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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After dreaming of a dedicated theater since I was about 12 - more than 26 years ago, I am finally in the process of building a home that offers that type of space. I need to solicit as much help as I can on this because I am great at calibrating equipment and dialing in the sound and picture, but I lack skill around construction and the other facets of a proper build. I am hoping I can start a build thread here and get some advice and insight as to how others would approach my space. The house is a new build, to be completed within 5 months.

A little bit about the room:

13 X 21 ft with a corner dual French door entry way. I've already requested solid core doors for the entry from the builder.

The room sits over a garage bay and does not border any bedrooms but borders a full guest bathroom. It resides on the top floor and has a straight ceiling, no gable.

I will be getting architectural drawings and maybe a sketchup rendering to show how I plan to design the room, but initially I need to make some decisions with the builder to prep the room. I am thinking, as I lack the speed and capability of finishing the room myself, that I'll have the builder put in Roxul Safe N Sound batting after I place smurf tubing from the rear closet (equipment room) to the front of the room where I will (in the future) build out a screen wall for a projection setup. I will use that smurf to run my front LCR and Subs 1/2 to the front of the room where they will sit behind an AT screen. Thinking of fairly small smurf like 1" or so.

I will also have a projection soffit built at the back of the room- thinking of a 2X2 foot soffit running the width of the room that will have a cubby for a projector to sit and reside discretely. I would also pre-wire this soffit for my IR trigger cable, video cabling from sources to PJ and also the power cabling for the PJ. Thinking 2" smurf...

I'd also like the builder to pre-wire surrounds for the side and rear surrounds and maybe prewire for a third sub in the back corner. Also thinking the ceiling for future Atmos/DTS:X ceiling/height channels.

Where I'm hung up is on trying to budget my money to cover my soundproofed construction. I am going to need some decent soundproofing without breaking the bank. I'd ideally like to do RSC clips on walls and ceiling and I'm thinking of Roxul 80 for the one external wall and Safe N Sound batting for the rest including floors and ceiling. Is this a good place to start?

Is it worth it to add either an additional layer of drywall with Green Glue in between or maybe mass loaded vinyl strung through the room? What about acoustic caulking around electrical boxes/fixtures and taping between mass loaded vinyl seems? Is that overkill or required for best sound proofing?

I'm trying to spend under 5K for the room construction additions. Should I also go with a Lutron Grafik Eye? This would be a great feature down the road and I plan to start with just can lights around the room and then add sconces to columns that I install along with maybe some LED rope lighting. What is the best way to pre-wire this stuff? Man, I need some help because my fear is that I get into this, and they start moving forward and I don't do something pre-construction and put myself in a bind. Or, that I find out that doing what I want is 20K and I have 5K for this room since the rest of the house is going to take my cash...
 

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I went through the same process, you can see what I did in my build thread as an example. And there are many other threads here that you should read to get all of your questions answered (we all ask those same questions, and go through the same steps). Use the search tool here, or just read the threads linked in BIGMouthinDC's signature!

Probably the most valuable thread here to read is the "What I would do differently", an awesome collection of mistakes - and mostly ones that if caught during the planning phase, would have been cheap or free to fix...

Next, read the "Soundproofing 101" articles at The Soundproofing Company: http://www.soundproofingcompany.com/soundproofing101/

And your first budget-saving item is to skip the Roxul and just use the pink stuff.

Plan, plan, plan. Upload diagrams or sketches (take a picture of your paper drawings or blueprints) - that will help the forum help you...

Hope that helps,

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I went through the same process, you can see what I did in my build thread as an example. And there are many other threads here that you should read to get all of your questions answered (we all ask those same questions, and go through the same steps). Use the search tool here, or just read the threads linked in BIGMouthinDC's signature!

Probably the most valuable thread here to read is the "What I would do differently", an awesome collection of mistakes - and mostly ones that if caught during the planning phase, would have been cheap or free to fix...
Excellent! Thank you for the advice. I have been lurking a bit in the "What I would do differently" collection and I think you are correct.

Question, did you use mass loaded vinyl? I am getting very mixed messages as some camps state the MLV is a waste of money and go with Roxul and Hat Channel. The others say go with MLV and Pink stuff and Hat Channel. The common denominator seems to be use of Hat Channel or RSC type clips and channel.
 

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Question, did you use mass loaded vinyl?
For what purpose? As a layer in walls/ceiling? No, and don't believe there's much support for it in the evidence or "known best practices"...

I am getting very mixed messages as some camps state the MLV is a waste of money and go with Roxul and Hat Channel. The others say go with MLV and Pink stuff and Hat Channel. The common denominator seems to be use of Hat Channel or RSC type clips and channel.
Where are you getting these mixed messages? Advice in other non-theater forums (such as studio/music room construction for example) may not be applicable to these use cases... Other advice may be outdated and just repeated from old-school thinking.

For wall/ceiling the "normal" recommendation is clips&channel with 2 layers of firecode 5/8" drywall and Green Glue.
 

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you are on track trying to plan wiring and sound isolation at this stage of the game. These two are very problematic when dealing with a new home builder even a custom home builder. They don't get it and really don't want to be bothered with the details required to do it right. They will sub out the wiring then double their cost and that is what you will be charged. Insulation is an easy Placebo soundproofing task, but look at the data, at sub woofer frequencies it will be ineffective.

True sound isolation will require mass/isolation/dampening/absorption. Double layers of 5/8 firecode, Green Glue, hung on an isolation system to achieve a room within a room. Insulation in the walls to manage resonances. Your builder is likely going to give you a blank stare. There is a shortcut, headphones.

Don't overlook sound isolating the duct work so it doesn't transfer sound from the theater room to others, get a beefy door with door seals, address every wall penetration with products like putty pads and backer boxes.

Putting a projector in a soffit is a good idea, build the soffit inside the room, make sure it is not framed before the room is drywalled. or if framed first that it gets the same mass/isolation/dampening as the walls. Your projector functions as a space heater, make sure you are venting the projector box properly.

Forget Grafix Eye on your beer budget go Insteon dual band dimmers. Have your builder install $2 switches, then change them out after you move in.

Make sure the builder installs a dedicated return for the room. Most residential construction relies on the gap under the door for air circulation, if you use door seals to isolate sound the room will get not get adequate cooling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
you are on track trying to plan wiring and sound isolation at this stage of the game. These two are very problematic when dealing with a new home builder even a custom home builder. They don't get it and really don't want to be bothered with the details required to do it right. They will sub out the wiring then double their cost and that is what you will be charged. Insulation is an easy Placebo soundproofing task, but look at the data, at sub woofer frequencies it will be ineffective.

True sound isolation will require mass/isolation/dampening/absorption. Double layers of 5/8 firecode, Green Glue, hung on an isolation system to achieve a room within a room. Insulation in the walls to manage resonances. Your builder is likely going to give you a blank stare. There is a shortcut, headphones.
Yes, this is the way I am leaning having spent a bunch of time reading today about soundproofing. It seems that dual 5/8 X type drywall with GG in between layers on Hat channel with clips looks to be the best way to go on this.

Don't overlook sound isolating the duct work so it doesn't transfer sound from the theater room to others, get a beefy door with door seals, address every wall penetration with products like putty pads and backer boxes.

Putting a projector in a soffit is a good idea, build the soffit inside the room, make sure it is not framed before the room is drywalled. or if framed first that it gets the same mass/isolation/dampening as the walls. Your projector functions as a space heater, make sure you are venting the projector box properly.

Forget Grafix Eye on your beer budget go Insteon dual band dimmers. Have your builder install $2 switches, then change them out after you move in.

Make sure the builder installs a dedicated return for the room. Most residential construction relies on the gap under the door for air circulation, if you use door seals to isolate sound the room will get not get adequate cooling.

This is all excellent! BIG, I have been reviewing your build and the Bacon build today and seeing some great ideas of things I'd like to do to my space as time and money permits. I'd like to get the room built out with the dual drywall and soffit running all the way around the room, but plan on "cutting in" a screenwall with a couple feet of space between the true front wall and screen wall. However, at this time the soffit will already exist around the entire room, and the carpet, trim, etc... will be in and the walls painted. I am envisioning taking off the trim and then fastening the header for the screenwall to the existing ceiling and securing to the soffits on the sides along the first stud. My idea is to build empty panels covered in GOM to provide the look of a "wall" but in effect make them either on hinges or removable (heavyduty Velcro or something?) to be removed for access behind the wall. This will give me access to equipment up front (LCR and subs) for calibration and positioning. I am thinking of doing a stage, too.

Being that it this and the riser will be built into a finished room (I'll remove carpet, trim, etc...), do you see an issue with me anchoring the riser and stage to finished walls? I won't have access to the studs at that point. Also, I can't do a bunch of sand in the riser or stage because I'll be in an upstairs room and not a basement. The weight will be too much. What is an alternative to sound deadening a stage and riser? Or would you do a minimal riser and omit the stage in this scenario?

For venting the PJ box in the soffit, I've done some pretty cool venting with low noise pc fans mounted to walls/cabinets before with a molex to AC converter and then wired up to a switched outlet on my preamp to activate upon powering it up. Should be silent and could be used to pull air out of the box and into the equipment closet, which will be large enough to help dissipate the heat .

Oh yeah, one more thing! The columns you built in Bacon's are exactly what I envisioned years ago from a functionality perspective but seeing how you actually did them, makes me more excited than ever about faux columns containing my surround and rear surround channels! Excellent execution!
 

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properly built stages and risers really don't need to be anchored they will be heavy and gravity will do all the work. But, if it makes you feel better just toenail/screw into the floor inside the framing, keep the stage away from the wall.
 

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You do not need to use hat channel and clips. In fact double stud walls are superior (massively at low frequencies) to hat channel and clips. Plus they are A LOT cheaper.


At this stage you need to basically design the whole room: layout, low frequency optimization (sub placement and number), audio/video design, HVAC, electrical, and acoustic treatment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You do not need to use hat channel and clips. In fact double stud walls are superior (massively at low frequencies) to hat channel and clips. Plus they are A LOT cheaper.
Wouldn't both be best? Adding Mass in the form of dual layers of drywall separated by GG and De-coupling via hat channel and clips? Insulation inside the wall would be the third piece which would add absorption. My reading leads me to believe the three combined make the best soundproofing solution.


At this stage you need to basically design the whole room: layout, low frequency optimization (sub placement and number), audio/video design, HVAC, electrical, and acoustic treatment.
I have some rough sketches, a lot of saved content from other builds and photos of the finished theaters I am gleaning my concept from, and I have the design in my mind, but definitely going to use SketchUp to lay everything out on paper with to-scale dimensions. I hope to begin that process this weekend, though the builder, until very recently, was changing around some of the dimensions as we stretched the front of the home and made some elevation changes. Now, I finally know the dimensions of the room and can start a sketch after our meeting with the builder tomorrow. I already know where I want my conduit runs and where I want to place my speakers but haven't determined if I'll just go with in-walls for the surrounds or if I plan on building some faux columns to house larger speakers ala BIGmouthinDC in the Bacon Theater build. I am also toying with can lighting only with smaller cans on the outer soffit and larger cans on the main ceiling, but have not decided yet. I may also add a star ceiling later on, or some sort of architectural alteration to the ceiling to add character as just plain ceilings bore me.

Anyone know how I can run some pre-wire in the ceiling for Atmos or DTS:X future expansion but not terminate with speakers and still know where the loose wire or conduit is once the drywall is up? I was thinking of using can lighting to give me a bearing as to where my ceiling conduit runs are so that once I expand to Atmos I can just cut my hole in the ceiling and pull my wires and install. Is there another discrete way to know where on a finished wall or ceiling the buried conduit run is? Measurements and diagrams?

So excited to get started. I know I'll make some mistakes along the way, but this is literally a life-long dream. I was the kid renting laser disk players and Fantasia at age 12 and marveling at the picture quality when my parents and friends just shrugged their shoulders like "who cares". I certainly did and still do.
 

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Being that it this and the riser will be built into a finished room (I'll remove carpet, trim, etc...), do you see an issue with me anchoring the riser and stage to finished walls? I won't have access to the studs at that point. Also, I can't do a bunch of sand in the riser or stage because I'll be in an upstairs room and not a basement. The weight will be too much. What is an alternative to sound deadening a stage and riser? Or would you do a minimal riser and omit the stage in this scenario?
Big already gave you good advice on anchoring to the walls (i.e. Don't). For the filling of the stage you need to read @granroth's excellent thread on stage filler experiments. If you ask me, just fill it loosely with cheap, pink, fiberglass insulation and call it good. The thread is here: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...ing-stage-filler-sand-fiberglass-nothing.html
 

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Wouldn't both be best? Adding Mass in the form of dual layers of drywall separated by GG and De-coupling via hat channel and clips? Insulation inside the wall would be the third piece which would add absorption. My reading leads me to believe the three combined make the best soundproofing solution.
Nyal was saying double stud, not double drywall. The double drywall with green glue is for the mass and damping part of the equation. The clips and channel, or double stud, or room within a room techniques are for physical isolation. You do need all parts of this for the most effective sound proofing, but he was saying to use double stud techniques instead of clips/channel. I'm not weighing in on effectiveness (Nyal, Big, and others are MUCH more qualified to talk about those things from experience), just explaining what he was talking about because I think you misunderstood the recommendation. I hope that helps.
 

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Nyal was saying double stud, not double drywall. The double drywall with green glue is for the mass and damping part of the equation. The clips and channel, or double stud, or room within a room techniques are for physical isolation. You do need all parts of this for the most effective sound proofing, but he was saying to use double stud techniques instead of clips/channel. I'm not weighing in on effectiveness (Nyal, Big, and others are MUCH more qualified to talk about those things from experience), just explaining what he was talking about because I think you misunderstood the recommendation. I hope that helps.
Yes, exactly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Nyal was saying double stud, not double drywall. The double drywall with green glue is for the mass and damping part of the equation. The clips and channel, or double stud, or room within a room techniques are for physical isolation. You do need all parts of this for the most effective sound proofing, but he was saying to use double stud techniques instead of clips/channel. I'm not weighing in on effectiveness (Nyal, Big, and others are MUCH more qualified to talk about those things from experience), just explaining what he was talking about because I think you misunderstood the recommendation. I hope that helps.

Thank you for clarifying and I think I just misread Nyal's statement. That makes sense. So, double studs are more effective than hat channel. Cost-wise what is the comparison of the two techniques? We meet with the builder tomorrow and I'm going to have him write in their part in our contract tomorrow so I'm trying to dial in the room construction piece today. At least what is going to be behind the walls.
 
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