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Discussion Starter #1
We're finally ready to pull the trigger and finish our basement. I won't be doing much of the work myself, but I will be acting as the general contractor (with the help of a friend who actually knows what he's doing).

The basement will just have on great room, no dedicated theater. We have twin 1 year olds and another on the way, so half of the room will likely be for all their toys and activities. I currently have a Benq W1070 in the basement with a DIY 120" screen. I would like to continue using both in the basement.

I'm trying to figure out the optimal layout of the great room and could really use some guidance. Each of the narrow ends of the room has a 3' x 3' window (see attached drawings). Normally, I would think one of these walls would be optimal for a screen, but I am hesitant to permanently cover a window, especially when there are only 2 in the room.

So my main question is which wall should I put the projector screen on?

Other questions:
  • Any major tips before beginning construction?
  • How should I plan for speaker placement? .
  • Is there a software I should be using for AV planning?
  • Any reason not to put the component rack in the same room as our water heater and HVAC?
I posted a couple images with the options I am considering. I really appreciate any advice!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I prefer layout #2 , but that may complicate things for surround speakers. Any thoughts on what sort of surround layout you're going for? Atmos, etc.?

For planning software, I use paper and pencil, but I'm a bit of a Luddite that way.
I haven't really thought about surround sound. I would like to keep it on the cheaper end, if possible.

As far as covering the window, are there any temporary solutions? Maybe an electric blackout screen? I'm kinda thinking I should put a TV behind the screen for the kids to use during the day.
 

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I haven't really thought about surround sound. I would like to keep it on the cheaper end, if possible.

As far as covering the window, are there any temporary solutions? Maybe an electric blackout screen? I'm kinda thinking I should put a TV behind the screen for the kids to use during the day.
I did a 7.1 setup in my last house with four cheap ceiling-mounted speakers. They sounded ok, and still gave a big sound in the room. For Atmos, those speakers would have to be roughly at ear-level to give separation from the overhead speakers. For your casual space, I think a 7.1 setup would be fine. If you were doing a dedicated theater, I'd highly recommend Atmos, though.

I wouldn't bother with putting a TV behind the screen. That'd limit you to a pull-down screen, or trying to figure out how to raise your DIY screen. You could put a TV in the kids' play area, or even better, not bother, and let the kids watch on the projector.

I don't know how big your windows are, but I've seen people making window 'plugs' as a temporary light-blocking solution.
 

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If possible, position your screen and speakers at the long axis of the room. Speakers should be equidistant (as far from the listening position as they are from each other). Listening position should ideally be at 3rds or 5ths from the front and avoid the center or very rear of the room (bass response is poor at the center, and tends to be boomy in the rear). You probably aren't going to be able to get away with lots of subwooferage without soundproofing the ceiling, you could use MBM's behind the listening position tactile transducers under the seating to alleviate this, particularly if you're on concrete. Good luck!


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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for all of the advice, I really appreciate it. I think I'll end up putting the screen on the long wall and looking for an easy solution to black out the window.

What is the consensus on floorstanding vs in wall speakers in the front? I will probably go with a 7.1 or 7.2 setup.

Also, any concerns over putting the media closet in the same room as our water heater and HVAC unit?
 

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What is the consensus on floorstanding vs in wall speakers in the front? I will probably go with a 7.1 or 7.2 setup.

Also, any concerns over putting the media closet in the same room as our water heater and HVAC unit?
I've got all in-walls and like 'em quite a bit. The trouble with 'em is that they're almost impossible to audition, so you end up buying and hoping they work out.

There shouldn't be any problem having your gear in the same room with your water heater and HVAC.
 

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What is the consensus on floorstanding vs in wall speakers in the front? I will probably go with a 7.1 or 7.2 setup.

Also, any concerns over putting the media closet in the same room as our water heater and HVAC unit?
I've got all in-walls and like 'em quite a bit. The trouble with 'em is that they're almost impossible to audition, so you end up buying and hoping they work out.

There shouldn't be any problem having your gear in the same room with your water heater and HVAC.
If you don't mind me asking, what does your layout look like? I am planning a media/family room that backs up to a kid play area and am finding the speaker layout choices to be difficult.
 

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If you don't mind me asking, what does your layout look like? I am planning a media/family room that backs up to a kid play area and am finding the speaker layout choices to be difficult.
Mine was built as a dedicated theater, so I was able to do an optimal Atmos layout, with seven identical speakers for my bed layer, and four ideally placed overheads. Below is a panorama of the back as I was installing fabric panels that hide my speakers. You can see my surround and surround back speaker locations, and two of my overheads.

I've also included a (very sloppy) floorplan with my speaker locations (very) roughly noted. Red are overheads and blue are bed. Each square is 16".

I also have a pair of custom 15" sealed subwoofers in each front corner.

We are ecstatic with how well this room sounds, BTW.



 

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