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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Link to current progress/status: HERE


*** Update 08.31.2017 ***
  • All fabric frames complete
  • Installed PJ mount under soffit
  • Installed knee wall countertop
  • Assembled screen
  • Test fitted screen and surrounding black velvet fabric frames on false wall

*** Update 08.10.2017 ***
  • 90% of frames for fabric frames completed
  • 60% fabric frames done
  • Discovered some minor reconfiguration issues to resolve
  • Testing ideas for knee wall countertop

*** Update 08.01.2017 ***
  • Fabric frame construction pending
  • Carpet installed
  • Baseboard installed
  • Crown moulding under soffit and on columns installed
  • Trim around A/V cabinet installed
  • Rough-in to relocate projector mount position

*** Update 07.23.2017 ***
  • LIG has been busy lately, so not much progress to report
  • Cleaned up various miscellaneous items, changed direction a couple times on moulding pics
  • Fabric search for the primary wall fabric frames

*** Update 06.20.2017 ***
  • Stage framing almost done (false wall)
  • Picked up fabric for front stage fabric panels and speaker grilles
  • Need to deal with some of my Roxul falling out from behind stage due to poor adhesion

*** Update 06.10.2017 ***

  • Knee wall behind rear seating row roughed-in
  • Giving myself another option for PJ mount location
  • Framing the stage (speaker and screen mount support)
  • Plugged the front windows (plywood and 6" of Roxul Safe'n'Sound, 1" Linacoustic)
  • Insulation applied to front wall (3" Roxul Safe'n'Sound)
  • Book/DVD shelves rough-in completed
  • Screen mount frame done
  • Finally ordered and wired up the Z-Wave wall switches for lighting
  • Wired up step lights and front recessed lights

*** Update 05.19.2017 ***

Working hard to knock this thing out. I've recently stepped up the amount of time I'm devoting to building my HT room. Unfortunately, there's a lot of little detail work that is needed here and there, including figuring out a few puzzles. Sorting out the details translates to it feeling like I'm not making much progress, even though I know I am. I've learned the hard way on this project that rushing things often leads to a re-do.

Here's what I'm currently multi-tasking on:
  • Knee wall behind the rear seats
  • DVD shelves on left wall
  • Framing the stage (screen supports, speaker cabs, etc.)
  • Front window plugs
  • Spot touch-up sanding and re-painting/finishing of columns, ceiling as I notice imperfections
  • Electrical wiring: step lights, receptacles, bev fridge (in exterior hallway)

*** Update 05.09.2017 ***

Finally built the stage platform. I decided to go with a relatively short design with 1 step and total height of ~8". I also decided to put the L/R speakers in front of the screen, toed in at 45° as that seems to be the best angle for SEOS horns based on all the reviews I've read of them. Worst-case scenario, I'll be able to decrease the toe-in to 30° or so if necessary, provided I allow enough clearance behind the L/R speaker panels to move them about sufficiently. The center channel will be behind the AT screen.

Still mulling DIY vs. pro built screen. I'm really tempted to go the DIY route first, if for no other reason than to try it out and learn. Beyond that, I need to finish out the built-in storage on the left wall and figure out how the fabric panels will be attached to the walls, add baseboard and crown mouldings, trim moulding around the speaker panels for the side and rear surrounds, and touch up a few spots with paint and/or spackle. I've picked out a carpet but putting it in will be the last step other than electronics/outfitting the A/V rack.



*** Update 04.20.2017 ***

Life has thrown some curveballs at me lately, and poor maintenance of this thread by myself has been one of the side effects. So, it's about time for an update. :D

At this point (not yet reflected in the thread), I just finished the speaker grilles yesterday for the columns. I'm currently filing and sanding the seams and finish nail holes in the columns. After that, what I have left is to build the stage, screen mount, carpet, finish up the electrical fixtures, HVAC vents, and a knee wall behind the rear seats. Of course, I'm discounting the task of hooking up all the electronics and cleaning up the A/V rack, but those are minor tasks compared to the others. I also have yet to tackle updating my HVAC in the attic with a multi-zone controller so I can install a thermostat in the HT room and control its climate independently of the remainder of the home.



*** Update 01.05.2017 ***

Didn't get much done over the holiday with family in town, kids out of school, etc. etc. but I managed to make some decent progress just before the holiday time crunch. The riser is complete except for steps and routing the lip (mental note: next time route the riser lip BEFORE securing floor panels to the riser).


*** Update 11.20.2016 ***

Status: Drywall finally done. What a PITA. I prolly put a lot more effort into that necessary, considering the fact no one will see the walls (will be fabric covered).

I still don't have a working camera. Aaargh. My digital cam died (most likely killed by drywall dust), and my phone's cam is busted.

Now working on completing the frame-out of the A/V rack, and then will mount the Middle Atlantic SRSR rotating rack system.


*** Update 11.03.2016 ***

Drywall almost complete. Still mudding and sanding. The soffit has been a P.I.T.A. (corners). I realized today that I don't need to be perfect with the vertical surface of the outside corners, as the trim moulding will cover them (trim moulding to house accent lighting).

I'll add that my drywall skills have improved exponentially since I started the dw portion. That's still not saying much compared to a pro, but when your project is 100% DIY... I'll take the wins I can get. :)


*** Update 08.13.2016 ***

Status: Re-routing HVAC for a more optimal configuration. Unfortunately, this is delaying several other key items but if I don't correct this issue now, I'll have to live with the HVAC layout being sub-par.


*** Update 07.18.2016 ***

Status: Wiring the soffit (120vac, 12-24vdc, CAT5e/6, conduits for future-proofing & projector wiring, A/C to projector), fire/smoke alarm, VOIP phone pre-wire, ADA compliant visual fire-alarm pre-wire.


*** Update 06.11.2016 ***

Status: Finally got almost all the drywall up and now working on framing the soffits. OSB layer was done in April. What a PITA that was. Next time, I'll stick with the KISS principle and just do 2x drywall. I've had to modify my design plan a bit due to various constraints. Realized this project requires constant re-evaluation of various trade-offs. For example, I decided to reduce the soffit height to 10-10.5" instead of the original planned 12-13"; after I calculated the riser height and door height - since the door will be entering at riser height - I determined there wasn't quite enough headroom clearance, so the soffit height was shrunk. Likewise, I'm leaning toward shrinking the riser height from 12" to 10" to provide just a bit more headroom under the wide rear soffit I'm planning. We'll see. That should be sorted out later this month, after I return from vacation.


*** Update 04.03.2016 ***

Status: The super slow build continues! Finally had time this weekend to work on the HVAC flex duct system. Split existing return duct into 3 sections: projector exhaust, A/V rack exhaust, and room. Ceiling insulation nearly complete. Hoping to begin the ceiling this week.

I am so tired of trips to Home Depot. That store must love me.


*** Update 02.05.2016 ***

New design drawings here.

***********************

I suppose it's time I created a build thread. For now I'll call my HT room to-be the 'Final Frontier' build because 1) I couldn't find any other reference with that name in this thread and 2) my wife thinks I'm nuts and this is the final frontier of my DIY skills. LOL.

Alright, now to the point....

I started the demo of my existing "media" room in my home October 1. To date that's all I've got completed. I'm stuck in the 'which of my 5 billion room designs should I build?' mode. To wit I'm asking for this community's esteemed opinions on the best layout of my room. I have narrowed it down to 4 options. I understand this realm is all about trade-offs, unless you are fortunate enough to have very deep pockets and/or a blank slate (and I have neither). So, here goes. Diagrams attached below, along with diagram of original room floor plan and photos.


Plan #1 (P-2)


  • Finished dimensions: 23' 2" x 12' 10"
  • Horizontal viewing angles: Front row 54°; back row 34°
  • Front row viewing distance to screen 10' 0"
  • Back row viewing distance to screen 16' 8"
  • Screen width 120"
  • Side entry along north wall, positioned in front of 1st row seating
  • Rack room side entry north wall, between front and back seating rows
  • Small closet space could be used as media library
  • Small built-in refrigerator just outside theater entrance

Plan #2 (Q-1)


  • Finished dimensions: 23' 2" x 13' 2"\
  • Horizontal viewing angles: Front row 56°; back row 36°
  • Front row viewing distance to screen 9' 7"
  • Back row viewing distance to screen 15' 9"
  • Screen width 120"
  • Rear entry from NW quadrant, entering behind all seats from north to south

Plan #3 (O-2)

  • Finished dimensions: 23' 6" x 12' 9"
  • Horizontal viewing angles: Front row 52°; back row 34°
  • Front row viewing distance to screen 10' 9"
  • Back row viewing distance to screen 17' 2"
  • Screen width 130"
  • Side entry along north wall, positioned in front of 1st row seating
  • This plan has wider columns (24" x 6") mainly to allow concealing the equipment rack access (front) behind the front left column (viewed when seated, facing screen)

Plan #4 (K-7)

  • Finished dimensions: 18' 10" x 16' 4"
  • Horizontal viewing angles: Front row 58°; back row 36°
  • Front row viewing distance to screen 8' 0"
  • Back row viewing distance to screen 14' 0"
  • Rear entry from NW quadrant, entering behind all seats from west to east
  • Screen width 110"

General Notes
All plans share the following characteristics:Room is an existing 2nd floor media room
  • Raw room dimensions (before demo) are 24' x 17'
  • Windows (will be covered) are located on the 'east' and 'south' walls
  • To date I have stripped the drywall in the original room
  • Build plan is "room within a room"
  • Surrounding the HT room:
  • Above: attic, unfinished
  • Below: garage
  • North side (up): existing bedroom
  • East: exterior wall
  • South: exterior wall
  • West: exterior wall except for upper 4'x4' section which abuts a bathroom
  • The upper left quadrant (more or less a 4'x4' area) is the only entry point to the room (i.e. I don't want to screw up the adjoining bedroom to the north - not an option from the WAF perspective)
  • Upper right corner shaded area is a bump-in (part of the house structure that I cannot alter)
  • Walls will be a combination of staggered-stud and double-stud covered with plywood/green glue/drywall
  • Ceiling will be plywood/green glue/drywall or double-drywall w/GG in between (undecided on ceiling as of yet)
  • Room Dimensions are after plywood+drywall and before acoustic wall treatments
  • Door widths will be 2' 8" (32") for theater entry and 2' (24") for equipment/rack room closet entry
  • 2 rows of theater style seating: 3 seats front, 4 seats rear (loveseat in middle, 1 seat either side)
  • Wired for 11.2.4 but original setup will be 7.2.4
  • 2 subs in front, and 1 or 2 subs in rear if I can work out the placement
  • Base ceiling height 8' 10-1/2"
  • Tray ceiling in center +12"
  • Riser height 12"
  • When present, the 'Ramp up' purpose is to elevate the floor over the sub-floor, which consists of the home's original sub-floor plus 1 5/8" (3/8" rubber mat + 19/32" OSB + 1/16" 30# roof felt + 19/32" OSB)
  • When present, "Wall Poster Monitor" is a placeholder for a wall poster and/or monitor that displays what is going on in the HT room (i.e. movie playing, etc.)
  • On floor plans where there is no lobby, the entry door is a back-to-back double door system with internal gaskets (one in-swing, one out-swing)
Which floor plan would you choose, and why?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I think my head just exploded. Too much information
LOL. It's difficult to gauge how much info to post. However based on the many hours that I've spent reading this forum, if I posted a simple question then I'd get asked a bunch of questions. So, I posted a question with lots of detail in an effort to address those type of questions. After all, these are important details, right?

I know in our society these days most people want the TLDR; version but that's not realistic when it comes to a complex subject such as a dedicated HT build.

Let me try and distill it down. The bare room was 24' x 17' from drywall to drywall before I demo'd it. I've thought of 4 general layouts:

1. Use the entire room, which means I lose an existing closet that the wife would like to keep
2. Keep the closet and have ~20' x 17' to work with
3. Ditch the closet (on 'west' wall) and create a new lobby/closet combo on north wall. Yields a 24' x 12.5' room.
4. Keep the closet, and add a lobby + media library. Results in a room size of roughly 20' x 12.5'.

On Q1 the door swing can't extend past the edge of the landing per building code.
Thanks for that info.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Some high-level thoughts/opinion solicitations:

1. What's a comfortable minimum riser step width? "Comfortable" as in comfortable navigating it/using it.

2. I can't move where the room entrance is. This room is basically in a corner of the house. I can decide if the room entrance is longitudinal or latitudinal (i.e. entering from left to right or from up to down when viewing the plans). So, I'm particularly interested in thoughts on where the theater entrance is going to be relative to the seating rows (e.g. enter to the side, from rear, etc.).

I know what I'd like to do in this space, but I've reached a point of process-of-elimination by ruling out designs or concepts that don't seem to work well. For example, if the room is entered from the rear, I don't want a step up inside the theater room. I'd place it outside the room.
 

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I don't think I would use any of them. Couple of things I see. 1. Not enough separation in LCR speakers. 2. Way too much space eaten up in depth by the speakers behind the screen. 3. Try to keep seating off the back row by at least 2 feet for 7.1 and the recommendation is now 4 feet for Atmos. 4. Columns should be evenly spaced for visual appeal. 5. Avoid using big triangle traps in the corners behind screen. Eats way too much space.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
My vote is for the basic layout of O-2, just not certain of the Fridge/rack arrangement.
Big,

Thanks for your comments.

My thinking was a half rack (21/24U) suspended over a small built-in refrigerator.

There is a bathroom nearby. I'm trying to think through how I'll use the HT. Being on the 2nd floor, it's a good walk from the kitchen. I figured a small fridge w/a few beers and sodas would be a plus. OTOH, I don't want the noise of a fridge inside the HT room.

The hallway outside the space I have to work with does not lend itself well to hiding a fridge in the wall (3 bedrooms nearby). There is a 2nd floor playroom that could be converted to a combo kids playroom/wet bar. That would be the backup plan if I can't fit a fridge and/or microwave (popcorn) in or near the HT room.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I don't think I would use any of them. Couple of things I see. 1. Not enough separation in LCR speakers.
Mike,

I greatly appreciate your candid comments, especially from someone with your background.

That's a rough representation in the diagram, but point noted. I don't believe I pro-rated the distance to each speaker in that particular screen shot. My understanding is they should be equidistant from the primary listening position, is that correct?

For example, in general the center speaker would be further back than the L/R based on hypotenuse of a triangle vs. 90° angle to center speaker. At least that's my understanding ATM.

2. Way too much space eaten up in depth by the speakers behind the screen.
Are you still referring to the 3rd diagram ("O-2")? It's only 26" deep. The speakers I'm planning are 19.5" deep. I am planning on ~30° toe-in. I was thinking 26" as a minimum depth after accounting for toe-in, lining the front wall with acoustic absorption especially freqs
 

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The third one you posted. Not sure on the designation. As far as the speakers go, that's an astute and knowledgeable response. Ideally yes, they would be equidistant, but in reality, they won't be except for the central positions. If you sit on either side of the center position, left or right, you will no longer be equidistant from the speakers. You will always be closer to one of the other speaker. Only a single listener would ever be equidistant. To make up for this, you can use the distance and levels within the receiver, but be forewarned, the distances and levels don't always reflect in listening tests what they claim to be. The angle is more important than the distance. However, you do want the speakers to be at the same height and of same make and model with similar timbre.
 

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Oh, and forget about 11.1 or .2 or whatever. Proper treatment, design and placement will take the place of additional effect speakers. Yes, 4 feet even for ceiling speakers. If you don't have the space, you don't have it. It is what it is. I would place the speakers in the ceiling in the drawing. Placement of these speakers should not be haphazard and is extremely important. Work it out in your plan. To do so, you will also need to do a side elevation.
 

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Have you considered no columns, with false fabric walls as a design solution?

Wouldn't a baffle wall help conserve a little bit of room depth?


Have you considered shallower seating options?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
As far as the speakers go... yes, they would be equidistant, but in reality, they won't be except for the central positions. If you sit on either side of the center position, left or right, you will no longer be equidistant from the speakers.
Yes, understood that there is only one "money" seat, per se.

The angle is more important than the distance. However, you do want the speakers to be at the same height and of same make and model with similar timbre.
Makes sense and thank you. I have heard from others that the speakers I'm looking at (3 identical for front L/C/R) work best between a 30-45 degree toe-in. They are using SEOS tweeters FWIW. That being said, I have not purchased them yet. I'm attracted to the SEOS design in part due to their wide sound stage (hoping that will mitigate the 'only one good seat' problem).
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Oh, and forget about 11.1 or .2 or whatever. Proper treatment, design and placement will take the place of additional effect speakers.
Good point. I have read others' comments that well placed acoustic treatments can make a 5.1 system sound better than a 9.1 system with poor sound treatments. I am leaning toward hiring professional help on the acoustic treatment front, but I'm hoping to do the basic theater layout on my own.

Yes, 4 feet even for ceiling speakers. If you don't have the space, you don't have it. It is what it is.
Mike, I'm not sure what you meant by that statement (the '4 feet' part). Are you referring to the vertical separation between the MLP's ears and each ceiling speaker? Or separation from other speakers?

I would place the speakers in the ceiling in the drawing. Placement of these speakers should not be haphazard and is extremely important. Work it out in your plan. To do so, you will also need to do a side elevation.
Thanks. I'll work on that next (side elevation diagram). I've been planning 45 degree angles on the vertical plane from the MLP (ear location when seated) to each ceiling speaker. If my visualization is correct - looking at the room on the horizontal plane - connecting the ceiling speakers by imaginary lines would form a square shape with the MLP in the center of the square. I can imagine their proximity to other speakers could be an issue, especially in a room that is 12-13 feet wide.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Have you considered no columns, with false fabric walls as a design solution?
Yes. My preference is for fabric covered walls and virtually no visible bare drywall. I'd like to do fabric walls and columns, but I'm willing to give up on columns if I determine it's not feasible based on other factors.

Wouldn't a baffle wall help conserve a little bit of room depth?
Not much.

The front speakers I'm interested in are designed to be used with a lot of toe-in, which wouldn't work in a baffle wall.

I chose not to do a baffle wall for that reason and others (if you like, you can read a lengthy post I wrote on the subject here after conducting a fair amount of research).

Have you considered shallower seating options?
Yes, for the row that I won't be sitting in. :D I don't want to use movie theater style seats though. My kids frequently have friends over, as do my wife and I so anticipate these seats will get used often (back row).
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Take the O2 plan and put an open doorway entrance between the first and second row, then use your current entrance to access the refrigerator and microwave on the left and rack access on the right, You can never have a rack that is too big.
Something like this?

I also made the column spacing uniform and moved the rear wall further back from the 2nd row. The screen is shrunk by 10" in width to preserve a front row seating angle that is not too wide (I hope), @ 54°.
 

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That works and allows you to have a fridge and microwave above . I was thinking both the rack and the snacks accessible through the front door but your plan works, maybe better, you need a quiet fridge.

get a slide out rack or put the hole rack on casters. Like the Omnimount 42U rack. it is 24x24 inches

pic from Wayfair

 
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