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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got multiple otherwise-equal places to put my home theater -- I'm looking for something larger. Our old one was 12 x 18 and we had the couch at the 10-foot mark. It always felt a little cramped when we wanted more than 5-6 people to watch. (seating was just a normal, small, sectional) I was looking at something in the 15-20 x 20-25 size this time.

In the new house, I've basically got a blank slate in the basement.

The wall options are either open (as in, open to the other part of the larger room), Insulated concrete forms (2 inches of foam, 6 inches of concrete, 2 inches of foam... then the dirt), or standard non-structural 2x4 walls.

I don't want to completely wall off the theater into it's own room -- for times when we want something a little less 'dedicated to watching' -- super bowl parties, etc.

The semi-obvious places to put the HT has an ICF/Concrete wall at the front and another at the right side... with the left side and most of the back open to the larger room. Basically think "corner of the basement".

The other semi-obvious place is to put it in that corner but put it an an 45 degree angle -- so it'd be more symmetrical. It's not as space-efficient, but if I'm going to get better sound performance, that isn't a huge deal. I would likely put in non-structural walls at the same angles for holding speakers and making it 'look' decent and allow for components and server closets and and such.

I can also put it in a place that simply has the ICF wall behind the screen and is, currently, open all around in the other directions. (where I can put up wood walls or half walls and columns as needed)

Thoughts?
Basically, my question boils down to: how do concrete (ICF in particular) walls affect the sound compared to 2x4 and drywall walls?
 

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Some photos might help show the available areas, we tend to be a visual bunch around there.

What I'm reading is that you don't plan to frame out the basement where the concrete walls are. You are going to place the theater space in the unfinished area, is that correct?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'll see if I can get some visuals for you guys.


Why ditch the 45 degree idea?

(for what it's worth, we'd probably aim at a 90+" TV rather than projector -- I have never seen image quality on a project or I like (even actual movie theaters) )
 

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(for what it's worth, we'd probably aim at a 90+" TV rather than projector -- I have never seen image quality on a project or I like (even actual movie theaters) )
With this crowd that is like throwing chum into the water then jumping in naked with a bunch of sharks, cutting your leg on a rusty nail during the jump and bleeding profusely

I've never seen a tv that gave me the at the theater experience
 

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I'll see if I can get some visuals for you guys.


Why ditch the 45 degree idea?

(for what it's worth, we'd probably aim at a 90+" TV rather than projector -- I have never seen image quality on a project or I like (even actual movie theaters) )
Well it is a "dedicated theater design" thread, and usually that implies a projector as people don't usually drop money on a dedicated theater only to put a TV in it. That kind of defeats the point. The 45 degree angle was with the assumption you were using a projection screen. It doesn't make sense to do it that way. Many people do put TVs in the corner though to maximize seating space and good viewing angles in a small area. Seeing as you have photography as part of your name, you may have a much better eye than most. Projection does suffer from one major flaw, and that is ambient light doesn't mix with it, but a dedicated room usually controls that. Still, the picture "quality" of a decent projector is comparable to any standard TV. The image size will blow people away 10/10 times. When I've had guests over, they are dumbstruck by how sharp and bright the picture is. The average person always makes these 2 comments: "I can't believe this is a projector" or "I don't understand how a projector can play high definition". The moment a movie starts, the subtle differences you may see on a perfectly calibrated TV or Projector go away and the experience itself takes over. Another example is my wife, who is not tech savvy or sports savvy at all. She says the only place she can watch football is on the big screen in the theater because she can actually see what is going on. When it comes to a party or a group of people, size of the image will always be the most important thing of the show/game/movie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
With this crowd that is like throwing chum into the water then jumping in naked with a bunch of sharks, cutting your leg on a rusty nail during the jump and bleeding profusely

I've never seen a tv that gave me the at the theater experience
Yeah, that was probably a bad thing to say in this crowd. ha! No offense was intended.

I do a lot of computer and color correct display stuff (photographs, reference video, etc) and projectors -- while capable of offering an amazing movie experience, no doubt -- just don't offer what I'm looking for. Chalk it up to personal preference if we need to put a name on it.

Let's just leave it at: For my eye, I prefer the look of an actual display.... and I feel a 90+ inch screen can give the 'theater' feel. (obviously depending on size of room --- but our 63" worked very well in our smaller space) In the 1-2 years before completion, a larger screen might be in the pricerange as well.
 

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Yeah, that was probably a bad thing to say in this crowd. ha! No offense was intended.

I do a lot of computer and color correct display stuff (photographs, reference video, etc) and projectors -- while capable of offering an amazing movie experience, no doubt -- just don't offer what I'm looking for. Chalk it up to personal preference if we need to put a name on it.

Let's just leave it at: For my eye, I prefer the look of an actual display.... and I feel a 90+ inch screen can give the 'theater' feel. (obviously depending on size of room --- but our 63" worked very well in our smaller space) In the 1-2 years before completion, a larger screen might be in the pricerange as well.
That being said, a TV does make sense in an open space setup, in which case your design with 3 open sides would work, the downside in this case still being the audio issues... I think though that based on what you are asking for design wise, you aren't looking for highly calibrated audio and just something decent to make sure all in your venue can hear. Surround sound for instance will be a large problem for anyone outside of the field, and you will probably have problems with echo, too much or little bass, or difficulty with dialogue clarity. I would probably plan it out with 2 audio settings in mind. One where you use full surround and everyone sits inside the "bubble" and it is mostly quiet and dark. The second where you have a lot of people in which case you would turn on a bunch of additional speakers and run it in an "All channel stereo" setup, so all of the primary audio fills your space.

Both soundproofing and treatment are going to be much more costly and difficult with your planned layout though. Yes, the concrete will h elp, but with a large open area, you will have leaks regardless. Staircases, Vents, Windows, Doors. You don't really have a controlled space. Carpet everywhere will help with your echo. Insulate all of your interior walls. If the basement is completely unfinished, you might even consider blown in insulation for the ceiling and thick drywall to at least dampen the sound from the main level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
That screen is pretty sweet. I particularly like the built-in bias lighting and the 'ambient lighting rejection' is straight up mind-blowing.

Can't help but notice the TV in the 'look at the glare from this powerful video light pefectly positioned' time at 55 secons still looks better (color-wise, etc) than the projected image. I'm sure a lot of that is white balance, etc... (stuff human eyes would auto-adjust to) but still, thought it was funny.

I truly understand that projectors can give a really amazing experience. For me however, I'm more interested in a monitor. There are pros and cons to projectors and to montiors... the pros and cons for me make a monitor more attractive at this point.

Anyway, I thank you guys for the input. That said, for this particular point in my intitial conceptual thoughts, I'm actually more concerned about the sound as it relates to concrete walls and such. Do you WANT concrete walls/reflections or not (concrete covered by various foams and materials, of course)? Does it not matter much? If I had a concrete wall on one side and not on the other would it be uber-noticeable? etc.

As for the various layouts in an image... here are a few. It's tough to do drawings when you are just asking questions for research reasons (in other words: our basement outline isn't even set yet at this point) but I think this illustrates the questions I'm asking.

The outline is concrete walls. The green is the theater area. The red is potential bar-height half-walls. The yellow-brown is full-height 2x4 walls.

Sound-wise only (that means: please ignore what is the best use of space), which is going to be better? 1, 2 or 3?

If you want to throw out other thoughts on layout, feel free.... but I'm particularly curious on the sound benefits/negatives of these three types of layouts.
 

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