I’ve been asked by a few to include my equipment list. Here you go:
Projector: JVC RS420
Screen: Seymour XD transparent 2.40:1 150”
Primary Amp: Sherbourn PA 7/200
Atmos Amp: Emotiva BasX A-500
Front Subs Amp: iNuke 6000
Rear Subs Amp: iNuke 6000
Pre-Processor: Marantz 7703
DVD: Panasonic UHF DPUB820k
Media Player: Apple TV 4K
Seating: Valencia Verona
LCR Speakers: DIY Soundgroup 1099
Rear & Surround speakers: DIY Soundgroup Volt 10
Atmos: DIY Soundgroup Volt 10
Front Subs: Mach5 FTW-21
Rear Subs: Dayton Audio UM18-22
Remote: iPad & Harmony Elite
Like many others here I have been scouring this great forum for years. I have admired so many incredible builds, dreaming that maybe just maybe that would be me one day. I am so fortunate to now be in a position to start the journey. Well, to be honest, the journey started 3 years ago - this is my story.
First, I feel the need to explain my screen name. I studied Computer Engineering in college many moons ago. I don’t recall the situation but do remember being introduced by a friend of mine as Gouie – my last name is Gould combined with a play on the acronym GUI – Graphical User Interface. 20 years later the name has stuck.
Next, the build name; El Unico, translation ‘The Only One’. 6 years ago my wife and I made the call to move from the city, and found a great little gem of a property. One of the main considerations for me was a basement that could accommodate a theatre build. This place is perfect. Half of the basement is finished giving my son a place the loiter, leaving the other half completely open for development. It's a small community and our house number happens to be 1. I have had a number of firsts in my life since beginning this journey and my wife and I have completely fallen for the Mexican culture. Combine it all and El Unico seemed fitting.
So, the canvas
As you can see I was faced with a number of challenges. The duct work was an absolute nightmare. Because of the way the joists run there were a number of cold air returns to deal with and the bizarre dip that the main heat truck took because the gas line was obviously installed first. There was also a cove that jut into the space. It was used in the adjacent room to house a TV. So, the first think I tackled was said cove.
That was about it for day one. I spent time at the end of day as most of us do I would imagine, standing in the room starring. It was then that I finally figured out an annoying issue that we'd been dealing with since moving in. The house is a bungalow with the master on once side and the kitchen on the other. When running water in the kitchen there is a significant drop in volume in the master, most noticeable when showering. A main water trunk was used with branches coming off and running to each location. What they had done however, was run 3/4" from the supply then convert down to 1/2" about 20 feet later then back up to 3/4" 20 feet after that. The next day I stopped by the local supply and spent the next 4 months replacing most of the water lines in the house. This was the result, individual home runs to each location.
I also moved the valves for the sprinklers outside. Yes, you heard me, the actual valves were installed in the house with individual lines for each zone running out through the exterior wall. At the same time I ran a copper line from the mechanical room to the garage. This has turned out great. It allows me to connect the compressor in the garage and either blow out the sprinklers from the mechanical room or run air tools in the basement.
With that complete I was ready to get back to removing the TV cove. I hooked up my work lights and immediately blew the breaker. Great. Further investigation revealed that much of the basement wiring was on a single breaker. I spent the next 3 months re-wiring. What was once a single breaker ended up being 7. Scary. I ended up with two sub panels, one for the basement and one in the garage.
Two deck builds, a shed build and a remodel of the finished portion of the basement later and I was ready to get at it. The original plan had the theater extending to the wall that the rack is against in the picture above. The only access to the mechanical room would be a door that I would install in the walk-in closet in the bedroom at the other end of the basement. I thought this was perfectly fine because it would give me an additional 4 feet of theatre. My wife however did not. A door was installed where the cove once was and the room shrunk by 4 feet.
There's some creative framing around the heat trunk. I considered moving the gas line but quotes were coming in over $1000 and being that it will be behind the screen I made do. What would a build thread be without a green tape screen mock up?
Then I had to deal with the mess of cold air returns. The biggest problem was the one that ran down the center of the room and feeds the main living space directly above. I pulled down the tin and boxed it in using OSB, GG, sealant and lineacoustic and used the joist cavity to the edge of the room. It then drops down and runs 5 feet to get under the joists and exists the room. That is where it sits in it's current state; it has not yet been tied into the main trunk. If I were to do it again I would use 12" insulated flex. I'm not sure why I didn't think of it at the time but too late, I'm not re-doing it.
This is the complete mess joining the cavity to the tin. The problem as you can see is the need to transition through the water lines. The best way I could think to get a tight seal was spray foam. It may look ridiculous but it worked!
On to miles and miles of cable runs. I don't recall how long this took but it seemed like an eternity. I have wired all columns with 12AWG, coax and electrical for outlets and potential sconces. The back of the room also has 4 additional 12AWG and 2 coax for future subs. The front of the room has 12AWG for LCR and heights as well as 4 12AWG for subs and power for outlets. ATMOS has been wired and wire for outlets in the soffit tray as well as pots with 3 zones; the mains down the sides, the back of the room and the screen wash lights. I have also wired for lights behind the screen and conduit runs basically everywhere.
Here is a shot of the ceiling to give you an idea of the mess of wires ... and to appreciate how difficult installing DD into the joist cavities would end up being.
I'll continue the recap in another post, don't want to lose everything when my battery dies.