Setting Up Home Theater / Listening Room

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barfle

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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.
When I built my room, I added a riser for the second row of seats. I use that volume as sort of a plenum to accept the air from the HVAC and slow it down. I put two floor vents in the riser, and although the HVAC is still audible, it’s a good 10+db quieter than when I just had one vent in the wall.
 

HomerJAU

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Yes, I understand. I have considered a lot of pre wiring and decided only with the ceiling. Everything now in my living room is pre wired , super clean and functional but not movable.
I figured my fronts, center, two subs and two rears are all going to be shown wiring. This will allow me to experiment in the future. I will be like one of those crazy guys on You Tube that has wires all over the place, just kidding, hopefully not.
Only my ceiling, rears and sides are fixed/concealed wiring. All be fronts and subs are loose wiring but concealed behind my cabinet.

I didn't use wall sockets for anything. Its all direct single (2 core) cable with banana plugs into AVR & speakers, but enough length to move sides two or three feet either way with excess wire pushed back inside the floor. In reality these will probably never be moved.

I have a nice looking room. I'd hate to see cabling running around the perimeter.
 

MidiMagic

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I have made several rooms for music listening. The tricks to silencing that air handling system are:

- A plenum box just after the air unit on the duct that leads to the music room with fiberglass batts covering it inside and out

- Rounded right angle turns (at least 2) in the duct to remove fan noise

- Larger ducts and registers slow the air down so it makes no noise

- Wrap the ducts if they rattle
 

J. PUPSTER

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I have made several rooms for music listening. The tricks to silencing that air handling system are:

- A plenum box just after the air unit on the duct that leads to the music room with fiberglass batts covering it inside and out

- Rounded right angle turns (at least 2) in the duct to remove fan noise

- Larger ducts and registers slow the air down so it makes no noise

- Wrap the ducts if they rattle
In my case, I also need to check just the general amount of ceiling insulation in the attic around the blower unit and make sure there’s no gaps or areas left uncovered with lots of insulation.
 

proufo

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When I built my room, I added a riser for the second row of seats. I use that volume as sort of a plenum to accept the air from the HVAC and slow it down. I put two floor vents in the riser, and although the HVAC is still audible, it’s a good 10+db quieter than when I just had one vent in the wall.
I'd guess the room is not ground-level so the duct is in the floor below, right?
 

J. PUPSTER

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Just did a quick search online about HVAC noise, and apparently there’s a whole industry devoted to this subject - (if you’re serious about really quieting your listening area)
Not an endorsement for any company or product, but looks like a lot more research is required.




 

barfle

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I'd guess the room is not ground-level so the duct is in the floor below, right?
Actually, the original duct is in a crawl space beside the bonus room, so I was able to manipulate it a bit during the build. The duct now feeds a "boot" that goes through the wall and into the riser, where the flow slows way down and, as a result, gets a lot quieter.
Theater09.JPG

The "boot" can be seen as a rectangular hole in the board against the wall. I sealed all the joints between the boards and the subfloor, so there are no leaks through the carpet. The two vents are about halfway between the support brace in the middle and the riser board on the left of the photo.

The big vent on the right is the cold air return for the room.
 

Sonik Wiz

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Just did a quick search online about HVAC noise, and apparently there’s a whole industry devoted to this subject - (if you’re serious about really quieting your listening area)
Not an endorsement for any company or product, but looks like a lot more research is required.




I checked the sound level in my listening room with my good 'ol Radio Shack SPL meter last night. With the AC going it's a rather high 58dB C weighted about 50 db A weighted. Due to the lower frequency nature of the source noise I think the C level is more relevant. The lowest range on the RS meter is 60dB so all I can say is without HVAC or refrigerator going the needle simply doesn't move.

I've read many a book or article over the years as to room acoustics & soundproofing. My goal at one time was to have a good home recording studio. That never happened but of course thanks to computer tech it seems every musician has their own home studio. A lot of the techniques mentioned in the articles above are only practical on a new house build or serious renovation. Most of us will make the best with what we have & tweak things as the years go by. There is some serious effort & $$ by most of the posters on this thread & I am impressed. And the I can't recall exactly I think there was a NZ QQ'er that was having a completely separate from the house music & movie room (shed? Shack?) being built? Due to the pandemic work stopped after the foundation was poured. Does any know who I speak of? I'd like to see how that's shaping up!
 

J. PUPSTER

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I checked the sound level in my listening room with my good 'ol Radio Shack SPL meter last night. With the AC going it's a rather high 58dB C weighted about 50 db A weighted. Due to the lower frequency nature of the source noise I think the C level is more relevant. The lowest range on the RS meter is 60dB so all I can say is without HVAC or refrigerator going the needle simply doesn't move.

I've read many a book or article over the years as to room acoustics & soundproofing. My goal at one time was to have a good home recording studio. That never happened but of course thanks to computer tech it seems every musician has their own home studio. A lot of the techniques mentioned in the articles above are only practical on a new house build or serious renovation. Most of us will make the best with what we have & tweak things as the years go by. There is some serious effort & $$ by most of the posters on this thread & I am impressed. And the I can't recall exactly I think there was a NZ QQ'er that was having a completely separate from the house music & movie room (shed? Shack?) being built? Due to the pandemic work stopped after the foundation was poured. Does any know who I speak of? I'd like to see how that's shaping up!
Don't know what frequency a white noise (fan blown moving air) registers at but that's only part of the noise, the others may be incidental to vibrations of ducking, vents, etc. You actually beat me to it, I was going to get my SPL meter out and check my situation, but does it measure the white noise type sound well? My situation is not entirely in-line with this thread because I have more of an open concept home with my main listening area in my family room with the kitchen in the rear which presents even more occasional heinous sound sources (i.e. Refrigerator, dish washing, microwave etc.) Folks here that have an opportunity to custom build from the start of a dedicated room or building are very fortunate indeed, but owe it to the rest of us (living vicariously) to do the research and get it right ;)

The man you're looking for is our nicely Quad appointed man Big Bill Quad AKA BBQ @bigbillquad :love:
 

Sonik Wiz

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I was going to get my SPL meter out and check my situation, but does it measure the white noise type sound well?
Yes it does you would want to use the A weighting for white noise. The C weighting allows for more lower freq's
to be measured. I think that is more appropriate for room noise but the A setting should be used on slow response for using white noise for level set up in a system.

My RS SPL meter is the analog meter kind & I know they made one that was digital read and of course there is others. The only drawback on mine is it won't measure, say, 35dB in the room. With the sensitivity set to 60 dB that means 60dB is shown as 0 dB on the meter with +3 and -8 on the scale making that range usable from 52dB to 63dB.
 

HomerJAU

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I used acoustic batts around and on top of my ceiling speakers, not ‘normal‘ insulation batts. But that was more about keeping the sound in than out. I don’t want to upset the neighbors.

They were quite thick 110mm, I think. I cutout a whole same diameter as speakers so speaker would fit in, then cut each batt in half so I could push them it through the ceiling hole before the speaker was fitted, then pulled the 2 halves together around the ceiling hole. Then I cut another batt in half and pushed that through and put them on top of the first batt, covering the speaker hole, leaving the circular pocket at bottom. Speaker inserted, speaker acoustically insulated. Quite easy and effective.
 

DaveLaPorte53

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I have made several rooms for music listening. The tricks to silencing that air handling system are:

- A plenum box just after the air unit on the duct that leads to the music room with fiberglass batts covering it inside and out

- Rounded right angle turns (at least 2) in the duct to remove fan noise

- Larger ducts and registers slow the air down so it makes no noise

- Wrap the ducts if they rattle
Turn up the volume till you can not hear the AC
 

MidiMagic

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The weightings are used as following:

A - under 55 dB
B - 55 to 85 dB - average A and C reading if you don't have B
C - above 85 dB

Z - for possibility of hearing damage from infrasonic sound.
 

marpow

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I really got to more cutting yesterday. I originally had planned to put my speaker cables for rear sub and two rear surrounds laying on top of floor. My reasoning was that I could support those speakers with higher end cables and have more flexibility with speaker movement. Then, Garry planted that seed in my head about doing all this work and having clutter on the floor. Well, that changed my mind again and I decided to open up the floor on right and left sides of room to accommodate the rear floor standing surrounds and possibly one sub.
I will put in PVC pipe to pull wire in and out if I ever choose to, even though I don't see that happening, but you never know.
I also have spent a lot of time making sure I have thought of every possibility, cuz once that hardwood floor goes in there is no turning back.
I will need two long interconnects that I would rather not have so long but I don't see another way. The PC will be in closet and the AVR and DAC will be at the front with the HIFI components so I will need an approx 18' HDMI to AVR and 18' USB to DAC. I think I will be buying this Fanless PC This one as I hate my noisy NUC. I am also today going to fill out the GKI Acoustics Form to find out what they have to say via there free advice. I do have a budget and all this stuff is ridiculously expensive but I at least have to learn and find out things so that when I do make my decisions I am well versed. Your suggestions help me, so feel free. Here are two pictures from yesterday now ready for hidden surround speaker wire.
IMG_0554.jpg
IMG_0555.jpg
 

J. PUPSTER

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I really got to more cutting yesterday. I originally had planned to put my speaker cables for rear sub and two rear surrounds laying on top of floor. My reasoning was that I could support those speakers with higher end cables and have more flexibility with speaker movement. Then, Garry planted that seed in my head about doing all this work and having clutter on the floor. Well, that changed my mind again and I decided to open up the floor on right and left sides of room to accommodate the rear floor standing surrounds and possibly one sub.
I will put in PVC pipe to pull wire in and out if I ever choose to, even though I don't see that happening, but you never know.
I also have spent a lot of time making sure I have thought of every possibility, cuz once that hardwood floor goes in there is no turning back.
I will need two long interconnects that I would rather not have so long but I don't see another way. The PC will be in closet and the AVR and DAC will be at the front with the HIFI components so I will need an approx 18' HDMI to AVR and 18' USB to DAC. I think I will be buying this Fanless PC This one as I hate my noisy NUC. I am also today going to fill out the GKI Acoustics Form to find out what they have to say via there free advice. I do have a budget and all this stuff is ridiculously expensive but I at least have to learn and find out things so that when I do make my decisions I am well versed. Your suggestions help me, so feel free. Here are two pictures from yesterday now ready for hidden surround speaker wire.
View attachment 54150View attachment 54151
Not sure about HDMI cable length limits, but I believe you're at the upper limit for the USB cable length from some of the readings I've done. Have you researched that aspect?
 

marpow

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Not sure about HDMI cable length limits, but I believe you're at the upper limit for the USB cable length from some of the readings I've done. Have you researched that aspect?
Yes, unfortunately I am bummed about that. I added the length of floor and then 2' up each end which I am sure is a little too much.
Audioquest has availability in 5 meters which is 16.4. feet. I am not sure if this is going to be a problem. It won't be a problem if I bring the PC to the audio rack but I really don't want to do that, oh well we will see.
 

J. PUPSTER

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Yes, unfortunately I am bummed about that. I added the length of floor and then 2' up each end which I am sure is a little too much.
Audioquest has availability in 5 meters which is 16.4. feet. I am not sure if this is going to be a problem. It won't be a problem if I bring the PC to the audio rack but I really don't want to do that, oh well we will see.
I know I'm running a 15 ft. USB cable from a MOTU UltraLite MK4 to my computer and I've had no issues with it.
 

DuncanS

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There are USB Extender boxes (basically to/from USB/Ethernet), this would allow you to place Ethernet cable under the floor (I'd use at least 1Gbit) and have a box at either end. This has an advantage that as USB 'evolves' you can change the boxes, rather than having to change the cable each time.
 

marpow

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There are USB Extender boxes (basically to/from USB/Ethernet), this would allow you to place Ethernet cable under the floor (I'd use at least 1Gbit) and have a box at either end. This has an advantage that as USB 'evolves' you can change the boxes, rather than having to change the cable each time.
Trying to figure this out Duncan and J-Pup.
So Ethernet Cat6A comes up from router/modem into new room.
Then goes into switch or USB Extender?
I want the HDMI and USB to go from PC to DAC which is about 14' apart from each other.
Does the USB/HDMI information travel through the Ethernet cable?
I guess I don't quite understand.
Motu
 
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