The home theater...


Staff member
Sep 12, 2023
North Ridgeville, OH
Vehicle Details
1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Posting this mostly at Trunk Monkey's request - but I suppose it'll be convenient for me to also catalog it someplace for myself to look upon in delight, if when I finish. :D

Even before I moved into the new house I had my eyes on what possibilities might be in store for the large, unfinished basement. The one room I wasn't going to compromise over was a proper home theater - and so I started sketching out designs. I had a good rough idea of the layout by the time we moved in about 6 weeks later, and ported my sketch into a crude Photoshop layout for scale.

After settling into the house (late last year) I had motivation again to more properly render the floor plan, so I started searching for platforms to do so from. I eventually settled on Homestyler - from there I was able to tweak the design according to the various codes as I learned about them, and confirm measurements/dimensions to the space I had. When it came time to submit the floor plans to the city for the permit application I used a copy of AutoCAD Architecture, which took me a little time to adapt to but the renderings are much cleaner.

With the permit with the building department I started off by applying Drylok Extreme to the walls - not as a waterproofer but more as a moisture barrier to reduce the possibility of condensation (and later, mold) forming up behind the insulation. After that I installed 2" extruded polystyrene insulation. With that done I installed the floor plates for the walls, then top plates. At this point I'm currently putting studs in between them. After that, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, drywall etc.

So enough about the basement as a whole. Let me detail the theater specifics...

The theater room is 19x14. Unfortunately about half the width of the ceiling has ductwork running the length of the room, so I had to build an 11" deep soffit to enclose it. The current plan is to have a dark gray ceiling, dark blue walls, and a medium gray/brown carpet. The front of the room is also up against the HVAC equipment, so I'm taking extra measures to soundproof the room. I installed 2x6 floor and ceiling plates to accommodate two, 2x3 walls with a 1/2" gap between them. I'll be using mineral wool insulation in the wall, and I'm also installing 1/8" vinyl to further isolate the drywall from the studs (wall and ceiling) and reduce sound transmission. From the calculations I've done the room should have an STC of about 60, which should prevent "shouting" from being audible on the other side. In actuality I'm more interested in keeping HVAC noises out of the theater than I am from keeping theater noises from penetrating the rest of the house - but I have to confess, that's a nice added bonus. :D

I've got a 120" 16:9 acoustically transparent screen (Elite Screens Aeon AUHD) on deck for the room, and I have an Epson 5040UB 4MP projector to pair with it. I already have a 7.1 THX certified speaker set and 4K ready receiver from Onkyo as well. I'm planning on building 8 or 10 inch deep shelves around where the screen will go, which will act as not only as storage, but as a clever way to build the screen away from the wall so I can hide the center channel speaker behind it. Furthermore it should be a good way to help conceal the fact that there's a soffit on half the ceiling. I'm also not dead-set on the total square footage, but right now it's looking like about 100 square feet of sound absorptive acoustical panels in the room (on the walls) to help keep room reverb down.

For seating I'm looking at the same type of motorized reclining seats you can find in some theaters nowadays. Eventually I'm looking to have two rows, one of four and one of five seats - but the darned things are like $700 a piece so it's not going to happen all at once.

Unfortunately there isn't a ton I can do about HVAC - there's barely enough room for me to install one 6" air return and feed vent in the room since I am putting the vents close to the floor and don't want to open up vents in the wall against the furnace (again, for noise prevention purposes).

For the lighting I'm installing four recessed lights in the ceiling, using dimmable LED lamps that have a selectable color temperature, and also feature a ringed "night light" around the trim giving a low glow. I'm also putting in four wall sconces with dimmable LEDs.

Just outside the theater there's an area I'll put some cabinets and a countertop in, for a microwave, mini-fridge, and snacks.

It'll be a little while before I have more updates regarding the construction in the theater itself, as I started there with the framing and now have the rest of the basement to frame up before I can move on to the next phases. My goal is to have all the framing done by the end of July, so I can tackle the plumbing for the bathroom, and electrical for the rest of the basement as a whole and transition to drywall for September. With a lot of elbow grease and even more motivation, I'll be able to meet my goal of having things finished up (at least enough to use the theater) by the end of the year.

Theater Wall-Temp0002.pnght-1.jpght-2.jpg
Well, a little update. I finished up with the framing a couple weeks ago and had the city inspector out two Fridays ago (the 2nd). This last week I focused on getting the remaining HVAC modifications done throughout the basement. I finished that up today and have transitioned into the water lines for the bathroom. My goal is to have those wrapped up by the end of this week so I can start with the electrical work next week. I'm not sure how long that will take, but I am more or less on track to start with drywall sometime in September. I've also started to consider hiring that part of the project out - there are a few folks I know/have been told to talk to about that, so I'll have to see what the estimates come in at. If they want more in labor than what I will pay for materials, I'll probably just suffer and do it myself. Or at the very least, I'll hang it myself and pay someone to do the joints.

In any case, since I know we all love photos of stuff, here are a few of the various rooms in their current states of disarray. It's a mess down there to be sure - I just move the various piles of stuff out of the way as I go from room to room. Forgive the lousy pictures - I had to use "panorama" mode on the phone camera to get the full 90 degree FOV for the rooms, and it wasn't very forgiving. The studs really aren't out of level THAT much... :rofl:


There's also a storage area and an "entry hall" which is really too big to be a hall, but too small to be its own room. I'll probably build shelves so I can display my collection of vintage ThinkPads.

As I go through the electrical I'll settle on what types of cabling to run from the AV receiver to the projector, and also from elsewhere in the basement/through the house to the AV receiver. At the very least, an HDMI from the PC in the office upstairs...
8/23/19 Update

Progress has been a little slow lately due to the chaos at work that erupted this and last week, but things are progressing. I finished the plumbing a few days ago and have been working through the electrical over the last week. I've got most of the boxes in place and have started with lighting circuits. I finished up the home theater lighting rough-in this evening and pulled the speaker wire I had (I grossly underestimated and have ordered another spool of speaker wire). I settled on the front speakers centered at 3'6" and the surround and rear speakers at 5'6". I was originally planning to try and recess the surround speakers into the walls a little but given the shallow cavity of your standard 2x4 wall and the desire I had to keep the speaker feed wallplate concealed behind the speaker, I'm just going to put a small shelf up to suspend them. The fronts I will be recessing - owing to the fact that I'll be building out the front wall 8-10" for storage.

I also decided on the rest of the low voltage plans for the basement. I'll be pulling a pair of Cat 6 to the workshop (one for an eventual sump pump alarm alert), three to the home theater (one for the projector, one for the receiver and one for the BD player), four to the den (two on each side of the wall - the idea is an active drop on each side and the other two that I can patch together if desired, to create an offline LAN for retro gaming without the need to run a cable across the floor). Based on the inputs to the projector itself (aside from the LAN feed), I'm just pulling a single HDMI 2.0 cable to it from the receiver. I was hoping to find an HDMI 2.1 cable for 8k compatibility down the road, but I couldn't find anything longer than 6' -- plus, the odds of me ever getting an 8k projector are slim-to-none. If I ever upgrade to native 4k, that'll be a minimum of 5-10 years down the road, depending on pricing. The route for the cable is relatively accessible with the construction, so if I need to replace it, add more later, or otherwise get at it, it will be feasible.

No pictures at the moment, but I imagine in 2-3 weeks I'll be getting my electrical handiwork inspected... then it'll be final insulation and soundproofing before drywall. I did find someone who will finish anything I hang for $.42/ft inc. materials... pretty seriously considering that route to save me time and guarantee a professional finish to the final product.
CDsDontBurn said:
Why don't you run an extra CAT6 cable to setup a dedicated WiFi access point. Being a basement I'd imagine whatever WiFi signal you have from your router upstairs will be weak / limited down in the basement once it's all completed.

That is a good idea. I'll have an extra 50' or so of wire on the 2nd spool that I'm buying to finish the regular 7.1 jacks, so I can at least put 2 runs in the ceiling. I also have a spool of a different type of speaker wire leftover from a different project a number of years ago, which should work for the other two runs... so I think I can make those four overhead speaker runs work.

As far as wireless signal, the router I have now is actually right above the home theater on the first floor, and I get 4-5 bars throughout the entire house (!). I'm running close to a dozen drops thoughout though - so if I do need another WAP down there... I'll be equipped. I'll estimate the cable length needed for all the drops I already know I want, then round up and get a spool of cable above that (e.g. if I need 300' I'll get a 500' box, then run more runs until I run out).

Now - Grog - where were you thinking the other end of the various audio cables you were suggesting would go to? With this being and enclosed and nearly soundproof room, there isn't much point in running audio cables in there from other rooms, since I'd be able to stream to it over the network anyway.

Well, an update on progress over the last couple months.

A few weeks ago I finished up the electrical and had the plumbing and electrical inspectors give me the OK; I had a buddy of mine who's a commercial electrician look it over ahead of time which gave me an opportunity to fix a few things for a first-inspection pass. I've been doing the soundproofing of key locations (mostly around the duct-covering soffits, home theater interior walls, and the mechanical utility room walls) and perimeter insulation over the Foamular since then, and should be finished with that either later tonight or by tomorrow evening. The current plan is to get the 38 sheets of 5/8" drywall I'll need for the ceilings this weekend... fortunately a neighbor of mine has a drywall hoist he's happy to let me use!

I did pull four more wires for overhead Atmos speakers, since it was only about $20 for another spool of the CL rated stuff I was using for the wall speakers. I originally was going to run Cat5e but decided it was in my best interests to upgrade to Cat6 so I could run 10 Gb/s Ethernet down the road if desired. So I returned the 5e and grabbed a 1000' spool of Cat6; I had more than enough to pull two drops at each location I had marked - and was able to add drops to 3 locations I hadn't planned on as well. I also ran another HDMI 2.0 cable from the location of the AV receiver up to the 1st floor office. Given the ways I could use my current setup, I don't see any reason to add more low voltage cabling.

I hauled the projector down and powered it up briefly so I could test picture throw from the location it's going to be mounted, so I could verify the mount would work. This was a concern of mine since the projector is going to be mounted where the ceiling is "full" height at the center of the room, and the soffit around the ducts is about 12" deep immediately adjacent to it on the right. If the projector lens was too high relative to the soffit, it would cast a shadow that would land at the top of the screen on the right -- which is going to be only about 2" under the soffit. Fortunately with the inexpensive-yet-highly-rated mount I was eyeing, the setup is just about ideal to have the projector as close to the ceiling as possible without having the soffit cast a shadow at the top of the image.

I've also done some reading and picked up a few tips on "better drywall hanging and taping" so I'm feeling more confident about being able to do all the work myself and finish with a suitably professional result. I was also thinking about the $1500 in labor I'd be saving by doing it myself, to be honest. :D

I need to finish putting in the last couple batts of insulation and use up the remaining two rolls of vinyl soundproofing, then clean up a tad to make room for the drywall. Once I do all that I'll post a couple pics. Speaking of the soundproofing... that stuff is way more effective than I thought it would be - and also way more of a pain to work with than I thought it would be too! The theater is adjacent to the mechanical utility room (furnace and water heater) but with all the soundproofing/insulation in, the furnace is no longer an impossible-to-ignore prominent sound but rather a quiet rumble - my guess is a sound reduction of 25-30 dB. It'll be even quieter once I hang the drywall. :)
The drywall hoist is along these lines, so I don't anticipate difficulty moving it.

OK, I was too lazy and impatient to not take a pic or two.


In reality I read that the HDMI cables I installed weren't good for some of the HDR formats I need to be able to use with the projector, so I hauled it down again and tested things out. Fortunately everything looks OK - the projector doesn't support 4:4:4 unfortunately but it is running at the max quality it does support, of 12 bit 4:2:2. I'll take it. I've still got one more roll of the vinyl soundproofing to hang (I'm fairly certain I'll use it on the other side of the wall adjacent to the furnace) and I found a couple areas I need to add blocks/braces to before ceiling drywall can go up. Slowly (very slowly) but surely...

I actually just finished hanging the ceiling drywall in there this evening. Sure makes a difference in the room! And holy smokes it made a big impact on sound isolation as well! My wife likes to listen to some tunes on occasion up on the 2nd floor directly above the theater, and before hanging the drywall I could fairly easily hear it through the ductwork (even with the insulation and vinyl). Not tonight though - I had no idea she was up there until I came up the stairs!

Now to hang the other 28 sheets in the rest of the basement, and tie off the minor odds-and-ends so I can get the wall drywall. Maybe in a couple weeks (or less if I can kick some butt on progress for once!).


OK - two weeks later, progress feels slow, motivation is hard to find, and time is scare... But I have all the drywall in the theater hung. :)


80 more sheets to go... :cry:

It's about 1200 square feet of finished space, plus utility closets; the theater is about 25% of that. I went through 39 sheets for the ceilings and I'm estimating about 100 for all the walls. Theater took 17 by itself, but it's also the largest and simplest room dimensionally.

On the bright side, I'm done with the 5/8" stuff! Amazing how much lighter and easier the 1/2" is to work with. The electrical utility closet and the north end of the foyer (where the kitchenette will go) is next.

Another couple weeks, and I finally have finished with load #1 of drywall, meaning I'm about halfway done with hanging everything. Plan to pick up another bunk of 34 tomorrow afternoon so I can continue the dirge...

This is the electrical utility closet and to the right is where I'll ultimately end up putting a few cabinets, a mini-fridge and counter/microwave for snacks. I'm thinking I'll also put shelves in, in this area in general to supplement the movie storage I'll have in the theater itself.

Yeah, there's about 35 or so low voltage (cat6/RG58/HDMI) cables in there which I'll need a patch panel and rack for. :)

Grog6 said:
If you put in light dimming capability, you need to make sure is doesn't generate noise; way back in the 80's I helped build a studio, and found out that Triac based dimmers are the devil to high fidelity, lol.

It's a detail, but you don't want to hear 120Hz and 180Hz harmonics on everything, believe me.


Yeah - I did do my best to make sure the low voltage stuff was plenty far away from the 120v. We'll see how that goes in a few months...

So after a nearly 1-month hiatus I finally found the impetus to start on the next bunk of greenboard, which my brother and I procured in the middle of November. Looks like one more full bunk and I'll be able to finish - then the guy I found who will tape and sand for me can do his thing. My goal is to start paint at the end of January or beginning of February... :)


It's a basement, so all the walls are getting the green board. Despite having good air circulation, no moisture problems, and plenty of preventive measures to prevent flooding - I don't want any mold growing on the drywall. :)

Well, finally finished hanging the drywall tonight. I have enough scraps and leftovers to put some up in areas I hadn't counted on it (inside the mechanical utility room) for more sound isolation, so I'm pleased. This weekend and the coming week will be putting up the cornerbead and then cleaning up the scraps I can't use, then hopefully the guy I'm having come in to tape and sand can start the week after that. If he can finish in 2 weeks like he initially estimated, that means I can start painting at the end of the month, right on target with my earlier goal.

I want to have this done by the 1-year mark on the building permit (April 11)... the way things are shaping up, that should be doable. Assuming I can have all the painting and floors in by early/mid-March, I will have enough time for the final light/plumbing fixtures, doors and baseboard mouldings ahead of the deadline.
Trunk Monkey said:
Awesome! Post more pictures as you get closer to finishing. Not to hijack your thread but I thought you might like to see some pictures of how my home theater looks. Here are some pictures of my theater room from 2005 when I last worked on it. This is the riser platform that I built for stadium seating It's a 2x6 on top of a 2x4 for 10" of lift. I filled it with unbacked insulation for sound damping and then had it carpeted to match the room. The room never became a home theater as I put the money into the car instead of finishing the room. I've also held off on the electronics because they change so rapidly. State of the art in 2005 is ancient by today's standards. It's basically done, all I need to do is add the electronics and chairs. For sound I have many, many Infinity speakers that I bought when I was in the Army. I just need to buy a modern receiver to drive them all.

For now my wife has filled the room with EVERYTHING and is using it for overflow storage in the house.

Oh I certainly will! I'll take a bunch of pics of all the rooms after I finish the cornerbead and clear everything out, then more as he tapes and sands. I've got a bunch of pics of various odds-and-ends as I was working too so I'll assemble some kind of album for posterity.

Is yours a finshed attic? A friend of mine from the early/mid 2000s did a theater in their home build at the time as well and had built-in risers. I was going to do that but because of my restricted ceiling height on half the room, I opted for seats that had a platform built in to them for the 2nd row. We'll see how well that works out later this year!
Trunk Monkey said:
It's the bonus room over the garage. Which is nice. I have pretty good access to all sides of the room from the exterior of the room via the ceiling of the garage, the attic and a good size crawl space across the back of the house to run wires or recess speakers into the walls and ceiling later when I'm ready to upgrade.


Time for an update.

As the drywall guy was doing his thing I took the time to punch down all the data lines in the electrical closet and throughout the basement. I'll label everything up nicely tomorrow after I get my labeler from work...


This morning he did the ceiling texture, and this evening I put up the light fixtures. Tomorrow he'll be back to finish by sanding the walls.... after which I'll start taping along the ceiling so I can start painting. Just managed to make my goal to begin by the end of the month. :)

Den (vintage computer game room/spare bedroom if needed - storage at back, workshop on right, bathroom behind)


Snack bar (left) leading to theater and foyer (right) leading to den


Storage area (den on right)


Workshop (den behind)


And the theater. I am painting the ceiling dark blue - hence the recessed lights are out still.


As to the low-voltage stuff, the jacks are just F-connector couplers and black cat5e keystone jacks in a keystone patch panel:


Progress has really picked up. I'll be done painting probably Tuesday night, and will be able to schedule the final electrical inspection for Wednesday. :znanner:

Got all the electrical done in the theater except the speaker plates for the speakers which are still enroute. The sconces kick up the "theater" feeling quite a bit. Last bits include the shelves and screen up front, carpet then some acoustical panels to kill the reverb.


This one the wife snapped as I was tinning the speaker wires for the 7.1 connections up front...


Up front in total there's two cat6 Ethernet, one HDMI 2.0 to the projector and one HDMI 2.0 to the home office upstairs. Then there's the 7.1 connections and the 4 overhead speaker wires for Atmos if ever I upgrade.
Grog6 said:

I've stopped tinning wires in the last few years; the crimp ferrules are strain relieved, and fast and easy to do, so I use those.


Remember to crimp the plastic part too; that's the strain relief. :)


Kicking it into high gear these last couple weeks! Got everything painted in roughly a week (including having to repaint the bathroom due to the color not working out as we had anticipated) and the final electrical went smoothly, as planned/on schedule last Wednesday. After that I quickly moved to getting the bathroom finished up which as of tonight is all but done, aside from doors and trim. The theater is also ready for me to build the shelves and I've been thinking harder about the execution and design as I've been laying the floors. Seems like motivation is easier to find now that I'm finally in the finishing stages!

The panoramics look goofy sometimes, but I think it's the easiest way to get the whole room into one image. :)



New milestone achieved - I finished the floors a short while ago. I am going to head out and get the bits to lay the bases of the built-in storage for the front of the theater this evening and get that out of the way next, then next week will be building the shelves/bookcases themselves.

I spent a couple hours putting together the frame for the screen and triple-checking my measurements and designs; I am having to make a minor alteration to my original plan by not having the entire lower section be "deep" shelving. I will have just the center sections under the screen be deep, and the two outermost sections will all be the shallower depth. This was necessitated merely by the fact that I can't find long enough pieces of the wood I intend to use at the top of the lower section.

I have no idea how long it will take to build the shelves, but if I can have that done in the next 2 weeks, I will be happy. I will also be sanding down and finishing the stairs to match. Once that's out of the way, all that will remain is the carpet in the theater, then finally doors and trim. :)

Almost done with getting the plywood ready. Since it's going to be a few days of waiting for the polyurethane to cure before I can start cutting and assembling, I re-did my rendering in AutoCAD so I could more easily reference measurements, showing the design changes since initial concept...

20 degrees with 40 MPH wind gusts outside, and 68 degrees in the garage. :cool:


Two-week progress update. Short version - I should have the theater ready for a test-run this weekend - despite there being a few things left to do before being completely finished overall.

Long(er) version - I have the shelves assembled and in place, and tonight finished the polyurethane application on the stiles/aprons/valances. I also stripped, stained, and urethaned the stairs as well.

Here is where I left off in the theater last week, before I started on the stairs. Not shown is the top of the bottom shelves which is currently sitting atop but not fixed in place. I am pretty sure I measured right to have enough clearance for the subwoofer after the carpet goes in - but given the ease of the installation I'm waiting until then verify it fits before I glue it down.


In rough order of next steps - paint the stairwell trim, cut/install the finish woodwork for the shelves, hang the center speaker support shelf, then finish assembling and hang the screen. At that point the theater will be ready, aside from the carpet and baseboard trim, which is scheduled for next Friday.

Once the theater is done, the last steps are hanging doors and baseboard trim all around. I should be finished before Easter. :)

Well, basically finished this thing last night!

I finished assembling the screen, installed the rest of the speakers and did all the intermediate wiring, then installed the AV receiver and BD player. I tested 4K signal as well as a couple 3D titles I had, and was ... well, pretty much blown away by the experience even with the room basically being an echo chamber with a concrete slab floor (no carpet yet) and no furniture.

I ended up being delayed to "completion" since I was short one length of 1x2, so I had to acquire another then stain and poly it over the last couple days. Tonight it was dry/cured just enough for me to cut and install it - so I am done with the front of the theater now. I also picked up the majority of the doors for down there and installed a few of them, though the theater door I need to cut about 2" off so it fits under the soffit. I'll probably move our spare sofa down there tomorrow so we can give it an "unofficial" launch, before next weekend. By then I'll have the other doors installed too.


As planned, the center channel fits perfectly behind the screen. :)


We've been using the theater most nights now that the carpet is in and I've moved our library down there. We watched a couple films we'd seen many times (e.g. Back to the Future) and we both noticed lines of dialogue or SFX we'd never heard before. 7.1 is great. :)

I put the door casings in and plan to start painting the baseboards tonight to get them mostly installed this week.


I'm still waiting on the 3 special-order, 14" doors for the closets in other areas of the basement. Once those come in, I can put the rest of the door casings on and finish the baseboards. Once that's done... I'm ready for the final inspection!

The plan for seating is a row of 4 at the front, and then a row of 5 for the back. The front seats will be curved, and the back will be straight. The back will be sitting on an 8" platform. Here are the seats I will be getting. And at that price, you can see why it hasn't happened yet!

Trunk Monkey said:
Love those seats! Seats are next on my home theater list as well. May be next year. I've got flooring to pay for this year.

In my home theater I painted the side of the entry door that faces into the room the same color as the walls (color matched).

May I suggest switching out the light switch for black switches and face plate as well. It looks like you've already done the outlets in black.

Hah, I got the same question from my wife about the switches too!

I did do them the lighter color with a purpose though. I figured I'd need to be able to find the switches easily in the dark, so that's why they're light almond unlike the outlets. Interesting about the door though, I'll have to give that some thought.
Trunk Monkey said:
To be specific, I color matched the door and door frame to the walls.

What color are you painting the base boards? Same as the walls, white or black? I'd recommend black. That's on the to-do list for my own home theater.

RalphP said:
You used to be able to buy switches with neon lamps in the handles; maybe a small low level LED right under the switch?

Or this:

Black faceplates, but white/lit switch handles.

May be too late to run the neutral to the switch for the light, though.

But maybe just replace the faceplates so all that shows up is the handle?


Trunk Monkey said:
have a Black Lutron Maestro in my home theater. It's a variable dimmer switch with small leds on it. You can get them at Home Depot. It's perfect if you want just a bit of background light. Get a set of these. You can thank me later. :LOL:

Other versions are available.

Grog6 said:
Dimmer switches are known to inject noise into audio, so crank them to half setting, crank up the audio with no input, and see if you can hear the buzz thru the speakers.

Hahaha guys, thanks for all the tips.

The switches are already dimmers - Lutron Toggler C.L Dimmer Switch for Dimmable LED, Halogen and Incandescent Bulbs, Single-Pole or 3-Way, Light Almond-TGCL-153PH-LA - The Home Depot are what I used. The wall sconces don't make any noise when dimmed, but the recessed lights do (the lights themselves buzz and get louder when dimmed - not the speakers). Those don't get used if we're watching anything. I went a little out of my way to make sure the 120V feeds for the lights were nowhere near the speaker wire. The RS and RSR speakers do cross by where the high voltage lines run where they go up into the ceiling but they don't run parallel and they are several inches from physical contact - I have never noticed any noise from the speakers with any of the lights on or off.

I will speak with the wife about painting the baseboards the same color as the ceiling. I don't have enough of that paint left however to do much of anything aside from touch ups (it was a VERY close 1 gallon to put 2 coats on the ceiling) so I wouldn't be able to get more paint until the state lifts the stay-at-home lockdown for non-essential travel. Plus I kind of like the way it looks in white with the contrast, but I do admit I need to consider the application of the room into account a little more with the colors! I'm still not sure if I'll change how I have the door, but I'll see what she says on that as well. In the end I would be happy with it either way I think.

I got 30/40 of the remaining trimpieces I have here painted last night. I'm waiting another day for them to cure before I cut and install them. I was going to start by putting the baseboards in the theater but I guess with this question of color, it makes sense to start in another room until that's decided.


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Grog6 said:
Dimmers are made from a device called a Triac.

They work by turning on the ac waveform for part of a cycle; 50% on makes a nice 180Hz noise on all the ac lines.

Audio lines ran nearby can pick it up, and amplify it.

If you can't hear it, it's fine.

If you hear a bzzz, hmm, bzz, bzzz working it's way thru your audio, that's the source. :)


After an extended period of doing, well, nothing, I finally got some energy to move on towards the finish line the last few days.

I got the last of the trim installed tonight. Baseboards, remaining door casings, the toe kicks under the cabinets/bookshelves... For all intents and purposes the real construction is done. :D

I'll post a few pics or something in a day or two, after I've had a chance to clean up all the remaining trash/tools etc. down there.

My list of what's left to do is pretty short, all things considered.

1) Fill nail holes
2) Touch-up paint
3) Reinforce counter mount
4) Covering for the top of the sump pump box
-- can do after inspection --
5) Install wire shelves in closets:
a) base of stairs
b) bathroom
c) walk-in
6) Opt. solid shelves in foyer:
a) above cold air return near den door
b) on wall against bathroom
7) cabinets and countertop in workshop

OK, here are some pics of "done". Still need to set up furniture and stuff, but that comes after the inspection this week - and as finances permit.


I picked up some shelving and set it up downstairs this weekend. Most of what I am doing now revolves around getting the gaming room/den set up, so today I got the CRT set up with all the CRT-era consoles and titles. I also moved the old PC titles for when I can get them set up. I have my eyes on a couple PC tables for later which will go on the other side of the room. Fortuitously, the TV cabinet I picked up off Craigslist right after we moved in 2 years ago is a great match to the floor!

With the theater currently holding the reclining loveseat hostage until the theater seats can be bought, I will need to come up with something for the gaming room that isn't quite as tacky as folding lawn chairs. :ROFLMAO:


Yeah, I was a Nintendo kid growing up. :)
Grog6 said:
I need to find you one of the gold connectors I have; you'd actually use it. :)

I bought 20 of those in 1993, and sold almost all of them in a year.

Everything is looking Great!

Any teething issues?
What was the first movie you watched?

Nope, everything works exactly how I intended it to! I do have (on the long list) plans to build and hang a few acoustical panels in the room to get the reverb down even more, but it's acceptable as-is; with the extra chairs going in I may not need it (I will measure it before I add any more dampening materials)

Oh gosh... I think the first thing I watched was Endgame. The "official" first watching party (whenever that happens) I think will be LoTR.
Grog6 said:
need to watch those again; the last time I watched them all together was when I was down with the flu a few years back.

In a fever, I watched LotR, Aliens Box Set, and The Derek Flint Collection.

Unfortunately, I seem to remember Flint shooting Sauron, and blowing up his island.

And Gollum busting out of someones chest and grabbing the ring.

Like I said, need to watch those again, lol.

I've seen them so many times I can probably map out the sequence of events, scene for scene, from memory. Not that I'd want to. Even for films like that though, seeing them in the theater is such a different experience that makes it worth re-watching anything. :)

I've been slowly accumulating Blu-rays of titles I've had DVDs of for a while, but something I've heard you mention in the past is how the Matrix looks on DVD vs. Blu-ray. I think I'll leave my DVDs of those alone.
Grog6 said:
I was disappointed by the Matrix Blu-ray; I could see every effect, and the CGI Neo in some of the fight scenes ruined it for me.

The DVD is perfect; I've had it since 99, and never noticed anything different than the Theater.


First row of seats arrived today. I had to disconnect the blue LEDs they wired in to light up the floor in front of the seats though - it was not only BRIGHT but also the perfect shade of blue to make your eyes seriously hurt in such a dark room. No idea who thought it was a good idea to do that on "theater" seats.... fortunately they were easily disconnected using a typical M/F low voltage barrel coupler in the cable. Now it's off to the store to get a power strip to tidy up the power cables....

It's not spacious on either side to get to the back, but it's enough room (esp. if you're headed for the door). A row of 5 straight should fit perfectly in the back. Maybe later this year? :)

Next task will be building a handful of acoustical panels to hang on the walls to get the higher frequency reverb coefficients down. The carpet and seats help a lot but the reverb time is still twice what it should be.


Finished the "mini" project to build and hang the acoustical panels this weekend. The reverb is down noticeably but not substantially - what's really noticeable is the improved directional imaging from the various speakers. I put two behind the screen on either side of the center channel, two on the front sides to absorb reflections from l/c/r speakers, and two on the back wall.

I ordered some "mini" 11x17 posters for the snack lounge outside the theater, hopefully those arrive in the next week or so.

I'm years from an Atmos setup... I need to find good in-ceiling speakers first, then get a compatible receiver. Not high on the list at the moment though. Next is measuring noise attenuation between the utility room and the theater, then I'll hang the last of the noise isolation materials I have left over (the last of the 1/8" vinyl and a few leftover sheets of drywall) to see what happens. My hope is another 3-5 dB of attenuation; I'll let my hardware tell me what happens.

The current situation is essentially the final vision. It seems a little out of balance with no acoustical panels on either side wall towards the back; maybe someday my OCD will compel me to put something there to even things out. Maybe after the back row of seats gets ordered.


Well, I got off my rear and whipped out my recording equipment and set up a mic in the utility room in preparation of adding the leftover materials I had. At the arbitrarily high gain I set on my equipment, I measured about -14 dB RMS or -19 LUFS in there with the furnace going.

In the theater, before hanging the final layer of vinyl and drywall, I measured -29 dB RMS or -34 LUFS. After the final layer of drywall and vinyl, I measured -31 dB RMS or -36 LUFS. With everything off, it's -40 dB RMS or -53 LUFS.

Not a huge improvement, but certainly measurable at a solid 2 dB of additional isolation. There was an obvious difference in the waveform and frequency response as well. I've attached a spectral analysis of the various states. Red is all off, purple is inside the utility room. Yellow is before the extra layer of vinyl and drywall and green is everything hung.


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