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I have a room in the basement that is 19' long, 13' wide, and 7-1/2' high. I don't have the money to build a theater for a few years. In the meantime, I want to set up my equipment and start watching movies in the unfinished room. The question is: Would it sound better with the partial sheetrock walls left in place, or would it sound better if the sheetrock was removed, down the bare studs and concrete walls? In other words, will the studs on the concrete walls break up the sound waves and minimize reflections better than the partial sheetrock walls?

I am also wondering if I should put some fiberglass insulation batting between the studs over the concrete. Note: The screen will be at the “semi-finished” (window) end of the room.

Kent

P.S. My private email is upacreekk at earthlink dot net
 

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I have a room in the basement that is 19' long, 13' wide, and 7-1/2' high. I don't have the money to build a theater for a few years. In the meantime, I want to set up my equipment and start watching movies in the unfinished room. The question is: Would it sound better with the partial sheetrock walls left in place, or would it sound better if the sheetrock was removed, down the bare studs and concrete walls? In other words, will the studs on the concrete walls break up the sound waves and minimize reflections better than the partial sheetrock walls?
Leave the sheetrock up. The studs won't help, and the concrete is a far better reflector at low frequencies than sheetrock, which is not what you want. There may be fiberglass in the wall there already, kind of silly if there isn't.
I am also wondering if I should put some fiberglass insulation batting between the studs over the concrete.
The problem with that is the fiberglass is very absorptive at higher frequencies, but gives up, depending on thickness, at lower frequencies where the concrete is highly reflective. If you dry up the high end a lot, the low end will just take off and go nuts on you with all the concrete. You'll need to add low frequency treatment as well to balance it off. Most people don't like a completely dry room, which makes covering every wall surface with fiberglass a bad idea, not to mention you need to cover the fiberglass with something to keep the fibers under control.

The best way to deal with this is to do nothing, put your system together, and then analyze the results. Then you can respond to the analysis with the right amount of treatment in the right location. Saves you money in the long run, gets a better result. Don't freak now at the sound of a big empty basement room. Put down your carpet, position your couch, etc, then listen...and measure.
 

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If there isn't fiberglass or foam insulation over the foundation walls there should be. But you don't want to pull the sheet rock and install glass and run the room like that, as it will be too dead. Leave it alone until you can add the insulation and then sheet rock over it.
 

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If it was my basement, I would strip it down to studs and put insulating rigid foam between the studs where there's concrete, and pink stuff with the paper out where there isn't. Not quite as absorbent as the HVAC stuff, but more appropriate for the space, and absorbent enough.

Then, rig some inwall side surround speakers, seasoning to taste with an AVR.

(Actually, I have done this very thing in my small basement. Sounds good.)

In a small room like that, it's Bounce City and almost impossible to make it too dead.
 

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You really DON'T want open fibreglass in your media room. It's fine if its in the walls. There's a reason why people wear protective gear with that stuff. Just set it up and see if you're happy with it. You could get some acoustic panels that you'll re-use later. I'd try it now and see if you're happy with it.
 

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Vapour barriers exist for a reason. If you like breathing black-mold and insulation fibers into your lungs then remove it. hehe ;)

Also, if you live in a hot or cold place, I'd recommend keeping the drywall where it is, it helps.
 

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If you staple the paper ears to the studs and block the ends, it's not a big problem. Especially with the matted fiberglass. Nevertheless...

...if the thought of that bothers you, just cut down some insulating foam sheets to fit into the stud cavities over (or not) the fglass battens. They're not too expensive.

You could even use the expensive HVAC sheets that are de rigueur for room treatments.

(Don't tell me you're scared of those too, without some flimsy fabric covering....??)
 
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