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New home theater: Flooring, speaker layout, Atmos feedback needed

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by rbstern, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. rbstern

    rbstern Auditioning

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    Howdy. New to this forum. Looks like a great resource with lots of helpful folks. Pardon the lengthy intro, but I figure it will save some Q&A to get helpful feedback.

    I'm not new to home theater. Have built 5.1 and 7.1 setups in previous homes. Building a new home, and I have a blank slate to work with in the new basement. Room is 31L x 19W x 9H. Likely layout shown below.


    In addition to being a home theater, this room will be a pass thru to a back patio for outdoor R&R. The wife and I have discussed that we'd like to use a low maintenance tile or engineered wood floor for the area to the left and behind the seating, and carpet for the seating area (indicated in gray), to better manage inevitable dust and dirt tracking and keeping it out of the home theater seating area.

    In my previous 7.1 basement theater, the room was carpeted, the walls (drywall) had some odd angled soffits concealing HVAC ductwork. The net result was outstanding sound quality. I'd like to achieve that again, but the concept of a hard flooring surface, even in only part of the room, has me a bit nervous.

    Also, due to the room's shape, with the projection of the image onto a wall shared with the mechanical room, the side speaker layout will have one set of speakers about 4 feet further away from the seating than the other side. Can I assume this can be handled well with the receiver settings for speaker distances, either via automated mic setup or manual setup inputs?

    Also, trying to decide if I want to invest in Atmos. We loved the 7.1 sound we had in the last house. Trying to decide if the investment in 9 or 11 channel Atmos capability is a worthwhile upgrade. A nearby lightning strike killed the HDMI out on my Onkyo TX-NR626, so I'm in the market for a new receiver.

    Other, miscellaneous comment/questions about the project:

    - Projector will likely be a basic 1080P DLP (BenQ, Optoma, or similar) optimized for brightness rather than cinema darks. Our home theater use is characterized by a lot of TV and sports viewing use, as well as movies. We'll have reasonable exterior light control, but it won't be perfectly dark during daylight, and we're fine with that.

    - Screen size will be about 110" diagonal.

    - Walls and ceiling will be 1/2" drywall.

    - The joists above the room are an open web truss system, so there are no obstructions hanging from the ceiling. If I need to add any of diffusion shapes to the sheet rock, that can be done easily enough with a 9' ceiling.

    - I'll dedicate a 20 amp circuit to the setup. Any thoughts on better lightning protection for that circuit?

    - Receiver, satellite box, media player will either be in the mechanical room indicated on the diagram, or a chimney alcove at the back of the room, with an IR relay at the front of the room.

    - 2nd row of seating will be on a raised, carpeted platform. We'll probably have a bar height table and stools behind the 2nd row.

    Thanks in advance for any input!
     
  2. Bob Bielski

    Bob Bielski Second Unit

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    I would suggest reading Building a home theater start here. It is a forum by Brian Dobbs. It contains just about everything you may need to get the best out of your room.
    I would try to balance the seating area, not off to one side. I wouldn't trust room correction software to compensate for the difference in distance left to right. By that I mean the mic on the receiver auto measure. Heavy thick carpet all around is what I would do to adsorb the floor reflections. You could always use runners in the area you want to do hardwood. Place them over the carpet and heavy traffic won't ruin the carpet underneath.
    Atmos sound is struggling just yet. Alot of the mastering is just manipulating 5.1.
    Last article in Widescreen Review about shortcomings talked about original masters not being object based.
    I have Atmos in a 5.4.1 setup. In order to really appreciate the capabilities ALL speakers should be the same.
    http://www.dolby.com/us/en/technologies/dolby-atmos/dolby-atmos-home-theater-installation-guidelines.pdf
    Good luck on your theater and make sure you post the progress.
     
  3. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Lead Actor
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    I would consider installing a solid single door centered on that wall so you still have access to the yard. One it would be much better for light control with projection. Two you could center your room which I agree with Bob on. And three your bound to get horrible sound reflections off the glass unless you use some heavy drapes in the back.

    I would turn the room into a dedicated room and wall off the access to the back yard unless one of the side walls is open for having a single door put in. Then you could flip the layout and have the scree on the wall where the sliding glass door is and you could also center your seats to the screen, just a thought.

    Have you looked into or considered the Faux K quasi 4K projectors? And I also believe Sony has a 4K projector in the $2k range have you considered that. I only say that because you will get the best picture and not have to spend more money down the road upgrading your projector again. The gain in resolution and color gamete at your screen size is really worth jumping up from 1080p and I bet you would not regret do so after making the jump to 4K. At least look into it before making your final decision.

    I would say yes! Sorry to hear about your Onkyo but if your in the market for a new receiver I would step up to a nice receiver with HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 4K switching and Dolby Atmos and DTS-X. What is your budget on your receiver? I am currently upgrading my older Pioneer Elite SC-05 to a Marantz SR-8012 which is also one of the few receivers out there with Auro 3D immersive audio to go along with Dolby Atmos and DTS-X and one of the few to offer an HDMI board upgrade to HDMI 2.1.

    Here are some brand recommendations:
    Marantz
    Denon
    Integra
    Yamaha Aventage
    Sony ES
    Onkyo

    Good luck on your project and I would love to see updated photos.
     
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  4. rbstern

    rbstern Auditioning

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    Appreciate all of the comments, gents.

    1080p is pretty much a done deal, as is the general layout of the room. The idea here isn't to create the perfect home theater room. The room has to serve more purposes than that. It's a large-format TV watching room that also serves well for watching movies.

    As much as I like 4K technology, my aging eyes don't see that level of detail at normal viewing distances. I can tell the difference between 720p and 1080p, but unless I am close, the 4K picture difference is lost on me. Yes, I could wear glasses to watch, but I completely enjoy 1080p resolution without eyesight correction. So does the wife. We're 1080p people. :)

    The budget on the receiver is: As little as I can get away with, but I'd probably go to $700 or so if I go with one of the entry level 9 channel units from Onkyo or Pioneer.

    Speakers will be at least some holdovers from previous theater: 3 Martin Logan Vignettes for the fronts, along with a BIC 12" sub. If I can find some reasonable, used Vignettes, I may match them for sides and rear. Not sure what I will do in the ceiling if I go 7.1.2. Probably just some basic 6.5" rounds from Klipsch or Polk.
     
  5. Bob Bielski

    Bob Bielski Second Unit

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    Klipsch is the way to save amplifier money. They are super efficient. I will send you a link tomorrow about Klipsch.
     
  6. Bob Bielski

    Bob Bielski Second Unit

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    Sorry for the long delay. Here is a link that is super informative about horn loaded speakers, efficiency, and amps. I hope it will help you.
    Figured the whole page rather than just Klipsch information would be more beneficial to you.
    http://www.hps4000.com/pages/spks_amps_.html
     
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  7. rbstern

    rbstern Auditioning

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    Thanks for the link!
     
  8. Bob Bielski

    Bob Bielski Second Unit

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    My pleasure
     

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