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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It has been many years since I posted on this forum. Back in 2013 I put on a huge addition to a house I no longer own and part of that addition included a very large, 12 seat dedicated theater: (Image photo shopped, obviously). Old thread was for the Living Hope Theater on AVS.

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I sold that house and bought a big basement rancher that does not have theater but has a huge storage room that from the first time we looked at the house I knew I would make into a theater at some point. That point is now, I believe.

Sadly, as can be seen in one of the photos I have below, I did not realize I have a steel support post in the area I originally envisioned the theater! Stupid me, I didn't even really notice it until a number of months after I lived here. So, I am going to have to get creative with my planning. Here is a list of my current thoughts, options and challenges this project will present.

1. Do I actually build out a new room in my current storage area or do I just upgrade the current downstairs den/kitchen area into more of a 'media' room. What is in there has potential but there are numerous obstacles/limitations to overcome (lighting, tv position over a fireplace, need to run wire to said stone fireplace which might be a pain, lack of good speaker options, poor sound isolation to rest of house and no 'theater' ambiance to name a few). Also, one son's bedroom is right by that area. He leaves for college next fall so not a huge deal but that area would be loud.
2. Sound isolation. As seen in photos below, the storage room ceiling is only separated by the subfloor and hardwood above. You can have a conversation with the person above you if you yell. Footsteps are very loud, etc. If I am going to put some decent equipment in there, I want to lessen the sound-bleed as much as possible.
3. Storage room conversion will require moving one HVAC unit (already confirmed possible) and will require I maintain access to the remaining units in the area for maintenance, etc. Storage room is not currently heated/cooled but stays pretty comfy as is so I would need to decide if I need to hook it up to an existing unit (or if current units have the capacity). Plus, as seen in the photos, I have a lot of crap I need to store, so I still need storage room. The way those storage racks are (which came with the house) is extremely inefficient from a size standpoint and I am sure I will be able to store the stuff I need with the remaining space.
4. My best, first guess is that I can convert about a space of about 14'x15' without too much hassle. Is that big enough? If not, I could gain about another 6' for a total of 14'x21' if I took down that part of the wall between the storage room and the pillars in the pinball room. I would need to incorporate the structural posts in the decorative pillars and I am locked into making one wall incorporate the support pillar in the existing wall between those two rooms. Now, if I start repurposing space in the pinball room my guess is that my cost will go up very significantly. Though, as seen in the photo below, the space between the pillar and existing wall is only used as a walkway to get to one of the downstairs bedrooms. Claiming that dead space would be nice but would make it a little awkward getting to the bedroom.

Photos of my current downstairs den area:

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Pinball room:

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Wall between storage room and pinball room with those pillars being structural behind the woodwork:

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And, finally the storage room:

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Note, the blue painter's tape is a rough estimate for the 14'x15' area. Also note there is an existing equipment rack which is used for the whole-house audio. I could potentially use that rack to hold equipment out of sight.

One last thought: if I do go with the smaller 14'x15' area, I am considering simply getting a big 4k 87" tv or possibly an ultra short throw projector. Ideal THX viewing for an 87" is about 9' which would work fine. In that scenario I could possibly put a couch on the back wall for more seating (though, not ideal, could be comfy for when more people are over).

If I went with a projector and 100" screen THX rec is 10.3 feet and at 120" is 12.3' Obviously if I get bigger I will be seemingly forcing myself into one row of what, maybe 4-5 seats, depending on configuration. (unless, that is a 120" screen at 9-10' viewing is not too close for comfort...not sure on that one)

Lastly, this will be mainly used for tv watching, movies, netflix, sports, etc. Doubt much video gaming as my teenage sons have their respective gaming setups already. If any gaming does happen in the future, it would be me mainly playing games like Skyrim or Diablo. I am 53 and suck at first person shooters so I won't need something great for gaming but it would be nice to have something I can casually game on in the future if I so desire.

Thanks for any input! Feel free to ask any questions and I can try to clarify.

Darin
 
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Looks like a fun project. Sort of difficult to get my bearings in that room, I can understand why you didn’t notice the steel pole initially! It will be nice to see the room cleared prior to construction to really get a feel for the space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You think 14'x15' big enough to get a decent amount of seats even if second row is up against the wall and not ideal? I don't necessarily mind not having some huge 150" screen like at my old place. A row of 4 Octane seating for example with a loveseat and 2 chairs is 122" wide. A little tight on the sides for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good to know there are some more narrow chairs out there. I'll do a little more research.

After looking and measuring more in my storage room, it does look like I can possibly get a 15'x18-19' area utilizing only the storage room. I think this is a more ideal situation. I will try to draft something up and post a better floor plan idea in the next few days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Good to know there are some more narrow chairs out there. I'll do a little more research.

After looking and measuring more in my storage room, it does look like I can possibly get a 15'x18-19' area utilizing only the storage room. I think this is a more ideal situation. I will try to draft something up and post a better floor plan idea in the next few days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
First crack at a floor plan. I've been measuring out all kinds of stuff. I have a few specific limitations (steel posts and concrete walls mainly) that will limit some flexibility. Here is what I've come up with so far. 120" screen with a primary viewing distance a touch over 11' (THX recommendation is 12') with the second row viewing at 17' which is at the max THX recommendation. 2 rows of 4 seating. Walkways a little narrow at 2' but not totally unreasonable.

Thoughts?

Thanks,

Darin
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I awoke early this morning thinking more about this...

My original thought was to build the short entrance hallway so that I would only have one door (better sound isolation). Perhaps, however, the plan above is just slightly too short? I thought if I flipped the room and extended the 'hallway' to make it part of the theater I would gain a few more feet. Yes, I do lose a little more storage area but I think that still leaves me with plenty (more area on the side opposite the HVAC units but not easily converted). This new plan puts primary watching right at 12'. Also better here, but not visualized, is that the ceiling height is 10' in the same general area as new riser and only 9' at the floor level (due to existing ducting). This would make it feel much more roomy when you are on the riser . I think I like this new look a little better. It require a second door into the unfinished space but maybe that is worth what I gain otherwise. (Yes, I could make another door leading into the pinball room but that might look stupid when you are in that room...having 2 doors on the same wall which are not at all symmetrically placed. I will have to talk that one over with the wife).

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That’s a fairly good arrangement, assuming you don’t need a lot of access to the storage area. A second door down by the furnaces would work as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
One more update on the plan...more of a tweak.

I read up on Audio Advice and did their home theater planner using my measurements.

I was thinking I might be limited to an 120" screen but after using that planner it looks I can get a 135" screen and push back the front row a little. Really, almost no reason not to do this on the surface. In the last plan the upper riser is absolutely huge. Even with this new plan it is still 10' deep which is plenty for seating which is off the back wall.

In this scenario, front row seats are pretty much on the edge of "high" and "medium" immersion. I am fine with the "high" but would not like a "very high" immersion.

Also, went and looked at a couple of projectors today at my local Magnolia center. Viewed the JVC NXT-5 and the Epson 5050. I liked both but in their set up was not blown away. Funny that the guy told me they charge $600 to do a professional tuning of the video (which I would not do...I have a calibration disc I would probably use) and yet their red colors were oversaturated on both projectors during a Mad Max scene which has a lot of explosions. I mean, you should at least have your own showroom calibrated!

Continuing research on projectors led me to the upcoming laser projector by LG HU810P. Link here: LG to Offer CineBeam HU810P 4K Laser Home Theater Projector

Sounds promising on paper with HDMI 2.1 input. Best I can gather from internet research is that maybe this is being released early 2021? Certainly something I am going to keep my eye on.

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Your latest layout looks good, but you need to be careful with the first row (it's the MLP, right?), It's very near the center of the room, and you'd have problems with bass nulls. Put the heads of the first row spectators at 55% length of the room instead.

Also, are you planning to make a false front wall?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Thanks for the input. On the most recent iteration, the MLP is about 12' 8" back and total length of room is about 22' 8" so as drawn they are about 57% towards the back so I hopefully I am good.

No false wall this time around.

Been doing nothing but research today and between internet stuff and one call to audioadvice.com I am leaning toward some of the following equipment (nothing at all set in stone):

Projector: LG Cinebeam HU810P 4k dual laser projector (has not been released yet...hoping to see if this releases by the time I'm ready in a few months so I have some time to make this call)

Receiver: Anthem MRX-1140 (releases at the end of January....hope it is as good as it specs...Marty really talked this up at audioadvice.com (see how this goes and if I feel like I need more, buy a 3 channel amp later to run the LCRs.

Subwoofers: Dual SVS PB-16 (yes, probably overkill or is there such a thing? Maybe I could go lower in model but I definitely want huge, room-defining bass)

Speakers:
Option 1 (Marty's suggestion): Revel F208 towerx2, Center C208, Surrounds M106x4 and SVS heights for Atmos (trying to limit holes in my ceiling) x 4. I am sure this would be amazing but price point might be more than I am willing to spend ($11,800 not including subs)

Option 2 (my original thought): SVS Ultra system which would run me about $5300 not including the subs.

I am still TOTALLY open to ideas on speakers but will likely go with SVS subs in way way or the other.

Keep the thoughts coming. Would love to hear some discussion on the audio and video components.

Darin
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Another iteration which would increase screen size to 140" and use a acoustically transparent screen wall with possibly JVC 4722n x 3 for the LCR behind the screen.

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yes, good catch. For my meeting with my builder later today I have handwritten in that I need 20" depth minimum. I would think that should work as the screen will be another few inches further out (width of the 2x4 and drywall ballpark). If you think I need more I would think I could get a few more inches. I need to make sure there is room for HVAC work and/or future replacement.

As a side note, I am also now very strongly considering a pair of PSA TV2112 subs. They are I think 27" deep. It would be nice to go ahead and place those in the screen wall. I will be discussing with my builder today at 3:30.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Okay, been really busy. Starting to clear out the space and have started buying equipment. First some photos:

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I basically have taken down all the storage racks and starting to organize stuff so that walls can be built. Top photo is of the wall between the pinball room and theater. Entrance door will be place in this wall. Lower photo is taken from just about the back wall of the theater looking toward where the screen will be. You can see the HVAC units as shown on the floorplan.

Photo below is of the storage area on the other side of the theater. I am hoping we can build a door between the the theater and the HVAC units so I don't have to have 2 doors in the theater. I am meeting with my HVAC contractor tomorrow to make sure I will have enough access (36" needed). We are also planning the move of the HVAC unit on the right side of the photo above. We need to move that unit down about 8 feet towards where I took this photo. It will be basically placed on the back side of the rear theater wall.

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So much for the space. More on that as it unfolds.

Equipment purchases started today:

JBL 4722n x 3 for L/C/R (new)
JBL 9300 x 4 for surrounds (new)
JBL SCS-8 x 4 for Atmos (used from Frohlich)
Marantz 8802 processor (used from Frohlich)

Obviously, I don't have any of the above in my possession yet but it is very exciting to get the ball rolling on this stuff.

Here is the status of the other things I need:

Projector: Very much considering the new LG once it is revealed next week it if reviews well. Thread here: LG CineBeam HU810P Projector with Dual Laser, 2700...

Screen: Obviously, something AT. I had a Da-Lite at my last house. Something went wrong with it but Da-lite did replace it at least. It was perforated. With 4K now and with the future, should is it known if perforated or woven is better? Happy for some input on this too.

Amps: Just starting to look. I wasn't sure if I was going to go AVR or separates. Looks like separates. Open to suggestions. Looking for good bang for the buck but also something that will last many, many years to come.

Subs: Probably will end up with a PSA sub(s). I put in a call to them today but it was nearly 5PM. Hoping to talk with Tom tomorrow and get something ordered.

Seats: Still just looking around. My last seats were I think from the theaterseatstore. They weren't bad but they were pretty light and would tip forward if you didn't put the foot rest down before getting up. Think I want something with an articulating head rest this time too. These look decent. Anyone know anything about these: Seatcraft Napa Spacesaver Top Grain Leather 7000, Powered Headrest, Power Recline, Black, Brown, or Gray ?

Well, that's enough for now. A big thanks to Frohlich helping me out with some info and a good deal on some of his used equipment.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Little update as my framing starts this week (hopefully)

1. All of the HVAC unit and ducting was moved. It was actually a bigger job than what we thought but doing so has left me with a space which will have interior dimensions of 24.5' long x 15.1 feet wide. Not a bad space at all!
2. Spending a bunch of money on sound isolation. Huge order of clips, green glue, duct isolators and a few other things were delivered to my builder from the sound isolation company last week. Still looking for acoustical door solution.
3. I have 2 PSA 2112's and all my surrounds sitting in boxes in the basement just waiting for a theater. The JBL 4722n still on back order with no update yet. Hope I can still get those.
4. Buckeye Amps get delivered tomorrow.
5. Probably ordering 2 rows of 4 Design Clark chairs from HT market either today or tomorrow. Just trying to decide if I should go with a center loveseat configuration which would save 3" on each side of the row for the walkway.
6. LG AU810PW on order from easporters. Hopefully will come early March.


Here's a question for atmos effects: I am doing everything I can to not have any penetrations in my ceiling to help isolate sound to and from the main living area which is above the theater. I will be using 4 JBL SCS8s for atmos duty. Will those work okay if I hang them high on the wall instead of the ceiling? I think maybe the ceiling would still be fine from a sound isolation standpoint in that those are hung on brackets so the only real penetration would be the speaker wire so overall maybe not a big deal?

Will update this with more photos as construction actually starts.
 

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If it's not too late I would like to steer you to give DIY subs a chance. Please see below my build thread for two martycube subs with 18" Lavoce drivers as well as the step by step build video.



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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Nope, too late. PSAs sitting in boxes in my basement. As my amps arrive tomorrow I may open one up and use a couple of my surround speakers just to check out what those bad boys can do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Here is the final wall plan. Walls have started going up. Will post photos later. Of course, there will be a door along the existing 2x6 wall.

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Still doing some REW simulations to determine exactly where the riser will be. This will, of course, dictate the viewing distance from the screen wall.

Here is my current plan for the DIY spandex screen. Thanks to @MississippiMan for the design posted elsewhere on this forum. 1x3 Poplar 'on edge' design:

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Got the subs and amps last week. I unboxed the dual PSA TV2112's and hooked up a couple of the JBL 9300s which will be for surround duty and did some 2.1 listening. Just a random set up of the speakers in my pool table/pinball room and listened to some EDM music with my teenage boys. Absolutely outstanding! Truly unbelievable. I can't wait to get everything actually set up in the theater!
 
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