AVS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Wow… where to even begin? This build has been evolving in my head for over a decade. We bought our first house about 11 years ago, and always planned to finish the basement with a nice theatre room. Fast forward 4 years and our first son arrived without any progress on the basement. Another 2 years go by and son #2 arrives, still no progress. Finally in 2018 we started the basement. The idea was to chip away at it bit by bit as time and budget allowed. But of course by now the basement had become the dumping ground for anything that wasn’t being used, including 5 years of baby and toddler toys and clothes. Here is what we started with:

01 BEFORE 01.jpg

We managed to clean everything out and were able to start framing. We went through multiple design versions before settling on what became the final layout. This version had the theatre at the back of the basement in its own enclosed area, which was a little smaller than ideal, but it managed to hide the support pole in a wall, so it was the best we could do. The one common wall with the rest of the basement is a staggered stud wall, but it shares the top and bottom 2x6 plates. I’m hoping that it will provide some benefit.

02 Framing 05.jpg 03 Framing 07.jpg

Thankfully we have a good friend who is a master electrician, and he did the full basement for us. I tried to plan out every switch, outlet, and light to suit the space and give us flexibility. I included a bunch of low voltage areas for in- and under-cabinet lighting, and for theatre lighting features too, and one 20A line to the theatre for sub amps. Next I pulled all the speaker wires for a 7.x.6 setup, with 3 pairs of Atmos speakers in the ceiling, and sub/tactile transducer runs to the rear of the room.

04 Electrical 01.jpg

I managed to put a single layer of drywall with Green Glue up between the joists, and I took the easy way out and quit after one. I probably should have done the second layer but I decided one would be enough of an improvement.

05 Ceiling Joists 06.jpg 06 Ceiling Joists 09.jpg

Another year or two went by, and we had the exterior walls spray foamed to seal everything up from floor to the rim joists. I know spray foam isn’t great for sound insulation, but a dry and tight basement was an absolute priority, so it was something I’d just have to work around. I added a layer of Safe N Sound over the foam, and the ceiling had a dual layer of pink fluffy up top and Safe N Sound right under that. I closed in the joist cavity area above the beam (on the common wall) with drywall panels and spray foamed every gap I could find, then I stuffed with more insulation. I also knew I wanted the surround speakers recessed into the walls to save some space and keep them hidden, so I built boxes for the 3 exterior wall Volt-6 speakers and secured them before the foam went in. They’re locked in tight now.

07 20191005_141229.jpg 08 20191014_203951.jpg 09 20191024_225546.jpg

Things were finally taking shape. And then COVID-19 arrived. My wife and I were both lucky enough to be able to work from home, which we are extremely thankful for. But 2 people working from home and trying to keep up school routines, entertainment, and other care for a 6 and 4 year old full time, AND having both our mothers living with us for a few months didn’t leave much room for anything else, so all extras like theatre progress stopped.

Until now! We decided to bring in a GC to finish most of the basement items we had left. It would mean the work would go a lot faster, and it would give us a lot more useable space. Our drywaller did 2 layers of ½” with Green Glue in between in the theatre. Our space is tight, and I didn’t want to lose any more width or height than absolutely necessary, so I decided against ⅝”. I think that will give us most of the benefits, but it is a compromise I’m comfortable with. Flooring is down now, and next week the contractor comes back to do doors and trim, then our electrician comes back to hook up all the outlets, lights, and switches, and then we’ll have a 90% finished basement! There are other things for us to do after, mainly the stairs, which I decided to take on myself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
EQUIPMENT LIST

The equipment for this theatre has been slowly accumulating, and some has been put into temporary service in the living room until it can go to it’s final home. The room should look something like this when it’s complete.

AVR: Marantz SR6013 (?)
I chose this model because it was new enough to work with the Audyssey app, and it had processing for 11 channels, even though it only has 7 onboard amps. I planned to pair it with an external amp to get up to 11. I was flip-flopping between something like the 6013 + Outlaw and just going with a Denon with 11 channels of power, but I think I like this solution for better future upgradability.

Amplifier: Outlaw 7000x (to be confirmed)
This amp offers 7x130w, which I would use for the main 7 bed channels, and let the AVR handle the 4 Atmos speakers. I like that it has XLR inputs, even though it isn’t actually a balanced amp. That will give me more options to upgrade to a dedicated processor down the road.

Main LCR speakers: DIY Sound Group HTM-12
(Build in signature) The top priority for mains was clarity. From all the reviews I have read, these speakers excel in that department, and they use the big SEOS-15 waveguide / compression driver combo along with a 12” woofer for a little bit of midbass punch. I contemplated some of their Cinema line or something bigger, but the HTM-12 is perfect with a shallow cabinet to maximize my screen distance with the speakers right behind the screen.

Surround & Atmos Speakers: DIY Sound Group Volt-6
This seemed like a no-brainer at the time, to stay within the DIYSG family and add small speakers with great clarity and dynamics for all surround channels.

Subwoofers: Mach 5 Audio UXL-18 (x2)
(Build in signature) I was able to get in on a group buy for UXL-18s quite a while ago, and I knew I wanted to go with one of the more capable sub drivers available so I wouldn't feel the need to upgrade later. I still think these are right up there at the top of the big-excursion drivers list, hanging in with the higher priced LMS, XXX, and HST, and having them made and shipped from right here in Canada made the choice even easier.

Subwoofer Amplifier: Behringer iNuke 6000
This was just about putting some affordable power into the subs. I opted for the non-DSP model because I wanted to use a MiniDSP to tweak.

Subwoofer EQ: MiniDSP Balanced 2x4
I know there has been debate over using the unbalanced, balanced, or HD versions, but I think I bought this before the HD was available and saw it as a possible solution to eliminate hum.

Display: TBD
I will likely go with an Epson 5040/6040ub based on price/performance and availability (ie whatever shows up on the Epson refurb clearance page first). JVC is on my radar too, but so far is more expensive than I would like. I want to set this up to maximize 2.4:1 content, but I do want a projector with lens memory so I can switch back and forth from 16:9. The projector will be shelf mounted in the rear soffit, about 15’-17’ from the screen.

Screen: Spandex 2.4:1 CIH
I’m planning to do a spandex screen, which I’m thinking will be white over black. I have a totally black room, with light control, so I thought that was the combination that would give the best results but if anyone has input here I would appreciate it (white/silver, white/white, etc.). I have about 9 feet of width for the screen, so I think I will be able to do around 115” - 120” diagonal or so.

I think this size works based on the projector throw calculators I tried, but if anyone sees a problem, please let me know.

Tactile Transducers: TBD
I am planning to create a BOSS riser for the back row, and I have earmarked a stack of the $29 JBL 12” specials for this, but am undecided about what to do for the front row. I have the full size ButtKickers in the living room now, and am still impressed with them. I think I’ll build the riser and see how I like BOSS before committing to it for the front row as well. I have 3 of the JBLs now, and another 3 or 4 stuck at the border for pickup that I can’t get to, so I have time to consider my options. I’ll either find a way to use 1xJBL per seat or I’ll buy a more traditional tactile transducer setup for them.

Seating:
The theatre will need a rear seating riser (which I’m planning to make a BOSS riser). We will have a front row of 3 recliners, and a back row of 4. Seats will be closer to the walls than ideal, but I wanted to have enough seats that we could have another family over for movie nights.

Automation: Amazon Echo
I don’t have plans to do a lot of automation, but do want to work out a few simple lighting scenes like “Alexa, lobby mode” or “Alexa, movie time”. I’m going to use Lutron Caseta dimmers for the room’s recessed lighting, and Caseta switches to turn on and off the soffit LED strips and screen wash LED cans.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Reserved for Progress 01

I'll update this when I have time, but here's a quick pic as the room stands now. Painted Tricorn Black, floors in, waiting for doors and trim.

3038664


And here's a reasonably accurate sketchup overhead view of the theatre. As I said, we really wanted to maximize seating for our family of 4 plus a few guests, but 7 recliners is the most we could fit. The front left seat will likely be the worst, being right next to the side surround, but that's manageable.

Theatre Layout 01.jpg


While we're talking surround speakers, let's get into a little more detail about them. I wanted good sounding speakers with a focus on clarity, and also a decently wide dispersion pattern since my room is pretty small and the ceiling is on the low side. The Volt 6 from DIY Sound Group was the most logical choice to me, and I went with the ported enclosures. Looking back I would have been fine going all sealed, but I don't think there will be much difference either way after they are crossed over.

One of my design goals was to blend everything in, and have minimal intrusions into the room. I had thought of using in-wall speakers to make them as invisible as possible, but I really wanted to use the Volts. Since the Volts use a compression driver attached to the rear of the woofer, they can't get much shallower than the stock enclosures, but I think I shaved off a little bit in my final assembly. I still went with an in-wall installation, and had them mudded right in with the drywall so it looks like they grow out of the wall. All surrounds and Atmos speakers are angled about 10-15 degrees toward the centre of the room to get a little bit more direct radiation. I decided to mount the side surrounds a little bit forward of the front row, because at the time I had been reading about people who had done it and really liked the results, and because I thought it would be the best choice for an enveloping sound field. I hope it works out, because they aren't moving.

11 Volt-6 Construction 14.jpg

All the Volts also have 4 magnets countersunk into the front corners of the baffle, with corresponding magnets sunk into a piece of 1/4" hardboard that will be the speaker grille. The magnets seem to have good strength, so they should still hold through a layer of grille cloth.

12 20190922_151107 (1).jpg 13 20190924_205002.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
As the trim carpenters are downstairs putting in doors and baseboard, I thought I'd post a few more mid-progress photos. Here is a shot of the front and back of the room before and after the 2 layers of drywall.

Front (screen) wall:
20 20200825_082415.jpg 21 20200831_200010.jpg 22 20200903_173703.jpg

The two single receptacles are 20A (on the same line, not dedicated) for sub amps. Below them are a pair of dual receptacles. I plan to install some USB receptacles like the one below in 2 of the 4 locations. This should help to eliminate a few wall warts, and power a few small devices without taking up a standard outlet (like my NES and SNES Classic consoles, maybe the MiniDSP, etc.)

USB receptacles.jpg

On the right is all the low voltage, including speaker connections for the surrounds, Atmos, and a few extra for rear subs and tactile transducers. There are also 2 coax lines for antenna and cable, a Cat6, and one HDMI that runs to the projector location already, and a conduit with a pull string in case I need to change or upgrade the HDMI down the road.

Back Wall:
23 20200825_082433.jpg 24 20200831_195927.jpg 25 20200903_173637.jpg

I tried to include outlets where they would be convenient to power seats or any other devices that might be used in the room. You can also see the sub/TT wire locations in the 2 back corners and one around the midpoint in the wall. In these pics you can also get a pretty good idea of the angle of the rear Atmos pair. The rear and side surrounds are angled in less then the Atmos.

The projector will hopefully be shelf-mounted in the gap in the bulkhead at the centre of the back wall. I am leaving the shelf until I actually have the projector, but I should have enough room for what I want. I'm checking Epson Canada's refurb page frequently waiting for a 5050ub to show up as my Plan A.

You can also see the air supply for this room on the upper left of the pic, and if you look closely a return I added on the same side at the projector location. It happened to be a convenient location, and I thought if air will be coming out of the room, the best place might be near the projector which is giving off the most heat. I'll add a baffle with some acoustic treatment to reduce the sound that gets in there a bit. And finally, dangling from the ceiling are 2 bundles of RGBW 5-pin wire that I'll use for some strips behind the ceiling treatment panels.

And this last part I got from another build on here, but I can't remember who did it. I added a few quotes from some of our favourite movies to the door frames before the carpenters will cover them with the door frames. Just to add to the "spirit" of the room.

26 20200825_083026.jpg 27 20200825_083039.jpg
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
213 Posts
A beautiful start - what are the dimensions of the theater?

I didn't notice any mention of sound deadening within the room (perhaps I missed it, or you plan it, but didn't list it here?). Many recommend keeping some hard surfaces so it doesn't feel 'unnatural' in the room. I disagree - the more sound absorption, the more you can faithfully reproduce exactly what is in the source material. Now that we have advanced surround encoding, we don't need to bounce ANY sound off the walls to simulate spaciousness, etc. Since you are not including a TV in your setup (to watch casually while lights are on, hanging out with friends), I assume this room is DEDICATED to movies, so why worry about it feeling 'too quiet' when a movie is not playing??? My theater room is FILLED with qty3 layers of carpet on the walls, and it's a great place to rest/sleep when you need a break during the day (I've got kids, too)!

I've looked into all the DIY speakers you mention, and they all appear to be Out of Stock, or otherwise no longer available??? I built my theater with speakers from a company that went out of business 15 years earlier, so I had to grab them off eBay a pair at a time!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks WHATTHEDILEO and pkinneb.

There are a lot of details from the ongoing process that I'll maybe revisit in later posts. The "retrospective thread" is interesting because you can't benefit from feedback on items that are long since completed, but I still think I'll try to keep a record of things with a note or pic of items that may be of interest.

The room is about 18' deep by 9' wide, give or take a few inches. It is dedicated theatre space, so I don't have to work around any other uses. The plan is to build a false wall at the front but it will be split halfway down the wall so that the top part will hold the screen at 1' in front of the front wall, and the bottom part will come out about 2' and will house all the equipment. The 2 UXL subs will likely sit in the front corners, with a space in the middle for AVR, etc. That let me push the screen back as far as possible from the front row (I'm guessing it will be around 10' or so) and still keep just enough room for the HTM-12s behind the screen. Side note: I am VERY excited to have matching LCR speakers placed behind the screen, especially the HTMs which should provide a massive improvement in dialogue with that big SEOS-15.

I do have a rough room treatment plan, cribbed from many other theatres built here over the last couple of years. I hope to do a heavy mix of absorption and diffusion throughout. I know diffusion works best when you are at least a few feet away from the wall, but I'm going to try some things out. Mostly absorption on the front wall behind the screen, absorption at the first reflection points for the front row, absorption with FSK "striping" on the ceiling and at the first reflection points for the back row, and then maybe some DIY skyline diffusers and something like a Leanfuser in the middle of the back wall if I can fit it. I kind of agree that I want to room treated to sound a little more dead. I loved going in there before the drywall went up and it was basically walls of Safe n Sound. Echoes disappeared and it could even be a little disorienting.

And now... back to gluing stone veneer on the fireplace.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,022 Posts
Well it’s about time we see this thread up and going. I am very excited for you, I know it’s been a long road to get the point you are but man I know you have planned everything out to the way you want and this room will be amazing. It’s doesn’t matter the size of room you have it matters that you actually will have a dedicated home theatre in your house. We enjoy ours almost everyday, mostly movies but we watched the US Open yesterday and it’s awesome. I can’t wait to check it out sooner than later, just to see the progress in person, since I’ve seen it framed and now drywalled that’s a game changer.

Just a little side note, when you are at the point of your receiver I will probably have a Marantz 7705 available if you are interested in a pre/pro


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Well it’s about time we see this thread up and going.
Hey buddy, thanks for stopping in! Seeing the theatre start to come together is really a combination of relief, more anticipation, nervousness that I've forgotten or done something wrong, and just joy. There's still a long road ahead in this room, and it will be the last room up and running in the basement, but I do have most of it planned out. I can't wait to start using it regularly.

If the stars happen to align when you're ready to sell your 7705 I'd be glad to give it a home. That's more horsepower than I expected to have in my room, but it would be welcome in my rack. :) I'll try to add more progress pics tomorrow above.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,719 Posts
I like how you have the Volt 6's sunk into the walls, great space saving right there. I take it once the room treatment is done they will be pretty much flush?

When it comes to diffusion if you go for something like the Auralex Geofusors then you shouldn't need to worry about the distance. It is mainly the QRD based diffusors that require a good 3-4ft of spacing to work properly. Speaking of which I really need to get my geodesic diffusors done now when summer is coming to an end with the associated projects.

Looking forward to see how this room is unfolding.
 
  • Like
Reactions: OJ Bartley

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I like how you have the Volt 6's sunk into the walls, great space saving right there. I take it once the room treatment is done they will be pretty much flush?

When it comes to diffusion if you go for something like the Auralex Geofusors then you shouldn't need to worry about the distance. It is mainly the QRD based diffusors that require a good 3-4ft of spacing to work properly. Speaking of which I really need to get my geodesic diffusors done now when summer is coming to an end with the associated projects.

Looking forward to see how this room is unfolding.
Thanks Mashie! I actually just updated post #3 with some more detail about the surrounds. Your theatre gave me a few good ideas too, although I won't be able to do a ceiling cloud as amazing as yours.

That's a great idea about the Geofusors, I've seen them before and thought they looked like a good product. That might be just what I need on the rear wall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
OK, as everyone who has gone through a build knows, there are a million little details that come up along the way that need your attention. I thought I would highlight a few of those here. These are a few of the little annoyances and how I handled them.

To start out with, I should probably describe my sound transference mitigation strategy (if you can call it that). I ruled out a proper room within a room early on, due to size and complexity. That left me with the usual double drywall with Green Glue method to reduce sound transfer, which I stuck with. Underneath the DDGG walls are cavities stuffed with Safe n’ Sound insulation, and under that, spray foam on the 3 exterior walls. The ceiling has a single layer of drywall with Green glue applied to the subfloor above between joists. Under that is a layer of pink fluffy insulation, followed directly by a layer of Safe n’ Sound, and then the DDGG layer.

My goal isn’t total silence, it is just to reduce the level of noise getting in or out. Our kids are now 5 and 7, and they sleep through us watching movies at casual evening volumes in the living room. I don’t think the theatre, which is down an extra floor and at the opposite end of the house from the bedrooms, should be too problematic, but I wanted to do what I could while we were starting from scratch.

I have 6 pot lights in the ceiling, and I decided not to make backer boxes for them. They are small, sealed LED units (rated for wet installation) and they have a gasket where the trim ring meets the ceiling. I will probably have some leakage here, but I hope it will be minimal. While I’m discussing lights, here is one that I painted the trim in flat BBQ black next to an original. That made a nice improvement in reducing their impact on the “black hole” factor. I tested applying a tint film to the lens, but it coloured the light in a way I didn’t like, so I left them as-is.

20190414_163628.jpg

The 4 Atmos speakers also penetrate the ceiling. I caulked the gap to the drywall heavily on the first layer. On the second layer of drywall I asked to have the remaining gap filled before smoothing it out, so I’m pretty comfortable there will be no leaks there. I used the same method for the surround speakers. Here's the rear left Atmos, next to one of the lights.

19 20200923_122600.jpg

Another item of concern was the fact that the return duct for the dining room dropped right into the ceiling space for the theatre. I didn’t want to relocate it, so I did the best I could to isolate it. I covered it in Dynamat, and surrounded all the airspace around it with insulation, before it got enclosed in the room behind the drywall. Hopefully that will help.

Framing 09.jpg Framing 09b.jpg

And my next attempt to minimize leakage was to wrap the electrical boxes in duct seal. This is a heavy plasticine-like putty that is not supposed to harden over time. It was exponentially cheaper than the putty pads marketed for this purpose, and I’ve seen others use it with good results. Luckily I only had a few outlets on the shared wall to do. The rest of the walls are exterior, and everything was sealed in with the spray foam.

20190831_154130.jpg 20190831_154046.jpg

And there you have a small window into my madness. Upcoming isolation items include a solid core door, and some kind of automatic door bottom and sealing kit which I’ll sort out later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,430 Posts
I am excited to see your progress. Your thread inspired me to make one for my build!

I'm interested in those DIYSG speakers you have, I look forward to your thoughts on them. I want to make my own speakers, but am primarily interested in cabinet construction so DIYSG's components look like they would take care of the other half of the equation.

Do you have a plan for the first movie you will watch when it's done?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I am excited to see your progress. Your thread inspired me to make one for my build!

I'm interested in those DIYSG speakers you have, I look forward to your thoughts on them. I want to make my own speakers, but am primarily interested in cabinet construction so DIYSG's components look like they would take care of the other half of the equation.

Do you have a plan for the first movie you will watch when it's done?
Thanks, Semisentient! Making a build thread can be a little intimidating, but it also helps to keep everything in one place for reference, brings in helpful suggestions, and might give others some great ideas too. I'll be watching for yours! I didn't start mine until I was well under way, because I knew it would be a long haul in my case.

So for me, I knew I'd be building speakers for the theatre, because the value proposition is just too good to pass up. Building gets you so much speaker for your money in comparison to buying retail, and for most of us they're enjoyable to build. I do still admire a lot of commercial speakers, but this was a perfect fit for me. I have a Paradigm setup in the living room that I have enjoyed for around 15 years, but I wanted to make some improvements for my dedicated theatre. Clarity of dialogue is the one area that I really wanted to improve, and I read dozens (scores?) of DIY build reviews with some good options before DIY Sound Group came onto the scene. I didn't know much about waveguides or compression drivers before I found them, but from everything I read these were what I was looking for!

I had settled on a trio of the "88 Special", which used a large waveguide and a pair of 8" woofers, before the HTM line came out. The timing was perfect. The HTM-12 uses a 12" woofer with a compression driver mounted to the big SEOS 15 waveguide. This was said to make a huge improvement over traditional dome tweeters, and I jumped in with both feet. I have very little listening time on these, so I can't give you a full review. But for the one movie I did test using an HTM-12 as a replacement for my Paradign CC-370 I can tell you that it was a very noticeable improvement. I also listened to them a fair bit playing music at low to mid volumes and I really enjoyed their sound. I actually can't wait to get that first movie playing with them behind the screen.

Speaking of the first movie, to answer your question... I still don't know. I have a list of movies I want to rewatch that keeps getting longer (especially if I get into BEQ), but Top Gun was one of the first on my list, and it is still a contender. I think that if anything beats that out, it will be Cars. I love the intro to that movie, with the cars driving around the track, and circling the room. Plus my kids would love it too. Breaking in the theatre with a family movie night is probably the way I'll go. :) (Then on to the LOTR movies, Marvel movies, Blade Runner, Aliens, Fast & the Furious, etc...)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,406 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
@OJ Bartley for the HTM-12s did you enable the Hi Pad or not? I'm building some right now and am planning on installing a switch so I can go back and forth between enabled and disabled.
I built the standard crossover, with no modifications. I think I figured that since they would be behind a screen I didn't want to lose any of the high end, and if I found them too bright I could always tweak them later. A switch is a great idea so you can hear both and easily change to which you prefer. Do you have a build thread?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
273 Posts
I built the standard crossover, with no modifications. I think I figured that since they would be behind a screen I didn't want to lose any of the high end, and if I found them too bright I could always tweak them later. A switch is a great idea so you can hear both and easily change to which you prefer. Do you have a build thread?
I don't have a build thread for my HTM-12s, but I'll include info in my theater build thread.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top