home theater

Our home theater is a project I started in late 2014 in our upstairs game room. Below you will find current state pictures as well as a build log as I built it out.

current state (Feb 2017)

room size:
20' x 13' x 9'
Riser height is 15" tall 6 1/2' long with side steps.

side walls: sherwin williams Santorini Blue
screen wall: black(egg shell)
ceiling: sherwin williams storm cloud
Trim: Navy(egg shell) - color matched to Navy fabric panels

acoustic treatment:
Side walls: OC 703(2") behind Navy blue fabric panels.
Front wall: TBD
Back wall: TBD

6 HT Design Paget
back row ~12" from back wall

4" recessed swivel's ("SGL 4 - Inch LED")
Insteon Dimmers
3 zones: 4 lights on side walls, 2 lights on screen wall, 4 lights above seats

Screen - Elite 125" Tab Tensioned screen
Projector - Benq w1070
AVR - Yamaha RX - V373
Sub Amplification - Inuke 3000DSP
Sony BDPS3500 Blu -ray Player
Western Digital Play

Polk RTI6(fronts)
Polk CSI5(center)
JBL northridge(surrounds)
2x DIY 15" ported subs

build log

Painters came yesterday to paint, I went with sherwin williams Turkish Tile for the walls and Storm Cloud for the ceiling, both in flat.
Also, just arrived are upgrades for my front speakers which will allow me to use my current JBL northridge as surrounds to complete a 5.1 setup. I got the RTI6 from Polk on close-out at over 50% off, couldn't pass it up.
Monoprice order delivered yesterday:
Screen delivered today:
build update

A friend of mine stopped by to help run all of the speaker wire, we completed all the 5.1 runs:
Hung and wired the surrounds, I'll put some black shrink wrap on these to clean the wires up a bit more.:

I'm waiting on a second order from monoprice with the rest of the brackets and wall plates to wrap up the cabling.
I had two critiria for hanging the screen. one, hang it under the sloped portion of the ceiling to maximize viewing distance, two, mount it from the ceiling and not the wall to allow for ceiling to floor curtains to be installed and operated with out interference. I thought about a number of options and decided making my own bracket which returns the ceiling from its angle back to 90 degree's was the best option.

I start buy cutting some 2x2 stock at an angle that brings the ceiling back to 90 degrees. this angle was 55 degrees.
prime and paint them to match the ceiling
attached to ceiling, you can see here how this brings the mounting surface for the screen parallel to the floor.
install the screen center to the room. The plan is to install trim across the room that hides the ceiling mount and the screen housing.
the screen needed to be shimmed slightly, to do so I used some cut washers, slightly unscrewed the screen, slid the washer in and tightened. I got this idea off this forum somewhere, unfortunately I couldn't find the original poster to give them credit.
I picked up a projector mount from monoprice, the projector itself (benq w1070) has vertical adjustment but no horizontal adjustment, this means you have to get the lens centered on the screen when mounting it. I calculated the mount location by finding the screen center and offsetting it by the offset of the lens from the mount location on the projector.

Ceiling plate installed, lagged to ceiling joist
extension pole and projector installed and leveled
all aligned, yes, the fan light is blocking some of the image and will need to come down.

I've gotten the room into a useable space; we'll see how much that slows down its progress . To be honest I'm out of funds at the moment and doing this as I have the money. Next step is recessed lighting which will probably happen in February until then here's the progress I've made and I'll be watching some movies!!

testing all the connections prior to buttoning up the wall plate:
wall buttoned up:
temporary speaker setup while I build some stands:
because I have a Yamaha AVR, I use its YPAO feature to calibrate the speakers:
removed the light fixture from the fan because it was blocking the projector path; for now the source of light in the room is a photography light as needed. I'm still trying to decide if I will ultimately get rid of the fan; for now it will stay.
i'm using an old AV stand we had; eventual I'd like to build a rack out in the wall:
an eclectic set of previous used furniture that we had, it works for now... The plan is to get new furniture for our living room and use those couches, then eventually theater seats.
and our first movie watching was a double feature from redbox blu-ray; Planes Fire and Rescue and The Equalizer
Finished up the front speaker stands. These were built out of left over walnut I had from a furniture project so they didn't cost me anything "extra".

before finish:
after finish:
left and right stand after finishing:

I used some screen door tabs on the back of the center channel to keep it from sliding off when angled:
the center channel angle is adjusted using set screws in threaded inserts:
End of march was my birthday and I received a welcome upgrade to my center channel. Picture shows the new Polk CSI5 next to the old JBL. this brings my front stage to a matching set of speakers. Next upgrade will probably be a DIY sub from DIY Sound Group.

I have everything I need to start the acoustic panels. Hope to do so this week.

I picked up two rows of 3 - HT Design Paget from HTMarket.com which caused me to shift my focus to building a riser in order to make the second row usable. here is a build log of the riser.

I decided to go with the maximum height I could go with one stair by code, 7-3/4" is the maximum step height bringing my riser to a maximum height of 15 1/2". Before I started building anything I build a test riser for one chair to test it out.
Next I worked out a design, it follows a riser with inset step that a number of theaters on this forum have used. I went with this design to preserve isle space. Final dimensions ended up at 92 1/2" wide and 75" deep and 15.5" high.
I built the riser in two boxes the larger one being the one with no step and the smaller one being inset for a step.

to get the height I needed I built it as a box on top of a box secured together with strapping.
supports installed with hangers.
step is another smaller box
electrical roughed in, 3 outlets along the front and one in the floor for the back row. the front outlets will also be used to plug in rope lighting. One box along the back where I can wire in a cord to plug into the back wall

I cut an access hole in the front and in the back then put a peace of conduit in. this will be used if i decide to put in seat shakers in the future.

stapled 6 Mil plastic to the bottom

put in a layer of R30 followed by a layer of r19

next, a layer of 3/4" osb, glued and screwed:
next carpet paid gets glued down, an carpet stapled on top of it.

back row moved up, then front row in front of it:
I’ve been thinking about (procrastinating on) how to incorporate acoustic treatments into the room. I’ve gone through a couple of design iterations, however, after building the riser and really thinking about what I want the room to become I decided to go with a simpler look. I’ve since decided to go with a grid pattern that will cover about 50% of the side walls consisting of a 20x17, 20x30, 20x17 panel stack on top of each other.
The thought is to build “cases” for OC703 and then build separate frames similar to speaker grills that will cover the cases. I want to do this because I plan on covering the 20x30 frames with printed fabric posters and having the frames separate from the insulation case allows me to switch out the poster as I want to or for seasonality, etc.

Here is a look at the completed cases filled with 0C703. The first reflection areas which are the center and bottom 4 cases are filled with 2” of 703 no air gap, the rest of the cases are filled with 1” 703 and 5/8” air gap. This has greatly improved RT60 / ETC measurements outside of that the experience is much improved, dialog seems much clearer and I feel I can localize sounds much better from left, to center, to right speakers.

For those who are interested in the build process, here it is:

4x8’ sheet of half inch ply wood cut into 1-1/8” strips
Side pieces cut to 64” and cross pieces cut to 19”
Assembled with glue and staples
A stack of them ready to go
I built 4 (2 for each wall) smaller ones measuring 4” across to act as “end caps” visually
To keep the frames square, I stapled on an angled piece at the bottom corner of each frame.
To hang them on the wall I used a French cleat.
To maintain an air gap I stapled jute to the back edge (I later cut out the jute for the center 4 and bottom center 4 to accommodate 2” of 703).
I also sprayed the edge’s black just in case the grills done line up perfectly.

Next is to build grills to cover all of the 20x30 and 20x17 cases. Here’s a sneak peek for a test frame that I built using the printed fabric:
After a long week of nights I complete wrapping and hanging all of the frames. The attached photo's show the build process but basically it is a half inch sheet of plywood cut up into 3/4" strips. Frames are joined using half lap joints, then beveled. Next I sprayed them black. after wrapping with fabric I applied Velcro to the back corners.

I originally had enough printed posters to do 4 on each wall but one of them got damaged so I'll wait until my next order to replace it. So, for now I have one wall in an every other configuration and the other wall in groups of 2. I'm not sure yet which one I like better....

build photos, these are built out of 1/2" plywood, half lapped corners, 45 degree angled edge, sprayed black.

Wrapped up the build of two new subs to replace my JBL 10". Originally I had every intention of builing two micro Marty's with this same driver but when I was purchasing from parts express I saw a comment posted by someone who built this box using a purchased port. After modeling in winisd it modeled nearly identically to the micro marty and met my size parameters a little better.

The box is 16.5" wide x 21.75" deep x 24" tall making for a box around 3.5 cubic feet once driver, port, wood thickness (double baffle) are taken into account.

I'm powering them both with an inuke 3000dsp.

I'm still working on integrating them in with the speakers. I'll follow up with my learnings from REW. I will say that turning them to face each other vs facing out like they are in the picture improved the MLP response greatly.

These things really BUMP!! Now, off to rewatch some movies to see what I've been missing!! build progrss photos:
Last weekend I closed in the window that the screen hangs in front of and also painted the wall black. The black wall really captures the screen i thought the blue was dark enough but this makes a big difference in my opinion.

One item I don't have a picture of is the fact that I put in some 3/4" rigid foam insulation between the uprights prior to closing it in.


build progress photos:
I've completed trimming out the riser!!

A few details, the sides are covered with 1/4" walnut plywood. the corners are covered with a 1x1 walnut corner molding and then the top is trimmed out with solid walnut. The steps are 3/4" walnut plywood laminated on top of construction grade plywood and then edged with solid walnut. There are a bunch of progress photos attached.

Cutting all the 45 degree angles was a pain but it turned out nice. I ended up having to remove and reinstall the carpet (staples) so that i could tuck it under the trim. But, this was the right way to do it and if we ever change the carpet I can do so without having to mess with the trim again.

he only item I have left with the riser is to finish up the electrical which I'm waiting on until I determine my final lighting plan.

build progress photos:
up to this past weekend nearly an entire year has gone by with no additional work to the theater in an effort to not be a complete slacker I decided to knock off one item of my to-do list: painting the trim.

cutting in the trim color to the wall and carpet was a real PITA but was well worth the work, it really frames the room up nicely.

the color is "navy" color matched by HD to the fabric panels. Front screen wall base was painted the same black as the wall.

also, tidied up all the cables on screen wall with black cable wrap.

And we have light! I went with the same lighting scheme a number of members on the AVSForum have gone with. 4 lights along each side wall, 2 lights on the screen wall, 4 lights above the seats. each of those groups on their own insteon dimmer. The lights pictured below can be found on amazon in packs of 6. Be warned though, the bulbs that come with these buzz badly with the insteon dimmer so unfortunately ill be on a hunt for a new bulb.

UPDATE: received new bulbs today and they work flawlessly with the insteon dimmers, zero buzz, and full dim range. they are made by thinklux and sold through earthled.com (Thinklux LED MR16 GU10 - 6.5 Watt - 50 Watt Equal - Dimmable - 4 Pack)

seating level (lowest dim):

100% on:

progress photos:
I finally got around to setting up a media streamer using Raspberry PI and Kodi. Up to this point I was using a laptop and external hard drive to watch movies rips. Now they are all stored on a file server and streamed by kodi over gigabit ethernet. Wireless is to slow!