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Pre-planning attic "bonus room" theater


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#1 of 46 OFFLINE   JoshGivens

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Posted December 06 2004 - 02:02 AM

I've been browsing this board and asking questions for a while now and I've been able to find a lot of useful information about receivers and speakers and such. Now, I'm hopefully heading into a new phase of the HT experience. Had the contractor who built our house come by to check out a possible upstairs bonus room in our currently one story home. He said that with 5' knee walls on the sides, we could get a room 15' x 20'. I was thinking some where in the neighborhood of 10' x 16', so this was good news to me.

Even before he comes back with an estimate and we work out any details, I want to start planning this room so that there won't be any guesswork involved once the construction begins.

This thread is where I plan to follow the progress of the room until completion.

Current HT Equipment that will be used in new HT:

Audio/Video Components:
Mitsubishi 65-411
Yamaha HTR-5790
Toshiba SD-4900 (DVD Player)
Kenwood 5-disc CD-Changer (I don't listen to much music)

Speakers:
Polk LSi7's
Polk LsiC
Polk Fxi3's (surrounds)
Polk R15's (rears)

Wall colors will be some shade of dark blue and all of the trim will be done in a natural cherry or maple finish.

I know that with the sloped ceilings, I will be facing sound issues as well as speaker placement issues. Also, the only isolation that should be a problem is isolating the floor from the kitchen and bathroom below. All suggestions and ideas to help me along this road to an enjoyable HT will be appreciated. However, I do not have an unlimited budget on this project, so cost issues will be a major concern during the planning phase.

Thanks,

Josh

#2 of 46 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted December 06 2004 - 07:06 AM

Quote:
I know that with the sloped ceilings, I will be facing sound issues as well as speaker placement issues.
Actually, this will do more to help acoustics than hurt, IMO. For one thing it should deliver smoother and more uniform (i.e., from place to place in the room) bass response than a “shoebox” room with all parallel surfaces.

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Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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#3 of 46 OFFLINE   JoshGivens

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Posted December 06 2004 - 08:10 AM

That's good to know. Just got a quote from the contractor, $21,000 just for the stairs and the finished room (no extras). Guess I'll be shopping around for a bit before this project gets underway. Gives me plenty of time to plan though.

#4 of 46 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted December 07 2004 - 02:52 AM

Sounds pretty steep for such a small room, especially considering how cheap sheetrock, romex and 2 x 4’s are. You might want to get quotes from some remodeling contractors.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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#5 of 46 OFFLINE   JoshGivens

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Posted December 07 2004 - 05:12 AM

I'm talking to a few other remodelers to get their estimates next week.

In the mean time, I'm trying to sketch up a drawing of the layout to post up here to get your input on placement and future planning.

What's your advice on minimizing sound transfer through the floor to the rooms below?

#6 of 46 OFFLINE   Richard K.F.

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Posted December 07 2004 - 01:55 PM

hi Josh;
blocking medium and high frequencies is fairly straightforward using carpeting and foam. Its the subwoofer frequencies that are the killers and as far as I know high density material is the only thing that can reduce them significantly. there are some vinyl products on the market that are fairly dense. I've seen them advertised in audio video magazines for use in walls, dont knoww if they would be effective on floors. What ever you use, it'll be heavy if its going to do a decent job of attenuation, and you will have to consider your floor load capacity (if it's attic space make sure you have adequate floor joists). it's been my experience that if you're going to watch an action movie, get everyone in the house to watch it with you,,, the noise wont matter much then!!

#7 of 46 OFFLINE   JoshGivens

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Posted December 07 2004 - 11:54 PM

I would say that 90% of the time, it will be the case where everyone will be in the room when I am. I'll do some checking around for material that you can put in the floor. If anyone has links, that would be great.

#8 of 46 OFFLINE   Richard K.F.

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Posted December 08 2004 - 01:00 AM

hi Josh; unfortunately i havent posted enough on this site yet and am therefore not permitted to provide URLs, but you can try searching on yahoo for J W Mooney who's written a bunch of useful tech data on accoustics and also search for "accoustic isolation" where you'll find a bunch of useful sites

#9 of 46 OFFLINE   JoshGivens

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Posted December 13 2004 - 06:40 AM

Well, we're still waiting on another builder to give us an estimate. I've decided to just have the steps built and the room framed and do the rest (electrical, sheetrock and finishing) myself. I'll have to get someone who knows HVAC stuff to come do some work too.

I had no real knowledge of electrical work, but I got some "training" from some of the electicians here at work and it seems pretty straightforward, plus it'll save me some money. Sheetrock sucks, but I've done that before, didn't like it, but I've done it.

With that being said. I'm thinking of running a setup of 6 recessed lights from front to back in 3 pairs and also some wall sconces (sp?) The diagram is looking from above the ceiling down. (behind the sheet rock) The top and bottom dashed lines are the knee walls (5ft) and the dashed lines in the middle represend where the sloped wall stops. The circles are the lighting locations. I'm thinking about tying them together in the following dimmer configuration. (4 dimmers total)

-----o4--------o4----
|.............................|
|---------------------|
|...o1.......o2.......o3...|
|...o1.......o2.......o3...|rear
|---------------------|
|.............................|
-----o4--------o4----

Does this look like a good setup or would you recommend a different approach?

I'll keep you updated. I'm going to try to snap some pics of the area tonight and post them.

#10 of 46 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted December 13 2004 - 10:17 AM

Your dimmer configuration looks good. Posted Image

Quote:
I had no real knowledge of electrical work,
You might want to pick up of those DIY electrical books at a hardware store. They usually have excellent photos, drawings and diagrams of how to do it.

Quote:
Sheetrock sucks, but I've done that before, didn't like it, but I've done it.
I hear ya about the sheetrock! My suggestion is to hang it yourself – that’s the easy part - and hire a pro for the dirty work, floating taping.

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#11 of 46 OFFLINE   Richard K.F.

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Posted December 13 2004 - 11:26 AM

Hi Josh:
Recessed ceiling lighting should be fine. Suggest choose wall sconces that do not allow light to shine directly on your screen, and if you keep the area around the screen and forward of the screen about 3 feet dark using side and overhead curtains or the like, you'll find you can keep the room light a lot brighter without washing out the picture. For lighting control suggest take a look at X10 systems. they arent very expensive, they allow you to control them from almost any universal remote, they can be wired in or plugged in depending on how you want to set them up. I've been pretty satisfied with the ones i bought from radio shack, though there are other on-line sources. Suggest also, keep all of your electronics on its own 20 amp circuit. If they are all in the same area you can use a single surge protection strip. If they are distributed around the room, you might want to consider surge protective circuit breaker for all of the electronics outlets. I know that Murray makes them for their circuit breaker panels (available in home depot), not sure about other panel manufacturers.

#12 of 46 OFFLINE   JoshGivens

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Posted December 13 2004 - 12:12 PM

I plan on wiring the outlets and the lighting on opposite phase from each other to prevent any interference. I haven't decided for certain what sort of lighting the sconces might be, I'm still looking around for ideas. Since the side walls will only be 5 feet, I may need to go another route.

#13 of 46 OFFLINE   JoshGivens

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Posted January 05 2006 - 06:51 AM

Well, here I am a year later, sitting in the same place I was before. Who knew getting a contractor to do some remodeling would be so hard. I'm back on the hunt again though and hopefully it won't be another year before this project gets going.

#14 of 46 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted January 05 2006 - 01:41 PM

Sorry to hear about the setbacks, Josh. Posted Image
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#15 of 46 OFFLINE   David Noll

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Posted January 06 2006 - 02:45 AM

Josh,

Do you have any DIY skills? If you could do the work yourself, little by little, you'll get the job done AND save a lot of money! That is the way I've been doing my house projects, and, as of now I estimate I saved about $250,000.00 on labor over the last 15 years! Of my theater project, I estimate about $20,000.00 of savings.

Good luck,
David

#16 of 46 OFFLINE   JoshGivens

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Posted January 10 2006 - 12:27 AM

I'm planning on doing some of the work myself, paint, trim, wiring. That way I can save some money on the project. A contractor came by the house on Friday of last week. I'm waiting to hear from him on an estimate.

Turns out that the screen wall of the theater is also going to be a knee wall, so this will lend itself to building a fake wall to hide speakers and such behind.

The way it's looking with my room size, I'm planning on going for a 110" screen. Any suggestions on how far off of the floor the screen should be?

#17 of 46 OFFLINE   Richard K.F.

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Posted January 10 2006 - 03:27 AM

If you have a second row of seating, the height of it will determine how high your screen should be. The folks in row 2 should be able to see the bottom of the screen with row 1 occupied

#18 of 46 OFFLINE   JoshGivens

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Posted January 12 2006 - 07:55 AM

Got a good estimate back today, so the project is now on go mode. The contractor should be available to start in a week or two. Right now I'm just sorting out the money issues to make sure everything is right.

Now I need to really finalize my plans. I'm going to go back and read the, "What I wish I'd done," post and I'm planning on taking pictures along the way. Anyone else with knee walls in their room that has pictures available or ideas for the design and layout, it would be greatly appreciated.

So far, layout plans are as follows:

Room will be 15w x20l, entrance to the room will be in the rear left hand corner (facing the back) through an exterior door. Knee walls (5-6ft high) will run the length of the room and also across the back (screen) wall. Height of the ceiling should be around 9.5 feet. Can lights (6) are a definate and possibly a ceiling fan (worried this will cause problems with projector placement). On the right knee wall (facing the screen wall) there will be a closet inlet to a closet door and closet which will contain a back door to my attic space. Directly across the room on the left hand wall will be an in-wall component rack.

That's about all I've got planned for now and I'll post some pics to hopefully illustrate these points.

To answer the last post:

I'm planning on a possible second row or I may just go with a couch and two chairs off to the side of the couch. The riser will be more of a WAF than anything else in the room.

#19 of 46 OFFLINE   JoshGivens

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Posted January 13 2006 - 01:00 AM

Forgot to mention that there will be no windows in the room and I'm running a dedicated AC. I need some tips on getting the AC setup to be quiet if you guys have any ideas.

#20 of 46 OFFLINE   Richard K.F.

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Posted January 13 2006 - 03:40 AM

hi Josh; im setting up in basement so ac isnt a problem for me. In the Master Handbook of Acoustics by Everest, chapter 18 addresses Quiet Air. might be some stuff you can use there





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