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Starting New Room - Best Buy Consultation


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19 replies to this topic

#1 of 20 OFFLINE   MacD

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Posted July 11 2007 - 09:43 AM

I will be starting my first home theater room from scratch in about two to three weeks in my basement. To start, I will be using my old 5.1 surround equipment and be adding a projector and screen only but want to make all of the necessary provisions in wiring, power, connections, etc. to step up to a full fledged equipped room over the next year. I was recently in Best Buy for some other items and was in their Home Theater Room area and was informed that they have a consultation service that will come to my house, evaluate everything I have and what I want to do, then make recommendations on everything I will need to do allowing me to do none, part, or all of the items recommended myself. I was curious to see if anyone out there has ever availed themselves of their service and are they any good??

#2 of 20 OFFLINE   Gerry S

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Posted July 11 2007 - 03:26 PM

Dan:

I've never used them, but I would be hesitant to, as I would expect their recomendations would be driven by the products they sell (overpriced monster cable comes to mind).

If you are starting from scratch, you have a great opportunity to design the room such that it brings the best out of your equipment. The room tends to be the most overlooked component when people design their theaters. A good room will make budget speakers sound great, while a poorly designed room may make the best equipment sound flat.

I think that whatever service you use, be sure to find out how they intend to treat the room (sound isolation, standing waves, first reflections, etc.). I think it will be the most important step you take in the design process. There are several reputable theater designers available which can model your room and tell you how to treat it.

If you intend to DIY and have the time to learn this stuff, there are several great references available for free, including this site. You can always post more details about your build (room dimensions, etc.), and get some feedback here as well.

Best of luck,

Gerry

#3 of 20 OFFLINE   MacD

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Posted July 11 2007 - 10:53 PM

Thank you for the insight. It never occurred to me that possibly their recommendations would be driven by the products they sell and their obligations to those manufacturers. But that makes sense. I have some time research before starting and have done some already. I believe I'll start by compiling a complete list of info on equipment and the room and posting it here shortly to take advantage of everyones experience and knowledge on rooms themselves as this will be my first dedicated room. Thank you again for the input.

#4 of 20 OFFLINE   Ennsio

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Posted July 12 2007 - 04:19 AM

Another thing you could do, Dan, is go to a bunch of specialty A/V stores (not the big electronics chains, but smaller dealers of audio visual gear) and show the staff there the details of your room to get their input for free. That is what I have been doing as I am in the planning stage as well. These guys usually know far more about home theater than Best Buy guys, and are not nearly as pushy. If you go to several, you will be able to compare their suggestions to see which ones are universal and which ones differ from store to store to get a better idea of what is sound advice. Then you could post their comments here and we could give feedback.

Note that these stores will also be somewhat tied to their product lines, which is why you go to several stores, and pick dealers of gear that you are somewhat interested in. Then you come here for our "unbiased" advice. Posted Image

#5 of 20 OFFLINE   Gerry S

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Posted July 12 2007 - 05:28 AM

Look forward to hearing the details of your plan.

I am currently designing my basement theater as well, and am hoping to begin construction in the next few months.

For me, sound isolation and treatments are high priority. I don't want to disturb anyone outside the theater, nor do I want to be disturbed when I am immersed in a movie. Depending on my budget, I will use at least double drywall to isolate the room. If I can afford it, I'll use a product called Green Glue between the layers to increase the effectiveness. For treatments, I'll use different types of insulation to create a variety of wall panels for bass trapping and dealing with early reflections.

I'm not trying to hijack your thread, just making the point that you can fairly easily upgrade components and speakers, but once the room is built, you're pretty much stuck with it.

#6 of 20 OFFLINE   MacD

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Posted July 12 2007 - 08:25 AM

I am about at the same point as far as planning my room. I actually have the room planned out and I am researching sound materials. I've looked at Quiet Solution which makes a sound panel that takes the place of your sheet rock they call Quiet Rock. It is supposed be about 8 to 10 times more sound resistant to transfer than normal sheet rock. Of course it costs about 4 to 5 times as much as normal rock and I'm not sure if I can afford to go that route. My room is appx. 16 ft wide x 25 ft long. By the time you add up the walls and the ceiling........ouch. I am just starting in the next week or two framing three walls to define the room against poured concrete walls so I still have some research time on sound proofing. Looks like maybe we'll wind up building and sharing ideas at the same time so keep the suggestions coming.

#7 of 20 OFFLINE   JimPeitersen

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Posted July 12 2007 - 06:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacD
I am about at the same point as far as planning my room. I actually have the room planned out and I am researching sound materials. I've looked at Quiet Solution which makes a sound panel that takes the place of your sheet rock they call Quiet Rock. It is supposed be about 8 to 10 times more sound resistant to transfer than normal sheet rock. Of course it costs about 4 to 5 times as much as normal rock and I'm not sure if I can afford to go that route. My room is appx. 16 ft wide x 25 ft long. By the time you add up the walls and the ceiling........ouch. I am just starting in the next week or two framing three walls to define the room against poured concrete walls so I still have some research time on sound proofing. Looks like maybe we'll wind up building and sharing ideas at the same time so keep the suggestions coming.

Many have commented that the Green Glue solution is better than using the Quiet Rock, both in isolation and cost. BTW, the Green Glue works very well.

JP

#8 of 20 OFFLINE   MacD

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Posted July 13 2007 - 01:59 AM

Thanks for the advice. I'll look into that product.

#9 of 20 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted July 13 2007 - 05:59 AM

Like MacD, my room is about 16x25. It was new construction so I went with the staggered stud approach with a single layer of drywall (I should have used 2 layers and green glue). It contains the highs and the mids pretty well but the bass gets out. At close to reference levels, I can make the walls flex and send shock waves through the concrete foundation. Since there are only two of us in the house, I'm going to use two subs. A small 12" sub for watching movies without disturbing the wife and the monster sub with four 18's when we are both in the theater room.

I went with the DIY approach. I built the screen, speakers and subs myself. Ran all of the wiring in the walls and attic. But the process is never done. I have the parts in to build a set of 7 matching speakers. I'm in the process of getting parts to build 4 custom 18" subs (mentioned above). I have some automation to take care of like dimming lights via the remote. 90% of my ideas and knowledge has come from here and AVS. They are the two best sources of home theater knowlege on the web.

-Robert

#10 of 20 OFFLINE   Gerry S

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Posted July 14 2007 - 01:30 PM

The green glue site is very informative. I really like all the independent test data they have to backup their claims. They also have a calculator which should make budgeting for the project pretty straightforward.

When it comes to comparing GG to Quietrock, I've heard the same thing JP noted.

#11 of 20 OFFLINE   MacD

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Posted July 16 2007 - 01:36 AM

Thank you all for the info on the room construction. At this point, I have attached 3 plans for my room. While I am investigating the sound proofing options, I now need to start thinking about all of the in wall items I need to make provisions for. I have a couple of questions pertaining to the plan.

1. Columns - Would stick out about 6 to 8 inches. If I push the speakers out the same distance, are these sound obstructions that will hurt me?
2. Speaker placement - with two rows of seating - sides or rear surrounds?
3. If sides - between the columns at the front row of seating or at the rear row of seating?
4. Taking the overall room into consideration, better with 5.1 or 7.1?

Again, any and all comments are very much appreciated. Don't be bashful about criticizing anything. As I indicated, my first attempt at this and all comments are welcome.




#12 of 20 OFFLINE   Kevin Stewart

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Posted July 16 2007 - 04:49 PM

Am I correct in that you seating will be at about 14.5' and 21'?

1. No.
2. Both.
3. I'd put them right where the second riser level is (where it says 12" in the pic). If you want, you can even put your column there and hide the speakers inside the column.
4. Definately 7.1

Other thoughts:

If the seating distances I surmised are correct, I think you can definitely go with a bigger screen. My current seating distances are 13' and 19' and I'm utilizing a 126" screen and it's great (of course, this depends upon the quality of your projector).
Have you thought about making that 48" wall in the back a full wall? This would allow for easier rear speaker placement as well as a place to shelf mount the projector (instead of ceiling mount). With 9' ceilings you might even have room to put in a black ceiling fan in the center. This would also create and entrance hall in the rear that you cold line with movie posters, etc.
IMO, you don't necessarily need walkways on each side of the room either. I'd eliminate the riser step on the right (the equipment rack wall) and put 4 seats in each row. The seat next to the wall is not "ideal", but it'll be pretty darn good and at some point you're going to need seating for 8.
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#13 of 20 OFFLINE   MacD

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Posted July 16 2007 - 10:58 PM

Kevin,

Thanks for the input. The only reason I went with the low wall was just a concern (after reading some posts) over sound disruption in the room by having the small set back at the end of a full height wall. I haven't decided exactly on the seat locations back from the screen. I was going to try to resolve that once I settled on a projector and took into consideration it's placement.

I hadn't thought about shelf mounting the projector in the back. Are there any pros or cons to that? I guess the biggest concern would be if the projector could deal with a 21 ft distance and still give you quality.

Thanks again. You gave me some things to think about.

#14 of 20 OFFLINE   Kevin Stewart

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Posted July 17 2007 - 04:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacD
I hadn't thought about shelf mounting the projector in the back. Are there any pros or cons to that? I guess the biggest concern would be if the projector could deal with a 21 ft distance and still give you quality.

Depends on the projector and screen, but generally there's no cons in terms of picture quality, especially with the caliber of projectors that are being made today. The pro is that it makes the projector basically invisible in the room instead of hanging over everyone's head. Many people that ceiling mount, put it in the back of the room anyway. I prefer shelf mount, mainly because it's a heck of a lot easier just to set it on a shelf.
"the dream never dies, just the dreamer"

#15 of 20 OFFLINE   MacD

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Posted August 02 2007 - 07:51 AM

OK. I am starting to plan out wiring for the room. I can find all kinds of threads that show equipment connections but very few that go into planning .... for example.... all of the feeds that you may want to run to the projector. Based upon some of you that have already completed rooms, can you suggest quantities and types of feeds to make sure there are enough things there to handle everything that you may want to feed to the projector? I currently have planned on having:

2 - DVD feeds (in case the hd-dvd vs blue ray thing doesn't get resolved)
1 - HDTV feed (for either cable or satellite)
1 - Video game feed
1 - PC feed

Is there anything else for the projector I may be missing and based upon this, am I better doing these as vga, hdmi, dvi?

Thanks in advance for the help

#16 of 20 OFFLINE   homthtr

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Posted August 02 2007 - 03:52 PM

Depending on the selection of the Projector and what Inputs are available on the projector will determine what video feeds you will need. You should only need two at max. HDMI and VGA to keep it simple for the computer connection. All the rest of your Video should run to your receiver first which should be a Video switching upconverting receiver. Best case would be to convert everything to HDMI, Second best would be to convert everything to component Video. Either way you could input anything you wish at the receiver end, being anything from composite to 1080HD and all you need from the receiver is the HDMI to the projector and leave the projector on the same input all the time. No need to be running multiple video lines for each separate video source.

So in summery.. 1 VGA and 1 HDMI or 1 component Video.

The VGA will depend on what you have for video cards in you computer. If the projector will be the only monitor for this computer ( I'm taking it you will be surfing the internet on your projector?).

Big thing is to determine your projector and receiver at this point.

Especially the projector ( you will need to know the projector and screen size to determine the throw distance and where the projector is going to mount.) Then you can determine where the wires will come out of the ceiling for you video feeds and electric for the projector.

I usually try to get the AC and Video right above the projector so there is minimal wires showing if you are going with a ceiling mounted projector. (same would go if you are going to box or hide the projector in some manor). If you box or hide the projector leave plenty of room for circulation to prevent the projector from overheating.



Do you have a projector picked out yet?
Have you Determined what screen size you are going with?

Your first opening paragraph mentions that you will be using your old 5.1 sound system.

You may want to rethink that also.

What is your current 5.1 system (make and Model?)

#17 of 20 OFFLINE   MacD

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Posted August 06 2007 - 01:30 AM

Thanks for the help. To answer your questions:

Projector - currently leaning toward the Sony VPL-VW50 or the Epson
Power Light Home Cinema 1080P
Screen - looking at something in the 100 to 110 range

I am still looking at using my 5.1 to start with. Cost issues. I will be wiring for 7.1 or 8.1 now but will only hook up the 5.1 until funds can build enough to change out equipment.

Receiver - Denon 3300
Fronts - Polk RT5 Book shelf
Sub - Mirage BPS100
Center - Definitive CLR 2002
Surrounds - ?? I need to purchase - have none at the moment
DVD - need to purchase hd-dvd or blue-ray, currently have an old
Toshiba standard dvd.

#18 of 20 OFFLINE   homthtr

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Posted August 22 2007 - 05:08 PM

Here's the proper throw distance for that setup based on a 110" screen

Your power and video should be in the ceiling 15.5 feet from the screen wall.


http://www.stevenleellc.com/sony.pdf

#19 of 20 OFFLINE   MacD

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Posted August 23 2007 - 12:10 AM

I'll actually be starting to pull wire this weekend so the timing was great. Now I can get all of the power and cabling in the right location. I appreciate the help.

#20 of 20 OFFLINE   Andrew Stoakley

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Posted August 28 2007 - 03:10 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacD
... I was recently in Best Buy for some other items and was in their Home Theater Room area and was informed that they have a consultation service that will come to my house, evaluate everything I have and what I want to do, then make recommendations on everything I will need to do allowing me to do none, part, or all of the items recommended myself. I was curious to see if anyone out there has ever availed themselves of their service and are they any good??

Hey all,

Just to add to this discussion about big box vs. the 'little guy' depending on where you live, I'll take Toronto for now since that's where I live, Best Buy uses an outside consulting company in the GTA called "Howell & Associates." I've talked about Clinton and his company many times in previous posts and if anyone is familiar with the Canadian home theatre industry they will all be familiar with his companies award winning designs.

Anyway, if you do visit a big box store and they offer you 'consultation' services, ask who the company is and then do some independant research on the consulting company. We all know the big box stores aren't exactly knowledgeable about these types of big projects but I guess some of them have wised up about letting big bucks walk out there doors Posted Image

Cheers,

Andrew
"Remember kids - no one cares about audio until they can't hear it."

 

 





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