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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm hoping to get a bit of help with converting a basement into a dedicated cinema room (I'm in the UK by the way). I will be using old hardware for the time being, and will be upgrading this over time, so it's just help on the design, positioning, what to include etc, especially as it's an unusual layout with stairs and doors. I have a completely blank canvas (bare walls & floor, no ceiling fitted, and no power/cabling yet), and the layout is attached, and the ceiling is 2.3m.

What I really need help with is:

  • Where best to position the screen, and seating
  • Where best to position the speakers
  • Will a room this size/shape take 7.1/7.1.# or should I be looking at 5.1.#?
  • Any pitfalls to avoid with an installation
  • What to include (conduit, socket types etc.)
  • Any advice on sound proofing the ceiling
  • Any other good advice or tips you might have!

Let me know if you have any more questions, and thanks in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What are your seating goals, number and type?

You can't just sound proof the ceiling, it will travel up the walls.
Hi Jeff, thanks for your reply. I was hoping to get 4-6 seats in there, and was thinking of maybe building them in, but am open to all options, as I have a blank canvas.

I live in an old farmhouse, and the walls are over 1m thick, would I still need some sound proofing? I will be doing treatment.

I was planning on using a rockwool/10mm insulation board combination in the ceiling void (I have 10 inch joists), then Genie clips and furring strips with acoustic plasterboard, and acoustic sealant around the edges.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well it sure feels that way, but that's not exactly the reality...


How about a row of four stadium style seats?
Thanks Tedd. I think those style seats might help fit it all in. I can't really put the AV rack where it was in the picture though as that's a doorway through to the other basement, which is a gym.

I've already had a good read through both Hobbit theater threads, and to be honest they were my inspiration for trying to shoehorn an HT into such a small space!

Anyone got any other advice/ideas?
 

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Thanks Tedd. I think those style seats might help fit it all in. I can't really put the AV rack where it was in the picture though as that's a doorway through to the other basement, which is a gym.

I've already had a good read through both Hobbit theater threads, and to be honest they were my inspiration for trying to shoehorn an HT into such a small space!

Anyone got any other advice/ideas?
I would also lay it out like Tedd did. Except ... I would build a 150" 16:9 screen of white spandex over silver spandex stretched over a frame so it essentially covered the entire wall. Then place my front speakers behind it, and add magnetic masking panels to support whatever image size your current projector can produce from the
 

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It appeared that doorway was overly wide and might be a placement option. But if it's standard doorway, then the rack
could go in the gym area.


Do you have your speakers for this room yet? That left side wall is a good candidate for a baffle wall design, with a DIY
acoustically transparent screen. That would remove much visual clutter from a small space and coupled with dark colours,
would make the room feel more spacious then it is. In wall surrounds would also offer up zero foot print and visual clutter.


Here's a few other more cutting edge spaces that might offer up some ideas.
http://www.artinstall.ru/en/projects/crystal
http://www.artinstall.ru/en/projects/loft
http://www.artinstall.ru/en/projects/Bauhaus


and AVS'er Nyal is doing some nice stuff with small rooms.
http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/


and don't forget to check out his blog.
 

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There's also some home theater style recliners that are on the narrower side of seating options.
Chairs like Salamander's Matteo series, which can shave 6" per seat off the width.
 

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The advantages of getting the av rack out of the space, is you eliminate the heat load, display light pollution,
and any noise from the gear.


I do subscribe to trying to push the screen size, to a certain point. It's a great look when the front wall is 80% screen,
and actually makes a small room feel larger, but I'd also want to keep the seating off the back wall a little bit, so audio
doesn't suck. You'll also want dark finishes so the room doesn't light up. It's a plus that dark finishes will also visually
expand the room. I'd couple the big screen bling with fabric walls, and play up the lighting, while avoiding cluttering
the room with too many design extras.


What is behind that back wall? Any chance you could recess a hush box and the projector back there? I have to wonder
how awesome a semi constant area screen would be, with manual flip panel masks, for 16x9 and scope would be. You also
want your projector to be able to adequately light the screen and allow for bulb wear.


You also want to be able to take in the entire screen with your eyes, without your eyes jumping all over the screen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wow, lots of information to take in! And I've only got about 2 minutes to respond!

First off, as much as I'd love to do recessed wall speakers, but it's a submerged basement with 2 foot thick solid stone walls with internal tanking.

I love the idea of an acoustically transparent back wall with the speakers behind.

I'll try and cover the rest when I've had a bit of time to process all the information. Thanks for all the help though.
 

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The advantages of getting the av rack out of the space, is you eliminate the heat load, display light pollution,
and any noise from the gear.
In a UK basement with 2' thick stone walls, I don't think heat load will be an issue. :D Blinking LEDs on equipment, and fans could be, however. It looks like a 16" deep rack in the doorway would leave a 2' wide walkway. Or just on a high shelf behind the seats would have it out of sight and out of mind while not requiring any special IR extender for remotes.
 

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Don't make that amateur mistake. Stick four to six bodies plus gear in that space, and do a poor job
on air exchanges, and you'll end up with a less then pleasant experience.


You'd also be surprised about aiming remotes, if you are talking infrared. Even aiming at an av rack
in a side wall, is a PITA.
 

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Don't make that amateur mistake. Stick four to six bodies plus gear in that space, and do a poor job
on air exchanges, and you'll end up with a less then pleasant experience.


You'd also be surprised about aiming remotes, if you are talking infrared. Even aiming at an av rack
in a side wall, is a PITA.
Have you ever tried to heat a basement with damp ground surrounding 2 foot thick stone walls. It sucks the heat out of the room in my experience.

I actually have all my equipment behind me on a shelf 9' high. The path from remote to equipment is 30' and the IR remotes work fine bouncing off the screen. His path would be only 20' and equipment only 7' off the floor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I would build a 150" 16:9 screen of white spandex over silver spandex stretched over a frame so it essentially covered the entire wall.
Is Spandex (the same as Lycra in the UK I believe) acoustically transparent? I've not come across this before, and I do really like the idea of the speakers being behind the screen wall.

I would arrange all AV equipment on a long shelf high up behind the seats. With projector and AV equipment all on a high rear shelf, the only conduit you'll need in the ceiling is for the speaker runs -- including a coax line for the sub which should go along the left sidewall when facing the screen.
A high level shelf could work, but there is also space as you come down the steps into the basement where I could fit the equipment (see attached image). That would get all the equipment apart from the projector out of the room, helping with the noise and the heat.

It appeared that doorway was overly wide and might be a placement option.
It is a wide door, but I would like to keep it clear really, and I do like the shelf option or moving it to outside the room.

Here's a few other more cutting edge spaces that might offer up some ideas.
These spaces look amazing! The "loft" one would be perfect for my space.

Don't make that amateur mistake. Stick four to six bodies plus gear in that space, and do a poor job on air exchanges, and you'll end up with a less then pleasant experience.
I was planning on fitting boxed (filled with rockwool) in ducting with vents and a silent fan to help with air exchange in the room.

You'd also be surprised about aiming remotes, if you are talking infrared. Even aiming at an av rack in a side wall, is a PITA.
Moist of my equipment is networked, and what isn't will hopefully be replaced soon, so it can all be controlled by a tablet.

Thanks again for all your help guys, I think the planning stage is probably the most important, I don't want to spend a load of money and they make some schoolboy errors!
 

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That's very much along the lines I was thinking.


I'd shrink the screen some, and mover it lower. Judging by the looks of things,
you'll be elevating your head and find yourself with a stiff neck. I do wonder if
there's an opportunity to build some subs in up front, and position your existing
sub behind the seating.

Please tell me that is NOT your center channel on the floor up front.

So how exactly is that back wall constructed, and what's back there?


Do you need all those soffits? And have you given any thought to a lighting plan?
A good lighting plan can introduce some design flair into a smaller room with a simpler
look. I especially like the Loft's side wall panels, with the kick trim lighting down low.
 

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Have you ever tried to heat a basement with damp ground surrounding 2 foot thick stone walls. It sucks the heat out of the room in my experience.

I actually have all my equipment behind me on a shelf 9' high. The path from remote to equipment is 30' and the IR remotes work fine bouncing off the screen. His path would be only 20' and equipment only 7' off the floor.
Just 14" thick concrete walls. But the idea is to frame and insulate so you have a room with good creature comfort. And stone is not complimentary to good audio.


Nice to know some screens bounce an ir signal. But an ir repeater system isn't that much, nor that tough to implement. He doesn't have 9'+ of ceiling space to play with. My goal would be to keep the room dark and somewhat simply finished, and not have the av gear eating up any interior volume. I'd also be wanting the room to go pitch black, and not have any av gear displays to be a light source.
 
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