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The West Wing Theater Build

451 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  javanpohl
Mostly wanting to get this started, so I might be tinkering with the info in the OP for a few days...

So I got a new house in December specifically because of this huge bonus room that sits over the garage. I had a hard time finding any rooms with ceilings much higher than 8 feet and this one vaults up to 11'. Plus, there is only one adjoining wall that attaches the room to the house, so soundproofing should be relatively easy (or effectively, depending on which approaches I implement.)

I currently have my theater set-up in a smaller room on the main floor because I wanted to take the time to do it "right" (in terms of sound-proofing, ventilation, and what-not). Wasn't planning on tackling this for a few months but it looks like my roommate count is going to get bumped up higher than I had anticipated due to one of my old roommates moving back in with us next month. Therefore, I'm going to need to move this from the small room to the big room. (Can't squeeze everyone into the smaller room.)


As you can see, I'm planning on having the room be wider than it is long. That's totally fine with me, as I often feel like the normal length-wise approach causes the side speakers to be disproportionately closer to the listening area than the others. I went with this approach to make for a more ideal overhead speaker layout. Ideally, I'd like to have all the speakers as close to equidistant from the main listening position as possible. (Unless dARTS takes a huge price cut and I get a system where I can time-align the individual drivers of the system.)

The entry will be a door at the back of the room. I'm planning on having a raiser. I'll probably go with a single, really huge door with a step-up to the riser at the entryway inside the room. There are currently double-doors going into that room, but I think I'm going to need to push them a tad bit outside the room (they would currently not have enough room to open into the room with the new wall), which will mean I can convert them to a another large, single door for better soundproofing.

I'm pretty sure this length gives me room for two rows but I haven't actually looked at that yet. Gotta be able to do it in some way shape or form, even if it means bean bags or something.


I'm still debating how much soundproofing to do. At the very least I need to build a new wall at the rear or extend the current rear wall out (there's a bulge from a closet of one of the bedrooms.) I am definitely wanting to take extreme measures to soundproof that rear wall and the floor. From what I can see, the floor joists extend out from the house. So it seems like a high potential for the joists to transfer sound to the house. Not to mention that I'd like to minimize vibrations coming into the theater room from outside it (like garage door openers), doors slamming, etc. Now, for the side walls, I'm thinking that it'd be in my best interest to tear them down and put up hat channels and double layers of drywall. For the front wall and ceiling... honestly I'm debating nothing or just throwing on another layer of drywall with some green glue or another alternative in between. The ceiling connects basically to the roof/attic of the house and the joists are going to be running down to the side walls. ... or maybe just stick with throwing on another layer of drywall for all the walls except the rear wall. I dunno, this room being above the garage, off on its own peninsula has got me wondering if that'd all simply be a waste. I could always take the minimalist approach (except for the floor and rear wall), see how it goes, and then redo the walls and ceiling later if need be.

There are 4 windows in total. 3 will be behind the screen and I plan to semi-permanently seal those up. The side window I want to do an elaborate cover for, but have it be removable for an emergency exit.

As for the floor... I'm not sure what approach to take there. I'm thinking the best approach would be to tear up the floorboards and place something in between the new floorboards and the floor joists. However, part of that depends on whether or not I NEED to tear up the floorboards (I don't know if I'll have to attack the HVAC ducting to help ventilate). Another option would be to just put down a layer of some sound resistant flooring, which I might be totally fine with.

Need to figure out to reduce noise from the vents. I know there's a lot of info out there for that, so I'll poke around and see whats-what.

A/V equipment:

Putting this blurb here, because I want to move on to ventilation next and I feel it's important to point out that there won't be any A/V equipment in the room at all. The A/V rack will be just outside the room and the projector has enough room to sit in the gap between THE WALL and the existing rear wall. I'll align the studs so that the projector can sit between them and cut out a hole and probably put in a ... port window? (I just looked that term up the other day but I'm not sure if that was actually the word.) I control stuff with a Harmony Hub and it's been doing fine so far but have been debating a Control 4 system.

I currently run a 7.4.2 system and, aside from the subwoofer count, it'll remain two overheads until I go to 6 overheads. (Yes, I've tried various .4 overhead set-ups, don't waste your keyboard presses.)

My projector is an Epson 5040 and I'll definitely be upgrading the screen. I currently have a POS 106" and have held off on upgrading until I moved rooms. I'll have to figure out what size I want but I'm thinking at least 140". I'd prefer to go curved but I might go with a cheaper option to keep costs down. Haven't decided if I want to go with an acoustically transparent screen.

I just built 4 heavy duty cabinets driven by a HO 15" Daytons in each. Was hoping to get more time to tinker with them before starting this build but I guess they'll have to do for now.


So, there are three intake vents in the room. However, they are the furthest vents in the whole house and they don't get a lot of airflow. On the existing rear wall, there is a large square return duct. At the very least, I will need to suck air out of this room. I was thinking two AC infinity inline duct fans to attach to exhaust ducts in the room, and maybe just dump the air into that gap by the return duct.. and maybe also have a passive vent opening between that gap and the outside room? I haven't yet calculated how much air I need to circulate in that space. Surprisingly, despite it's location on the west side of the house, being above the heat furnace of a garage, and poor airflow, it stays rather cool (compared to the rest of the upstairs anyways--I have concerns about the attic and lack of insulation or attic exhaust fan). I think it may be pretty well insulated.

I could also push some fresh air into the room but I imagine that might throw off the balance of the intake ducts? Besides, I tend to have the HVAC fans running almost all the time. At the very least I'm about to put in a thermostat that will allow me to occasionally turn on the fans. Even if it's off, sucking air out would still pull air in though the vents, yeah? I could always put some inline fans on the intake ducts to give them a boost, but I'm not sure what kinda system I'm working with there.

Ok, that's all the time I got for now. Mostly wanted to get this put down to get the ball rolling. The two questions I have for right now are: 1) what would be an adequate approach to control sound transmission through the floor? 2) how much CFM of air should I be sucking out of that room?

And if anyone can direct me to a good resource on how to quiet down the vents in the room, that'd be awesome.

P.S. I've been calling it The West Wing more so for Beauty and the Beast ("what's in the west wing?" "IT'S FORBIDDEN!!!") then the show... and it is actually the west wing of the house.


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Starting the demo process. After putting a chair in there to sit and ponder things, I realized I might really want to keep those windows accessible after all. Going with a motorized tensioned screen and making some sort of hinge to flip the screen up wouldn't be the end of the world.

I've always wanted a "scotch drinking view". This house doesn't have the BEST view, but it's still a pretty decent view of the sunset over the mountains.

I'm getting a quote about window installation from a place that has what seems to be a "too good to be true" sale on window installation. If it is legitimately as good as it seems, I might replace these windows too. Or at least two of them. Two things I really don't understand about most home windows: 1) the fake "colonial" window strips in the panes of glass and 2) why all of them need to open. I'd want to replace 2 or 3 of them with picture windows.

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FWIW, we have a similar, but smaller bonus room above the garage that we turned into a small home theater. It still needs a bit of work but works very well for our purposes as is. We had an electrician run speaker wires across the ceiling and down the wall behind the couch so that the side channels are connected via banana plugs to a wall plate behind the couch. I didn't have ceiling speakers installed for Atmos (didn't pass the WAF, but that may change down the road and will be easy to do). There are two scuttle doors on either side of the room which gives us access to the small storage rooms behind the walls. The electrician also hardwired the system for us with solid core CAT-6 cabling to the router downstairs. The window is West facing so in the winter time we keep the blinds down during the daytime to eliminate direct sunlight on the panel. In the summer time, the sun has shifted so there is no direct sunlight hitting the panel. There is another window off to the right side of the panel in a recessed area of the room that we will be adding a table for games to be played on. That window can be left open all the time because it faces North and has no impact on the viewing environment.


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Started tearing down the drywall yesterday. Had to wait until I could get a dumpster delivered (which was on Monday). Should've seen this coming but the portion of the house-facing fall that extends past normal ceiling height connects directly into the attic (that corner above the pipes). I'm going to try to cut the existing drywall to leave it in place and put some sealant on the horizontal stud to seal it up. Original plan was to smack an extra layer of drywall in between the studs on the existing drywall but those pipes mess up that plan.

Good to see that the side walls are adequately insulated. And the ceiling joists are not also the roof joists, which means I'll just go with double-layers of drywall attached directly to the ceiling joists. I had been wanting to go that route anyways as I really want to mount subwoofers on the ceiling. Doing that with hat channels holding up the drywall would've been tricky.

Currently debating ways to angle the rear (housing-facing) false wall...

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