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Discussion Starter #1
i'm planning on creating a dedicated home theatre in my unfinished basement. the question to start is, should i stick with a rectangle and thus a separate room for the kids play area, or do a 'L' shaped room to incorporate both areas? basically do i lose anything acoustically by doing the 'L'? the listening area would be within the rectangle of the 'L' if i went this route with only the rear channel surrounds mounted behind and thus perhaps affected by the open space.

experts, lmk what you think.
thanks
 

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Acoustically the rectangle makes more sense but is your goal a great home theatre or a great family area?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
for me the theatre is of most importance, but i'm wondering how much is lost by going for a more open 'L' shape?

rectangle pro is obviously true dedication

L shape is perhaps some less material used, thus some cost saving. keeping an eye on the kids by not being in a completely separate room.
 

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Like Hugh said rectangle makes more sense for a dedicated HT , but in my opinion if you are going with a 5.1 it would make more sense having your surrounds on the side not in the back but some guys here can clarify better about this .
 

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For Optimum speaker positioning, I always recommend the Dolby Laboratories site.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
yes, 5.1 would be kind of to the sides, if 7.1 then the rears will be behind with the rear sides to the side.

i'm just wrestling with the trade off. (the wife is more interested in the 'L')

the other question will be, is any wall treatment required for foundation walls? ie. if i'm looking to 'soundproof', can i ignore the foundation walls and just concentrate on the one interior wall and ceiling?

thanks
 

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Be realistic, the L shaped area would basically be bigger kids play room. If you don't mind toys and sticky fingerprints on your HT furniture and gear that's OK. Otherwise...

My experience is that odd shaped rooms are very difficult to balance acoustically.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
that's why i was asking. i'll have to sell it on the rectangle and see how it goes. have someone coming out for a free assessment from 'soundtrap' who apparently will discuss ideas and products to use for sound. i was contacting them about the price for rsic clips and they called and said they could come out and look, so why not, right?
 

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I prefer the "open" HT design. Open to a bar, game area, or play area makes the place look bigger. I'd sacrifice a bit of acoustics to have that open feel to the basement.
 

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Unless you have a large space to deal with 2 small rooms will not be nearly as
inviting to spend time in, compared to a larger incorporated family room.
Think of resale too! sure a dedicated home theater room is cool to some but its useless to others so a look at your current market range and if it would support say $20000 extra for that dedicated room + $10k for that play room, most likely not unless you are in the upper end market as not many people see value in dedicated rooms in middle market homes. Of course if your planning on staying in this home long term then this plays no part as YOU and your family are the ones benefiting from it regardless.

How does your family currently interact? Does your wife or kids like to do other things will watching TV and movies? With the L shape you are not loosing too much in the way of acoustics and once you and your family are using the space any minor deficiencies with not really matter. Right now I use a large bonus room as both a family room and home theater and we use it every day because of its multipurpose layout and more universal seating.


Keep in mind your kids wont be "kids" for very long and will begin to take over the cool room and not use the play room as much.
My son has his own separate play room with tv, blu ray and all his toys yet he still migrates out to the BIG screen to watch his shows and movies, how can you say no to a kid? :)
As Lex_rx pointed out, with an open room you can plan for future things such as a bar and or games room, something the whole family can enjoy as everyone matures.

How often do you guys entertain? We host movie nights, games nights and Fight nights at our place and its not unheard of to have 15-20 people in the bonus room, could never make that happen in a smaller dedicated room.
Really think about how you and your family envision using the space now and in the future and the plan will come together much more smoothly.


For acoustics keep in mind for the rears you can always do suspended speakers, in ceiling speakers, wall mounted, stands as you could easily incorporate wire with plates into the floor ahead of time!

Your question about soundproofing, you can pretty much ignore the outside foundation walls as they will have studs and insulation regardless if funds are a concern, if you take the time and ensure the outside wall studs are separated as best as possible from the floor joists above it will greatly reduce the sound transmission from those walls. They are not load bearing or structural in anyway so you can get creative with the framing to achieve mechanical separation. and concentrate on ceiling insulation, double drywall if desired and insulate partition walls for mechanical room and bathroom etc.

A separate room WILL cost more in more ways that just material and labour. Separate kids play room likely=extra TV, bluray, gaming system,extra furniture, lighting. It all comes into play if you look ahead.

I do see pros and cons to both, and could argue either side. But its not our house or our family so best we can do is provide varying opinions. Good luck with the planning no matter what route you chose! Its always so much fun seeing the ideas come to life.
 
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