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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It has long been a dream of mine to have a fantastic audio/video space. While I think dedicated theaters can be beautiful and provide for a more optimal environment, I don't feel that our family will utilize it to justify the space and expense. As such, we are planning to add an addition to turn our small family room (currently 11' x 16') into a multi-purpose media great room. We haven't finalized the size yet, but we are currently working with a final room space of 19-23 feet long by 16-19 feet wide.


As a great room, the space will serve multiple functions with the primary being watching TV, watching movies, and listening to music. Other activities will include reading, family activities (toys, games), and possibly playing music (piano, guitar, etc). We also have a great backyard and the seating and views should connect with that.


Understanding that I may have to make some acoustic compromises for aesthetic and WAF reasons, I would like the space to be optimized for audio and video as much as possible. Design considerations:
  • Make the room and layout as acoustically and visually optimal as possible
  • Minimize/eliminate glare to TV from windows and lights
  • Provide seating for a minimum of 3-4 people using normal sofas in the prime positions and allow seating for an additional 2-4 people
  • Seating should be able to view outdoors when video is not in use
  • Minimize sound transmission to adjoining rooms


Preliminary equipment specs (TBD depending on room layout)
  • Primary display for casual viewing (~50-65 flat panel)
  • Optional front projection system for movie viewing (~80-120 drop down screen)
  • 5.1 sound minimum
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
To begin, we have created four options for possible room layouts. Room dimensions and size and placing of equipment, furniture and windows are only representative at this point. These will be finalized once we settle on a general layout. The fireplace is existing and cannot be moved. I am looking for input on what you think is the best option from an audio/video performance standpoint. Feel free to add to my pros/cons of each. Other opinions and options are also appreciated.

Option 1

Pros:

• Front to back audio more balanced in room versus other options

• Keeps audio/video on short wall

• Views to outdoors when video not in use


Cons:

• Equipment may block outdoor views

• Sunlight may fade equipment (direct sun will be blocked however)

• Light behind screens may cause difficulty viewing or eye strain

• Glare from side windows could wash out image



Option 2

Pros:

• Creates a separate “room within a room” for AV

• More open space for family activities

• Maintains views to outdoors


Cons:

• “Unbalanced” open area could cause issues with audio

• Sunlight may fade equipment (direct sun will be blocked however)

• Glare from windows could wash out image



Option 3

Pros:

• Balances audio in room

• Somewhat maintains views to outdoors

• Equipment and screens more protected from sunlight and glare

• Fireplace incorporated into primary seating


Cons:

• Open area behind viewers could cause issues with audio

• Reduces open space for family activities

• Glare could come from kitchen space



Option 4

Pros:

• Keeps audio/video on short wall

• Minimizes glare from windows and adjoining areas

• Back audio and reflections more balanced in room versus other options

• More open family space and in brighter areas

• Fireplace incorporated into primary seating


Cons:

• Open area to left of front speakers could cause issues with audio

• May need to reconfigure hallway to bath

• No view to outdoor from primary seating

• Windows in back may reflect on TV

 

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This is why as an Architect I design all these things from the beginning, as now you have to deal with the consequences of where things are placed... but given the nice quality of your plans I would say that Option 2 (which seems to eliminate windows on the left, or option 4 which works well with the kitchen and as you said actually incorporates your fireplace.


But in the end I would work on good window coverings and go with Option 2. That seating arrangement gives you the best of both worlds, the entertainment world and the outdoor world, minus the loss of windows.
 

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I agree - looks like option 2 makes the most sense. That fire place location is a killer - you almost have to make that it's own area. For the rear surrounds, I would recommend a decent angled or directional in-ceiling that you can point to the listening area. For more WAF, you may want to check out some good quality in-wall speakers since the room is multi-purpose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your feedback. Option 2, along with option 1, was one of my top picks also. Thanks also for your advice on the speakers. I currently have a set of Dynaudio's, but maybe I will need to re purpose the rears to another room.



The fireplace isn't a big deal to us, as we rarely use one. I am almost inclined to rip it out as it mainly sucks the conditioned air out of the house. But if it does remain, it would be good to make it look like it was part of the design.


Quote:
Originally Posted by simpletwig /forum/post/20821307


This is why as an Architect I design all these things from the beginning, as now you have to deal with the consequences of where things are placed... but given the nice quality of your plans...

We will be ultimately hiring an architect or designer to consult and create final construction drawings. At this point, I am trying to get a handle on the scope of the project. Also, while an architect/designer may be well versed in space and layouts, they may not be as much and expert in acoustics and home theater design. I don't mind doing the legwork to make sure we get what we want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by simpletwig /forum/post/20821307


But in the end I would work on good window coverings and go with Option 2. That seating arrangement gives you the best of both worlds, the entertainment world and the outdoor world, minus the loss of windows.

Definitely good window coverings will be in the plans. I'm not sure your comment about "minus the loss of windows?" I like the idea of windows on the left to mirror the windows on the right in options 1, 3 and 4. They don't add much to the view as it would look into a small side yard. However, I feel it would add visual balance to the room and bring in some more morning light. Do you think they should be added back to option 2, or will they add more problems?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
One concern I have with option 2 is the open space's effect on the audio. This is why I am also favoring option 1. Am I overly concerned about the unbalanced reflections in the room? Or, can this be easily balanced out with equipment settings and/or absorption panels?
 
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