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Another "building a small home theater in that unused part of the basement" thread!

7246 Views 50 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Jon_B
Well, I started typing my lame generic title, then BAM! "hey, this forum has some cool thingy to attempt to stop annoying duplicate posts!" well, not annoying duplicate posts by THIS GUY! (I'm pointing at myself right now, seriously, i just don't have a webcam to prove it)

So begins my most likely ill fated journey into trying to make the unused room in the basement something more than a place to store the couch that doesn't go with the current decor and that pile of boxes that we never unpacked after moving.

Obligatory sketch of space done in MSpaint:

so far I've managed to remove about 50% of the ugly floral patterned wallpaper (why do old people do that to houses anyway?) and spent about $300 on random parts that I may or may not need from monoprice (god, I love that place)

Equipment that I have so far:

Samsung 46" 5-series LCD (will eventually move ot a projector, last house had large windows in TV room)

Onkyo TX-SR605 AVR

LG DVD player (model?)

Nintendo WII

Apple TV

Bell HD satellite receiver

Plan at the moment is to mount the LCD on the west wall, and run HDMI to the AVR in the "closet" on the south wall. Trouble is, it's a finished wall, insulated and vapor barriered (except where I cut to figure out what was all behind the wall, of course, haha)

Also intending to run 5.1 surround to wall plates around the room:

"rear" speakers near center

"front" in NW and SW corners

Center in middle of W wall

Sub likely have the cable run to the NW corner

Plans for the "closet":

I intend to cut up a two post 42U telecoms rack I have, and somehow ingeniously design a slide out rack for the AV equipment

A little curious how other have retrofitted their finished basement walls for low voltage cable, I'm thinking I'll just cut the bottom 3-4 feet of drywall, run my wires in behind the vapor barrier, and then tuck-tape the vapor barrier up and hang new drywall.

Ideas? suggestions?

more of the same to come.
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How much low voltage cable are we talking? Just the speaker wire, or a lot more?

Many times, a run or two of speaker wire (or a CAT5 cable) can be gently (ok, sometimes forcibly) pushed between the baseboards and the carpet, without the need for any demolition/construction. Often the gap between the baseboard and the carpet (actually the tack strip holding the carpet) is a little tight, but once you get the wire past it, there is a good amount of space inside the gap. I have finessed 2 14 AWG speaker wires and a CAT5 run under one baseboard. I find the back side of a butter knife is a good,, dull tool for massaging the cables through.

If that doesn't work, you can always pull the baseboards off and cut the drywall carefully to make space for the runs. Then replace the baseboards and they will hide the destruction without the need to patch the drywall.

As for wall paper, I know what you mean. Mom has finally harped on the old man to tear their wall paper out of the bathroom after a couple years of us making fun of it during family get-togethers.

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will try to take actual pictures tonight. I forgot to mentioned the horrible fake wood board stuff that was lining the "closet" *shudder*

As for low voltage stuff coming through the walls there will be:

to the TV:


to the AV rack:

5.1 surround

4x CAT6

2x RG6
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Looks like a good open space with doors in the right places. On the other hand the ratio of length to width being 2:1 is a bit of an acoustics handicap - not a deal killer; just something you might find yourself improving upon later if you are a critical about your audio.

What kind of ceiling height do you have to work with? I ask because; you will quickly be thinking front projector set up

Looking forward to photos
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My theater is similar in size to your available space.

Concerning the running of wires, many of us use soffits to hide the wiring and provide some interesting lighting opportunitites as well as a way to run HVAC.
Thanks for the kind words everyone!

I'm really liking the blue vinyl conduit that some are using for their low voltage wiring, I'm going to look into that!

At this point I'm starting to lean towards taking most of the drywall down, running conduit, and redoing the vapor barrier, it looks like it will just be easier and turn out better in the long run.

I'm a bit concerned that my 2 foot depth for my AV equipment "closet" won't quite be enough, anyone do something similar in such a confined space? My current thoughts are to use about half the width for AV equipment, and the other half will become shelving to store media.

For those of you with narrow rooms, how do you find that your seating fits? right now I have a large leather couch that i was intending to use as seating, and possibly supplement it with some reclining theater seating, but the width of my current couch does not allow me to center it, it has to have one arm against the south wall facing west. what would be an ideal configuration for seating in this space?

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Tucking your AV stuff in one corner of that bump out would be a bit of a hassle to get access to the backside. Unless you use a rack that can slide out it would be a PITA.

I suppose it might be doable to put the AV rack centered in the space with media storage shelves on both sides that were hinged (think shelves that swing out like doors) away from the rack so that you could at least get access to both sides of the rack. Then it might be possible to get adequate access to the back of the components for wiring. I suppose it also depends on how much stuff you plan to have on your rack. One Bluray player hooked to the receiver with an HDMI connector is not nearly as bad as 4 or 5 different boxes, etc.

As for the smurf tubing. If you're going to cut drywall to run cables anyway, don't put those runs in the tubing! Run the tube empty, except for some heavy pound fishing line to help pull future wires through, and run the other cables in the wall. That way in the future you can add cables later, instead of having to replace cables that are already filling the tube.

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My room is the same size as your's and I have seating for 9. You just have to find the right size furniture.

Originally Posted by budk /forum/post/16829872

My room is the same size as your's and I have seating for 9. You just have to find the right size furniture.

What, like these?

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Yep, just like that. Check the link in my signature.
budk - I LOVE your theater! great use of the space. I'm really liking the idea of having a "bar" behind the second row of seats, would be great come playoff time! (although I don't tend to watch a lot of sports, just can't find the time, but maybe I would with a kick ass theater room)

Suntan: Where did you get the dora seats? I was leaning more to purple as opposed to the pink, but I could work it into my decor!

Originally Posted by budk /forum/post/16830018

Yep, just like that. Check the link in my signature.

Ah, I'm just messing with ya.

But seriously, who doesn't have a friend or two that you wish you could make them sit on the Dora chair through the entire movie?

berg0 - the counter and stools really come in handy. It was a great way to get a 3rd level of seating without having to build another riser, especially since I didn't have the headroom.

However, I made the mistake of sitting in the recliners whenever the Penguins lost the first 2 games of the Stanley Cup. I watched the 3rd game, the game they won, from a stool at the counter. So, obviously I had to watch the rest of the games from that same stool, rather than the couch or one of the recliners!
Back from the dead!

I'm at the point in my build where I'm ready to terminate my cables. Right now I've got a 24 port keystone patch panel on a swing out wallmount rack where I'm terminating my cables. I'm using banana plugs on all of my wall plates and patch panel from monoprice:

but I'm not really impressed with them. I'm wondering if moving to using neutrik connectors and an xLR style patch panel (round holes, not keystones) would be more correct

my speaker wire is all 12ga oxygen free copper from monoprice. Currently using an onkyo 605 AVR (binding posts to speakers) but thinking of upgrading to dedicated 5 channel emotiva amp once the construction is finished.
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Can't seem to find most of my pictures, but I do ahve the in wall rack mostly set up.

A few other progress pics:

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well, i'm going to bring this back from the dead!

I've been busy! unfortunatly, not busy building my theater, but I have managed to build most fo a sauna/bathroom, and I built a 36'x28' garage/shop, so, at least I wasn't slackin' !

Anyway, it looks like this right now:

Daughters third birthday was this past weekend, so, we used the theater room for overflow!

it's now all drywalled, mudded, taped, and a first coat of primer on it. Hopefully I'll get cracking on my stage, riser, and false wall soon, as well as re-finish the ceiling, then get some paint on the walls!
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started taking down decorations with my little helper, and decided to mock up a screen on my wall, can't decide how large I want to go. found a good deal from costco on some 106" accuscreen fixed acoustically transparent screens, $299, so I'm tempted to do that, but I do have enough room to go bigger, an extra 18.5" on either side:

If I do go 106" as shown in the pic, do I place my L R and Center behind the AT screen, or buy AT fabric for my false wall, and put L and R in the corners beside the screen behind the AT fabric? Or bass traps in the corners and leave all the speakers behind the screen?
Well, I've been able to dedicate a little bit more time to the build. Bought all new decor outlets, switches and covers, black. Bought track lighting for the ceiling to replace the fluorescent lights. I've decided on a colour (I think): benjamin moore "willow" (grey/brown) with "onyx" (black) for my doors and trim. Plan right now is to get the ceiling re-sprayed with stipple, and paint it matte black.

I don't see myself jumping on board with 3d, so I've decided to go with the AE4000 over the 7000, and I think I'm now convinced to go with a 2.35:1 screen and do CIH with the ae4000. Screen size will tentatively be 114"x49" (9.5' wide) on the 10' 9" wall, leaves me with only 7.5" to spare on each side of the screen. I'm going for a matte finish paint, but I'm still a bit worried about how much light I'll get reflecting onto my screen with such a narrow room, any advice or opinions?

I'll be building a stage 6" high, screen wall 2' from the back wall, curved front, and I'm planning on using BigMouthinDC's screen wall "goal post" design (hope you don't mind me stealing it!)

Plan is to have three rows of seating (cozy) in the room:

-First row starting 9' from screen, about 10' viewing distance

-Second row on a riser, 48"x90", 8" tall, about a 14.5' viewing distance

-third row is a bar behind the riser, 18" deep bar, haven't decided on the height. giving about an 18.5' viewing distance

This leaves me with 5.5' of space behind the bar, trying to decide if this is sufficient for my wet bar idea against the back wall or not, opinions?

For acoustical treatments I'm planning on attempting to source rigid foam insulation locally to make bass traps in my corners behind the screen, and make a couple of panels for my walls out of the same material and black speaker cloth, which I'll also use for my screen wall.

I'll work out a bit more math to see if these sizes/distances work out to within recommended guidelines. Lots of reading to do! Maybe I'll try to CAD this up, but I suck at google sketch up.
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