General room set-up "theory" question ...

Kip P.

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I'm trying to make a theater room, and I have a general placement theory question:

If I have a choice, should my "stack" (receiver, blue ray machine, extra amplifier) be placed up front, to the side of the main speakers (about six feet away from the screen), or should the stack be in the back, nearer to the projector?

I will also have a choice of curtaining off the stack or building a small closet for the machines.

If everything else were equal ... ability to hide the stack, choice of placing them in a corner or along a wall, etc. ... should all of the components be up front with that portion of the system or in the back?

Thanks in advance for your consideration of this question,

K
 

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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There is no “hard rule” for equipment placement. Whatever works for your desires and/or aesthetic expectations is fine.

If you want a “clean” look in the room, then go for a closet. If you like showing off the gear, then put it up front. If you want it less conspicuous but still easily accessible, then put it all in the back of the room

You’ll find all options among home theater enthusiasts: Up front, to the side, in the back, in an in-room closet or even remote closet.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

JohnRice

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I'm with Wayne. There are a lot of options, and only you can really decide what you would like best. Sit down and visualize the different options. I mean, imagine where the equipment might be, and actually visualize turning stuff on and off. Playing a movie, checking status of surround sound and so on. For instance, maybe you want everything except the disc player hidden. If it's hidden, is it a hassle to start a movie? Will the OSD give you the info you want if you do hide the equipment? What remote will you need? Hidden stuff requires an indirect remote of some kind to operate the equipment. Do you want to see the gear? I like seeing my amps in front of me. I sometimes check how far the output lights up on loud passages.
 

Josh Steinberg

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One thing to consider: presumably your actual theater room and speakers and screen location are going to be locked in once you set it up. But that doesn’t mean that your electronics will always be the same. In five years, there may be some new kind of streaming box or disc player that you want to add. So whatever location you decide, don’t get it fashioned in such a way that you can never access it again.

You also never want to find yourself in a position where you need to open up a wall just because a cable has gone bad so that it ends up costing you hundreds in home repairs to replace a five dollar cord.
 

Kip P.

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Opening walls is a consideration. If it's front, then I will need cords to the projector in back. And if it's in back, then I will need wires to the tower speakers and the center speaker in the front. Either way, I think I have to hide the ugly wires. Agreed?

And as to having the stack where I can see it ... I just assumed I'd want all lights off when you watch a movie. No?

Maybe I could expand the question and ask if one position is easier when it comes to wiring?

It's in an old basement ... and I don't relish the thought of ripping up walls. (We will have to do some ceiling wiring, methinks, for the projector and to change the ceiling lights to indirect lighting on the walls.
 

Bobofbone

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I think it's a matter of personal preference. I had a space next to the theater area under stairs, and used it for a combination of a storage area with shelves for blu rays, DVD's and CD's, and equipment. I built an equipment rack, and had a custom door that was made to fit the space from the theater, with a smoked glass window. It can be opened to access the equipment, and the front lights are nearly invisible when the theater is dark and the door is closed. Having a local shop make the framed in door, ready for installation was actually fairly inexpensive. I supplied the hardware to match everything, and the smoked glass. My design also allowed free access to the back of the equipment, and left all the wiring out of sight.

A couple of considerations. If you have something built, specify the quality of wood, to allow it to take a good finish if it won't be painted. If you are enclosing your equipment in a small area, make sure it's ventilated. I lived in a house that had an equipment closure, and found shut downs a frequent problem. If the equipment is enclosed or out of sight, you'll probably need something set up to operate everything remotely, unless you like getting up a lot. If you go the smoked glass route, IR remotes may work through it (mine did, but I'd wired a remote system anyway).

The nice thing about building your own theater is, it's yours. Build it how you like.
 

Kip P.

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I think it's a matter of personal preference. I had a space next to the theater area under stairs, and used it for a combination of a storage area with shelves for blu rays, DVD's and CD's, and equipment. I built an equipment rack, and had a custom door that was made to fit the space from the theater, with a smoked glass window. It can be opened to access the equipment, and the front lights are nearly invisible when the theater is dark and the door is closed. Having a local shop make the framed in door, ready for installation was actually fairly inexpensive. I supplied the hardware to match everything, and the smoked glass. My design also allowed free access to the back of the equipment, and left all the wiring out of sight.

A couple of considerations. If you have something built, specify the quality of wood, to allow it to take a good finish if it won't be painted. If you are enclosing your equipment in a small area, make sure it's ventilated. I lived in a house that had an equipment closure, and found shut downs a frequent problem. If the equipment is enclosed or out of sight, you'll probably need something set up to operate everything remotely, unless you like getting up a lot. If you go the smoked glass route, IR remotes may work through it (mine did, but I'd wired a remote system anyway).

The nice thing about building your own theater is, it's yours. Build it how you like.
This is a very informative reply ... lots of meat to this answer:

•smoked glass to filter out some light
•having someone else cut it and hardware it (I need a semi-circle in the plexiglass of the ticket window ;-)
•actually looking at the lights as something impressive rather than a nuisance
•nice wood for finishes ... cheaper for that which will be covered with speaker cloth
•needing free access to the back of the equipment

and ...

•it's "my" theater. "Opinions" can't be "wrong" ... so, my taste in theaters is "my" choice.

thanks
 

JohnRice

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And? Is it a distraction?

Cast off too much light in the room?
Not at all. Remember, you don't want the room completely darkened. You want a little ambient light, plus the movie image will light up the room some. A completely dark room causes eye strain. You want a little bit of radiant light (bias light) around/behind the screen/TV. I also have higher end electronics, which actually tend to have more subtle displays. Often they can be dimmed and/or programmed to dim or turn off after settings are changed, but I don't program them to dim. I leave them on all the time.

Even with all the components in my system, it's not distracting. I use all separates, so there's a preamp, three power amps and a disc player, and it's just some dim, blue lights.
 

Kip P.

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Not at all. Remember, you don't want the room completely darkened. You want a little ambient light, plus the movie image will light up the room some. A completely dark room causes eye strain. You want a little bit of radiant light (bias light) around/behind the screen/TV. I also have higher end electronics, which actually tend to have more subtle displays. Often they can be dimmed and/or programmed to dim or turn off after settings are changed, but I don't program them to dim. I leave them on all the time.

Even with all the components in my system, it's not distracting. I use all separates, so there's a preamp, three power amps and a disc player, and it's just some dim, blue lights.
I didn't know any of this.

I thought the room had to be pitch black, except for what's being projected on the screen.

I have to process this new information. Thanks.
 

JohnRice

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I didn't know any of this.

I thought the room had to be pitch black, except for what's being projected on the screen.

I have to process this new information. Thanks.
Next time you go to a movie theater, notice that the light never dims down all the way. There's always still a little bit of light in the auditorium. With a large commercial movie screen there's no bias light around the screen, but that's because the screen is so large. At home, unless you have a very large projection screen, you usually want a little light around the TV/screen.
 
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JohnRice

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My HT is in a large basement room, with a stairway at the corner opposite the TV. For subtle room light, I leave the light at the top of the stairs on and a bias light on a dimmer behind the TV. The dim, indirect from the stairway landing just puts a little light into the room without anything direct to reflect off the glass surface of my plasma TV.
 
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Kip P.

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I always thought an indirect glow coming out from behind the screen looked great, but would have to be turned off, when the movie started.

This newbie is learning new "stuff." ;-)
 

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