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Just Started on Basement HT and Need Some Help/Opinions (1 Viewer)

David Flora

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Hello everyone. Been awhile since I've been on, but my wife and I recently purchased a new home with a relatively unfinished basement. We'd planned on finishing it next year sometime, but had the opportunity to have someone come in and finish it for a lot less than we'd expected.....but he's starting NOW. So I went from a few ideas in my head to having to figure this out ASAP. Sorry for the length of this post, but have a lot to get off my chest....

My apologies for not attaching a picture into this thread, but I uploaded a PDF of the approximate layout of my area. It's basically an 18'X18' area with 9' ceilings and an opening on the right side of the room. Not ideal, but it is what it is. I'll try to take some pictures in case anyone has further questions.

Trying to figure out what to do and where to go, and I'm really overwhelmed at this point because I have to make a LOT of decisions NOW. My first goal is to have a tray ceiling in the middle of the room that utilizes the fiber optic stars for a ceiling. I'm using a drop ceiling in my basement, so it might not work out. Also, I have a bunch of duct work on the right side of the room that's going to screw this up for having a large tray, but it will just be more of a rectangle from the front to back of the room, assuming it can be done.

I currently have an old DLP 67" Samsung that is my basement TV. Next year my plan is to go with a 4k projector, and I'll need help on that, but that's another story. So, you enter the room from the lower point of my drawing and you'd be looking ahead to the far wall where the tv/screen will be. My first issue is the space that opens on the right....I have Polk FXi A6 surrounds that work best on a wall, so how do I hang one on a wall that doesn't exist? And if I can suspend it from the ceiling, which will look odd to begin with, how will it sound? In my old basement HT, I had a 9.2 surround system, with 2 front height speakers. I'd love to move to a 13.2 system with your typical 7.1 plus front height and four ceiling speakers for Atmos. Now I know there are no receivers out there that can power a 13-channel system (unless there have been udpates in the last month or two), but I'd like to wire it for that setup so I could do a 9.2.4. Thoughts?

The next thing would be lighting. Imagine a fairly narrow rectangle in the middle of the room for the tray ceiling and the rest of the ceiling will be about 8 1/4'. What would anyone suggest in lighting? I'm going to have 5 lighted movie posters - probably 3 on the left, long wall, one on the right wall, and one on the back wall. Should I look at wall sconces, can lighting, etc. Thoughts again? Finally, what about soundproofing? I'm not building out the walls or anything like that, but what are thoughts on either drop ceiling tiles and/or something that looks stylish that I might be able to hang on the walls?

I'm planning on running TONS of cables all over the place, so I think I'll be good there. Anything else that anyone can think of that I need to look at now before I really have to get into this? Sorry for the long post. Anything anyone can advise would be appreciated. Thanks! Dave.
 

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JohnRice

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I doubt you really want to do front height AND Atmos. I'm not even certain there's anything that can process that all at the same time, but I didn't look it up either. So, I think you probably want to go 7.4.1. Also, I generally find it is much better to have a single, much higher quality sub, critically placed, than to have two lower grade ones. Somewhere along the front wall, near but not quite in a corner is usually the beat place to start. However, I've found that when someone is intent on two subs, they simply will not be swayed. Two lesser quality subs is more "impressive" than a single, really awesome one.

As far as powering all those speakers. You're best off using a nice, powerful amp for at least the three front speakers and let the receiver power the rest. Don't cheap on that amp. You can keep it through other upgrades. Look at Emotiva and Outlaw amps.
 

David Flora

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That makes sense. Currently I have one powered sub, I was more making reference to running lines for placement. Most receivers have the ability to have at least 2 subs going at once. My point in all of this is more for ideas on speaker placement, lighting, thoughts on a tray ceiling while utilizing a drop ceiling, etc. Thanks for the input. I need to seriously look at some kind of an amp for my system. I've just never used one and would have to do some research to make it make sense.
 

Bobofbone

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You mentioned sound proofing. What do you have in mind? Keeping sound from outside out of the space, or keeping sound from the theater space out of the rest of the house? Or both? Who else will be living in the house? Is it just you and your wife, or are there others?

You mentioned duct work in the ceiling. HVAC ducts can be a conduit for sound from the theater going to the rest of the house. At the least, you might want to have duct work that has sound insulation inside to dampen transmitted sound. You can also reduce sound transmission by using flexible insulated ducts that can be run in a serpentine path, with multiple curves. It's easier to put this in before you finish a ceiling around the duct work.

There are a number of preparations that can be used to decrease sound transmission in and out. Fiberglass insulation in the walls and ceiling space is some help in this regard-not great, but it makes a difference, and is relatively inexpensive. A number of people have used heavier wall coverings like quiet rock. I used a combination of insulation in the walls and sound isolation clips on studs, supporting hat channel to suspend a double layer of 5/8" dry wall, separated by a layer of viscoelastic glue (green glue). This sort of wall treatment decreases sound transmission both ways. In addition, having this sort of wall on opposing surfaces-the ceiling and two adjacent walls-has a tendency to absorb and attenuate low frequency sound that has a tendency to cause an audible echo in a small room (what our home theaters are) and reflect higher frequency sound that the human ear cannot differentiate as an echo as well. This functions to both decrease sound transmission and improve the acoustics of the room. You should also consider lining the junction boxes for light switches and plugs with a sealant to prevent sound leakage. This is pretty easy during construction. There are putty packs made for this purpose.

In some ways, this sort of room treatment makes more sense to do on the front end. If you are having the work done, one of the major expenses is labor. The second layer doesn't cost that much more, labor wise to put up. only the final layer is mudded and finished. The sound isolation clips, hat channel, additional dry wall and glue are the additional expenses. You might look at this web site : http://www.soundproofingcompany.com/soundproofing101/furring-channel-with-resilient-sound-clips/

They have some good articles about the subject under their Resource tab.
 

David Flora

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Awesome information, thank you! I will definitely look into sound isolation clips on the studs. I've also attached pictures of my room now that it's mostly studded out. I still have to have the little media closet built when you walk in, but that's not that big of a deal. I've got an electrician coming next week to start running wires, so I'm going to have to quickly figure out what kind of lighting (sconces on the wall next to my lighted movie posters or can lights or both). Any thoughts on any of this would really be appreciated.

Still trying to figure out what to do with my surrounds, especially on the right wall (as you're looking into the room) that has NO wall to place the speaker. I've seen some things that allow you to suspend a speaker, but not sure that's a great idea either as I don't want people bumping their heads into it. Thoughts?
 

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DaveF

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Hello everyone. Been awhile since I've been on, but my wife and I recently purchased a new home with a relatively unfinished basement. We'd planned on finishing it next year sometime, but had the opportunity to have someone come in and finish it for a lot less than we'd expected.....but he's starting NOW. So I went from a few ideas in my head to having to figure this out ASAP. Sorry for the length of this post, but have a lot to get off my chest.....

This may be moot, but I urge against rushed into building a home theater. There are a lot of design decisions to make, both for performance and for your aesthetics and enjoyment. If a contractor -- especially if they don't have a lot of experience in dedicated theater design and construction -- is pushing you into getting a "bargain" if you build *NOW!!!* you're setting yourself up for disappointment in the long run.
 

David Flora

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Yeah this isn't a contractor and I'm saving $15k on this job at a MINIMUM by going now. Now for some on this board, that's not a lot of dough, but it is for me and I'm not that much of a crazy HT fanatic that I'm willing to pass it up. This isn't going to be a state of the art HT, but I am just asking for opinions on the issues I'm facing. Thanks!
 

David Flora

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Any thoughts on having a front height speaker if I'm adding 4 ceiling speakers for Dolby Atmos? Obviously there's no affordable receiver out there that can power a 9.2.4 system, but I've got the speakers already, and I had a 9.2 system in my old home theater, so just trying to keep it the same. Just wondering if the height speakers are overkill and might be utilized in a better spot. Thoughts?
 

DaveF

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Adding four Atmos is a good idea if it fits your finances and space.

Front height in addition to Atmos I don’t think would be any good. I don’t think anything uses Front Height. And home Atmos doesn’t do more than 4 speakers currently.

If you want to attempt to future proof you could pre-wire for additional Atmos speakers. But I wouldn’t spend any money on speakers for those locations in 2017.
 

David Flora

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Thanks. I already have the speakers, so I was just curious what would be best. I know Atmos has wide speakers as well, and I could use these speakers (I have all Polk RTi series speakers for my system) as I have enough speakers for a 13 speaker system (I just bought four Polk in-ceiling speakers for the Atmos). I know current receivers typically only do 7.2.4 setups so, just trying to figure out what my best move is in order to set myself up for future systems.
 

DaveF

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I’ve got 7.2.4 Atmos. I think there are consumer decoders for 9.2.4, maybe? But I don’t have any additional wiring or room for more speakers.

If I’d had the room and money, I’d pre-wire for something like 9.4.8 to be really futurproofed.

But then you risk the industry going to virtualized speakers rather than ever more physical speakers for consumer applications.

The most robust solution is to strategically run conduit to allow for whatever might come.
 

TeddM

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Start with your seating needs. That could be a very nicely laid out single row of 4 seat dedicated space, with a large acoustically transparent screen.

Do you really want those reflective movie posters reflecting sound in the theater? Ever consider them outside the theater?
 

David Flora

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Start with your seating needs. That could be a very nicely laid out single row of 4 seat dedicated space, with a large acoustically transparent screen.

Do you really want those reflective movie posters reflecting sound in the theater? Ever consider them outside the theater?

Nope, I've got a lot invested in them and they are already wired to go, so they'll be there. I'm looking forward to it. Working on the drywall sanding and painting, then drop ceiling goes in and we'll be getting towards the end! Should I try to look at dropping wires down my walls for wide surrounds? I've got the height speakers that I most likely won't use now, but would it be a better fit going forward in a potential 9.2.4 setup?

Good news and bad news with a drop ceiling is the flexibility to run cables after everything is done, but at the same time, it's a drop ceiling.

Thanks again for all the advice! I'll post pictures when I'm further along.
 

nightsky

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Hi David... Did you ever figure out if that fiber optic star ceiling would work for you? I've been "painting" star ceilings for about 25 years and, as a business, for about 17. I can give you other options for a painted ceiling, be it having someone paint it for you, several DIY stencil options, or by you free handing it yourself. Let me know if you would like some other options to kick around. You may already know about the "other" option to fiber optics, but if not... here is something I put together at the suggestion of a customer, years ago. I try to be fair to both painted and fiber optics ceilings... though I know more about the painted: http://nightskymurals.com/star-ceilings-fiber-optics-or-painted/

Anyway, I would be happy to help you out however I can if this is still something you are wanting to do on your ceiling. There are a lot of options out there. Please let me know if I can help you...

Jeff
 

David Flora

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I'm actually working on the fiber optic ceiling now. The painting of the ceilings are REALLY cool, but I decided it was too much for me and I didn't know of anyone in my area (Indiana) who would do it. I'm hoping it won't be too much of a nightmare to get this done. Fingers crossed! Thanks for the offer!
 

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