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Thread: Home theater renovation/setup

  1. #1

    Home theater renovation/setup

    HAs anyone turned their basement into an audio visual home theater room?
    Can anyone give me recommendations of companies that do good renovation work to set up a home theater, cabinets and all. (bonus if they can do floors in teh basement.

  2. #2
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    A real nice basement conversion with acoustic insulation (and new drywall), custom cabinets, etc, can easily run over $30k before one piece of electronic equipment goes in. A rich relative of mine spent $95k for the whole enchilada, which included the aforementioned sound proofing, custom hardwood cabinets, in ceiling and in wall speakers, Monster cables. leather seating, remote controled lighting, etc, etc, etc...He was refered to a now retired old world cabinet maker through the Audio Centre I believe. Depending on your budget, a high end equipment retailer should have some installers/fabricators on file.
    Shorter of breath...One day closer to death. Pink Floyd

  3. #3
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    It's not all to get something all nice-looking and all. That can be expensive but it shouldn't guide the process or you might as well do it yourself.

    What you want is some real audio performance from the room. A room can be worth $100,000 and be a piece of crap acoustically. That's why the "old artisan" can be a bad choice, even if the workmanship will be top-notch.

    A real top-notch home-theater room will see a big part of the money being invested in it's audio engineering, even more than on materials themselves. Yup! Paying top dollars for paperwork!

    Imagine the highest-priced hard wood and cover a full room with it, all sculpted and detailled, or do it all in marble, and you'll end up with a useless expensive home-theater room!

    Look for a contractor who can build to the THX certification, if you want the real thing. Be ready, it will be over $10k before you even start to build!

    As far as Monster cables and such, it's all frim. It's been proven over and over, times after times. The worst is, even these companies can't provide independant test data confirming their products are superiors. All they have is internal tests or test from labs they paid for. Just ensure the proper gage of wire is used, all wires are installed properly and distance specifications aren't exceeded and you'll never see a difference, besides a few $1000 or more in your pocket once the job is completed. Same hold true for video cables.

  4. #4
    Here's a great place to start researching your build options http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=19

  5. #5
    You know what guys, every guy is going to try to rip my nuts out,
    so my basica plan is going to be to install a projector from teh rroof buy a projector screen, reasonable priced items in addition to complement the projector and screen ( couch , wall unit , rug) get carpeting, get a few spot lights 1-2 hours from an electrician and call it a day. I called a contractor in my home and I get teh feeling that he is giving me big talk, and big prices and I feel the home audio guys are going to do the same.

  6. #6
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    Of course, I have no official statistics but, I' wouldn't be surprised if the vast majority of peoples who pay the big dollars for a true home-theater don't even notice the difference . Damn, some peoples buy hi-fi audio gears and listen to over-compressed, undersampled music and think it sound good or, even worst, they listen to AM radio! Fore some peoples, it's only the trill to say "I have it!"

    Ocean, read a bit about sound property, the basics of audio design, equipment installation/placement and you'll do a cool job on your own.

  7. #7
    You know meetoo4, I fugured that too.

    The Floors and one door needs to be done professionally, but if I look at a picture, I can recreate it at a reasonable cost. I dare say that I can do an even better job than some of these so called pros.

  8. #8
    You could always stop in to a high end AV shop and just discuss it with them. You might be able to get some ideas on how to proceed without it costing a cent. There is one place that is always advertising on the radio station Team 990, but I can't remember the name of the place. Might be worth a shot.
    And the Lord said unto John, "Come forth and receive eternal life." But John came fifth and won a toaster.

  9. #9
    Look at the AVS forum link mack posted and start reading. A friend of mine has almost finished his home theater room in his basement and that's where he got all his info.

    Most of the stuff you'll need (cables, etc...) will be far cheaper at monoprice.com than anywhere else. Good luck.

    For audio/video hardware, well you get what you pay for.

  10. #10
    Hi guys I agree that those theaters are worth I'd say 11-12k easy. But that is a super professioanl overhaul job, I dont need that much , there was one pic much simpler porjector hardwood floor couch seemed reasonable.

    BUT THE FRUSTRATING ISSUE IS that you don't want to get the feeling that you are being gouged (kid of like I am with bell -to understand teh joke you ahve to read my bell videotron forum).

    I had a renovation guycome to teh home today felt like I was being taken for a ride.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocean
    ... hardwood floor ...
    As far as I know, acoustically, hard stuff shouldn't be on the floor or near it. It's a question of sound propagation/reflection and absorption. That's what I was saying, it might look good but doesn't mean it is. Unless your basement is the size of a cathedral, sound-reflective materials can only be used with caution.

    If you look at any good movie theater, you'll noticed the floors are carpeted and the walls have some dampening material on them. Big theater and auditoriums will have some reflective surfaces but they'll be placed strategically to reinforce the sound and not create unwanted echos or distortion.

  12. #12
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    I've designed, built and operated a couple of recording studios -- and the principles for a good dedicated room for AV and for a studio control room are the same. Lots of info on the net and several good books on acoustic design that will give you ideas. MeToo has it right -- pretty cabinetry does not a good acoustic space make. Key is minimizing reflections (bouncing the sounds off hard surfaces so you get unwanted reverberations), so you want to create as big a "sweet spot" as possible that will concentrate quality sound (unreflected) with good visual site lines. Basements are often unhandy spaces because you don't really want a low ceiling -- that maximizes unwanted reflections. Go to the cinema and look at the rooms, even in the multiplex -- higher ceilings, slanted walls, wall treatments with soft absortion, some irregular shapes that act as diffusers, mixed harder and softer flooring and seating and an irregular ceiling, often with more accoustic treatment -- corners are filled in too, because they can catch and bounce around sounds, expecially long waves like bass. The lower the frequency, the longer the sound wave forms, so a small room volume will always suck for good bass response. Vibrations can also hamper a good listening room (your furnance in next room of the basement rumbles on, your refrigerator above kicks on and the main members of your house carry the vibration to your AV sanctum).

    All that said, a lot of careful planning, working with basic dimensions of good acoustic principles, some insulation and acoustic treatments and you can do something. Count of spending several thousand dollars to get it right -- and that will be just in the room construction.

    Finally -- don't believe the hype about cables -- many professional audio publications have debunked the cable myth. Don't use lamp cord -- but you don't have to buy high in cables either -- it is a waste of money. You can find some of the blind testing done by Mix magazine with the best recording engineers in the world listening to great equipment in carefully acoustically designed spaces -- with only cables changed -- net result -- they could hear no difference between cables costing thousands and those costing only dollars. It's the audio placebo effect (in case you can't tell this is one of my real pet peeves in the audio world). Frankly -- electrons don't care!

    Good luck and have fun.

  13. #13
    guys while you are ll professional enthusiats I am jsut looking first for te "look" of a home theater and then actauly professioanl concerns abour low noise blocking sound proofing and minimal reverberation/reflection. Something basic that kind of looks a litle like a pro system. Again I cannot do teh whole 10 thousand dollars bit at the moment. BUT I APPRECIATE COMMENT FROM TEH PROS ( you guys who know what they are doing).

  14. #14
    As for cable, I woudn't throw all cable into the same "cable myth" boat. A $10 HDMI cable will do the same job as a $200 cable (digital data passes or it doesn't, there's no in-between), but I sure woudn't use a 75 foot run of cheapo Radio Shack type speaker cable to feed my rear speakers in a hometheater room.

  15. #15
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    I hope nobody thought I was touting the myth that "more expensive equals better". Nothing could be farther from the truth. I merely posted what you could end up paying for a top end job, since no budget was mentioned. I have never bought anything by Bose, Boston Accoustics, Monster, etc. I prefer to mix and match the components of any audio/video set up. I personally have a Sony tv, JVC surround reciever hooked to Yamaha speakers and a Pioneer subwoofer. All were purchased on sale or used, for a total of about $900. I also have a Zenith DVD/VCR combo unit from a garage sale for $30. I use the Rocketfish cables from Best Buy, a fraction of the cost of Monster. For about a thousand bucks, I have a home theatre system that I am thrilled with.

    I agree with the posters who said that, while it won't be cheap, with a little research, and some DIY, there is no reason you can't have a first class quality home theatre at a reasonable cost.

    Ocean, do you have an idea about your budget for the project? With some numbers, maybe some members can guide you as to how to get the most for your money.
    Last edited by mtwallet; 12-17-2008 at 02:39 AM.
    Shorter of breath...One day closer to death. Pink Floyd

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