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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
EDIT 3/29/20: It's finished! Photos as of today copied below, and for more photos and impressions see the "it's done" post:







After decades of dreaming about having space for a dedicated theater, the dream has finally come true. It's not perfect, but it's mine... all mine! :) My wife and I recently moved into a new, bigger house, and there's a spare bedroom that we both decided would be reserved for a dedicated theater.

I have a lot of existing equipment that will go into the room, and it's a tighter squeeze than my last room (which was in a rental) so a lot of the challenge comes from fitting it all into a smaller space. Here's the general outline:

Room size: Approx 14.5' long by 12.5' wide. It's a bedroom, so there's also a closet which will house my equipment rack.

Speaker config: 5.2.4, all JTR - I already have everything except the 2nd sub.



  • LCR: JTR 212RT
  • Subs: JTR (1) S2 + (1) RS2 (to be purchased)
  • Surround: JTR Single 8HT-LP
  • Front Height: JTR 110HT-SL
  • Rear Height: JTR Slant 8HT-LP

The floor is on concrete so I'll have to see how much tactile response is missing. Crowsons may be called for, but two RS2s in this small room may be considered by some to be "overkill" (what's that?).

Seating: three Fusion Collection Jive seats with room for a fourth on demand. These are the among the narrowest seats I could find.

Video: JVC RS2000 projector and SeymourAV H115 retractable electric AT screen (115" wide, 130" diagonal). This is a monster screen, and it barely fits in the room, but it's what I already have so I'll make use of it. The front stage and subs will go behind the screen.

Acoustic treatment: I'm going all GIK:



  • Tri-Traps with scatter plates double stacked in each corner.
  • 2x 244 panels with scatter plates on the walls and ceiling at 1st reflection points
  • 2x 244 panels on the front wall with range limiters
  • 2x Monster Traps on the back wall with scatter plates

I'm not doing any soundproofing, beyond putting insulation in the ceiling (there's currently none there as there's a floor above and the previous owners didn't bother).

Video treatment: I'm going full bat cave! The room will be primered with a dark color, then painted with Rosco TV Black. All the acoustic treatment will be black fabric. I'm not going to rip out the existing carpet; instead I'll put down a black rug between the seats and the screen. I'm prepared to make velvet panels for the walls and ceiling if the reflections close to the screen are still problematic.

HVAC: the room is very well insulated from the outside and the property is surrounded by dense forest. In summer the room is still quite cool. I realize that stuffing equipment and people in a small room is going to heat things up quick, but I want to see how bad it gets before looking into heat pump solutions.

Construction: I'm not going all out here because long term plans may include a remodel and a bigger room. So for this build I'm not going to put in soffits, stage, or risers. It's too small anyway! I'll be ripping out the ceiling drywall and replacing it myself, which will be a learning experience as it is (I've never done more than patching).

Lighting: I'll be putting in recessed LED lighting, perhaps something like this and a Z-Wave wall switch for integration with my Harmony Elite. I considered getting individually addressable RGBW lights with a DMX controller, but that might be a bridge too far with this room.

Here are some "before" photos, taken today:














And here's my current working plan:






Legend:


  • BLUE = speakers
  • RED = acoustic treatment
  • YELLOW = ceiling lights
Potential problem areas:


  • The surround speakers are really close to the left and right seats and I'm worried localization will be a problem. This will get worse when we want to move the fourth seat into the room. I can push the speakers forward or back of the seats, but only so much. To give the RS speaker as much distance as possible, I'll see if I can actually put it in my equipment rack in the closet (which will stay open).
  • The rear heights can't go back far enough to make the recommended 45 angle with the MLP. Oh well?
  • Given the viewing distance, I'm likely going to have to dial down the image such that it doesn't fill the screen. I'm not sure how problematic that will be in a bat cave.
Things do to next:


  • Take down existing track lighting.
  • Knock out the ceiling. Time to commit!
  • Run PVC conduit and cabling through ceiling, from closet to front of room, height speakers, and projector.
  • Decide on lighting and extend existing light circuit to the new drops.
  • Run 2nd power circuit to room for cushion (the 4000W amps in the subs are going to be hungry).
  • Extend existing wall plug circuit into closet.

I'm hoping to have it all done by end of March, but I've been around here long enough to know better :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I was *just* about to start ripping out the ceiling drywall, and now I'm second guessing myself.


The main reason to rip out the ceiling was to 1) to put in insulation where there is currently none, and 2) to make life easier running power to the new lights through joists as well as cables to the equipment rack (speaker / HDMI / etc). For the first, insulation isn't really needed for heating / cooling and it's not going to offer much additional soundproofing. For the second, I'm cutting 4" holes for the lights anyway and I can use those as access points for my d'versibit to bore through joists and then fish wires through. I might have to open up the drywall at a few other places but patching and sanding a few places here and there is far easier than putting in an entire ceiling.


I'm also thinking that both subs placed at the front are too symmetric and might result in a null at the center of the room. Maybe I should relocate one to the closet?
 

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two subs place equidistant from the center line will eliminate the null running down the middle of the room directly through your center seat. There will be length wise nulls at 50 and 75% of the rooms length. if your seating is at the 75% placing a a sub at the side of the seating will help with that. You could place one sub in the middle of the front wall instead of the two and one sub on the side wall at 75%
 

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Discussion Starter #5
two subs place equidistant from the center line will eliminate the null running down the middle of the room directly through your center seat. There will be length wise nulls at 50 and 75% of the rooms length. if your seating is at the 75% placing a a sub at the side of the seating will help with that. You could place one sub in the middle of the front wall instead of the two and one sub on the side wall at 75%

Thanks for that - very useful! Unfortunately it does look like the seating is almost exactly at 75%, so will plan on trying one sub in the closet. The remaining sub can't be exactly in the middle of the front wall due to the center speaker.
 

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Hi tebling.

Good luck with the build.

Just a thought since you mentioned about ripping out the ceiling (so you must be handy)....Why not relocate the rear-door to the left & place in the closet and adjust the ceiling height in there to suit ceiling in the room?

This will free up space on the back wall so to include rear-speakers at ear levels (in the future or now).

I'm just guessing but from the pictures, it looks like you may have enough room to perform & still room for the AV-Rack.

Just a thought.

Cheers. Steve ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Just a thought since you mentioned about ripping out the ceiling (so you must be handy)....Why not relocate the rear-door to the left & place in the closet and adjust the ceiling height in there to suit ceiling in the room?
This will free up space on the back wall so to include rear-speakers at ear levels (in the future or now).

Thanks Steve! But not sure I follow your comment here - are you saying that would open up more space behind the seats so I could add rear surrounds for a 7.1.4 system?

In any case, I've decided not to rip out the ceiling and see how it goes. Re-locating the door is something I could probably do, but I'm thinking it's over the top for what I'm expecting out of this room.

By the way I had a look at your build thread and it looks amazing!
 

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Thanks Steve! But not sure I follow your comment here - are you saying that would open up more space behind the seats so I could add rear surrounds for a 7.1.4 system?
Yes. That door is sort of in an awkward spot for a HT-room. It's right where'd you'd place that right-back-speaker. But relocating the door now will take away the - "I wish I had of moved that door while I had the chance", scenario. I know it's a days work & the missus has gotta give you the big thumb ups....but think about it as nows the time to do it while you're doing the build.

By the way I had a look at your build thread and it looks amazing!
Cheers m8. What was expected to be a 3-month build has just about clocked up 365 days since the first nail was driven. But I'm nearly there. Thx for the kind words & Happy New Year.
 

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That seems like a ton of lights for that size room. Are they going to be 3” cans perhaps?

The rear heights can be mounted to the top of the rear wall, they don’t necessarily need to be in the ceiling - that might get you the proper angle.

If your screen is going to be nearly as wide as your front wall, you are going to want to seriously consider covering ~4’ or so of the sidewalls with black velvet, because you will have a lot of light reflecting onto them and it can be distracting.

Can your right surround speaker be mounted to the back wall of that closet, flush with the opening?
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
That seems like a ton of lights for that size room. Are they going to be 3” cans perhaps?

I'd like to do 4" recessed LEDs, such as this one (I have one of these already as a sample) though I'd like to compare with a 2700K one. I used this lighting calculator with a target luminance of 30 fc and 1000 lumen lights. It came up with a 3x3 configuration, which I'm basically following apart from the light missing in the center (due to the GIK panel there) and an additional light in the closet. For simplicity I'm putting everything on a single Z-Wave controllable dimmer, so I expect most of the time I'll be running it low, but when cleaning up for example I'd like to have the option to blast the room with light.

The rear heights can be mounted to the top of the rear wall, they don’t necessarily need to be in the ceiling - that might get you the proper angle.
That's a really good idea I hadn't considered before. Unfortunately I just measured the clearance above the door and given the speaker size I'm short by just 1". I don't think it would have made a ton of difference?

If your screen is going to be nearly as wide as your front wall, you are going to want to seriously consider covering ~4’ or so of the sidewalls with black velvet, because you will have a lot of light reflecting onto them and it can be distracting.
For sure, and I'm absolutely prepared to make velvet panels - I've done it before in a different room and like you say it can make a huge difference.

Can your right surround speaker be mounted to the back wall of that closet, flush with the opening?

I've updated the plan, moving one of the subs to the closet and moving the equipment rack and surround speakers further to the back of the room (consistent with the Dolby recommendation of 110 - 120 degrees to the MLP).





Thanks for the feedback!
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
The LED ceiling light candidates arrived and I set up a lighting shootout:



From left to right:

2700K - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BHKBBGV
3000K - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MHM9WWB
3000K - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HBRG7CX

The family ranked them 2, 1, 3 left to right and I agree. The one on the far right is just too yellow and the color varies across the beam. The left one is a nice consistent warm color, but the middle feels like a more neutral white without being harsh. It coincidentally happens to be the one that comes pre-painted in black, so win-win!

A hero shot of the victor:



Now that the light is chosen, the ceiling cutout diameter is fixed so I can get to to making swiss cheese!
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Progress update!

Closet:


  • Removed shelving.
  • Wired new outlet for equipment rack.
  • Wired light and switch (there was no existing light).
  • Brought in cables for top rear speakers.




Lights. Wired up all LED downlights:








The lights are on two circuits. One circuit powers the three lights at the front, which will illuminate the screen. The other circuit powers all the other lights except the closet.

The lights are now controlled by these Eaton RF9540 Z-Wave dimmer switches. Despite the fact that they are ELV switches, the LED drivers still buzz pretty noticeably when not at 100%. I'm going to try putting some fiberglass insulation under the drivers and hopefully that in addition to filling the holes with the lights is enough to solve the problem. On the plus side, the switches paired easily with my Harmony Elite.





Projector. I also wired power for the projector into this dual high / low voltage box. HDMI and RS232 will go into the low voltage side.





As you can imagine the hardest part has been running cables through the ceiling joists and top plates without removing big sections of drywall. I wouldn't say it's been easy, but having the right tools has definitely helped. My primary weapons are 1) 54" flexible drill bit, 2) wi-fi endoscope, which I can fish through a small hole to look around and make sure I'm not going to drill through anything disastrous, and 3) good old nylon fish tape.

The next big challenge is going to be running the remaining ceiling speaker cables and figuring out how to mount the ceiling speakers. After that I'll be running cables to the front of the room (LCR speaker, XLR subwoofer, HDMI for an aux TV and cat6 for future expansion), and then it's on to patch and paint!
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Progress update:



  • Speaker wires have been run from the closet for all four ceiling speakers and the left surround. This ended up being a major ordeal given all the joists, blocking, top plates, and pipes in my way. I decided to mount the top back speakers high up on the back wall as @SteveCallas suggested (good idea!) The top back rear speaker will just barely clear the door.
  • Insulation has been stuffed under all the ceiling LED drivers. No more buzzing!
  • 10m Ruipro fiber HDMI and RS232 cables run from closet to low voltage box above projector site.

Here's one of the speaker cables exiting from the ceiling:





LED Light Strip!

In true feature creep fashion, I've decided at the last minute to install a Philips Hue compatible perimeter light strip near the ceiling. It will reside on Orac Design Antonio C374 crown molding:



The beautiful thing about this plan is that the molding can double as a channel for the cables running to the front of the room (3x speaker, HDMI, Cat6, and balanced XLR for sub). This is far preferable to running them more or less permanently in the ceiling - and a lot easier. I have a sample of the molding arriving in a few days, but it looks like the hollow cavity should be able to accommodate all that cable.

In terms of lighting, I was really close to dropping big bucks on several Philips Hue Lightstrips, but at the last minute I found out about a small Canadian company called Sowilo Design that makes a much more powerful version. Their light strips are Hue compatible, but brighter and thanks to a custom amplifier and power supply, can be run much further all while presenting itself as a single Hue light. They were awesome to work with, and within a few days I had a complete kit for an almost 60 foot continuous light strip! The best part is that it was also far cheaper than had I gone with Philips.

Here's one of the 15 foot sections of light strip I tested in my living room. It was totally plug 'n play - the Hue app found the light on the first try.





Of course this plan meant making a few changes to the room. The first was that I needed a place to locate the power supply and amplifier for the light strip. I decided the best place was tucked up behind and above the closet doorway, near where the speaker wires enter from the ceiling. So I bought another combination high and low voltage box for an outlet in that spot:





I also decided that I wanted the option to control the perimeter light from a wall switch, in addition to the Hue app / Harmony Elite. So I bought a Click For Philips Hue from RunLessWire. It's a switch to control your Hue lights that is powered by the kinetic energy of the switch being pressed - there are no wires to connect at all, not even power! I know, it sounds like pure sorcery, but it really works. Installing this meant that I had to undo all my previous wiring and put in a three gang box. It was actually a good thing, because it gave me the opportunity to replace all the wire nuts with Wago push connectors. SO much better!

From left to right: Z-Wave switch for main ceiling lights, Z-Wave switch for screen ceiling lights, and dual switch for the (to be installed) Hue perimeter light.





Next up is black paint in the closet! I want to test out the paints before attacking the whole room. Let the darkness descend!
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Finished painting today! :D

But let's back up and tell the story in photos, starting with paint selection. I'd heard a lot about the Rosco TV Black paint from forum members, so decided to try it as well as the Behr Marquee flat black from HD.





I decided to experiment in the equipment closet first, so I painted the first coat with the Behr, then after it dried I painted a small patch of TV Black on top:





Long story short, I ended up going with the Behr for the whole room because 1) the Rosco wasn't that much darker, and 2) the Rosco scuffed super easily, even when mixed with acrylic glaze (2 parts black to 1 part acrylic).


Here's the closet, all painted and with bass traps in the corner:





And here's a look up at where the cables go through the closet ceiling. Remember that the outlet here is to power the LED light strip. The hole to the right is where the 6 conductor light strip wire will go through, as well as all the cables going to the front of the room:






Various stages of painting:




















I finalized the projector high and low voltage box, and fastened the Chief CMS 390 mount to the ceiling (into the joists of course):





It's such a relief to be past the room construction phase. Now the real fun begins! Starting with mounting ceiling speakers... stay tuned.
 

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So that's the Rosco TV black paint? It looks great... how did it go on? Decently even coverage? I've read a lot about people using matte paints and discovering that the finish picks up smudge marks from basically any contact, especially with oily fingers, etc. Does this have anything similar?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
So that's the Rosco TV black paint? It looks great... how did it go on? Decently even coverage? I've read a lot about people using matte paints and discovering that the finish picks up smudge marks from basically any contact, especially with oily fingers, etc. Does this have anything similar?
Nope, I tried the TV Black and it didn't work out. Here's what I wrote above:

Long story short, I ended up going with the Behr [Marquee Flat Black] for the whole room because 1) the Rosco wasn't that much darker, and 2) the Rosco scuffed super easily, even when mixed with acrylic glaze (2 parts black to 1 part acrylic).
No regrets on going with the Behr - it looks great and doesn't smudge at all. It's more reflective than the TV Black, but I'm going to do velvet panels around the screen eventually anyway, so that should mostly mitigate contrast issues.

I have an extra gallon of the TV Black if anyone wants it :)
 
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