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Setting Up Home Theater / Listening Room

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ubertrout

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So, I'm moving into a proper house from an apartment, and there's a number of rooms in the semi-finished basement I can use as a home theater. They're all about 14" x 12" and they're actually in perfect shape for this sort of usage - the beams are partly exposed and the ceilings need to be replaced, so if I want to put some speakers in the ceiling I can, and otherwise I'm thinking I'll DIY putting in acoustic tiles on the ceiling. I already have a fair bit of gear - LG 65" OLED C6 TV, Sony 2100ES AVR, a 7.1 setup of MartinLogan Motion speakers (2x Motion 12, 1x Motion C, 4x Motion 4, and a Polk PSW 505 sub). I also have some Polk speakers that could be nice as front height channels. Currently using a X800M2 as my transport, but thinking of dusting off my Oppo BDP-93 to complement it.

I'm not interested in going full audiophile and replacing all my gear with fancier stuff, but I'm definitely looking for thoughts on what I should do next. Usage will be about 50/50 music and movies, but I won't be using it much casually - I'm putting a cheaper 65" TV in the upstairs living room for casual TV. In terms of listening I'm about 70% classical and 30% rock/pop/misc. Especially interested in thoughts on whether I should bother with ceiling speakers, what I could do to improve the acoustics with panels/foam/treatments/etc, and more. There are only small basement windows near the ceilings, so windows should be less of an issue.
 

marpow

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So, I'm moving into a proper house from an apartment, and there's a number of rooms in the semi-finished basement I can use as a home theater. They're all about 14" x 12" and they're actually in perfect shape for this sort of usage - the beams are partly exposed and the ceilings need to be replaced, so if I want to put some speakers in the ceiling I can, and otherwise I'm thinking I'll DIY putting in acoustic tiles on the ceiling. I already have a fair bit of gear - LG 65" OLED C6 TV, Sony 2100ES AVR, a 7.1 setup of MartinLogan Motion speakers (2x Motion 12, 1x Motion C, 4x Motion 4, and a Polk PSW 505 sub). I also have some Polk speakers that could be nice as front height channels. Currently using a X800M2 as my transport, but thinking of dusting off my Oppo BDP-93 to complement it.

I'm not interested in going full audiophile and replacing all my gear with fancier stuff, but I'm definitely looking for thoughts on what I should do next. Usage will be about 50/50 music and movies, but I won't be using it much casually - I'm putting a cheaper 65" TV in the upstairs living room for casual TV. In terms of listening I'm about 70% classical and 30% rock/pop/misc. Especially interested in thoughts on whether I should bother with ceiling speakers, what I could do to improve the acoustics with panels/foam/treatments/etc, and more. There are only small basement windows near the ceilings, so windows should be less of an issue.
I am in your same boat. I have an upcoming 12' the wall I look at X a 14' room.
 

halbroome

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I'm very pleased with my bass traps! I put the larger, 24 inch wedges in the corners at the bottom, then go up each corner with smaller wedges. Looks pretty cool, and I have no problem with boominess (or echoes! if you hear an echo in the room, you need these).

Not a recommendation, per se, but here's an article on using them:

 

marpow

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I think my biggest concern now is seating. I would like to get a two seat, home theater set, recliner.
I have looked into REW and Mini DSP software, etc and would like to set up the room correction so I can sit off center and have the listening experience without a center sweet spot. I am sure initially I would have to train my eyes/brain to get used to being off center, even if it was correct from an audio perspective. I noticed with room correction software you can set up the mic wider to account for this, but just not convinced yet.
 

ubertrout

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I think my biggest concern now is seating. I would like to get a two seat, home theater set, recliner.
I have looked into REW and Mini DSP software, etc and would like to set up the room correction so I can sit off center and have the listening experience without a center sweet spot. I am sure initially I would have to train my eyes/brain to get used to being off center, even if it was correct from an audio perspective. I noticed with room correction software you can set up the mic wider to account for this, but just not convinced yet.
I'm figuring out how to handle this myself, because I have essentially that, as well as a recliner, and I'm trying to figure out which one to use there. I get that the recliner right in the sweet spot is the "right" placement, but something about it just seems too darn depressing, even though my girlfriend is rarely in the mood for active listening.
 

marpow

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OK, here we go. I will use this page to chronicle my home theater/music room. After a brutal master bedroom/bathroom remodel (all went great, but waiting for stuff and subs due to Covid went 4 months instead of 6 weeks) I am now on day one of my personal music room. Keep in mind I am burnt out and need a break even from my beloved hobby. So who knows when I'll start, a week/month, soon enough I am sure.
I have been studying all things related to what I want to do and feel pretty comfortable in making a kick ass space. Music surround listening, but what the heck, throw in a nice TV and I have both. It will not be a blacked out home theater, but it will be a light/airy/groovy place to be and focus will be entirely on sonic bliss.
These pictures are day 1, demo of carpet and baseboard, that's good enough for now. The picture with vacuum is the 12' wall I will be looking at, the picture with the closet will be the back side and is 14' from long (12' X 14'). Room correction will be primary. REW/DSP/Audessy, you name it, all will be used. The goal is a Dolby Atmos system at 5.2.4.
IMG_0486.jpg
IMG_0487.jpg
IMG_0497.jpg
IMG_0498.jpg
 

humprof

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I'm figuring out how to handle this myself, because I have essentially that, as well as a recliner, and I'm trying to figure out which one to use there. I get that the recliner right in the sweet spot is the "right" placement, but something about it just seems too darn depressing, even though my girlfriend is rarely in the mood for active listening.
In spite of all the hand-wringing and the fussiness about optimal placement of overhead speakers for Atmos listening, one theoretical advantage of Atmos for music (as opposed to movies) is that when it's done right, it eliminates the need for sitting in the "sweet spot." I was reminded of this today when I was reading a piece in Mix Online about Michael Romanowski's work on Fantastic Negrito's upcoming release, Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? Here's how he put it (and he isn't the first mixer I've heard saying something like this):

"Immersive audio is not about establishing a precious center spot to sit and listen between two speakers,” he continues. “It’s about the listening experience as you move around the room. How does it pull the listener in? How does it change, depending on how close you are in proximity to one speaker or another?" ...​
"On first listen, what I thought was cool about Fantastic Negrito’s stuff was that there were percussion pieces and background vocals and little sounds or parts that I could spread out and move around,” Romanowski says. “You end up with this mix that’s different depending on where you are in the room, but it’s not gimmicky in the way some styles of music might lend themselves to."​
 

marpow

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Yeah, you are exactly correct and that is my goal, I was talking to this Cat in La, Mitch, and he was saying you can create a DSP for a center sweet spot, or a off center seat, these according to him are DSP filters that you can choose at will once calibrated.
I am going to have a "two" theater seat, I want to avoid sliding it back and forth 12" to accommodate sweet spot vs off center.
Cutting edge, man, the Time Has Come.
 

marpow

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I have made a little progress this past week, the slow progress is working really well for me and I feel very confident in my choices.
This week two things moved a little forward. I continue to study room correction, REW/MiniDSP, panels, etc, I believe my brain is starting to grasp the concept.
1. I put a deposit down on some equipment, 4-6 weeks delivery for some and a week or two for others.
Two theater power recline seats.
Four round ceiling speakers for Atmos.
One 4 channel amp for Atmos speakers.
Speaker wire for in ceiling speakers.
Front right and left tower speakers.
2. Here are some pictures of demo I did today, 2.5 hours start to clean up.
I will put a description under each picture.
IMG_0529.jpg

The slot in floor goes length of room. In the closet my main Ethernet Cat6A will come up from downstairs. The hole in wall is for an electrical outlet. The closet will have a mini rack for quiet fanless PC, Ethernet switch, and NAS, probably a mini Furman power supply for those items. I decided I didn't like the clutter of all the PC type equipment mixed with my listening equipment and it is so easy just to run Ethernet under floor to a Ethernet switch. My main Ethernet will feed two switches, which I think will be OK as it is not power based.
You might ask, why didn't he cut center of floor joist blocks, they are off set, so I did cut on half of them. Very simple to add blocks if needed. Notice there is no insulation under plywood floor. This is my garage underneath and unlike the East Coast/Canada, here in CA we don't need cold zone protection. I'll probably put some batten insulation in the slot, just because. When it is all done hardware floor goes on top of this plywood floor.
IMG_0526.jpg

The slot continues to my viewing listening wall. The new 20 Amp dedicated circuit will come up from garage, got lucky on that one as it is directly below. The slot on the wall is where my four Atmos ceiling speakers are going to come down. I didn't want the power wires and speaker wires to use the same bay that is why they are offset. I'll either put two single outlets are one 4 plex, haven't figured out yet. I have 3 other close ups.
IMG_0528.jpg

This existing outlet will power the front left sub.
IMG_0532.jpg

This existing outlet will power the rear right sub.
IMG_0527.jpg

If I want two front subs, highly doubt it, there is an existing outlet for a front right sub. The white telephone wire will probably get eliminated, no need for added telephone interference. The black coiled up coax is for DirecTV that will be centered to wall, or maybe I will just use the SMART features on whatever new TV I get? Well, that's all for a couple weeks, thanks for checking my build out. Please any suggestions are always appreciated.
 

marpow

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Get a small switch for your equip rack. You’ll need Ethernet to multiple devices: Smart TV, Media Player/ PC, AVR, BD Player etc. Netgear 5 or 8 Port 1GBE switches are pretty cheap, under $100. 1 Port back to your main switch, others to your devices.
Yes, it seems all equipment has Ethernet connections now.
Now, I have one main Ethernet going to an 8 port switch that goes to my equipment that is within two feet of each other.
In the new room I will have one main Ethernet going to closet and then a whatever port switch working the PC/NAS equipment in closet.
I guess my question is do I run one Ethernet from switch in closet, under floor to another switch to get to the equipment as you mention.
OR
Have a large port switch at closet and run 6 or 7 long Ethernets under floor?
I prefer the idea of two switches in the chain but I do not know if that is a bad idea or not?
 

HomerJAU

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Just add a new 8 port in your new room with a single cable back to your main switch.

I have one central switch, feeding separate switches in 4 other rooms. So one Ethernet cable to each room. No performance issues doing this.
 

marpow

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Just add a new 8 port in your new room with a single cable back to your main switch.

I have one central switch, feeding separate switches in 4 other rooms. So one Ethernet cable to each room. No performance issues doing this.
Great, thanks, my plan is solid then.
 

J. PUPSTER

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Great, thanks, my plan is solid then.
Mark, I have an issue in my house when listening to music, that perhaps you've considered or is not a problem for you, just thought I'd mention it. We had a new 5 Ton Trane A/C installed about a year ago, and even though it's much quieter than the other unit; when it's running it puts out enough low level (white) type noise to irritate me when I'm trying to do some critical listening or for quieter Classical music, etc. So I have to turn it off (we like to keep the house at about 74 deg.) or wait and pause between songs when it's running. On these hot California days, when it gets 90-110 deg. in the Sacramento area outside, it will run a lot! Now I know you live in the bay area, so that may not be as much of a problem, but the blower runs to heat the house also. Not sure what could be done to mitigate that. It comes on so often on hot or cold days you get acclimated to the noise and don't normally even notice it.
 

marpow

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Mark, I have an issue in my house when listening to music, that perhaps you've considered or is not a problem for you, just thought I'd mention it. We had a new 5 Ton Trane A/C installed about a year ago, and even though it's much quieter than the other unit; when it's running it puts out enough low level (white) type noise to irritate me when I'm trying to do some critical listening or for quieter Classical music, etc. So I have to turn it off (we like to keep the house at about 74 deg.) or wait and pause between songs when it's running. On these hot California days, when it gets 90-110 deg. in the Sacramento area outside, it will run a lot! Now I know you live in the bay area, so that may not be as much of a problem, but the blower runs to heat the house also. Not sure what could be done to mitigate that. It comes on so often on hot or cold days you get acclimated to the noise and don't normally even notice it.
I did get A/C last year, I had too, just getting to hot. It is running today at 73 not kicking on too much as I think it's about 85 outside? Two weeks ago I installed sun shades on the exterior of two windows that are my family room, OMG, should have done that years ago really cools down the house a lot and keeps the sun from beating in. This is what I got, super easy to install Sun Shade
To answer your question, no I have not had an interference problem. I know you could change that, maybe a dedicated external circuit, you probably have that?
I have to tell you J-Pup, that is unacceptable. You can't have your hobby destroyed by this situation. I would call an electrician, get a free estimate and show him exactly what your talking about.
I did have an interference problem, humming in the front speakers last year, I was going insane even though it was very low noise, but like you say, once you focus on it it is horrible.
I found out it was the little key that turns on the gas at the fireplace was touching the chassis of my 3 channel amp, instant fix.
 

J. PUPSTER

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I did get A/C last year, I had too, just getting to hot. It is running today at 73 not kicking on too much as I think it's about 85 outside? Two weeks ago I installed sun shades on the exterior of two windows that are my family room, OMG, should have done that years ago really cools down the house a lot and keeps the sun from beating in. This is what I got, super easy to install Sun Shade
To answer your question, no I have not had an interference problem. I know you could change that, maybe a dedicated external circuit, you probably have that?
I have to tell you J-Pup, that is unacceptable. You can't have your hobby destroyed by this situation. I would call an electrician, get a free estimate and show him exactly what your talking about.
I did have an interference problem, humming in the front speakers last year, I was going insane even though it was very low noise, but like you say, once you focus on it it is horrible.
I found out it was the little key that turns on the gas at the fireplace was touching the chassis of my 3 channel amp, instant fix.
Just to be clear, it is not a bad electrical problem, the system runs as it should. It's the noise generated from the blower. We get so acclimated to these kinds of noises, we don't even notice after a while. And even though it could be very faint, if your blower unit is like mine in the attic (I live in a single story house) it does bug me enough to want some kind of fix, just not sure what that would be. It looks like you're in a 2+ story home, where is your blower unit situated in proximity to your new media room?
 

marpow

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Just to be clear, it is not a bad electrical problem, the system runs as it should. It's the noise generated from the blower. We get so acclimated to these kinds of noises, we don't even notice after a while. And even though it could be very faint, if your blower unit is like mine in the attic (I live in a single story house) it does bug me enough to want some kind of fix, just not sure what that would be. It looks like you're in a 2+ story home, where is your blower unit situated in proximity to your new media room?
OK, I understand now. Mine is on side of house about 30' away from my listening space. BUT when I move into my new listening space it will be almost directly below that wall that will be my central image. Your making me worry now. Almost, well definitely not as hot/cold in SM as Sacto.
I could see how that would bug you.
 

J. PUPSTER

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OK, I understand now. Mine is on side of house about 30' away from my listening space. BUT when I move into my new listening space it will be almost directly below that wall that will be my central image. Your making me worry now. Almost, well definitely not as hot/cold in SM as Sacto.
I could see how that would bug you.
Just something to consider; I've got one of those split units with the condenser outside (not a problem), but it's the attic blower that's the issue. Of course if you're blasting some high energy Metal music, may not be an issue, but I know you're a very eclectic listener :)
 
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