AVS Forum member Clyde R. (NYGiantsFan23) has an unusually demanding job—he's a police detective in Maryland, knocking down doors in search of violent offenders. That means long hours, rotating shifts, and high stress.

So when he gets home, Clyde wants to get away from it all, and what better retreat than a dedicated  home theater ? "I wanted a private utopia in my house where I could kick back and become totally absorbed," he says. "I also wanted superior clean, crisp sound." What about sound isolation? "With a hardwood-floor kitchen directly overhead, I wanted a significant degree of soundproofing so footfall noise wouldn't be disruptive." Finally, he wanted to entertain friends and family with two rows of seating and a hightop with bar stools at the back of the theater.

The initial sketch defined what Clyde wanted in his home-theater retreat.

After eight months of planning with theater designer and AVS member Jeff Parkinson (BIGmouthinDC), the first problem that needed to be addressed was a  metal pole  in the middle of the basement where the theater was to be built. "I brought in a structural engineer who designed a solution," Clyde recalls, "and then a contractor changed the support to two posts separated farther apart and added extra material to the bottom of the beam to accommodate the increased span. Even with the two new poles, I wanted the widest possible theater, so Jeff came up with a design that pushed the walls out and included the poles inside columns that also house surround speakers."

The original pole provided structural support, but it was smack-dab in the middle of the theater space.


With the help of a structural engineer, Clyde's contractor replaced the old pole with two new ones that maintain the house's structural integrity while leaving the theater space unobstructed. Note the added reinforcement on the beam between the poles.

To prevent distraction from walking in the kitchen above, Clyde used a clip-and-channel system in the ceiling with two layers of 5/8" drywall separated by a layer of Green Glue sound-absorbing compound. The wall framing is decoupled from the ceiling joists with isolation clips and two layers of drywall with Green Glue. Backer boxes were used for all ceiling lights.

Clyde's theater is essentially a room within a room to prevent sound from the kitchen above to intrude on his theatrical reverie.

Another challenge was bringing in the sand that would fill the front stage. "Every day after work, I picked up a few bags at the store and eventually got 73 50-pound bags into to the basement," he recounts wearily.

Over the course of several weeks, Clyde carried almost two tons of sand into the basement to fill the front stage.

In the front of the theater, three JTR Noesis 228HT speakers reproduce the front left, right, and center channels, while two Hsu VTF-15H  subwoofers  plumb the low-frequency depths. All five speakers are placed behind a 130-inch-wide 2.35:1 Falcon Vision HD acoustically transparent woven screen—the very first production unit from Falcon.

Three JTR Noesis 228HT speakers are separated by two Hsu VTF-15H  subwoofers , and the entire front wall acts as a bass-absorption membrane.

For the  surround speakers , Clyde decided to build his own from kits provided by  DIY Sound Group —specifically, the Alpha-8 Minion, a 2-way design with 8" woofer and a compression-driver tweeter in a waveguide. Well, actually, it was Jeff who assembled them. Overall, Clyde says he contributed about 20 percent of the labor with his own hands. "If Jeff saw me sitting around, he always found something for me to do to help keep the project moving ahead."


The Alpha-8 Minion DIY kit includes the drivers, crossover electronics, and  front baffle , but not the enclosure, which can be ordered at additional cost if you don't want to make it from scratch. Clyde decided to get the enclosure kit for his surrounds.

The 7.1  sound system  includes six surround speakers in pilasters, two of which hide the new support poles.

The finished room includes hundreds of feet of molding to provide the look that Clyde was after. Perhaps even more important are the fabric panels with Linacoustic lining to tame some of the room's reverb. In addition to the front-wall bass absorber, the second-row riser is designed to function as a bass trap.

Eight Fusion Tribute recliners are joined by a hightop counter behind the second row with bar stools.

Clyde got lots of help from AVS members aside from Jeff Parkinson. Rich Antonuccio (snickers1) from Falcon delivered and installed the screen, and Gary Ngo (landshark1), who's  home theater  was featured as  AVS HT of the Month in February , helped program the Logitech Harmony Ultimate remote, tweak the JVC DLA-RS4810  projector , and set up the Denon AVR-4520CI receiver, since he has more or less the same gear.


Clyde's theater is beautifully finished with lots of molding and an illuminated tray ceiling.

After five months of construction and about $50,000, Clyde finally has his private utopia. I can't think of a better place to unwind after a long day of chasing bad guys.

For much more detail about how Clyde's home theater came together, check out the build thread here .



Source Devices

Oppo BDP-103D Blu-ray player  (with built-in  Darbee  video enhancement)

DirecTV satellite receiver

Microsoft Xbox One  game

Sony PlayStation 4 game console


AV Electronics

Denon  AVR-4520CI receiver

Emotiva XPA-5 power amp






Falcon Vision HD (130" wide, 2.35:1, acoustically transparent, 1.1 gain)



JTR Noesis 228HT front LCR

DIY Sound Group Alpha-8 Minion surrounds (6)

Hsu VTF-15H  subwoofers  (2)






Harmony Ultimate  universal remote

Insteon dimmer switches


Power Conditioning

Belkin PureAV PF60 line conditioner

Minuteman Pro UPS (for projector)



Fusion Tribute (8)