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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, I have temporarily titled this theater the 'second shot' as this is my second build. The first one I did it all myself, riser, stage, low voltage wiring, acoustic treatments, everything except the external walls, door, electrical and drywalling. This time I would like to get more help from the contractors but need to know more to instruct them. I've spent hundreds of hours on this site in the past but haven't been here a lot lately so need to catch up a bit.

The new build:

a) This is a new custom home build and adding the theater in the basement
b) Seating for two main viewers with option for another two or three is fine
c) Will use it for movies, TV, blu ray concerts, and music listening
d) occasional use as a studio for recording music but that is secondary to the theater function
e) The dimensions are currently just under 18 feet long, 16 feet wide and 11'6" tall
f) Two of the walls are solid concrete underground
g) equipment closet is behind the screen
h) I have a weird jog in the wall I need advice on. Should I square this off or leave it and use the additional space? See pic.
I) Soundproofing. I'm thinking of resilient channel with OSB and 5/8 drywall and GG for ceiling. Double Drywall and GG for interior walls. Back boxes for pot lights and atmos speakers. Staggered stud or double wall for the interior walls.
J) I already bought a projector so I'm going with just a BenQ H3550 for now Fixed screen 150" diagonal.
k) Sound is planned to be 7.1.4. I brought my speakers from my previous build (Paradigm Studio V3's, and purchased a bunch of Paradigm CS 60 SQM's for in ceiling. Note my surrounds are dipoles and not sure how they will react with the atmos speakers in ceiling. Rear speakers are bookshelf style which I had mounted with brackets in my previous build. Hiding speakers is not a big concern for me.

Questions at this point.
a) are my dimensions okay? I have a little leeway on the width and some on height (can drop lower if needed) but not much I can do about length.
b) as noted above, the jog at the front of the room. Should I square that off or use that space? If I use it, how should I treat it acoustically to avoid weird reflections?
c) I have a lot of ceiling to play with. This cost me a lot of money to dig this into the side of a hill. What is the best use of that height?
d) I have q's about the ceiling and the resilient channel thing. If I were to drop the ceiling in parts to say, mount some speakers and pot lights, will this wreck my soundproofing? Do I cut holes in my drywall OSB sandwich or drop something below that to cut some holes in for lights and speakers?
e) HVAC. This is a big one. I wasted a lot of time and effort and money on last build only to have the HVAC transmit the sound though my previous home in ways that the wife was not happy with. Would like to avoid that but don't have a lot of extra money for stand alone a/c etc. Floors will be heated floors so that might help avoid some need for holes.
f) Soffits. I'm pretty sure soffits will be my friend to get HVAC and other things into the room but not sure where I should put these.
g) acoustic treatment plan is to do front wall (minus the screen) and half the side walls in acoustic cotton with GOM over top. Leaving back wall live with maybe some reflection back there QRD? Bass trapping in soffits on ceiling and maybe built into the rear riser (which I plan to fill with Safe and sound and maybe just cut some holes to make that a bass trap?


I'm sure I will have a lot more questions but this is lots to start with.

 

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Discussion Starter #2
Maybe I have too much in one post? Should I break my questions down in separate posts/threads?
 

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d) backer boxes are your friend for recessed lights and speakers to preserve your sound isolation plans. I like to hang them off the channels so they don't ruin the decoupling effect.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
d) backer boxes are your friend for recessed lights and speakers to preserve your sound isolation plans. I like to hang them off the channels so they don't ruin the decoupling effect.
Thanks Big,

That helps a lot. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
How important is a fifth seat?

Could you flip the room 180 degrees? And maybe host the pj in a hush box, and tie it all close to the av rack?
Tedd, thanks for responding.

Fifth seat is not critical. Mostly for two people.

Unfortunately I can't flip it because there has to be a window for egress at the back of the room. I plan to plug this with a removable plug but putting a screen in front of it would not be safe. I can't move the window without many weeks of delay as the city would have to review and approve a new plan if I move any windows.
 

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I saw the egress and figured it was a window. But does a screen actually need to be fixed? Could it be hinged, and swing out of the way. A door could be in front of the egress window, and
that whole front wall could present as a fabric wall.

You would need to inform guests about the hidden egress.

And you'd certainly want a smoke detector in the room, daisy chained to those outside the theater.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I saw the egress and figured it was a window. But does a screen actually need to be fixed? Could it be hinged, and swing out of the way. A door could be in front of the egress window, and
that whole front wall could present as a fabric wall.

You would need to inform guests about the hidden egress.

And you'd certainly want a smoke detector in the room, daisy chained to those outside the theater.
Definitely something to consider. I have learned to accept some projector noise over the years but it would be wonderful to not have to contend with it, especially in quiet scenes. That hush box outside the room presumably would be up high so I would have access to the bathroom. I believe some of the ductwork is currently planned to go through that area as well. The throw on my Benq H3550 is short so that probably would not work for this setup. I just bought it on BF on sale and it will be in the box for probably another 8 months before I put it up.

I dunno about a hinged screen. We are talking a 150 inch diagonal screen with speakers in front of it. At some point I think I'd just be kidding myself that anyone could get out of the room in an emergency. As Big notes, it would not pass inspection so I would have to set that all up post inspection. In reality, the likelihood that people would not be able to walk out the main theater door is pretty low and much of what we are doing is simply for re-sale value if someone wants to turn the theater into a bedroom in the future.

I do like having everything behind the viewer. That is how I had my last theater set up and it was very nice having all the gear tied in close to the equipment closet. But I also had three long throw projectors I bought over the years which I bought for that purpose.

I like maybe doing without the riser. It would solve my problem of in floor heating which the riser will mess up. But I like the riser to hide power receptacles for my power recliners and I also like to use them for in situ bass traps. This is hard.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I saw the egress and figured it was a window. But does a screen actually need to be fixed? Could it be hinged, and swing out of the way. A door could be in front of the egress window, and
that whole front wall could present as a fabric wall.

You would need to inform guests about the hidden egress.

And you'd certainly want a smoke detector in the room, daisy chained to those outside the theater.
Running some more numbers. If I went to a 170" diagonal screen I might be able to do the hush box idea outside the theater. I think it would stretch the projector to its limits as it is a short throw and require a higher gain screen to get the lumens to make this work though. Got a lot of height to work with so maybe dropping ceiling in the hallway to the bathroom would permit this.

I'd have to do this all post inspection as I don't see a hinged screen being of this size being feasible.
 

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One advantage of a single row is you have some room depth to play with. The front wall could come forward a bit, and a hush box needn't be
flush with the back wall. And does the screen actually need to be flush with the front wall? I've seen a few screens that are proud of the wall,
and I wonder if that might be room enough for a steel support frame, and maybe accommodate some sort of substantial gate hardware?

The weight of such a frame would also be supported on both ends, and I'd expect one could hang that weight off the end of four or five ball bearing
hinges without any issues.

There has been some home theaters that do skirt code, post inspection.

Admittedly some of this is more about engineering and some custom fabrication, and potentially skirting around an inspection, but I don't think it
would all that hard, to have safe and fast egress. You could also be upfront about it, and simply ask at the building department. I would be more
worried about wanting to hit a certain "stealth" factor then a swing screen representing a barrier.
 

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How deeply embedded is the radiant heat?

I would think that a cut channel for the power could be very shallow, and a piece of steel as a cover would be make it all safe. The electrical box itself,
could simply be surface mounted, under the seating.

I've seen the gas lift screens. Cineramax also did a massive swing screen frame (but swift access wasn't a factor, just service access). Bluer101 did a small
swing screen in his small room, where the pivot isn't right at the very end. That could get bigger with steel, and there might be a good opportunity to
counterbalance, if the front wall was moved forward a bit. That also could provide a recess for a custom built subwoofer niche in the far corner, with a subwoofer
cabinet that is vertical.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
How deeply embedded is the radiant heat?

I would think that a cut channel for the power could be very shallow, and a piece of steel as a cover would be make it all safe. The electrical box itself,
could simply be surface mounted, under the seating.

I've seen the gas lift screens. Cineramax also did a massive swing screen frame (but swift access wasn't a factor, just service access). Bluer101 did a small
swing screen in his small room, where the pivot isn't right at the very end. That could get bigger with steel, and there might be a good opportunity to
counterbalance, if the front wall was moved forward a bit. That also could provide a recess for a custom built subwoofer niche in the far corner, with a subwoofer
cabinet that is vertical.
I can't really see me trying to set up a gas powered hinge for a 150-170" screen. I'll have to check with my builder about codes. To my understanding the building code does not require this egress unless the room is being used as a bedroom. We did not have to put this huge window in this spot except we wanted to keep the design a bit flexible in case a future buyer decided they wanted another bedroom versus a theater. If the builder tells me it is okay to do without the egress I would go with it. There is a whole wall of patio doors and a main entrance on the other end of the room connected to the theater. It would be a very unusual safety situation to choose to go through this window and then crawl up to the surface (the floor of this room is 11'6" below ground).

One alternative that might keep everyone happy would be to simply set the frame on hangers of some sort so you could just lift it up and move it to the side in an emergency.

I could probably shorten the room a bit if I built out that wall to hide speakers and so forth. I don't want to lose too much length as I want a 7.1.4 setup and need some room behind the seating to let the sound bloom properly from the rear wall mounted speakers.

Cutting channels into the concrete for power access to the chairs sounds interesting. I have no idea how deep the radiant heat elements are. They are tubes that carry hot water from a tank to various zones in the basement. Accidentally cutting one of those tubes would likely be very expensive. Will have to check with the builder about how deep they set those in the floor. Would a subfloor work with radiant heat and maybe provide a channel for power etc.?

What are the advantages of having a hush box partly out of the room and partly in it? For sound isolation (for the room) it might be best to build it completely inside the room but flush on the wall (like a shelf mounted projector with a hush box)? That could also give me some length for the projector throw and bump up the lumens. Maybe have access to it through the back from the hallway?
 

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The answer might be as simple as 3-4 $10 aluminum cleats, to hang the screen. As you say, it's not a bedroom and you do have basement egress. If it's a bedroom, then
there's no screen, and a very small number of holes to patch.

I would guess the radiant tubing would be buried deep enough to mean the floor would be free of cracking. A subfloor can work with radiant heat. I have been in exactly one Toronto
home theater with radiant heat and that was only in the underpinned front row floor area. The usual issue with a home theater is it often needs cooling, but keeping the heat of an
av rack and projector out of the theater, and with limited bodies, should really cut down on the cooling needs.

The builder would be a good reference, and could tell you how that radiant tubing is set, and if there was any quoted specification on the concrete covering layer.

A hush box partially exposed would be all about throw distance. My preference would be all ideally hosting the hush box in the back wall, and keeping any soffits
as minimal as possible. I would come at this as looking for a number set with the screen being as wide as the seating, while looking at the front speaker spread,
and working to see how close to 60 degree front speaker spread as I could possibly get. That would ball park the screen size, and one could then fine tune it to
personal viewing angle preferences, with perhaps a small step back, to accommodate guests.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The answer might be as simple as 3-4 $10 aluminum cleats, to hang the screen. As you say, it's not a bedroom and you do have basement egress. If it's a bedroom, then
there's no screen, and a very small number of holes to patch.

I would guess the radiant tubing would be buried deep enough to mean the floor would be free of cracking. A subfloor can work with radiant heat. I have been in exactly one Toronto
home theater with radiant heat and that was only in the underpinned front row floor area. The usual issue with a home theater is it often needs cooling, but keeping the heat of an
av rack and projector out of the theater, and with limited bodies, should really cut down on the cooling needs.

The builder would be a good reference, and could tell you how that radiant tubing is set, and if there was any quoted specification on the concrete covering layer.

A hush box partially exposed would be all about throw distance. My preference would be all ideally hosting the hush box in the back wall, and keeping any soffits
as minimal as possible. I would come at this as looking for a number set with the screen being as wide as the seating, while looking at the front speaker spread,
and working to see how close to 60 degree front speaker spread as I could possibly get. That would ball park the screen size, and one could then fine tune it to
personal viewing angle preferences, with perhaps a small step back, to accommodate guests.
Great points and thanks for the additional info. I think 150" screen is likely to have the best viewing characteristics for this size room. With the short throw on this projector I would need to mount it within the room.

Although I am now really in favour of flipping the design to have the screen over the window, I'm starting to wonder about soffits etc. in the front of the theater. My last build had a large soffit over the screen which could be used for lights, hvac, and bass trapping as well as framing in the screen a bit (is that what you meant by shadow box?). This would be problematic I think as the soffit would have to go directly in front of the egress window. I can't think of a way around that problem other than having no soffits in the front of the room at all.

Every solution seems to create other issues.:confused:
 

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Do you actually need soffits? Could a cloud ceiling and backer boxes accommodate wiring runs? This is more a European look, then the soffits/wainscoting/stage/riser look that
is very North American.
 

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How likely are you to convert this space, back to a bedroom?

I see BigmouthinDC's two goal post AT screen layout as something that would make for easy removal, and easy patching if it went back to a bedroom space. The AT screen also wouldn't reduce the actual volume of the room.
And it could shorten the throw distance.

I am not sure about the closet measurements, but I expect one could frame in the original; double door and host an av rack sitting on some steel angle iron run wall to wall, that would allow for access to the back of the rack,
underneath. I like a rack that has screen sightlines, while it is located outside the room.

You wouldn't need soffits if you did fabric side walls, as some conduit runs could get wiring from the av closet to the front AT space. The "soffits" I would consider, would be dropped ceiling outside the theater, to bring in cool air
and to exhaust warm air from the av closet. The hush box would also exchange air and take advantage of the high ceiling, right outside the bath room.

Big's backer boxes could also host lighting, and utilize the floor joist space. One could plan for the screen spots and series of matching ones would likely end up over the seating, so they might come out rather symmetrical, if
and when the AT screen was ever to be pulled. Those backer boxes can also be a nice toll for ATMOS overhead speakers, as they can extend the room's shell, and ensure a constant air volume behind the speaker.

A proper home theatre design is often a series of shifts, to get at a set of numbers that work well for the audio and the video.

And that comes full circle to the egress....
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Do you actually need soffits? Could a cloud ceiling and backer boxes accommodate wiring runs? This is more a European look, then the soffits/wainscoting/stage/riser look that
is very North American.
I don't 'need' soffits. Just saw these as a nice way to hide ducts and wires.

Not familiar with cloud ceilings. I associate that with hanging diffusers in studios and concert halls. Do you have any links to home theaters using that approach? Sounds interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
How likely are you to convert this space, back to a bedroom?

I see BigmouthinDC's two goal post AT screen layout as something that would make for easy removal, and easy patching if it went back to a bedroom space. The AT screen also wouldn't reduce the actual volume of the room.
And it could shorten the throw distance.

I am not sure about the closet measurements, but I expect one could frame in the original; double door and host an av rack sitting on some steel angle iron run wall to wall, that would allow for access to the back of the rack,
underneath. I like a rack that has screen sightlines, while it is located outside the room.

You wouldn't need soffits if you did fabric side walls, as some conduit runs could get wiring from the av closet to the front AT space. The "soffits" I would consider, would be dropped ceiling outside the theater, to bring in cool air
and to exhaust warm air from the av closet. The hush box would also exchange air and take advantage of the high ceiling, right outside the bath room.

Big's backer boxes could also host lighting, and utilize the floor joist space. One could plan for the screen spots and series of matching ones would likely end up over the seating, so they might come out rather symmetrical, if
and when the AT screen was ever to be pulled. Those backer boxes can also be a nice toll for ATMOS overhead speakers, as they can extend the room's shell, and ensure a constant air volume behind the speaker.

A proper home theatre design is often a series of shifts, to get at a set of numbers that work well for the audio and the video.

And that comes full circle to the egress....
Tedd, I really like your idea there with the rack space. Looks like a much more efficient use of that area. I would even consider turning the rack and have a glass door facing into the room. That is what I did in my last theater build and it looked cool but without the distracting lights as they are behind the audience.
 
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