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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

This may be a slightly ambitious first post, but I'll definitely be making plenty of posts here and in the other sub-forums.

 

One of my favorite theaters to go to was always the Cinema Four in Mt Pleasant, MI. I saw so many great flicks there. Empire Strikes Back, Tron, The Lion King, Dumb and Dumber, Stargate, etc. It had a subtle but unique aesthetic I always dug. I love music and feel like my dedicated living room stereo system has me quite satisfied. I also love movies, and have wanted a theater room for about the last 20 years, but never had the means, let alone space for it. My unfinished basement is about 575 square feet, and part of it is dedicated to storage and possibly a future work room.

 



 

 

Part of it, the upper part in my sketch above, is perfect for a smallish home theater. That's where I started hatching a plan.

 

One of my favorite theaters to go to was always the Cinema Four in Mt Pleasant, MI. I saw so many great flicks there. Empire Strikes Back, Tron, The Lion King, Dumb and Dumber, Stargate, etc. It had a subtle but unique aesthetic I always dug.

 

Some pics of the auditorium(s), courtesy waterwinterwonderland.com

 



 



 

 



 

http://www.waterwinterwonderland.com/movietheaters.aspx?id=1064&type=5

 

As their link above states, the theater has long since been demolished, in favor of a new 12-screen joint across town.

 

What I'd like to do is build a miniature replica of that in my basement. If not a replica per se, an homage to it. Something with enough of the original's character and details that someone who remembers the place would recognize it.

 

And now for the design stage.

 

I've drawn up the basement in Rhino3D and done a couple iterations of layouts already.

 

A quick sketch of the layout:

 



 

And some renderings. The sketch should help make sense of what you're looking at here.

 



 



 



 



 



 

Detail of the rear wall:

 



 

My idea for racking the gear is to cut out the center of a solid core door and mount some custom racks right to the back of the door. Not 100% on hinges yet. So far I'm thinking of using 3/4" ID industrial pillow block bearings top and bottom. That would let me move the pivot center inward somewhat, allowing better clearance between the racks and door jamb.

 



 



 



 

Behind the rack/door is the space under the stairs. I'll probably use this for storing spare gear, or maybe DVDs and CDs and stuff. I plan on ripping everything to a HTPC or file server, so the discs will be redundant.

 

As you can see in my more finished rendering above, I deleted the trim around the rack/door and its door handle. thought it'd be cool to make it blend into the wall.

 

The Rear wall in the original theater was some kind of stacked concrete block, painted white(ish). My plan so far is to emulate that by routering pockets and slots into some sheets of 1/2" MDF and painting it white(ish).

 

The rest is pretty straightforward. The only major gear purchases I need to make are the projector, preamp, and two more mono blocs. So far, I have 3 Marantz MA-500 amps, 5 AR Rock Partners, a Klipsch sub and a DVDO upconvertor. For a projector, I was leaning towards the Benq W1070, and for a pre/pro, one of the recent Marantz units.

 

Like most people, I'm going for the greatest bang for the buck here. And since my place is a condo and I have neighbors to both sides, there's no point in going for overkill. My loose estimate is a couple grand for the rest of the gear, and maybe another grand for materials. I have access to CNC routers and laser cutters and stuff, so things like the rack and the MDF rear wall panels are no problem. The biggest material cost will probably be the side curtains. Looks like about $400-500 for legit fire-rated theater stuff.

 

That's about where I'm at so far. Any input at this point would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Beautiful renders.


Not a fan of the back row seating right on the back wall and into the corners.

You have the room depth to pull the seats off the back wall.


pm sent...
 

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Great renders, you may want to bounce your plan off of an Acoustics Guru. My sense is there may be some issues with over absorption of high frequencies on the side walls and I'm not sure about the MDF back wall.


You might get some advice on choice of fabric and what to put behind the curtains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd  /t/1520988/marsrups-homage-to-a-forgotten-theater#post_24439639


Subscribed!


Beautiful renders.


Not a fan of the back row seating right on the back wall and into the corners.

You have the room depth to pull the seats off the back wall.


pm sent...
 

Thanks Tedd! Thanks for the input on that. There is plenty of room to move forward, but I'd assumed that the further back, the better. I'll do some tweeks to the model, and see what I can use that space for.

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC  /t/1520988/marsrups-homage-to-a-forgotten-theater#post_24440264


Great renders, you may want to bounce your plan off of an Acoustics Guru. My sense is there may be some issues with over absorption of high frequencies on the side walls and I'm not sure about the MDF back wall.


You might get some advice on choice of fabric and what to put behind the curtains.
 

Thanks BigMouth! I'm happy that people like my renderings. It's one of those things that I do so much that you get too close to it and it gets hard to tell if it's any good.

 

The acoustics is definitely something I could use some input on. Through work I have a source for actual theater curtain material and want to use something that's a fire rated velour. No idea what weight to use. Behind the curtains will be 1/2" drywall. My place is a condo, so I'm not going nuts with subs or anything, but I'll most likely add some insulation and/or isolation materials anyway.

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulFSemicolen  /t/1520988/marsrups-homage-to-a-forgotten-theater#post_24441088


You have a gift with Rhino3D! These are beautiful renders! I like the 60/70's throw back paneling and curtan walls! Subbed!!!
 

Thanks much! I'm glad the late 60s, early 70s feel comes through. The original theater seemed pretty plain and dumpy by modern standards, but I still like its more subtle character and design.
 

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Does it all have to be curtains?


Maybe those first curtain panels could be fabric panels?


The Fadum theater is a condo theater with a somewhat similar curtain layout.

Fadum1.jpg 34k .jpg file


Narrow dispersion, highly directional compression driver speakers might help

with keeping too much high frequency from being absorb'ed by the curtains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Good question. Looking at the pics of the actual theater, is looks like the front area is all black paint, and not curtains at all. I just thought it'd be more visually coherent to do the whole sides as curtains. I'm not sure what advantages there might be one way or the other, acoustically or otherwise.
 

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No reason that front black section couldn't be black speaker cloth. The bit of texture to the cloth would be an upgrade to simple black paint.


You could tailor an acoustical panel beneath, to the reflective needs of the front speakers.


Maybe the answer is less "clone" and more of a "tribute" feel, and experiment with the look, via your mad render skills?


Have you ever considered flipping the room? You could have an entry step outside the room, enter at riser height, and employ a DIY acoustically

transparent screen. This way the speakers would be hidden behind the screen. You could further leverage the AT screen and build your speakers

and subs. Something like a SEOS build would offer you a more dynamic speaker, and save budget for other areas of the room.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

I'm going to flip the theater room front to back and try a couple things with the ingress/egress area. If what I'm thinking of works, it might solve a couple other minor issues in the process.

 

In the meantime, here's some screenshots from my CAD software that more clearly show details. You can actually see the speaker placement too.

 



 



 



 

 

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What speakers are those? Do you actually own them yet?


If you want to have reference levels for the second row of seating, you'll want to explore horn speakers,

or compression driver speakers. The surround speakers could be recessed into speaker back boxes and

be accommodated in the soffit.


I would also highly advise you to explore the world of DIY acoustically transparent screens. This would allow you

to improve your front speaker layout, and hide the speakers. It'd also allow you to acoustically treat the front wall

and allow you to work in some bass traps up front.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd  /t/1520988/marsrups-homage-to-a-forgotten-theater#post_24450538


What speakers are those? Do you actually own them yet?


If you want to have reference levels for the second row of seating, you'll want to explore horn speakers,

or compression driver speakers. The surround speakers could be recessed into speaker back boxes and

be accommodated in the soffit.


I would also highly advise you to explore the world of DIY acoustically transparent screens. This would allow you

to improve your front speaker layout, and hide the speakers. It'd also allow you to acoustically treat the front wall

and allow you to work in some bass traps up front.
 

The speakers are Acoustic Research Rock Partners. Basically the AR-18s in an enclosure shaped  like a stage monitor. They image well and sound good sitting on the floor at the front edge of a room, so I'm planning on flipping them and mounted them as shown in the screenshots above. I plan on building the mounts for those and doing some testing in the theater room before I get too far.

 

Right now, I'm running them in my living room with my old Yamaha 992 as the decoder and the three Marantz MA-500s I have so far driving the front channels. Granted the room layout is different, but it's sounding very promising.

 

The benefits of an AT screen and all that comes with it are far from lost on me. Some day I'd love to go nuts on a full-blown system, but my goals for this is to keep it simple and keep the room fairly versatile in case I were to sell the place in the future.

 

I'm definitely interested in acoustic treatments I can do within those parameters. Joining this forum has been an eye-opener to just how much I don't know about this stuff.

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTheGreat  /t/1520988/marsrups-homage-to-a-forgotten-theater#post_24451421


I don't have anything to add, but am excited to watch the journey!
 

Thanks for watching, and I hope you enjoy it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It's been a long time, but I'm finally ready to get started on this project. There's still a couple details I have to figure out, and there will be some fabrication needed. It's probably more normal than not to do these things on the fly, but I like to have every detail figured out before starting a project.

So far I picked up all the 2x4s, and put a coat of Drylock paint on the one outside wall. The condo unit I live in is 10 years old and there aren't any signs of water seepage, but better safe than sorry. Saturday I have a contractor friend coming over to give an estimate on doing the framing and stuff. I know I could do it myself, but he could do in a few hours what might take me a week.

Beginning of the supplies.


Actual tangible progress!


The room area looking towards the screen end.


Looking straight forward.


4 of the 5 AR Rock Partner speakers I have. Once the room is framed in and I have the speaker mounts made, I'll do some testing to see if one will be enough for the center channel. I suspect it won't, so I might have to double them up. Or maybe build a new one with a M-T-T-M layout using AR-18s components.
 

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Renders are fantastic, what a passionate tribute to your movie going experiences of the past! Refreshing idea I look forward to watching become a reality! Much luck, Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Renders are fantastic, what a passionate tribute to your movie going experiences of the past! Refreshing idea I look forward to watching become a reality! Much luck, Jim
Thanks! If I can work out the details on some tricks like the door-mounted equipment rack, I think it'll be really slick.

Updated rendering of the "lobby" area.


We've got some Irwin Seating demo units laying around at work (staging and seating riser company), so I might see about something like this:


Maybe I'll put a couple small subs in place of the end tables in the back row.
 

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I'll echo the previous great renders and an awesome idea paying homage to your favorite theatre comments!

We have an "art" cinema locally that I went to see Boyhood in recently. I was really excited about supporting something local, away from the megaplex, and imagined it being very 'boutique' (especially since it's in the high tax area).

I was so wrong...

It was very long and narrow (2 seat, aisle, five seat - almost like a 737), the floor hit a low point about 3/4 of the way towards the screen where standing water had collected (!?), then started rising back up (!!??), the surrounds were boombox speakers that weren't working, and the picture was dimmer than an old plasma in direct sunlight. It was also scary and echo-y and musty. I won't be going back. Here's an article about it.

But anyway...I think you're going to hear a lot from the experts here about putting the back row smack against the back wall. Again, I'll let the experts explain the 'why' behind that being such a no-no.
 

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I thought your renders were lousy. LOL, just wanted to say something different than everyone else LOL Obviously they were gorgeous, but do you really want your front row directly under the pj? I mean, if you do, hey, more power to ya, but with so much room between the front row and the screen, don't you think you might wanna move up just a bit? I look at it like this - if that was a REAL theater - you KNOW they'd cram it as full of seats as possible to try to squeeze every last possible dime out of every showing - right?

OK, so now, imagine you in your beautifully rendered front row seat, but now there is also a ton of other empty seats in front of you as well. Let's just say it was a slow night, and you had the place to yourself. Don't you think you'd move up even a couple rows?

If you would, then put your real front row there. If you don't like it, you can always move it back. It's not like the manager is gunna come out and complain or anything LOL

Just a thought
 

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If you're still in Michigan and interested in some Irwin seats, the Palladium in Birmingham recently closed and they are auctioning off all of their equipment.

Over the holidays I picked up 9 Iwrin seats for $120 and they are in pretty good condition. 1-2 show some wear, but the rest are good (must have been from the front rows)...

www.assetsnowauctions.com (Not affiliated, just frequent for stainless stuff for my brewing setup and ran into the theater auction)
 

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Not to hijack, but I wanted to extend a "Hey, I remember that theater", as was there before too. I grew up in St. Johns a few miles south on US-127, and worked here a little during high school (thanks to you link).



I used to drag a ladder out near the road to change this on Thursday nights. Only fell twice!


As for your build, I'd say you've got an impressive amount of space to work with for a condo. I've been in several where you just cannot do anything conducive with the utilities, lolly poles, and sumps taking up valuable real estate. I look forward to watching this progress, good luck!
 
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