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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Goals


Some general goals:
  • Get back into HT after 10-15 years out of it
  • Maximize sound quality for least cost*
  • Learn a little something about acoustics
  • Teach my 16yo son a bit about acoustics (science project!)
  • I was going to put "annoy the wife" on here, but she's surprisingly tolerant of the mess so far


* The whole "least cost" thing is important, but has taken a serious beating by coming to the forums every day - suffice it to say that my tastes have evolved...


I'm about 50/50 music/HT, so the system has to do both well. I don't listen all that loud (-15dB typical max), with neighbors close by the chances to really crank it up are relatively rare.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
The Room

I live in a townhouse with shared walls (but nobody above or below). Late 80's cinderblock construction, brick facing on the outside, insulation and 5/8" sheetrock for the walls and ceiling. Wall-to-wall carpet and pad on a concrete slab, with a large area rug over that for the floor.

With shared walls, maximum LF SPL tests are not going to part of the program. That being said, the neighbors have been very tolerant and I can crank it up on occasion, just not late at night.

I did up a couple of Visio diagrams of the room, here is plan view:



And the front wall:



#1 Drawback - The front of the room sometimes seems like a bit of a hallway between the garage (through the door on the right of the diagram) and the stairs (left on the diagram). Having the Front Left and Front Right speakers against the wall isn't optimal, but with this configuration I'm kind of stuck with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Equipment

My humble collection of stuff. It's a process, right?

Gear list:
  • Front Left & Front Right: Modified tower DIYSoundGroup Elusive 1099
  • Center: DIYSoundGroup Elusive 1099
  • Wide Left & Wide Right: Polk RT25i wall mounted 84" from floor
  • Surround Side Left & Surround Side Right: DIYSoundGroup V-8 Volt
  • Surround Back Left & Surround Back Right: DIYSoundGroup V-6 Volt
  • Sub1: Reaction Audio BPS 212 Turbo on 3" foam riser
  • Sub2: Reaction Audio BPS 212 Turbo on 3" foam riser
  • Sub3: Epik Empire on carpeted floor
  • Sub4: Epik Empire on carpeted floor
  • AVR: Anthem MRX 510 to projector via RedMere HDMI
  • Amp: Outlaw 7125 via Monoprice coax interconnects
  • BR/DVD/stream: Oppo BDP-103 to AVR via HDMI
  • Cable box/DVR: TiVo Premiere 4 to Oppo via HDMI
  • Projector: Sony VPL HW30ES
  • Screen: EliteScreens 100" 16x9 SableFrame w/ CineWhite 1.1 gain
  • PC: Windows 10 desktop to AVR via HDMI with REW, jRiver, etc.
  • NAS: QNAP TS-251 w/ 16GB RAM and 8TB HDD to AVR via HDMI
  • 2TB Buffalo DriveStation to NAS via USB 3.0 (backup)
  • Wii to AVR via component
  • Logitech Harmony 650
  • MiniDSP 2x4 unbalanced with 4-way Advanced Crossover plugin (subs)
  • MiniDSP UMIK-1 calibrated by Cross Spectrum Labs
  • Radio Shack digital SPL meter

A couple of random comments:
  • So far, it sounds amazing - best I have ever heard, but that's more a reflection on not having heard many decent HT setups.
  • Figuring out how to push it further is fascinating and I'm having a ball learning all kinds of new stuff.
  • REW is awesome.
  • Future upgrades will be supported by measurable differences!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
DIY Treatments

I was initially pretty skeptical about treatments, but the more I read the more I wanted to try it. Had to go with something as hypo-allergenic as possible because wife is allergic to everything.

So, I bought a bale of R-13 (3.5" thick) Bonded Logic UltraTouch insulation, some 1x4's, corner brackets, chicken wire, staples, and then got some Guilford of Maine speaker fabric on super sale from Ebay. Total outlay was right around $300.





I ended up with (see room diagram above):
  • 1 - 63.5" x 33.5" x 3.5" ceiling cloud
  • 3 - 48" x 23" x 3.5" broadband absorber panels
  • 4 - 32.5" x 18" x 16" "BillyTop" (top of bookcase) soffit bass traps
I also got a 6-pack of the 1'x1'x1" UltraTouch acoustic squares for grins. They ended up going behind the L & R speakers in sets of 2. Even had enough fabric leftover to cover them.

They look pretty good (thanks GoM). The wife was a bit dubious about the ceiling cloud at first, but she got used to it pretty quick. They make the room SOUND GREAT. Really pleased with the result, although I'm still chasing a few reflections...

Bonus: Teach the 16yo son some basic woodworking.

Drawback: Nasty scratches from chicken wire.

FYI: The UltraTouch was great to work with, but the R-13 is not 3.5" thick. More like 2.5"-3". I had to buy a couple of R-6 rolls to fill in the bass traps. Might have been able to get away with 1x3s for the ceiling cloud and absorbers.

Edit: Built some more, using R-19 this time. The thicker batts worked much better, but are still far less than 5.5" thick - about right for a 3.5" thick panel if bunched loosely in the frame. Also, it was a huge help to make the panels 36.5" wide this time - this is just wide enough for the chicken wire to stretch for stapling, and was a lot easier to handle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
System Optimization Outline

This is a document that I typed up from notes scribbled in the margins of my hardcopy of AustinJerry's REW guide. It borrows heavily from that document, the REW help file, and others. I'm always looking for ways to make it better, all feedback appreciated!
 

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Wow. Looks like you're having fun. I've never heard the effect of acoustic panels, I'll have to get somewhere to check it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I hadn't either, and ended up having to just go for it. I did a bit of research, and it was pretty unanimous - including the recording studio guys, so I figured it was a fairly safe bet. It really does make a difference and as far as DIY projects go, not difficult. I figured if they didn't improve things or were ugly, I could just sell the materials on craigslist.
 

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I hadn't either, and ended up having to just go for it. I did a bit of research, and it was pretty unanimous - including the recording studio guys, so I figured it was a fairly safe bet. It really does make a difference and as far as DIY projects go, not difficult. I figured if they didn't improve things or were ugly, I could just sell the materials on craigslist.
Do you have any pics of the "cloud" defuser you installed? You mentioned it at the meet and I was curious to hear more details on it as I might be able to utilize something like it my theater?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Do you have any pics of the "cloud" defuser you installed? You mentioned it at the meet and I was curious to hear more details on it as I might be able to utilize something like it my theater?
Sorry about the slow response, I added a couple more pics in Post #5 .

And a minor point, it's a cloud absorber, not a diffuser - I may have misspoken on that. Either way, it works great.
 
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