Curtains for Walls?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Peter_J_B, May 2, 2003.

  1. Peter_J_B

    Peter_J_B Agent

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    Hey guys, my house is yet to be built, and no I can't really make much in the way of changes, but I will have a pretty large space downstairs. Exact dimensions are a bit off but generally will be between 12-14'x 24' for the room, although it actually goes back 32' in one half of the room.

    Basically, I'd like to project onto the short wall, so I can have a lot of flexibility to move seating far enough from the picture. The problems is there are two doors, one that is on that wall, and another adjacent to it, but opens towards it, which limits what I can do along the wall.

    So I'm thinking of putting everything maybe 3 feet infront of the wall, so all components and maybe a hanging screen of some kind, and basically just putting the HT in the middle of the room or floating. Can I use a heavy curtain or fabric, to create walls for behind the screen, and as a rear wall as well? Would there be any benefit to this accoustically? Basically by bringing the components and screen off the wall, I create a small space behind it to access the two doors, and the immense benefit of being able to get at all the wiring withing having to move anything.

    I will build some cabinetry to house the components, and also have a 32" trinitron I'll be using until I get the projector, and then once I have it, will use for everyday cable viewing.

    That I think presents a second problem. Is there any good way to position a 32" tv so that it can also benefit from the 5.1 surround, while having everything set up for the projector screen? Since viewing distance for an 80-100" projected screen will require one to be very much further away compared to a 32" tv. Unless I just go through the pain of moving seating depending on what I decide to watch, which isn't very practical.

    Hopefully someone can offer suggestions.
     
  2. sean_pecor

    sean_pecor Stunt Coordinator

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    If I had that space, and was planning on going with front projection, then I would solve the problem like so:
    1. Purchase and install a ceiling mounted motorized / manual pull-down screen about 3-4 feet from the rear wall.
    2. Ceiling mount the left main, right main and center channel using tiltable mounts, so I could angle the speakers to point towards the present and future sweet spot.
    3. Put the surrounds on stands, so they can also move to present and future sweet spots.
    4. Put all of the equipment on the wall to the rear of the seating. This will minimize distracting light, and free up that wall with the doors on it.
    5. Maybe ceiling mount the current TV, depending on how long I was going to wait for the projector. Or, if you ceiling mount it off the the side, you can keep it hooked up even when you have the projector, giving you a TV downstairs to watch CNN on, saving your projector bulbs for movies and special events.
    6. Drop the sub(s) in any open corner(s).
    7. Ceiling mount the projector of course![/list=1]

      If you were sticking with adding a temporary / permanent wall..... Being the claustraphobic type, I'd go four feet from the wall. Three feet is too cramped.

      Have you considered building a 4x12 room instead? The wall wouldn't be weight bearing so it should only require small changes to the plan. The entrance to the main room could be an open passage on the side opposite the two doors. The new permanent wall would prevent distraction from foot traffic between the two doors. BTW, if one of those doors goes to a laundry room then you'll definitely want that permanent wall. In our house lots of laundry gets done at night which just happens to be the best time to watch a movie [​IMG]. Moreover, being the anal retentive type when it comes to HT equipment, I would avoid putting expensive electronics so close to clothes dryers etc. because of the amount of dust blowing around.

      Sean.
     
  3. Peter_J_B

    Peter_J_B Agent

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    Sean excellent suggestions. To answer your question, no, the doors are not to the laundry room. That is why the entire space is not 32' long. There is a finished open area that is 8'x8' at the back ,and the other half is the unfinished laundry room. The door to the side is the unfinished understairs storage, and the door along the short wall leads to the room that houses all the circuitry, hot water tank, and then the cold cellar beyond that. So no high traffic there.

    I really like your ceiling mount of the front speakers idea. Also, putting the components to the rear also seems like a plan, or at least out of peripheral vision anyway. But would the remotes then work correctly? Aren't they generally infrared, and need to be directed at the receiver or dvd player, etc?

    I'm a little bit chicken about mounting a 32" tv to the ceiling, so I may pass on that one though. [​IMG] If it's to the side, will it have an odd feel to it, if the speakers aren't setup up surrounding it? Or should I just use the tv speakers for regular tv watching, and just deal with it?

    As for your 7th point, I would love to mount the projector to the ceiling, but I'm not sure if that's going to be possible. It's a finished basement with no posts, so that means that all the duct work an and beams are in the ceiling, so there is quite a bit of drop ceiling, down to about 6.5' I think, so although I could mount it to the low spot if it's over a couch or something, I"m not sure if it will give me the proper angle to project a sufficient screen size. If it does have to be mounted on a table or whatever, I may just create a table or box, that it sits in, in the middle of the room, so that you can't bump into it at all as it could be fully housed, which would then give me the option of storing components in it as well, although, it would be visually right there, and maybe somewhat distracting. I'd just make it one big coffee table or something like that, only with a part closed off housing the projector internally.


    I was thinking of a black or dark curtain as a backdrop, sure I can go 4' instead of 3, and in the back I thought of curtain to keep things consistent, and also maybe put it on tracks, or have them removable, so that if I have a larger amount of people than anticipated I can open it up to the whole room, versus going through the effort of putting up drywall and 2x4s. I'll probably build a bar in back, so for something like having people over for a big game, it would be cool to have it open up and create a bigger theatre type atmosphere, where you could watch from the bar or from directly within the 5.1 area.

    Maybe there is no reason for the rear curtain though. Not sure how far back I should put speakers from the sweet spot. So maybe I could just put them fully at the rear of the room, or go with 7.1 and have side and rears. I am still new to all this, but want to have much of this mapped out before I move in. I know if I do this after I've moved in there'll be too many other projects to work on that it'll never get done. [​IMG]
     
  4. Peter_J_B

    Peter_J_B Agent

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    Oh 4x12 room, I just realized what you meant, was thinking you meant enclose the entire HT area. Hmm, that is an interesting idea. As I said it isn't going to be high traffic, more like no traffic, but I'm thinking now that putting up a wall there would give me the option of making everything sorta like a streamlined built in effect, all flush with the wall. Not sure if I'm too lazy for all that though. :p
     
  5. sean_pecor

    sean_pecor Stunt Coordinator

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    Buy an IR repeater. You could hang the receiver (looks like a tiny collar microphone) down and fasten it to your center channel. Then run the wire in the drop ceiling to the back wall and down into the IR repeater(s). With everything installed, you'd point the remote(s) at the center channel, and the repeater system would transmit the signal through each repeater (each directed at components).

    I think the coffee table slash projector housing slash storage solution is a good idea. I thought you were lazy? [​IMG] If the projector will be housed inside the table in a compartment then you'll want to have at least two fans in the projector housing, one for intake of air and another for exhaust. You want alot of cool air moving through the housing. I think this will increase bulb and projector life significantly. Some 80mm super quiet antec fans would work. If you plan on mounting it with a ceiling mount directly underneath the coffee table, then of course you won't need to worry about fans, just make sure there is enough ground clearance to keep air from stifling underneath.

    I don't think there is a good reason for the big curtain if you go with a ceiling mounted pull-down or motorized screen. Then you wouldn't have to worry about moving anything around depending on who you're entertaining. If you've got the coin, then go with a electric Cosmopolitan Da-Lite screen with a remote control. Big *wow* factor, especially if you've got remote controlled lighting too [​IMG]

    If you go with 7.1 your rear surrounds should be on the very back wall. If you keep on with 5.1 you should place the surrounds in line as much as possible to where the main listening position is. If you're concerned about filling the whole room with 5.1, one cheaper solution would be to invest in surrounds with bipolar/dipolar switches. Or have dual surrounds, but that goes beyond my own meager expertise [​IMG]

    Sean.
     
  6. Peter_J_B

    Peter_J_B Agent

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    Thanks again Sean, excellent advice. I'm not sure about the IR receiver, I guess I was misleading with the term "drop ceiling." It's fully sealed off, with the ceiling stucco or plaster. So all the wiring will have to be snaked about. I'm sure if I paint everything dark, and can paint the cables then they'll blend, but don't want to make it too messy. There is a lot of dropped areas for the duct work, so I probably could snake a lot of wiring along the side of it so it's visually hidden from quite a few vantage points.

    Budget, to be honest with you may be somewhat limited, so I will probably not be able to do much screen wise, especially not motorized. I will maybe go with a 7.1 receiver, I almost was going to buy a refurb HK AVR 325 this week, but now have decided to wait a few more months and see what deals are available closer to move in. So maybe, I'll start with the receiver and 5.1 sound. I'll build the wall and put my 32" in it flush, so it' looks built in. Then I'll save up a bit more cash to get myself the projector, and then I'll build the coffee table/multimedia unit. Once I have that installed, I could move the 2 surrounds to the rear, and buy 2 bipolars for side speakers? Does this sound like a logical order of operations?

    Of course there would be painting and asthetics along the way, but it doesn't look like a lot of extra spend other than on the components and cables themselves.

    My house will have one of those basic "smart home" packages with ethernet wiring etc. So maybe I can get a few different lighting options and get something from x-10 or whatever and have remote dimming, which would at least give me a "mini-WOW" factor. [​IMG]

    I still like the idea of hanging the speakers, so maybe I'll do that still, or have them appear built in as well. I guess there are tons of options, espeically if I build the wall, and probably a lot of trade-offs on what is visually pleasing versus, what is accoustically optimal. It's hard to tell what is critical, and what is nitpicking, since I'm sure that it's quite commone for audiophiles to debate to death over subjects that may be practically imperceivable to the human ear. [​IMG]
     
  7. sean_pecor

    sean_pecor Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, budget is always limited, unless you're filthy rich, in which case you're not on this forum, because you paid a consulting firm to build your home theater and don't need to ask the advice of middle class folks like me [​IMG]

    If you have them do the basic smart home package, I'm assuming they will put some PVC in for wire routing. If this is the case, ask them to leave some pull rope in there so you can pull IR wire / speaker wire / etc through when the time comes. You may be able to get your own rope in down the road with a vacuum etc. but if they're building it new then why not leave pull string in there for future upgrades?

    I'd hang the speakers instead of building them in flush. I recommend this because down the road you may want to replace them, and you don't want to limit yourself to those that must fit in your built-in space. At the least, mount them on the wall or on stands so you have some options down the road. If you build the TV in flush, give yourself some breathing room if you decide to go with a larger set down the road. Or at least build the compartment so you can easily expand it down the road without tearing down too much of the wall.

    Your progression sounds good to me. That will give you some more time to wait on the emergence of additional HDTV-oriented projectors in the $2,000 range. Check out http://www.projectorcentral.com when the time comes, it's a useful site.

    Sean.
     
  8. Travis_R

    Travis_R Stunt Coordinator

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    from what I gather you are basically trying to split an open room with a curtain to kinda close off part for use as a theater, one suggestion I offer would be to use one of those plastic folding partition walls, similair to the small ones sometimes used in bathrooms, you can find the small ones at home depot or Lowe's, my friend has a band that practices in his basement and he has one of these to close off the practice area, and as it doesnt stop all the sound it does do a noticeable job of deadening some of the sound and they play pretty loud, Im not sure where you can get them at, lowes or Home Depot may carry or be able to order them. the one he has is about 12' wide when opened and closes into a box on his wall that sticks out about 10 inches from the wall and looks kinda like a square column, something to think about. well thats my 2 cents
     
  9. Peter_J_B

    Peter_J_B Agent

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    Well, I went back to the model home on the weekend, and got all my measurements. The room being 24' long, I'd be adding in the wall at one end, so that would give me dimensions of 13' x 20' for my home theater. Although, there will be further room in back as there's an open 8'x8' space, but that will probably get turned into something else.

    I also found out or at least I think I found out that it's ideal to only sit about 13' away on a 100" 16:9 screen size? I was thinking I'd have to be a lot further back, so this really does change things. I believe I can also ceiling mount the projector, depending on how low you can mount them. I think the soffit around the duct work is under a foot deep but continues all the way to the front, so as long as I can tilt the projector downward I should be fine.

    I guess I won't need to seperate any of the rooms, other than the wall which will block off the two doors, and will basically give me 4' of walkway in behind it to get at all the wiring, and access the two doors.

    I believe that I can't ceiling mount the speakers because of the soffits around the ductwork, which are 6'4" off the ground, and irregular so I wouldn't be able to keep the speakers on any even level, so I'll just build stands or something like that.

    So now I am thinking of trying to get my trinitron, as the built in television, and the screen will pulldown infront of it for movies. The only issue is that the trinitron isn't flat panel, and I'd have to basically make the opening in the wall fit the entire cabinet, as the screen is recessed from the cabinet, if that makes sense. So won't look as great, but still pretty cool I guess. It's the only way I can think of to have both televisions properly positioned for all the speakers.

    Looking further into the IR repeater, I may look at one of those, thought they were pricier than they are, so maybe I will get one after all. Does a 13' x 20' space warrant 7.1, or 6.1? Or do you think I will have much advantage over 5.1? I'm just wondering as I'm not sure if this is considered a small, average or large space, and what I'd need to fill it soundwise.

    I have already decided to downgrade the appliances I'm getting to save a couple grand, which will help with the home theater project. [​IMG] They will still be stainless steel, just not jenn-air stainless steel now.
     
  10. sean_pecor

    sean_pecor Stunt Coordinator

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  11. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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  12. Peter_J_B

    Peter_J_B Agent

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    Sean once again, you offer excellent comments. Currently, I am starting from absolute scratch. The only thing I currently posess is the 32" trinitron bought in '97. Which will be the every day cable tv.

    Everything else I'll have to buy around the time I move in, which should be september. I was in the market for a receiver and speakers, but then decided it probably is best to hold off and see what new models come out, or which new models I may be able to get refurbed when the time comes.

    If I had to buy everything today, the models that I'd probably get would be the HK 325z, the sanyo z1, and setup of 4 paradigms, not sure if they'd be atoms or titans, and then whatever sub. So as you can see, nothing too flashy there.

    Would you think two smaller subs would be more effective than one 300w sub? Or is this something that can't be done with a HT receiver such as the one I listed above? I am trying to walk the fine line of quality and budget. I don't have a defined number, as I will spend a bit more if it makes a big difference quality wise. I don't plan on any immediate future upgrades, so I'd rather spend money now and enjoy it, rather than regret an extra couple hundred bucks for years to come.

    But I also need to factor in all the hidden costs like wiring and that sort of thing.

    I will do some searching on the angles you recommend, however, I'm so new, I don't even know what angle it's referring too. [​IMG] If you'd care to elaborate or point to a thread that explains it in simple terms that would be great.

    Perhaps the thread MikeWH listed will explain better.
     
  13. Peter_J_B

    Peter_J_B Agent

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    Ah, I don't think you need to explain viewing angles. The thread Mike posted here, has him posting a link to his site with what looks like an excellent explanation. So I'll be reading it through. [​IMG]
     
  14. sean_pecor

    sean_pecor Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike thanks for the correction! I also agree with your comments on the other thread.

     
  15. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    oops.(edit)
     
  16. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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  17. Christian C

    Christian C Extra

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    Thanks Mike!

    I appreciate the feedback, and I'm glad you found the calculator useful. Comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.
     
  18. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    Hi, Chris. Well, now that you mention it-- there's been several discussions here recently, that have been citing the "recommended 36° viewing angle" for THX (see above). Maybe you could put a note in your calculator, indicating that it's the recommended viewing angle for the farthest seat in the theater. Or, since your calculator is calculating a distance, it could say "Recommended maximum THX viewing distance (36° viewing distance)."

    Nice javascript work!

    Mike.
     
  19. sean_pecor

    sean_pecor Stunt Coordinator

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  20. Peter_J_B

    Peter_J_B Agent

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    $800 US for a sub! Haha, ok, I know I won't be spending that much. But then that is 600w and you recommended at least 300w. When a sub says 300w/110wRMS is it the 300w rating I look at? What does the RMS mean? Honestly, I was hoping that my entire speaker setup, including sub, would be had for at most $1,000 US. I was told by a reputable dealer that he could get me a great setup of pardigms for just under $1300 canadian, although, I'm not sure how great paradigm subs are. Of course that $1300 would be significantly higher if I went to 6.1 or 7.1.

    As for the projector, I'm hoping that new models will be out within the next 5-6 months, so hopefully I won't be limited to the 300 or Z1. I'm not sure if the 300 is even available in canada or not. I guess when the time comes I'll go and try and find some units setup to demo. I probably have read that review you posted before, but I'll go revisit it now to refresh my memory.
     

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