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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi AVS,

A faulty switch in my basement's sump pump has kick-started my theatre plans!


Originally, I was going to be happy with my 64" f8500 and 7.1 surround for a couple years while I really saved up the funds, but it's killing me that the basement is now sitting empty (and waiting). Thankfully, not much was damaged that I wasn't going to tear out anyway.

The plan is to do an AT screen with Atmos, one row of three recliners and a bar behind that. There isn't enough ceiling height to do a proper riser. While I'd love to soundproof, with open stairs into the basement and an open floor plan of 700 sqft, I know that the best I can hope for is to mitigate. I plan on calling the Soundproofing Company tomorrow to start the dialog on my best way forward/finding a balance. I'm going for a 5-6 out of 10, where a 10/10 would be a vocal booth in a recording studio. I've read through enough build threads to appreciate the exponential expense and complexity incurred when fighting every square inch of sound leakage/flanking/etc.

So, since everyone likes pictures, here's a SketchUp of my basement layout before the flooding:


Through the door in the top right is a kitchen, and beyond that is unfinished storage. Although putting a door in at the bottom of the stairs and closing off the theatre area would help with sound leakage, we'd much prefer to keep it open. I think @BIGmouthinDC has a similar layout (and I'm going to try to steal his color scheme).

So here's where I'd like to get to aesthetically:


HVAC is coming by soon to help me figure out how/if we can achieve the symmetrical soffits in the 'finished' pic. Right now, several of the home's feeds and one return travel down a 56" wide channel which makes for an unappealing split level ceiling above the viewing area. Hopefully I can shave 20" off of that, while adding 30" of soffit on the opposite wall and still have everything fit. Over the phone, HVAC said that "just about anything is possible" so we'll see. The other problem to solve related to that is the lighting. If I get these lights, how big does the backer need to be for code? A question easily enough answered at the store, but I'd appreciate input since that would somewhat affect the HVAC runs through the soffits.

Here's a rough top view of the plan. I know the speaker enclosure looks a little odd-shaped, and I can probably slim that down a good bit - just went a little crazy with the speaker size. On the left is the main breaker panel and top left is the sump pump. Distances from screen to PJ is planned at 188", and seating is 142" to a 120" wide screen.


Here's my timeline:
Within 2 weeks:
  • Move the basement f8500 upstairs and mount it in the living room, donate the old LCD to a friend who'll help with demo.
  • Get inputs for HVAC, Soundproofing, electrical
  • Install battery backup sump pump

Spring:
  • Remove drywall
  • Remove gas fireplace, seal up exhaust
  • Buy projector, hang sheet and show some movies (just kidding)

Summer:
  • Have a solid plan in place, enjoy being outside!

Fall:
  • Framing, drywall, wiring.

So, that's where I'm at for now. I'll do my best to keep the information flowing. I've learned a ton reading through other's builds and I really appreciate the time taken to document the process.

Thanks,

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #2
LED disk lights into J-boxes

HVAC came by today to take notes and see what's doing. His first concern was the lights getting in the way of the HVAC runs. Here's a top-down view of my plan, and I admit that it is something I overlooked.



So today I set out to see what was available that would allow me to put lights on the soffits while not taking up all the room for HVAC - surely there's gotta be something out there that isn't as deep for LED, right? I think I found it:



These LED disk lights fit into 1.5" J-Boxes. So, I guess my question would be: would this work? If I do double 5/8s drywall, that would mean the j-box would be about the same depth, and then nail the mount to a small cross beam. Again, I'm coming at this with basically zero building experience. I'd love to hear what has worked for others...I'll do a little searching here as well. I realize, of course, that this will create a place for sound to escape, so I'll either plan to putty it or find another solution.

Thanks! I hope this might help someone else looking for a similar product.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
The ceiling as it is now has a 50" section that contains the HVAC feed and return for the basement and several registers on the main floor above. You can see the original width of it in my most recent sketchup I posted above the light...it's the white part in the bottom left in addition to the cut out. What I'm having the HVAC guys figure out, is if I can narrow that section down, add symmetrical 'soffits' all the way around, and still feed and return properly to the house and basement. Basically, keep the current functionality while aesthetically balancing the basement ceiling.

I'm scrambling in SketchUp now to demonstrate what I'm pretty sure I'm failing to explain above!



This is my very quick, dirty, and not to scale answer to your question. The main beam of the house runs along the left side there too, with the requisite romex and gas line, etc that we'll have to work around. The little stovepipes are the feeds that then run within the joists to their registers.

I know this probably begs more questions than it answers...so please ask away, as I'm sure someone out there is noticing something that I'm not, or that I'm not clear on.

Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
How often do you interact with your AV rack? I'm trying to consider how often I have and am going to...

Or, in other words: do I keep a hole in the wall to easily access the blu-ray, record player, etc? Or, seal it up and tuck it all in a closet under the stairs?

Currently, I've got a pretty nice little rack on the side wall...it works well, except that the glass reflects the image. Thinking of acoustics, it is pretty much where the first reflection would be when I do the screen wall. (or are we diffracting now instead of absorbing there?!?)


Here's a view inside the closet space. (I managed my cables nicely on the other end...never really got to this)


Here's what I'm thinking:
1. I'd really like to be rid of the image reflection off of the glass, but I do like having quick access for physical media. I keep the rack there, and maybe do a hinged acoustical panel?

2. I seal it up for better sound proofing. I would not like this when I'm spinning records (the 2-year old love my Four Seasons greatest hits album).

3. Do a hybrid: seal up the wall, put the record player on a cart/furniture and run the RCAs into a wall plate, which then ties into the AV rack. This just popped into my brain, and I kinda like the idea.

I'd appreciate any thoughts!
 

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So today I set out to see what was available that would allow me to put lights on the soffits while not taking up all the room for HVAC - surely there's gotta be something out there that isn't as deep for LED, right? I think I found it:



These LED disk lights fit into 1.5" J-Boxes. So, I guess my question would be: would this work? If I do double 5/8s drywall, that would mean the j-box would be about the same depth, and then nail the mount to a small cross beam. Again, I'm coming at this with basically zero building experience. I'd love to hear what has worked for others...I'll do a little searching here as well. I realize, of course, that this will create a place for sound to escape, so I'll either plan to putty it or find another solution.

Thanks! I hope this might help someone else looking for a similar product.
I have used something like this in my theater, although, in the main ceiling. I used them through-out my entire basement, and have installed all but the one's in the theater, and they all seem to work well.

Not sure what your sound-proofing plans are and if the soffits will be built 'after' the main Drywall (i.e., inside the sound proof envelope) or part of the main drywall. Based on the double 5/8" DW, I am assuming part of it.

Ted White from the SoundProofing Company started a thread on this type of light, speculating you could use putty pads vs backer boxes.
http://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...n-construction/1517771-recessed-lighting.html

I chose to make a virtual backer 'box', but more of a sandwich to help with sound containment. I have this in my build thread, as well as posting in the thread above.

I hung my 'backer sandwich' from my floor Joists with an IB-3 clip to 'decouple' them, and they were mounted before Drywall went up. Then, the drywallers installed the drywall and cut them out. A few of them didn't seem to lay flush, so, not thrilled with that. I did a bit of work to get most of them fairly flat, but didn't work as well as I hoped. I think if I were to do it again, I would either hang my own drywall - or be clear the first layer of ceiling drywall would be 'slow'... I would then measure out where they needed to be installed on the drywall before hanging, and mount them before the drywall was hung. I would probably screw through drywall into the backer box, and then lift dyrwall with 'flush' lights in place. So, the wires would be run where they needed to go before hand, and then as the drywall was lifted up, run the wires down through the backer box/sandwich.

I am using "Adorne" style dimmers in the other areas of my basement, and it doesn't seem to dim very low - not sure if that is my specific version of the lights (claimed to dim to 6%), or any would be the same - or it is the dimmer itself. When I get around to it, I'll likely use Grafik Eye in my theater.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have used something like this in my theater, although, in the main ceiling. I used them through-out my entire basement, and have installed all but the one's in the theater, and they all seem to work well.

Not sure what your sound-proofing plans are and if the soffits will be built 'after' the main Drywall (i.e., inside the sound proof envelope) or part of the main drywall. Based on the double 5/8" DW, I am assuming part of it.
Thanks Brian, always good to hear from experience. I think that the soffit is going to be part of the main shell of the theatre, only because of the HVAC that can't be moved and will be running through. The HVAC that'll be going through the theatre feeds several rooms above, not just the theatre itself, unfortunately.

You mentioned that your lights don't quite dim as far as you'd like. Thank you for bringing that up because I wasn't considering that the dimmest the light will go, might still be too bright for movies. I'll ping a sparky to get inputs...I'm sure it's a balance between the quality of the lamp circuitry, the circuitry of the dimmer and the load that is on that circuit that plays into it as well. Soooo much to learn...
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Priority #1 is a comfortable, and dry basement. This is another minor but important step towards that end. I added a Zoeller battery backup pump and longer float travel for the main pump (last month my pump was running about every 5 minutes, there's a lot of water that passes through there). I repaired the switch in the old pump and cut the PVC to match the one in the tank, so if the main one fails, I have about a day of use in the battery, and can swap in the repaired pump. Next is just some water intrusion alarms, a bit of cable management, and I think I'm set here.

This will sit behind the screen's false wall, so I may look to seal this in with an access door so that I don't hear it run while watching movies, but I'll figure that out later. Installation was pretty simple, but the marine battery did a number on my back http://www.avsforum.com/forum/images/smilies/eek.gif!



**********

Two ideas I'm thinking about: when we demo the existing drywall, use it between the joists with some green glue like Ted and John talk about here.

The other idea is using DRICore or Tyroc for the subfloor. I have the typical musty basement smell, and before the sump pump failure, the floor was simply pad and carpet on top of concrete...yuck! The challenge then, will be addressing the ~2" that the floor will raise up. Not a huge issue with the ceilings, rather with the landings from the stairs and the doorways. Nothing that can't be overcome.
 

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Hey Johnstown and kmh,
Just my two cents, but I have put these LED "pot lights?" in my laundry room and kitchen.
Both on dimmers and I found an interesting thing.... They dont really like dimmers.

Not to say that they wont work with CFL/LED spec'd dimmers, but they will give you a little attitude. :)

Kitchen dimmer is a small switch on bottom with T-slider above (not sure brand - from Lowes) and Laundry is Lutron decora style with tiny slider aside big flat switch.
Both rooms behave the same. Which drives me to believe its the light that is fussy, not the dimmers.

With the dimmer on full bright, its no problem and instant on.
Dimmer in a lower setting and hit the ON switch, it takes a beat for the light to come on. So I walk into the room, hit the light switch and halfway through my next step I do that studder/break stride thing because I must have missed the switch, but before I turn back, the lights come on at 50% or whatever. LOL its not a deal breaker, but a little unnerving. There is a pause between you interacting and getting a result.

Also as kmh said, the bottom-out dim-level is higher for these LEDs. They might spec the dimmer to 6%, but im sure that is for incandescent. Seems like LED needs some level of minimum voltage to stay on.

After saying all that, I love my lights and would not go back to filament, but wanted to contribute and let you decide with some info I would have liked to have known before jumping in and scratching my head :)

Good luck on your build!
(I came here to ask a question but couldent figure which section to post it in. "Design & Build" seemed right, and somehow I ended up talking about my potlights. Ha!)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hey Johnstown and kmh,
Just my two cents, but I have put these LED "pot lights?" in my laundry room and kitchen.
Both on dimmers and I found an interesting thing.... They dont really like dimmers.

Not to say that they wont work with CFL/LED spec'd dimmers, but they will give you a little attitude. :)

Kitchen dimmer is a small switch on bottom with T-slider above (not sure brand - from Lowes) and Laundry is Lutron decora style with tiny slider aside big flat switch.
Both rooms behave the same. Which drives me to believe its the light that is fussy, not the dimmers.

With the dimmer on full bright, its no problem and instant on.
Dimmer in a lower setting and hit the ON switch, it takes a beat for the light to come on. So I walk into the room, hit the light switch and halfway through my next step I do that studder/break stride thing because I must have missed the switch, but before I turn back, the lights come on at 50% or whatever. LOL its not a deal breaker, but a little unnerving. There is a pause between you interacting and getting a result.

Also as kmh said, the bottom-out dim-level is higher for these LEDs. They might spec the dimmer to 6%, but im sure that is for incandescent. Seems like LED needs some level of minimum voltage to stay on.

After saying all that, I love my lights and would not go back to filament, but wanted to contribute and let you decide with some info I would have liked to have known before jumping in and scratching my head :)

Good luck on your build!
(I came here to ask a question but couldent figure which section to post it in. "Design & Build" seemed right, and somehow I ended up talking about my potlights. Ha!)
Hey, I appreciate all input...just more reason for me to give it a test run before fully committing to these. Although, are there any others that work with a J-Box?

Also, and this is for any sparkys out there: can I leave my other incandescent bulbs in, swap out one for this LED, and test the dimmer accurately? In another words, will the draw from the incandescents alter the way the LED will work on the same circuit? Should I remove all of the old lights and just test this one?

Thanks again for the encouragement 1forest1!

***

More late night rambling: I went down tonight and laid out the stage and money seat locations with masking tape. A 120" wide scope screen puts me just further than a 1:1 screen width to eye distance ratio. I think that that might be just a bit too close, but I hate saying that without getting an actual image in front of me. A 115" might be the goldilocks size for me.
 

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I am not an electrician, but am pretty sure you would need to pull out all the lights, add I think total load on dimmer is part of the driver.

Also, there are dimmers specifically for LED/ fluorescent light s which manage smaller power draws better, be sure to test one of those. My dimmers are for LED, but I still have issues. My dimmer came with a list of light brands it had been tested with. and the one's I got are NOT on the list. you could probably pull up the list online and see if you'd are.

As for screen size, my first row will likely be about 0.8-0.9 x screen width. I want to push it large. I asked a question in the Cinemar thread a few weeks back since his seating distance and screen size are similar, and he encouraged maybe even bigger, as did another response. That Definitely seems tio be a personal choice though. mlMy eyes to screen will be about 10', and I am still deciding on screen, but between 130 - 136" wide, 2.35:1.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I am not an electrician, but am pretty sure you would need to pull out all the lights, add I think total load on dimmer is part of the driver.

Also, there are dimmers specifically for LED/ fluorescent light s which manage smaller power draws better, be sure to test one of those. My dimmers are for LED, but I still have issues. My dimmer came with a list of light brands it had been tested with. and the one's I got are NOT on the list. you could probably pull up the list online and see if you'd are.

As for screen size, my first row will likely be about 0.8-0.9 x screen width. I want to push it large. I asked a question in the Cinemar thread a few weeks back since his seating distance and screen size are similar, and he encouraged maybe even bigger, as did another response. That Definitely seems tio be a personal choice though. mlMy eyes to screen will be about 10', and I am still deciding on screen, but between 130 - 136" wide, 2.35:1.
Regarding the lights, good call on the LED dimmer. The light I have is CREE, and your post made me do a little digging and I found this list of compatible dimmers.

http://creebulb.com/Content/downloads/product_info/cree_dimmer_compatability.pdf

Again, good discussion here because this is one of those things that I wouldn't have considered.

As for the screen, my biggest LIMFAC on size is that I need to maintain some sort of access behind it for the electrical panel and sump pump. With a 120 wide, I'm coming up with about 19" of clearance on either side of the screen for me to squeeze through. However, I'll have to come up with some sort of custom door/removable panel and the framing for that might eat into that width. I guess it'd be good motivation to watch the calories! My contractor/non-home theater builder/idea-bouncer-offer is thinking of just framing that all in and me using the crawl under the stairs to access, but I think I'm going to use that for a big chunk of bass trapping. I'm sure that'll be a topic that comes up later. Baby steps for now...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Took another couple baby steps a few days ago. The home theatre TV took over duty as the living room one to clear out the basement and earn some labor from a friend who needs the old one. The mount I got from Amazon, and it's called the "Articulating TV Wall Mount with Long Arm by Aeon Stands and Mounts." It was the only one that I found that claimed to be made for screens larger than 65". I'm really happy with it - super solid product and it has integrated cable management. I put the significant other on design duty for the wall surrounding the TV.




Also, got some pricing on Dricore R+ which would be a special order at HD...I'm leaning towards that product vs the original if only because of the extruded polystyrene bumping the R value up to 3 from 1.7, and a little bit of sound dampening. It's also the thinnest of all other similar products that I've found, at just a hair under an inch. I need to preserve all the headroom I can.



*********

Here's my "I have no idea what I'm doing" question of the night: Considering the Soundproofing Company's diagram of putting drywall under the upstairs subfloor, can I take my existing 1/2" (which I am planning on demo'ing anyway), remove as cleanly as possible, and use that to put between my joists with some GG and acoustical sealant? Where does this fall on the costs/benefits spectrum? I'm giving John a call tomorrow, but since I haven't seen this technique done here in the forum, I thought I'd ask.



Thanks again, you all ROCK!
 

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Is that your TV power cord running into the wall?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Is that your TV power cord running into the wall?
Thanks for calling me out! :) No, you're right...I've got a Powerbridge on order, though I don't really see how it's any different than running the power cord down the wall cavity.

How are you liking your Panny 8000? I was checking out the reviews for it last night and it looks like a winner. Especially with the auto aspect ratio zoom.
 

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Thanks for calling me out! :) No, you're right...I've got a Powerbridge on order, though I don't really see how it's any different than running the power cord down the wall cavity.

How are you liking your Panny 8000? I was checking out the reviews for it last night and it looks like a winner. Especially with the auto aspect ratio zoom.
Can't really say. It's still sitting in storage. I liked it enough from what I saw at others who had it though.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Been itching to get some progress, but there's a couple moving parts that need to happen first before I can demo. I should be able to get that going by the end of the month. In the meantime, while it's not the rite of passage that the stage filler sand haul is, I did manage to relocate a pallet of DriCore R+ from the garage to the basement. The aroma of OSB and extruded polystyrene down there is a pleasing one.





With the old carpet and pad on top, I'm losing about 1 3/4" of rise. The existing stairs account for 1/2" of pad and carpet. Short of redoing the stairs, I'm thinking that we'll have to put a landing in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Subscribed! I'm a little late but looks like I didn't miss too much. Glad to see you got your thread going, Mike.
Ha, yeah...just today I finally got my old TV, couches, tables, chairs all moved out to make room for demo. After a quick vacay to sunny and warm Philly (I'll take it after this weekend up here) next week, the fun will begin. I've brought HVAC reps over from two different companies to try and get a feel for what I'm getting into with moving some ducting around to allow for the aesthetics of the symmetrical soffits. They both hmmm'd and haw'd, and said, "that's gonna be a lot of work." The challenge is that this area sits under half of the house, so all the returns and supplies tap into the HVAC down there. I'm willing to foot the bill and sacrifice elsewhere for two things: comfort and aesthetics/symmetry.

I wish I had a good sketchup of the current set up...look at the top left of the image below. See how the supply (pink) and return (cyan) are together? Just to the left of there is where the mechanicals are. Currently, both the supply and return run parallel down one big soffit, splitting the middle of the basement ceiling.

In the SketchUp below, is what I currently know about the positioning of the joists and existing supplies and feeds, while also incorporating what I think will allow me to have a symmetrical soffit all the way around. Basically, re-route the main return around the outside wall (bottom of image) and extend the existing returns via the joists to drop into it there. The feed then would only take up the soffit on the left side of the room.



I am ready and willing to hear any advice as to why this can't work/what needs to change in order for it to work...basically, if this can't be done, then I probably won't do a theater and just wait to move in the future.
 

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