Barfle's Bonus Room Bijou

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barfle

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I've mentioned the fact that I'm building a media room in my new (to me) house near Boise, ID. @Sonik Wiz asked for some pictures, and I replied that I would start a build thread if I could figure out where it belonged. This is my best guess, so, dear mods, if it's wrong, I'll accept the blame and repost as directed.

In the meantime, I had started a build thread on AVS Forum a while back, and here are the posts from then.

Originally posted on 10/7/2019:

So, hello, everyone.

I'm building my second home theater. My first one was in our home in Virginia, but I always kept in mind that it was a bedroom and we had to sell the house with it as a functioning bedroom, so it wasn't really a dedicated room.

About a year and a half ago, we sold our house in Virginia (with a bedroom, not a theater) and moved to the Boise, Idaho area. We purchased our house about six months ago, but didn't move in until the kitchen was completely remodeled, so we've been in this place for about three months.

Above the three-car garage is a bonus room, which shares no walls with any other rooms in the house. So sound isolation is not likely to be a big issue, although I am going to float the floor.

The first picture is of the room from the on-line listing. It's 21 feet long and 12 feet wide, with a maximum ceiling height of 7.5'. Of course, there are two large windows in the far wall that are going to have to be addressed, and since they are on the front of the house, the HOA isn't going to speedily approve getting rid of them, so I have a plan to turn that end of the room into a small computer room and electronics shop.

What's not shown in the listing picture is the closet, probably right at the photographer's right shoulder. And it also doesn't show the doorway, which is smack-dab in the middle of the wall opposite the windows. I figured moving that doorway to offset it wouldn't be much of an issue, but when I removed the closet and the drywall from that wall, I found that the doorway isn't going to move. (second picture).

My original thought was to move the doorway so it was to the left of the existing doorway, with shelves for media and gear along the wall on the left, with seating to the right,but since I can't move the doorway without collapsing the whole room into the garage, I decided to change that plan.

Now, the shelves will be on the right of the room (left if you're seated facing the screen) and a riser for a second row of seating will act as a guide around the second row, between the shelves and the seating.

When we were having the kitchen remodeled, I had the electrician run two 20Amp lines into the crawl space beside the room. I'll be using those lines for the AV gear, and the existing 15Amp service for the lights and ancillary use.

I've started building the walls separating the theater from the shop (picture 3). Although the perspective isn't all that wonderful, the larger area to the left is the "stage" area, where I'll have my 60" Samsung TV and three Emotiva Pro Stealth 8 front speakers, which will be behind panels made of speaker cloth. I did that in Virginia and it worked well.

The electronics shop and computer room will be behind that wall. I'm not too worried about sound leaking into that room, primarily because if I'm using the theater, I probably won't be using the shop. I've already added lights to that area. You can see the can in picture 4. As I write this, I'm sitting at that desk. The lighting is excellent, but there's a way to go.

One issue is with the HVAC in the room. Because there was a closet in the corner of the room, the cold-air return grille is right in the middle of the right-side wall (facing the screen). That needs to be moved behind the second row of seats, and I need to add an outlet to the theater, since the original one is now in my little, tiny shop area. Parts are on order.


I'm doing almost all of the work myself. I probably won't do the carpeting, but as a retired AV engineer, I'm reasonably competent with the technology, I'm not half bad with studs and drywall, and I'm also a reasonable cabinet maker.

I'm planning on installing speakers to make a 7.1.4 system, although I won't be driving the Atmos speakers just yet, but since I'm making this a dedicated room (or two), I figure I'll get started on the stuff I don't yet have.

Outside the doorway, there's a short hallway with a hollow-core door to the rest of the house. There is a wall in that hallway that is common with the master bedroom. I'm presently planning on putting a soundproof door in the visible doorway, but that may not happen in build 1.0 either.

Right now, the goal is to watch the Rose Parade in a finished, comfortable room. Let's see how it all goes.

Theater 1.jpg
Theater 2.jpg
Theater 3.jpg
Theater 4.jpg
 

barfle

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Meridian, ID
Originally posted on 12/13/2019:

So, yeah, it's been a while for the first update to my build, but as you can see, I've been fairly busy. First, I completed the wall between the theater and the computer room/electronics shop. It's drywall in the shop side and bare insulation on the theater side. The space there will be the "stage" for the screen and the front three speakers (already purchased and were in use in my theater in Virginia). I left most of the insulation exposed to expand the virtual volume of the space. The front of the stage area will eventually be covered in panels of dark brown speaker grill cloth.

I put in the anti-static flooring in the computer room (advice here - keep the glue THIN! - it seeps up between the tiles for weeks!), grounded it and it looks pretty decent. My wife painted the walls and ceiling, including the access panel to the attic space (which I've already used quite a bit, and will be doing more of when I do the Atmos speakers and lighting). The tension-pole shelving is a set that I've owned for almost 50 years, it being an important element in my bachelor pad in the 1969 and the early 1970s. It's brand name is "Omni" and the verticals are aluminum extrusions with system to clamp shelves and cabinets into the grooves in the extrusions. The cabinet on the left is an original purchase that I modified by removing the sliding doors and adding the vertical panel so I could house a mini-tower Linux PC, with a shelf to hold two printers - a laser and an ink-jet that prints CDs and other optical media. The scanner is on top of the cabinet.

Above that is a shelf holding the "air-print" printer necessary for ipad printing. Apple is their own particular attachment to Satan. The top shelf will eventually hold another cabinet, fabricated from another of the original Omni cabinets, but I'll have to cut it way down because the roof line encroaches on the available space. I'll be keeping printer supplies like paper, ink, and blank CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays in there. But that's pretty far down the list. Probably be done in 2020, but I've proven myself a lousy fortune teller.

On the right is my primary PC, which I assembled myself and I'm reasonably satisfied with. It has an M-disc compatible blu-ray burner, along with several drives and decent video output. I'm using it right now to post this message. I built the desk top out of three pieces of redwood 2x8s that I cleaned up, stained, and coated with urethane. It came out pretty good for my first shot. There's a keyboard/mouse tray mounted underneath it that I found one day about 20 years ago while dumpster-diving in an office building that was being rebuilt for a new lessee. I have some Boston Acoustic speakers and an Acer 21" monitor, with a KVMA switch so I can use my tower, my laptop, or my Linux box. The laptop is on the shelf above the monitor, and above that are the cable router and my drobo NAS box. It's all up and running, although the CPU fan in the Linux box fell off in the move from Virginia. Not hard to put back on (since I installed it in the first place), but a bit concerning that it made good contact with the CPU. It's been running for four days, doing BOINC work, and other than updates, it hasn't rebooted. So far, so good.

On the theater side of the wall, you can see that I've moved the cold-air return toward the back of the wall. I still need to install a warm-air outlet in the room, since the original one is actually in the computer room and will be closed off once I build the door between the rooms. I'll be using the riser to diffuse the flow of a air, hopefully making it nice and quiet. One more thing I've never tried before. I've also drywalled the space where I took out the closet, and added insulation and drywalled the back wall. There is a 16 ga. cable for the back surround speaker already poking out of the wall, but I have the rest of the speaker cables to run.

The next steps are to install the Atmos speakers, then the ceiling lights (mostly so I can see to clean up in there, since there will be zero natural light in the room).

No, I'm not going to get to watch the Rose Parade in a working theater. Shucks. I knew it was ambitious, and a week in California with family for Thanksgiving didn't advance the project much, but the computer setup is in place, so things ARE getting done. More pictures when there's more to show.
Theater05.JPG
Theater06.JPG
Theater07.JPG
 

barfle

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Meridian, ID
Originally posted 1/27/2020:

It's been several weeks, but I haven't been idle! Yes, I missed my original goal of watching the Rose Parade in a functioning (although incomplete) theater, but quite a bit has been done. As you can see in picture "Theater8," I have built the riser and put all the electrical lines through it to the edges of the riser. On the far left is the audio wiring for the sub-woofer and a headphone amp. In the middle is the 20A dedicated AV outlet (PS Audio Power Port) for the sub and headphone amp, and on the right is another 15A outlet for a reading lamp, if I decide to do that. I can also plug in a USB charger into that outlet (although it's hard to see, the connection is there).

One thing I can't recommend highly enough is conduit. It's cheap, and once it's in place, it is easy to run wires and cables to places you can't easily get to. Plastic conduit is cheap, so don't scrimp on size or locations. Think ahead of all the places you might want to run wire, then run conduit to it, even if you doubt that you'll use it any time soon. I have a pipe going to a projector location, even though I'll probably never use it, but it cost $5 for the pipe and as long as you're in the walls and floors, go ahead and run the pipes. It's a very small investment and could result in a very big payoff later.

The conduits in the riser space are all sealed off from the cavity that will be under the floor, because I'm using that cavity as a chamber for the HVAC air to slow down and make less noise through the grates. You can see the hole in the joist next to the wall, which, at the moment, is covered with carpet pad (I don't want a wide-open vent in the room while I'm trying to work). It will get removed when I'm ready to put the floor down on the riser, and I'll have two floor grates in the riser itself.

I also added two little floor lights that you can see shining in picture "Theater9." The room is going to be quite dark when it's in operation, and when you first enter it, so I wanted to reduce the likelihood of tripping over the edge of the riser. It's one of the tradeoffs I had to make because I couldn't move the doorway to the room.

Next up - the door to the computer room, running the cables into the rack area, then wall paint. Theater08.JPG
Theater09.JPG
 

barfle

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Originally posted 4/20/21:

Between a bad virus (which I haven't caught as far as I know), bad lumber, and slow carpet delivery, I've been able to make decent progress on the theater, and in fact, it's now functional, although far, far from being finished.

I built the door between the theater and the computer room out of a piece of 1/2" plywood with 1x4s to frame the outside edges. That was just some of the bad lumber, because the plywood warped after I got it home, and reinforcing it with 1x4s that are warped the other way didn't exactly make it come out right. It won't close all the way because of the warpage, and I know I'm going to have to build it again, this time using furniture-grade plywood, which, due to the virus shutting down almost every cabinet supply retailer in the Boise area, will have to wait for some unknown amount of time. In the meanwhile, I can close the door almost, but the effect is far from what I wanted it to be. Live and learn.

My wife painted the walls a decent dark brown color, although it chips and scratches pretty easily, and with the white drywall underneath it, it's going to take a fair amount of touch-up for maintenance, probably for as long as I own it.

I had ordered the carpet before the virus outbreak, but it arrived about a week after I expected it to show up, and I was able to get it installed, probably two or three days before the governor pretty much shut down several industries in the state. Don't get me wrong, I understand that this is a deadly pandemic, and at age 72, I don't want to press my luck with it. To me, it's just an inconvenience, while for others, it's a death sentence. But it's still a pain in the rear.

So anyway, once the carpet was in, I was able to build the framework for the TV and front speakers. It's made out of 1x4s with a plywood shelf for each speaker. The speakers are Emotiva Pro Stealth 8s, which are biamped studio monitors. The balanced cables to them are made from S-video cable with gold-plated XLR connectors. I was, at one time, a Hughes Aircraft certified solderer, and I haven't lost my skills over the years. There's also a dedicated 20 Amp line to the "stage" area of the theater that runs the studio monitors, the TV, and my Harmony hub remote control. I had the carpet installers leave the remnants behind, and each speaker is also sitting on a pad of that carpet, decoupling them from the stage framework. The carpet and framework, along with the speakers, can be seen in picture "Theater10."

I have had a pair of Realistic Minimus 7 speakers in the back since my days of being single, when those speakers were new. They are mounted in the back of the room, as seen in picture "Theater11." They are being driven by a 75W/C Akai AM2450 power amp. It's overkill, but the combination is very nice for the surround channels.

I have a set of plastic storage shelves that were in my attic in Virginia (no storage attic here, alas), and I put it to use holding my cable box, Marantz AV7700 pre-pro, Oppo BDP105D blu-ray player, and the Akai amp. That's visible in picture "Theater12."

Eventually, I'll be placing cabinets to hold my media, including the record collection shown in my profile pic that will go along the wall in picture "Theater13." But for now, I have a pretty decent 5.1 system (sub is Outlaw LFM-1PLUS). Once I went through all the setup practice my first listening experience was my SACD of the NY Phil under Leonard Bernstein playing Holst's "The Planets." Simply divine, and even though I have as much work to do as I've already done (if not more), it made it all worthwhile.

Theater10.JPG
Theater11.JPG
Theater12.JPG
Theater13.JPG
 

barfle

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Originally posted 12/2/2020:

Ahhh, 2020. What can we say about this year other than it's gotten in the way of EVERYTHING?

In spite of all the issues, I've made a bit of progress on the theater. My Marantz pre-pro includes AM and FM broadcast tuners, and since I want to make as much use of the equipment I have, I hooked up antennas to each of them. And therein lies this part of the tale.

I moved a Dynaco AM-100 antenna with me from Virginia, as well as an FM antenna. Both are whips, and both need to be mounted fairly high in order to catch decent signals. We live in a two-story house with several attic spaces (more on that in a bit), but my wife of 45 years won't let me go on the roof to mount them. Fortunately (depending on you point of view), we needed a roof this year, so we had the roofer mount the antennas. See picture Theater14. The AM antenna has a pretty decent length of RG-58 already attached to it, but I needed to attach a length of RG-6 to the FM antenna before they were mounted. The roofer left the cables hanging down the side of the house, fortunately without any tangles or knots in them. Then it was up to me to fish the cables through three different crawl spaces.

First I had to drill a hole through the siding of the house so the cables could get in, which wasn't a big deal other than losing my 3/4" boring bit in the insulation. I ran a string through the hole and down to the ground, then I went back outside and tied the two cables to the string. Then back up in the crawl space to pull the cables inside, seal the hole with foam, and figure out how to get the cables from crawl space 1 to crawl space 2.

When I was working for a living, I pulled quite a bit of cabling, so I have a set of "Glow Rods" - several fiberglass rods that can screw together to use to fish wiring through places you can't otherwise get. They seem to be built a lot like fishing poles - fairly stiff but quite springy, and they can bend about 90° without breaking. If they are exposed to bright light before you put them in a crawl space, plenum, or hollow wall, they will glow for a few hours so you can find them in the dark.

I put three of them together and started poking around where I hoped there would be a connection between the crawl space above the master bedroom and the crawl space above the theater. I ended up going WAY down the roof line, but eventually I found a place where the rods actually seemed to poke through the insulation. See picture Theater15. I wasn't certain that it was coming through, because this house has several very odd places where I still haven't figured out why they were built the way they were.

Fortunately, when I went into the crawl space over the theater, I saw the rod sticking out from the back end of the attic space. I went back to the space over the bedroom, tied the cables to the rods, went back to the crawl space over the theater, and pulled the cables through. I ran the rods down the side of the crawl space over the theater, then went into the crawl space beside the theater (by way of the garage), and pulled the cables into the theater room itself.

So now I can listen to my local radio stations without having to figure out their streaming ID (not all have them, believe it or not), and since the ones I care about are set as favorites, I'm good to go on that area.
Theater14.JPG
Theater15.JPG
Theater16.JPG
 

Sonik Wiz

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Gadzooks! Reading through those posts was like binge watch 6 seasons of something on Netflix! I will have another read through to let it sink in a bit more. I don't know much about Boise, but I know if I'm in the neighberhood I'll be inviting myself over.

Some spontaneous reactions... Cool that you've got a bonus room above the garage. Mine is the opposite, in the basement which with concrete sub-structure cuts down on room resonance. Similar to yours my room size is 13' wide by 25' long. My couch, 4 speakers, etc is in the front 2/3 of that area. Seven foot screen & front speakers at the narrow end. Like you I have a PC AV work station & storage in the rear behind the couch. Unlike yours my area is open so the space behind the rear speakers makes for some good audio diffusion.

Like you I too have an antenna for radio. I'm in the basement so that's a necessity. For you maybe you could have done with out? I feel for ya running those cables from the outdoors. Seems like it always involves a hundred trips up/down a ladder & inside/out to get it done. But then I don't have those groovy glow in the dark cable pullers.

My set up has a drop panel ceiling that makes it super easy to run speaker cables, etc. But it brings floor to ceiling height to only 7'. You have a bit more room but with a floating floor and riser for the seats that's makes a pretty close fit. Tell me how this is working out in practice.

You are a couple of years older than me. And I am very glad my room was set to my satisfactions long time ago. Just minor tweaks. Doing a project like yours would certainly kill my knees & require more energy & brain power than I actually have. So congrats on getting your dream theater just the way you want!
 

barfle

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Meridian, ID
Gadzooks! Reading through those posts was like binge watch 6 seasons of something on Netflix! I will have another read through to let it sink in a bit more. I don't know much about Boise, but I know if I'm in the neighberhood I'll be inviting myself over.

Some spontaneous reactions... Cool that you've got a bonus room above the garage. Mine is the opposite, in the basement which with concrete sub-structure cuts down on room resonance. Similar to yours my room size is 13' wide by 25' long. My couch, 4 speakers, etc is in the front 2/3 of that area. Seven foot screen & front speakers at the narrow end. Like you I have a PC AV work station & storage in the rear behind the couch. Unlike yours my area is open so the space behind the rear speakers makes for some good audio diffusion.

Like you I too have an antenna for radio. I'm in the basement so that's a necessity. For you maybe you could have done with out? I feel for ya running those cables from the outdoors. Seems like it always involves a hundred trips up/down a ladder & inside/out to get it done. But then I don't have those groovy glow in the dark cable pullers.

My set up has a drop panel ceiling that makes it super easy to run speaker cables, etc. But it brings floor to ceiling height to only 7'. You have a bit more room but with a floating floor and riser for the seats that's makes a pretty close fit. Tell me how this is working out in practice.

You are a couple of years older than me. And I am very glad my room was set to my satisfactions long time ago. Just minor tweaks. Doing a project like yours would certainly kill my knees & require more energy & brain power than I actually have. So congrats on getting your dream theater just the way you want!
It's definitely been a lot of work, but I'm not really on a schedule. My wife would like me to get it "done" (that will happen when I move into an old-folks home) so I can get to work on HER den.

There are actually three crawl spaces around the room: one on each side, and one above. The one above is certainly "crawl" capable, and not much else. I've run a handful of cables up there (ceiling speakers and antenna, and the lights), but most of the wiring is actually under the floor between the joists. Those fancy cable pullers help, but so does the conduit.

My previous room was in a basement, with a low enough ceiling that a riser wasn't in the works at all. This one I can stand on (I'm 5'8") with no problem.

Actually, the computer room is behind the TV. I have two Ikea Poang chairs for the front row, and I intend to get a love seat for the second row. There will be room behind the love seat where I could supposedly put a couple more chairs (I'm thinking high director's chairs, but that's a ways off) in case I have four guests, me and my wife all in there at the same time.

The room will never be finished, although I have a target that I want to hit. One cool thing about the room is the doorway goes into a short hallway with a door on it, so I intend to put in a "lobby" with a snack bar (mini fridge, microwave popcorn and maybe some vacuum sealed candy) and a fake ticket booth. Of course all that will take place after my wife's den is done.

I won't be wondering "what can I do today" for several years! I have so many projects in my house I tell people I live in the projects.
 

barfle

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Much like Elon Musk, my announcements take longer to fulfill than I said they would. However, I noticed when I was posting this thread that I didn't have any pictures of the workbench behind the screen. Here it is.
Theater17.JPG


I also didn't have a picture of the front of the room, with all the grill cloth in place, so here's that view:
Theater18.JPG

The flash did a few funny things to the picture, like making the grill cloth a lot more transparent than it really is. That strange band to the left of the screen isn't visible in real life.

As far as accomplishments are concerned, I have gotten some of the shelving built and gear installed.
Theater20.JPG

On the top of all that stuff is my Oppo BD105D in a temporary position (more on that later). Below that is the cable TV box, and on the shelf under that are my Ethernet switch providing signal to the Oppo, the Pre-pro, and the Roku, just below the switch, and my Dymek DA100D AM antenna amplifier. Under that is my Marantz AV 7701 preamp-processor. And finally on the bottom shelf is a dear old Akai AM 2450 amplifier for my back channels.

Immediately to the right of the rack is the door to the computer room/lab. It's disguised so most folks won't realize it's there, even though I show it to everyone who comes in the room. But it's very close to the front of the rack, and I don't want any equipment with front-loading drawers in that rack, so the Oppo will be moved to the rack on the left once it's ready. I'll put a turntable and CD-4 decoder in the place where the Oppo is now.

In the rack on the left, I'll also put a laserdisc player, a Motorola Teleplayer (yes, it works and I have films and parts), and another turntable with preamp, dbx decoder, analog surface noise reduction unit, QS decoder, and a Tate SQ decoder. And whatever else I can fit in there.

With all that stuff I intend to operate, the back of the pre-pro is pretty busy.
Theater21.JPG

And I still don't have the HDMI inputs installed (as of when I took the picture). Off to the left, you can just see a cable management tray that allows me to slide the shelf in and out without snagging any of the wires. I built all of the analog cables myself, using S-video cable and gold-plated connectors. I was a DOD certified solderer back in my technician days, and I'm still the best solderer I know.

At some point, switching all those quad signals is going to be an issue, and I have a plan. I'm a retired electronics engineer, and I intend to design and build a handful of multi-channel audio to HDMI encoders. There are unused HDMI ports on my pre-pro, and if it works, I'll be able to play just about any LP through the system, selected via my Logitech Harmony remote.

Another rack to the left of those two will be drawers that will store my CDs, DVDs, and similar sized media. To the left of that will be several sets of shelves for the LP collection (see avatar). But it won't get done this week.
 

Sonik Wiz

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Much like Elon Musk, my announcements take longer to fulfill than I said they would. However, I noticed when I was posting this thread that I didn't have any pictures of the workbench behind the screen. Here it is.
View attachment 78304

I also didn't have a picture of the front of the room, with all the grill cloth in place, so here's that view:
View attachment 78305
The flash did a few funny things to the picture, like making the grill cloth a lot more transparent than it really is. That strange band to the left of the screen isn't visible in real life.

As far as accomplishments are concerned, I have gotten some of the shelving built and gear installed.
View attachment 78306
On the top of all that stuff is my Oppo BD105D in a temporary position (more on that later). Below that is the cable TV box, and on the shelf under that are my Ethernet switch providing signal to the Oppo, the Pre-pro, and the Roku, just below the switch, and my Dymek DA100D AM antenna amplifier. Under that is my Marantz AV 7701 preamp-processor. And finally on the bottom shelf is a dear old Akai AM 2450 amplifier for my back channels.

Immediately to the right of the rack is the door to the computer room/lab. It's disguised so most folks won't realize it's there, even though I show it to everyone who comes in the room. But it's very close to the front of the rack, and I don't want any equipment with front-loading drawers in that rack, so the Oppo will be moved to the rack on the left once it's ready. I'll put a turntable and CD-4 decoder in the place where the Oppo is now.

In the rack on the left, I'll also put a laserdisc player, a Motorola Teleplayer (yes, it works and I have films and parts), and another turntable with preamp, dbx decoder, analog surface noise reduction unit, QS decoder, and a Tate SQ decoder. And whatever else I can fit in there.

With all that stuff I intend to operate, the back of the pre-pro is pretty busy.
View attachment 78307
And I still don't have the HDMI inputs installed (as of when I took the picture). Off to the left, you can just see a cable management tray that allows me to slide the shelf in and out without snagging any of the wires. I built all of the analog cables myself, using S-video cable and gold-plated connectors. I was a DOD certified solderer back in my technician days, and I'm still the best solderer I know.

At some point, switching all those quad signals is going to be an issue, and I have a plan. I'm a retired electronics engineer, and I intend to design and build a handful of multi-channel audio to HDMI encoders. There are unused HDMI ports on my pre-pro, and if it works, I'll be able to play just about any LP through the system, selected via my Logitech Harmony remote.

Another rack to the left of those two will be drawers that will store my CDs, DVDs, and similar sized media. To the left of that will be several sets of shelves for the LP collection (see avatar). But it won't get done this week.

Wow! I feel like I'm reading a thread of Home Theaters of the Rich and Famous. But actually besides the $$ investment it is obviously well thought out and a lot of sweat equity invested.

If I may address a specific point:

At some point, switching all those quad signals is going to be an issue, and I have a plan. I'm a retired electronics engineer, and I intend to design and build a handful of multi-channel audio to HDMI encoders.

Agreed a good idea. You may have noticed a bit of talk on the forum about Involve Audio's Surround Master decoder. Marvelous piece of gear but hard to interface with main stream AVR's. It is 2 ch analog in, 4.0/5.1 analog out. The main guy at Involve @chucky3042 has a strong disdain for HDMI, I would say for good reason, but a necessity in many cases.

So how do you plan to create a MCH analog in to HDMI MCH out? I've seen 2ch convertors this way, and a gazillion HDMI to analog convertors. But nothing like I just described or you are planning.

How will you do this? And I might mention make more than a few & I bet you will sell more than a few on the forum.

Thanks!
Edit: I should point out the SM v3 does have an SPDIF optical input. But the challenge is interfacing the analog output to HDMI input.
 
Last edited:

esimms86

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Much like Elon Musk, my announcements take longer to fulfill than I said they would. However, I noticed when I was posting this thread that I didn't have any pictures of the workbench behind the screen. Here it is.
View attachment 78304

I also didn't have a picture of the front of the room, with all the grill cloth in place, so here's that view:
View attachment 78305
The flash did a few funny things to the picture, like making the grill cloth a lot more transparent than it really is. That strange band to the left of the screen isn't visible in real life.

As far as accomplishments are concerned, I have gotten some of the shelving built and gear installed.
View attachment 78306
On the top of all that stuff is my Oppo BD105D in a temporary position (more on that later). Below that is the cable TV box, and on the shelf under that are my Ethernet switch providing signal to the Oppo, the Pre-pro, and the Roku, just below the switch, and my Dymek DA100D AM antenna amplifier. Under that is my Marantz AV 7701 preamp-processor. And finally on the bottom shelf is a dear old Akai AM 2450 amplifier for my back channels.

Immediately to the right of the rack is the door to the computer room/lab. It's disguised so most folks won't realize it's there, even though I show it to everyone who comes in the room. But it's very close to the front of the rack, and I don't want any equipment with front-loading drawers in that rack, so the Oppo will be moved to the rack on the left once it's ready. I'll put a turntable and CD-4 decoder in the place where the Oppo is now.

In the rack on the left, I'll also put a laserdisc player, a Motorola Teleplayer (yes, it works and I have films and parts), and another turntable with preamp, dbx decoder, analog surface noise reduction unit, QS decoder, and a Tate SQ decoder. And whatever else I can fit in there.

With all that stuff I intend to operate, the back of the pre-pro is pretty busy.
View attachment 78307
And I still don't have the HDMI inputs installed (as of when I took the picture). Off to the left, you can just see a cable management tray that allows me to slide the shelf in and out without snagging any of the wires. I built all of the analog cables myself, using S-video cable and gold-plated connectors. I was a DOD certified solderer back in my technician days, and I'm still the best solderer I know.

At some point, switching all those quad signals is going to be an issue, and I have a plan. I'm a retired electronics engineer, and I intend to design and build a handful of multi-channel audio to HDMI encoders. There are unused HDMI ports on my pre-pro, and if it works, I'll be able to play just about any LP through the system, selected via my Logitech Harmony remote.

Another rack to the left of those two will be drawers that will store my CDs, DVDs, and similar sized media. To the left of that will be several sets of shelves for the LP collection (see avatar). But it won't get done this week.
“Pay no attention to the man behind the screen.”
- The Wizard of Oz
 

barfle

300 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
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Wow! I feel like I'm reading a thread of Home Theaters of the Rich and Famous. But actually besides the $$ investment it is obviously well thought out and a lot of sweat equity invested.
The money was spent over several decades, so it's not that I'm all that rich or famous. Of course, having had a career in the field helps in it being done fairly well. I've noted on other forums that I consider most of my gear to be in the "pretty good" category. No $10,000 power cables here!

So how do you plan to create a MCH analog in to HDMI MCH out? I've seen 2ch convertors this way, and a gazillion HDMI to analog convertors. But nothing like I just described or you are planning.
One thing I intend to do is get one of those video/stereo audio to HDMI converters and take it apart to see just how other people have done similar things. I've located an HDMI encoder chip that takes multiple digital audio inputs (getting geeky here) on IIC buses, and all that looks quite promising.

make more than a few & I bet you will sell more than a few on the forum.
I've heard that HDMI requires a license to sell gear incorporating their technology. I haven't looked into whether buying a chip pays for that license. Once I have a working prototype, I figure the minimum buy for circuit boards is 10 pieces, so I'll have a few left over.
 
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