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Discussion Starter #1
I've begun construction of my Black Ice Theater, a DIY dedicated home theater.  Since this is a first post I will attach the same scene that I've loaded on my projector.

Of course, for eight months of the year it looks like this.

More to come! :D

Cheers,
Kaoru
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Introductions are in order...

First steps...

The first step in constructing my home theater is to thank everyone in DHC and AVS forums for all the invaluable information. Coming from a nothern mining town in Labrador, I learned early that you can do anything if you put your mind, creativity, and time into it. Having forums like DHC and AVS with all the contributions of many DIY'ers makes it all that easier to the point that I believe anyone, willing to commit themselves, can build a reasonable home theater.
With that in mind, my goal is to document my home theater construction effort to contribute to DHC and AVS. To do this, I've setup on my home network a blog server, notably the Apache Incubator project Roller. I will use this weblogger as a journal to aggregate all the tibits of information that I've gathered to build out my home theater. Having my own server allows freedom in time, graphics, content, video/podcasting, etc. since I lead a very busy life (more on that later). Of course, this blog (though available via Sculpt Science) will be posted on DHC and AVS.
Why do all of this? To make the best theater within the confines of my resources. Some of those resources include budget, knowledge, people, etc. Some resources I can't increase... (like my basement layout or ceiling height :D) but knowledge (via DHC/AVS) and budget (via PowerBuys, shopping tips) can be maximized this way. So hopefully, I get a kick-ass theater and everyone benefits in their own efforts.
Reading between the lines...

To allow you to read between the lines of this blog, the following is some background tidbits. Though Labrador is my hometown, since '91 I've lived in Ottawa, the national capital region. It is here where I call home with my wife and two daughters. My career is in computers (a bit of an understatement) and have worked for numerous companies though recently I've settled into a permanent position at the RCMP.
With this in mind, I'm not an expert in construction, woodworking, acoustics, decorating, and anything else not related to computers/IT. I am an expert in several aspects (to numerous to mention) of computers/IT. However, I'm quite handy around tools and can woodwork, frame, drywall, tile, paint, do plumbing, cabling (besides network cabling <- expert), and carpeting. I'm creative, artistic, and knowledgeble (but my style is debatable as my wife says :D). Now that you know me a little better, you can see that I'm an average-joe (with a daughter who fancinated me with anime) with some confidence and always trying to get (as in shounen anime like Naruto/Bleach) stronger in my jutsu (techniques). If you share these ideals, like to build a home theater, I'm glad to make your aquaintence. If not... enjoy it for what it's worth!

Up next is my HT design/plans...

Cheers,
Kaoru
Ed Daigle

About my handle: The name comes from an anime character that I liked (the anime being Ai Yori Yoshi). I also go by Kaoru-sama, the -sama is a politness level equivelent as Mr.; I'm certainly not a -sensei or -senpai. I like the idea of politeness levels the Japanese culture has; it's easy to show respect with simple words. Japanese Suffixes Howto for more...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Home theater design/plan so far...

As promised, the following chronicles my home theater efforts in design and planning to date. Essentially, I've been putting together this design for quite awhile and obviously I've worked out something that can fit best with the resources on hand. What's on hand is an area in my basement put aside for said theater. It wasn't always that way but we do what we can... My house is a ~2200 sq. ft. bungalow so my basement is huge (and unfinished). Unfortunately, I have two structural I-beams with several doubled-up support poles dividing the area in thirds. With the basement stairs landing/entrance, a roughed-in bathroom, and prior framing (before HT bug got me) limits me to a single area and creative layout to maximize space. The other drawback is that my house sits on rock (they had to jackhammer/blast to put in my foundation) and thus my joist height is 7' 8"; so my HT willl be vertically challenged. :D


The area in mind is ~151" wide and 20'+ long but.... I have to have a hallway from the landing area past the future bathroom into the main area. There is no way around this and I don't want to have two doors for the theater with a throughfare... I want local traffic only! :) So I rotated the layout and incorporated the hallway as part of the proscenium (the lower-right and angled wall is the left boundry of the hallway, right of the equipment closet; as shown in diag.). By expanding the width (as to keep within a golden ratio) by 16.5", I get an inside width of 153.5" and a length of 216" to the screen. The area behind the screen will be for the sub/centre (the diag. shows a framed wall but really it isn't... it's only the screen and covered framing with acoustic transparent fabric. Essentially a false proscenium... ?!? Well it will look like one.

The trick to widening the theater by 16.5" is to incorporate the the I-beam into the soffit. The double pole gets incased in the column. With that said, you may have noticed the use of curves; that is the style of this home theater. Nice round flowing lines... like film and a film reel. Taking this, ceiling height, and budget (Sandman's ceiling is awsome but I can't) I decided on a large inset (faux) film reel with lighted edges/holes as a ceiling feature. I don't lose much height and fits in to the theme.


The above is just a small image... click on it for a more clear image. Next up is a detailed explanation of what is going into that space and what equipment I have/leaning towards.

Cheers,
Kaoru
 

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Speaker Locations? Don't see anything marked on the plan

Also...suggestion. The raised section att he back for the 2nd row. Fill that whole base with insulation. Those like to resonate at certain frequencies and really usually make certain bass notes unbearable. same with behind the screen itself. Put up loads of sound damping material behind there.

Also....it looks like your projector is too close to the screen (if that is the black high end Hitachi unit that it looks like in the drawing)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just the start...

Skuce said:
Speaker Locations? Don't see anything marked on the plan

Also...suggestion. The raised section att he back for the 2nd row. Fill that whole base with insulation. Those like to resonate at certain frequencies and really usually make certain bass notes unbearable. same with behind the screen itself. Put up loads of sound damping material behind there.

Also....it looks like your projector is too close to the screen (if that is the black high end Hitachi unit that it looks like in the drawing)
Though not shown on the plan... haven't got that far in laying it out. But I can provide some ideas I've been kicking around as well as some things I've picked up. The riser (the height is TBD) will be built after drywalling as to be floating. Standard framing with 30# roofing felt (entire riser) as a gasket (for the insulation), Safe-N-Sound insulation, 2 layers of T&G flooring screwed and glued. The cherry on top (if budget permits) is a butt kicker mounted to the riser (with hard rubber hockey pucks lifting the riser -- hey it's Canada! :D ). The first row will have a standalone butt kicker. Similar idea for the proscenium stage... which is multilevel, filled with dry play sand since the sub will be on it. It too will be built following drywall.

As for speaker locations, sub and centre behind screen, fronts will be Polk Audio in-wall speakers inset into the proscenium columns. Their about $350/pair at Future Shop. I will wire for 7.1 but initially put in 5.1. The surrounds will be Polk Audio in ceiling. Now that may seem a little strange but the Polk Audio speaks have a direction tweeter which I will aim at the columns (they will be made to reflect sound). The column (being round) will diffuse the sound so in theory it should be the same as the speaker being in the column. Why in the ceiling... well one of the columns has steel support poles in it. :( When I get the money, I will buy another pair of in-walls for the rears.

For the equipment rack, I would like to have a Middle Atlantic rack (there's a factory here in Ottawa/Stittsville but I don't have a contact... yet!) but that can be pricey. If not, custom wood shelves will suffice. I'm still debating whether or not to put a glass door on the front (for noise; more on that later). The equipment closet will have a ventilation fan (essentially a bathroom fan) linked to a temperature switch. I still don't know what I will do for the hush box in terms of ventilation but I think it will involve a temperature switch and inline duct fan (maybe to the closet?) . Any thoughts welcome...

Equipment to date:
  • Hitachi PJXT100 Ultravision 1280x720 LCD projector
  • DIY screen using frame and blackout fabric; like a canvas. Painted with Goo Systems digital grey (Screen not build yet... got the Goo though).
  • Custom built HTPC (more on that later) - suffice to say its my PVR, upscaling DVD player, media/DVD library via 550 GB (and ~500 GB network attached equals just over a TeraByte :D ).
  • Sony AV Receiver (STR-DE835)
  • Sony DVD (DVP-S330)
  • Logitech Harmony 880 IR remote (the HTPC has a USB-UIRT and Girder for controlling anything).
  • XBox 360
  • PS2
What I don't have:
  • Green Glue
  • Poly batten and linacoustic
  • GOM
  • Seats - working on that via the almost over PowerBuy.
  • Lutron Spacer System - the system; not just the spacers... it cheaper than a Grafik Eye (expensive!).
  • Cables (DVI/component/speaker/data/RG6)
  • and the standard construction stuff like drywall, insulation, trim, etc. (of course I'm still at the framing stage!).
Well... that all I can think of right now...
Cheers,
Kaoru
 

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What is the rated power handling of those in-wall speakers ? That is a pretty big room.

Will your DIY screen be acoustically transparent for installing the centre speaker behind it as you have indicated ? You really might want to check/rethink that bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
filper said:
What is the rated power handling of those in-wall speakers ? That is a pretty big room.

Will your DIY screen be acoustically transparent for installing the centre speaker behind it as you have indicated ? You really might want to check/rethink that bit.
I don't think it that big of a room... but in any case the in-wall speakers are 100 watts while be very flat/small. More than enough for the room size... here is the details.

Fronts: Polk Audio In-Wall Speakers (RC65i)
Crossover Point: 2500Hz
Frequency Response: 32Hz - 20kHz
Power Capability: 100 Watts
Product Dimensions: 30.5(W) x 21.9(H) x 6.2(D) cm
Sensitivity: 89 dB
Tweeter Size: 1"
Woofer Size: 6 1/2"

Surrounds: Polk Audio In-Wall Speakers (RC60i)
Crossover Point: 2500Hz
Frequency Response: 40 Hz - 20 kHz
Mid Range Speaker Size: 6 1/2"
Power Capability: 100 Watts
Sensitivity: 89 dB
Tweeter Size: 1 x 1"

As for the centre... it will be mounted either above or below the screen. Probably below since my HT is vertically challenged and it will be hard to keep the riser low but maintain view angles for a 110" screen. My understanding (which ain't much :) ) of bass freq. is that its not directional and therefore the screen doesn't have to be transparent. However, the screen will be actually floating/supported from the walls (but isolated as to not vibrate from the sub; ie. resilent channel or just rubber mounts/lag bolts). There will be nothing below except a fabric covered grill/frame that is removable to get at the sub... I still have some planning to do to work out the dimensions for access etc.

Cheers,
Kaoru
 

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Centre speaker below would be much better than behind. Just make sure that you aim the drivers at your melon, not straight out.

Every room has it's own unique sonic characteristics. I would suggest that you have alternate subwoofer placement options. It is one of the hardest elements of speaker placement to sound natural. I've moved mine at least 5 times over the years. Get a long sub cable (15'), you might need it.
 

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Centre speaker below would be much better than behind. Just make sure that you aim the drivers at your melon, not straight out.
How come? If you got one of the perforated screens, with 3 matched speakers, then wouldn't the behind the screen placement be better?
 

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JesseJ said:
How come? If you got one of the perforated screens, with 3 matched speakers, then wouldn't the behind the screen placement be better?
Kaoru said he was planning on making a DIY screen using a canvas-like material and Goo Sytems paint. I doubt that would be acoustically transparent. Would the paint not fill the fabric pores and reduce or eliminate the fabric's acoustical transparency ?

Hold a canvas painting up to a light source.
 

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i would actually prefer to mount the center speaker above the screen rather than below. Angle the speaker to the listening position and i have found after years of having a center below the screen on a speaker stand that above sounds better. Better to try both than decide what your preferences are.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Centre placement...

I too would like to place the centre at the top. This, however, will be tricky in my case due to the limited ceiling height. I've run some riser calculations and as such, the only way to limit the riser height is either raise the base height of the screen or bring the first and second row closer. Since my desired seating is loungers (hard theater style seating, IMHO, doesn't put the "home" in home theater) the rows have to be spaced out somewhat. This leaves raising the screen which limits the height of the top of the proscenium (where the centre will be placed).

Using the handy link http://www.cinegi.com/cgi-bin/riser.cgi (found in AVS) I get the following:


Floor to bottom of screen 29" Height of seated front row viewers top of head 44" Height of rear row viewers eyes 40" Screen to front row viewers eyes 10'9" Screen to back row viewers eyes 16'3" Minimum riser height 11 5/8"
So my riser is 11 5/8" high... essentially the maximum height I can go leaving a 6 1/2' ceiling. This means that I have 9" for the centre on top (minus an inch for drywall, 8" usable). That should be enough with my current centre speaker. In either case, there are low profile centre speakers out there that have some power that I could use.
 

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Koaru,

Careful not to take that 40" deimension from viewers eyes to floor as the set in stone dimension. One inch either way will make a big difference in the calculation. Figure 39"-44" depending on choice of seating based on an average height male (5' 10").

My dimension at home is at 42.5" in my current set-up. Makes a very big difference in riser height calculation.
 

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JesseJ said:
How come? If you got one of the perforated screens, with 3 matched speakers, then wouldn't the behind the screen placement be better?
I see it's been covered that Kaoru is DIYing the screen, but I'll comment on mounting behind a perforated screen. Where you mount the speakers (in front or behind) depends on the trade-off you prefer. Reviewers have noted that perforated screens are dimmer than non-perforated, so if you're using a typical low-brightness LCD or DLP projector, you may prefer a better image with dialogue coming from below (or above) the screen to better dialogue location but an inferior image.

Ricketty
 

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Kaoru,

You may want to review articles about acoustics in home theatres before settling on in-wall speakers. My HT is about the same dimensions as yours. We used free standing speakers, initially placed ~ 12 inches from the front wall. Experimenting with speaker position to maximize the clarity of dialogue has brought the speakers out ~ 40" from the front wall. It makes a surprising difference. Prior to experimenting with main, centre and sub positions, we typically had to turn the volume up and down throughout many movies to hear the dialogue clearly. When the dialogue was right in quiet scenes, the volume would be way too high in loud scenes. Master and Commander provided a great example -- with the volume set for clearly audible dialogue in the opening moments of the movie, it was deafening in the first battle sequence. We had to turn the volume down, and so couldn't hear the dialogue in that scene. Now that the speaker positions have been optimized, there's no need to fiddle with the volume controls during a movie - just set it and forget it in ~ 90% of the movies.

Ricketty
 
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