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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Over the last several years I have learnt so much from the AVS forums and what you have all done with your home theaters, so I figured I would give back and hope my experience helps others!

I started out in 2006 when I moved to this great home with a full walkout unfinished basement, it has a space under the front of the home that is approximately 11’ by 26’ which I figured was great for a home theater space.

I was able to just about get 3 seats in a row with space to walk by the first row, I would love to have a few more feet but this was an amazing space coming from the UK, so I can’t complain!!

My budget was limited and I knew nothing but I did know that I wanted to recreate a theater experience. I decided I would build a screen-wall to surround the screen and house the speakers. This would give me a 106” screen which at that time was just amazing to me…. I didn’t want to see or hear the projector so I also built a drop down boxing for the projector which turned out to be around 15’ back from the screen, right over the first row of seats. After reading the sub $3000 projector forum I decided on the Infocus 4805 and got the Da-Lite Perm Wall with Cinema Vision 1.3g material. At that time I was 100% DVD and was very happy with the PQ, I guess the fact that the first row was 15’ back and that the projector was a great DLP for the money, HD didn’t do anything for me, just made me mad that the BD version of movies was 1.5 to 2x the cost of a DVD and I wasn’t ready to pay that!!!

For the first few months I made do with a cheap $500 all in one Yamaha 5.1 sound system I already had, it wasn’t bad really, and being my first experience was still amazing but I quickly wanted more and purchased an Onkyo TX SR-674 with full tower fronts, center and rear surround Monitor series Polk speakers. At the same time I was having bad echo effects in the room so purchased some DIY materials to make several sound panels, boy did that help improve things! I didn’t and still don’t have any measuring tools etc. I just put them on the side walls and at the back of the room, it sounded great so it worked for me J

Later the 4805 had the infamous light tunnel failure and after a DIY repair job that didn’t help much, I replaced the PJ with the then replacement model, the InFocus Big Play IN72. This was a drop in replacement, same spec for zoom and placement so worked really well. And that was my setup for the past few years!

Then came 3D and after having a 3D TV I really wanted to see what that would be like in my theater, anyone who watches 3D movies knows bigger is better lol. Plus my PJ was getting on a bit and I was reading all the great reviews for the Epson 5020UB…. I really wanted one of these projectors.

So the move to HD is underway, I get my Epson PJ and also take the plunge and get an Oppo 103 to get the best from this PJ, wow just wow…the blacks are incredible and so is the higher resolution… This light cannon PJ made my screen a little too gain’y where you could see some sparkle in bright scenes, 3D was amazing but my Onkyo was not 3D ready….yes I ended up replacing that as well after getting a good discount on the Onkyo 818 which also drove me to adding another 2 speakers and a second sub to move me to a 7.2 sound setup….Now watching Transformers in 3D and HD sound was just out of this world. Totally amazing what you can do at home now and all this didn’t cost the earth, it’s all entry level stuff as far as I can tell looking at some of the equipment you guys have!

After about a year of that I am taking the next step, upgrading my screen to a 131” AT Falcon Screen and redoing my sound panels…Pictures and details following;


Epson 5020UB (Infocus 4805 and IN72 previously)
Falcon Screens AT 131" (Da-Lite 16:9 Perm Wall - Cinema Vision 106" previously)
Onkyo TX NR818 (Yamaha HTR5835 and Onkyo TX SR674 previously)
Emotiva XPA-5
Polk 265-LS/255c-LS LCR, 80iF/X-LS, LSiM703 surrounds (Polk Monitor 50 Fronts, CS2 center, 30 surround, 40 rears, (Replacing Monitor 30 surrounds for RC80i in ceiling) previously)
SVS Dual PB-2000 Subs (PSW125 main sub and a second Sub PSW111 previously)
Oppo 103 (previously Yamaha DVD91500 and LG BD player)
HTPC with MediaBrowser3
DIY sound Treatments (re-design by sinking into walls and using printed fabric)
Monster speaker cables
RedMere HDMI to projector (Monoprice)
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
This is the start of the story building the theater :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
And with the Yamaha 5.1 all in one receiver and speaker package...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
making do before the A/C and theater seating goes in... just can't wait to be watching movies lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
First major upgrade! added the new Polk speakers, Onkyo SR674 and home made sound panels. I got the advice from AVS and purchased the fiberglass panel some 1/4 ply and rapped in GOM
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Next I added some fake columns and molding on the walls to make a more interesting space, this really made the room feel less 'boxy' Just MDF, trim and paint..
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Taking out the old screen wall and rebuilding to accommodate my new 131" Falcon AT screen :) I will also be sinking the sound panels into the wall and using new coverings and lighting effects!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sill pulling things apart. I've also decided to replace the surround speakers over the 1st row with some Polk in ceiling RC80i 2 way speakers, it will be a better finish to the room and should be a good match for when I upgrade all the other speakers to the RTi series.


Ordered the rope light last night, I tested a short section I had already up under the arches and it gave a really nice effect. Just need to figure how to power/dim them, I may try and use my X10 controllers for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
New Falcon Screen arrived today along with the Polk RC80i speakers, need one trip to Home Depot and on with the build :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
New sound panels fitted and new paint going up, also got the new speakers fitting in the ceiling..
 

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I like reading about the evolution of someone's home theatre. Seems like you have taken a very reasonable approach, maximizing bang for the buck along the way. Difficult to recapture that very first "big screen" excitement but upgrading from a 106" to a 131" should get you pretty close. Enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I like reading about the evolution of someone's home theatre. Seems like you have taken a very reasonable approach, maximizing bang for the buck along the way. Difficult to recapture that very first "big screen" excitement but upgrading from a 106" to a 131" should get you pretty close. Enjoy.
Well I got the new screen up last night and watched ID4 (we normally watch that every July 4th as it was our first HT movie and it was July 4th we finished the first HT build :)) and then Avengers 3D and all I can say is WOW! It really was as good as the very first big screen excitement! This new screen is amazing and the 3D was just incredible...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
New sound panels complete, thanks to Spoonflower where I was able to get my own custom printed AT friendly fabric and it was very cheap!!! and the Falcon AT screen installed, this thing is just amazing, hard to take good photos...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Okay - I guess this is now phase 5 of my theater evolution and I'm still having so much fun!! I think half the fun is watching the movies with great sound, picture, and atmosphere of your own theater room and the other half is the building and equipping... and continued upgrading. I also love learning all this new stuff LOL.


What am I doing now....well I had a problem with my Polk PSW125 sub, it started to sound very sick and as these speakers are 7+ years old now I figured its time for an upgrade. I had already heard (read) a lot of good things about SVSound right here on the forums and after reading a recent review of their 5.1 package I went to their website and read about the PB13-Plus. Sounded like an amazing sub - blow your face off stuff LOL and I really wanted one. I also considered sticking with Polk, I have a DSWPro 550wi which compliments my RTiA7 towers in the family room (which sounds amazing btw) so I grabbed that an replaced the failing PWS125 to see how that would sound, I thought I would get the 12" DSWPro 660wi for the theater but after looking at the Polk website and looking online these were not readily available (although they seem to be in stock now!) - Long story short(er) the 550wi was not sounding good at all so I decided I would treat myself to the SVS :D After a little more research I settled on Duel PB2000 rather than one PB13 Plus due to the size and placement restrictions in my room. Even with the slightly smaller PB2000 I did get a little nervous the delivery day and boy these things turned out to be BIG! Right now I just hooked them up and did a little testing - boy the sound from these things is amazing, even the wife had a smile on her face watching the first few minutes of transformers. You can really feel the bass and the lows are like nothing I could get from the Polk's and I don't think the 660wi goes near this level either. I did put them as direct replacements to the two Polk subs so one is behind the first row (just fits) and as such gives those first seats a massive rumble ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Phase 5 - cont.


With the upgrade bug taking ahold and a few spare dollars in my pocket I then started thinking, hey if the subs need replacing why not get the new in-walls to replace the LCR as those are half buried in the back wall as the temporary solution from the screen upgrade and can't be sounding their best. Let me tell you though - once those SVS's were kicking the whole theater did sound good, but I had already taken the plunge and ordered the 265-LS for front left and right and the 255c-LS for the center. Polk had sent me a discount offer that was just too good to pass up. I was going to get the RT range as those I believe are the same level as the RTi's and I love the sound of my RTiA7 2.1 setup, but was also worried the in-walls would disappoint over towers. So in the end I figured lets go for the LSi range which will be the best I can expect for not too much more - then I got worried about the RC80i's and Monitor 40's in the surround zones as those are not matched with the LS's :confused: which lead me to ordering the only LSi bookshelf speakers I could find on the Polk site, the LSiM703's. Now I know these are going to be overkill (at least I think so based on the price of them) but my Monitor 40's do work hard, not as much as the LCR but they are a big part of my sound stage (hope that's the correct term!) and same with the RC80i's, I think I could have gotten away with keeping them but the 80F/X-LS should fit in with those beasty bookshelf LSi's much better and blend better with the fronts. This is how I got to ordering a complete replacement - just need to get some gifts for the wife now and hope she never finds out the total I spent :eek: Okay - in for a penny, in for a pound as the saying goes - after lots of great advice I then realize I should go with more power to get the best out of this new investment - enter the Emotive XPA-5 my very first amp :D


The amp will be here tomorrow and the in-ceiling and bookshelf speakers just shipped from Polk - right now I have started removing the Monitors and patching/re-cutting openings for the new LCR speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Looks like I missed an update from phase 4 when I created the new recessed custom sound panels down the sides and the floating ones on the back wall- I used a recommendation from the forum and used spoonflower to custom print sound transparent artwork. These are very basic just a fiberglass bat (2'x3' x2" -ish) on 1/4 ply with the fabric stapled around the whole thing and hung on the wall. my plan was to make up 6 and rotate them, I did these three first and have 3 more ready to make but wanted to play around with some more designs first. On the right is Star Trek and the left is Tron - I wish I had that text on them now to match the Avatar one in the middle - lucky these only cost about $10 for the material and printing so easy to fix!!


For the new lighting I put rope light up behind the arches and create a 6" panel along the back, these along with the spots and wall lights are on X10 and have dimming scenes for entry, movie watching, and intermission.


You can see here how I have the current Monitor 40's on corner shelves which are raised with small blocks at the back so they point down a bit. These will be switched with the LSiM703 next week. I love the envelope of sound I get with those working with the in-ceiling above the first row and the main fronts. With the 26' length of the room it really works, any sounds coming from front to rear or reverse really travels the room. I remember when I put the RC80i's in to get 7.2 and watching Transformers 2 (think it was number 2) where one of the little bots throws something metal down the left of the stage in the first scene or two and it came bowling past me - like for real - hahaha love it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I can't wait to hear your feedback on the new 265/255 Polk in-walls running with the Emo. And let's not forget the new dual PM2000's. You've taken your audio experience to a completely different level in just a matter of weeks. Congrats.

Who says you can't have Christmas in April? :D
Yep you and me both, can't wait to get this lot running - the good news is that the Emo arrived today, and boy I thought the PB-2000 subs were heavy, ha! I almost pulled my back trying to move that amp - I have no idea how I will get it in my rack yet, may be after a few visits to the gym :eek: The better news is the rest of the Polk's arrived today as well :D Got the shipping info last night and was expecting delivery next week what with the holiday tomorrow - well when I checked this morning it said OUT FOR DELIVERY!!! OMG now I have the holiday weekend to get this done and play with my new toys - very cool.


I thought the LSiM703's may be a little overkill and yep now I have them in hand I think I am spot on - these things look amazing, very well built, heavy and I am sure they are going to sound fantastic. The 80iF/X-LS also look like they mean business so looking forward to hearing those. I popped down to BB at lunch time and got the M5300 so now I just need to do the work :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I now have everything out of the rack in the equipment closet ready to rebuild with all the new toys :D and the patches of 3/4 MDF marked out for cutting which will house the new LCR speakers. I'll post more pics once I have cut and painted these and added some fiberglass to the void from where the old speakers were!
 

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