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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
NXS "Budget" Theater Build

I am hoping this thread will give people an idea of what can be done in a small room, with a minimal budget, a lot of DIY, and help from people like @LTD02 and others!

My "budget" dedicated Home Theater build, done in a small 11' x 17' room which was already dry walled and finished. I was on a limited budget of around $5,000 to $6,000 including the equipment I already owned, so tearing everything out and starting from scratch was not a option. The room was almost all DIY and I performed all of work including building subwoofers, front speakers, acoustic wall panels, and acoustically transparent screen. A of lot of work went into fishing wires in and trying to make things work in a space that was already done. The only plans I had was a small drawing I did and an idea in my head, which probably was not the best way to go. I did end up having to change a few things as I went along.

The first thing I did to the room was build the stage. I got the idea for the design of the stage from a thread on the forums. When I was done I decided to cover It with leftover carpet like what was already in the room in order to save some money. Later in the build I mocked up the screen on the stage to see how things would look. I found that I did not like the shape of the stage and that the light colored carpet was reflecting to much light. I rebuilt the stage by widening the front opening, putting a round edge on the lower step and purchased black carpet then installed it. The cost of black carpet was minimal and I should of done it from the start.

Upon starting on the rest of the room there was a water main and shut off valve that was exposed on the interior wall that I needed to do something with. So I built some faux pine beams to cover the water main with and put a ball valve with key for water shut off so it would be flush with the beam. I built another set of faux beams in order to repeat the look at the other end by the stage.

Next I built wainscoting to tie the look of the beams together. I used a sheet of 3/4" oak plywood and ripped it in 5.5" strips instead of purchasing solid 1 x 4 oak lumber for this project. It saved me a considerable amount of money by doing it this way. When I built wainscot panels I laid them out in 2' widths, with 6" in-between so when I made my acoustic panels they would line up with the panels. Basically I covered the bottom portion of the wall with 1/4" oak plywood and then framed the panels out with the 5.5" strips I cut from the 3/4" plywood, finished the exposed inside edge of plywood with oak shoe, and capped the top with 1 x 2" solid oak. All of the oak for the panels as well as the trim for the room I prefinished in the garage before cutting and installing in the room.

The back of the room already had a closet which worked out good for my equipment location giving access to the rear of the equipment in the closet. I cut out a opening in the wall between the room and closet and framed it back in. Then I boxed the opening in with oak plywood leaving the back open, trimmed out both sides and built shelves. I purchased a Kreg jig for drilling shelf clip holes in the cabinet sides for multiple shelve locations. The equipment cabinet ended up being another one of the things I ended up redoing. I had originally planed on ceiling mounting the projector, but when I started looking at where it had to go I realized that I should of made the equipment cabinet taller and put the projector in with the components. So I pulled the trim off on the cabinet and cut the opening in the wall above the cabinet, and instead of tearing the cabinet out and building a taller one, I built a smaller box and installed it above the existing one and finished trimming it out again.

Next came wiring the room, installing can lights, running speaker wire and electrical wire. Like I mentioned before my room was already finished so it was a challenge getting everything in. What I figured out though was after cutting some of the can light holes out, it allowed me to gain access into the ceiling cavities to aid in running all the speaker wire and electrical wire. The holes were big enough I could actually fit my DeWalt drill up into the ceiling cavities. For my equipment closet I knew I was going to have a few amps driving my setup. I didn't want to have any issues so I went ahead and ran 12 gauge wire from a 20 amp dedicated breaker, and installed 12 commercial grade 20amp receptacles. For my speakers I used a wire by KnuKonceptz that seemed to be pretty good for the money. My surrounds and Atmos speaker were all going to be in-ceiling so it wasn't to bad getting the wire in for them. The fronts and subwoofers are behind the screen and I was able to run them through the unfinished mechanical room next to the theater room.


























 

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Have you considered making your platform the full length of the room? Mine is more an island like your design, but I really like the look of the platform being the full width.

That being said, I think you have an awesome canvas to start with. If I re-do in the future, I will add a stage and use that same design.
 

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Does the av rack need to go there?

Have you considered it might be distracting, when the room goes dark and the electronic displays add light
on the side wall? I would either move it towards the rear, or better yet, put it right inside the closet at the back of the room.

You could build a full width riser at step one height, and then use an island style riser to further elevate the back seats.
You'd need to extend the riser into the mechanical room to safely step down.

Budget build or not, this could be a pretty impressive room.

How tall is the room?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Have you considered making your platform the full length of the room? Mine is more an island like your design, but I really like the look of the platform being the full width.

That being said, I think you have an awesome canvas to start with. If I re-do in the future, I will add a stage and use that same design.
Yeah I did, but can't because of 2 door ways to closet and mechanical room.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Does the av rack need to go there?

Have you considered it might be distracting, when the room goes dark and the electronic displays add light
on the side wall? I would either move it towards the rear, or better yet, put it right inside the closet at the back of the room.

You could build a full width riser at step one height, and then use an island style riser to further elevate the back seats.
You'd need to extend the riser into the mechanical room to safely step down.

Budget build or not, this could be a pretty impressive room.

How tall is the room?
I guess I could do the riser like that, but I thought it would look funny with short doors going to mech. room and closet. I haven't done the math yet on how tall riser needs to be. I don't really have other options for equipment short of cutting sheetrock out on ceiling. I used to build new homes and put a few audio racks in with smoked glass doors. I could even black it out totally if it was a problem.
 

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Why can't the doors simply be moved up? If you remove the trim, door and frame, then you could cut back the drywall up top. Next cut out the header,
and replace it with new studs, secured by screws from the inside of the opening. Done carefully, you won't even impact on the drywall.

I would be prepared to black out the av rack, as there is a very good chance you will shortly consider that you made a mistake placing the av rack in the line
of sight. I learned this the hard way, and the next remodel the av rack went in the back of the room. Now it's right outside the entry door.

Glass is highly reflective also, so I wouldn't really want smoked glass up front either...

Whether I pre wired for overhead speakers or not, would be based on ceiling height. If the ceiling is low, then I wouldn't bother. But wire is cheap, as a future proofing
option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Why can't the doors simply be moved up? If you remove the trim, door and frame, then you could cut back the drywall up top. Next cut out the header,
and replace it with new studs, secured by screws from the inside of the opening. Done carefully, you won't even impact on the drywall.

I would be prepared to black out the av rack, as there is a very good chance you will shortly consider that you made a mistake placing the av rack in the line
of sight. I learned this the hard way, and the next remodel the av rack went in the back of the room. Now it's right outside the entry door.

Glass is highly reflective also, so I wouldn't really want smoked glass up front either...

Whether I pre wired for overhead speakers or not, would be based on ceiling height. If the ceiling is low, then I wouldn't bother. But wire is cheap, as a future proofing
option.
Only 5" between ceiling and door now including trim, so I could really only move them up 3". I may look at trying to put equipment in closet. I have return air ducts in the side wall towards back of room so can't move it back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
After looking at things closer I found a way that I can get wiring in to the closet area. I cut the sheet rock out and framed it in, now I have to patch and finish the original area that I cut out. My least favorite thing to do, mud and tape.

Thanks to @Tedd pointing out the issues with having the equipment located on side wall.
 

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Any chance of exposing more of that outlet on the front wall, that the stage semi-hides? Is there room to actually be able to remove the electrical
outlet there, in case there's ever an issue with the plug?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Any chance of exposing more of that outlet on the front wall, that the stage semi-hides? Is there room to actually be able to remove the electrical
outlet there, in case there's ever an issue with the plug?
Yeah it is notched out where the outlet is still useable, just can't see it in the pic. Cool I will check the Tanner Ridge project out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update pics of room. I went to a lot of trouble to hide water main shut off by building fake beams to cover it, and to follow the look in the room. I replaced the valve with a high capacity fireplace gas valve with round face plate for finished look, and can still shut water off with key. Also changed location for projector from ceiling mount, to adding in wall box above A/V location. Painted area that can be seen from room side behind A/V shelf black. Even with closet door shut and lights down I could still see light reflecting off of light colored wall.
 

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Overall, a very nifty design.

I do feel the Cans directly over the Screen are wasted, since they can only be utilized when there is no image being shot....unless they are outfitted with "Wall Wash Lenses" with the Shield toward the Wall. And of course with the lights dimmed down in any case.



The Floor of the Stage will need just as effective a light rejection treatment as you have provided the Ceiling and Side Walls.

........and if Blu-Ray Movies in 2.39:1 are going to be the prevalent content, with TV secondary, then you should do the Spandex Screen in 2.39:1 format, 130" wide x 54" high, (141" diagonal) and practice a C.H.I mentality, with 16:9 @ 54" x 96" for 110" diagonal

A big benefit of doing such also being the ability to completely cover your Speaker arrays...which referencing your drawing, a 107" wide 120" diagonal screen won't be able to manage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Overall, a very nifty design.

I do feel the Cans directly over the Screen are wasted, since they can only be utilized when there is no image being shot....unless they are outfitted with "Wall Wash Lenses" with the Shield toward the Wall. And of course with the lights dimmed down in any case.



The Floor of the Stage will need just as effective a light rejection treatment as you have provided the Ceiling and Side Walls.

........and if Blu-Ray Movies in 2.39:1 are going to be the prevalent content, with TV secondary, then you should do the Spandex Screen in 2.39:1 format, 130" wide x 54" high, (141" diagonal) and practice a C.H.I mentality, with 16:9 @ 54" x 96" for 110" diagonal

A big benefit of doing such also being the ability to completely cover your Speaker arrays...which referencing your drawing, a 107" wide 120" diagonal screen won't be able to manage.
I have the screen cans on a separate switch and only planned to use them when movie not being played, but would still like to use the baffle. I do like the idea of a 2:39:1 screen. So the only adjustment I would need to make on projector when switching between formats would be zoom and focus? The reason I ask is I won't have easy access to lens shift.
 

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Cans over the screen do reflect light via the screen, into the room. Rather handy come cleaning time for the theater.

And while I do agree they add nothing come viewing time, they also are great to adding entry drama, especially to the more hard core
cave like rooms. Those rooms can be a little boring looking, and lighting can be an inexpensive way to add some flair to such a space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Beams are in, trim is done, and carpet on stage. May have to do something different on stage like black carpet per Mississippi Mans recommendations. I already had carpet and funds are slim so will try it first.
 

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