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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so after 3 years I finally got the go ahead from my boss (the wife) to retrofit the basement gameroom/playroom into a Theater room. This has been in the very back of my mind since we moved in, but we have two children, and for the last three years this has been their area to go crazy, kick balls, play with dolls, do gymnastics, make a mess, or whatever else they did down there. The older boy turns 14 in a month, so too old to kick balls without breaking a window, and the girl turns 11 in a couple months. Ultimately it was up to her whether she keeps the big play area or if she prefers to have a spacious theater room. Fortunately, after going into full salesman mode and showing her some videos of theater builds with the fiber optic sky she quickly jumped on the bandwagon. So I am free and clear.

I have been down and dirty in research and design mode for the last month. I've been pulling my inspiration from the following somewhat older threads, but learning a ton. Thanks to the OPs for creating these threads. what a great resource!! I'm still learning and getting inspiration from other threads. If you think I missed a really useful thread, drop me a line.


Details on my space & equipment

Room Dimensions
21'11"L x 16'4"W x 8'9"H

Gear: (I haven't bought anything yet, but this is where my head is at)

Projector
Epson 5050UB

Screen
DIY 168"x70" CIH 2.4:1 Acoustically Transparent. Will have built in style doors that mask the sides to convert to a 124.5"x70" 16:9

Speakers (7.2.4 setup)
Front LCR: 3x DIYSG HTM12
Subs: 2x GSG Audio 21" Behind the Screen "BTS" Subwoofer
L/R Center Surrounds: 2x DIYSG HT8
L/R Rear Surrounds: 2x DIYSG HT8
Atmos: 4x RSL C34E

Equipment
Reciever: TBD
Sub Amp: Behringer NX6000D
Seats: Two Rows, 4 seats per row - brand/model TBD

Next up:
-Pictures of the space - Day1
-My Design pictures

Given I haven't bought any equipment yet, does anyone think i am making any grave mistakes? Any better suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Front - Where False Wall and Screen will go
20210116_155748.jpg


Right Side of Screen. French Doors lead to pool room. Plan is to wall up the doors to the pool room. There is another set of doors to the pool room from another point. I don't expect that once the theater is built that there would be a good use for those doors.
20210116_155442.jpg


Left of the Screen.. Open doorway is just to some storage area... Plan to door that off at some point...
20210116_155527.jpg


Back of room. Opening on the left will be the entrance to the movie room. I plan to wall that off and add a door with some type of insulation/soundproofing. Behind the existing wall is a spacious mechnical room. To get maximum screen size, i plan to build a little recess for the projector to sit in, just below where a soffit will be built.
20210116_155456.jpg
 

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That screen seems really big for that room size! What does your seating look like?

My room is pretty similar and my screen is 58” tall CIH and I wouldn’t want to go that much bigger in my front row.


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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here is the Design I have in mind



Front View
I couldn't decide on 2.4:1 or 16:9. 2.4:1 screens looks amazing, but most the content I will watch (streaming services) seem to be putting most things out on 16:9. I went back in forth until finally I decided I wanted both. I came up with a way to mask the screen in a way that will look great either way. The doors will latch in position when watching 16:9 content. If i have an opportunity to watch 2.4:1 content, i just have to unlatch and swing open the doors (they will be on hinges). Details of this will be forthcoming someday, but i can visualize in my mind how this will work. That is enough for me for now.
HT Front View 01_16_21.png


HT Front View 16_9 01_16_21.png



Left Side: So this is a crude drawing, but gives the gist of what I am thinking. The colors are just for demonstration, not at all what i will go with. Likely in the end the columns will be black, and the "green" areas will be acoustical treated panels (fabric with OC703) -- Color will be whatever the wife tells me to do.
HT Left Side.png


Right Side: Same crude drawing, Notice the pool doors are now walled over.
HT Right Side.png


Side View w/ Seats: This is what things are like from the side. I am leaning toward having the platform at 16"H to assist with allowing the back seat to see over the seating in front of it. This is a little higher than what i have seen in most other rooms, which are closer to the 12"-14" range... Seats will be spaced about 6'6" apart (front to front)... The back sit will sit 16" in front of the rear wall, but the viewers head will be even closer in recline mode. Anyone think the back seat is too close to the wall behind? I plan to build out a cavity in the wall behind to place the rear surrounds inside of... With current set up the rear seat can barely see past the front seat without blocking the screen. Ways i can improve this include, (1) reducing soffit height to raise screen up. Currently soffit is 12" down from ceiling top. (2) shrink screen size... I really don't want to do this. Screen currently sits 19" above base of floor -- a little lower than most builds which are around 24"-30". (3) bring back seat closer to front seat, but this doesn't improve the situation all that much. (3) get rid of crown moulding planned between the top of screen and bottom of soffit to make for better transition.
Anyway, how i have it drawn is my best thought on this... I think i will usually sit in the front. Back seats will be for when we have guests over, so the front seats will likely be reclined in that situation, which will help with the viewpoint.
HT Side View.png


Overhead View: A lot going on here.

Did a lot of thinking about viewing angles.
Rear Seat viewing angle
2.4:1 - 44 degrees
16:9 - 31 degrees
Front Seat viewing angle
2.4:1 - 62 degrees
16:9 - 49 degrees

I found this link helpful to gauge what kind of viewing angle other forum enthusiasts prefer:

HT Overhead View.png


The fiber optic starry sky will be within the dashed lines which mark the edge of the soffit, which will be set back 24"-30" from walls.
 

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Here is the Design I have in mind



Front View
I couldn't decide on 2.4:1 or 16:9. 2.4:1 screens looks amazing, but most the content I will watch (streaming services) seem to be putting most things out on 16:9. I went back in forth until finally I decided I wanted both. I came up with a way to mask the screen in a way that will look great either way. The doors will latch in position when watching 16:9 content. If i have an opportunity to watch 2.4:1 content, i just have to unlatch and swing open the doors (they will be on hinges). Details of this will be forthcoming someday, but i can visualize in my mind how this will work. That is enough for me for now.
View attachment 3079528

View attachment 3079529


Left Side: So this is a crude drawing, but gives the gist of what I am thinking. The colors are just for demonstration, not at all what i will go with. Likely in the end the columns will be black, and the "green" areas will be acoustical treated panels (fabric with OC703) -- Color will be whatever the wife tells me to do.
View attachment 3079530

Right Side: Same crude drawing, Notice the pool doors are now walled over.
View attachment 3079531

Side View w/ Seats: This is what things are like from the side. I am leaning toward having the platform at 16"H to assist with allowing the back seat to see over the seating in front of it. This is a little higher than what i have seen in most other rooms, which are closer to the 12"-14" range... Seats will be spaced about 6'6" apart (front to front)... The back sit will sit 16" in front of the rear wall, but the viewers head will be even closer in recline mode. Anyone think the back seat is too close to the wall behind? I plan to build out a cavity in the wall behind to place the rear surrounds inside of... With current set up the rear seat can barely see past the front seat without blocking the screen. Ways i can improve this include, (1) reducing soffit height to raise screen up. Currently soffit is 12" down from ceiling top. (2) shrink screen size... I really don't want to do this. Screen currently sits 19" above base of floor -- a little lower than most builds which are around 24"-30". (3) bring back seat closer to front seat, but this doesn't improve the situation all that much. (3) get rid of crown moulding planned between the top of screen and bottom of soffit to make for better transition.
Anyway, how i have it drawn is my best thought on this... I think i will usually sit in the front. Back seats will be for when we have guests over, so the front seats will likely be reclined in that situation, which will help with the viewpoint.
View attachment 3079534

Overhead View: A lot going on here.

Did a lot of thinking about viewing angles.
Rear Seat viewing angle
2.4:1 - 44 degrees
16:9 - 31 degrees
Front Seat viewing angle
2.4:1 - 62 degrees
16:9 - 49 degrees

I found this link helpful to gauge what kind of viewing angle other forum enthusiasts prefer:

View attachment 3079532

The fiber optic starry sky will be within the dashed lines which mark the edge of the soffit, which will be set back 24"-30" from walls.
Your speaker placement looks a bit off. Not sure if I’m seeing 3 surround channels on each of your left and right walls. Also, your rear atmos speakers are in front of the second row. You’ll want to adjust things based on Dolby’s speaker placement recommendations.

How’s construction going?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A bit of a drought in my posting. Progress is being made behind the scenes... Not as much as i would like, or at least it feels that way, but I have had to do a lot of less-than-glorious work rerouting electrical and plumbing, and demolition of existing structure to prep for the more fun stuff (risers, columns, speaker builds, starry sky, etc...).

First, some updates to the design:

(1) I decided to not have the riser extend all the way to the right wall. This will make the entrance less crazy where you walk up stairs, then back down stairs to get to the front row... Instead, guests will walk straight in at ground level, and only go up onto the riser to get to the second row. This will also be less work to build, so win-win.
(2) I decided to add two columns to the back wall of the room. These will be used to hide the rear surrounds, and it will be more aesthetically appealing to have columns on three sides of the room. These columns will not stick out as much as the side columns (to not interfere too much with seats reclining) so in order to fit the speakers, I will extend the wall cavity into the room behind, which is a mechanical room.
(3) I ran some numbers on the throw distance on the projectors of interest (JVC & Epson), and I am going to need to have as much distance as possible to capture the size of screen I plan to build. I decided to build out a 2ft deep box to house the projector within the rear wall.

Overhead View:
3111325


Left Wall View:
3111326


Right Wall View:
3111327


Rear Wall View:
3111328



Things I'm still trying to decide on in the design:
(1) Fiber Optic Starry Sky Setup - I have noticed a lot of variation in the quality of the builds. Some of my favorites were done by FOSI, which i believe went out of business many years back. So i am trying to figure out where i get my star patterns from, what light source and fiber optic cables to use, and what specific method of construction to use here.. There are many options out there. If anyone here swears by a certain method, please let me know. This is going to be a focal point for the room, so i don't plan to pinch any pennys here
(2) which theater seats to go with
(3) whether or not to do bass-shakers (butt-kickers)... I am leaning toward yes, and from what i have read, the butt kickers are the way to go..
(4) LED lighting within my stairs -- I'm leaning toward no... I just haven't been impressed when people do this... I'll probably install the electrical to at least give me the option to add in the future.
(5) Lighting and lighting control... What type of can lights to use? Connecting all my lighting together, and allowing Alexa to control. So my BTS lighting, zoned can lights (R, L, Fr, Rear), soffit LED lights
(6) Whether to add sconces to the columns -- i'm leaning toward no. I have so many other lighting things planned, i think this would be overboard.
(7) Whether to make a cool looking AV rack... So many people do it and make it a showpiece.... For me, it will be hidden in the back storage closet, so I'm pretty sure i don't want to invest time and money in this... I already have some shelving back there where the AV components can sit.


Next post, i'll show pics of actual progress made to date and list out my next steps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here is the halfway point to building up the stage. I used 2x12 pressure treated lumbar set on top of #30 roofing felt (for extra damping wood to floor). I isolated the stage from the all by 1/2" to help control vibration. The curved sections were done with two layers of 1/3" plywood. I think it would have been really difficult to make a single 2/3" piece of plywood bend like that. What i did seemed to work pretty well.
I only filled sand in the middle section where the speakers are actually going to sit. The rest of the cavities were filled with R30 insulation.

3111331


This next photo is the finished stage, taken several weeks after completion. It now is a stage for dolls. I used two layers of 3/4" OSB for the top of the stair and stage. In between the layers of OSB I laid down a layer of the #30 roofing felt. Creating the curve was fun. I did it via a router with a 1" flush bit. A good example is caught in the time lapse video posted HERE
3111332



Biggest revelation in this part of the build.... WOOD IS EXPENSIVE!!!?!!!!

paying nearly $50 for each 4'x8' sheet of OSB about caused me to faint... Covid has totally affected the lumber supply chain, and with all the DIYers coming out the of woodwork and the continued strong housing market, demand is still high.... Anyway, timing of my build will hit the pocket book a bit, but it is still worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I mentioned I had to re-route a bunch of electrical and plumbing. The pictures don't do justice to how much thinking i had to do the figure it all out... Looking back, it looks so simple, but at every turn i was caught offgaurd by what was behind my walls...

Here's a shot of the mechanical room behind the back wall... Not only did i build the box for the projector and one of the surround speakers, but i had to build out enough space for full framing around it so i can add back in the insulation that will act as sound absorption between the mechanical room and the theater room. You will notice two PEX lines being routed around the projector box along with 10/3 wiring for a dryer outlet (a pain in the butt to work with). Good fun. Probably 2-3 weeks of tinkering with this room in total. Still work to do, but i did enough to allow the project to continue to move forward.
3111333


More electrical re-routing to get it out of the way of where i am extending the wall:
3111335


Demolition of drywall and installing blocking to support the wall & door that will go here:
3111336


Wall build coutinues... Spaced the studs out perfectly so the second bay is the same distance from the projector cavity as the speaker box on the other side of the projector cavity.
Also, hard to tell here, but the stud in the middle is nailed in the wrong spot, so i will have to rip that out and install it 3" to the right in order to fit a 32"x80" door
3111337


Got the side french door cavity roughed in and ready for door install.
3111338


I'm placing orders for doors through Home depot. The 32"x80" wide door will cost around $250, and the 69"x92" wide double doors will be $900+.. Quite a premium in order to get a custom sized set of doors. I went back and forth over and over trying to figure out what to do with the doors so they will give me some sound blocking..

Plan is to order (probably this week) 1 3/4" interior flush doors (so no pattern / design). They will be solid core and have commercial ball bearing hinges x3. The plan is to add some wood on both sides to get the patterns i want (to match rest of house), to rip out the door stop, reinstall the hinges on the door (given I added material it won't fit properly without resetting the hinges), install a new doorstop in the right place to line up with the now thicker door, and this doorstop would likely be metal with rubber interface, and last install an automatic door stop on the bottom of the door. Quite a bit of work to add on to a turn-key pre-hung door. Contemplated building my own door from scratch, but that would have been even more work... So i ended up here..

Final Thought -- My new favorite tool is the ramset. Using it makes me want to build more walls. I just can't get enough, and popping only 3 shots per wall leaves me wanting more..
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Your speaker placement looks a bit off. Not sure if I’m seeing 3 surround channels on each of your left and right walls. Also, your rear atmos speakers are in front of the second row. You’ll want to adjust things based on Dolby’s speaker placement recommendations.

How’s construction going?


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the new pictures should help to clarify. I'm only planning to have 1 set of side surround speakers. They will each be in the rear most column on either side.

placement of the atmos won't be locked down until i start building the starry sky, so there will be some fine tuning of the exact locations before i make any cuts.. I'm going to try to embed the atmos in the starry sky, and hide the atmos speakers underneath the GOM701 fabric that surrounds the starry sky. I've never seen anyone do this, but i am confident it can be done..
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You might consider the DIYSG Stonehenge subs if room behind the screen is tight. They are also cheaper than the gsg bts subs.
Thanks for the suggestion. I wasn't even aware of this sub. I'll give it a close look, as the reviews on everything else DIYSG are amazing... It is not on their website though -- don't know if this is a temporary Covid issue, or if this is due to them discontinuing... Same is true for the Titan speaker that i considered, but due to not being on the website I didn't look too much into..
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Next Steps:
(1) finish framing wall at entrance
(2) order pre-hung doors
(3) begin framing out the soffit
(4) Install air conditioning unit (outside) and rough-in inside unit
(5) Figure out my lighting plan -- what lights? what automation? Where?
(6) Install additional subpanel

Other things to be done sometime later (not exhaustive)
-Order DIY Speakers (just waiting for DIYSG to be in-stock)
-Build DIY Speakers
-Order and build out Starry Sky
-Build of columns
-Build of False Wall
-Soundproofing Behind Screen and install of bass traps
-Acoustic Caulking
-Trim and Moulding work
-Build of Risers (rough work)
-Build of oak facade and trim pieces on stage and riser
-install of doors
-door enhancements (addition of paneling, automatic door bottom, improved door stop)
-demolition of pool room double doors and install of wall
-patching drywall
-priming & painting
-build of false wall
-Build of projector screen
-install of the sound absorption panels around room
-install of carpet
-install of movie theater seats
 

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Thanks for the suggestion. I wasn't even aware of this sub. I'll give it a close look, as the reviews on everything else DIYSG are amazing... It is not on their website though -- don't know if this is a temporary Covid issue, or if this is due to them discontinuing... Same is true for the Titan speaker that i considered, but due to not being on the website I didn't look too much into..
They are hard to find on their site for some reason. I have pretty much your exact audio setup (minus to two rear HT-8) and the Stonehenge subs are plenty for me. I'm even running them off a 3000D amp.

Denovo Audio Stonehenge 18" Ported Subwoofer Cabinet
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What are you using for your rear surrounds? And why have different speakers for rears versus side surrounds?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Quick question and update...

I'm planning to use Lutron Caseta system and I want to walk in and hit a scene button and all lights come on to the proper levels. This includes the fiber optic star sky... Any ideas how to get the LED light generator to come on, controlled by the Lutron Pico switch? Do I have to install a new dedicated circuit & Lutron switch to provide an outlet for the light generator to be controlled by?

Here are the Lutron devices I will probably be purchasing this weekend:


In other news I got a new electrical sub panel installed. I have 4 20amp breakers and 4 15 amp breakers ready to be wired to something. Here is my plan:
20amp - mini-split A/C unit
20amp - Equipment Rack
20amp - Equipment Rack
20amp - future proofing
15amp - perimeter can lights (13), LED soffit lights, Stair lights (2)
15amp - projector
15amp - future proofing
15amp - future proofing

behind the screen lights will plug into existing outlets on a separate circuit.
theater seats also will plug into existing outlets
Light generator for the star ceiling will also plug into an existing outlet, unless it needs its own outlet controlled by caseta switch to integrate properly..
 

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You may want to look into a hover BOSS instead of butt-kickers. I heard it does a better job.


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I would make sure you have a battery backup for your projector, can really make the difference in cleaning up the power and in the event of a power outage at least you can power of the projector and still let it go through its cool down phase. So I would do basically an in wall rated extension cord that way you can do ceiling mounted projector to outlet, out let to male plug into the battery backup and battery backup into the dedicated outlet assigned for the projector.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
You may want to look into a hover BOSS instead of butt-kickers. I heard it does a better job.


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I'm not opposed to the hover BOSS, but I was on the fence anyway with putting in the butt-kickers.. At least the effort to add the butt-kickers is small -- buy the amp, buy the transducers, run the wires, done.
BOSS seems much more involved and potentially a lot more expensive... I haven't seen anyone do a price breakdown, but looks like the hover BOSS requires multiple drivers, and they will need dedicated amp to power. And i would have to build out some kind of custom platform -- For something i was on the fence over, this seems like a lot of work... Also, more expensive, no? (compared to installing the butt-kickers...

Someone please put me in my place if my assumptions on the hover BOSS are wrong..
 
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