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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all. Over the last year I've been picking your brains about general theater design in an effort to inform the design of a new house. In the perfect world I would build the perfect theater and have a house built around it, but in reality I needed to start with the house and see what I could fit for a theater.

This post is stage 1. The design is not yet signed off so I can still make changes. I was hoping to get feedback from everyone here BEFORE the draft is finalized and specifics about the theater get decided (stage 2). There's a chance that the plans get changed by contractor and I need a step 1.5, but we'll cross that bridge if it comes!

Attached is a photo of the proposed basement. The bedrooms and bathrooms and such are generally not up for discussion here given that my wife likes the layout, but I'm open to your thoughts if something comes up. The bedrooms will be used only a few times a year for guests, so it is OK if they don't have closets etc.

The main matter at hand of course is the dedicated theater space, which is approximately 25'6"x17 at its narrowest. We want to have 2 rows of 4 seats and we will be watching movies and shows. I like the idea of ATMOS and constant image height and acoustically transparent screens, but I'm open to suggestions. Ceiling height is still undecided, but I'm hoping it will be 9'4"once the drywall and ceiling are up and all that. It might only be 9'.

At this stage I'd like to hear any feedback you have. Anything at all! Perhaps this design shows problems with door placement, size, sound isolation, plumbing, ventilation, etc., and I'm too much of an amateur to see it. I believe the space is big enough for 4x2, but I'm ready to be corrected.

EDIT: thoughts on screen top vs. Bottom and door placement?
 

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The bedrooms will be used only a few times a year for guests, so it is OK if they don't have closets etc.



We want to have 4 rows of 4 seats and we will be watching movies and shows.
For resale purposes I believe you'd need a closet for it to be listed/advertised as a bedroom, otherwise it would be considered an office (even with an attached bathroom. Edit - oh it's adjacent, not attached). IMO just add a closet along the bottom wall and have a slightly smaller bed in there.

You probably mean two rows of four seats, right?

Excited for you. Subscribed.


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Discussion Starter #3
The bedrooms will be used only a few times a year for guests, so it is OK if they don't have closets etc.



We want to have 4 rows of 4 seats and we will be watching movies and shows.
For resale purposes I believe you'd need a closet for it to be listed/advertised as a bedroom, otherwise it would be considered an office (even with an attached bathroom. Edit - oh it's adjacent, not attached). IMO just add a closet along the bottom wall and have a slightly smaller bed in there.

You probably mean two rows of four seats, right?

Excited for you. Subscribed.


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Oh wow yes 4x2 chairs, not 4x4!
 

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@Snoochers - Welcome to the forum. Always exciting to get to design a room from scratch.


Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself...
Did you set a budget?
What is your sound control strategy? Double Drywall and Green Glue on Clips and Channel? only Double Drywall? Any sound control strategy?
HVAC - supply at the front of the room, return at the rear.
Power - Make sure you have enough power circuits to the AV Rack. target a minimum of 3x 20 amps circuits just for gear, plus a circuit for the lights.
AV Rack - Is that going to be through-wall into the mechanical space?
Front of the room I would put on the wall that has the slant on the bottom of the photo.
Screen - Acoustic Transparent screen? Use double goal post design . What size are you targeting? Large LCD instead? 4K of course... What AR are you targeting? 1.78, 2.35, 2.0
Riser, I would put an wall to wall 8 foot or larger for row 2.
Seats - sound like you are going with a 4 seats for front row? Honestly, not a fan of that. That would mean the your MLP is right on an armrest. I would prefer 3 only for front row. 4 seats in the back row would be fine.
Acoustic Treatments ? GIK, DIY?
Automation? Lutron, Insteon? etc..
Projector? JVC, Sony, Faux 4k -eshifter?
Speakers - ? DIY Sound Group Volt 6,8,10 ? Titans, Elusive 1099's? Subwoofers - minimum of 4.. DIY. UM18's? MiniMarty's? SVS, Klipsch, B&W's?
AVR? Pre/Pro? All-in-one? Monoprice HTP-1? Denon/Marantz?

These are some questions you should be thinking about as you are coming up with what you want to see and sit in when you are done.

Did you put your thinking chair in the room yet?
 
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Discussion Starter #5
@Snoochers - Welcome to the forum. Always exciting to get to design a room from scratch.


Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself...
Did you set a budget?
What is your sound control strategy? Double Drywall and Green Glue on Clips and Channel? only Double Drywall? Any sound control strategy?
HVAC - supply at the front of the room, return at the rear.
Power - Make sure you have enough power circuits to the AV Rack. target a minimum of 3x 20 amps circuits just for gear, plus a circuit for the lights.
AV Rack - Is that going to be through-wall into the mechanical space?
Front of the room I would put on the wall that has the slant on the bottom of the photo.
Screen - Acoustic Transparent screen? Use double goal post design . What size are you targeting? Large LCD instead? 4K of course... What AR are you targeting? 1.78, 2.35, 2.0
Riser, I would put an wall to wall 8 foot or larger for row 2.
Seats - sound like you are going with a 4 seats for front row? Honestly, not a fan of that. That would mean the your MLP is right on an armrest. I would prefer 3 only for front row. 4 seats in the back row would be fine.
Acoustic Treatments ? GIK, DIY?
Automation? Lutron, Insteon? etc..
Projector? JVC, Sony, Faux 4k -eshifter?
Speakers - ? DIY Sound Group Volt 6,8,10 ? Titans, Elusive 1099's? Subwoofers - minimum of 4.. DIY. UM18's? MiniMarty's? SVS, Klipsch, B&W's?
AVR? Pre/Pro? All-in-one? Monoprice HTP-1? Denon/Marantz?

These are some questions you should be thinking about as you are coming up with what you want to see and sit in when you are done.

Did you put your thinking chair in the room yet?
Thanks for this! I'll answer these now:
Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself...

Did you set a budget? - No, not yet. First is the construction of the house. Theater might not be finished right away.

What is your sound control strategy? Double Drywall and Green Glue on Clips and Channel? only Double Drywall? Any sound control strategy? Not worried about that yet since it does not affect the design of the house very much other than a few inches here and there, unless I'm wrong. Contractor can do the sound control for 3500$ and I got some resources from this forum a few months ago so I got options when the time comes. Might hire an acoustics group too.

HVAC - supply at the front of the room, return at the rear. Stupid question, what do you mean by front and rear? Front as in where the screen is? I didn't picture there being any vents at the far wall. How would the vents get there? I was hoping to avoid a bulkhead in the theatre.

Power - Make sure you have enough power circuits to the AV Rack. target a minimum of 3x 20 amps circuits just for gear, plus a circuit for the lights. Thanks. I will investigate this. I believe the house will be getting 200amp service, which I've been told is sufficient

AV Rack - Is that going to be through-wall into the mechanical space? Not exactly sure what you mean, but yes, the AV equipment will be routed into the theatre from the mechanical room. That is the plan, and open to alternatvies!

Front of the room I would put on the wall that has the slant on the bottom of the photo.Interesting! I'd love to hear why. I was thinking the opposite, but that was just my initial impression

Screen - Acoustic Transparent screen? Use double goal post design . What size are you targeting? Large LCD instead? 4K of course... What AR are you targeting? 1.78, 2.35, 2.0Not sure about size yet since this depends of course on the seating and such, but last time I did some quick math I think it was in t he 120-140 area. It will be mostly for movies and I'm thinking constant image height, so maybe 2.35?

Riser, I would put an wall to wall 8 foot or larger for row 2. Thanks!

Seats - sound like you are going with a 4 seats for front row? Honestly, not a fan of that. That would mean the your MLP is right on an armrest. I would prefer 3 only for front row. 4 seats in the back row would be fine. I'm toying with that idea. The issue is I will have two kids and a wife, four of us. Who gets the shaft on movie night?

Acoustic Treatments ? GIK, DIY? TBD

Automation? Lutron, Insteon? etc..TBD

Projector? JVC, Sony, Faux 4k -eshifter? TBD.

Speakers - ? DIY Sound Group Volt 6,8,10 ? Titans, Elusive 1099's? Subwoofers - minimum of 4.. DIY. UM18's? MiniMarty's? SVS, Klipsch, B&W's?
AVR? Pre/Pro? All-in-one? Monoprice HTP-1? Denon/Marantz?TBD. Pretty far down the road from now since we're just designing the space. For what it is worth, I'm thinking JBL-1600 or KEF R3 if they get loud enough, if not, the bigger versions of those. For subs probably two huge monolith subs or SVS-3000s or the like
 

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Sounds like you are getting some good feedback. I'd only add do not settle for less than 9' ceilings. Taller is better if you can.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sounds like you are getting some good feedback. I'd only add do not settle for less than 9' ceilings. Taller is better if you can.
Thanks for this. That is a point I certainly learned again and again when reading these forums over the last while.
 

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Looks good - here's a quick sketch of what I might consider for a 7.X.4 or 9.X.6 layout in that room.

I have a family of four too - so a joined middle seat is good for single-person viewing... bit of a squeeze to get to the back row - but not outrageous - a slightly thinner door width ~3 feet depending on your seating (that's a rough calc!)

This layout gives a 160 inch 2.35:1 screen within spec. Noice.

The door at the front of room (required when watching horror) and won't get in way of surrounds. You could do something with storage/media in that bottom-right side?

Anyhoo - best of luck with it!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Looks good - here's a quick sketch of what I might consider for a 7.X.4 or 9.X.6 layout in that room.

I have a family of four too - so a joined middle seat is good for single-person viewing... bit of a squeeze to get to the back row - but not outrageous - a slightly thinner door width ~3 feet depending on your seating (that's a rough calc!)

This layout gives a 160 inch 2.35:1 screen within spec. Noice.

The door at the front of room (required when watching horror) and won't get in way of surrounds. You could do something with storage/media in that bottom-right side?

Anyhoo - best of luck with it!
Wow, thank you! This is much appreciated. I’m curious, why do you place the screen at bottom and door near screen? I thought folks liked the door at the back.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Looks good - here's a quick sketch of what I might consider for a 7.X.4 or 9.X.6 layout in that room.

I have a family of four too - so a joined middle seat is good for single-person viewing... bit of a squeeze to get to the back row - but not outrageous - a slightly thinner door width ~3 feet depending on your seating (that's a rough calc!)

This layout gives a 160 inch 2.35:1 screen within spec. Noice.

The door at the front of room (required when watching horror) and won't get in way of surrounds. You could do something with storage/media in that bottom-right side?

Anyhoo - best of luck with it!
What software did you use by the way for those drawings?
 

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I don't like doors behind me - regardless really (especially if I'm watching something terrifying :).

I think a door is out of the way at the front of the room - there is normally a larger wall space without any speakers or critical elements - and if it's close enough to the front it's not in that first-reflection zone.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I don't like doors behind me - regardless really (especially if I'm watching something terrifying /forum/images/smilies/smile.gif.

I think a door is out of the way at the front of the room - there is normally a larger wall space without any speakers or critical elements - and if it's close enough to the front it's not in that first-reflection zone.
Hold up, your very helpful post was your first post on this forum??? Very cool! Welcome!
 

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What software did you use by the way for those drawings?
I use Adobe Illustrator - a vector program - only as I use that for my work - not really a 'fun to use' tool :)

I could export some transparent PNGs of the vision and surround specs - then you could import into any bitmap software (like Photoshop or any visual editor really)....
 

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Does this PNG work for you? It has a transparent background (hopefully that comes through on upload).

I know I found it invaluable - just place the apex in the main listening position - and scale up the screen to see what fits those specs listed. Needs an app where one can work to-scale of course...

45-50 degrees gives a super result I reckon (my 140' is at 45d - could be a little bigger!)
 

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Hold up, your very helpful post was your first post on this forum??? Very cool! Welcome!
Thanks Snoochers - gotta start here somewhere!

I've attached a transparent PNG of the Dolby top-view layout.

Could you use something like this in your planning? Would anyone else?

It shows the 9 main channel corridors - and the full set of 15deg increments for those chasing 24.X.X :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks Snoochers - gotta start here somewhere!

I've attached a transparent PNG of the Dolby top-view layout.

Could you use something like this in your planning? Would anyone else?

It shows the 9 main channel corridors - and the full set of 15deg increments for those chasing 24.X.X :)
Oh that is very cool! I actually have illustrator, though I haven't used it since I designed my wedding photo album. Thank you again
 

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@Snoochers,
It's a long read, but I would highly recommend reading Dennis Erskines "What Id do differently next time" thread in the sticky section;
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-dedicated-theater-design-construction/855958-what-i-d-do-differently-next-time.html

One of the main things mentioned in that thread is wanting more room height and room width. If you have the opportunity to make changes before you break ground, do it! Especially room height... we have a 10' daylight basement, and with the floor joists sitting on top of the 10' walls, man... you can't even tell that you're in a basement, it is sooooo nice! Your other option would be to price excavating deeper in the theater area. Both ways are expensive, but I can't stress enough how many folks in the above thread commented they wish they gone with at least 9' ceilings in their basements.

What are the "unexcavated" areas in you plan going to be used for, future expansion? Also, I don't know what the main floor looks like, but if you could slide that entire unexcavated foundation in the upper corner 2'2.5" to the right so the wall in the theater is completely straight, I think you'll be happier... at least HT wise, not sure what is above that. Listen to me, playing all fast and loose with other peoples money :D. Sorry, but I have one of those uneven walls in my future HT, and it is giving me design fits.

Anyway, good luck and you are doing the right thing asking questions now!!!
 

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Wow, thank you! This is much appreciated. I’m curious, why do you place the screen at bottom and door near screen? I thought folks liked the door at the back.
Door at the back means you need steps up to get on the riser, either outside or inside the theater. Each presents some design challenges. I think davehasplans was spot on, or at least shows the same layout I envisioned (edit: except I'd probably have the door swing outward so there's no chance of it blocking the screen when open).

Btw in regards to "supply in front and return in rear" you can run those in soffits with the unfinished space near the AV rack as the entry point. With careful planning you could do a vent for hot air from the AV rack and maybe pull hot air away from the projector too if you decided to do a hushbox.

Someone correct me if my understanding is wrong, but there's a room mode down the center any rectangular room, so one good thing about having an even number of seats (MLP on an armrest) is that nobody is sitting in that mode. As a fellow married man with two kids I've considered a variety of seating arrangements which includes maybe doing a loveseat configuration for some of the seats.

Edit: BTW it's difficult to tell but the entry door may be a little too close to the screen wall, depending on how deep you want the false wall and/or stage. 30" for false wall and another 20" for two steps leading up to the stage plus exposed top of stage? (Those numbers could be highly variable)

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #19
@Snoochers,
It's a long read, but I would highly recommend reading Dennis Erskines "What Id do differently next time" thread in the sticky section;
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-dedicated-theater-design-construction/855958-what-i-d-do-differently-next-time.html

One of the main things mentioned in that thread is wanting more room height and room width. If you have the opportunity to make changes before you break ground, do it! Especially room height... we have a 10' daylight basement, and with the floor joists sitting on top of the 10' walls, man... you can't even tell that you're in a basement, it is sooooo nice! Your other option would be to price excavating deeper in the theater area. Both ways are expensive, but I can't stress enough how many folks in the above thread commented they wish they gone with at least 9' ceilings in their basements.

What are the "unexcavated" areas in you plan going to be used for, future expansion? Also, I don't know what the main floor looks like, but if you could slide that entire unexcavated foundation in the upper corner 2'2.5" to the right so the wall in the theater is completely straight, I think you'll be happier... at least HT wise, not sure what is above that. Listen to me, playing all fast and loose with other peoples money :D. Sorry, but I have one of those uneven walls in my future HT, and it is giving me design fits.

Anyway, good luck and you are doing the right thing asking questions now!!!
We will have 9 or 9'4" ceilings in the basement, which we hope is sufficient. We're toying with the idea of 10', but I think we're looking at 15,000$ for that, which is tough.

The unexcavated areas are under the garage and sunroom, so those will never be used. I could potentially move that corner to the right, good thinking. This would cost maybe 5000$ due to extra square footage. My only issue is that 17' does seem to be sufficient. What would the extra feet give, better speaker placement?

Thank you very much!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Door at the back means you need steps up to get on the riser, either outside or inside the theater. Each presents some design challenges. I think davehasplans was spot on, or at least shows the same layout I envisioned (edit: except I'd probably have the door swing outward so there's no chance of it blocking the screen when open).

Btw in regards to "supply in front and return in rear" you can run those in soffits with the unfinished space near the AV rack as the entry point. With careful planning you could do a vent for hot air from the AV rack and maybe pull hot air away from the projector too if you decided to do a hushbox.

Someone correct me if my understanding is wrong, but there's a room mode down the center any rectangular room, so one good thing about having an even number of seats (MLP on an armrest) is that nobody is sitting in that mode. As a fellow married man with two kids I've considered a variety of seating arrangements which includes maybe doing a loveseat configuration for some of the seats.

Edit: BTW it's difficult to tell but the entry door may be a little too close to the screen wall, depending on how deep you want the false wall and/or stage. 30" for false wall and another 20" for two steps leading up to the stage plus exposed top of stage? (Those numbers could be highly variable)

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
Thank you, this all makes sense! If the door was moved to the north wall, the front of the theater could be at the top, yes? I'm not leaning in any particular way, but I am curious if there are pros and cons I should know about.
 
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