Vaulted Ceiling and room orientation

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Michael Merrell, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    Question: How important is symmetry of the ceiling when orienting your theater?

    Our new house has a mother-in-law apartment over the garage that I will be turning into a theater room. The main room is roughly 24'x17', with the stairs coming up on one side, effectively making the dimensions closer to 24'x14'. The ceiling is vaulted, going from about 8', on the wall paralleling the stairs, to (I'm guessing) 20'. There is a door (to a room I will use as an equipment closet) in the center of the tall wall, opposite the wall where the stairs are.

    So, the question is, do I orient things towards the stairs, placing the screen against the railing for the stairs? This would give me 11' to the seat-backs (seats placed with enough distance from the back wall to allow the door to the equipment closet to open). This would also provide for a symmetrical orientation relative to the slope of the ceiling. I could mount the projector behind the wall, in the closet, in this configuration.

    Or, do I orient 90 degrees to the above setup, giving me a longer room, but asymmetrical ceiling? I'd have to rig up a way for mounting the projector on the slanted ceiling, but my current mount might actually swivel enough...

    http://lohrman.com/vt/et/p.htm
    (select apartment from the dropdown)

    Thanks,

    --Mike
     
  2. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    OK, perhaps instead of putting people to sleep with room descriptions, I'll ask a different way:

    If I have a room with a slanted ceiling, is it better to:

    A) Put the screen on the wall where the ceiling is lowest, with the ceiling rising from front to back?

    or

    B) Put the screen on a wall where the ceiling slants from low to high, from left to right?

    Thanks,

    --Mike
     
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Michael,

    Wow, that panoramic view is way cool! Sure makes a “help with my room” thread much easier – I’m surprised on one has responded.

    From an acoustical standpoint I think either orientation will work fine. What I wouldn’t do is set up everything on the tall wall, so thankfully you’re not considering that.

    However, since you mention a screen, I’m assuming it’s fairly large. If so, having the seating 11 ft. away from it is probably way too close.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  4. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for helping me out, Wayne.

    The door in the middle of the tall wall pretty much precludes that arrangement, so that's an easy decision.

    I have the chairs setup about a door's width away from the tall wall, just enough clearance for that door to open. I have the screen clamped to the railing. Everything else is still in boxes. 11' from the headrest to the 106" screen seems close to me (it was 13' in the old room), but my wife seems to like it. . I can always put up a temporary shelf for the projector and take a test ride.

    Likewise, I can always move the screen to the wall where the bed is in the pictures, and test things out there.

    I just want to determine any big acoustical gotcha's before running wire for speakers, punching holes in walls (if I were to mount the projector behind that tall wall), etc.

    It's kinda sick, but I think I'm enjoying the prospect of figuring this new room out.

    Thanks,

    --Mike
     
  5. Terry Montlick

    Terry Montlick Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike,

    The only problem I see with the asymmetrical arrangement is that your surround sound could sound, well, asymmetrical! I'd recommend using direct radiator surrounds (if its not too late) pointed right at the listening area, and lots of acoustical absorption. You appear to have a lot of drywall area, which if left untreated, makes for high reverberation. A large amount of wideband absorption is recommended in any case.

    Regards,
    Terry
     
  6. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    Pictures of stuff I refer to below

    After looking at the room again this morning, I think I'm going with the symmetrical layout. The width of our arc of recliners is just over 12 feet, so it actually fits the room reasonably well when facing the railing. If 11' proves too close, I can always get a bigger screen (throw is too far for 106" with the HS10), remove/shorten the railing, and mount the screen over the windows.

    It's funny that you should mention surrounds, Terry. I just ordered two dipole surrounds, this morning, to round out a 7.1 setup. I currently have a pair of Swan Diva 2.1 direct radiators that I've used in previous setups where seating was against the back wall. With clearance from the back wall, I plan to move the 2.1s to the back as the rear centers, and use the R3 dipoles as my side surrounds. Mistake? I can cancel my order (doesn't ship until next week), and make or buy another pair of direct radiators.

    On the absorbtion issue... I think that I may, over time, treat the room. I need to do something about the white paint fairly soon. We saw a dramatic improvement in picture when we went from white to dark purple in our last room. I was thinking about killing two birds with one stone by hanging black commando cloth instead of painting, and perhaps treating the below-ear-level walls with absorbing materials. This way, I could pull back the cloth on the rare occasion I wanted to convert the room into something less cave-like. Looking at prices for the cloth, it looks like a $700 + sewing time proposition.

    I'll be painting the old room, this weekend, to get that house ready for sale, so I have time before I really get engaged on the new room.

    Thanks,

    --Mike
     
  7. Terry Montlick

    Terry Montlick Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike,

    For the symmetrical layout, dipoles will work just fine. Don't cancel your order!

    The nice thing about acoustical treatment is that in general, it is easily added to a finished room. When you do add it, you should notice a pretty dramatic improvement in the performance of your theater.

    Regards,
    Terry
     
  8. Michael Merrell

    Michael Merrell Stunt Coordinator

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    Would poly batting be necessary above ear level if I use heavy curtains for wall coverings?
     
  9. Terry Montlick

    Terry Montlick Stunt Coordinator

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