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Yet another floor plan to critique

645 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  majormojo242
I'm moving into a new home (20 yrs old) next month and making some plans for a new HT. The attached img shows the floor plan layout I'm contemplating. I appreciate any feedback you'd care to provide.


Notes about the diagram:

Planned space is in a basement, about 1/2 of a large open room. HT space will be about 13W x 20L x 8.5H. The basement is fully finished now. Sheetrock walls, carpet floor. Not sure about the insulation yet, but its an R2000 home and very well insulated overall. There's only two small windows in the space, one will be covered by the screen wall, the other is at the far back of the room and will have blinds.

The room is long (40 ft) and for various reasons I don't really want to completely wall off the theater area. One reason is because of the major change that would be required to replace that giant (8 ft long!) pocket door along the left side.

The exact location of the sub will be determined by measuring the response in the room. But I think that somewhere along that alcove wall should be suitable. The rest of that space will have shelving for media storage, maybe some posters on the wall.

Ceiling height is about 8.5 ft. Currently in suspended ceiling tile that's in need of some repair. I plan to stick with that type of ceiling. I will pull down the tiles, add insulation above, run some wiring, replace damaged tiles and paint the tiles and T-bar a med-dark blue.

The grey shaded area represents a soffit in the room that encloses HVAC ductwork. It drops about 11" down into the room. Bottom of soffit is finished with ceiling tiles. I'm undecided about building a matching soffit on the other side for cosmetics. One idea is to make a soffit around the theater part of the room, with the back soffit at about 20' from the screen to visually separate the theater area from the rest of the space. That could also provide a place to mount the projector and rear speakers. With a nice moulding/ledge and some rope lighting up there, it could make a nice effect with the dark ceiling colour I have planned.

The front speakers will be concealed by a simple proscenium. Wood framing covered by fabric. Side speakers will be surface mounted on the walls. I like the idea of columns but don't think I have a wide enough room to do that. I'm a bit concerned about the R.Surround speaker being too close to people's heads when using the front stair up the riser. Rear speakers will be ceiling mounted. Is there any case to be made for mounting them on the far back wall? That just seems too far away.

The general plan for acoustic treatment is to put acoustic insulation along the screen wall, thick fibreglass insulation in the ceiling, leave the carpet and put some decorative acoustic panels (made from rigid fibreglass panels wrapped in fabric) at first reflection points along the sides. If needed, I'll install some bass traps in the far back corners and some kind of diffusing panels on the far back wall. Mostly, I'm taking a wait-and-see (listen) approach - I will install the equipment, have a listen, take some measurements and see if there's anything drastically wrong acoustically and then deal with it then.

Projector will most likely be a Z2 and the diagram shows a couple proposed screen sizes. Again, I'll set up and test before making a final decision. I like the idea of a 2.35:1 screen and some simple dark fabric curtains to mask the sides.

Looking forward to any comments, criticisms or insights you'd like to share.
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One quick comment is the length of room. With that much volume, it will be difficult to get a good acoustic response.

I had the same problem in my old HT - in my case the room was over 75' long. After years of arguing with my wife, she finally agreed to allow me to build a wall, so my new HT room is about 22' long.

I would suggest you consider building a wall right behind your seating platform so that it doesn't interfere with the pocket door. Haven't done the math but you may want to move up your seating just a bit anyway depending on which screen size you end up with (with a Z2, you have that option).

Pocket doors are always an issue anyway in HTs. They leak sound like crazy and tend to rattle.

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One more thing, with the soffit on the left side which extends down 11", you may want to consider building a fake one on the right side to match.

This will give you better esthetics and better sound.

I shall begin my post by admitting that I am not an expert acoustician, but I agree with Curtis that with the room open the entire length of the basement, the volume of the open space will be too great to give you a good sound.

I know you said that you were reluctant to put a wall in because of the pocket door. However, perhaps you could consider putting a wall behind the seating that goes to the extended soffit. That would leave a door sized opening between the edge of the wall and the pocket door, which would be better than leaving it all open.

You don't say, but I am assuming that the pocket door slides open towards the rear of the room. If so, another option would be to actually install it so that it slides open towards the front of the room, and you could use the wall that your equipment rack was going to be stored in. That way, you could just install a wall all the way across the area behind the seats and not worry about blocking the opening of the pocket door. Just a thought.

Also, I agree with you and Curtis that it would be a good idea to build a matching soffit on the right side of the room, for both acoustics and aesthetics. If you do it all the way arouns like you were thinking, it would even create a tray ceiling effect which would look very sharp with some lighting.

Good luck, and we're looking forward to hearing how things go for you!

-- Stephen
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Thanks for the responses. Yeah, I'm concerned about that pocket door and the volume of the room too. Yes, the door slides to the back of the room and it's not possible to move it to the other side of the opening. The spot where the equip stack is located is under the stairs coming down. So that means that if I wall off the HT, the door will have to be at the back as there's no place to put one on that side. The other side is the outside wall. The natural place to put the door would be right next to where that little stub wall is now on the left side.

As for the acoustics in that space, I was thinking that I'd mostly have problems with getting enough bass volume and perhaps I could fix that by adding another sub. Or is the problem also that without a near back wall there won't be enough diffusion of the surround sound?
I am in the process of finishing my basement and my home theater looks a lot like yours, including the room length.

In my case, I am going to be using the back section of that room as a bar and dart room area. My wife and I agreed that we liked the idea of being able to see the theater screen from that area, so a full wall was out. This, unfortunately made the placement of the rear surrounds a bit tricky. What I have done is built a half wall....basically a bar behind the seating area. I will be mounting in-walls into that bar just behind the listening position. It will also provide a place where people can sit on stools behind bar and watch what's on the screen.....as long as I haven't pulled the big curtain out in front of them.

Just something to think about. It's not going to solve your acoustic issues completely, but it's an idea.

Good Luck.
TurboDog1, your plans do sound similar to mine. I've also contemplated a half-wall with a bar or counter behind the last row of seats and the curtain idea too. Really not sure yet. For the rear surrounds, I'm planning on using some in-ceiling speakers. Is there a reason you prefer mounting in the half wall instead of the ceiling? I'm thinking the speakers might end up too low that way.
why not shrink the room a bit (move everything a few inches closer to the screen) so that it all fits before the pocket door, then you can continue that stub just before the pocket door and seperate the room in two and use the back as a bar/game area
What do you want out of this room?? Will it be mutifunctional (e.g. a bar or pool table behind the seating area) or is it for performance?

How involved are you with the hobby? Do you plan to upgrade the room eventually or will you move in a few years? What is your budget?

What I am getting at is if you are just looking for surround sound, you'll be fine as is..

If you are looking for performance, you will be disappointed as things stand..

If performance is the goal, that pocket door should go (it is just a door). Sound leakage and rattling were mentioned and it also screws up where you ideally would like a rear wall. Moreover, you will have a lot of leeway to determine ideal dimensions.

Know what you want!

If you are after performance, arrange the room to accommodate the home theater.

If you are after a basic home theater, arrange the home theater to accomodate the basement as it is.

Once you figure out what the goal is here, your direction and what to do will be simple. Focus!
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thebland: Thanks, you've definitely provided some food for thought. I think right now, I'm not 100% sure what I want. I have some ideas about that, plus some thoughts on how I hope the space will be used, but not a totally clear goal.

The hobby question is an interesting one. For me, the hobby part is enjoying movies. Building a theater == work. :) Not that I mind that, I'm willing to do the work in order to save money and to have something special I've made myself. But I anticipate getting to a point where I'm "done" for quite a while, perhaps making minor upgrades from time to time as technological advances and budget warrant.

The issue with the pocket door is that it's not "just a door", it's 8 ft of wall where it slides into as well. It could be a lot of work to remove or replace.

As for a bar or pool table, no not likely. I'd like for the rest of the space to be used for an exercise and kids play area perhaps. My thought was that it would be nice if the HT could do double duty providing music and/or video for that area. It wouldn't matter that the audio was sub-optimal for that, if it at least provided good sound in the theater area.

So, getting to specifics, what exactly are the problems I'll be facing in this space? The pocket door is one issue that's been mentioned, what else?

I asked on another thread about specific acoustic problems in this room and the consensus seemed to be that it wouldn't be that bad, and I've read elsewhere that small rooms are typically more problematic than large ones. So in what way would the "performance" in this room be bad? From an acoustics standpoint, what is the back wall going to provide? Sorry to be such a dense n00b, but I'm just trying to understand what the potential problems really are so I can judge how much they matter to me.

But yeah, I do need to settle on a goal and FOCUS.
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