News

home theater design

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by tifosi, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. tifosi

    tifosi F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa

    Sep 5, 2001
    5,382
    texas
    Full Name:
    Tom D
    Just getting started on my home theater design and had a few questions.

    I am going to build it in my basement, the size of the room wilh be about 15X 20. I plan to use it for movies, sporting events and as a listening room. I probably will end up with a flat panel plasma with a middle range (3k-5k)speaker/dvd/amp set up. no windows etc. Couple of intial questions

    1) Is is worth it to go all out and get the special acostical drywall?

    2) I think I want to get the special stadium like seats, I have seen some online sellers but wondering if anyone has a recommendation. I have seen the special lounge type chairs with the cup holders :) I think I would like to have 5-8 seats

    3)Should I build the floor on a incline (ie lower in front and higher in the back? I have plenty of ceiling height.

    4) is the floor best covered with a rug? Also should I go for the special acostical fabrics on the wall?

    5) Lastly, should I spend the obscene amount of money for the real high end wires or will the middle of the road wire work fine.

    TIA
     
  2. To remove this ad click here.

  3. Enzo

    Enzo F1 Rookie

    Feb 14, 2002
    4,077
    MinneSOta
    Full Name:
    Pat Pasqualini
    A good source of info would be Steve Jenkins (member here with the new F40). He has one of the best theaters ever. Check out his website.
     
  4. darth550

    darth550 Five Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa

    Jul 14, 2003
    58,826
    In front of you
    Full Name:
    BCHC
    Soooo, BBQ and movies at your place?? :D

    DL

    PS. I believe Artherd can be another reference.
     
  5. tifosi

    tifosi F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa

    Sep 5, 2001
    5,382
    texas
    Full Name:
    Tom D

    Yeah sure, let me know when you in the area, its funny, the wife is really more interested in the grill as she is the chef( i am fine with our exiting one), the theater is my pet project :)
     
  6. tifosi

    tifosi F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa

    Sep 5, 2001
    5,382
    texas
    Full Name:
    Tom D

    That's right, I forgot that, I will check it out, thanks Pat


    Tom
     
  7. To remove this ad click here.

  8. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
    Honorary

    Dec 5, 2001
    6,485
    Grandview NY
    Full Name:
    Herr Prof.
    I've done a number of big, costly systems in various places and have learned alot about overall design, installation and system "management," including the selection of components. Let me share my hard-won wisdom:

    1. The room. Figure out your traffic plan and general layout first. There will be some acoustical design issues that vary, based on layout, but i assume that the last thing you want is an unusable room, dictated soley by acoustical considerations. (Keep in mind that home video, even on a giant scale, is not "purist" audio, so while you will respect some acoustical design considerations, they should not entirely drive the exercise).

    2. Rethink your decision to use a plasma TV. The cost is excessive, and the quality is low. Its was a "cool" thing to have, which is not a reason to buy it. I would seriously look at front projection, via DLP; you can get a magnificent image if you are willing to take the time to set it up right, and it will look far more impressive, and be far more involving, than a 60" screen. I raise this here, because it will affect room layout, given the need for a screen.

    3. Wiring and configuration. First thing, get some good clean isolated power to the system; I went the length of installing a separate 220 step down transformer to feed the system; at a minimum, dedicated lines, polarized at the box, running heavy gauge cable with 20amp capability. Use outlets from our buddy Hubble- so-called "hospital grade." This stuff is industrial electrical stuff, so you aren't paying hi-fi retailer prices for it. A competent electrician is a must. I'd be less concerned about whether you are using the latest and greatest interconnect or speaker wire than i would be in planning a wiring "routing" scheme that allows you to make changes after installation is complete. Recessed wire troughs are a thought; cabling into the wall may be easy during construction, but you've got to rip the walls apart, or snake stuff, when you want to make a change, or god forbid, you have a wiring problem. This planning costs little to execute, and will make a huge difference in living with the system.

    4. Seating. Ideally, you should have seats that are at the proper height for your front and center channel speakers, particularly if you are going to use the same audio system to listen to music. Seats with high backs are not favored for acoustical reasons; i nonetheless use Eames Lounge Chairs, largely for comfort, but also because my theatre system is NOT my music system (so i can get away with the higher back on these chairs). Risers are cool, if you aren't limiting headroom in the back row, can have them built sturdily (a creaky floor sucks, and will resonate) and it doesn't otherwise affect the use of your space.

    5. Floor and wall treatment. There are numerous computer programs that can help you diagram the correct proportions of length, height and shape of walls and floor. The object is to avoid weird behavior of the sound waves. This is still more art than science, as any acoustic engineer will tell you, after they spend millions to "improve" a concert hall and all the computer programs in the world don't help them. But there are some basic laws of physics that should be observed. The ratio of reflective v. absorbative material on floors, ceiling and walls is part of the calculus. Its hard to predict in advance what you will need without looking at the overall plan, and listening to the room.
    You generally want to minimize floor reflections- hence carpeting; side wall reflections are desirable for the back channels, and to a certain degree, for the left and right speakers at front. This also depends on the speakers you choose; a planar, like a Magneplanar, has totally different acoustical requirements for the surrounding area than a more conventional box speaker.

    I'll be happy to share more thoughts with you. In the meantime, i'll post some pictures of my current system. Its an ok aesthetic, but not mocked up to look like a roccoco theatre. The wall behind and around the screen is blacked out, to minimize light reflections; the floor is carpeted, and the ceiling has very quirky angles, which break up reflections. The room works well for theatre; the seating area adjacent to the theatre seat up will ultimately be for the hi-fi system, which is still getting refurbished.
     
  9. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
    Honorary

    Dec 5, 2001
    6,485
    Grandview NY
    Full Name:
    Herr Prof.
    #7 whart, Jul 19, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  10. tifosi

    tifosi F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa

    Sep 5, 2001
    5,382
    texas
    Full Name:
    Tom D
    Bill

    Thanks, I think your points about wiring flexibility and design are spot on, since I don't plan to spend a fortune on the equipment at this point, flexibility to change in the future is key. I will take a look at the DLP as this seems to be the way Steve Jenkins also went. The audio listening aspect of it is way down on the priority list but I wanted to mention it. As I start to get thoughts down on paper I will probably give you a call. Thanks

    Tom
     
  11. jimpo1

    jimpo1 Two Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Jul 30, 2001
    22,499
    Dallas, TX
    Full Name:
    Jim E
    Bill has incorporated what would be my only additional suggestion: Arrange to have easy access to the back of your components. Wiring my components together is a major league pain in the a$$ because the space is so cramped.

    I just helped a friend put his system together and we built his stuff into the 'front' wall of a closet. Had a carpenter build racks, but a nice front on it, and left the door in the 'back' of the room. If he wants to add or replace a component, he goes behind the system, opens the door, and viola', instant access to all the wiring.
     
  12. To remove this ad click here.

  13. tifosi

    tifosi F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa

    Sep 5, 2001
    5,382
    texas
    Full Name:
    Tom D
    yeah, I deal with that issue now, my new envisioned set up would have a seperate room to acess the back of components and would also back right up to my electrical service

    thks
     
  14. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
    Honorary

    Dec 5, 2001
    6,485
    Grandview NY
    Full Name:
    Herr Prof.
    As far as racks are concerned, I am largely unimpressed with the stuff that is usually sold thru audio retailers; its more cheesy furniture than functional and highly priced. Years ago, i had Billy Bags make up a horizontal rack for me; the thing is built better than your car, and weighs as much. (It now does duty as a garden shed potting bench for my wife). This time, i went with Mid-Atlantic; real rack mount stuff. Not cheap, but if you are willing to do the work yourself, the actual racks aren't terribly expensive; the accesories, like shelves, and face-plates, start to add up. But, these things are terrific because they are easy to access, truly set up for heavy duty equipment -shelves that can hold 300lbs. and make wiring a cinch. Alternatively, heavy wooden shelves may be fine, if concealed; just make sure you deal with issues like equipment heat, since the shelves will block air circulation if they are not made out of perforated steel.
     
  15. tifosi

    tifosi F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa

    Sep 5, 2001
    5,382
    texas
    Full Name:
    Tom D
    I envision building my own shelves which will be flush mounted in the room and have access from a dedicated room behind with all the other guts of the system. I can put fans in there if needed, for now I will not have the super heat producing stuff . When you said DLP, I assume you were not talking about the rear projection ones, right?
     
  16. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
    Honorary

    Dec 5, 2001
    6,485
    Grandview NY
    Full Name:
    Herr Prof.
    Front projection. Go to: http://www.htrgroup.com/ As you will see, this outfit does market research for the industry. The nice thing is that they have a catalog, it should be pretty current(oops, i just double checked and the projector catalog has not been updated for over a year, but it still has all the links to various manfacturers so is still a worthwhile resource), of virtually every projector on the market; you can pull up an entry, read the specs and price, click thru to the manufacturer's website if you like, and compare three or four other similar projectors, all at the same time.
    Here's my suggestion. 1 chip DLP prices are coming down; the last upgraded chip, the so-called HD 2 + chip, obsoleted a bunch of HD 2 chip machines that are more than perfectly serviceable. (Indeed, the unit i am currently using, a Marantz, replaced a very heavy, far more costly, large 3 gun NEC CRT projector and was substantially discounted, from its 12k retail price to below 8k). 3 chip DLP is the latest wave, which will make even the most current 1 chip projectors cheaper. Retailers, in my estimation, are full of misinformation, but still offer the only place where you can go to see more than one projection system operating at a time.
    A couple of additional thoughts, while you are perusing this stuff: first, most DLP projectors should have a DVI input. This is a must. Second, try to buy a DVD player with a DVI output. This will allow you to hook up to the projection with a single line; more importantly, it enables you to bypass the typically poor D/A conversion occurring in the DVD player and makes a significant difference in picture quality. I mean staggering; this is where the DLP projector, if properly set up, will shine.
    I have taken it one step further, and use an incredibly cheap DVD player that was "hacked" to accomodate an SDI output. The SDI output of the DVD player then feeds into a black box --called an HD Leeza (not cheap, about 4 grand)-- which processes the signal, does line doubling and so-called "native rate" scaling and outputs in a variety of output configurations, including DVI. The Leeza is the device hooked up to the projector, and accomodates a variety of other source components, including HD satellite, HD tape, etc., all of which can be processed and reallocated thru various outputs. The Leeza thus acts as a digital switcher as well. I have not watched my system on the projection screen without the Leeza in the signal loop, but i believe that, even without it, a decent DVI outputting DVD player directly into the DLP projector will astonish you. You will need light control and probably a grey, rather than white screen (It brings up the black level, which is the only arguable weakness of the DLP technology, at least of the 1 chip variety). The AVS Forum is a pretty good place to immerse yourself if you have the time and interest. In the meantime, feel free to contact me if you want to see how my system looks.
     
  17. tifosi

    tifosi F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa

    Sep 5, 2001
    5,382
    texas
    Full Name:
    Tom D
    thanks Bill, you are always very helpful. I am thinking since I will probably build the structure myself thus taking some time, I will wait to the end to get the screen and related tech components, since they evolve tech and price wise so quickly. As you point out though I need to have an idea and build some flexiblity into the structure.
     
  18. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
    Honorary

    Dec 5, 2001
    6,485
    Grandview NY
    Full Name:
    Herr Prof.
    Hey froggy: you are always welcome, i won't even make you take your shoes off. (BTW, i always wanted to have a big calibre weapon bolted onto my front porch; at our last house, i happened to be hanging around when some effete landscape designers were walking the property. I called out, in my best redneck accent: "Gee, i'm real glad you folks identified yourselves. Where i come from, we shoot anybody that trespasses on our property." )
     
  19. coolestkidever

    coolestkidever F1 Veteran

    Feb 28, 2004
    5,486
    CT
    Full Name:
    Patrick
    Dont forget playstation 2
     
  20. Srgtfury

    Srgtfury Rookie

    May 16, 2004
    22
    SInce you are referencing Home Theatre, I would consider Meridian and very important-an adequate sub tuned to say 17hz. That will provide the best theater experience, in addition to the above posts.

    Oh, Don't forgeta good buttkicker.

    BTW, I prefer a large sofa style seating for ME and tune the room to ME.

    I have also programmed-as a hobby, Crestron systems-recommended.

    Thank you very much

    Fury
     
  21. GhostRider

    GhostRider Formula Junior

    Dec 20, 2002
    999
    Tulsa, OK
    Full Name:
    Matt
    I work in the AV industry, so I have some biased opinions myself. On display choices--no way would I touch a plasma. The burn-in factor is just too much. I'd seriously consider an LCD display--much longer life, and the motion has gotten much better. You can get up to 60" displays now. As for projectors, DLP or otherwise, yes, these can be acceptable choices, but bulbs are expensive, and then you have the fan noise (so I would go for rear projection if you can afford the real estate necessary). The above person mentioned Mid-Atlantic racks--that's all we use. Very sturdy racks, and recommended. Lastly, something no one has mentioned here--a control system (color LCD touchpanels that control it all, very snazzy looking, and makes the whole operation much smoother). I myself prefer AMX products (www.amx.com), but Crestron (www.crestron.com) is available too.
     
  22. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
    6,099
    MA USA
    Full Name:
    Mr. Doody
    certainly plasma displays are more susceptible to burn-in than any other type of consumer display that i am aware of.

    that said, the burn-in issue has been grossly exaggerated in the media.

    it's an issue, for sure. but don't let it scare you away. the pricing - now that will scare you away first ;)

    doody.
     
  23. GhostRider

    GhostRider Formula Junior

    Dec 20, 2002
    999
    Tulsa, OK
    Full Name:
    Matt
    No, it's not grossly exaggerated. It's a major problem. We have customers bringing in their plasmas all the time for repair, and they simply end up leaving them here because the cost to repair so outrageous, you could buy a new one. Everyone is going to LCDs because of this reason. Further down the road is Organic LEDs--a technology that has the potential to revolutionize the way we think of displays. Think of a thick piece of paper, that's how thin. Wearable displays! It's gonna get real crazy.
     
  24. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
    Honorary

    Dec 5, 2001
    6,485
    Grandview NY
    Full Name:
    Herr Prof.
    Plasma burn-in is a problem. But, the bigger problem is that the picture is not natural. If you are trying to get your system to look like film, you will be disappointed.

    I don't find fan noise from the DLP to be very annoying; once the movie is playing you really can't hear it, and its usually no louder than the average home a/c system. I would not go rear projection-which i think compromises the picture compared to front projection-simply to reduce fan noise. If its that big a problem, you can install the (front) projector in a sound insulated housing. (GhostRider, if you were talking about LCD projection, i haven't seen the latest ones, but they typically had alot more pixelation than the current crop of DLP projectors. I do use an LCD (Sharp Aquas) screen for our den and like it for noncritical viewing, as long as you are not too far off axis. But, i don't consider this to be a serious contender for home theatre; its just too small).

    Plasma, LCD and (to a lesser degree, DLP rear projection) are somewhat size limited. For the money of a decent plasma, which is what, 60 or so inches, you can have a full-wall sized image projected, and if you do it right, you can get a much better image, assuming that you control ambient light.

    As to Meridian stuff, its great, i've used (and still use) their processors, and had their first DVD player (which actually sucked). Their "all digital" systems are fantastic for home theatre, but you are committing some big bucks to a single system that is largely self-contained. For those willing to throw more than 50k at the sound system to support the video, its an option, but i usually find people can cut that corner a little more cheaply, still using very high grade component audio.

    I am not enamoured of the Creston -type systems: far too complicated;most of the digital stuff is remoted controlled; i manually turn on each power amp, and once the system is running, i really only need the remote for the Meridian audio processor and the remote for the DVD player or satellite dish to control the sources.
    I'd say it was my two cents, but i've spent far more than that over the years on this stuff, and just thought i'd share my hard-won wisdom, FWIW.

    Oh, yeah, on bulb burn-out, i use to worry about that when i had my CRT projector- 2,000 hours. I played the **** out of it for 5 years and still had hundreds of hours left. I gave the thing away by then, since it was long obsoleted by newer stuff, at far less cost. What's the projected bulb life on my DLP? Chances are, it will be replaced before i reach that point. Not really an issue, unless you worry about things like the expanding universe...
     
  25. jonesn

    jonesn Formula Junior

    Nov 2, 2003
    840
    STL-MO
    Full Name:
    Evan "Trouble" Jones
    On my wish list for additions to the home :)
     
  26. DrStranglove

    DrStranglove FChat Assassin
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Oct 31, 2003
    25,609
    Google Maps
    Full Name:
    DrS

    Wow!!!
     
  27. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
    6,099
    MA USA
    Full Name:
    Mr. Doody
    your customers are likely to end up very disappointed about making that switch if their usage behavior caused burn-in on their plasmas. LCDs burn in as well, unfortunately - albeit it does take more abuse to get them there.

    another vote for meridian stuff. absolutely stellar. i'm a huge fan.

    go projector ALL THE WAY, imo. the only reason to consider things like plasma and RPTV is if cost is an issue (latter) or you can't control the ambient light (my particular problem).

    good luck!

    doody.
     
  28. jonesn

    jonesn Formula Junior

    Nov 2, 2003
    840
    STL-MO
    Full Name:
    Evan "Trouble" Jones
    Porn will never be the same :)
     

Share This Page