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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all.

Closed on a new house last week and am mostly unpacked, now down to the real priorities. The theater. This will be my 2nd build. I lived in my last home for 11 years and had the dedicated theater for nearly the entire 11 years, so I feel like I know what is important to me and my family through some experience. The new house is on a street with "Laurel" in the name and I know theater names are very important, so, my non-creative self came up with Rest on your Laurels Theater. I certainly plan to do a lot of future resting in this theater.

The new house had a movie theater built by the previous owner, under the great room, and is a nice sized room. The layout has a few challenges with some angled walls up front. The basement was dugout for higher than typical ceilings and the existing finished drywall is about 8' 9" in the room, except for the soffits which are 12" shorter.

Layout of existing room:
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Personally, I have a few other problems with this layout in addition to the angled walls. We use our theater to watch sports, netflix shows, play lots of video games, in addition to movies. That means I'm set on a 16:9 ratio. I also care about lumens to a degree that it can help HDR (which I know is somewhat of a mess with projectors). This room as is, would need something like a 160" screen and there'd still be tons of wasted space on the sides. I don't need a 160" screen that I sit 13 feet away from, if I have a 130" screen that I sit 10.5 feet away from. So, in response to that I am thinking of the following general changes:

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The core changes being a new "entry hallway" to the room and the false wall. These changes offer a few benefits. It cuts down on the width of the room, so there isn't tons of wasted open space while also offering a cool space for things like movie posters (maybe a digital poster) since I never actually want these sort of things in the room itself. The false wall then gives me space to go acoustic transparent screen. The downside is the additional construction cost of the entry wall, and obviously the smaller room.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
The use cases of the room are probably:

40% of time just me - playing video games or watching content solo
40% of time just me and my wife - watching TV or movies
15% of time, me, wife, and our 2 kids watching a family movie or playing Nintendo Switch
5% of time, if that, we'd have guests over.

My kids are in elementary school, so as they get into middle/high school, this could change, but not much longer after that it'll just be me and wife. So this is how I'm rationalizing the smaller (but still pretty large) room.

I am not looking to tear the room apart completely and do sound isolation. The sound disturbing others in our last home wasn't a problem outside of a few occasions when my baby niece was over and taking a nap, she won't be a napper much longer. I am 2 floors away from the bedrooms. I do understand and acknowledge the in-room benefits of sound isolation but it's simply outside of scope due to cost, time commitment, and having to gut the room including all existing lighting, receptacles, and HVAC ductwork.

Some renderings of what I'm thinking for the completed room: I'm not 100% set on the more traditional look (with wood trimmed columns and faux wainscotting on the bottom walls) or if I'm going to go more towards a fully fabric approach. I do think, at the very least, the full perimeter of the upper 2/3rds of so of the room with be fabric covered with the latest philosophies of sound treatment. I certainly am looking for feedback on alternate ideas. I still don't know what I want to do with the fireplace sized "nook" on the right wall. Part of me is thinking to make it a hidden closet for blankets, OEM remotes, ect. (but it's where I side surround would be), the other part of me thinks I can cram a near field sub in there, and another thought it to simply close it off like it never existed.











 

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Discussion Starter #3
Equipment List (nothing purchased yet)
Video

Projector: Epson 5050UB (or 6050UB) - I have to decide if I'm going to make a projector shelf aligned with the soffit. I did this in my last theater and it made changing bulbs more complicated, but it hid the white Epson housing.
Screen: Seymour Centerstage XD - Looking at around 130" 16:9 based on current design, will DIY an end with dimensions perfect to what is desired when the time comes

Audio
AVR: Denon x4700h (or x3700h) - Need to make a post in the Denon 2020 AVR thread, I'm thinking a x3700h paired to more external amplifcation is a better way to spend dollars than just the additions with the x4700h)
External Amplifier: Emotiva BasX - undecided exact configuration, but may do the 7-channel paired with the x3700h, leaving only atmos overheads to be powered from AVR)
Front LCR: DIY Soundgroup HTM-12 or 1099. I think the HTM-12 will cover the theater needs plenty without the additional cost of the 1099, however stock is a problem and I'm likely going to the pull the trigger on first available.
Side/Rear Surround: DIY Soundgroup HT-10 - These will reside within the columns
Atmos: Undecided - I'd like to stay with the DIY Soundgroup but an in-wall might be a better choice.
Subs: Two 21" Devestator builds - Using 21" LaVoce SAN214.50 driver - Enclosure design more shallow (but wider and taller) for behind the screen placement
DSP: MiniDSP HD - For Sub integration and timing

Sources
AppleTV 4k
Nvidia Sheild
Playstation 4
Playstation 5 (when released)
HTPC - high end gaming build (2080ti) and looking into MadVR


Misc
Remote: Logitech Elite - Used on my last theater - fit my needs well
Lighting: Undecided - I used Smarthome stuff in my last theater but that technology feels a little dated now (powerline communication). I do want multiple zones and have remote control of the zones from the Harmony.
Seating: Undecided - Last home ended up with some old Berklines in the rear and HT Market Pembrokes in the front. I will want the front row to be power recline, headrest, and such. Back row will be matching leather but probably manual recline and a cheaper seat to save on costs.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Reserved
 

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Steve,

I sent you a PM, but I am in a very similar situation, with a lot of the same. I have an EPSON 5040UB....and I'm close to acquiring the same Denon 4700. I am also in a position to have the ability to build some false walls and I'm trying to decide on a transparent screen. While I don't have some of the room issues with shape, etc...I think I can learn a lot here.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'd wall off the bow of the ship in your new entry, put a door and create storage. I've worked with a room that had a bow and it was just a waste. Even just doing part will help.
Yeah, I've thought about what to do there, and had the same conclusion, but the wife really wants to avoid the 2 interior doors close together like that. She suggested so some of floating shelves or something, but I told her that when you see it in person that angle is going to make the usability rough. Maybe some sort of bookshelf hidden door type of thing would be better for her. Anyway, for the timing being I'm hoping to get started on this in the next few days. Step one is tearing the existing carpet out, which sadly is nice carpet in good shape, just not colored suitable for a theater. A had couple of quick construction questions.

1) I have helped doing some framing during volunteer work, habitat for humanity type stuff, and I'm usually somewhat crafty and capable when doing things I've not done to many times. I want to build the wall(s) myself, the one thing I'm uncertain about, and google isn't helping much, is framing against that angled wall towards the front of the room. Any pointers?

2) Any reason to, or not to, frame against the finished drywall of the ceiling? It'd certainly be easier when doing the finishing work, but I don't know if there are long term effects of having drywall between framed mounting surfaces.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I just now realized that I hadn't posted any images of the actual room in it's current state.

This is from the rest of the basement looking into the theater room. The corner closest to the camera where the LG TV box is is going to be where I eventually seal over the entry to complete the "theater lobby". This will come after the build and when we finalize what we want to do with the rest of the basement.
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This is the existing riser. It was made from 2x8s with a single 1/2" OSB on top.
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Looking on to the screen wall. Previous owner left their screen. Quick measurements has this at a 133" screen. Not tons of height to go bigger but tons of wasted space to the sides. This is one of the key reasons I wanted to close the room in some and compress the width. I don't need to light up a giant screen that I sit further away from and have all of the dead space.
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Fireplace nook that previous owner used as an equipment rack. I'm still deciding what my finished walls are going to be like. If any portion of the surface is painted drywall then I'll probably just frame this in and drywall over it. If I end up going with a fabric frame walls then I mean keep this in play, dummied behind the fabric frames and maybe it can have a near field sub.
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Yay for a Radon pipe that is in my way. It'll still stick up some over the riser that I currently have planned so I'll have to create some clever solution. I also need to research about reasonable needs to access this. Above where it enters in the drywall is a access cover with a gauge, I'll keep that accessible but this pipe otherwise just goes into the concrete floor and 90s into the wall.
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And looking back into the rest of the basement.
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I've officially gotten underway on construction. Not that I've done much.

I threw some plastic partitions up, just temporarily to try and get a feel for the rooms smaller dimensions. Not sure if this was notable effective as they room still felt big, but I guess an 18' x 16 1/2' room is still in fact a decent size.
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Then came the first step. Remove existing carpet and demolish the existing riser.
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I currently don't have anywhere to place the now removed material, so I'm just setting it off to the side until I get the entry wall built.
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Lastly, a gripe. While I don't have any experience laying carpet and with that no experience attaching the carpet tack strips to a concrete floor. There was a what seemed excessive to me number of anchors/nails in the concrete to hold these strips down. Sometimes 3 within about 2 linear inches. I just used the claw side of a hammer to pry them up but in many cases small chunks of the concrete floor came out with it. Very annoying. They probably could have gotten away with at least 1/3rd of what they used. Anyway I removed all the tack strips where the riser is going to be and left the rest of the perimeter for my future carpet installation.
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opinion alert*
I’m not sure you want to go too narrow...

I noticed that you have 2 rows of seating.


You might want to make sure of the dimensions of your seating before you narrow your theatre down and make sure you like the distance between the wall and edge of the seating to move between the rows.

I ended up having to get a 4 seater with a center love seat because it would have been way too tight with a four single seater. It also ruled out curved rows.

I ended up with a 124” seat, set in a room that is 186” wide, leaving me 31” on each side, minus column widths/wall treatments so I have about 25” left over at the narrowest point.

I would have liked to have a little extra width to give me a few more options.


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Discussion Starter #13
opinion alert*
I’m not sure you want to go too narrow...

I noticed that you have 2 rows of seating.


You might want to make sure of the dimensions of your seating before you narrow your theatre down and make sure you like the distance between the wall and edge of the seating to move between the rows.
Yeah, I battled that in my previous theater that was only 14.75' wide. I've not chosen my exact seats but I have a range in mind. Wife has always demanded a loveseat config so that saves me some space. The new theater is nearly 16.5' wide with the reduction, and I certainly would choose a few more inches for this reason if I could. I basically made the reduction that smallest I could go. It's either where I currently am, no reduction at all, or more reduction. There isn't an option for less reduction that I can see.

Another trigger I pulled in my last theater was to offset the seating by a few inches. If this is your first theater I think you'll find only 1 of the 2 aisles to get to the back row are commonly used. A 2" or so offset won't likely be noticed in the symmetry and can make the primary walkway more comfortable.

In the end, I've learned with every project, there is often a compromise with a multitude of constraints.
 

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I thought about the offset, and will probably do it because I think that the door side will get used a lot more. Want to get the seating in the room and see how it feels before I commit to it, so was using the “worst case” calculations


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Discussion Starter #15
I'm working on finishing up a construction design of the new entry wall, stage, and riser so I can put together a material list of lumber, OSB, and Drywall. I don't have a vehicle big enough to pick these materials up myself so I'll either be scheduling delivery or renting a cargo van. While working on this I've started to think through cable pulls and wiring. With HDMI 2.1 on the horizon, and 48gbs protocol, I'm curious where everyone is finding cables long enough. Although I won't be utilizing HDMI 2.1 initially, I'd rather pull the correct cable through for the future. I don't plan on tearing out all existing drywall so putting a conduit in would be a challenge.
 

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Monoprice. I would seriously consider putting in a conduit to future proof especially if you are doing other drywall work in the space.
Yeah, I think I'm going to hold off on a $230 HDMI cable for the time being. Looks like they are still buggy. HVAC is in the way of doing a conduit, I will pull a few pull strings. Given that we've yet to get native 4k in the popular Epson series, and really only in the high end projectors, I don't see HDMI 2.1 features being something I have anytime soon. I do game a bit, and I would like to have something that does 4k 120Hz and I'll be getting new consoles and an Nvidia 3090 GPU, but even then I can't assume I'll be able to hit 4k 120fps anytime soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Got my first delivery of materials. Decided I'll break it up in batches given the pace I'm going at this solo as I don't want the lumber to warp just waiting for me to get to it. Lowes' $59 delivery made it much easier than renting or borrowing a truck. Got a little extra lumber because I knew some of it would be poor. This was the lumber to finish the entry wall and to build out the riser. Also got a few sheets of drywall.

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I unknowingly got the green "bathroom/kitchen" mold resistant drywall as the search results page from lowes.com did not clearly indicate it.

Got the wall up as well. Technically my first wall I've ever done myself. I did not win any speed awards and took the time to be as precise as possible with all dimensions. The entry to the room is offset by a few inches on one side versus the other. Not sure why this was done unless either someone made a mistake when finishing the basement or there was a constraint behind drywall that I cannot see. This meant that I took dimensions off of the opposing theater wall (16 1/2 feet away) so the room itself would be square.
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It was also fun using the ramset "gun" for anchoring the bottom plate to the concrete floor.

I realized that I had never placed my HVAC registers in sketchup and therefor realized that I will need to extend the register in this photo through my soffit.

Up next I'll be building and wiring the riser. Unfortunately I have to work through this weekend so not sure when I'm going to get a solid crack at it. Also, I'm looking into either a entry to middle-of the-road track saw or the kreg circular saw track for cutting sheet material. Would love feedback. Probably not going to spring for the expensive units. I do not currently have a tablesaw and hoping to avoid one due to comfort of ripping and cross-cutting full sheets on a small table tablesaw which would be what I'd be working with if I had one. If I only I had the space for a full shop then I'd build out a large table and lean towards the table saw route.
 

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I can confirm the ramset is satisfying to use. ha ha ha. You mentioned the HVAC but are you going to do something with those lights? I would be more inclined to not touch the HVAC (having just added a register to my room that previously had none) and just move those lights.

Did you test out the noise level in the house by playing some loud music to make sure the soundproofing met your needs? I would hate to find out after you do all this work that the previous owner didn't do work that met your standards.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I can confirm the ramset is satisfying to use. ha ha ha. You mentioned the HVAC but are you going to do something with those lights? I would be more inclined to not touch the HVAC (having just added a register to my room that previously had none) and just move those lights.
Two of those lights will be covered by the soffit. The other two will probably get covered as well as they likely won't be positioned correctly within the new room. I've not detailed out a lighting plan, but I know I will have some cans in the ceiling there along with the Atmos speakers.

Did you test out the noise level in the house by playing some loud music to make sure the soundproofing met your needs? I would hate to find out after you do all this work that the previous owner didn't do work that met your standards.
The previous owner didn't take any sound-proofing measures. I already know and have accepted based on having a high-output theater (four 18" Infinite Baffle) in my previous home what to expect. I would of course preferred to do the whole soundproofed solution, moreso for the quality gains inside the room rather than outside of it, but my wife and I decided against due to cost, time, and the impact of a loud theater to our living situation being relatively minimal. That said I am running a headphone cable from the AVR to the riser, along with bass tranducer wiring, so if need be late at night I can still get some enjoyment! I'll be 40 next year, and a few years older than my wife, so I'm usually in bed before her anyway.
 
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