Pg 1- Background and The Plan

3/10/10 - Converted website to CSS and XHTML 1.0 Transitional and will begin updating with new content

4/10/08 - Added pages 23 through 27

4/10/06 - I’m back at working on both the home theater and this website. I’ve corrected spelling and grammar, but otherwise left these pages as I wroTe them at the time even though my knowledge has increased and I now know some things were incorrect.  I’d like to thank AVS Forum and its members who share their broad and deep knowledge and experience freely. In my opinion, it is THE most valuable home theater resource for anyone wanting to know anything more than how to use their components’ power switches.  Thanks David & Alan!

FALL ‘03 - Thanks for stopping by. My purpose with this site is to document the upgrading of my home theater and hopefully aid others who are sorting through their own home theater construction/renovation project. I'm a DIY kind of guy who's equally handy with a saw, a soldering iron or a sound level meter. I'm not saying that what I'm doing couldn't be done better by a professional; it likely could. But then it would cost more and I wouldn't get the enjoyment!

Background - When I built this house in 1990, this type of room was known as a “media room.” At the time, I researched and settled on certain dimensions - nominally 13' wide x 21' long x 8' high - and no parallel surfaces. The floor is level and there is a right angle in the front right corner, but the ceiling slopes upward by one degree toward the back of the room, and the left and rear walls are vertical but kicked one degree so that the room is wider in the rear than the front and longer on the left side than the right. The thinking - my thinking - was that this would eliminate slap echo and maybe even room modes. I can attest that there is no slap echo, but as of now I have never done any acoustical measurements and do not know about modes. I plan on using Acoustisoft's ETF 5 PC-based acoustic measurement system and will know before this is all over whether or not my crooked walls helped or hurt. A a very helpful contact at THX predicted that it will change the "Q" and widen the bass nodes.

Initial Goal - Upgrade my 5.1 system to 7.1 and improve acoustics with flat LF reseponse and appropriate reverberation time, move from a floor standing front projector to a ceiling mounted one, clean up the front by moving the visually distracting pre/pro and sources to rear of room and install comfortable seating with a second row riser.

Equipment - The only gear from my previous HT system making it into the new setup is the 5.0 speaker system consisting of M&K S-150 THX Ultra LCR speakers and M&K SS-150 THX Ultra "Tripole" surrounds. (The previous ".1" was two M&K subs that are now part of a PC 5.1 sound system and a downstairs stereo system.) I purchased two more SS-150's on ebay for rear surrounds. One feature I like about the SS-150 Tripoles is that they can be wired for monopole or dipole operation or a blend thereof. Following THX's recommendation, I will configure the side surrounds as dipoles and the rears as monopoles. The 7-channel amp to drive the M&K's is the new ATI 2007. My new .1 is the Dual Powered Hsu Research TN-1220HO Subwoofers. The preamp/surround processor is an Integra Research RDC-7. I am expecting this system to kick major butt. There is one more "old" component making the new system - a Pioneer Elite CLD-99 Laserdisc player. DVD and OTA HDTV sources will be handled by an HTPC. (more on that later) My cable company is also offering Hi-Def. My screen is a 92" wide Stewart Filmscreen Firehawk with THX microperf. I expect the projector to be the Sony VPL-HS20 LCD front projector, but that has not yet been purchased.

Construction - In order to accommodate the screen size I wanted, the center channel speaker has to be located BEHIND the screen. That detail impacted equipment selection - the microperfed screen - and construction. A false wall is needed to hold the screen in front of the speaker. Additionally, THX specs 10" - 12" between screen and speaker. They allow as little as 6" but spec 2" of acoustical fiberglass be affixed to the face of the speaker to minimize sound reflections between screen and speaker face. Because every additional inch encroaches into my room (pushing back my seating), I'm going to have somewhere over 8". I will also add the fiberglass to the face. In fact, the entire cavity behind the false wall will be lined with 2" thick Johns Manville Linacoustic. Also behind the wall (but not the screen) are L & R speakers. Since there is no space requirement between them and the "grill cloth" they will be stood off from the (real) wall to within a fraction of an inch of the grill cloth. Rounding out the gear behind the false wall is the ATI amp, the subs and the sub amp.

On to the "before" pictures ...

before pic 1My previous setup had black felt on the front wall and acoustical foam on the ceiling in an attempt to eliminate first reflections from those points. In foreground under the cabinet you can see the circa 1986 Kloss Videobeam 2000. In the lower right corner is the box that it was loaded into before going into the dumpster. In the front right corner of the room is the 78" curved screen.

I promise this pic is no indication of how the finished project will look. In recent years this room has been used for storage and computer building.
before pic 2Same mess, different angle.
edges paintedThe beginning of a major renovation is under way!

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