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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The Ugly Theater Project (now with Atmos!)

MOST RECENT UPDATE: POST 39. NOW WITH VELVET!

Background: I've been thinking about starting a thread on my theater for a while, but have never really gotten around to it. I've been slowly building my theater for the last 15 years, going back to when I was a teenager. When I turned 16 I didn't get a car, I got surround sound for my bedroom. Since that time my theater has gone through numerous changes and upgrades. Last year I setup an extremely small (11L x 10w) theater in a spare bedroom of my old house. As things would work out, I moved about 9 months later, so all that work was for basically nothing. When we bought our new house I knew I wanted a theater and made that one of my requirements. As a result I got myself a nice little dedicated space that is more respectable size (16L x 11w). I’m not exactly the handiest among us, so there is very little in terms of modifications done to the room. Furthermore, as you can see in the pictures below, this is not what I would describe as a pretty theater. I’ve made several aesthetic compromises in an effort to improve quality. Having a dedicated room gets me out of the WAF issues that I occasionally had when all of this equipment was in my living room. I'm hoping that this thread helps some others out who are also looking at putting a theater into a (relatively) small room, and gives them some ideas on what they can do with limited space.

Equipment and Room:

Room: The room is 16 feet long and 11 feet across. I would have liked the room to be a bit larger, but I’ll take what I can get. The ceiling is vaulted and goes between 8ft at the lowest point up to 11 feet at the highest point.

Front Speakers: My front sound stage is the EMP Impression line. I’ve got the e55ti towers and the e56ci center channel.

Side Surrounds: SVS Prime Bookshelf Speakers

Rear Surrounds: I’ve got a pair of SVS Prime Satellites.

Atmos Speakers: I've got 4 SVS Prime Satellites ceiling mounted for my height speakers.

Subs: I’ve got an SVS PC-12 Plus and an SVS PC-13 Ultra.

Projector: I’ve got a JVC RS400 projecting onto a 110’ Silver Ticket Screen.

AVR: Denon x6200w. The Amp in the Denon is running all of the surround speakers.

Amplifier: I have an Emotiva XPA-5 running the fronts.

Blu-Ray Player: Oppo UDP-203

Video Game System: I’ve got a Playstation 4

Acoustics: I’ve got 19 panels from GIK acoustics

Remote: Harmony Ultimate

Streaming: Roku Ultra


Pictures:

















 

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Discussion Starter #2
Future Plans:

I thought I would also include future projects coming to my theater (I'll try to keep this thread updated as I actually make changes).

The first upgrade I'm planning on is more acoustic treatments. I've actually got another three panels from GIK ordered at this time and I'm just waiting on them to arrive. I'm going to be adding one more on my ceiling and one more on each side wall. I'm also going to be adding another 4 corner bass traps in the near future, so I can extend my traps from floor to ceiling, instead of the half wall setup I currently have. All that should be done by the end of this year.

Sometime either late this year or early next year I'm planning on getting some new seating in the room. Right now I have some serious limits on room, so I've only got a few setups I can chose from. At this point it is between the Palliser Stereo and the HT Paget's. Right now it looks like I'm going with the Paget, it's a little more money but seems to offer much more bang for the buck. I would be going with a two recliner plus love seat in the middle design to maximize seats in the room. 115in across is my limit for having a acceptable isle that doesn't make people trip.

Towards the end of 2016 early 2017 I've got plans to upgrade the theater to Atmos. Right now the planning would be getting a new AVR (Probably the next version of the Denon x6200), four in ceiling speakers, and a 5 channel AMP. I would run the front speakers and side surrounds off the AMP, and use the Denon to drive the ceiling speakers and the rear surrounds. I had the thought about trying to keep the cost down and going with a 7.2.2 setup, but figure I might as well go all in for a 7.2.4 setup.

Long terms after that I think my attention turns back to upgrading my projector, but at this point I don't have any actual plans for that.
 

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Nice theater room! Looks like a comfy place to watch a movie.
Definitely a good example of how to take advantage of a smaller space.

Looking forward to your updates as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Figured I would go ahead and chronicle my newest project in this post. After asking a few questions about upgrading to an Atmos theater, I started talking with a handful of members here and within a few days (and a somewhat shocking green light from my wife) I made the decision to upgrade to a 7.2.4 theater. I've got a Denon x6200 receiver on the way to replace the old 2112. I'll be adding an Emotiva XPA-5 to power the additional channels so I can do full 11 channel audio. The Emotiva will be powering my front sound stage. I've also go ahead and picked up 6 new speakers, 4 SVS Prime Satellites for use as my ceiling speakers, and a pair of SVS Prime Bookshelf speakers which will do duty as my side surrounds. First few packages should start rolling in today and I figure it will take approximately a week before I have everything. It's a busy two weeks at work, so the actual installation will likely not happen until closer to Christmas break. Still, I'll post some pictures in this thread as it comes together.
 

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great little room. My only advice would be to paint the wall with the screen black or a dark color, so your projected image looks better.

Have you thought about a PJ upgrade? I have a BenQ as well, but would rather spend money on speakers and equipment than on a higher end PJ

Thanks for sharing.
 

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Love the room as well. Always nice to have a dedicated space for your HT hobby.

What mounts are you using to mount the surrounds? Also, what media tower is that? It looks nice.

As far as a new receiver goes, you might want to take the pre/pro power amp route since you are already planning on purchasing one. Yes, you can use the Denon X6200 as a pre/pro, but you're paying for a 2016 model, and amplifiers you might not use in the receiver, or to the fullest on the XPA-5. Pre/pros have better DACs and other nifty features most receivers don't have - at least for the same price. Also, you don't need a very powerful amp to drive surround speakers, so getting an XPA-3 at $639 (sale at Emotiva or Amazon) will help save some money. That way you can purchase less powerful amplifiers for surround duty. Since you have subs, and efficient surrounds placed relatively close (as you described based on your room size), I think you will be just fine looking at something much less powerful than the XPA-5 for powering channels other than the main 3.

If you wanted to stay in the AVR line of things, I would really suggest getting the closeout model (1 year previous of the new released model/model year end receiver) to really save some money. Those models are heavily discounted, some even $500 and more. There will always be new releases in features and tech, which is why I always purchase the discounted model (EX: I purchased the X4000 when the X4100 was released). The main difference was Atmos between these two models, which I currently don't use. And I still have pre-outs on the x4000 for future use. Getting the x4000 at $800 was a great buy (current price of the X4100, now).

Everything is your call, but the money saved from getting separate amps, model year end receiver, could really go to good use for bigger, badder subs, speakers, blu ray collection, or furniture/room decorations. If you haven't figured it out, this hobby is FULL of different ways to achieve that same thing. Unfortunately, it all costs a big chunk of time and money :) ENJOY the adventure!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
great little room. My only advice would be to paint the wall with the screen black or a dark color, so your projected image looks better.

Have you thought about a PJ upgrade? I have a BenQ as well, but would rather spend money on speakers and equipment than on a higher end PJ

Thanks for sharing.
Paint is something that I plan to get around to eventually, but when that does happen the front wall and the ceiling will be going black.

A projector is something else that is on my radar, but not yet. I'm standing by waiting until 4K gets to a price point that I can tolerate. Basically that search will get a lot more serious once 4K projects in the $4,000 ballpark hit the market.

The BenQ is an amazing little projector, really blows me away how nice it is considering how little it actually costs.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Love the room as well. Always nice to have a dedicated space for your HT hobby.

What mounts are you using to mount the surrounds? Also, what media tower is that? It looks nice.

As far as a new receiver goes, you might want to take the pre/pro power amp route since you are already planning on purchasing one. Yes, you can use the Denon X6200 as a pre/pro, but you're paying for a 2016 model, and amplifiers you might not use in the receiver, or to the fullest on the XPA-5. Pre/pros have better DACs and other nifty features most receivers don't have - at least for the same price. Also, you don't need a very powerful amp to drive surround speakers, so getting an XPA-3 at $639 (sale at Emotiva or Amazon) will help save some money. That way you can purchase less powerful amplifiers for surround duty. Since you have subs, and efficient surrounds placed relatively close (as you described based on your room size), I think you will be just fine looking at something much less powerful than the XPA-5 for powering channels other than the main 3.

If you wanted to stay in the AVR line of things, I would really suggest getting the closeout model (1 year previous of the new released model/model year end receiver) to really save some money. Those models are heavily discounted, some even $500 and more. There will always be new releases in features and tech, which is why I always purchase the discounted model (EX: I purchased the X4000 when the X4100 was released). The main difference was Atmos between these two models, which I currently don't use. And I still have pre-outs on the x4000 for future use. Getting the x4000 at $800 was a great buy (current price of the X4100, now).

Everything is your call, but the money saved from getting separate amps, model year end receiver, could really go to good use for bigger, badder subs, speakers, blu ray collection, or furniture/room decorations. If you haven't figured it out, this hobby is FULL of different ways to achieve that same thing. Unfortunately, it all costs a big chunk of time and money :) ENJOY the adventure!
I had thought about going with last years Denon x5200, however when I learned at CEDIA that it wouldn't be getting DTS: X it was out of the running. I have the XPA-5 on the way and think I probably could have gotten away with the XPA-3, however thankfully the prices weren't that much different. The current plan is that my front speakers will driven by the XPA-5, the surrounds will all be run by the Denon. Of course, that leaves me with 3 open spots on the Denon and 2 on the XPA-5. I was originally thinking about running the side surrounds on the XPA-5 as well, but the XPA-5 is putting out a significantly higher amount of power then the speakers are designed to handle, so I decided to move them back over the the AVR.

:) If I get another subwoofer I'm pretty convinced my wife will murder me.
 

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I had thought about going with last years Denon x5200, however when I learned at CEDIA that it wouldn't be getting DTS: X it was out of the running. I have the XPA-5 on the way and think I probably could have gotten away with the XPA-3, however thankfully the prices weren't that much different. The current plan is that my front speakers will driven by the XPA-5, the surrounds will all be run by the Denon. Of course, that leaves me with 3 open spots on the Denon and 2 on the XPA-5. I was originally thinking about running the side surrounds on the XPA-5 as well, but the XPA-5 is putting out a significantly higher amount of power then the speakers are designed to handle, so I decided to move them back over the the AVR.

:) If I get another subwoofer I'm pretty convinced my wife will murder me.
Well, I guess you would be a lucky one then - died doing what you love :p

and the wall mounts?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, I guess you would be a lucky one then - died doing what you love :p

and the wall mounts?
Wall Mounts that I'm going to be using on the ceiling (for the atmos speakes) are VideoSecu mounts with the keyhole adapter. I mounted one of the speakers last night and did decide to swap out the drywall anchors for a pair of toggle bolts. I don't really want a 7 pound speaker crashing down.

On the sides I'm going to be using a pair of VideoSecu clamping mounts.

As for the equipment stand, I've got no clue. I bought it a while back on Amazon.
 

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One of the things about this site is that it can make you impatient. After speaking with some very helpful members I made the decision to skip ahead and update my theater to a 7.2.4 setup. This came with some significant challenges, which I will outline below.

The first issue was that in-ceiling speakers were not going to work. Due to where my theater is in the house I didn't have attic access above the theater. In fact, the roof of the house runs very close to the ceiling of the theater. The second problem was the discovery of a fire break in the back of the room, which would have blocked me from getting the cables easily out the back wall where my equipment is. For all of these reasons running in-ceiling cabling and speakers was going to become prohibitively expensive. The solution to that problem, after a lot of research and several conversations with both speaker manufactures and AVS members was to go with on-ceiling speakers instead of in-ceiling speakers. As I already was running a pair of SVS Prime Satellites in the back and was pleased with the quality, I decided that I would use those as my ceiling speakers. SVS suggested a wall-mount that would work with the keyhole slots on the back, and would be able to hold the weight on the ceiling. I was a little concerned with the wall anchors they provided, so I swapped those out for some toggle bolts.

The second problem that arose was not having the space necessary to get my speakers within the recommended angles that Dolby says are critical. With a lot of help for my amazing wife(whose patience for me is sometimes stunning), we used push pins, string, and a protractor to figure out how to get this to work. Ultimately the solution was that the rear height speakers would have to be mounted lower on the vaulted part of the ceiling. This meant that the rear height speakers are approximately a foot lower (measured from the height of the tweeter) then the front height speakers. It isn't ideal, but it got the angles into the range where I wanted them, and I figured it was the better compromise. My AVR can set delays and trim levels, it can’t adjust angles.

The third complication was how to run the wire and make it look pretty. I failed. Best thing I could come up with was to use conduits along the ceiling and the run the wiring along the baseboard. It's not a pretty theater; in fact, my theater is pretty damn ugly. However, it sounds awesome, and in my mind that is more important.
The final complication was that I was running EMP bi-poles on the side wall. Again after doing my research here and trying to justify a way to not replace those speakers, I finally gave in and decided to do things right. For those I went with a pair of SVS Prime Bookshelf speakers. I decided to go with the regular bookshelf and not the Satellites because the majority of content in this world is still 5.1. For those movies, I have a slightly better system then I would have had gone with the Satellites. After speaking with SVS they assured me that the Prime Satellites are timbre matched with the Prime Bookshelf speakers, so doing this wasn't going to have an effect on keeping the surrounds all timbre matched with each other.

As part of this project I also needed a new AVR and a new AMP in order to get up to 7.2.4. I went with the Denon x6200 and combined that with an Emotiva XPA-5. The x6200 is an awesome receiver, and I could write a whole other post about the benefits of Audyssey XT32. Suffice it to say my theater is now +/- 3db from 70hz down to about 14hz, a significant improvement that XT32 helped me achieve. I've got my AVR running all the surround channels, and have let the XPA-5 take over my fronts.

What are my overall impressions? This was a monster project and it isn’t something I can see that average person wanting to do. Every aspect of the upgrade was a pain, and it resulted in my theater being down for nearly 3 weeks while I set it up. I think for the vast majority of people who want Atmos, it’s going to be those speaker top modules that they buy. Sound wise it wasn’t what I was expecting, but in a good way. I don’t really notice the overheads specifically, which is a good thing. What it does do is make my theater sound big, huge even. During a movie there is sound everywhere, it completely fills the room. It’s hard to explain, other than Atmos makes the room feel big. I need to find a good demo movie that will put some really noticeable effects on the ceiling, but for regular movie watching my surround sounds much better than anything I’ve ever heard elsewhere. If you’ve got a system where you have taken care of the basics, good speakers, good dual subs, and room treatments I think Atmos is an awesome upgrade. However I think I would stress to people that money is better spent first by taking care and making sure that you’ve got the best 7.2 setup possible.


Construction Shot!


Side Surround


Rear Height Speakers.


Front Height Speakers.


Equipment
 

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Nice room setup. Looks nice and clean without to much going on. I have a smaller room setup as well but have so much gear packed into it. Really like your room.:)
 
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Paint is something that I plan to get around to eventually, but when that does happen the front wall and the ceiling will be going black.

A projector is something else that is on my radar, but not yet. I'm standing by waiting until 4K gets to a price point that I can tolerate. Basically that search will get a lot more serious once 4K projects in the $4,000 ballpark hit the market.

The BenQ is an amazing little projector, really blows me away how nice it is considering how little it actually costs.
i agree about the w1070. I have one projected onto a silver ticket as well and the picture quality is amazing. If it had better black levels it would be near perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
i agree about the w1070. I have one projected onto a silver ticket as well and the picture quality is amazing. If it had better black levels it would be near perfect.
I've actually been meaning to update this thread. As much as I loved my BenQ, about a month ago I upgraded to a JVC RS400. So far I've been thrilled with it, the projector is awesome.

Some more upcoming upgrades:

Bass traps: I'm still 4 short of having the corners totally treated. I figure I'll tackle that project soon enough.

Blackout: I'm making preliminary plans to buy myself a lot of black velvet and start covering walls. I would like to get it nice and dark in there.

UHD: Obviously the big upgrade. Right now I've decided to sit inpatiently on the sidelines. The plan is to grab the Oppo UHD player whenever it's released.

Always feels with this hobby that I'm perpetually a few upgrades away from being finished.
 

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I've actually been meaning to update this thread. As much as I loved my BenQ, about a month ago I upgraded to a JVC RS400. So far I've been thrilled with it, the projector is awesome.

Some more upcoming upgrades:

Bass traps: I'm still 4 short of having the corners totally treated. I figure I'll tackle that project soon enough.

Blackout: I'm making preliminary plans to buy myself a lot of black velvet and start covering walls. I would like to get it nice and dark in there.

UHD: Obviously the big upgrade. Right now I've decided to sit inpatiently on the sidelines. The plan is to grab the Oppo UHD player whenever it's released.

Always feels with this hobby that I'm perpetually a few upgrades away from being finished.
Very nice! I have never seen one of those in action. How is the picture sharpness/clarity compared to the benq? I am sure the black levels looks great! Still using the silver ticket?
 

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Out of curiosity, why did you go with conduit vs raceway (which you could paint)? Seems to be a bit overkill for speaker wire.


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Discussion Starter #17
Very nice! I have never seen one of those in action. How is the picture sharpness/clarity compared to the benq? I am sure the black levels looks great! Still using the silver ticket?
Honestly the JVC is on a totally different playing field. It is vastly superior to the BenQ in every possible way and has really blown me away with what it can do. I still don't have a UHD player, so I haven't even seen what this projector can do when it comes to UHD and HDR. The other thing I did notice when comparing the JVC to the BenQ is that the picture does seem to have a degree of sharpness that the BenQ could never hit. The BenQ always seemed to have a a slight softness to the image, a problem that I don't have with the JVC. For a long time I had felt as though my video had fallen far behind my audio. This upgrade fixed that problem in a big way.

Out of curiosity, why did you go with conduit vs raceway (which you could paint)? Seems to be a bit overkill for speaker wire.
I actually have a ton of raceway running through my theater. I have no wiring in-wall, so I ended up using raceway along the floor to get the cables over. I used conduit on the ceiling because it was easier to work with and I thought would be a bit more stable. For the surrounds I do actually use raceways and they are painted.
 

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Allen, I've been trying to send you another PM but it won't let me send anymore until I reach my 15 posts. Not sure why it let me send the first one. Anyway after your recommendations I researched subs and have decided to upgrade to a SVS PC-12 Plus. After a couple long chat sessions with guys at SVS I decided one 12 plus would be a good start and see if I think I need a second later. I'd also like to discuss your acoustic treatments. Right now I have all my new ML speakers breaking in by playing music at a moderate level. I am noticing even at the moderate level we can hear it in other rooms. Once it is all setup and movies are playing at higher levels the whole house is going to hear it. Will acoustic treatments help with that? I guess I don't know if treatments is just to help the sound inside the room or if it will also help keep the sound in the room. Does it help sound proof the room as well as help the sound better?
 

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Allen, 1 more thing. Do you have any recommendations for an installer in the Dallas area? My seats should be here in a couple weeks so it's time to find one.
 

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Allen, I've been trying to send you another PM but it won't let me send anymore until I reach my 15 posts. Not sure why it let me send the first one. Anyway after your recommendations I researched subs and have decided to upgrade to a SVS PC-12 Plus. After a couple long chat sessions with guys at SVS I decided one 12 plus would be a good start and see if I think I need a second later. I'd also like to discuss your acoustic treatments. Right now I have all my new ML speakers breaking in by playing music at a moderate level. I am noticing even at the moderate level we can hear it in other rooms. Once it is all setup and movies are playing at higher levels the whole house is going to hear it. Will acoustic treatments help with that? I guess I don't know if treatments is just to help the sound inside the room or if it will also help keep the sound in the room. Does it help sound proof the room as well as help the sound better?
Sound proofing and acoustically treating are very different projects. Sound proofing is a much more detailed project that requires basically building a room in a room. My room has acoustic treatments but I've done no sound proofing. I'm lucky in the aspect that my house is a "green" house and has extra insulation. This actually means I can watch loud at night despite my daughters room being down the hall.

As far as an installer I've got no idea. Only installer I've used was Star Power to hang my prohector, and I wasn't impressed.

You'll love the PC-12 Plus. It's one of the best upgrades I ever did and is a beast of a sub. I've had mine for 2 years and am still very happy with it.
 
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