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Discussion Starter #1
Yes, it's a direct Firefly reference. :D

Ok, I really need your help in designing my small dedicated HT (11' 6" X 17' 2" X 9'). I have read so many build threads here and I am blown away by the the knowledge, talent and creativity you all possess. We just moved into a brand new home with a builder-grade dedicated HT. We bought the house after it was built so we were unable to have any influence on how it was constructed.

One glaring issue that I know I need to resolve is a bad echo in the room so I really need help with sound management. That being said, I am not interested in ripping everything down to the studs for soundproofing. My main objective is quality of sound within the room, I care less about sound exiting the room. Plus, with such small room dimensions, de-coupling with two layers of 5/8" will squeeze an already tight space even more. I assume this is the first challenge I need to address. Any thoughts on how to tackle this?

Here are the particulars:
  • The room is 11' 6" X 17' 2" (9' high)
  • Small riser - 11' 6" X 5' (only 6.5" high) - I am not opposed to deconstructing the riser to change its size or flip the room orientation.
  • Front row viewr to front wall - 12'
  • Back row viewer to front wall - 16'
  • There are two external walls insulted, two interior walls are not
  • Attic above is readily accessible - no isulation directly on ceiling as underside of roof is heavily covered in spray foam.
So, where do I start? I want to do the best job I can given my objectives and the constraints of the small size. I am green as I have never done this but I have remodeled a kitchen and two bathrooms so I am quite handy.

I have pictures but need to figure out how to post them. Coming soon! Thanks in advance for your assistance!

Dave
 

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I highly suggest you start by getting the Home Theater Book, about a half year ago I started looking into Home Theater building and I was so overwhelmed. There is lots of good info out here, but with that book/website/videos/pictures it really combines everything on the forum into one central place, it will save you countless hours of scouring and wondering about how to do something. Also read the Sound Proofing and Acoustical Treatment sticky's on this forum, lots of great info in there. If you have echo problem't then the acoustical treatment thread will help a lot!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Here are some pics:



View of the back wall - Got a great deal on these leather swivel recliners. Very comfy and provide great flexibility.



View of the screen wall from the back row



The door as seen from inside the room - yes, they are hollow core :mad:



The riser - seriously doubt it's insulated



Attic above the room. As you can see, one AC in and one return out. Plenty of room for wiring and installing sound management material.



View into the room from the adjoining bonus/game room.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I highly suggest you start by getting the Home Theater Book, about a half year ago I started looking into Home Theater building and I was so overwhelmed. There is lots of good info out here, but with that book/website/videos/pictures it really combines everything on the forum into one central place, it will save you countless hours of scouring and wondering about how to do something. Also read the Sound Proofing and Acoustical Treatment sticky's on this forum, lots of great info in there. If you have echo problem't then the acoustical treatment thread will help a lot!
Thank you, Kanos! I will definitely do that.
 

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Attic above the room. As you can see, one AC in and one return out. Plenty of room for wiring and installing sound management material.
Good way to circulate about 3 feet of air at the ceiling. Was this room a change? I find it hard to believe the HVAC guy designed it like that.

Soundproofing aside, you need to move that return to the rear of the room, so it actually circulates air.

Is spending money on upgrading the HVAC in the budget, or are you going to reconfigure the existing to try and dampen sound and get better performance?

Tim
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Good way to circulate about 3 feet of air at the ceiling. Was this room a change? I find it hard to believe the HVAC guy designed it like that.

Soundproofing aside, you need to move that return to the rear of the room, so it actually circulates air.

Is spending money on upgrading the HVAC in the budget, or are you going to reconfigure the existing to try and dampen sound and get better performance?

Tim
Thank you, Tim.

In our model, that room can be built as a dedicated media room like this one or as a 7th bedroom (with windows and a closet obviously). My guess is the HVAC design is the same for either. I am certainly willing to invest in modifying the return if it's worth it. The return is actually a jump return to the large bonus room next to it. The bonus room has a large direct return to the air handler that services the second floor. I can tell you that return pulls air in aggressively when the fan is on.

I am open to running a new return from the rear of the HT and tapping in directly to the return line leading to the air handler. Both air handlers are in the attic so it's not an unreasonable or complicated task. Again, if it will make a material difference. I live in central Florida so the AC is on most of the time.

Air movement aside, is there any sound benefit to laying R30 or simialr material above the ceiling? From what I can tell, sound treatment above the ceiling is not necessary?

Hope that all made sense....:confused:
 

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Thank you, Tim.

In our model, that room can be built as a dedicated media room like this one or as a 7th bedroom (with windows and a closet obviously). My guess is the HVAC design is the same for either. I am certainly willing to invest in modifying the return if it's worth it. The return is actually a jump return to the large bonus room next to it. The bonus room has a large direct return to the air handler that services the second floor. I can tell you that return pulls air in aggressively when the fan is on.

I am open to running a new return from the rear of the HT and tapping in directly to the return line leading to the air handler. Both air handlers are in the attic so it's not an unreasonable or complicated task. Again, if it will make a material difference. I live in central Florida so the AC is on most of the time.

Air movement aside, is there any sound benefit to laying R30 or simialr material above the ceiling? From what I can tell, sound treatment above the ceiling is not necessary?

Hope that all made sense....:confused:
Still doesn't make sense.

Anyway...

Yes I would eliminate the "jump" duct and have it connected directly to the return plenum. Right now it is like a giant hole just letting sound in/out.

There are plenty of ways to mitigate the sound through the duct. Search for "dead vent".

Yes, there is benefit to having insulation above the ceiling (and in the walls), but you should also consider another layer of drywall and green glue.

Are you planning on any demolition or are you trying to keep the existing structure of the room?

Tim
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Still doesn't make sense.

Anyway...

Yes I would eliminate the "jump" duct and have it connected directly to the return plenum. Right now it is like a giant hole just letting sound in/out.

There are plenty of ways to mitigate the sound through the duct. Search for "dead vent".

Yes, there is benefit to having insulation above the ceiling (and in the walls), but you should also consider another layer of drywall and green glue.

Are you planning on any demolition or are you trying to keep the existing structure of the room?

Tim
I appreciate the feedback. I will research the dead vent suggestion and at the very least plan to modify it so it taps directly into the return line. I assume your suggestion to move the return to the back of the room is to get it further away from the AC vent itself? What if I installed a second AC vent in to the back of the room (closewr to the seating)? Same effect?

I do not care about sound leaving the room, only concerned about the quality of the sound in the room. I will consider minor demo where it makes sense but really want to stay away from total demo as soundproofing is not a concern at all. Will DD/GG help much if the walls are not de-coupled and the two interior walls are not even insulated?

Thanks again, my friend.
 

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I appreciate the feedback. I will research the dead vent suggestion and at the very least plan to modify it so it taps directly into the return line. I assume your suggestion to move the return to the back of the room is to get it further away from the AC vent itself? What if I installed a second AC vent in to the back of the room (closewr to the seating)? Same effect?

I do not care about sound leaving the room, only concerned about the quality of the sound in the room. I will consider minor demo where it makes sense but really want to stay away from total demo as soundproofing is not a concern at all. Will DD/GG help much if the walls are not de-coupled and the two interior walls are not even insulated?

Thanks again, my friend.
Yes, even if it is a "jump" and not a ducted return, what is happening now is that the cold air is being pushed out of the supply and immediately sucked into the return. It is not actually cooling the room. Now the "jump" is probably not that effective, so some of the cold air probably has a chance to circulate.

You don't want another supply over the seats. Dumping cold air on the occupants is generally uncomfortable. You want to dump the cold air in the front and draw it towards the rear.

Soundproofing should always be a concern, both to keep noise in and to keep noise out. Nothing like listening to your dishwasher run while you watch a movie.

A second layer of drywall and some green glue would be a strong recommendation (and require no demolition). Of course dust will be aplenty when it is spackled. There will be a marked improvement regardless of any other soundproofing measures you may or may not take.

If you were to add the second layer of drywall you could also improve the room by opening up around the electric boxes and sealing them with putty pads prior to adding the second layer. Put some seals on the door and you have a pretty decent aquarium.

Beyond that, for the best sound you should be considering some treatments all around and bass trapping in the corners.. and multiple subs, of course :)

Tim
 

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I second that idea for an Ib Sub or 2 up there. Lots of room up there in that Atic. Check out some threads of people who have done this in the search part of avs
 

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That attic is begging for an IB sub or two or four and you'll save space in your room.

This SHOULD be your very first choice when considering subs!!!!

IB subs take up ZERO floor space, unlike every other sub on the market or DIY. And all the DIY subs are beyond huge (b/c you can't DIY the electronics to DIY a tiny sub). Just too much space for bass. And, as you have already stated and titled your thread....space is a premium here. I would put a manifold with two 18's in front and another manifold with two 18's in the rear. The reason for a pair in each manifold is to eliminate vibrations and the reason for two manifolds in different locations is to greatly assist in smoothing out the bass response.

I separated my IB subs for this exact purpose and it worked like magic. I would also consider some ON or IN wall speakers to save more space.

If you're that confident that you don't mind the sound escaping, then I would NOT invest in the cost and mess of adding more drywall and expensive GG and pads. I would simply relocate the return vent, add some IB subs, install some in/on wall speakers, hang some DIY acoustical panels and call it a day.

After that MINIMUM investment in both COST and TIME, I would run through some movies and music. IF the sound escaping the room turns out to be more than YOU expected.....then at that time you can go to the trouble and expense of adding another layer of drywall and GG and pads.....But I definitely would NOT do it before seeing if the noise bothers you since you already have stated that it's not a big deal at this time.

Hope this helps!!!! :)



EDIT:
One other thing to remember regarding the trouble+expense of going the DD+GG route.....All that will be for not if you don't change your entry doors AS WELL !!! Those double doors are probably hollow, so any amount of sound isolation you do to the walls will be MINIMAL since you still have a large hole in that wall.

That's why the whole sound isolation thing can become VERY expensive. It's pretty much an all or nothing sort of thing.
 

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This SHOULD be your very first choice when considering subs!!!!

IB subs take up ZERO floor space, unlike every other sub on the market or DIY. And all the DIY subs are beyond huge (b/c you can't DIY the electronics to DIY a tiny sub). Just too much space for bass. And, as you have already stated and titled your thread....space is a premium here. I would put a manifold with two 18's in front and another manifold with two 18's in the rear. The reason for a pair in each manifold is to eliminate vibrations and the reason for two manifolds in different locations is to greatly assist in smoothing out the bass response.

I separated my IB subs for this exact purpose and it worked like magic. I would also consider some ON or IN wall speakers to save more space.

If you're that confident that you don't mind the sound escaping, then I would NOT invest in the cost and mess of adding more drywall and expensive GG and pads. I would simply relocate the return vent, add some IB subs, install some in/on wall speakers, hang some DIY acoustical panels and call it a day.

After that MINIMUM investment in both COST and TIME, I would run through some movies and music. IF the sound escaping the room turns out to be more than YOU expected.....then at that time you can go to the trouble and expense of adding another layer of drywall and GG and pads.....But I definitely would NOT do it before seeing if the noise bothers you since you already have stated that it's not a big deal at this time.

Hope this helps!!!! :)



EDIT:
One other thing to remember regarding the trouble+expense of going the DD+GG route.....All that will be for not if you don't change your entry doors AS WELL !!! Those double doors are probably hollow, so any amount of sound isolation you do to the walls will be MINIMAL since you still have a large hole in that wall.

That's why the whole sound isolation thing can become VERY expensive. It's pretty much an all or nothing sort of thing.
This is excellent advice.
 

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The room can't be more than 20 boards.. so 3 cases of green glue. I think you'd be all in for around $1000 in materials.

Yes, the door would be a definite weak point and in a perfect world I would replace it with a single, solid core door.

Depends what your budget, expectations and philosophy are.

The IB sub ideas sound great to me. I'm not knowledgeable about them, but I would definitely put them in two (or more!) different locations as suggested above. The only downside is you can't move them later to tweak them, so best to calculate exactly where they should be.

As for DIY subs, yep they're big (anything will be big in a small space; my MFWs are 2 foot cubes), but I don't think it has anything to do with electronics (minidsp or inuke dsp for that) but rather getting the volume of the enclosure large enough to get the response we want. With IB subs.. well, not a problem.

Tim
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks, guys!! You all have given me a ton to think about. I am not even sure what an IB sub is but you can best believe I will research them. Is there a thread or two you can steer me to?
 

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Post 15 rms8 did a set up in his ht room and has lots of pictures maybe it will give you an idea how they look. Also Google it there is a bunch of pictures and web sites that can explain it better than I can. Hope this helps
 

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your room sounds similar to mine - being on the 2nd floor and with the same dimensions (mine is 12 ft wide) i could not justify doing anything that would make the room smaller - i do have double doors as well but they are solid core and that does make a difference and my interior walls are also insulated but I did both of those as the house was built - i would consider in wall or in ceiling speakers for space reasons - i know ceilings are not the ideal ones but the ones i have are angled 30 degress to the viewer and sounds pretty good to my ears and since i needed to keep my av gear on one side of the screen and my movies on the other let me maximize the screen size - i do beleive that gg and another layer of dw would be a big improvement for outside the room and sound entering but it looks like you are not near anything that would make that a real issue - when i am watching in my room (next to a bonus room like yours) i cant hear anything outside of it at all and while listening at a comfortable level the sound out of the room is not too bad....my room is still in the building process but the screen wall is built and will be adding a 12in riser soon - my sub will be small as i just want to add some decent lows but not earth shaking but that is my preference due to the room location with the kids rooms near by - check out my thread to see - i would do the solid doors if i were you as i think that will make a difference and look at the acoustic threads about the panels and traps - (not there yet in my room). the hvac thing is sim to mine but would like have my ht on its own zone as it can get toasty in there since my gear is all in there as well -
 
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