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Discussion Starter #1
I am not going to get carried away and build a full sound reduction ceiling or anything like that. My wife has already told me she doesn't care if it is loud in the rest of the house. We plan to move in about 6 years so investing big bucks in walls doesn't make much sense.

The room is the end of the basement where the garage intrudes on the house, so it is 16 feet across, and I have about 19 feet cordoned off for my use, which is the depth of the space intruded by the garage. The ceiling joists are 8.5 feet from the floor, and there is duct work and various service stuff down the left side. I initially considered building it out the other way, but making it only 16 feet deep was not great for sound staging in surround sound.

I have 6 matching Wharfedale Sapphire 89 speakers I plan to use powered by a pile of Adcom amps. At this point I am happy with the old tech approach and am using the ancient Acurus ACT3 for pre/pro duties. Primary source is a Roku with Toslink that is feeding into the ACT3. The only thing modern here is the Roku, a LG 55" OLED TV, and the Plex server.

Since I want to remove it all and take it all with me, that seriously narrowed my options of wall treatments, which led me to shopping for large quantities of inexpensive "black out" curtains.

I have made some decent progress, beyond this, but I am going to stop this post here.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
I am sure this post has all been covered here before:

One of my early quests was to find speaker cable roughly equivalent to the "Kimber Kable KWIK 12 In Wall 12 Gauge Speaker Cable". I like their cables electrical properties, but not their $2+ per foot price. I wasn't aiming for an exact duplicate, just something that has a similar insulator and similar dimensions of copper. From a similar copper dimensions 4 x 14ga is the obvious choice. My research revealed that Kimber is using Polyethylene as the insulator. My knowledge of RF stuff reveals that the high end high frequency RF cables typically use foamed polyethylene as their insulator so it must have very favorable properties as it can handle many gigahertz without issue. The quest revealed that not many low cost companies advertise their insulators but eventually I found one:

https://www.wholehouseaudio.com/catalog/product/view/id/1013/s/14-gauge-4-conductor-oxygen-free-burial-rated-in-wall-speaker-cable-cl3-50ft-250ft/category/328/
I have only bought this one bundle of cable from them, but it arrived.
They are part of audiogeargroup.com which appears to be quite large. They actually have humans that answer the phone when you call them!

The markings on the cable say "jazz audio E241235-F5 14AWGX4C" and some limited Google searching didn't reveal any vendors advertising that specific cable.

I went with dual 14, not only because it has cross sectional area larger than 12ga (equivalent to 11ga), but it's skin effect properties shouldn't noticeably roll off inside audio ranges.
https://diyaudioprojects.com/Technical/American-Wire-Gauge/
This table shows 6700hz as the point where 14ga starts to have resistance rise. I had another chart I can't find right now that showed the expected resistance per foot by frequency, but I can't find that reference now. That chart led me to believe that 4 x 14ga was a good point of performance versus cost. I could have run 8 x 16ga, but that just seemed expensive and not worth the effort.

Obviously Kimber makes higher end cables, and I even use an ancient version of their 4TC on my stereo rig. In my opinion it is an awesome product, but it is far to expensive to buy hundreds of feet.

Update:

https://www.amazon.com/OSD-2-Conductor-Oxygen-Speaker-Copper/dp/B00R9DIGA2?th=1
That appears to be the same cable, but marketed under one of their other brands. I haven't bought it, so I don't know that...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
As I have now connected the equipment together I discovered that the TV adds so much delay that the Toslink port out of the Roku isn't very helpful. (this was never a problem with my old Panasonic Plasma TV) Fortunately the TV also has a Toslink out and it actually passes AC3 through! (I was aware that it had the feature and as a lover of legacy kit I actually prefer this) I did have to configure the TV to not use it's speakers to get it to actually pass it through, but that doesn't hurt my feelings. So far it sounds pretty darn good. Yesterday I was jamming to some EDM in surround sound I found on Youtube while I was installing Rockwool Safe and Sound in the ceiling.

I got the RockWool off of a Craigslist deal. 6 bags of the 3 inch stuff for $210. The ceiling of the theater will consume 4 of them and maybe a bit of the 5th, but the rest will get used around the basement.

It is actually pretty impressive how much quieter it is in there with the Rockwool installed. Even with the back of the room open, it just eats noise.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Original design thoughts:

I was trying to make it so the curtains could all move easily to either end of the room, in case a pipe broke, or I needed to work on stuff. To accomplish this task I dug up some low stretch rope, and starting building lot's of structure to spread the load out over the floor joists. In the end I couldn't get the sag down to a level that would work for vertical curtains, however I had built out the center of the room for testing, and I used those lines in my final build. The curtain ceiling hangs off of them using fairly humble safety pins. The safety pins are black and have a large round end instead of the tightly coiled spring most are familiar with. They were also roughly $5 for 800 of them via Amazon prime. This is WAY more than I need as one per pleat seems to hold it just fine. I originally planned to use office supply style paperclips, the big black triangular jobs with the shiny steel levers. Those worked fine, but the safety pins were far cheaper for the quantity needed, and less visible. They slide fine on the rope too.

I decided actual curtain rods were the tool for the job, and Home Depot seems to have the best deal going on 12 foot curtain rods at 20 bucks for black. If you need more than 12 feet, you can take the plastic screw on end cap, remove the threaded rod, and screw two of together with that small threaded rod. Curtain rods stick in that you have to partially remove them to get past the mounting points, but that isn't the end of the world.

For running the wires down the ceiling I recycled the hangers that the curtains came on. I found I could break off the hook portion of the hanger and use two slots it had molded in for screws, and mount them to the ceiling joists. I left them hanging down a bit below so wire could run through easily. To get the wire over the rear upper curtain rod I put the hangers at the top of the joists, and used a couple of foam support blocks from the curtain rod box to give me distance from the wall. The rear upper curtain rod is several inches up into the joists for the nine foot curtains don't drag on the floor. You can see the reused hangers in the attached photo.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I took the above picture because I was working on the lighting. You can see the three center lights, they are aligned with the center of the room and where the curtains from the two sides meet. As such, the distance between the curtains effectively sets the brightness of the center three lights into the room.

The outer two lights are under the curtains. The curtains are inexpensive so they don't completely block light, they just block MOST light. On the attached picture you can see the light let through with the curtains at their farthest apart. In theory I could grow this gap even further, but that is counter to my goals. The second picture is with all the under curtain lights on and the gap closed up substantially. Only the center of the room is getting any serious light.

I can turn on just the under curtain lights and it is quite mellow. I have been using that mode to watch stuff and found it to be quite nice.

If you are wondering, the OLED TV still has it's base installed, that is what is reflecting the light below the screen.


Seating:

I have the room configured for one (ME!) I rarely have guests, but there is a second matching recliner I can drag into place, and move that one over a bit. My wife has her TV and couch upstairs and I don't see her down in the basement very often. The kids might come visit, but that isn't a frequent occurrence either.

I also have some clean up to do!

In general though it is pretty quiet in there considering I don't have any sound blocking in place. Earlier today I was talking on the phone while reclined, and it was strange not hearing any reflection of my voice!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Up next:
Carpet of some form (likely a remnant which I then bind the edge myself)
Additional lighting, seriously it is hard to see in there! I am drooling over some of those massive fancy looking LED bulbs at IKEA.
https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/rollsbo-led-bulb-e26-200-lumen-dimmable-balloon-shape-gray-glass-00411657/

There isn't an LFE channel in there right now, so it really does need more bass, or at the very least a processor that allows me to redirect LFE to the mains. Time to dig into my pile of old gear again! The Acurus ACT3 assumes you would never have 5 channels of full range speakers and no sub so it doesn't support that option. I admit it is silly, but it is what I have presently...



Then we get into the fun stuff, EVEN MORE BASS!
Some way of setting the two center channel speakers tweeter to tweeter on their sides, directly under the TV, and at an appropriate angle. This could also involve MORE BASS as the support could be a sub cabinet or two, it would be silly to miss that opportunity to not add more bass after all.

I am presently leaning towards a pair of 21 inch pro drivers, maybe the LaVoce 214.50 or equivalent.

I am expecting to have less time for building for a while, so this might be my last update for a bit. Feel free to post questions or comments, I will try to answer them on the weekends.

Time that passed once a design was sorted out, two months. Most of the visible progress happened in the last few days when all the curtains went up.

I could have bought drywall and studs for less money, but acoustic treatments aren't free and the drywall wouldn't have been much of an improvement over bare concrete without them.

I am happy with how it has turned out, and my wife was actually impressed at how decent it looked. Strange!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/155-diy-speakers-subs/3120996-experimental-quad-jbl-devastator-build-13.html

Staying with the budget nature of my build it looks like a quad 12 devastator is in my future! My son is going to build it as part of his wood shop class. Since I missed the black Friday deal I will have to pay about 42 per driver totaling 168 in drivers, about 120 in wood, and other materials, and 150 for my son to be motivated enough to build it. Should be around $400 for what is looking like a pretty massive sub. I will probably drive it with an Adcom 565 as they are stable at low ohms. Later on I might buy something more powerful, but for now the 565 should run that cabinet past where the coils start to leave the gaps and create distortion anyway. Long term I can see myself buying a fp22000q clone amp or something like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
furring strips and thumbtacks are a proven solution to avoid the sagging tent look.
I need the sagging tent look to cover all the duct work and pipes on the left side of the room. Fortunately the 8.5 foot ceiling means the saggyness doesn't impact my head!
 

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...Some way of setting the two center channel speakers tweeter to tweeter on their sides, directly under the TV, and at an appropriate angle. This could also involve MORE BASS as the support could be a sub cabinet or two, it would be silly to miss that opportunity to not add more bass after all.
Howdy-

A Low budget, movable theater, with old gear is a fun idea.

I may not be understanding this correctly but, you mentioned turning two of the speakers on their sides and using them for center channel duty under the TV (maybe on top of the sub(s)); is the off axis performance of those two speakers okay?

IF the off axis performance isn't great, OR if there is constructive/deconstructive interference when stacking these two speakers closely together; you might benefit by having them on either side of the TV (the way you have it now) since you will only have one seat (MLP) you could just create a sweet spot and have a phantom center channel speaker. FWIW (for what it's worth)--I may have misread your post, and my be speaking out of my rear. ;)

There is a whole thread dedicated to subwoofer placement and books on the subject but it will be fun to experiment with the sub(s) placement in your set up. I'm sure you would check for nulls, etc... in your seating position when placing the subs or one sub up there, so it'll be easy enough to adjust if you're using just one seat that's not nailed down. cool.

AND Congrats on such a high WAF (Wife Approval Factor), it's often hard to get in this hobby. :)

Aaron
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Howdy-

A Low budget, movable theater, with old gear is a fun idea.

I may not be understanding this correctly but, you mentioned turning two of the speakers on their sides and using them for center channel duty under the TV (maybe on top of the sub(s)); is the off axis performance of those two speakers okay?

Aaron
I did it a few years ago it worked well, what I am referring to is placing them on their sides with their tweeters right next to each other end to end. This makes an 80+ inch wide center channel. In theory the tweeters might still cancel in some situations, but when they are that close I haven't noticed issues. I also have a nice Paradigm center channel and a pair of Paradigm Studio Monitor 100's. If I start using the room for music as often as movies, then I will probably swap them in for what I have as the front four right now. The old Wharfedales sound ok, and work fine for movies, but don't sound as good as the Paradigms for music. We will see how I use the space over time. Also, once I add an actual sub, having full range everyplace is less interesting as the bass from the center channel can be redirected to an actual sub.

As far as placement goes, my first thought was to put the sub front and center as I will only have one, at least at first. But it is all up in the air! The nice thing about this is nothing is permanent and it can all be fairly easily moved around.
 

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I need the sagging tent look to cover all the duct work and pipes on the left side of the room. Fortunately the 8.5 foot ceiling means the saggyness doesn't impact my head!
Greetings! I am about to move into a house with circumstances almost identical to yours, low cost and easily removable. This is our last house and while I would love the best of everything like so many enviable theaters here, I have some ideas on how to do it on an old dudes budget.

Just wanted to let you know I’m watching you, and would like to know source/price of those hanging curtains if you don’t mind sharing. Are they true black, and how would you compare them to black velvet?
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Greetings! I am about to move into a house with circumstances almost identical to yours, low cost and easily removable. This is our last house and while I would love the best of everything like so many enviable theaters here, I have some ideas on how to do it on an old dudes budget.

Just wanted to let you know I’m watching you, and would like to know source/price of those hanging curtains if you don’t mind sharing. Are they true black, and how would you compare them to black velvet?
I thought about doing a velvet curtain, but the deal I found was on these curtains:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Oxford-52-in-W-x-96-in-L-Woven-Blackout-Grommet-Top-Curtain-Panel-in-Navy-2-Panels-EH8208-07-2-96G/303957493
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073VCV5WZ
https://www.target.com/p/oxford-textured-sateen-thermal-room-darkening-grommet-top-window-curtain-panel-pair-chili-red-52-x63-exclusive-home/-/A-52900277

I didn't order any from Target, but I did from Amazon and Home Depot, and they are exactly the same. Realize that I had to buy MANY curtains to make this work so a difference of $5 a set matters.
Back wall 12 sets
Front wall 4 sets
walls and ceiling 5x4 = 20 sets.

36 sets of curtains. At 30 bucks per set this is $1000 in curtains. I didn't add them all up to get an exact number but I was also buying the returns on Amazon to keep my average price down. This was easily my biggest expense in this build (ignoring stuff I already own).

If I were looking to spend more money on curtains I could have found something better, potentially this: (don't have any so don't know for sure)
https://www.amazon.com/Dreaming-Casa-Darkening-Construction-Combination/dp/B07DNR6RK1
And if I really wanted to go NUTS I would have hit up a theater supply house to make real sound absorbing curtains. For example a place like this:
http://www.northeaststage.com/velour/cotton-velour
At one point I had even found a Chicago based (local to me) place that did this. Again if I wanted to spend double the money, I could have gone that route and had a very nice setup. But at the end of the day, they are just curtains, and it didn't make sense for me to go all out in a budget that I am working with.



They are a mixture of navy, red and charcoal grey. They are a bit more reflective than I would like but it doesn't matter in practice. They are a bit less than 100% blocking of light, but my back wall is a double set to get grey exterior and blue / red pattern on the interior. My back wall is also at three different heights due to stuff running through the area. The left side is lowest to fit under the ducts, and then the middle is 8 feet, with the right side being 9 feet.

The look I was going for was classic movie cinema of dark blue and dark red on the walls. There was a theater where I grew up that had that color scheme in their theaters so that is what I think of. The front wall and it's charcoal grey is not as dark as I would like, but once the lights go out it is dark as could be. This might be different if I had a front projector, although if I went that way the front would probably be mostly screen!

Another tip, is hang up a couple of sets for a couple of weeks, and then measure their length, they seem to stretch out a bit, and if you are trying to be precise with their height you want to know their post stretch height. What I found is that from the top of the rod, the bottom of the curtain was the length advertised on the package. I guess this seems obvious, but previously I wasn't a big shopper of curtains.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
For center lines to support the middle of the room, assuming you adopt the rope option, it matters which way the joists run. If you run the rope across the grain so to speak like I did, then you will want to make sure you put that load on your structure in a way that doesn't cause the joists to fold in. If you face that issue I can provide pictures and logic for how I did it. To keep it taught and avoid large sags, you will likely need a fair bit of tension. I used some pretty heavy turnbuckles to tension those ropes up, and when I strum, before applying curtains, they hum at a pitch that was quite a bit higher than a low bass guitar. Considering how long and heavy that all is, it is pretty darn tight. It sags a couple of inches when loaded, but considering the 20 foot span, it isn't very bad at all.
 

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For center lines to support the middle of the room, assuming you adopt the rope option, it matters which way the joists run. If you run the rope across the grain so to speak like I did, then you will want to make sure you put that load on your structure in a way that doesn't cause the joists to fold in. If you face that issue I can provide pictures and logic for how I did it. To keep it taught and avoid large sags, you will likely need a fair bit of tension. I used some pretty heavy turnbuckles to tension those ropes up, and when I strum, before applying curtains, they hum at a pitch that was quite a bit higher than a low bass guitar. Considering how long and heavy that all is, it is pretty darn tight. It sags a couple of inches when loaded, but considering the 20 foot span, it isn't very bad at all.
Thanks. Sorry I took so long but I’ve been moving cross country to the house with space for my theater.
The room is 16’w x 27’ long. The joists run left to right as the screen is forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks. Sorry I took so long but I’ve been moving cross country to the house with space for my theater.
The room is 16’w x 27’ long. The joists run left to right as the screen is forward.
I will post more details in the next couple of days.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N5F72YW
I used this line
It ties very well, but to untie it you will need to be patient. I never had a situation where I couldn't untie it, but it can take some time and effort wiggling things loose. Ideally, you get it pulled tight enough by hand with the turnbuckles at full extension, and you shouldn't have to untie it. I didn't have to on the second one. The first one was and experiment of course. Those turnbuckles CAN stretch that this line to yield, so pay attention to when the torque isn't increasing anymore and stop, so you don't break it. One of the big advantages to this line, if you do break it, it will not snap back like most materials. The black will stain your hands, eventually it will wash off.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009YNVLUC
This turnbuckle, also, you can likely find these cheaper at a local hardware store.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0719T137H
And these clothes pins.

I used a 3/8's inch bolt as a pivot point, and a 1/2 bolt as the connection point for the turnbuckle. The 1/2 inch bolt was a decent grade bolt as it is taking quite a load over a long bolt and unsupported in the middle.

As a summary I attached the 1/2 bolt up near the floor, attached to the top of the joists, and had it coming down at an angle to a pivot point that was a couple of inches below the joists. The pivot point wants to fold into the middle of the room and be driven up into the floor above. It is easy to counter the upward force, but countering the force that wants to fold the joints into each other needs to be dealt with or you could issue once you load it up. For that I braced both to the next joist over, and also up at an angle to the top of the next joist. I also braced the next joist too to spread the load as much as possible. The big goal though is to transition as much of that force into the vertical where the weight of the house above can counteract it for you.

If you have time, maybe post pictures or descriptions of the kinds of obstacles you have to deal with.

I will post more details and pictures when I get more time.

Hopefully the move went well!
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Here are a couple of pictures of the bracing and structure I built up for the lines. I supported the joists at the top and bottom and spread the load out across several of them. On top of that I angled the turnbuckles to put as much force fulling down as possible. The vertical piece has a bolt running through it that is the pivot point for the line. That board wants to fold toward the middle of the room, so I have an angled board running up to the top of the next joist to offset that load. In the next space past that I have a 2x4 between that joist and the next one at the top of the joist and it is also screwed to the floor boards above (carefully to not go out the other side). The goal is to change the loads from purely horizontal to have large vertical components that the structure was better designed to handle.

I went through more about a pound of screws bolting all that together, on each end. You are spreading the load out over as much wood and screws as you possibly can.

The bolt that spans the 3.5 inch space is a grade 5, half inch diameter bolt and it's job is to not bend when the two turnbuckles pull against it. Considering the span I decided 3/8's wouldn't cut it. The pivot bolt is 3/8s.

Feel free to ask more questions.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
And yes, I had to work around all that stuff, conduit, wires, other structure.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Here is a REW graph from my room after moving the sub around a bit I finally settled on putting it upright in the front right corner, facing to the left. That took care of all of the really bad nulls in my various listening positions. This s without any EQ or adjustment, just trying to get the best spot in the room to limit how much I would have to do.
 

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