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Discussion Starter #1

Just found out the wife is 2 months pregnant with our second child, so the project I was supposed to do myself accross 2 years, will now be done by the contractor who build our house 4 years ago. The basic room(sorry it's in Visio):
Attachment 220340


The stairs going down on the right will have to be a half wall so we can still move stuff down, and I was thinking I could have an electronics cupboard under the stairs that could vent to the unfinished side of the basement. So my question is which way should I have the TV going.


1. The way the couch is pictured now. Get a 50+" mounted on the stairs wall with speakers pointing down from the support beam encasement but still be able to get 7.1 surround because the couch has plenty of space behind it.


2. Paint/put a screen to the left of the sump pump closet, butt a couch right up to the support pole, and have limited side speaker options but be able to use a projector by covering up the side window.



Which direction would you go???
 

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Discussion Starter #2
A few more questions:


I found the viewing distance calculator at myhometheater.homestead.com it says we can do either a 90" screen at 11.5ft, or a 100" screen at 12.8ft. How do I figure out how wide the room must be for surround sound speakers? I like the idea of a 12ft wide room, even if the side and back speakers are pointing

down at us.


I am wondering if there is a third option...a false wall on the right side. In the image from my first post, I did not add that there is a power box on the right wall right next to the sump pump and window.


I was thinking I could build a 2ft deep false wall so that the stairs, and furnace would be behind the theatre area. I know I am stuck with a sump pump closet, but I was thinking I could use an AT rollup screen to overlap and reclaim the sump pump closet in the corner. I have seen columns on either sides of stages on many of the builds on this site. Could I hide the closet to the left and hide the AV equipment in it's own closet to the right??? I know this takes out the 2-3 ft on either side of the screen that speakers need, would it throw everything off if I used standing speakers, or put the front right and left in the side walls 1 ft closer to the seating than the screen??? the center would still be behind the

screen. I would still be able to wire everything without issue because there would be 2ft gap between the power box and devices if they ended up needing to be placed under the screen.


Benefits would include:

- Reclaim that side side of the room for something useable.

- I could really crank the bass because a side wall will not let sound travel like the stairs would(I


would use dbl 5/8" sheetrock and GG on the stairs wall.

- The front 3 speakers and sub will be further from all the sheet metal HVAC.


Other thought:

The space would then be 12ft wide by 17ft long, I would probably place the couch ~11-12 feet from the screen. If I want to do more sound, should I move over to a sheetrock ceiling with insulation for sound and disconnect the sheetrock from the rafters??? Would the ceiling add more than $1k?
 

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Welcome! Sounds like you have lots of questions but not much time to work with. I'll toss out a few thoughts in case it's not too late for you.


First, if you are going to have a half wall coming down the stairs and an open wall to the rest of the basement, I would not bother too much with the more agressive sound containment strategies like DD, GG, and decoupling the ceiling, as your sound containment is only as strong as your weakest link, and an open way to a stairwell will render the other efforts somewhat useless. You'd have to decide to either make sound containment a priority and go for it, or not. Half way won't do much for you, but will cost you a fair amount. I would put fiberglass insulation in your ceiling and interior walls to at least dampen the sound, but not bother with much else beyond a single layer of drywall, other than a good, solid door at the top of the basement stairs.


Second, with the limited time available you mainly have to decide the big questions of how you'll lay out your room so you can run the proper wires before the drywall goes up. While it's a bit hard to tell from your diagram, I would suggest option 3, using a PJ hung near the stairs projecting onto the wall opposite the stairs with an acoustically transparent (AT) "false wall" that also hides your sump pump, etc. You can build one of those quite easily with removable panels so you can access the sump pump when needed.


I would NOT put your equipment on this front wall though. That will just add unnecessary distractions of lights during the movies AND eat up valuable space that could be used for a larger screen or columns if you want to get fancy. I'd keep your equipment rack under the stairs, and just run the cabling from there. This will save you lots of hassles later, as you can easily hide/access the tangle of wires/cables out of sight but still access them easily when needed.


I wouldn't worry too much right now about what the projector screen calculators say, other than getting an idea for approximately what a particular PJ is capable of - you can certainly use some trial and error once you get your PJ to decide how big your screen will be based on your personal preference. You have enough throw there for a decent size screen, certainly more than 100" if you want. The throw calculators are a good guide, but within reasonable limits not meant to be too precise.


Do you have wiring you can quickly run to speaker locations, as well as some HDMI to the PJ (or TV) location? How about CAT 6 or 5e for possible ethernet drops, while the walls & ceiling are still open?


Finally, make sure you insulate the exterior walls and rim joists properly for thermal purposes, depending on your location. Do this now, before the walls are closed up, or you'll regret it later when it's hard to heat or cool your space and expensive to retrofit.


Hope this is of some help to you. You want to have your plan down before the work begins, and it sounds like you don't have much time. Measure twice, cut once and all that! Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you, only 5 days left to prep.


Thanks for the door suggestion, that didn't even enter my mind. I spoke to the wife and builder, we will sheetrock the existing walls, run all of the cable needed for the false wall, but not build it until I can do more materials research. The hot water heater will be moving to the other side of the basement to make room for an equipment closet.


Updated Photo: Attachment 220700


We decided on a drop ceiling to cover up some of the existing issues that hang a little low from the original house build. I want to keep it as close to the rafters as possible, I'm hoping we don't loose more than 3 inches. The walls were insulated when we moved in, our worst heating bill for 1780sq ft was only $230 in 3 winters. Is it still a good idea to use insulation with a drop ceiling? If we leave the paper on both sides it wouldn't get too messy would it???


The walls in green will be new, the one on the left by the stairs will go up next weekend. The yellow circles will eventually be speakers. The front will either have uppers or wide fronts if it makes sense in a 12ft space. The sub and center will be behind the wall to the right, and the equipment will be under the stairs in the new wall.


New Questions:


What dimensions do I need for a typical equipment closet? I have seen premade in-wall units with covers for unused shelves. How wide/tall do I need??? Vendors???


I would like to put speaker cable outlets at both the top and bottom for each surround speaker location, how high up should I put an outlet, and how far down should I put an upper outlet? Wiring for both gives us upgrade room, and the next owner more flexability.


How far back should the projector power outlet be??? The space is 12ft wide, with a 7'6" ceiling. I'm thinking 100-110" wide screen with the couch ~12 ft back so the rears have propper space to the listener.


Thanks for the help.
 

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Hopefully a few others wil jump in here with feedback as wel, but here's my contribution for now:

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfbrang /forum/post/20851556



We decided on a drop ceiling to cover up some of the existing issues that hang a little low from the original house build. I want to keep it as close to the rafters as possible, I'm hoping we don't loose more than 3 inches. The walls were insulated when we moved in, our worst heating bill for 1780sq ft was only $230 in 3 winters. Is it still a good idea to use insulation with a drop ceiling? If we leave the paper on both sides it wouldn't get too messy would it???

You can do drop ceilings as some have done, but drywall is better for sound containment purposes, as it has more mass and any builder should be easily able to do soffits and such to accommodate pipes, etc. If you prefer the look of drop ceilings that's one thing, but it's usually just as possible to hide the crap in the ceilings with drywall and some clever framing. If you want to dampen sound from footfalls above the basement, and sound escaping the basement, fiberglass insulation with a drop ceiling is still probably worthwhile. It won't stop the sound exchange, but it will likely help a bit and it doesn't cost much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfbrang /forum/post/20851556


The walls in green will be new, the one on the left by the stairs will go up next weekend. The yellow circles will eventually be speakers. The front will either have uppers or wide fronts if it makes sense in a 12ft space. The sub and center will be behind the wall to the right, and the equipment will be under the stairs in the new wall.

For the front screen wall, why wouldn't you put all the front speakers behind the AT fake wall? If you give up the space and go the AT route, that is the whole point: so you don't see speakers and the sound seems to come right from the screen, like in a regular theater.


I'm also a bit confused by your surround speaker placement, as the side surrounds are usually located at the side of, but just a bit behind, the prime seating. Is there some reason for having them a bit in front of your couch area?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfbrang /forum/post/20851556



New Questions:


What dimensions do I need for a typical equipment closet? I have seen premade in-wall units with covers for unused shelves. How wide/tall do I need??? Vendors???

Many people buy Middle Atlantic or other specially built premade racks, and although they look great they are very expensive, especially for those custom faceplate covers, and not necessary. Unless you really want to achieve that "look" and don't care about the cost I'd just save the money of a MA rack and have an opening framed in under the stairs that you can finish off as you wish (search for show me your rack threads for ideas). The width is usually pretty consistent, since most components have a similar width of something like 17". You obviously want some extra width, and I think most racks have 18" or 21" widths. I went with about 20" wide because that was the widest that I could easily fit given my obstructions (a support beam). The height depends entirely on how much equipment you want to leave room for. Some go tall, but I went with a modest 3' or so. Your call.


Just be certain your finished width - including your finished cabinet wood dimensions - is not less than about 18" or your 17" wide components may not fit!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfbrang /forum/post/20851556



I would like to put speaker cable outlets at both the top and bottom for each surround speaker location, how high up should I put an outlet, and how far down should I put an upper outlet? Wiring for both gives us upgrade room, and the next owner more flexability.

Not sure I understand what you mean by "bottom." Do you mean surround speakers on the floor? That wouldn't be my choice, especially in a room with one open wall - you risk having people trip over them or at least run into them. Generally see the surround speakers anywhere above ear height when seated, or up to as high as the ceiling depending on specific room limitations.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rfbrang /forum/post/20851556



How far back should the projector power outlet be??? The space is 12ft wide, with a 7'6" ceiling. I'm thinking 100-110" wide screen with the couch ~12 ft back so the rears have propper space to the listener.

Speaker placement relative to your couch is critical, but I'm not sure why you're worried about PJ placement as it affects rear speaker placement. The key thing for PJ placement is throw, and at 12' or so you should be safe with any number of PJs.


Since it's a bit hard to know the exact PJ location until you decide on your exact PJ and how far out the screen wall will come, lots of folks who are doing drywall ceilings simply put up a large piece of plywood in the ceiling in the general area of the planned PJ. This way they have lots of flexibility to easily attache the PJ in the best spot later without worrying now about knowing exactly where that will be. Same applies if you're doing a drop ceiling: some plywood leaves you flexibility to attache it precisely where you wish later without worrying about the floor joist being, say, 6" off from where you want to attach it. Just be sure to also run and provide an outlet in the ceiling nearby for power and cabling - a minimum of HDMI.
 

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One more quick question: what kind of clearance is there between the furnace and the door to the finished part of the basement? It doesn't look like you can even fit past to open the door based on your drawing. What kind of builder would put a furnace right smack dab at the bottom of the stairs like that?



Do you have actual photos of the space you can share?
 

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Discussion Starter #7

Quote:
For the front screen wall, why wouldn't you put all the front speakers behind the AT fake wall? If you give up the space and go the AT route, that is the whole point: so you don't see speakers and the sound seems to come right from the screen, like in a regular theater.

The sump pump will still be in it's own section, without much room for a speaker on that side. I thought of making a trap door above it so I could put a speaker directly above the sump pump, but there is a pvc pipe that sticks up from the well and pumps up to the waste water line. So I'm stuck with the fronts outside the fake wall right??? Any ideas are welcome.

Quote:
I'm also a bit confused by your surround speaker placement, as the side surrounds are usually located at the side of, but just a bit behind, the prime seating. Is there some reason for having them a bit in front of your couch area?

The side to the right of the couch is a support beam that will become a column, the right speaker will need to mount off of that.


Quote:
Not sure I understand what you mean by "bottom." Do you mean surround speakers on the floor? That wouldn't be my choice, especially in a room with one open wall - you risk having people trip over them or at least run into them. Generally see the surround speakers anywhere above ear height when seated, or up to as high as the ceiling depending on specific room limitations.

Yes, I want to wire for both floor standing (which would put the speakers at ear level) and higher up the column for flexibility. I will probably use the uppers myself to keep them away from our kids, and just face them down at the couch.

Quote:
You obviously want some extra width, and I think most racks have 18" or 21" widths.

Thanks. The 2x4's on the side of the staris are non-weight bearing 24OC so this will be great.

Quote:
One more quick question: what kind of clearance is there between the furnace and the door to the finished part of the basement? It doesn't look like you can even fit past to open the door based on your drawing.

The arrow points up the stairs. There is space between the furnace and stairs not sure how to quantify it off the top of my head. Right now there is only framing on the side of the stairs, and the builder has not seen the space since we agreed on moving the hot water tank. He will stop over one day this week to hash out some last minute details, including this wall, ethernet cable, speaker wire, carpet, and a few other things.


Tonight we have to clear out the garage for basement crap. I will try to get some photos up either tonight or tomorrow night once we dump our basement stuff to the garage. Thanks for all the help.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Forgot... I'm aiming for 30" for the false AT wall including the frame itself, unless there is some regulation that says otherwise. This will leave about 16' for the space's length.
 

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This is getting tough to respond to one another!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfbrang /forum/post/20853284


The sump pump will still be in it's own section, without much room for a speaker on that side. I thought of making a trap door above it so I could put a speaker directly above the sump pump, but there is a pvc pipe that sticks up from the well and pumps up to the waste water line. So I'm stuck with the fronts outside the fake wall right??? Any ideas are welcome.
I may be misunderstanding, but it shouldn't be that tough to hide access to the sump pump & discharge pipe behind a removable AT screen "wall" and still use space above the sump pump for speakers, etc. All you need room for is the discharge pipe going up the wall, and of course the ability to remove a panel to access the entire sump pump on rare occasion for maintenance, etc. I hide my sump pump pit in the floor in my bathroom, beneath some removable wood floor tiles. Are we talking about the same thing in an AT false wall? Or are you talking about a fully framed/drywalled screen wall? Perhaps I've misunderstood you, or vice versa.
Here is a link to BIG's screen wall build - there are tons of others, but BIG's was just one I knew I could find quickly.


The side to the right of the couch is a support beam that will become a column, the right speaker will need to mount off of that.

You might consider adding a small soffit in the ceiling to separate the room from the open space. Then you can place the surround speakers exactly where you want them. Height matters less than vertical positioning for accurate surround sound. Just an option to consider.



Yes, I want to wire for both floor standing (which would put the speakers at ear level) and higher up the column for flexibility. I will probably use the uppers myself to keep them away from our kids, and just face them down at the couch.
Well, this is certainly the time to run wires if you think you might want them. Would you run them down the beam on the open wall?


Thanks. The 2x4's on the side of the staris are non-weight bearing 24OC so this will be great.




The arrow points up the stairs. There is space between the furnace and stairs not sure how to quantify it off the top of my head.

AH, that makes a LOT more sense! I read that plan wrong - thought the stairs ran the other way!! Never mind!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I had a huge reply yesterday afternoon, then we felt the the quake here in upstate NY. We sat for a moment until someone reminded me our building is 20yards away from a cliff that took out our neighboring building a few years back. I clicked post, but it never posted before I got out of the building..... ahh well... We got the basement almost all the way cleared out and got pictures last night, internet kept erroring out so I will do an update tonight after our little one goes to bed.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The freezer will be moved to the other side of the basement, and the right side of this shot is the wall we would like the screen to go on, it is 12ft wide from the inside of the current wall to the support beam. The right column would be under this beam.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
To the right of the windows is more play area, here you can see the H2O heater that will be moved to the other side of the furnace. Between the furnace and the wall to the left in this shot will be a walk through pantry. We will use this space to move large stuff into the unfinished side of the basement.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I was thinking I would have enough space to do an equipment closet between the red pole and 2x4. The white pipe is a radon pipe, we had the builder check and we are clear. I will take pictures of the pipes location and we can then cut it and seal it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The support beam is actually 3 2x12, I have never seen wood used before this house, and that threw me off. Since it needs to be boxed in to be finished, I was thinking I could use this to mount the sides.
 

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C'mon gang - I know you're out there ... hop in and offer some feedback here as he is running out of time!



Quote:
Originally Posted by rfbrang /forum/post/20864487


Can't figure out how to control how where the pictures end up in the post, sorry if this string of posts is the wrong way to go about it.

Entering down the stairs

You are attaching photos, when ideally you want to upload them to photobucket (or similar free service) and then just link them here. Makes it much easier for people to see & you'll get much more participation that way too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfbrang /forum/post/20864493


Turn right....

Looking down the left wall, this wall will be deconstructed, have the waste water pipe moved behind it, and then the wall will be rebuilt.

Not sure what you mean by "deconstructed." Doesn't seem to be much to deconstruct. Either they're planning on framing out that wall and burying the pipes inside the framing - which will reduce the width of your room by several inches - or they have to move the pipes elsewhere, probably up to the ceiling. Can you elaborate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfbrang /forum/post/20864496


We would like the sump pump to go into a column...

How wide would the column be? More importantly, how much width would you be left with between columns for your actual screen? And are you still planning on keeping for front L & R speakers outside of the AT screen wall? If so, you rarely see this type of treatment - and there might be a good reason for that. Just want you to have your eyes open as you make your decisions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfbrang /forum/post/20864501


The freezer will be moved to the other side of the basement, and the right side of this shot is the wall we would like the screen to go on, it is 12ft wide from the inside of the current wall to the support beam. The right column would be under this beam.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rfbrang /forum/post/20864529


I was thinking I would have enough space to do an equipment closet between the red pole and 2x4. The white pipe is a radon pipe, we had the builder check and we are clear. I will take pictures of the pipes location and we can then cut it and seal it.

Looks like a good rack location if you can get rid of that radon pipe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfbrang /forum/post/20864540


The support beam is actually 3 2x12, I have never seen wood used before this house, and that threw me off. Since it needs to be boxed in to be finished, I was thinking I could use this to mount the sides.

That would work great.



Finally, what in the world type of insulation is that on the walls? R value? Looks like an all-too-common practice of many builders of installing insulation in new unfinished basements that is cheap and easy to throw up quickly, but not really the best. Do a search for insulation here and you'll see what I mean.


If you're in Upstate NY you will probably want to make sure you have decent insulation down there before you spend all that money to finish it off. At least in the area that will be finished soon - you can do the rest later. And remember to have the rim joists (where the exterior walls meet the ceiling) well insulated also!


Good luck!
 
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