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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The theater is 99.9% done and I wanted to thank everyone for their help in this. All that's left to do is finish the hush box and the rack cosmetics (still waiting on a few amps) and we're basically good to go. I'll try to get a picture or two up soon, but I need to get a tripod and figure out how to take shots in the blackhole that is the theater (see Lessons Learned below :))

Special Thanks:

Dennis Erskine--for the design, endless counseling and making things right with a problem piece of equipment

Carey Coggins--for a great deal on the G90

William Phelps--for the G90 mounting specs and tweaked seating layout

Roger Galvin--for the G90 setup and HTPC tweaking

Mike Parker--for his modified Radeon 7500 card with RGBHV BNCs and a much, much lower noise floor

Kei Clark @ Digital Connections--for getting my HTPC to me on time

Randy White @ Llano Design Group--for making nice amps (and for offering a much better solution than originally planned)


Room is 25' L x 12' W x 10' H with false screenwall, 10" rear seating platform, perimeter soffit and side/rear columns to break up the room mode issues. Theater-Shield+ in the ceiling joist cavities, screenwall cavity and below ear level on the walls/columns; 10oz. batting above ear level. Black GoM FR701/2100 fabric on ceiling, false screenwall, side/rear walls and all columns. Uplighting provided using a light tray mounted off the soffit. Carpet is a commercial grade 28oz. "midnight" grey/black heather over a 7.5 lbs. synthetic pad on concrete slab. Moulding is flat stained Colonial Maple, at floor, chair rail and crown. Rear entry door is an IAC STC 51 model, painted flat back. First row seating is two Berkline 090 recliners with a central wedge arm, black leather. Second row seating is three Berkline 090 recliners with end arms, black leather (no central arms due to room width limitations). Dedicated 20A circuits for all non-rack equipment and amps; remaining rack equipment shares a 20A circuit using a BPT 2.5 unit.


Sony G90 + PSS-90 Mount + Unistrut (17" ceiling drop)

Stewart Horizontal ScreenWall ElectriMask (100"x56.25") THX Microperf Ultramatte 150

Digital Connections Titan HD Pro HTPC

....P4/1.8, 512MB RAM, 40GB+120GB Removable HD, XP Pro

....Mike Parker Modified Radeon 7500

....HiPix HDTV Card

....M-Audio Audiophile 24/96

....TheaterTek, Powerstrip, etc.

Extron SW 6 AR MX HV Switcher and IR 101 Remote

Lexicon MC-12B

Llano Design Trinity 300-1 Mono Amp (Front Left)

Llano Design Trinity 300-1 Mono Amp (Center)

Llano Design Trinity 300-1 Mono Amp (Front Right)

Llano Design Trinity 300-2 Stereo Amp (Side Left/Right)

Llano Design Trinity 300-2 Stereo Amp (Rear Left/Right)

Aerial Acoustics LR5s (Front Left/Right)

Aerial Acoustics CC5 (Center)

Aerial Acoustics SR3s (Side Left/Right)

Aerial Acoustics LR3s (Rear Left Right)

Aerial Acoustics SW12

BPT 2.5 Balanced Power Conditioner

Rhino Cables 25' Belden 1694a RGBHV Snake

AVCable LC1 Balanced Interconnects (8), SPDIF Digital Coax (2) and 3' HRGB RGBHV Snakes (2)

Middle Atlantic Slim 5 5-29 Racks (3)

Lessons Learned:

"Soundproofing" is a fine way to spend yourself into bankruptcy. There is no practical way to truly soundproof a room from all extraneous sounds. I got the room quiet enough, though, that the G90 (which isn't that loud of a projector) sounds like a 747 taking off, thus the hushbox retrofit. It's a slippery slope!

Black fabric and light don't mix. I modified the recommended lighting plan to try and rid myself of any "reminder" of a light source (e.g., no sconces, no cans, etc.). I accomplished this using just the light tray. I wish I hadn't...even with 2000W (34K lumens!) of uplighting, you can't even see the details of the room. Major mistake on my part, but I can live with it--it's enough to let you see your way to a seat, and then the lights go off anyway. Plus, I doubt I'll ever have to clean this room--you couldn't see any dirt is you had to! :)

Heatpumps whine--and the whine carries through the lines running into your house. It took a LOT of Theater-Shield+ and insulation to minimize the HVAC lines running across the ceiling of the theater room. It would have required a significant amount of re-work to move the lines out of harm's way, though.

Watch your electrician like a hawk--mine had to make three return trips to fix the screw-ups.

And don't think you can have too many amps at your beck and call, despite what everyone will tell you. I have had a LOT of people tell me that I was a fool to plug each Llano amp into a 20A circuit...but because of the huge initial power draw of this type of amp, I routinely trip the 20A breakers turning the amps on. The designer noted that some of his clients have had to go to 30A circuits to avoid the turn on trip. If I had listened to my electrician on this (he wanted to put all the amps on one 20A circuit, "because they'll never draw that much wattage"), I would be looking at a LOT of messy rework to fix this issue.

Sometimes IR repeater systems break--and chasing down all the wiring can be a pain if you don't carefully label each run and make it accessible.

Wide diameter conduits can help you pulling new cable, but they can also transmit sound--they need to be stuffed with something at each end (e.g., Theater-Shield+ in my case).

Never assume that you'll be 100% finished: I now crave a JVC D-Theater deck, which means I need to get a YPrPb to RGBHV transcoder to add to the mix.

Sorry for the long post--it's been 9 long months of planning, designing and building! To anyone sitting on the fence about building a home theater, remember that it's usually better to have something good now than to wait for something better later!

1,324 Posts

Dennis Erskine theater #3 (Cain and mine being the others) finishing up at the same time. Yours sounds decidendly more "high end" than mine, just looking at your equipment list. Yikes. Nice stuff. I am making do with Adcom amps and a Lexicon MC-1. As an aside, my theory this time was to spend the big bucks on the ROOM and get by with modest equipment, at least to start, and I am not (at all!) dissappointed in the sound. Of course, having a well designed and constructed room AND great equipment would be even better.

"I feel your pain" when it comes to the lighting. Ye gads man, what were you thinking! ;) Uplighting onto black fabric? I have 19 recessed lights in my ceiling (I know, "cans" are bad - sound transmission and rattles) and they don't even BEGIN to light up the walls or ceiling, both of which I spent a LOT of time on, getting just perfect. ::sigh:: Maybe the side emitting fiber in the sofits will help, but I still don't think they will shed any light on the walls.

I put in just two 20 amp circuits to my equipment rack and it was hard enough convincing the electrician that was necessary.

Do post pictures. It sounds like quite a theater.


Premium Member
4,827 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Does anyone have a good source for search lights? I'm thinking this is the only way I'm going to pick up any detail at all in pictures. :) My test photos so far show (1) my total lack of composition experience and (2) varying shades of black. If you look closely, you can almost see the outline of a theater-like room. I'm getting a tripod and a few 500W halogen spots to try it again. I will wait until the hushbox is done before posting, though, so as not to scare anyone--the projector mount looks like an extra from The Terminator right now.
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