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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Update Nov 2015:

The Vortex Theater was named AVSForum's "Home Theater of the Month" for November! Home Theater of the Month

Edited first post since this is finally becoming "official".

As for the name of the build, years ago in my old townhouse my friends nicknamed our place "The Vortex" because they said parties I had there sucked you in and made you unable to leave. Guess I will take that as a compliment! Since I moved into our new single family, the name came with, so I figured I'd name the build after the unofficial nickname of the house.

I'll keep the first post updated with equipment choices (when made) and post pics throughout the build.

My plan has changed at least 5 times since I started this build in March of 2014. This is the most recent equipment list and plan:

I decided to DIY pretty much everything in it since I wanted to learn a few more trades. The only thing I outsourced was carpet. I ended up building a total of 13 DIYSoundGroup.com speakers (these are AMAZING speakers for their prices. Definitely check them out - shameless plug)

This is the equipment I ended up landing on:

Video Equipment:

Projector: Sony VPL-HW55ES
Video Processing: Lumagen Mini 3D
Screen: Falcon Screens AT 130" Wide 2.35

Audio Equipment:

L/C/R Speakers: 3x Fusion Tempest 12
Surrounds: 4x Volt 10 Angled Enclosure
Atmos Ceiling: 4x Volt 6 Angled Enclosure
Subwoofers: 2x UXL-18 in ported DIYSoundGroup Stonehenge Cab tuned to 18Hz
AVR: Marantz SR7009 + AudioSource AMP-102
Subwoofer Amp: iNuke 6000DSP
Buttkicker Amp: BKA-1000N

Source Equipment:

Gaming Consoles: PS4 & Xbox One
Broadcast: TiVo Roamio with upgraded HD
Streaming: Roku 3
HTPC: Custom HTPC that will be used for Gaming & streaming videos off my home media server

Misc Equipment:

Chairs: 6x Fusion Escape in black bonded (2 rows of |o|o|o|).

Construction plan:

- DONE: Remove the sump door and make a panel in the closet to access sump room.
- DONE: Remove the double french door and frame for a 32" solid core door.
- DONE: Tear down existing walls and reframe using IB3 clips.
- DONE: Wire for all outlets, soffit lighting, rope lighting, screen wash lights, speaker wash lights, riser lights
- DONE: Pull speaker wires to the front wall, surrounds, and ceiling speakers
- DONE: Hang WhisperClips & Hat channel on the ceiling and the single wall joining the rec room
- DONE: Insulate & install double drywall & green glue
- DONE: Small stage. Just for presentation - doesn't really do much since the speakers are behind the false wall.
- DONE: Build a 14" riser that is 7' deep.
- DONE: Tape & Mud drywall
- DONE: Paint walls, ceiling, soffit.
- DONE: Build a false soffit around the entire room to house down lights as well as LED strip lights & UV lights to charge the night sky mural
- DONE: Carpet for riser/floor/stage
- DONE: Build "minimalist" screen wall
- DONE: Hang Falcon 130" AT screen and build black fabric panels for surround
- DONE: Fabric squares and acoustic treatments
- DONE: Painted Night Sky Mural star mural

Thanks for reading!


EDIT: Theater is officially complete 5/15/15!

Here's what it looked like before:





And here is what it looks like now!
















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Original (WAY outdated!) post:


Greetings all,

I'm taking ownership of a new construction in Ashburn, VA in a little less than two weeks. I'm very much looking forward to building a home theater in it. It has a dedicated "media room" in the finished basement that is 19'5" x 11'11" with ~ 8' 5" ceilings. So, its not terribly large in comparison to some of the monster dedicated theaters I see in this forum.



I'm trying to get some inspiration as to what I can accomplish in this space. In retrospect, I probably should have not had the builder finish the space, and then frame it myself, but its already drywalled and wired. I had them prewire in 7.1 with a projector electrical outlet in ceiling. I ended up coming in one night pre-drywall and pulled HDMI/Cat6 in the ceiling (because the LV contractor they force you to go through was absolutely ridiculous about the prices they were trying to charge for pulling HDMI in wall pre-drywall). It is hiding in the ceiling near the electrical outlet.

I plan on the screen being on the right side of the above floorplan and seating on the left. The space on the far right of the floorplan (behind where the screen is going to go) is unfinished storage with HVAC. This is where my rack is going to go for the whole house (networking, servers, A/V gear, HA gear, etc).

What I'm wondering is, has anyone on this forum done a theater in a room this size (links)? I won't be able to put up any sort of major soundproofing since the walls are already up (or am I incorrect in this?) I'd love to do two rows of 3 seats, with a riser in the back of the room. Even a small stage might be nice, but I'm afraid the doors are somewhat in the way for this.

I've already started a dialogue with BIG (since he lives about 15 minutes from me) and plan on utilizing his expertise for this project as well. He's definitely done some amazing builds.

Anyway, looking forward to some comments here and maybe browsing some other similar-sized build threads (I could only find ones that were quite a bit larger than mine. Hmm, that didn't sound right.)
 

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How many seats/rows are you planning?


My room is about 12'3 wide and I put in one row of four (1 set of two and 2 individuals) and it is TIGHT. And I have some of the narrower seats, too. I'm thinking that I will have to do some surgery to turn into a row of 4.


My guess is that Big will have some thoughts about putting a stage at the end with the entrance doors.


Good luck. As you know, there are PLENTY of us NOVA guys around. Let me know if you want to drop by some day.
 

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Welcome to the NoVA/MD club!



My old HT (being a townhouse) was 12' x 15', about the same wide as yours. And my current HT is 15' x 20', about the same length as yours too. So you might have some idea as to how wide & long you could fit whatever you want inside the room. I would say your plan of 2 row of 3 seats is totally doable. The only thing I see is the door where you access the sump area, you just need to make sure you'll have room to open that door at the back. And of course you are already in good hands with Big. (hmmm.... I think may be Big had mentioned something about your HT to me before too.....)


Subscribed.
 

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I think two rows of three if they are narrow recliners or a row of two and a row in the back of four would work as well. You could also offset the recliners like this: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1411672/chasen-the-dream-theater to do a row of three up front and a row of 4 in the back.


I'd loose the double doors for sound proofing purposes.
 

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Yes, many NOVA AVSers out here. All the best with your build. Getting input from BIG is a step towards a great theater



I am also in Ashburn and will be starting my own build by end of this month.
 

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Your space isn't that much smaller than my recently completed project (~6" less for each dimension), so check out my build thread for some ideas:
Chasen the Dream Theater


To fit more seats in a narrow space, look for seats with a narrow armrest and note that every "loveseat" saves you the ~5" of the armrest.
 

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Discussion Starter #8

Quote:
Originally Posted by jchasen  /t/1462975/small-ish-theater-build#post_23074775


Your space isn't that much smaller than my recently completed project (~6" less for each dimension), so check out my build thread for some ideas:
Chasen the Dream Theater


To fit more seats in a narrow space, look for seats with a narrow armrest and note that every "loveseat" saves you the ~5" of the armrest.

This looks amazing! It definitely gives me confidence that I can build a good looking theater in my small space. It will just take the vision of someone who has done it before (cough cough BIG).


It sounds like he's going to come by in a few weeks after I take delivery of the house to give a consultation and look at the space.


Thanks again for all the links.. if you have any other thoughts please feel free to post them up here!


I'll likely use this space for the build as well once the ideas get flowing!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So, we took ownership last month and I have just now settled down enough to start thinking about the HT.


Jeff swung by today to take a look at the space and give some analysis (pretty nice that he lives 20 minutes away from here) and I think I have a game plan.


Since the room is already finished, I'm not quite sure I want to tear it all down and completely soundproof the room. I have some home work to do (need to hook up an AVR in there and a sub and blast it and see just how bad the sound transfer is upstairs and outside. If its too much, then I need to consider gutting and rebuilding the room with proper soundproofing techniques (adding several thousand dollars of expense and time to the project) Unfortunately with this way I will have to redo some HVAC too since there are two supplies and no returns in the space, as well as pull double doors out of the room and put a single sealed door in.


Hopefully, the sound transfer upstairs won't be too terrible (normal viewing in the theater hopefully will not cause too much annoyance upstairs, but we'll see). This way I won't have to worry about completely soundproofing the room and doing all the work above. If that's the case then I can get cracking right now.


The plan is to put some soffits around the room to put some lighting in, as well as use rope lighting around the edge of the soffit to light the ceiling (some moulding will cover up the rope lighting).


Since the other side of the wall that will have the screen on it is my unfinished storage area, I'm going to rip down the drywall on that wall, leave it framed up, and then frame a new wall about 2 feet further back into the unfinished storage area that will become the "real wall". The framing for the old wall will just be used to hang the screen and then hang panels on it to create a false wall. This way I can build my speakers into that small area behind the screen and I'm not limited to using in-wall speakers/subs.


I need to sketchup the space and some of my ideas and post them up, but Jeff's visit was very helpful to consider some other ideas I hadn't thought about before.


Definitely looking forward to stealing some of his time in the next month or so to start on this project!


I'll post photos of where I'm at now and during the entire project as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I should change the title to "The 'Why Am I Destroying A Perfectly Good Room' Build"...


...I've decided to go all-in with this. I set up a (admittedly crappy) subwoofer and a couple of tower speakers and turned it to where I think I would be watching movies at, and it was ridiculously loud even two floors up.


In retrospect, I should have left this part of the house unfinished and done it myself -- but I was not even thinking about sound proofing at that point. I was just going to hang a projector and a screen and call it a day... until I found this sub forum here. (argh!)


So, I'm going to soundproof the room (clips + channel + dd/gg). I plan on starting demo this evening after work. I'll attach photos of my progress.


I've lined out the general plan above but right now its going to consist of:


- pull up carpet/liner

- pull off/salvage as much trim as I can (might be able to reuse some of it)

- remove doors and cover up so as not to spread drywall dust everywhere

- pull down drywall (all four walls and ceiling)


At that point, I can see what I'm dealing with. I know I have 2 HVAC supplies in the room (one in the front, one near the middle/rear), so I'm going to have to figure out how to get a return into the room (likely a soffit since I plan on building them around the room anyway for lighting). I know the builder used rigid ducting for supplies, so I'll probably try to get rid of that and move the supplies to the front of the room and get a return near the rear. Does this sound right? Would 1 return be enough for 2 supplies? Or do you think this is something I should hire a HVAC guy to come do?


Anyway, here are some before pics of the sound leaking room.






Any comments before I begin? :)
 

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Looks like a fun project. Shame you are ripping up all the work, but it will be worth it. I would:

1) remove all outlet plates

2) remove the door(s)

3) remove all the trim- cut the top if it's caulked with a utility knife and then carefully pry it off. Be bought a special trim puller from Lowes.


And then start taking down the walls. Probably have to unscrew all the screws from the studs. You might be able to salvage a lot of the electrical and lighting in there, if you want.. That stuff can add some cost.


Question: Are you planning on framing in a solid-core 32" door where your large door is now?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yep. I plan on framing in a solid core door and sealing it.


I also plan on replacing the hollow core door to the sump room with a solid core and sealing that as well.


Since the riser/seating will be by that back sump door, I'm going to lift it to riser height and have it open into the sump room, so it doesn't interfere with seating. I believe it will just barely fit that way.


The general plan is to create soffits to carry 8" flex to the back of the room for a return. The joists run left to right in these photos (north to south in the floor plan). Hopefully I can figure out a way to get both the return and cans in there for accent lighting without eating up too much space.


I'm going to try to salvage as much as possible.


I still have yet to start demo. I keep trying to talk myself out of soundproofing and just build the theater in this space since so much is already done...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Allright, time to reboot this thread since I've finally got some time to dedicate to getting started on this project. In the last year I got married, so that obviously took up the majority of my time. Now that things have settled down (who am I kidding, I'm taking on building a deck, installing retaining walls in the front yard, and the home theater all at once), I'm trying to get some real traction into the HT project again.


I just finished my garage project (for those who care). It will give me a good area to get some of this work done in. :)

http://garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=246928


Anyhoo, back to the HT stuff.


So I've gone back and forth on the soundproofing of the room. I decided against it for a couple reasons. One, it will make my already small room even smaller. Two, there already is drywall up and I don't feel like taking it all down and starting over. Three, my wife and I are the only ones in the house so figure we will both be utilizing the space together.


The room currently looks like this:




The door on the left is an inward swinging 28" door that leads to a small sump room. The double french door is an outward swinging door that leads to the rec room. The room adjacent to this is the unfinished mech room which currently houses my large house rack mounted to the slab.


Equipment plan:


1) Projector: Undecided. Since I know this will take months, I don't want to lock myself into a projector yet.

2) Speakers: LCR: Fusion Tempest 12. Surround: Volt 10 in angled enclosure. Subwoofers: Unknown yet.

3) Screen: 110" wide Seymour AV premium frame with Center Stage XD material

4) AMP/DSP: Undecided

5) Chairs: 6x Fusion Escape in black bonded (2 rows of |o|o|o|). This should give me about a foot and a half on each side for walking to the back row.


Construction plan:


1) Change the inward swing sump door to an outward swing (into the sump room) swing door. I just have enough clearance I think to get it to swing in.

2) Remove the double french door and install a 32" single solid core door that swings out.

3) Tear the drywall off the screen wall (the one that adjoins to the mech room) and turn it into a false wall to hold the AT screen. I will then build the "real" wall about 20" or so deeper into the mech room so I have a place to hide the speakers.

4) Build a 12" riser that is 6'6" deep. This will have two sets of 6" high steps that come out 3' from the front of the riser (on each side of the first row of chairs). I will also need to step the riser down in the back corner where the sump room is so that the door doesn't look silly being 1' lower than the riser (don't plan on moving the door height).

5) Build a false soffit around the entire room to house down lights as well as rope ceiling lights & UV lights to charge the ....

6) Painted star mural (Eventually).

7) Small stage. Just for presentation - doesn't really do much since the speakers are behind the false wall.


So that's the plan as it is. This puts the front row about 12' distance from screen to eyeball. I chose 16:9 since I really am width-challenged and want to get the most amount of screen for the width possible, plus I do a lot of gaming and HDTV watching (I know there's NO way I can get this done during this season of Game of Thrones... but next season is my goal) I plan on getting masking panels for 2.35 movies. I'm still not 100% sold on this yet, and I still haven't ordered my screen yet so I still have time.


The rest of it is still up in the air. With respect to acoustic treatments, ideally I'd like to build some bass traps in the corners, but since I have the door in the one corner, I'm not sure if it will be possible to do anything there. Are 3 bass trap corners better than 0 bass trap corners?


Here is a SketchUp of the general idea of my plan. The green walls are the new walls I will need to construct.




Anyone see any potential pitfalls in my plan?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Here is a view without the back wall & rear soffits to show off the stage idea and soffit idea.


Are the small bass traps (10") even worth it? I can only fit 3 out of 4 corners in and since the screen is so large they can only be 10" wide. I plan on turning the riser into a bass trap, but was just wondering if I should even worry about the corner ones since they are so small.

 

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Good to see you are back on track.


p.s. nice garage build and I too like & use the Gladiator cabinets too.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by landshark1  /t/1462975/small-ish-theater-build#post_24704099


Good to see you are back on track.


p.s. nice garage build and I too like & use the Gladiator cabinets too.

Thanks! Yeah, I went back and forth with trying to piecemeal together a set of storage, boxes, and cabinets for the garage for cheaper, but ended up just getting the gladiator line of products because they all match and they have tons of options to fit my current and future needs. They might be a bit more expensive, but worth it IMO.


Also, ironic that you should post up in this thread! I'm actually using part of your build as an inspiration. I *really* like the staggered wall look and plan on implementing something like it on the side walls and rear of the room. I won't be adding the lights to the sides like you did since I plan on putting a soffit with cove lighting & night scape mural ceiling. How are you enjoying your theater sofar? Anything you would have done differently?


My latest sketchup (just playing around, likely is not a final version at all)


Without soffits:




Through screen wall view (with no front speaker/subs):




Rear view (with speakers + soffit/stage showing)

 

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Just because I could, I would raise the sump pump door and even consider a pocket door. It wouldn't have to be a full height door and you could grab a solid core plain flush door and cut off a foot so the top is level with the entrance.


the advantage is not having to build that cramped step down in the corner of the riser.


Having said that I have no idea what an inspector might say about a ft drop on the other side of the door.
 

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What about instead of a door for the sump pump a removable plug with the wall treatments to match the rest of the room.

Depending on how often you want to go in there.
 

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I just read through your thread over at the Garage Journal, and noticed you also race/drive at Summit Point too.



BTW, another vote on a pocket door for the sump pump room here.
 

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Discussion Starter #20

Quote:
Originally Posted by landshark1  /t/1462975/small-ish-theater-build#post_24709673


I just read through your thread over at the Garage Journal, and noticed you also race/drive at Summit Point too.



BTW, another vote on a pocket door for the sump pump room here.

Gary, Yup. I don't race, but I do track days up at Summit (and VIR) during the season. I ride sportbikes up there (the white 2008 R6 in the photos is my track bike) There is actually a track day up there today that I wanted to go to but have meetings I couldn't get out of. Ugh. Have a bunch of friends up there having fun and the weather is perfect for it. Super jealous. Do you ride or drive out there?


The pocket door wont work unfortunately because there is a finished bathroom next to the sump room (sharing a wall with the HT) which has a shower in it, so I wouldn't be able to modify the framing.
 
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