New to Theatre Room Planning - Need Advice

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jarrett, Aug 15, 2001.

  1. Jarrett

    Jarrett Auditioning

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    Hi folks,
    Im new to the board and have been researching and dreaming about creating a HT in the basement of my home which I plan to build or buy in the next year/year and a half with my new wife.
    What Im wondering is:
    1) strategies: is it better to build the HTRoom after building the house, or during? If done during, how does the home theatre design company interface with the building contractors to get this done?
    2) cost - is it kosher to discuss cost on this board? Basically Im wondering what sort of budget I need to get this accomplished. Put it this way: we are upper middle class people, not millionaires...but both have good careers and we have no children yet. The car's paid for [​IMG] I own a nice Sony DVD player and a Pioneer Receiver - but I suspect the receiver would be insufficient.
    Would 20-30 thousand (Canadian) be a reasonable budget, or will I end up with a mediocre setup? Are projection/screen systems vastly more costly than say a 61 inch TV with an enclosure? Any tips in this area would be greatly appreciated.
    Open to any and all advice. Thanks!
    ------------------
    Share your home theatre building tips, websites, commentary, pictures with me at any time at [email protected] Thanks!
     
  2. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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    1) I would think that would depend on a) the cost of having the builder do it for you, b) how much control the builder will give you over the project, c) whether or not you want to do most of the work yourself.
    It certainly would be nice to have the hometheater finished when it's time to move in. When/If I ever get to build a new home, I'll defenitely be planning out the theater in the initial planning stages and building it in along with the rest of the house. This would allow for making sure support columns, walls, wiring, acoustics, etc. are all taken care of so that demolition and redesign don't have to come into play later.
    If you use a hometheater design company then they may want to use their own subcontractors. They would just have to schedule with the contractor to make sure things go smoothly.
    2) Yes...cost can and should be shared here. And, boy what I would give to have a budget like that!
    What kind of display you want depends on the room size, lighting, how close you sit to it, etc. I plan on going with a front projection screen because I can get a much larger picture for my money and it will be more film-like. The problem with front projection is ambient lighting. If the room isn't dark enough the image gets washed out. Rear projection TV sets are smaller for the same price, but you don't have to worry about lighting conditions in the room as much. Some people use both kind of displays. This is the ultimate in flexibility, but costs twice as much.
    Your Pioneer receiver will be fine. But it probably can't handle more than 5 speakers. If you plan on having a 6.1 or 7.1 system (becoming more and more popular with dedicated hometheaters) then you would need something different.
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    Bill [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Robin Smith

    Robin Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    If the budget you mention includes the room construction, and you are going to pay someone else to do it, then the budget is not that great. Remember people-in-the-US that $20-30,000 Canadian is "only" $13-20,000 US.
    We are having a house built and I have chosen to wait until after construction is complete and try to do most of the room myself. There are many things you want to consider when doing the room for sound deadening and good acoustics. Having a contractor do this as part of the house construction will probably add at least $10,000 to your house budget which eats into your equipment budget.
    Leave lots of room for equipment and save on the construction unless you really hate DIY work. I think it will be rewarding (and cheaper) for me to do it on my own instead of paying someone.
    If most of your budget can go on equipment then that is a *very* nice budget. The big investment will be the display. Rear Projection TV's that are 60" or higher start at $4500 CAN and you will probably want to spring for HDTV which will drive the price nearer $7,000. Front projection set-ups are probably better (bigger picture) but only IF you can control light. Good HDTV capable front projectors are not cheap. The Sony VW10HT (or whatever its called) is ~$11,000 Canadian but it is beautiful. Also, the screen alone can run you $1,000.
    $10,000 on the audio side of things will be very nice, and you can always consider making your own sub (check this site for links galore to various Sonosub projects) for very little $ compared to the performance you'll get.
    I would say with $11,000 on projector, $10,000 or so on audio and a few thou on DIY construction you would end up with a kick ass Home Theatre that will have friends drooling.
    That's my plan anyway. Of course, this is a multi-year project (for me anyway) as I have a stay-at-home spouse and two kids. But I am patient and can wait as in the end it will be worth it.
    One piece of advice. Break the project down into smaller tasks. Room ideas, video equipment, speakers, recievers, etc and ask more specific questions on each subject to get some quality info tailored to your needs. This site is frequented by wonderful people who are not only knowledgeable but happy to share their knowledge with you for the greater good of superior Home Theatre.
    Robin Smith
    [Edited last by Robin Smith on August 15, 2001 at 10:57 PM]
     
  4. Jarrett

    Jarrett Auditioning

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    Hi guys, thanks for the replies (and dont be shy folks, keep 'em coming).
    Im still torn between using a 61" projection TV and a front projector setup. I think based on doing it in the basement with walls and ceiling painted dark etc it might be the best way to go cost/performance wise. Since it will be very dark the TV should look great (that's my main concern).
    My budget figures I quoted did in fact include having the room done professionally, so Im a bit low.
    Suppose we said
    7000 - TV
    10,000 - Audio
    8000 - seating...(these are super rough estimates)
    hmmm
    That leaves only 5000 for the room work, which isnt enough at all.
    Yer right, this is gonna be tricky. Might have to pinch my pennies even harder. The problem with DIY (or in this case, DIM) is that I am not a handyman. Im a computer geek. I can do wonders with computers and computer hardware, but give me a board, a nail and a hammer and we may have a problem [​IMG]
    Thanks so far for the input
    Jarrett
     
  5. ShawnMEC

    ShawnMEC Auditioning

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    My advice is to have your current builder do as much as you can afford and wait to finish/equip the room out-of-pocket at a later date. That way, you're certain to get what you want.
    I was in a similar situation. The HT was to go in the basement but we couldn't afford to finish it so i just made sure that nothing would get in the way of the HT later. That meant making sure that there were no posts, major ductwork wasn't routed through the room, room layout would make sense, etc. (Make sure your ceilings will be at least 8 ft *after* ductwork and steel support beams. That was one mistake i made.)
    Also, you might leave your options open wrt your display source. It occured to me that right now i want a projector but in 7 years, it might be the case that flat screen technology would be better and more cost effective. Or maybe i'll find a deal on a RPTV and not get a projector just yet. As a result, i've put in 2 inch PVC tubing to both the projector mount area on the ceiling and to the front wall. That way, i can run signal cables from the equipment cabinet to either location and it's no hassle to change the cables later if i buy a different display source.
    $.02,
    Shawn
     
  6. Jarrett

    Jarrett Auditioning

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    Thanks Shawn.
    Here is a copy of an email I sent to an AV/Home Theatre company that has done some work for our offices and the President's home:
    Hi folks - Ive seen the work you have done both for the company and at an engagement the President held at his new home - he highly recommend that I speak with you....
    I just recently got married and my wife and I are planning to build a house in a year to a year and a half (probably start construction in a year). I intend to do my best to create a theatre room in the basement and Im in the process of spec'ing out how to go about it and what it will cost.
    My current "home theatre" only consists of a 32' Wega, a Pioneer Receiver and a Sony Hi Fi VCR and a Sony DVD player. My speakers are Mission and to be honest dont really impress me (my subwoofer even died when I disconnected it without powering down. My fault [​IMG] However Im quite happy with the DVD and the Receiver - I cant even turn it above -30 without it getting too loud for the apartment.
    Here's my thought process on this:
    - Projection/Screen might be out of my league cost wise. Im picturing a 65" projection TV mounted behind a false wall at the front of the room, with a hairline door which would allow storage of equipment behind it as well. The TV could be on an elevated platform and there would be a hole in the wall to view it through (flush).
    - re-use my existing DVD player and potentially the receiver unless that is a terrible move?
    - speakers - build them into the wall or behind dark screened enclosures? Keep them outside for easy upgrading? Not sure yet .....
    Im trying to figure out the cost of this project. My current thought is to have a budget ranging from 20-40 thousand including the actual finishing of the room, wiring and soundproofing. Is that totally out to lunch? Is this more expensive than I am projecting? My goal is to build this into the mortgage and add it to the purchase price of the house. Not sure if that can be done.
    END SNIPPET
    Here's my thought on this
    TV - 6-8000
    Speakers - 8-10,000
    Receiver - reuse
    DVD - reuse
    That leaves upwards of 15000 or so for the room finishing etc. I might be in ok shape, not sure [​IMG]
     

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