Building on an addition with HT

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by GregoryHGilbert, Oct 7, 2003.

  1. GregoryHGilbert

    GregoryHGilbert Auditioning

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    I've read the basics (all 150 pages) and have more questions...Also, I hope this is the right section for this question.

    So, I want to build a HT and got the thumbs up from the spouse (SAF - will be tough). One wall is already standing, the other 4 will be built. It is basically a 13' X 17' room, but one corner is cut and should be large enough to hold a 42" screen, giving the room a diamond shape. The spouse has already picked out a couch that will pretty much fill the center of the room, but will have to turn slightly to the left 30 degrees to view the screen in the 'cut corner'. The back of the room will be the existing wall and have the only window and here come the questions. Budget around 15-20k, but would love to have it lower than this.

    1. Can this sort of set up work?
    2. To appease the spouse that be, she would love itty bitty speakers, but is willing to compromise to ones that are in the walls and well hidden. Would like it to be at least 5.1 and 7.1 surround is even better.
    3. Trying to get everything now and not upgrading later, so if I should set up for 10.1 or anything let me know!
    4. Should I run cables in the walls? What cables 12 ga or lower, right?
    5. Wife is pretty sure she wants a plasma screen, but I have been telling her about projectors and she seems to be ammendable to that. I think she would love to hide the subwoofer under the couch, but I don't know if there is enough clearance, would building a hole below the couch help, or should I put it in the wall that is going to house all the components.
    6. What components should I get? Will the projector do video games like PS2 - I think I have seen warnings not to play some games on a projector or something.
    7. I think a HTPC sounds cool....
    8. Any other tips/tricks. - Since in planning stage there is room for change in the plans, but time is running out...Help!?! Thanks for reading this long post.

    -Greg
     
  2. Brian Corr

    Brian Corr Supporting Actor

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    I'll try and help.
    Yes, your layout can work. You need to realize that you give up some performance for stealth (in walls opposed to freestanding). You can do in-walls all the way around, including the sub, but you may give up a little in the way of imaging and overall dynamics. It can still be a pretty nice sounding room though. It all depends on what you expect. There are different levels of performance. Figuring out what level your happy with is key. Some people just wouldn't be happy with in-walls and some people would never consider Bose, but many are happy with these type of set-ups.

    Another option is a sub/sat system where the speakers are small and mounted strategically to appease the wife but still give good imaging. Lots of choices from numerous manufacturers here. Grab some of the HT mags and thumb through to get an idea of what's available. I don't think the sub in the couch idea is all that great. First, there is the issue of fitting a decent sub in a couch. Then there is the whole butt shaking thing! I think you'd get much better performance with a freestanding sub.

    Another option is to build an infinite baffle sub if you have the space (attic or basement) It would be totally out of sight and would give more output than just about anything else. An infinite baffle sub is basically a simple box mounted in a basement, attic, closet, etc with multiple subs that vent into the room. You'd have to build it yourself though as I'm not aware of any pre-made type infinite baffle's.

    Since your room is on the cozy side, I wouldn't worry about a 10.1 set-up. Wire for 7.1 but maybe opt for a 6.1 set-up. 12 gauge is plenty, 14 gauge would also be fine with the runs you would likely do in that size room.
    If you will have light control, a projector may be something you want to consider. You can definitly get a projector and screen in the same price range as most of the 42" plasma's. Consider the layout and use of the room though. A plasma may fit in better if this is going to be more of a second living room, rather than a dedicated movie room. There aren't any problems with playing game consoles on a digital projector, but on a plasma you need to consider screen burn in.

    An HTPC will give you the best performance and options for setup for DVD's on a digital projector but I think at this point I'd opt for a projector with DVI and a DVD player with DVI output. Easier to use than a HTPC and the picture will be pretty close. Also make sure that if you are adding an HD decoder box, that it has DVI. DVI keeps the signal all digital and gives a sharper picture than using component video.

    Is the budget you stated for construction and equipment or what? If you can break it down a little more (like $1200 for speakers, $1200 for receiver, etc) people can make better recomendations.
     
  3. GregoryHGilbert

    GregoryHGilbert Auditioning

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    Sweet! Thanks Brian. The 15-20k is just for equipment. So, my ear is good, but not great and currently all I have is stereo, so anything would be a step up, I am sure. I think that the wife would like to think of it more as a second living room, but keeps calling it a home theater. Personally, I am looking for an experience where I can follow the sound around a room, so maybe like a plane flying around my head and it seems that way, it doesn't jump from speaker to speaker, but rather flows. Maybe breaking this down into specific questions and then going on. Does anyone use concealed speakers or tried them and totally satisfied or dissatisfied? I saw one post about them, but not a lot of comments. What arguments have worked to lower the SAF - ways to get her to cave to visible speakers? Personally, I am working the "Well it is supposed to be a home theater angle with a little head way, but may end up with resistance to other components, it seems that the speakers are a huge factor in a HT so should I push on this one and maybe get stopped on say a monitor or projector? What does everyone think?!?
     
  4. DavidVT

    DavidVT Stunt Coordinator

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    Greg,

    I would continue the path your taking, but include her in the decision making and overall design...Yes, speakers make the HT experience. Show her examples of other HTs via the net and try your best to explain how good sound works. Basically the bigger the better. In your case, some nice bookshelve units could work better than in-walls...much smaller than tower speakers, yet still produce great sound. And definetly get a good subwoofer to complete the experience. With your proposed budget, you can get an awesome sounding and looking system.
     
  5. GregoryHGilbert

    GregoryHGilbert Auditioning

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    David, Thanks! That is very encouraging. So let me ask a few more simple questions I don't know the answer to and then I promise I will stop.
    1. The floor is currently a cement slab, is this perferable for sounds over say a wood floor that is above a crawl space. I'm going to want to put carpet down either way, right?
    2. So, with a 42" wall mounted plasma, that is at eye level when seated, should I put the center speaker above it or below it?
    Thanks, Greg
    P.S. Brian, I still keep thinking about this infinite baffle sub idea, but think it may be beyond me, where can I learn more about it. Also, the butt shaking thing still cracks me up everytime I read it.
     
  6. DavidVT

    DavidVT Stunt Coordinator

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    Greg,

    1. Flooring is a personal call. Carpeted floors are much more desirable for sound, but wood can be also be tamed by the use of area rugs.

    2. The center channel speaker position has been a much debated subject. Camp "A" (the minority) says it sounds better above the screen and Camp "B" (the majority) says below. I personally use below in my theater room, but above the 61" Sony RPTV in our family room. Which ever you choose, to create the best soundstage you should have it in-line with the height of the tweeters from your left and right front speakers.

    Keep the questions coming, it is not a problem and will definetly help others in your same position later on.
     
  7. Brian Corr

    Brian Corr Supporting Actor

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    Check out this thread for IB subs:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=162701
    Follow some of the links in that thread and you will find all kinds of info. There is a forum dedicated to IB subs also. I think you can link to it from Chris Whites site, which is mentioned in the above thread.
    Imagine building a box with one side open. 2 opposing sides would have woofers. The open side would be mounted facing into your room, through some type of hole. It's really that easy. Check out the pics in the link.
    It's really got me itching to build one myself as I have plenty of attic space above my room.
     
  8. GregoryHGilbert

    GregoryHGilbert Auditioning

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    That looks so simple! I think you should go for it, Brian. Well, I think I got the subwoofer issue figured out. IB, IB, IB! I probably haven't read enough about them, but does it matter where in the room it is? More towards the front or back of the room or it doesn't matter?
    What about recessing the wall back where the speakers would go? How much space needs to be around them so that the sound doesn't get distorted? Would the sound get distorted? Could I hide them with wallpaper or cloth? It looks like in some of the HT on the web that I have looked at, people have done that. Just trying to figure out all the options for the wife to show/hear all the differences. Thanks David and Brian for all your input.
    As far as components are concerned, I think there was a Sony Plasma 42" that the wife liked for about $6000. That would leave about $9000 for components. The IB will probably be around $1500 if I had to guess. Leaving around $7000 to spend on the rest. I figure $4000 on speakers and $3000 on components. Some components I want would be TiVo/HD DirecTV receiver with upgrade of the dish to HD, Progressive scan DVD device, Amp, receiver. Does that seem about right?
     
  9. Brian Corr

    Brian Corr Supporting Actor

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    You'd want to use an acoustically transparent cloth if you "recess" the wall. Wallpaper will muffle the sound. Different speakers will react differently to there placement near a wall (front ported vs. rear ported).

    An option to have everything hidden is to have a "fabric" wall about 2-3' in front of the real wall. All the speakers (and equipment) could be hidden behind the fabric wall. Your running short on room though to do something like that.

    There are a number of manufacturers making "on-wall" speakers now, designed to go with a plasma. You may check some of them out.

    If looking at 42" plasma's, you may do some more research. I haven't read much good about the sony plasma's. The panasonics are usually regarded as some of the best 42"ers. Check out the plasma forums over at AVS. Lots of traffic and talk over there about plasmas.

    I think you could put an IB Sub just about anywhere. I'd be more inclined to locate it somewhere where the grille either blends in to the room or is centered. And you could make a dual tempest IB with an amp for under $1000.

    As far as equipment goes, you may want to look into separates. Rotel, B&K, Integra, Fosgate, etc may fit into your budget. Although a flagship receiver will give you plenty of slam in a room that size. I had a denon 5803 and it was a fantastic receiver, except for the remote.
     
  10. GregoryHGilbert

    GregoryHGilbert Auditioning

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    Thanks Brain and Dave for all the help! I will look into all these things and probably bother you more as I get closer to the final product. Thanks again for your time and ideas!
    Sincerely,
    Greg
     

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