Room Acoustics and Speaker Placement," supports this notion too. I liked Mr. Toole's approach too. He looked at the room as a space that you can either be sociable in as in listening to music or anti-social as in watching a movie. The layout changes with your preferance. He even suggests that a room set up with the focal point in the corner actually gives a better sound. Made sence after thinking on it for a while, having the focal point in the corner creates a listening area with no walls parallel to the front speakers.


The short answer from my standpoint is leave the windows. I room needs light sometimes (probably most of the time). My only suggestion, after looking at your photos, is the change the louvered wood shutters to a room darkening pull down blind. The blind is not reflective and will not rattle (just a guess) like the wood shutters would under intensive base (i.e. opeing battles in Gladiator and Saving Private Ryan).


Carl
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the feedback Carl. Over the years I have come to the realization that you are right with regard to obtaining a perfect room. Even with equalizers and tubetraps, there are things that will affect the sound beyond my ability to practically correct. The room being open to the rest of the house has been one such constraint.


Given that truth, I'm looking for the right balance between aesthetics and acoustics. The room is dedicated for watching movies so I'm not focused on the social aspects of design like I am in our living room. I'm also fighting a battle between two-channel audio and multi-channel movie sound. So given these realities, how does one achieve most design goals with as little compromise as possible?


I like your idea regarding the blinds (and you're right in your guess regarding rattles under severe bass). One thought I had was to use heavy curtains that would either open to the sides or drop down from above. The acoustics question is: if I do this on the right side and something like TheaterShield on the left, am I introducing a sonic imbalance, and if so, is this still better than no treatment at all?


Thanks again for your suggestions.


-Robert
 

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As I sat in my cubical yesterday studying a wastewater treatment plant to determine the best way to reduce the amount of phosphate from the treated effluent I reached for a design guide up on the shelf above my desk. The face of the bookshelf was closed so I had to open it by lifting it front and sliding it back over the top of the shelving unit. The face of the shelf stores by sliding on top and there is not visible track.


A few moments later I completely forgot about phosphate and looked closer to the shelf, here is a possible solution to your delema. The door is basically on an entertainment center door track but it is installed backwards. Instead of the main bracket on the top of the shelf (or inside wall of an entertainment center) it is on the back of the shelf door with the door hindge mounted on the shelf proper.


This principle can be applied to a movable solid shade that slides in front of the windows and can be desinged to provide a positive light shield. THe solid shade can be balanced witht he same material fixed mounted to the oposite side of the room. This could work. It would provide a movable solid shade with no visible track.


Give me a few days and I'll create a set of plans. The hard part will be finding a track that is long enough to cover the windows.
 

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Carl,


I really appreciate your help on helping me design a screen for my window problem. One of the ideas I've been considering is a design along the same lines as you mentioned, although my thoughts were to build a simple sliding panel that would move to the right of the windows.


Your hinged panel design sounds intriguing. However, here are a couple of physical constraints that might cause trouble. This room is on the second floor of a two-story house and the wall the windows are on is below the edge of the roof. So, a panel can't really slide up into the ceiling due to the joists and the slope of the roof. Were you thinking that the panel would pivot from a hinge at the top of the panel and the panel would swing up to the ceiling, or were you thinking of an angled track to the side that would tuck the panel behind the right-rear wall?


-Robert
 
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