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Questions for 1st/new HT (1 Viewer)

Shane Morales

Second Unit
Jul 9, 2003
I'm planning my first home theater. I have a fairly good idea of how I want to set it up and what the limitations of the room are, but I'd like to solicit advice and suggestions from folks who know what they're doing.

The Room
This is a diagram of the room and how I imagine it will be setup:


The room is oddly shaped. It's in the back of the first floor of a three story townhouse. There's nothing underneath the floor except a concrete slab. Adjacent to the room are two small unfinished rooms - one is supposed to be a bathroom, but is currently the domain of my three cats and their poop. The other room is the utility room where the furnace and water heater are. There is only dry wall between the home theater room and these two unfinished rooms.

Being a townhouse, there are two town homes on either side of me. Luckily, there are two 1" firewalls between us and these provide excellent sound blocking. This room used to be a music room with drums and electric guitars in it, which I've played stupidly loud at time, but the neighbors say they never heard it unless they went outside. So no worries there. I'll have to see about the sub...

The walls are standard drywall with normal insulation.

There is one window and one sliding glass door in the room. They will be covered with thick, black cotton velvet drapes. There are currently blue honeycomb blinds in place; they'll stay, but probably won't ever be visible. The windows face east and there are townhomes behind us so that it is never too bright. Plus, there's a deck on the second level that provides constant shade.

The two doors in the room are really crappy; slotted, light, and really poor quality, cardboard almost. The one to the hall will let in a lot of light so I'm going to put a black velvet drape over it. The other door leads to the utility room where there are no windows or anything so i don't need to put a curtain over it, but I think I will glue foam to the back of it to keep that room from reverberating.

There are two ceiling lights. I want to replace them with those little halogen lights and maybe an X10 switch. I'd like to setup some kind of indirect lighting, but I'm not sure how I can do that.

The ceiling is 8'.

The floor is a very light berber carpet, kinda dirty white with speckles, mostly blue.

I plan on painting the walls a dark, rosy red and the ceiling a charcoal color.

The center channel speaker will be mounted to the wall above the TV, probably about 6' high.

The Goods
Samsung 56" DLPHLN567W
Denon 3803 receiver
Denon 2900 DVD player
Monster Cable HTS3600 line conditioner
Mirage OM7 fronts (floor standers, 44" tall)
Mirage OM200 sub
Mirage OMR2HG surrounds
Mirage OMC2 center
Salamander Designs Triple-20 TV thingie
XBOX w/ component video
Media PC (home build) w/ DVI connect
Bunch o' Monster cables

The Furniture
2 smallish reclining chairs with ottomans - light and portable
1 light weight sofa
1 80" book shelf

The Questions
1. The two lights I want to put in will be recessed into the ceiling, but be pretty much in the center line of the room. Is this bad? Should I try to put in lighting on either side of the room?

2. Is the sub in a good location?

3. Should I insulate the walls seperating the home theater room from the two unfinished rooms?

4. Would the Auralex Alpha 1 Roominator Kit be good for this setup?

5. If I was going to put in two more bookshelves, where should I put them?

6. Should the large back wall be bare (live) or should I put stuff on it to make it dead.

7. Any stupendously good reason why I should move the setup to the other wall? I picked the small wall because 1) that's where the cable jack is, 2) i have more room on the bigger wall to keep the sofa and chinning/dipping station, 3) it makes it easier to get to the sliding doors, and 3) it will look better over all.

8. Finally, should the ceiling be a lighter or darker color than the walls? I was going for a charcoal.

Please, any other comments are truly appreciated. I'm really new to this and this is my 1st HT.

Many humble thanks for reading this and helping me out.

James Bergeron

Supporting Actor
Oct 9, 2001
1. Lighting depends on what you want, I like them on the sides.

2. I would move the sub to one of the front corners (right speaker maybe). But you won't know until you try it.

3. Again try it, if the other rooms aren't use it probably won't matter. But if you do insulate it, this might make your room more dead. I insulated all my walls even the wall to the utility room. Although this was mostly so I couldn't hear the furnace running!

4. no idea

5. no idea again

6. Should be ok, put some nice movie posters! :)

7. If you want it this way, seems fine to me, actually I think I like the idea of it "narrowing" rather than getting larger at the screen.

8. Ceiling same or darker as walls.

9. Townhouse comment. I current am in the same situation, I'm in the middle of 2. We actually have a HUGE amount of firewall space, like 1 foot! And 2 feet of concrete between homes. My theatre is directly attached to one neighbour, the other neighbour is far enough away (ie other side it doesn't bother him). The attached neighbour can hear NOTHING except < 30Hz. He said he can't tell if it's world war 2 I'm playing or a concert, NO IDEA, but he can feel the bass. I don't think there is anything that will stop this. I mean the room is sealed pretty good, the large firewall etc. You just can't stop the stuff.

Even at reference he can't hear the talking NOTHING.

Very interesting indeed. I'm hoping when I add a ceiling it might help a little.


May 5, 2003
the lighting situation should be addressed by its use, are you going to use them during a movie? if not , then i would look for something that will suit your tastes for a friendly enviornment. ( make sure that whatever you go with, that the fixtures do not rattle when you hit the wall with your hand.
the sub looks to in a good location, do not put it in the corner !!!!! but test several locations if you are able to live with the different location. if not , should be ok.
yes , by all means insulate the walls to the other rooms. it will not make your listening environment "more dead".
the bokshelves should go on the back wall behind the guest couch.
any room sound reflection/absorption kit should and will be a benefit but that will be hung from your walls and will stick out. w.a.f. is important.
keep the room layout just the way it is.
good luck
the ceiling should be darker if you can.

James Bergeron

Supporting Actor
Oct 9, 2001
ifor, I disagree about the sub location, corner is usually a good thing, of course it depends what sub he has. I tried my sub everywhere in the room and the corner is just the best, it's not bloated or boomy it's very smooth in the corner. I actually have a rather smooth response curve.

I believe even SVS recommends corners.

Shane Morales

Second Unit
Jul 9, 2003
Thanks guys.

I'll try the sub out all over the place. I picked that initial spot cause it would be easy to get to (has lots of controls on it) and I'm worried that putting it in a corner with one of the fronts might make the fronts too muddy or overpower them. I will, of course, test it in various locations.

I guess my setup is pretty good then since there weren't a bunch of replies. I must be special :)

Here's another thing:

I was studying the room last night and imagining where the speakers would go and where I'd sit and where the first aucist reflections would be. Seems to me they'd be 1) right where the door to the utility room is and 2) right where the window is. The window will have blinds and velvet drapes, but the door is only going to have normal foam glued to the back of it. Is that enough? Am I going to have a problem with that?

Again, thanks.

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