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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Time for a brand new home theater thread for my substantially and renovated home theater. My existing dedicated home theater has been down since August 2019, as my thought, upgrade and renovation process has been SLOW to say the least as well as availability of certain items and of course COVID-19. But I anticipate completion by October and certainly by the close of 2020!

I am going to start this thread with some history and I will complete this thread when its all done, up and calibrated and running!
Please hold off on posting anything at this thread in the coming months until my substantially upgraded and renovated dedicated home theater is up and actually running! Meanwhile, if you desire to post any questions or observations, please do so at the following thread: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/86-u...al-triad-theatre-2019-renovation-upgrade.html

Thanks for understanding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
When my theatre was built late 1996/early 1997 I had done a lot of research on building it, acoustics books and Widescreen Review Magazine articles on the subject. The theatre addition was added East of the Master Bedroom. A hallway and bathroom are between the Master Bedroom and the Home Theater room.

My home theatre dimensions were designed according to info from the Master Handbook of Acoustics, by F. Alton Everest and Ken Pohlman, which at the time was the leading source. And my home theater was one of the very early dedicated home theaters as far as I know. Bruce Bender, an Architectural Draftsman (and then a charter member of the then Arizona Audiophile Society), was recommended to me by Gary Hjerpe of Esoteric Audio in Scottsdale, and Bruce worked with me to draft the specs for the theater. Room dimensions were #3 on the Louden scale for excellent acoustics, 25' long, 18' 3" wide and 12' high (actually, in construction ended up being 1" short of 12' high).

The theater's cement foundation has seams between the theater and the hallway/bathroom, and also between the hallway/bathroom and the Master Bedroom, for vibration control. Double masonite doors with wood and rubber seals around them lead from the Master Bedroom to the hallway, and from the hallway to the theater. Double 2 inch X 4 inch stud walls, with 1 inch air space inbetween, are between the Master Bedroom and the hallway/bathroom. There is blown in cellulose insulation in the front, back and side walls, which seeps into and perfectly seals all nooks and crannies, except the ceiling insulation is BAT (much of the ceiling is taken up by large oversized air conditioning ducts and there was insuficient room up there to squeeze in a blow in cellulose). USG Acoustical Sealant was used on all stud surfaces to minimize vibrations. Sound board, followed by gyp board, was installed on all of the walls and ceiling of the entire addition.

The air conditioning return was at the rear of the theater underneath the cabinets and was roughly about more than 10 feet long and 4 inches in height, with oversized gentle turns and insulated air ducts. The air return was located in the attic above the bathroom, with a separate air conditioning unit outside the roomon a concrete slab separated from the addition's concrete slab, so that the air conditioning is self-contained and totally separate from the rest of our home.

The local code required at minimum the Home Theater room's windows, two windows four feet wide X 5 feet high. The windows consist of one double pane outside and a single pane inside. Each pane is on a separate wood insulated frame to minimize vibrations and maximize soundproofing. Manual Draper Lightblock shades ensure that the room remains totally dark for video.

My home has a 400 amp electrical service. That service was originally split into two 200 amp panel boxes, one for the East and one for the West side of the home. With the new addition at the East of the home, its 200 amp service panel box has a new 100 amp circuit breaker, which is isolated from the 200 amp panel from which its fed, which fed a third panel box which contains 19 dedicated 20 amp, 10 guage wire circuits for the Home Theater room only. However, I intentionally wired the Home Theater room and addition lighting, a ceiling dedicated 20 amp circuit (which was initially used for a CRT projector), and the addition air conditioning dedicated 30 amp circuit into the pre-existing East panel box, to help keep noise from those circuits out of the panel box and dedicated circuits for audio and video components. The 19 dedicated 20 amp circuits in the Home Theater room panel box were wired same electrical phase, skipping every even circuit in the panel box (otherwise, as in typical panel boxes which don't skip every even circuit, this results in doubling the AC power noise). 4 guage copper wire runs from the Home Theater panel box to a nearby 8 foot copper ground rod well buried in the ground. The house ground is a 4 guage copper wire from the East panel box. And a 4 guage copper wire connects the copper ground rod to the house ground. The Home Theater room electrical outlets were initially Hubbell (one grade below hospital) grade and in 2002 upgraded to PS Audio Power Ports.

Home Theater room colors were optimized for front projection, black carpet over a cement foundation, black ceiling, and black side walls from the front screen wall out seven feet to the edge of the windows, the remainder of the room is dark gray (the dark gray looks like a medium to lighter gray when placed next to black).

Lutron Grafik Eye 3000 lighting.

Two rows of 3 leather recliners each, black leather, Classic Lifestyles, with upgraded seat cushions (used from 1997, replaced in 2012, as Classic Lifestyles was long out of business and couldn't repair recliners properly).

In 2007 added whole house surge suppression, Innovative Technology (Eaton) PTE160 for 400 amp panel and PTE0481S101 for home theater panel.

Construction photos from back in late 1996 - early 1997 are below. Note the last photo, of the outside OTA antenna to get then brand new OTA HD broadcast stations, was added in 2001.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Back in the 1990's the science of acoustical treatments was just starting to develop. I chose to use Michael Green Audio (https://www.michaelgreenaudio.net/) acoustic treatments. At the time, glowing reviews of these were in Widescreen Review magazine and used in their then state of the art dedicated home theater room.

Michael Green Acoustical Crown Molding: 5” (black) placed on bevel at wall/ceiling seams

Michael Green Pressure Zone Controllers (PZCs) (black):
4 Mini Corner Controllers placed at ceiling corners over ACM joints
8 Wall Mount Controllers 36”, 1 at each of four wall corners, 2 on each side wall
6 Mini Echo Controllers, 1 centered above the screen at the wall/ceiling seam, 1 centered above the back cabinets’ wetbar at
the back wall/ceiling seam, 1 placed on the ceiling above each floortstanding Aerial Acoustics 10T speaker on the ceiling

For component and monoblock amplifier stands, I used:
4 Michael Green Deep Clampracks (4), one 54” tall and three 48” tall
5 Michael Green Deluxe Justarack Tuning Boards on Audiopoints over floor
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
The long defunct "Stereophile Guide To Home Theater" magazine did an article on my theater "Custom Installation: Tweaked To Perfection" back in 1999. Back then, I was quite the audio tweaker (those days are past)! But the article shows where I was then and room features that at the time were pretty cool. See article below.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Soundstage's "Home Theater Sound" website also did an article on my theater back in 2001.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
There was also an "Electronic House" magazine online article on my theatre maybe ten years ago? However, their website is gone and I didn't save that article!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I have loved Aerial Acoustics speakers ever since I first got 4 Aerial Acoustics 10Ts and a CC3 center speaker for my brand new dedicated home theater back in March 1997! Historically:

1997: Four Aerial 10ts and a CC3
2000: CC5 replaced CC3
2001: Added three SW12 subwoofers
2008: Replaced 10ts with four 9s
2014: Replaced 9s and CC5 with 5 7ts (and sold the SW12s)
2020: Sold pair of 7ts. Keeping 3 floorstanding 7ts up front, adding 8 7LCRs on wall for base layer speakers.

Aerial Acoustics speakers are simply SO MUSICAL yet dynamic with excellent off axis as well. For my current theater upgrade and renovation there was no way I could go with any other speakers! (Aerial does not make Dolby Atmos speakers, very few companies do, thus I am using Triad Rotating Silver/SAT 9s for my in ceiling speakers.)

Here is an excellent video by an Aerial Acoustics dealer, Audio Advice. This dealer has known Michael Kelly and David Marshall, co-founders and co-owners of the company, for more than 30 years. DIscussed is the entire current Aerial Acoustics "t" speaker lineup.





Here are photos of my various Aerial Acoustics speakers over the years, in order starting with 10T, 9, 7t, 7LCR, CC3, CC5, and SW12 subwoofer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Below are photos of my dedicated home theater and gear back in February 2000.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Starting in 1999 at the very inception of AVS Forum I moderated the "Audio Video Improvement" or "Tweaks" forum. In Dec 1999 I started a "Special Guest" feature, bringing in one Special Guest from the AV Industry to answer questions of forum members for a week at a time (except Denon Audio became a permanent Special Guest). My first Special Guest was Paul McGowan of PS Audio. Other well known industry Special Guests included Sam Runco (first CRT projectors with line doublers), Texas Instruments, D-Box, Vizio, and many, many more. In 2000 the Special Guest feature was rolled into the "AVS Special Guest" forum, which lasted into 2003 when I decided I was done with the volunteer moderating gig.

Here is a list of my components (and tweaks) back in 2001 at the height of my "tweaking" and moderating at AVS Forum days (those days are long over):


4 Aerial Acoustics 10T (front and surround) with Sound Anchors custom stands (and also Osiris Giza Mk II stands under surround 10Ts to elevate them an additional 6 inches), with each 10T modified with 2 Bybee analog small internal devices, one at the midrange and one at the tweeter, and with 1 Bybee analog large internal device at the woofer (3 Bybee devices per each 10T)

1 Aerial Acoustics CC5 (front center), modified with 4 Bybee analog small internal devices, one at each driver, with Sound Anchors Custom Stand (custom center piece 8 inches higher to elevate center channel speaker so mid-driver at ear level of listener)

3 Aerial Acoustics SW12 Powered Subwoofers (400 watts per channel self-powered), each modified with a Bybee analog large internal device at the driver, and also with a Bybee analog large internal device at the AC power (2 devices per each SW12), each on custom Sound stand with supplied spikes

5 Vandersteen 2wq Powered Subwoofers (300 watts per channel self-powered), each modified with a Bybee analog internal device at each of 3 drivers per subwoofer, and also 3 devices at the AC power (6 devices per each subwoofer, 3 at drivers and 3 at AC power), and each modified with a Harmonic Tech Pro AC-11 power cord with Wattgate 330 male plug.

5 Bryston 7B monoblock amplifiers (500 watts per channel 8 ohms, 800 watts per channel 4 ohms), each modified for AC power with 8 Bybee analog large internal devices

Theta Casablanca 2 (fully loaded with Single Mode receiver, Dolby Digital/DTS/Circle Surround 96/24, Theta Single Mode digital optical, configured with eight Xtreme DACs including balanced outputs for front left and right, center, surround left and right, and for three discrete subwoofer outputs for front left and right and surround.

Dwin HD-700 CRT Projector, modified with USPL ECP color filtered lens, ceiling mounted

Dwin Transcanner 2 variable line multiplier/video and HD switcher (set at 761, equivalent to 720p, for NTSC sources)

Extron SW6 SV MX Auto Switcher (S-Video, 6 inputs, 2 outputs)

Stewart Studiotech 4 Way Screenwall Electrimask (16:9, 1.3 gain, 80” wide)(3 wall switches for masking top, bottom and at sides)

JVC 13” Color TV (sits under Stewart screen as On Screen Display monitor for Theta Casablanca 2)

Granite Audio 657 tube CD player

Theta Voyager DVD/LD/CD player with Single Mode Transmitter (Theta’s proprietary digital optical connection using a single fixed frequency laser emission), modified for AC power with 2 Bybee analog small internal devices

TOSHIBA DST-3000 HD DirecTV Satellite Receiver, modified with power cord cut down to two inches with Hubbell male AC plug

DISH 6000 HD Satellite Receiver, modified with power cord cut down to two inches with Hubbell male AC plug

RCA DWD490RE Ultimate TV Satellite Receiver

JVC HRS-9600U S-VHS VCR, modified for AC power with 3 prong IEC input and 4 Bybee analog small internal devices Pronto Pro (Color) with RF module

1 PS Audio P600 Power Plant with Multiwave, modified with 6 Bybee analog large internal devices for AC input and outputs (exclusively for Dwin CRT)

1 PS Audio P600 Power Plant with Multiwave, modified with 10 Bybee Analog large internal devices for AC input and outputs (used for Theta Casablanca 2, Theta Voyager, Granite Audio 657 tube CD player, RCA Ultimate TV, Toshiba DST-3000, Dish 6000 and JVC S-VHS VCR)

1 PS Audio P300 Power Plant with Multiwave, modified with 6 Bybee analog large internal devices each for AC input and outputs (for Dwin Transcanner 2 and Extron S-Video Switcher)

API Power Enhancer 1 (plugs into same dedicated circuit as P600 for front end components)

Granite Audio power cords

Audioprism Noise Sniffer and Quietline AC Filters
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Here's a list of my components in 2009, after changing to Aerial Acoustics 9 speakers, Theta Digital monoblock amplifiers, and a Sim2 C3X 1080p 3 chip DLP projector:


4 Aerial Acoustics 9 speakers with Aerial’s custom spikes (front and surround). Surround 9s are elevated an additional 6 inches high by having OsirisGiza Mk II stands .

1 Aerial Acoustics CC5 center speaker. Sound Anchor custom stand including an extension piece to raise the mid-drivers to about listener ear level.

3 Aerial Acoustics SW12 powered subwoofers (400 watts each). Front left subwoofer chained to front right subwoofer, which in turn is chained to surround subwoofer. Each modified with internal speaker cables (from internal amplifier to internal binding posts for woofers) with custom Granite Audio 8 guage 1 foot speaker cables with proprietary banana plugs each end to ensure tight fit and solid connection. Each on custom Sound Anchors custom stand.

5 Theta Enterprise monoblock amplifiers (Nominal power rating: 300 Watts into 8 ohms, 500 Watts into 4 ohms (what it really does: 350 into 8, 525 into 4). Two Reich binding posts connectors per amp for bi-wiring.

Theta Casablanca 3 surround processor (with 2 Xtreme DAC cards with 2 Xtreme DAC cards (accommodates 8 Extreme balanced channels). Only six channels connected, five main channels plus one subwoofer, as the three subwoofers are chained for front left, front right and surround subwoofers. All speakers set to crossover with Butterworth 40 Hz 6 dB crossover.

Theta Six Shooter multi-channel analog multi-channel preamp.

Integra DTC-9.8 surround preamp/processor. Used exclusively for HDMI audio from Blu Ray and HD DVD, outputting multi-channel 5.1 analog audio to Theta Six Shooter

2 Velodyne SMS-1 digital subwoofer equalizer (1 used with Theta CB3, 1 used with PS Audio PerfectWave DAC)

Sim2 C3X 1080 3 chip DLP Projector

Lumagen Radiance XE video processor/scaler.

ISCO IIIL Anamorphic Lens and Cineslide Multistand II, with PPL-XL custom extra long length Cineslide mount kit

Stewart Cine-V Curved Screen, 2:35 128” W X 54” H, with drop down side masking to 96” W for 16:9, 1.3 gain.

Sharp 15" LCD Color TV (on screen display monitor for Theta Casablanca 3 surround processor)

PS Audio PerfectWave Transport

PS Audio PerfectWave DAC

2 DirecTV PLUS HD DVRs (HR23-700) satellite receivers each with an AM-21 OTA HD Tuner.

Oppo BDP-83 Blu Ray/DVD Player

Integra DHS-8.8 HD DVD Player

JVC HMD-H5U D-VHS VCR

Theta Compli DVD/CD/SACD/DVD-A Player (with SDI and silver alloy cover).

Universal MSC-400, and Universal MX-3000 touchscreen remote

PS Audio Premier Power Plant

PS Audio Quintet

APC S15 Power Conditioner 1.5kVA S type with battery backup 120V

Granite Audio power cords

Audioprism Noise Sniffer and Quietline AC Filters


Below are photos of my dedicated home theater in 2009:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
In 2011, when I upgraded my Theta Casablanca 3 to the 3 HD digital HDMI model, out went the Theta Six Shooter and the Integra, and I also picked up a pair of used Theta Citadel 1.5 monoblocks (for front left and right) (per Audio Critic Richard Hardesty the best sounding Class AB amplifiers on the planet), also a used Theta Generation VIII Series 2 DAC (shortly thereafter upgraded to Series 3) (in the next year I picked up 2 more used Theta Generation VIII Series 3 DACs).

In early 2012, my late wife Karen (who passed away in Sept 2012) graciously allowed me to replace the 6 Classic Lifestyles leather recliners (reclining mechanisms required repair and parts not available as company long out of business) with 6 La-Z-Boy black leather recliners with electronic control!

I also started my venture into digital audio - getting a Bryston BDP-1 digital audio player in 2011. In 2013 I changed to a custom modded CAPSv3 (Computer Audiophile Pocket Server, speced by Computer Audiophile Forum) Zuma music server (adding a larger Silverstone aluminum case and an AMD Sapphire HDMI card), and a Berkeley Audio Alpha USB to digital converter. I started using JRiver Media Center, with 2 channel music via CAPSv3 USB into Berkeley with AES/EBU digital out into Theta Casablanca IIIHD SSP; and with CAPSv3 HDMI out for multi-channel music into Theta CBIIIHD SSP. In 2014, I changed my 2 channel to a CAPSv4 Pipeline server, still using CAPSv3 for multi-channel music.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
In 2014, I replaced my 4 Aerial Acoustics 9s, Aerial Acoustics CC5 center, and 3 Aerial Acoustics SW-12 subwoofers with 5 Aerial Acoustics 7ts (moving screen up a bit so view of front projector wasn't blocked) and 2 JL Audio f212 subwoofers. I also replaced the 2 Theta Digital Citadel 1.5 monoblocks and 3 Theta Digital Prometheus monoblocks with 5 Theta Digital Prometheus monoblocks, which sounded even appreciably better than the Theta Digital Citadel 1.5s!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
In 2015 I changed from using JRiver Media Center to ROON music software (got a lifetime membership at 30% discount at their only ever Black Friday sale)!

Here are photos of my dedicated home theater in 2015:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
In 2016, with the Dolby Atmos upgrade to my then Theta Digital Casablanca SSP, I added 4 inceiling KEF Ci200RR-THX speakers and an ATI 526NT multi-channel amplifier.

The speakers, not aimable at the MLP but facing straight downwards, showed the issues with Dolby Atmos speakers inceiling/ceiling not aimable at the MLP. The Casablanca SSP's Dirac room correction showed significant acoustic issues well above 200 Hz for those speakers. Needless to say, I sold these speakers in the past year and we will be not making this mistake again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
By late 2017 I had replaced my projector, Lumagen 2143 video processor and screen:

Sony VPL-VW5000ES projector

Lumagen Radiance Pro 4446 video processor/scaler

Stewart Filmscreen Vistascope 2:40 168” (14') wide X 70” H screen, Snomatte (1.0 gain) (with variable side masking to 4:3) (16:9 is 124.4” wide)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Here's a list of my components in 2018 - prior to my changing out my Theta Casablanca IVA SSP in early 2019 (I've had the Theta Casablanca SSP and all of its upgrades through early 2019 when I changed to Trinnov SSP):


5 Aerial Acoustics 7t speakers (including one for front center channel). Surround 7ts are elevated an additional 6 inches high by OsirisGiza Mk II stands

4 KEF Ci200rr-THX in ceiling speakers

2 JL Audio Fathom f212 subwoofers (each subwoofer has two 12” woofers)

2 custom Acoustic Sciences Corporation Subtraps (22” X 22” X 15” high)

5 Theta Digital Prometheus monoblock amplifiers

ATI 526NT multi-channel amplifier

Theta Casablanca IVA surround processor (with DIRAC Live room correction) with 2 Xtreme D3 DAC cards (12 channels)

Sony VPL-VW5000ES laser projector

Lumagen Radiance Pro 4446 video processor/scaler

Stewart Filmscreen Vistascope 2:40 168” wide X 70” H screen, Snomatte (1.0 gain) (with variable side masking to 4:3) (16:9 is 124.4” wide)

Oppo UDP-205 4k Blu Ray Universal Player

TIVO Bolt OTA

DirecTV HR54 Genie with C61k 4k Genie Mini Client

Apple TV 4k

Small Green Computer Sonic Transporter i7 (ROON Core music server, which replaced Sonic Transporter i5 which I had for about 2 years, which replaced CAPSv4 2 channel server)

Sonore Signature Rendu SE (with Synergistic Research black fuse) (ROON endpoint for 2 channel)

Berkley Audio Alpha USB Converter

CAPSv3 Zuma music server (ROON endpoint for HDMI multi-channel)

Linksys WRT1900AC router used as wireless access point for home theater

Netgear ProSafe GS116NA 16 port ethernet switch

Western Digital WDMyCloudPR4100 32TB (upgraded to 16GB RAM) network server (with 11TB music both 2Ch & MCh, more than 6800 albums)

3 Linksys WRT1900AC routers. Programmed with the main router in upstairs home office, and two as bridges – one in home theater, one at West main floor of home. CAT6 cable runs from upstairs home office to the Linksys routers in home theater and at West main floor.

Apple IPad Pro & iPhone X (for remote Music Server playback), using ROON music software.

Logitech Harmony Elite with hub

Emotiva ET-3 (remote turn on of Theta Digital monoblocks)

2 PS Audio Perfectwave P5 Power Plants (since 2011)

Furman Elite-15 DM I power conditioner (used for projector only)

Granite Audio power cords

Audioprism Noise Sniffer and Quietline AC Filters

Symposium Platforms and Rollerblocks

Isoacoustics Gaia II speaker footers and carpet spikes
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Here are photos of my dedicated home theater in September 2018, when I still had the Theta Casablanca IVA SSP, prior to my changing out SSPs to the Trinnov Altitude 32 in February 2019, and prior to my theater coming all down August 2019 for upgrade and renovation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Although I purchased and obtained my Trinnov Altitude 32 (then 16 channels) SSP in late September 2018, I finally installed it in late February 2019. After a few weeks I was convinced it was a real winner both functionally and sonically. I sent the Trinnov in for a minor repair, using my Theta Casablanca IVA SSP for a few weeks until the Trinnov came back. Using the CBIVA SSP again, I found myself already missing the Trinnov SSP for both music and movies. So as soon as the Trinnov SSP came back, I found myself more involved again musically in particular, and I sold my Casablanca, which I have had in various upgraded incarnations since 1997!

For my 2 channel music listening, I had upgraded in the past 2 years to the Sonore Signature Rendu SE from the Sonore Microrendu in the past few years. I demod this via USB into Berkeley Alpha USB converter, AES/EBU out into Trinnov Altitude 32. I also used Altitude's 32 ethernet ROON Ready. I also upgraded the Sonore to the new optical player. I found no discernable difference sonically, so I sold the extra Sonore and Berkeley gear!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Whereas my dedicated home theater, prior to taking down my system and starting renovation in August 2019, had been 18.25' W x 25' L x 11.93' H, my installer Gerry Behm, TechnologyatHome.net, recommended and I have agreed to build out the back wall for new cabinetry to "hide" 2 Mid-Atlantic component racks with all components, also for placement of the pair of rear surround Aerial Acoustics 7LCR on wall speakers, and also for placement of 2 stacks of 3 21" sealed subwoofers each. Also, we have built out under the front screen and along the length of the wall for insertion of 6 21" sealed subwoofers as well. Additionally a riser is being constructed for the second row of seating all the way back. Below are photos of the construction as of May 2018. The projector will go at the center top venting into the attic. In February 2020 I replaced the dedicated air conditioning for the dedicated home theater with a variable speed Trane Split System Heat Pump XV20 (21 SEER), and the venting for the air conditioning was moved to a large return above the entry door to the theater from the hallway, with another smaller return in the ceiling of the hallway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Reserved 17 - for more ongoing construction photos
 
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