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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It's time to finally start a thread on my build for my theater room. I bought my house almost a year ago today with plans to build a modest sized theater room in the basement. To make sure I was going to like the idea, I bought a 150" 16:9 screen and a $500 projector. I loved every moment of it. I slapped a desk in the middle of the room and it was just me and a 150" screen. Now, this was great for just me and some headphones. But of course when I wanted to watch movies on it from time to time either I had to watch it alone or on the crappy built in speakers of the projector. I'm ready to move forward now :) (First Picture)

I'm a gamer first and a movie watcher (?) second, that is the main reason I'm sticking with a 16:9 ratio screen.I might down size to a 140" screen though depending on how much room I have after the false wall is put up.

This will be my first home theater, but not my first DIY project. I've been browsing the forums for a long time now, but I probably missed a few things. So if I make a mistake, please let me know.

Room Size: 20'x13'x8'
Speaker Configuration: 7.2
Receiver: Onkyo TX-N646
LCR Speakers: JBL 590
Surround Speakers: HTM-200SE
Projector: Sony VPL-HW40ES
False wall: Probably 3'. Still a little undecided on this but the JBL 590 speakers are huge, and even 3' isn't enough room for them.
1 Row of 3 seats at a view distance of 10' from the screen
Bar/counter with three seats behind the chairs (this will be where my keyboard, mouse, second monitor for gaming will be.

I will be doing some sound damping but not everything. Mainly just hat channel, double 5/8 drywall with GG.

Where am I at now?
- DONE - Demo the room, take down all the walls
- Framing - There in the pictures you will see the dark brown walls, I've added studs on top of the concert and kept the former walls up. These are the exterior walls that have insulation in between and will provide some air space. I'm worried about the 2x1 studs that have been nailed to the concert walls if they will support the dry wall. I can't afford to cut more room out of the place, so those might have to go down to a single drywall instead of doubling up on it.
- Equipment room - There is a closet on the other side of the wall with the door. This closet will be cut in half and be used for the equipment room. Do you think I need the door to be inside the theater room or can it be outside in the hallway?
- Air Ducts - There are a total of four air ducts (5 if you count the one doing nothing just hanging) and the part of the ceiling that drops down is for the intake. The intake is a complete mess. Is it normal to replace all of the duct in the room with flexible insulated duct work?
- Wiring - Get an electrician out here to give me a new circuit and run a few cables. All outlets will be externally mounted.

Once all these are done, I will start with the insulation, drywall, each speaker will get its own pillar, and possibly doing fabric walls.

Sorry I do not have a 3D diagram of where I want to go. I did a bit in Sketchup but ended up hating the program. There is really a ton more I could talk about but I feel like I may have went overboard on typing this much already... lol
 

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This could be a pretty amazing room when done. Subscribed!


I'm really liking the closet being split and becoming the entry, with av rack outside. And the combination of fabric walls plus surface run electrical.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Ted!

The closet won't become the entry, it's just beside the entry way. I've attached a very quickly pen and paper drawing of what I'm going after. Nothing is drawn to scale one bit, it was all just guess work. But hopefully gives a better idea of what I'm going after. As the closet is a lil to big for an AV room, I would like to split it into two. My SO really didn't like the idea of me taking the closet to begin with, so I'm still giving her half to work with.

While drawing it up, I might pull the back pillars in more that hold the speakers so it doesn't overlap with the door. I believe the best placement of the back speaker would be above the doorway but the soffit is there. If I cannot decrease the size of the soffit at all, I will have to move the speaker placement/pillar.

With the 16:9 vs the 2:35:1 screen, I guess I could go both ways. If I end up with a 2:35:1 screen, I would build a stage for it.
 

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You might find yourself a little challenged for a stage out front. I was in my small room with 7'1" of ceiling (with all soffits at 80").
I rebuilt all the HVAC sheet metal is a wider/shallower profile, to make things work in the room.


You should find yourself a used Middle Atlantic Slim5 av rack cheap. It's about 20x20" and it could be rotated yet another way.
 

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Here's a few ideas thrown into your design.... Some are right out of a few killer budget rooms I have been in,
and some are right out of home theater design seminars.


A friend did his room in black speaker grill fabric, in panels, with beveled edges. Quite impressive.
Ever consider in-wall surround speakers?


You also could get some spot lighting in the ceiling. Simple backer boxes can help there and let you work in a variety of light.


That design is somewhat rare. Most people go straight for two rows of seats with 20' deep.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here's a few ideas thrown into your design....
In wall speakers were not on my radar for sound proofing reasons, the same thing goes for in wall lights. I wanted to have very small holes in the walls as possible to keep sound from getting in or out. The room right next to the HT is my living room that my SO uses pretty often. Keeping noise down when possible is ideal. But obviously the living room will hear the HT, I mainly want to stop sound from getting in.

If all goes well, I will be uses black fabric with beveled edges. They look sweet in all the HTs I've seen so far.

Two rows of seating would be overkill for me. Having the counter behind provides me with a nice gaming space, so that is why I went that route. 99% of the time it will only be me in there, .5% my SO will watch a movie with me. The other .1% would be my family/friends watching a movie lol.

Love the idea of the hush box in the closet, that would work really well! I have to look at a few designs to find out what will work best because that would be a pretty good sized hole in the room to allow the picture out but keep the sound in.

Now the riser, I think this would be the best way to do things because I could run cables to the counter area with no issue. However I have a soffit right above the doorway that I'm not to sure how to deal with at this moment. How tall are you thinking the riser would be? 4 inches? The soffit drops down 11" to meet with the top of the door way that is a height of 82". That would be a tight fit for anyone that might be taller than me.

I could do without the stage, but my soffit shouldn't get in the way of that. It would get close but wouldn't overlap.
 

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That is the exact purpose of a backer box, to extend the sound proof shell and allow you to maximise lighting and the use of things like in-wall speakers. They do work. Here's my spot light backer boxes from
maybe 10 years back (first 3 pics). I also attached BigmouthinDC's more evolved design. Cheaper and simpler then mine, which makes them better. The Sound Proofing Company website has a pretty good
pdf on them, for download.




You use a special piece of optical glass, and angle it at a slight angle, and you can seal the hush box, if you power ventilate it. You'd need a projector with suitable throw distance.


I'd aim for using a similar measurement of one step of your staircase. That should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 7-8" high. That doesn't mean you couldn't do a low riser.


The entry door could be cut down a few inches. Mine is cut down 4", as there's a support beam right above my door. With the ceiling height at 7'1", it looks normal outside the theater, as there is now a wide strip of drywall above the door frame.


Do you have a better view of that problematic soffit? I expect there will be a good chance it could be rebuilt, or eliminated entirely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Canned lights would probably be better for the size limitation I have in the room. I like wall mounted lights more personally, but those lights can be pricey while canned lights are probably cheaper too.

I went ahead and recorded a video of where everything is now. My phone ran out of storage space towards the end. Nothing to major missed though.

 

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The video shows of the room just fine. Nice blank canvas to work with.


You could use a plywood edge for the soffit, and a plywood bottom, and gain 1.5" of height.
You could change out that sheet metal to a wider and shallower profile, to gain another few inches of height. That is essential what I did in my small room.
What was an 8x8" run, was redone with 5x14" sheet metal. basically a war of inches, but I have a smaller profile with plywood and two layers of 5/8" drywall
+ Green Glue, and gained several inches. The new HVAC sheet metal also was tucked up another 1/2" close to the floor joists after checking there was no floor
deflection above.


Your room is far larger then mine, but one lesson I learned was that sometimes it is a good idea to give up an inch or two here and there, for a good cause, then to sweat
every inch. That's not to say that carefully watching where you plant inches, isn't a good idea. Bu sometimes it is really worth giving up an inch or two here, and there.


I be tempted to beef up those air return cavities and line them with 5/8" drywall, and frame that wall out another 1.5" inches. Then you could layer the cold air return for the
theater with some rigid fiberglass. That would also shrink the visual size of the soffit, and then I'd do a shallow soffit symmetrical soffit around the room.


BTW, those Bazz 100 cobalt blue trim ring lights were $7 (and later I found more at $5) at $5 apiece. The first batch came off a reduced rack and I was going to spray out the black glass
trim ring. At least that was the plan before I wired one up and got a pleasant surprise. My floor joists are also unusual as they are an actual 7" x 1.5" measured.


A mix of lighting can be a great design element. I also am a fan of LED tape light so I might be tempted to see if that soffit could support a shallow trough of LED tape on the wall edges.
A small reveal line around the edge of the room could be pretty impressive. A row of screen spots will also light the room as the screen throws light off of it. You could even still mix in a
couple of sconces and simply put them on the back wall. (You might want to think about that front sconce and if/how it will light up during a movie as the screen throws off light. A woven
AT screen throws light off in a scattered uncontrolled fashion, do you ideally want to soak up that light and not have anything up front that will bounce light up it. Those nearby speakers might
also mean the sconce might rattle. Something to think about...)
a light fixture up front, will rattle.
 

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Lighting and soffiting plan possibility, based on what I did with my small room.






And my friend's speaker grill fabric walls. And his shallow design fabric columns. Too bad that picture was taken when there was some temporary speakers in place
(and on a cell phone)... In person, that is a beautiful wall with just a touch of texture, and with just enough panels and bevelling of the edges, to keep it from
being boring. Kind of nails it for budget cost, benefits, and a little bling for a room that pushes the performance bar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
BTW, those Bazz 100 cobalt blue trim ring lights were $7 (and later I found more at $5) at $5 apiece.
Where?! Lol at that price I'mma buy those now! lol

If I do plywood on the soffit, does that defeat the purpose of a hat channel?

Saw this video by Beast and Big showing off the metal soffiting.
Very helpful and could use that on the side with no soffit if I want to make things symmetrical.

About the step up being outside the room, the ceiling matches the soffit height out in the hallway. I might have to do the step up inside the room.

Do you have recommended in wall speakers for surround?
 

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Those Bazz 100 were just a lucky trip to a local store, where I wasn't planning on buying any lights. I even ended up with more, at a later date,
at $5 each, when a local liquidation store ending up with an unclaimed shipping container of that model. They had several displays in their large store
and I had to ask how they came to have thousands of just the cobalt blue? Now I knew what I had, so there's some in storage for the next house and home
theater.


Of course, you often can see contractor packs of retrofit lights, and many here have sprayed them out white cans in black.


Plywood screwed to the joists would short circuit the isolation that hat channel properly installed, should give you. Not to say you could use hat channel
(or even RISC clips) to hang the soffit. Or if the soffit is done after the walls, then the soffit is in the isolation envelope.


One thing about entering a home theater where the ceiling is low, then it actually looks bigger where the room is full height. You could have a smaller riser, but
it's safer and a wall to wall riser might work well as a full range bass absorber, with some vents in the corners. As for the ceiling matching, that's not bad. I even drew in the
the soffit being extended to the outside of the room. If there's adequate headroom, then it will work.
 

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That soffiting is pretty straight forward to do and I think it's awesome. The metal track is pretty simple for getting straight soffits on long runs.


I was more aiming for the thinnest framing for the soffit, with the plywood suggestion, and looking to put my soffit on as serious diet as I could. I did gain headroom,
reduced the profile height and width, and was able to add mass while doing so. Some effort, energy, and cost to do that, but the payoff was symmetrical soffits in a narrow
room, and they actually look good.


If I wasn't fishing for inches, I would have went straight to metal track and wood, like Big did there.


I don't have isolation because I couldn't make code with it, although later I saw where people have used RISC clips and some 2x6" braces slightly recessed
from the joist bottom, to mount RISC clips and give up a very small amount of height.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Nice find on the lights when you did.

I'm going to take the soffit out today and try to work with stechup a bit more to see if I can design what is needed here.

Also, got my subs today. JBL sub560s Crappy cell phone pic.

Edit: Ignore the polk sub on the right. It was my sub from my 5.1 system in my last house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Soffit framing removed.

Edit: I also removed the duct that came out into the middle of the room. There use to be a vent there in the kitchen but since the remodel, it was blocked off. But now I just have a hole on the top part of the intake. Not a big issue right now, hoping to replace the whole thing anyways.
 

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You can plate over the hole from the top take off.


A tip given to me was to use aluminum tape and then slaughter on a thick coat of pipe dope. That will dry hard and
come the day the adhesive starts to fail, then the hard encasement of the pipe dope will keep things sealed.


So you have a two step riser. I was thinking more a pairing of one 7-8" riser and seating on the taller end of things, for the back row.


That small little gap between the av closet and the step, is going to be a cleaning PITA....


Is that HVAC a return? It appears to be pushed right up against the floor joists, any issues with floor deflection causing noise?
If it's not a cold air return, then how many top takeoffs is up there, not counting the removed one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yeah I saw some videos on how to cover the hole - explained exactly what you described. Going to have an HVAC company take a look at it and see if they can do something with the intake soffit in general though. I do not like how it is just ripped open sucking air that is between the floors. I want to get it properly fixed before putting walls up.

That riser is a 1' riser with a step at 6". Def will be changing it for sure, was just a mock up. I feel it is to high. Just haven't gotten around to changing the 3D mock up yet. I'm currently working on framing the window wall and trying to work around the breaker box. This is the true PITA lol. I will not have a space between the AV and the stairs, that was just a quick extension of the stairs because I built them inside the room at first to see what they would look like. Ran out of time and just pulled them out. They is why it is going through the door way some haha.

That is the HVAC return and yes, it is right up on the floor joists. It services both the basement rooms, and the living room upstairs.

I'll post a picture once I'm done framing this wall. Still a long way to go but got it figured out how I wanted to do it.
 
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