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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, I think it's finally time to start a thread. Here goes nothing!

Background:

We are finally getting the basement finished in the house after building it 10 years ago. A theater was never part of the plan because our idea of a basement was an open plan and a multipurpose place. I suggested a theater to my parents because, well, the thought of a theater in your basement is plain cool. We brought it up with our contractor and he mentioned past clients who ceiling mounted their speakers in an open area, and just ran a curtain around to simulate three walls. After reading AVS and getting hooked on the idea of a dedicated theater, ceiling mounted speakers and a curtain for walls was not going to cut it (Thanks guys!
). We have an area in the basement that wasn't completely dug out by the builders. It is considered a crawl space because it is 6'3" high. We were fortunate to have a crawl space you can walk into as opposed to...crawling. This was just going to be wasted since it would only be good for storage. So why not build a theater there? You'd be sitting down most of the time anyway. So that's where this idea started and is hopefully heading.

About the room:

I listed the dimensions in a Paint drawing and mocked it up in SketchUp. After carpeting and sheet rocking the total clearance is 6'2" and roughly 11'w X 16'l. There is a little nook at the far end with a window, but this area will be covered by the screen so it shouldn't be a problem. There will be a soffit running along the back wall and I plan on mounting the screen frame straight to that. Since the ceiling is low it doesn't make sense to mount it below the soffit.

About the theater (as of this first post):
Screen: I'm going with a CIH 2.35:1 SMX AT screen (shout out to dc_pilgrim for the gift!). It will be masked most of the time to a 16:9 100" screen. After some calculations the screen will be 3" off the ceiling and ~2' off of the ground. I'm not putting a frame around it, instead I'm making the screen wall and frame one piece. Hopefully this will look and function well. BIGmouthinDC posted a black micro velvet material in his thread that is believed to acoustically transparent enough to use instead of GOM.

Acoustic Treatments: There will be a corner bass trap on the screen wall opposite to the nook. I’m going to take care of first reflections at the very least. Other than that I’m completely lost on treatments so I’m hoping to figure it out as I go. I think this will formally be decided after the seating arrangement is settled on. Any thoughts on how to treat the nook area? Part of me wants to allow a couple dozen cans of Great Stuff to explode in there.

Equipment: I already bought an Epson 8350 but I’m making the store hold on to it until I’m ready for it. The front speakers are going to be Polk Monitor 60s Series 2, with a CS2 center and Monitor 30 bookshelves as rears and surrounds. If my budget allows I’m hoping to pick up a BIC F12 for the lower end. I haven’t decided on a receiver yet. As for video sources: Xbox, Xbox 360, Bluray player, DVD player, Home Media Center, and a Roku. All of these are going to be in a DIY equipment rack in another room.

Control: Everything will be controlled from an iPod touch.

Seating: I love theater seats. But I don’t think this room is going to permit them since I’d be able to only fit three if I’m lucky. A second row does not seem like an option at all because a riser would end up causing head injuries. So I may be stuck getting a really comfortable couch with ottomans and bean bags.

Lighting: I’m thinking 2 sconces on each wall and 3 3” recessed lights in front of the screen.

Where I am now:

-The framing has been done.

What’s next:

-I have to run the speaker wire

-Figure out the lighting

-Projector mount

Still needs to be decided:

-Seating

-5.1 or 7.1 audio?

-Speaker locations

-Acoustic treatment

-Color

Last minute thoughts:

-No room for columns

-I already have GOM samples but can’t decide on a color

-I don’t have a door! I can’t put one right at the theater because 6’ is too short, so I guess it will have to go in the hallway area?

-dc_pilgrim kindly hooked us up with AT SMX screen material, acoustic insulation, and wood to make panels from. I can’t thank him enough!


Feel free to (and please do) comment. I can use all of your help and suggestions. The more I venture into the room, the more doubts entire my mind. Is this too small of a room to make into a theater? Is it worth dropping thousands of dollars on? I can be swayed either way at this point.


If enough people think I should go forth with this, I'll update this thread as often as I can. I already have two computers on the way to me, one that I'm setting up as a server to stream DVDs and one that will be a Home Media Center. If anyone is interested in how to do that, I'll post my steps in detail.


Thanks for reading!

 

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Sounds like a fun build (as long as you're not 6'3"). Good luck!


Big kudos to dc_pilgrim for his generosity. Did you have some incriminating documents pointing to him that you threatened to send to wikileaks?


Drawing not up to date? Shows 2nd row on a riser (I think).


Search for theater for hobbits, a nice compact theater, for some ideas (if you haven't seen it already).
 

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You could use low profile or bean bag seats for a front row and that would add 2 or 3 more seats. I remember seeing an example if it somewhere in thus forum.


Good luck and post pics when complete.
 

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I have a small space for my theater and it works great (~9.5wx7hx16). I use two rocker gamer chairs and a bean bag in front of a row of 4 commercial type theater seats bolted down in concrete basement. The gamer chairs are actually pretty comfortable and fit the bill in such a small space when I didn't want to build riser. I can still pack in 7 for a tight fit.

http://www.videogamechairs.com/video...ideorocker.cfm


I have for fun just to try have run y-splitter off of subwoofer channel to get vibrations from small sub built in it and the video game controller type vibrating motors in it. Not near as effective, but cheap buttshaker with easy adjustment for sub and vibration motors on side of chair.
 

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 http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1135953


This is a friends thread. I'm not sure of the ceiling height, but I had to duck on the riser. The cramped quarters gave a very cool character to the room and can definetely be considered an asset depending on you POV. Considering it's the space you have, then you just need to pick the right POV.
 

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Congrats on getting rolling. Looking forward to the progress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Horstkotte
Big kudos to dc_pilgrim for his generosity. Did you have some incriminating documents pointing to him that you threatened to send to wikileaks?
Ha-ha. More like a bunch of stuff for a theater that just isn't going to fit in this house and a desire to park my car in garage this winter. Depending bonus I'll be doing a general purpose room with a drop screen in the playroom in late 2011.
 

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I think the 2 rows is reaching for a little more then the room can support. But the space could house a functional theater. Your doubts come from trying to cram too much in the space.


Could you live with four Lovan Marquee seats, in a single row? A rough idea here, but perhaps the "aisle" seat could be moved for aisle access? And as a single row, they could be kept off the back wall.


I'd put the wall sconces on the back wall, and build backer boxes for in-ceiling spots. 3-4" will work out nicely, scale-wise. You might need few more spots then you think, since the ceiling is low. Shallow columns could be employed, but I wouldn't bother.


I'd deepen the front AT space with those speakers and keep the SMX material off the speakers by 6" to avoid timbre changes. If you didn't own speakers, I'd go with in walls up front and keep a shallow AT space (but respectful of the 6"). A sub or two could go in the alcove.


Consider a door or panel to cover the window. No light leaking in, and no bass leaking out.


Doors can be cut down. Mask tape the door and use a sharp utility knife to score the door. Then cut with a saw. Peel the plywood off the cut off portion and save the inner wood and glue it in the door. Clamp until dry.


My spots were bought off a reduced rack, with the plan to spray paint the black glass trim rings. Those rings glow cobalt blue when I wired them up! They add some pizzaz to my smaller space, where I find I have to keep reining myself in, to try to straddle the line between simple and boring.


I beleive AT screens are great for smaller spaces. They allow better speaker placement options, and keep the room less cluttered. A small room will feel larger, with less clutter.


I'd put surrounds in the ceiling, with back boxes. Or in walls.


I wonder if the area by the window could be employed to create a bass trap that a riser would normally be used for? (Sand filled platform for the sub.)


I wouldn't leave the pj at the store. What if they went bankrupt? There goes your pj...


The small theater build is a must read, if you haven't already. :

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=996973


I've also found dark colours in a smaller space, tend to make the walls and ceiling recede.


I'd place the av rack outside the theater if possible. Less light and noise pollution plus the heat load is outside the theater. What HVAC is in the room? You need cooling and air changes or the room will get hot and stuffy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for all the suggestions everyone. I've spent the last few months reading every thread the search function and the small theater thread brought me too.


@Brad Horstkotte: I hope this will be fun and not too expensive of a learning experience. You're right on the drawing. I threw that couch in to see how a 7.1 would work out. Here is a picture with just one row:



It looks like theater seats are in order for one row, and bean bags/rocker chairs will be used for over flow. Time to call up Roman!


@Tedd, thanks for the detailed post! I'm about to reply to your PM. What are the Lovan Marquee seats? I checked out their website and didn't see a Marquee series. The AT screen distance is actually limited by a HVAC soffit that I'm covering up. And as for the speakers, I haven't purchased any yet so that can be changed anytime
. Sonces on the back wall? Is that just to include them in the room? Because I don't really care for them lol. I thought they were a better alternative to recessed lighting because they would make the room seem taller. Or maybe I made that fact up?


Check on the window treatment. Do you think I can just mount up a piece of MDF? That goes against code, but I can throw hinges on it or make it easily removable.


The ceiling is going to be the darkest black I can find. I came across a thread here talking about the really dark paint (I forget the brand), but I don't think the budget allows for it. I'll just get the darkest black I can find in Lowes and tell them to add some more black tint to it. The color of the walls is still up in the air. I left that up to my parents.


Any recomendation on speakers? I read that in wall weren't good so I decided to go with bookshelves. But if there are any that you think compare to the Monitor 30s at that price range, I'll happily order them up.


And about the door, how do you guys feel if I just put a full door in that "hall way" area entering the theater. I think you can get a better picture of it in the picture I added in this post. The portion after the door would be carpeted the same as the theater, and there would be a step (curved maybe) leading to the theater level. I could do some pretty cool theater related floor lighting there too.


And the AV rack is outside. The room felt too small to see all the lights in there. It's destined for the closet under the stair case. I'm in the process of researching IR extenders to make control a little easier.


Alright, it's back to fishing Cat6 runs! Thanks for the replies everyone.
 

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@Tedd, thanks for the detailed post! I'm about to reply to your PM. What are the Lovan Marquee seats? I checked out their website and didn't see a Marquee series. The AT screen distance is actually limited by a HVAC soffit that I'm covering up. And as for the speakers, I haven't purchased any yet so that can be changed anytime
. Sonces on the back wall? Is that just to include them in the room? Because I don't really care for them lol. I thought they were a better alternative to recessed lighting because they would make the room seem taller. Or maybe I made that fact up?


In walls are getting better all the time. I mentioned them as a potential

solution to conserve room length. My preference is for smaller free standing

speakers and dual subs. A second mixed lighting option makes for nice lighting

effects and some flexibility. I suggested sconces on the rear wall mainly to keep them

off the side walls and conserve width.


Check on the window treatment. Do you think I can just mount up a piece of MDF? That goes against code, but I can throw hinges on it or make it easily removable.


The room likely won't pass code as a finished space with 6' ceiling. But I would keep

easy egress for the window. Maybe cover it with a door and gasket the door as an

inexpensive solution.


the darkest black I can find. I came across a thread here talking about the really dark paint (I forget the brand), but I don't think the budget allows for it. I'll just get the darkest black I can find in Lowes and tell them to add some more black tint to it. The color of the walls is still up in the air. I left that up to my parents.


Can everyone keep their paws off the ceiling?
Easily fingerprinted.


And about the door, how do you guys feel if I just put a full door in that "hall way" area entering the theater. I think you can get a better picture of it in the picture I added in this post. The portion after the door would be carpeted the same as the theater, and there would be a step (curved maybe) leading to the theater level. I could do some pretty cool theater related floor lighting there too.


I like it. Coming in from a closed in area to a larger space might just make

the theater feel slightly more spacious.


And the AV rack is outside. The room felt too small to see all the lights in there. It's destined for the closet under the stair case. I'm in the process of researching IR extenders to make control a little easier.





Make that Lovan Matinee seats.

http://www.lovanusa.com/images/produ...SA_Matinee.pdf
 

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I'd leverage that AT screen and go with three identical bookself speakers. I'd consider 2 subs as well. Ideally, all black speakers with the grills removed. 80 Hz crossover.


The stands would be simple sand filled DIY 4 sided columns, painted flat black. We don't want anything to light up, behind the AT screen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Tedd, your speaker suggestions are currently being researched. I'll post back as soon as I find a model that is in my budget range to see if it's acceptable, same goes with in wall surrounds. What do you think about rears? In ceiling? Stick with in wall? Forget about them?


PS: Those Matinee seats cost as much as two Berklines lol.


Also anyone familiar with intercoms? I need something between the kitchen and the basement. There are so many options, I'm just looking for a brand suggestion to start with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I just realized I never posted a picture of the area in its current state, so here it is. It's taken from where the hallway would be:


That's the acoustic material, SMX screen and some of the wood from dc_pilgrim.


Small update:


I fished all the Cat6 wires except for one. Also brought a phone line down from the kitchen so I can keep the Vonage modem with the rest of the equipment. The last one is a run from the basement to the attic. It looks like the DirectTV guy broke the ladder to the attic, kicked in a board exposing the insides of a wall, and broke the conduit that runs the height of the house. So I have my work cut out for me trying to solve that problem.

Here is where the wires terminate, which is the area under the stairs and the future location of the AV cabinet:



I'm also working on the sump pump...still need to order a battery back up one.



ANNNDD the best update of all: I got the projector today!! We watched a few music videos and a movie projected on the living room wall. It's a really light brown color, and the picture still looked absolutely amazing.

 
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