Building a Home Theater, just a few questions

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by OldMan, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. OldMan

    OldMan Auditioning

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    Hi all,

    First post here, and this is one cool and very informative site.
    I bought a brand new home about 6 months back, with an unfinished basement. I plan to make one area of the basement a family room/hometheater room. I'm doing all the work myself with some help of family and friends. my budget went from $15K to now it's pushing $30K. Wife not happy, but... [​IMG]

    basement size is about 1500 sq ft.

    Familyroom/theater area size is about 16' wide x 20' long and 8' ceilings.

    I will leave the entire basement open, except for walling off for a seperate guest bedroom, bathroom, etc.

    Anyways, behind the theater area, is about 20' x 30' space, which I will put a pool table, wet bar, etc.
    I like the idea of being able to sit at the bar and still watch the theater screen, which will be useful for superbowl parties and such.

    I will have a projector mounted in the ceiling, with 7.1 surrounds.

    in the theater room, I will have a Natural gas fireplace in the center of the front wall. (big believer in gas fireplace, as it can cetrtainly heat up a room for those winter months (I live in MD).
    I will have a 120" electric projector screen recessed mounted in the ceiling, and will come down about 1' in front of the fireplace.
    I probably won't be using the fireplace when the screen is down to watch movie, since it will be so close.

    Anyways, my original plan was to do inwall speakers from Polk. I was going use the Lc265i for the center and fronts.
    My surrounds will be in wall, and I will probably use the POLK LC265i for left and right and TC60I for back ceiling left right to complete the 7.1. (plus on floor sub)
    but since the fireplace is going to push out about 2', my wife wanted me to make the entire wall a built in shelf.
    So, I'll have an area to store all the electronics, and the rest for DVDs, and such.
    But since the shelf will be about 18" deep and basically fill the entire wall from top to bottom (except for above fireplace), I now have room for on floor speakers, that I can place within the shelves (since I am building the shelves myself, I will make the floor speakers fit in there.)

    So, here are my questions:
    I was doing some research on on floor speakers, and am between POLK LSi15
    or Swan Diva 6.1 or 6.2.

    Lots of research leans me towards the Swan.
    Is it ok, to use Swan Floor and center speakers, and POLK in wall for surrounds? I hear different brands are a no no, but I it can't really be that bad can it?

    Also, since the projector screen will go down in front of the fireplace, and the center speaker will be recessed into the wall, ontop of the fireplace mantel, is it ok to do this?

    will the screen block some of the sounds of the center speaker?

    these are my main concerns now, and I have done research and cannot find the answers on these.

    I'll be sure to post pics as I go along. right now, I have the guest bedroom done and the bathroom done (wife wanted me to finish those two before I start on the rest). Now working on completing the framing of the rest of the basement.

    thank you.
    Old
     
  2. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Big mistake leaving the theater open. Yes, it would be nice to watch the "Big Game" (you can't use the "S" word without fear of being sued by the NFL. They may come to your house on game day now). Close it in and put a 36" to 42" flat screen showing the same thing as the theater room.

    Fireplace? Are you building a theater room or a room that just happens to have a projector in it? The light from the fireplace will be not only distracting, it will diminish the picture quality of the projector. You want 100% light control in a theater room. I'm ready to put electrical tape over the green LED on my sub amp so I can't see it.

    At least you decided against in-walls in front. I don't recommend them anywhere but if you have to use them, it is acceptable to use non timbre matched speakers as surrounds. In a perfect world, all 7 of your speakers would be identical.

    Recessing a speaker is not a good idea. In fact, most quality speakers are designed to be places a foot or two away from any wall. Otherwise the sound reflections will emphasize certain frequencies. This can be lessened if you put sound absorption panels around the center channel.

    I have never seen an acoustically transparent pull down screen. They make them in fixed installation models but you still have to boost the highs slightly to compensate for the screen material. The pull down screens I have seen remind me of blackout fabric. Go buy a yard and cover the fronts of your current speakers. See how the sound changes.

    I don't want to sound like I am criticizing your plans. I just want you to be aware of the compromises you are making and adjust your expectations accordingly.

    -Robert
     
  3. OldMan

    OldMan Auditioning

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    thanks for the reply, and no worries, I appreciate your criticism. I need this as I am no expert when it comes to Home Theater.

    I have been to a house, with a similar setup to what I'm trying to do, and it wasn't too bad. the lights were off in the theater room, but the lights were on at the bar area, but the projector display still looked very good and clear on the screen.

    As I mentioned, this area will be a family room as well, and I wouldn't use the fireplace during movie watching, as I would be worried that the heat produced from it would hurt the screen (if that is even possible).

    I appreciate your advice on the speakers. I guess I will not recess the center in. Any suggestions on where to put the center speaker? I'm not sure where else to put it.
    perhaps in the ceiling, in front center of the screen? but then it will be in wall...??
     
  4. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    According to different "experts", above the screen, aimed at the listener is the 2nd best location. Even with the rest of the speakers, behind an acoustically transparent screen is the best. I have mine below the screen. On my new center channel, it will be angled up so that the 2nd row will be able to hear it as well as the first.

    For such a large area, what type/size sub are you going to run? To get the tactile sensation during action movies you will need a serious sub.

    -Robert
     
  5. OldMan

    OldMan Auditioning

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    thanks.
    after considering your inputs, I may decide to just put the fireplace to left of the wall (corner) instead of middle.
    this way, I can have the center speaker below the screen.

    this way i have the option of getting fixed or motorized, based on preference not necessity.

    with this setup, I may have to get smaller screen b/c of wall size since left will have fireplace, will take up about 4 feet, and the right has a 2' wide soffit for the main duct vent. I may have to consider a 96" or 103" screen, which is still very big and not a big deal to me.

    but I think this will work best for sound.

    I have not chosen a sub yet. to be honest, I have not done much research on those yet. any suggestion.

    I really appreciate your input. thanks again.
    Old
     
  6. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    I'm using a 103" DIY screen in my theater. About $60 in materials and a weekend's worth of work. Well, not a whole weekend. Most of the time I was letting the black paint on the screen border dry. I use my wife as the quality judge. She can't tell a difference between my DIY screen and the retail ones at Magnolia Hi-Fi and other stores that sell projectors. And this was before she knew the cost of mine vs. the retail ones. When I tolder her how much I saved, I thought I was going to have to pick her jaw up off of the floor.

    Subs - How much room go you want to give up? Both floor space and vertical. What is your budget? I'm a huge proponent of building subs. All retailers have to make sacrifices in their subs. Whether it be a price point and profit margin to be met or a size limitation based on shipping. DIY subs don't have to make those sacrifices. They do run into wife issues a lot. But those can be worked through by building a sub to look like an end table. Or building an IB sub that isn't even in the listening room. Check out the threads by JJMJ71 and God_Speed351. I helped/am helping each with infinite baffle subs. In fact, I need to start a thread on my IB sub project.

    -Robert
     
  7. OldMan

    OldMan Auditioning

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    wow. I never heard of DIY subs before. I'll search for those threads and check em out.
    I was thinking about spending around $300 to $400 on a sub.
    something that I can either put on the bottom of the wall shelf I'm building or in the corner of the room somewhere.
    would DIY subs cost less than that?

    I like the idea of a DIY screen. I may have to look into this as well. what color/brand name paint did you use?

    I was checking out screens from HTDepot.com

    Their prices seem inexpensive compared to others.

    Thanks again.
     

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