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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all - we're getting close to starting our new home theater so it's time to start ironing some things out. I'd very much appreciate your thoughts and feedback.

The room is 15' x 24.5' with an 8.5' ceiling. There's an annoying beam to deal with that can be seen in the drawings I put together. We were thinking of doing a soffit around the left side of the room with a star ceiling, and most likely leaving the right side of the room (where the screen is) full height. Currently the walls in the room are drywalled, but we will most likely remove it all so that we can do electrical and cabling, insulate, and then probably one layer of drywall.

We're planning one riser (not sure how high - have to work around that stinkin' beam and projector placement) with a row of 4 seats, and another row of three seats on the floor. The drawings show the overall size of the 3 and 4 seat sets from a set from HT Market - would appreciate suggestions for power recline/head rest seating, too!). We're thinking screen will be a silver ticket 135" acoustically transparent option from amazon - again very much interested in thoughts/suggestions.

The two columns toward the front of the room currently exist and hide metal floor joists. Rather than try and fight with them, we thought we'd just suck it up and mirror them and install the left and right side surrounds in them along with a sconce.

For speakers, I'm toying with building something from DIY sound group, but have also considered some of the in-walls available on accessories4less or even monoprice. We had Klipsch in our last theater and appreciated the sound - so that's an option too. I'd really appreciate your thoughts on the speaker options. I'll build two 18" full marty's and position them on their side under the screen, behind a false wall that we'll probably cover with speaker cloth wrapped frames....I'd like black velvet, but we have a yellow lab...and that seems like it'd be a huge PITA to deal with. Right now we're thinking 9.2.4 setup....but have also considered 7.2.4. We'd appreciate your suggestions.

Equipment wise I'm planning marantz receiver, outlaw audio amps for the speakers, behringer amps for the subs. We'll use an existing projector, along with existing appletv and dvd player. At some point I may want to dive in to some kind of plex setup....but we'll see. For now, I'm not planning on any kind of tactile sound options but certainly open to suggestions. I'm planning to put the equipment on a shelf behind the false wall on the right side...thinking that will allow for a lot of airflow.

Anyway - all the info here has been awesome and the builds y'all have done are incredible! We'd very much appreciate your thoughts, tips, warnings, etc!
 

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I have some thoughts, but the first I will lead with is around the false wall. With full 18" Marty subs, you don't have a lot of depth for the wall structure itself, any acoustical treatments, or room for the subs to "breathe." Not saying that you can't put the subs closer to the wall, but some more room might be nice. I started with about 2 feet from my wall to the back of my false walls and about 4 years later, I expanded that to almost 3.5 feet which allowed me to move my speakers and subs around a bit to get better frequency response.

One options might be to save the false wall for last so that you can experiment with speaker and sub placement for best sound and then put the false wall up.

I like the idea of making the sides symmetrical.

For speakers, I really like my current speakers (around $7,500 in speakers, so not entry level, but not massively expensive), but if I was starting over, I would end up building some DIYSG speakers, but that is personal preference. Something like the 1299s or 1099s for the front sound stage. They are massive, but if hidden anyway, it doesn't matter.

Adding soundproofing technology isn't horribly expensive, but it you don't mind sound leaking out to the rest of the house, or exterior sounds getting in, then I would spend some $$$ on acoustical treatments. This doesn't have to be crazy expensive. There are a lot of effective DIY options there too. Some absorption and diffusion could go a long way to really making your room sing. The best part is that most of them can be added down the road. The biggest consideration would be if you wanted to add front corner bass traps or absorption on the front wall as that would impact the depth of the false wall again.


I think that you have a great space to work with and a solid starting plan. My room is about 14' x 24.5' x 8' so it is similar.
 

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We are in Iowa too and currently building our home with a designated theater space. Similar sized room (21x17x10) Also going with 9.2.4.

For your screen - check out Seymour AV (located in Ames). You could save some money on shipping by going and pick the screen up. Chris Seymour is super helpful and responsive.

Haven't decided on speakers yet but I am considering PSA 210 and 110s.

I'm also considering DIYSG speakers as well as mini Marty subs.


I'm not sure any Marantz AVR will do a 9.4 set-up. May consider Denon as they have the 8500 which has 13 amplified channels or the 6700 which has 11 amplified channels but can do 13 channels with an additional amp.


Look forward to seeing your build! I'm new to all of this so hopefully my information above from my own research is accurate! :)
 

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If you don't mind a drive to the Cedar Rapids Area, I have some DIYSG 1099's for the front stage and Volt speakers on the walls and in the ceiling for surround speakers that you could listen to. I'm very happy with the sound. I also have a Seymour screen which I recommend. For electronics I have JBL, JVC and Emotiva (details found in my signature). Most everything was purchased form Hawkeye Audio Video who offers Iowa AVS members a nice discount.

Last thing you could try out, I purchased chairs from Roman. Power recline and power headrest. I think the chairs are very comfortable and like how wide the seating area is.
 

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Subscribed to another Iowa build!

I have some thoughts, but the first I will lead with is around the false wall. With full 18" Marty subs, you don't have a lot of depth for the wall structure itself, any acoustical treatments, or room for the subs to "breathe." Not saying that you can't put the subs closer to the wall, but some more room might be nice. I started with about 2 feet from my wall to the back of my false walls and about 4 years later, I expanded that to almost 3.5 feet which allowed me to move my speakers and subs around a bit to get better frequency response.

One options might be to save the false wall for last so that you can experiment with speaker and sub placement for best sound and then put the false wall up.

I like the idea of making the sides symmetrical.

For speakers, I really like my current speakers (around $7,500 in speakers, so not entry level, but not massively expensive), but if I was starting over, I would end up building some DIYSG speakers, but that is personal preference. Something like the 1299s or 1099s for the front sound stage. They are massive, but if hidden anyway, it doesn't matter.

Adding soundproofing technology isn't horribly expensive, but it you don't mind sound leaking out to the rest of the house, or exterior sounds getting in, then I would spend some $$$ on acoustical treatments. This doesn't have to be crazy expensive. There are a lot of effective DIY options there too. Some absorption and diffusion could go a long way to really making your room sing. The best part is that most of them can be added down the road. The biggest consideration would be if you wanted to add front corner bass traps or absorption on the front wall as that would impact the depth of the false wall again.


I think that you have a great space to work with and a solid starting plan. My room is about 14' x 24.5' x 8' so it is similar.
Thanks for the info, Nick! I'm curious - one of the things we have considered, rather than building the false wall, is building something like a stage/shelf across the front that the subs would go in, then put in-walls behind the screen. Or even have kind of a tiered wall - the bottom part comes out farther for the subs, but from the subs up it wouldn't be quite as deep - mostly just deep enough for the equipment stack and speakers. That would allow us to be able to maximize screen size (I'm concerned with pulling that wall out three feet- we're already struggling with throw distance with the projector we have)....

If we were to put the top part of that wall "all the way back" to the original frame, then I'd need to figure out where to put the equipment....either build columns on the left/right of the screen, or potentially move it to the back someplace?

We've also wondered about moving the subs to the back some how.... Do they need to face "out" rather than up? Is there a way to build the subs in to the riser?

For soundproofing we're considering some "light" soundproofing. I know some will jump on me and say do it all or don't bother.... It's just the two of us here, so we aren't that concerned with keeping the sound in the room. But are concerned with the sound in the room being "good" and avoiding rattles, bass traps, etc... We're also thinking some sound panels on the left, right, and rear walls to help with acoustics...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
We are in Iowa too and currently building our home with a designated theater space. Similar sized room (21x17x10) Also going with 9.2.4.

For your screen - check out Seymour AV (located in Ames). You could save some money on shipping by going and pick the screen up. Chris Seymour is super helpful and responsive.

Haven't decided on speakers yet but I am considering PSA 210 and 110s.

I'm also considering DIYSG speakers as well as mini Marty subs.


I'm not sure any Marantz AVR will do a 9.4 set-up. May consider Denon as they have the 8500 which has 13 amplified channels or the 6700 which has 11 amplified channels but can do 13 channels with an additional amp.


Look forward to seeing your build! I'm new to all of this so hopefully my information above from my own research is accurate! :)
Hey Molar - thank you for these ideas! Where in IA are you?

Have you checked out the Marantz 8805? That's what I'm thinking - at least right now. With two Outlaw 7000X amps.

I have been checking out Seymour, too, and will definitely explore that more before pulling the trigger.

Hope things go well for your build, too!
 

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If you don't mind a drive to the Cedar Rapids Area, I have some DIYSG 1099's for the front stage and Volt speakers on the walls and in the ceiling for surround speakers that you could listen to. I'm very happy with the sound. I also have a Seymour screen which I recommend. For electronics I have JBL, JVC and Emotiva (details found in my signature). Most everything was purchased form Hawkeye Audio Video who offers Iowa AVS members a nice discount.

Last thing you could try out, I purchased chairs from Roman. Power recline and power headrest. I think the chairs are very comfortable and like how wide the seating area is.
Dewan I would really appreciate being able to hear your setup1 I struggle so much with pulling the trigger on something I've never heard. Let me know when you're comfortable with a visit?

Also - did you pick up your chairs from Hawkeye?
 

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Dewan I would really appreciate being able to hear your setup1 I struggle so much with pulling the trigger on something I've never heard. Let me know when you're comfortable with a visit?

Also - did you pick up your chairs from Hawkeye?
I did not buy my chairs from Hawkeye. In a previous room I had purchased chairs from Roman here on AVS and the experience was so great I just kept buying my chairs from him. Hawkeye was looking to sell some higher end chairs, but I can't remember if they signed a contract or not.

Hawkeye has done a lot of deals for the Iowa guys on AVS. I helped with a nice setup in Grimes for a friend of another AVS member. That system is going to rock and Hawkeye saved him thousands. I'm located only 1.5 miles from Hawkeye's second store so it's dangerous for me since I stop by and then buy stuff.

If you are interested in coming to hear my setup send me a private message and we can work something out. We haven't had anyone in our house for some time due to the virus, but I think we would just ask you to wear a mask (as I would) for everyones safety. I view the simple safety precautions like asking someone to take off their shoes when coming inside. It doesn't hurt anyone, its easy and it is the polite thing to do. :)
 

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the test results for off axis response is better with the DIY sound group HT series than the volt series. Those would be my pick for surrounds.
Thank you for that tip, Jeff!

I'm curious - when using these for ceiling and surround - do you recommend building the whole box? Would we install the side surrounds in the columns? Just on a shelf or should they be attached? Would you recommend just using them all the way around?
 

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I did not buy my chairs from Hawkeye. In a previous room I had purchased chairs from Roman here on AVS and the experience was so great I just kept buying my chairs from him. Hawkeye was looking to sell some higher end chairs, but I can't remember if they signed a contract or not.

Hawkeye has done a lot of deals for the Iowa guys on AVS. I helped with a nice setup in Grimes for a friend of another AVS member. That system is going to rock and Hawkeye saved him thousands. I'm located only 1.5 miles from Hawkeye's second store so it's dangerous for me since I stop by and then buy stuff.

If you are interested in coming to hear my setup send me a private message and we can work something out. We haven't had anyone in our house for some time due to the virus, but I think we would just ask you to wear a mask (as I would) for everyones safety. I view the simple safety precautions like asking someone to take off their shoes when coming inside. It doesn't hurt anyone, its easy and it is the polite thing to do. :)
I understand and absolutely agree! I'll reach out via PM.
 

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Nice to see another IA thread pop up. Lots of great suggestions. Chris Seymour up in Ames is a great source for a screen and projector (if you decide on a model he carries). I don't have any of the speakers you are interested in, but if you want to check out a JVC NX7 or our seats, which are Octane Storm XL 850's, we're over in Ankeny.
 

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Thanks for the info, Nick! I'm curious - one of the things we have considered, rather than building the false wall, is building something like a stage/shelf across the front that the subs would go in, then put in-walls behind the screen. Or even have kind of a tiered wall - the bottom part comes out farther for the subs, but from the subs up it wouldn't be quite as deep - mostly just deep enough for the equipment stack and speakers. That would allow us to be able to maximize screen size (I'm concerned with pulling that wall out three feet- we're already struggling with throw distance with the projector we have)....

If we were to put the top part of that wall "all the way back" to the original frame, then I'd need to figure out where to put the equipment....either build columns on the left/right of the screen, or potentially move it to the back someplace?

We've also wondered about moving the subs to the back some how.... Do they need to face "out" rather than up? Is there a way to build the subs in to the riser?

For soundproofing we're considering some "light" soundproofing. I know some will jump on me and say do it all or don't bother.... It's just the two of us here, so we aren't that concerned with keeping the sound in the room. But are concerned with the sound in the room being "good" and avoiding rattles, bass traps, etc... We're also thinking some sound panels on the left, right, and rear walls to help with acoustics...
I think that I follow what you are saying. "Flush mount an AT screen on the wall with in-walls behind it and then the subs are the only thing "sticking into" the room. I don't see that as a major problem, but that is just my opinion. There are a lot of reasons for the false wall (hides acoustical treatments, etc), but we all have various needs and possible limitations, whether money, space, or personal preference.

What projector do you have and what screen size are you wanting?

I have an older JVC RS45 projector shooting onto a 138" 16:9 screen from about 14 feet away and it works really well. I still have a bit of zoom left that I could go larger without hitting limits, but just don't want to lose brightness. I could probably hit about 150" though from that distance.

I am a fan of equipment in the back of a room (if it needs to be inside the room) so that you don't have any lights in front of you, just the glorious image on the screen.

Subs behind the seating (depending on distances) may create a bit of a near-field effect which rumbles the seats, but isn't normally the traditional location to put the first or second sub in a room.

I've never seen an "upfiring" subwoofer, so I don't know how well that would or would not work. I would be nervous about things dropping onto the woofer myself though.

Soundproofing is a more lengthy discussion for sure. Not that it is really that complicated, just that there are a number of things to consider for each room and each element in the room. Just being 2 people, you may not have a great need for keeping sound in, but might have a need to keep sound out?

For me, our master bedroom is right above the theater, and I can plan an action movie at a decent level and not bother my wife if she is sleeping. Getting rid of rattles is a must though.
 

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I think that I follow what you are saying. "Flush mount an AT screen on the wall with in-walls behind it and then the subs are the only thing "sticking into" the room. I don't see that as a major problem, but that is just my opinion. There are a lot of reasons for the false wall (hides acoustical treatments, etc), but we all have various needs and possible limitations, whether money, space, or personal preference.
I did exactly that due to space constraints, the screen wall is 2 1/4" deep


 

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I think that I follow what you are saying. "Flush mount an AT screen on the wall with in-walls behind it and then the subs are the only thing "sticking into" the room. I don't see that as a major problem, but that is just my opinion. There are a lot of reasons for the false wall (hides acoustical treatments, etc), but we all have various needs and possible limitations, whether money, space, or personal preference.

What projector do you have and what screen size are you wanting?

I have an older JVC RS45 projector shooting onto a 138" 16:9 screen from about 14 feet away and it works really well. I still have a bit of zoom left that I could go larger without hitting limits, but just don't want to lose brightness. I could probably hit about 150" though from that distance.

I am a fan of equipment in the back of a room (if it needs to be inside the room) so that you don't have any lights in front of you, just the glorious image on the screen.

Subs behind the seating (depending on distances) may create a bit of a near-field effect which rumbles the seats, but isn't normally the traditional location to put the first or second sub in a room.

I've never seen an "upfiring" subwoofer, so I don't know how well that would or would not work. I would be nervous about things dropping onto the woofer myself though.

Soundproofing is a more lengthy discussion for sure. Not that it is really that complicated, just that there are a number of things to consider for each room and each element in the room. Just being 2 people, you may not have a great need for keeping sound in, but might have a need to keep sound out?

For me, our master bedroom is right above the theater, and I can plan an action movie at a decent level and not bother my wife if she is sleeping. Getting rid of rattles is a must though.
Ya Nick I'd lik to chat soundproofing sometime! Ours is right under our master, too.

Our current projector is an NEC PA550....in terms of screen size I'm thinking probably around 130ish give or take. Depends honestly on how big is appropriate for the first row of seats, and what I can manage with the lense that's currently installed. At some point we'll probably move to a JVC....
 

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Ya Nick I'd lik to chat soundproofing sometime! Ours is right under our master, too.

Our current projector is an NEC PA550....in terms of screen size I'm thinking probably around 130ish give or take. Depends honestly on how big is appropriate for the first row of seats, and what I can manage with the lense that's currently installed. At some point we'll probably move to a JVC....
I love these guys: Soundproofing Company Their website has a lot of great information and diagrams, and if you call them, they give you honest answers

Here is a link with some diagrams for ceilings. Soundproofing Ceilings

I went with a modified version of the Level 2 solution which is great. I did a "double load" of GreenGlue on the ceiling layers of 5/8" drywall, and since my ceiling was a little less than 8feet to start, I didn't want to lose the full 2 3/8" ceiling height for the hat channel above the drywall (in addition to the approx 1 1/4" from the drywall), so I basically built perpendicular "joist hangers" that allowed the hat channel to be mounted parallel and between my wood joists and slightly raised up so that I only needed about 1/4" of the hat channel below the ceiling joists to mount the drywall to. That way, instead of losing about 3 5/8" ceiling height for the clips, hat channel, and drywall, I lost about 1 1/2" is all. I've attached a diagram created by the Soundproofing Company to show what they directed me to do and it worked really well.

I also created ceiling "boxes" for each in-ceiling can light that was one layer of MDF and then a layer of GreenGlue and 5/8" drywall. When I cut my holes for the lights, I was able to put some caulk around where the box met the drywall for the ceiling.

If you plan on Atmos, be sure to account for backer boxes for speakers in the ceiling. You may find that you need to cut a section of your hat channel to make room, but just put a piece of "backing" as shown in the diagram just outside of the backer box area to adequate support for the drywall.

It sounds more complicated than it is though.

The walls are a different story. The problem that you might run in to is that if you soundproof just the ceiling, you will still get flanking sound up the walls and into the ceiling. That is where people get in to the "if you want to do it, you should do it all."

I did a staggered stud wall that had decoupling clips between the top of the wall and the ceiling, put insulation on one side of the staggered stud wall (I would need to review my notes/photos to recall if it was the side closest to the theater walls, or closer to outside the theater, but I an pretty sure that it was closest to the inside of the theater. This leaves an air gap between the insulation and the external drywall (outside of the theater room).

I then applied two layers of 5/8" drywall with GreenGlue in between.

I also caulked the seams and under the first layer of drywall with regular silicone caulk. Don't use this on the top layer since paint, texture, etc won't stick to it. I put the first layer vertical up the wall and the top layer in a traditional horizontal placement to nearly eliminate seams from overlapping.

I also used "putty pads" around each outlet. Probably overkill, but it was fairly cheap and I didn't want to wonder if I "missed something" by not doing it during construction.

For the door, I just used a solid core external grade door that matched the other doors in our house . The built-in weather stripping, mass of the door itself, and the floor threshold that all seals up nicely really helps to keep sound in without going with something like a double-door setup. Note: This will require a different door frame to fit a thicker wall.

Whew. Sorry to dump all of that into one long post, but hopefully it gives some ideas and you can go to the links above to see more pictures.
 

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I love these guys: Soundproofing Company Their website has a lot of great information and diagrams, and if you call them, they give you honest answers

Here is a link with some diagrams for ceilings. Soundproofing Ceilings

I went with a modified version of the Level 2 solution which is great. I did a "double load" of GreenGlue on the ceiling layers of 5/8" drywall, and since my ceiling was a little less than 8feet to start, I didn't want to lose the full 2 3/8" ceiling height for the hat channel above the drywall (in addition to the approx 1 1/4" from the drywall), so I basically built perpendicular "joist hangers" that allowed the hat channel to be mounted parallel and between my wood joists and slightly raised up so that I only needed about 1/4" of the hat channel below the ceiling joists to mount the drywall to. That way, instead of losing about 3 5/8" ceiling height for the clips, hat channel, and drywall, I lost about 1 1/2" is all. I've attached a diagram created by the Soundproofing Company to show what they directed me to do and it worked really well.

I also created ceiling "boxes" for each in-ceiling can light that was one layer of MDF and then a layer of GreenGlue and 5/8" drywall. When I cut my holes for the lights, I was able to put some caulk around where the box met the drywall for the ceiling.

If you plan on Atmos, be sure to account for backer boxes for speakers in the ceiling. You may find that you need to cut a section of your hat channel to make room, but just put a piece of "backing" as shown in the diagram just outside of the backer box area to adequate support for the drywall.

It sounds more complicated than it is though.

The walls are a different story. The problem that you might run in to is that if you soundproof just the ceiling, you will still get flanking sound up the walls and into the ceiling. That is where people get in to the "if you want to do it, you should do it all."

I did a staggered stud wall that had decoupling clips between the top of the wall and the ceiling, put insulation on one side of the staggered stud wall (I would need to review my notes/photos to recall if it was the side closest to the theater walls, or closer to outside the theater, but I an pretty sure that it was closest to the inside of the theater. This leaves an air gap between the insulation and the external drywall (outside of the theater room).

I then applied two layers of 5/8" drywall with GreenGlue in between.

I also caulked the seams and under the first layer of drywall with regular silicone caulk. Don't use this on the top layer since paint, texture, etc won't stick to it. I put the first layer vertical up the wall and the top layer in a traditional horizontal placement to nearly eliminate seams from overlapping.

I also used "putty pads" around each outlet. Probably overkill, but it was fairly cheap and I didn't want to wonder if I "missed something" by not doing it during construction.

For the door, I just used a solid core external grade door that matched the other doors in our house . The built-in weather stripping, mass of the door itself, and the floor threshold that all seals up nicely really helps to keep sound in without going with something like a double-door setup. Note: This will require a different door frame to fit a thicker wall.

Whew. Sorry to dump all of that into one long post, but hopefully it gives some ideas and you can go to the links above to see more pictures.
This is great info! Thank you! As we have talked about how much soundproofing we may do, we have kind of centered around the level 1-2 both for the ceiling and walls. We could even do level 3 in the walls to be honest....I do wonder if it's worth doing level 3 walls if we are only doing level 2 ceiling? Seems like I have read that some are doing a level 2 style wall but using 1 layer of drywall, then green glue, then OSB. Any thoughts on that?
 

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This is great info! Thank you! As we have talked about how much soundproofing we may do, we have kind of centered around the level 1-2 both for the ceiling and walls. We could even do level 3 in the walls to be honest....I do wonder if it's worth doing level 3 walls if we are only doing level 2 ceiling? Seems like I have read that some are doing a level 2 style wall but using 1 layer of drywall, then green glue, then OSB. Any thoughts on that?
The OSB layer would work too. It makes adding the drywall layer easier to attach since you don't have to find the studs or use extra long screws.

you do usually want as much mass in the "drywall layers" as possible, and the OSB is lighter, but not by a massive amount per sheet. Over the course of an entire room, the difference may add up, but is it going to devastate the soundproofing, nope. Building Materials Weight Comparison Of course, you could go with 3/4" OSB to increase the mass, but then you also increase the cost.

When buying the drywall, people sometimes forget that they want mass there too, and buy the "lightweight" product. You don't really want that for obvious reasons, but I thought that I would mention it. For the rest of a basement finish, so be it, but when trying to add mass, not so much.

5/8" OSB is anywhere from about 50% - 90% more cost per sheet than 5/8" drywall depending on exact types, so it is more expensive.
 
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