Where to Start ?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by JimMAC, Mar 30, 2004.

  1. JimMAC

    JimMAC Agent

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    Well, the wife is convinced, HT is for me (us didn't rhyme). The basement is about to undergo some major changes. She only wants me to integrate her deceased brothers Klipsch La Scala speakers. Old, big, but still sound good. So with this being the only requirement where should I start ?

    Set a firm budget first ? Get local contractor quotes ?
    Should I first go out and purchase equipment, such as matching speakers (any suggestions), projector, screen, etc and figure placement locations, then plan the room around the equipment or visa versa. The room is about 10 ft wide by about 25 feet long, with numerous pipes, floor drops, etc.

    Is sub flooring a must ? Sounds like it is, from what I read.

    Should I completely configure the room on the computer first, with all the desired equipment in place (back to choosing the equipment first), produce an equipment/parts sheet in excel, then hand it to a contractor for a quote (Of course, I'll want to do some work myself), or should I just plan the room and work slowly but surely over many months (in other words,drive the wife nuts).

    The wife is already researching contractors, I think she is in the one place does it all mode, but I am sure the cost is prohibitive.

    My first step was to join this site and start researching the many avenues of those who went before me.

    All ears,
    Mac
     
  2. Erik Farstad

    Erik Farstad Supporting Actor

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    Mac, first get yourself a total budget for construction and equipment purchases. I'll put forth the argument that "the room is the most important component" of your home theater! Placement of equipment is key as well, but the room will play with the acoustics more than anything else. Many on this site have built their own HT's, myself included, and some have hired designers and contractors...so you have many options.

    I'm happy to help if I can and have fun! [​IMG]
     
  3. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Welcome aboard, Jim.

    I guess, the first place to start is to decide on what kind of HT you're looking for. Do you want a full blown front projection system with theater seats and 7.1 sound? Or are you looking for more of a "TV room" with a RPTV and a couch?

    Also, the space you're working with may dictate what sort of theater you're going to wind up with.

    Having a professional come in and install everything can save a lot of headaches and head scratching even though it may be a pain in the wallet. However, knowing exactly what you're looking to do an relaying that onto the builder will insure you'll be happier with the end result.

    If you could post a sketch of your planned space and what sort of equipment you'd like, I'm sure several members here will offer up suggestions and ideas.

    Keep us posted. [​IMG]
     
  4. JimMAC

    JimMAC Agent

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    Erik, Dave, thanks.
    My first compulsion is to buy the front projector, set it up, buy the screen, tie it into my old pro logic system and then work up from there, but I don't think this is a good starting point. Also this is not a TV room in any way as there are too many TV rooms on the other levels. I first thought of buying a 50" inch DLP hdtv to satisfy my craving but then I realized that we don't watch "TV", we watch movies and you need a projector for that !
    I also believe the room be the most important investment. I had a quote for one of the Owens Corning basement finishing systems (this was before the dream). It was quite expensive and didn't have the look and feel of a HT. I thought, hmm what would be a good estimate in terms of $/sq foot, thinking a basic room at first with a few amenities such as side wall lighting, 2 rows of 3 slightly stepped seating (expandable to 3 rows), plenty of electric service. Heating is another concern as it gets pretty cold with only one register on that side of the basement. So I will first work on a sketch this weekend and hopefully I can get some ideas from others as to what an average cost/square foot should be ? to determine a starting budget ? Of course many ideas have been gathering steam, after reading many posts. I think a good list of "wants" would be a great place to start along with the sketch.

    Slow but sure,
    Mac
     
  5. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Make sure you take a look at member theaters, if you haven't already. Always a good source for inspiration.
     
  6. JimMAC

    JimMAC Agent

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    Some great theaters in the members area. They all seem to have a room with a high ceiling. It takes a little (lot) time to check them all out. Hopefully I will find an example with a lower ceiling height.

    Thanks for the inspiration.
    All eyes,
    Mac
     
  7. JimMAC

    JimMAC Agent

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    Well, the plan is starting to come together. I have worked on the layout and have done some 3D rendering which I will post soon. Here the layout so far...

    [​IMG]

    I will try out a Nec LT240K projector (borrow) this weekend, just to see if the desired locations are within reason.

    Mac
     
  8. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

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    Most general contractors have no clue how to build a theater. You will need to give them VERY specific instructions. My wife and I hired Dennis at Design Cinema to design the room and we and our builder have been doing the construction. If you want to go the strait DIY route, as others have said look at member theaters, and get a subscription to Home Theater Builder magazine. Get the back issues as there have been some great how-to articles.
     
  9. Jason D.

    Jason D. Agent

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    Mac,

    I am actually in a similar situation as you as my ceiling from front to back of my HT is something like 86" for the first 13 feet then it drops to about 76" for about six feet (due to air ducts) then it goes back up to about 83" in the rear of my HT (had to furr down around water and gas lines). I am actually in mid to late framing stage right now and you can see my progress on my HT construction link below. I agree that the largest factor as to how good your HT will sound is the room itself. There are many things you can do BEFORE construction to optimize your room. I would start with playing with your room dimensions with a room acoustic calculator like this one:

    http://cgi.guidetohometheater.com/cg...ldnews.cgi?388

    This can help provide you with information about whether or not the room dimensions you choose are acoustically beneficial or not. You want to shoot for minimizing the number of problem frequencies and then after inputing your seating locations....ideally you want NO nulls and few if any peaks. The article I attached describes how to use the spreadsheet.

    I would also consider using a staggered stud wall configuration if you are concerned about noise entering OR exiting the room from outside. There is a close up picture of my staggered stud wall on my link below. I know there is a lot to think about, but trust me it will pay off. Good luck!

    -Jason
     
  10. JimMAC

    JimMAC Agent

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    Adam and Jason, thank you for the input. There is a lot to think about, so I am going slowly (although the wife is ready to get quotes, but that's ok I can delay).

    I will definately check out the magazine, and the acoustics, also nice pics Jason.

    As far as sound entering the room, since it is directly next to the furnace, it will be tough to stop (I'll just turn off the furnace/air during the show !). More to come and thanks again for the input, exactly what I was looking for by joining the forum. [​IMG]

    Mac
     
  11. Randy Laporte

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    I built my own, and I have low ceilings, and also had piping come out from the walls, I'm not professional enough to concern myself with how acoustic my room may be, I just wanted a nice HT to watch movies, but because I wanted tiered seating and had low ceilings, I had to get a rear projection TV and go in the wall with it VS. a hanging ceiling mounted projector (may have caused view blockage or someone hitting their head on it.), I went with a drop ceiling as close to the beams as I could. on the left wall was my waste pipe, so I had to come out about 7 inchs, I decide to use that space and build my DVD racks into the wall, just not to take up more floor space. I had cement walls, so I just framed the room, put in insulation, a plastic vapor barrier(help prevent moisture seeping through.) I put down a felt carpet pad, (helps with mildew)and a nice thick carpet. when I built my platform for rear seats, I used liquid nail and screws ( VS nails) to keep tight and help prevent squeaking when you walk on it. The one thing I forgot, members suggested to put sand or insulation in the platform to prevent echo, I didn't but I also don't hear any echo or vibration either. Anyway, I have step by step photos, may help you get an idea, check them out. My room is 15x24x6'8"

    My HT
     
  12. JimMAC

    JimMAC Agent

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    Randy, that room looks pretty large to me, it is about 1 ft longer & wider than mine. I am hoping to place a ceiling mount fp in the high portion of the ceiling, but I will need a really short throw projector to have a 100" screen. I don't think this will end up being a head knocker.

    Can I ask how high the platform was for the rear seating ? 8" ?

    Do you have any problems with the sub causing any buzzing in the room like the drop ceiling ?

    Thanks for the reply, I am glad low ceilings can work and I especially enjoyed seeing the
    B-9 Bot. Looks like you did a great job !

    Mac
     
  13. Randy Laporte

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    jim
    Sorry it took so long to reply, I was away. The rear platform is 8 inchs high. I don't get anything from the drop ceiling, but I do get an occasional buzz or noise from the pictures hanging on the wall from the frames hitting the wall.
     
  14. JimMAC

    JimMAC Agent

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    The Nec LT240K projector was a blast, even in an unfinished basement that was a little on the cool side. The whites were blinding at times on a temporary blackout cloth. Of course this machine is 2000 lumens, where most are in the 1000 range for ht. Looks like I may need to move the machine back a few feet for the 100" screen that I would like. So, in my quest of where to start, the projector location will play a big part, so I think I'll skip on over to the projector forum for a look at what's what, once that is decided on with the room ! I keep rehashing the plans, just hope I don't beat the horse to death.

    Mac
     

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