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Buidling Our 3rd Theater


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#1 of 9 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted July 23 2006 - 02:42 PM

This one will have a new house connected to it. First one destroyed by water. Second one we are currently using. My brother is buying this house, so we will build another. The new theater will be in the basement with a drop ceiling. I think I have the theater stuff down as much as our budget will allow. Still a few questions:
    [*]Do drop ceilings allow more or less sound upstairs?[*]I am still trying to figure out how to bolt my theater seating to the concrete floor. The floor will be carpeted and there is not enough room under my seats to drill for anchors.[*]Our "cable TV" & internet is provided through our phone co. The system uses a gateway in the living room. From there one line goes out for the internet and it allows for only 2 different TVs.
    1. One is s-video
      1. It will go primarily to the main TV.[*]I would like to also send it to the theater that is located underneath the living room about 15' away.
    2. [*]The other is the old co-ax cable.
      1. I will send it to 3 bedrooms and a den. (The kids can fight over the remote)
      [*]I will also have an antenna in the attic.
      1. I would like to send it to the main TV[*]And send it to the bedrooms for the FM radio.
      [*]Is there a good system for all this, or am I asking too much?
    [*]We will install an intercom system and a whole house vacuum system. Any other (not so expensive) cool ideas that should be built in during construction?[*]We rarely listen to radio, mostly mp3s on my computer. I would like to listen to music in many different rooms. Are most whole house audio systems controlled from a single place? Are there any inexpensive systems that are controlled from each room?[*]Currently our network is wireless. The wireless cards cost less than running the CAT5 and was easier to install in a finished house, but they have a slower speed. It always seems that phone jacks are in the wrong place. I am afraid that the network jacks would be also.
    1. Should I run CAT5 for the network, or just rely on wireless?[*]If I just use the wireless router for the whole house, does it matter where it is located?[*]If I use a combination of wire/wireless it would probably be in the basement. Does that hurt the wireless performance?
    [*]Anybody know of any good "Home Building" forums?
The basement is poured and they will start framming on Tuesday.

Thanks, Dave

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted July 30 2006 - 12:24 AM

No replies yet?
Did I type too fast for you to read? Posted Image
Or too many questions?

Dave

#3 of 9 OFFLINE   mylan

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Posted July 30 2006 - 08:45 AM

Lots of information to digest, sorry this is the first time I have read your post. I can't address every issue but I will try to help with a few of your concerns.
Whole house audio: trust me on this, I have been through this: DO yourself a favor and explore a system like a Russound CAV6.6 with keypads for all zones you wish to install. Route Cat5 and CL3 rated speaker wire to a cental location, like the theater equipment cabinent. The Russound will provide for six zones and, I think, six sources. The controller is around $1,500 but the media server (for mp3) is going to be the costly item, the XM FM tuner isn't cheap either. This will give you the flexibility to listen to different things in different rooms or turn off zones you are not using. Couple this with an Uno 2 keypad and you will have a system that is easy for all family members to operate.
I'm not so sure I would bolt the seating to the floor, you will not have any flexibility to change the seating layout if needed, also, carpet over concrete is going to deaden bass response. Many here install a "false floor" using hardwoods or engineered flooring so that bass response will be better (for lack of a better word). I did not heed this advice and my current sub just dies in my basement theater. It will take a monster SVS to fix my situation.
I ran for a wired system but I am not utilizing it yet. I feel that a wired and wireless network would be the best solution because you will get the realibilty and speed of a wired and the flexibilty (there is that word again!) of a wireless. Think about where you will want jacks and how you will use the connections before beginning. I put one in the office, another behind the upstairs tv, one in the master bedroom, and one in the theater.
I.M.O. drywall or drop would have the same result, drop ceiling tiles are sound absorbing but you might get a rattle whenever someone opens a door or the theater is pushing some serious SPL's.
As far as the other questions I would suggest the sticky thread in this thread entitled "What I would have done different".
I know enough to know I don't know enough!

#4 of 9 OFFLINE   chris_everett

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Posted July 31 2006 - 10:35 AM

1. Drop ceilings won't help much with soundproofing, but they will help with accoustics.

2. Can you glue down some 2x4's and attach your seats to those? This also gives you a nice floating floor (it's what I did, and I like it)

3-5. The Russound system that mylan points out is the best deal I've seen for whole house audio. This is a complicated field, and can't be dealt with over a few internet posts very well.

6. I highly recommend running at least some wire, and supplamenting that with wireless.
--Chris Everett

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   Shoottv

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Posted July 31 2006 - 12:14 PM

Oh you are going to have so much fun. I did this about 5 years ago and have learned a lot. Mostly from the mistakes I made.

One of the best things I did was to install a routing closet. All AV in the house runs to one central location. In my case a 4x4' room. All Telco, Cable and internet runs to this location as does the whole house audio system. This has been invaluable in making changes to the system. I have regular 4 wire telco run to every room in the house and in the bedrooms have it on 2 walls. I also have RG6 run from that location to each room (some have 2 drops) each just have a connectors. on the end of the cable into the equipment room. You also want 3-4 separate AC circuits in here.

Now I would definitely run Cat 5 or better to each room.

One thing I learned is that when building a home wire is cheap and labor is expensive. I found that it was cheaper to run 2-cat5, 2-RG6 and 2-mated pair in a bundle was cheaper than having a separate phone video and audio lines run to each room. Electrician charged by the run regardless of what he was pulling.

Patch panels are also very helpful in keeping everything organized. I also have 4 junction panels in the house (mostly in closets) so that if I want to it makes it much easier to tap wires or run new ones.

If you are at all handy I would run your own telco and AV wire even if you have the electrical contractor terminate them. This is a 2 day project even if you run lots of wire and will save you a the price of a new projector.

My advice for your theatre room is to run 1 1/2 or 2 inch PVC for conduit that will allow you to pull new wires as they are introduced.

Look on line for the best deals in connectors, Terminators and cable. This stuff is easy to install but people are scared of it so the electricians make a killing on it. I did all my own low voltage wiring in a 4000 square foot home over one weekend. 2000 feet of the AV/Cat5/Audio bundle an additional 750' of RG6 and about 2000 feet of mated pair for audio and intercom. It took a pretty long weekend. I intalled the boxes and stubbed out the wires and the electrician terminated them and finished them as well. Including materials that I purchased on line I saved $2700 off the electrical contractor's bid. I also know the location of each wire and where they are run and terminated which allows me to change things with ease.

My thought was if I thought just maybe I might someday think about putting something in a room I ran the cable while the house was just studded out. I'm very glad I did.

Enjoy, JS

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted July 31 2006 - 01:58 PM

Thanks for your replies Posted Image

I don't expect the drop ceiling to do any soundproofing, I am wondering if more or less sound will get upstairs.

In my current theater, I built a floor over the concrete. I didn't think about the bass response with out one. I will add that to my plans.

I checked out the Russound CAV6.6 system. It looks like the ticket, but I don't think I can swing the estimated $650.00 per room. You know how it is, you paint a room and the wife wants to redecorate. Well we are building a house and all of a sudden we need all new furniture Posted Image. So we are both coming up with our wish lists and we will see what the budget says. The advantage that I have is, furniture can be added anytime, but the wires need to be installed now.

I decided to run the network wires along with the phone wires. So each room will have the network plug in the same plate as the phone. I will do all the labor depending on what the phone company will charge.

II like the idea of running all the wires to a routing location. This way it will be easier to change connections as needed. There is a corner in the middle of the basement that would be perfect for this. It also backs up to my equipment in the theater.
Quote:
I found that it was cheaper to run 2-cat5, 2-RG6 and 2-mated pair in a bundle was cheaper than having a separate phone video and audio lines run to each room.
I didn't know that a bunlde like this existed. Do you have a good source for this wire?

Anyone have experiance putting an antenna in the attic? Does it attract lighting? I had one on my current house & it got hit. How do you ground it?

Quote:
Oh you are going to have so much fun.
Besides the electronics & theater, I will also do all the insulating, lay the tile & hardwood floors, paint, whole house vacuum, install all the wood trim, landscaping, move an above ground pool and build the back deck.
Fun Fun Fun!!

Dave

#7 of 9 OFFLINE   Shoottv

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Posted August 01 2006 - 09:47 AM

I got my bundle cable from a company called TecNec http://tecnec.comwho supplies broadcast video cable. Because of my braodcast connections I was able to get a really good price (At the time I bought cable litterally by the mile). TecNec has very high quality cable that is well shielded for use in High RF environments like tv stations and sat trucks. The stuff I got was Beldon 7913. The main advantage to these cables is that they take abuse in the field but this is not a problem in an installation.

I have also purchased equipment and cable for the house from Smart Home http://smarthome.com who has excellent prices and service.Also check out their patch panels. I would suggest that you use them.

I'm the first to admit I'm not a cable snob but don't be deluded into thinking that cable is better just because it is more expensive. In my opinion any decently shielded cable properly installed and terminated will do the job. In 20+ years in broadcasting I have yet to see a gold plated oxygen free cable in any TV station. Most cheap cables fail at the connections not internally to the cable and once installed rarely fail at all.

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted August 05 2006 - 12:24 AM

Thanks for the links. It looks like I will spend some time at the Smart Home web site.Posted Image
Dave

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   BruceSpielbauer

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Posted August 05 2006 - 03:30 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by drobbins
This one will have a new house connected to it. First one destroyed by water. Second one we are currently using. My brother is buying this house, so we will build another. The new theater will be in the basement with a drop ceiling. I think I have the theater stuff down as much as our budget will allow. Still a few questions:[list=1][*]Do drop ceilings allow more or less sound upstairs?


Drop ceilings will do almost nothing to help in soundproofing (or to be more accurate, sound isolation). Drywall is much better. 5/8 is better than 1/2 inch. Doubling up on the drywall will help. If it is MOVIES we are talking about, and you have a subwoofer involved, the toughest sound to stop is the low frequency "thump... thump... thump..." of the subwoofer. That takes a lot of mass in order to do.

I am building right now, in a basement, and I have engaged the following techniques to try to contain the sound:

-Double stud walls (I am actually builing two separate walls, one inside the other, on three sides of the room.
-Use of sound isolation clips to partially decouple the inner walls from the ceiling joists above.
-Use of sound isolation clips and hat channel to partially decouple the ceiling drywall from the ceiling joists above.
-Two layers of 5/8 drywall all around all walls. Two payers of 5/8" drywall all around the outsides of the second outer wall studs, as well.
-Two layers of 5/8" drywall on the ceiling.
--Exterior solid core doors, with threshold. Every air gap is getting calked and sealed up tight. Even the outlet boxes, sconce boxes, gaps between walls and ceiling, walls and floor, etc.
-Insulation (fiberglass R19) in every ceiling joist cavity and in every stud cavity on both sets of walls.

You have to decide how much treatment your budget can stand, and how important sound isolation is to your own lifestyle. However, to steal a truism from one of the best experts who builds and designs many of these for a living:

"Think of the room as an aquarium, and think of the sound as the water. You MUST treat all surfaces. If you cut a one inch hole in that aquarium, it does not matter how strong and how thick and how effective the glass was on the other five surfaces... you are still going to find that ALL of the water has leaked out and is now spilled all over your floor. The same is true. of sound. You can treat the walls and ceiling, as an example, but ignore the floor, and the sound will even make use of that concrete slab, which DOES have a resonance point and WILL vibrate when your speaker hits that frequency. And, even a huge concrete slab can be very effective at transferring sound elsewhere. It can transfer its vibration, say, to another wall, which will really vibrate, and then it is -- of course -- attached to your joists which vibrate, which are attached to the floor upstairs, which vibrates easily, ad nausem."

(* credit the perfect metaphor to Dennis Erskine).

I am even using HVAC flexible ducting which is treated on the INSIDE with canvas soundproofing. After all, the ductwork is often a direct pipeline of sound to the rest of the house.

Hope something here helps. It is NOT meant to scare you. But, definitely, choose drywall over a suspended ceiling with acoustic tiles, if you are trying to STOP the sound.

Suspended ceilings may be called acoustic tiles, but this has NOTHING to do with stopping the sound, or isolating the sound. And, those tiles do virtually nothing to stop the sound or isolate the sound. You may as wll put up nothing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drobbins
[*]I am still trying to figure out how to bolt my theater seating to the concrete floor. The floor will be carpeted and there is not enough room under my seats to drill for anchors.


Some have actually just bolted the seats to studs, or built a simple wood framework, and bolted them to that. I do not know what type of seating you are planning. If these are HOME theater seats, like Berklines, most do not attach them to anything at all. Noit necessary, once they are all attached together, they are not moving.

If it is true theater seating, like that taken from an old movie theater, then I would consider the "bolt them to a stud" idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drobbins
[*]Our "cable TV" & internet is provided through our phone co. The system uses a gateway in the living room. From there one line goes out for the internet and it allows for only 2 different TVs.
    [*]One is s-video
    1. It will go primarily to the main TV.[*]I would like to also send it to the theater that is located underneath the living room about 15' away.
    [*]The other is the old co-ax cable.
    1. I will send it to 3 bedrooms and a den. (The kids can fight over the remote)
    [*]I will also have an antenna in the attic.
    1. I would like to send it to the main TV[*]And send it to the bedrooms for the FM radio.
    [*]Is there a good system for all this, or am I asking too much?

There are many canned distribution systems, but most are ridiculously expensive. It would certainly be less expensive to pay the cable / internet provider to give you all of this, and even that would be a lot of unecessary expense. You can buy your OWN router / routers, and set up your own little network with drops wherever you want. That is what I did. Some parts are wired, some parts are wireless. I have never heard of any of the major providers that prohibit customers from going this route. They would RATHER you pay them for an installation, and for the equipment rentals, etc. However, Most know if they INSIST on that as a term of the service, they would lose a lot of customers to the competition -- those who can set it up themselves, and who refuse to pay monthly rentals on many routers, many hubs, etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by drobbins
[*]We rarely listen to radio, mostly mp3s on my computer. I would like to listen to music in many different rooms. Are most whole house audio systems controlled from a single place? Are there any inexpensive systems that are controlled from each room?

Most have some sort of a master equipment location / rack, and require some home runs to be made to that locale, of course. As to the costs, I have not followed that in the past few years, since I have never had the desire for a system such as this. I have read many reviews of them, but most did not mention pricing. Sorry. Hopefully someone else will help you on this one.

Sorry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drobbins
[*]Currently our network is wireless. The wireless cards cost less than running the CAT5 and was easier to install in a finished house, but they have a slower speed. It always seems that phone jacks are in the wrong place. I am afraid that the network jacks would be also.
    [*]Should I run CAT5 for the network, or just rely on wireless?
    [*]Run Cat5. Wireless is still slower. It is still less reliable. It is very prone to interference, from all sortf of other stuff you might like to use in the same house (like the portable phones I had to dump recently, or the subwoofer in my friends' house, or the cable TV coax in another friend's apartment, or even radio and television terrestrial signals in certain situations.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by drobbins
    [*]If I just use the wireless router for the whole house, does it matter where it is located?

Yes, although you may not know how much until you try it. It is NOT very predictable. My wireless hub / router could not hit one kids' bedroom until I moved it up four feet (to a higher shelf), and over about 18 inches -- in the OPPOSITE direction from the bedroom I was aiming for, by the way. I have seen much stranger things, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drobbins
[*]If I use a combination of wire/wireless it would probably be in the basement. Does that hurt the wireless performance?

Yes, for two floors above, and maybe even for some of floor one. It just depends, and you will not know for sure until you try.


Quote:
Originally Posted by drobbins
[*]Anybody know of any good "Home Building" forums?

The best forums for building home theaters is the one at the AVS forum and this one. The best for home building? I have visted a few, but none stuck out as all that terrific. Sorry. Hopefully someone else will help you on this one.


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