New project, helping tips welcome !

Posted by: EFalardeau

New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/18/12 08:04 AM

Hi All !

It’s been a while since my last project. I just bought a house that has a perfect room for HT (currently a workshop).
It’s not “huge” but still a decent 17x14.

Any of you know of good sites for things like HT seating, projector screens and things like that?
Seating needs is for 3 people, one of which is a kid that might sit on mommy’s lap!
I was also considering some sort of “bar stool” type of chairs in the back for company (so they don’t get too comfortable).

Any other hints you might have like “fixed screen is a must” or “no difference between roll-up and fixed” or soundproofing tips.

Who’s the leader in projector: Panasonic, Optima… ?

Thanks in advance!
The wait commence (still 3 months before I move in).
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/18/12 08:16 AM

Eric, I won't contribute to a situation where you are dooming a workshop to build a theater.

That's a Sophie's Choice if I ever heard one.

Can't you do without a kitchen or something instead?
Posted by: EFalardeau

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/18/12 08:23 AM

Sofas Choice! That's another topic... Its 2630sf of living space that I have to furnish...
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/18/12 08:40 AM

Sofas Choice- That's funny! Congratulations here as well on the new house, Eric!
Posted by: Murph

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/18/12 09:00 AM

Hey it's a new house and he didn't say what kind of workshop it was. It could have been the last owners scrap booking room for all we know.

Gratz on the new house!!!

All my HT research on projector gear is now 2 years old. I do hate my Buddy's hanging screen though. I definitely say fixed. If you use WilsonArt designer white laminate like I did, it can also be used to throw your spaghetti at to see if it's cooked then wipe it right down.

I also did something similar to your bar stool idea. Behind the 2nd couch, I built a bar behind it that attaches to the raised platform. It helps make the raised couch look like it belongs instead of being on a raised Island. I have a couple of wooden saddle style bar stools behind it. Great for when you want to watch a movie and snack or for like you said, guests you hope will leave early.

Things I wish I did differently... Only one thing. Although I used 2" conduit for my HDMI cable run to the projector on the ceiling and I was careful to use obtuse rounded angles where it needed to corner, Somehow I just got my cable stuck very solidly in it. It always acted up a bit (it's a long run) and I wanted to try a replacement I ordered. It must have looped inside there somehow in order to fetch up. It went through sooo easy the first time, I can't imagine how else it could have gotten stuck. I'm currently trying to rig a strong metal hook to the end of an old metal fish to try and salvage it.
Posted by: EFalardeau

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/18/12 09:13 AM

Thanks, Murph!

@Mark: the workshop has served its purpose. The former owner (!) made an astonishing job renovating and finishing each room (REALLY amazing). All is done. Time to pack up the tools and let the space return to its fundamental nature: awesome entertainment! smile
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/18/12 10:49 AM

I like my Lazy Boy love seat with cup holders. That's one option you could look at. I've also seen sectional furniture where cup holders can be added between sectionals. So, end result is comfortable recliners, cloth or leather, with cup holders.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/18/12 12:14 PM

Originally Posted By: Murph
wooden saddle style bar stools behind

I just like to pull that kind of stuff out of its original context. Gitty up!

Eric, warmest congratulations on all your changes.

I'm assuming good-to-excellent light control if you have a dedicated room. Unless you plan to ALSO have a plasma in the room for casual viewing, gaming, whatever, I don't see any good reason to NOT have a fixed screen. The DIY screen forum at AVS might scramble your brain, but Murph's idea about the Wilsonart laminate actually tests out pretty well. That's what I plan to do when/if I'm lucky enough to have a dedicated room

It seems like somebody is always talking about projectors around here. My understanding is that the high-end guys (Nick B and Mike D) like the $3-5,000 JVC and Sony models. If you want to spend less, I am still looking for the first person who is truly disappointed by a Panasonic projector or plasma.

Personally, for three people, I like a couch instead of individual seats. But I LIKE sitting next to my wife, so YMMV.

Even though I don't have a dedicated room, I do have a bar and barstools behind the couch for additional viewers. I like that arrangement quite a lot.

Have fun!
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/18/12 04:18 PM

Oh boy... Do I jump in here? Maybe not at work. LOL

Fire away. SO many topics to cover here. Don't even worry about the projector until you get building.

Pick out your seating location and screen size, then your speaker locations will fall into place. Iron those out if possible before construction (3 months from now if you are lucky without having a new house "to do" list).

If possible, get the exact dimensions (maybe you have them) and try to mock up the space somewhere that you have access to now to get a feel for screen distances and sizes.

If you opt to go fixed screen (great option in my opinion for a dedicated room since motorized screens get pricey for decent ones that don't look wavey when down), keep in mind that if you go with a panel type install using the WilsonArt stuff, that you will be a little more limited on size since you obviously have a maximum sheet size. Now, that "limit" may still be bigger than what you need in the end and not be an issue at all, but it is something to consider. If you can't find a panel type material big enough for what you want, then you have to go fabric.

For the space, I would not do a false wall like I did. It will easily eat up 2-2.5 more feet of depth in the room. I had about 24 feet, so losing 2 was not a problem. This also makes the install easier.

Soundproofing. Oh boy, LOTS of info here. This really depends on what the floor, ceiling, any existing walls, etc are made out of. The key points to "soundproofing" are isolation, dampening, and absorption. Physcially isolate the inside of the room from the outside, dampen the sound waves with mass, and absorb everything else. OK, so that is very simplistic, but it give the rationalization behind double or staggered walls, floating floors, and second isolated ceiling joists or hat channel for isolation (physically reduce the common in-room and outside-room from each other). Double drywall with dampening material like Greenglue for the mass and dampening of large soundwaves (low freq. stuff). And insolation (pink fluffy stuff) AND air cavities in the walls for absorption.

Note, one of the most overlooked thing in soundproofing is the door. People like glass doors, french doors, etc, but if oyu want sound to stay in (or out) of the theater, then the door is a big, giant week point for most people. You don't have to drop $6,000 on a comercial grade soundproof door, or even have to use some automatic door seal or anything. Yes, these are great products, but we all have budgets, right?

I could not believe how much a nice solid core steel exterior door can block the sound. I went for a 6 panel door with an extra thick door jamb since my walls were thick. People say to go with a flush door since the "panel" areas have less core since they are thinner there, or to add two .5" sheets of MDF to the door with green glue in the middle, etc, but then you are not only adding a lot more work, but you need really strong specialty hinges that run about $75 a piece (you will need 3-4). Again, my $220 door (was $120 until I added the extra deep jamb). I also used a nice exterior bottom door sill to create a solid seal under the door (where the biggest gaps normally are) for about $20 is all. Again, I could get a better result with other options, but for $220 for a perfect fit with nothing to do but paint and hang the door, this was great and WAY better than anything I've ever had before. The difference with the door shut vs. open is unbelievable.

I would run some nice 2" conduit from the equipment area to the projector, and not worry about the rest. Sure, speaker wires can get damaged, but if you test them before drywall, and then again right after, you can fix any problems. If you want more piece of mind, then use 1.5" blue "smurf-tube" for the speaker wires.

I LOVE the counter-top/bar stool idea. We would have done that for a 3rd row in our theater if I hadn't done a false wall. It offers a place for more viewers with minimal space lost due to seating, and is a place to bring in food, etc for regular viewing.

Don't forget about room treatments too. Soundproofing is NOT going to help with the in-room acoustics. Bass traps in the corners, and some panels on the walls will do wonders. The nice thing is that these get added when the room is closer to being done, so you can plan for that however you want.

As for equipment, I bought pretty much everything when the price was right for me, but that meant having brand new equipment sit for about 6 months from date of purchase until they were installed and used. I would have gotten the same projector, but paid more 6 months later, so that worked out, but there was no need to start burning through warranties with new, unused equipment. With the new 2013 model projectors coming out, it will be good to see what the new "best" models are for different things. My JVC RS45 was rated by many places as the best 2D projector for less than $5000 (I paid $2600). If you really want 3D, then I would look elsewhere. With a fully light controlled room, you don't night a "light canon" either, and don't be fooled by the bogus contrast ratios. Almost everyone will say 500,000:1 or something crazy. Keep in mind that the high reading is with the projector on high power mode with the smallest screen image (brighter) displaying the brightest white it can display with the iris wide open for one end of that reading, and then the other end is with the projector turned off. Nobody views things at max white, on a 20" diag image 2 feet from the wall with high lamp mode. And how can you compare contrast when your "black" is when the projector is off? At a minimum, it should be with the projector on, displaying the darkest black it can muster. Nice thing about my JVC for example, is it has the industry best real black level, and has a real contrast of 50,000:1. Most of those other popular projectors that have 500,000:1 ratios come in at about 10,000:1 in comparison tests to the JVC. Again, who knows what 2013 will yield when all of the hot models are out in mass, but I would wait until closer to the completion date before worrying about it. You could research the heck out of it now, and then in 6-9 months when you are in the house and actually done, see that you could have gotten something better, or the 2014 models are trickling out and have to start research over.

Well, that is a long enough read for now for people. Let me know what other questions you have. I have access to a number of resources on the subject depending on what the questions are, so you don't have to believe me if you don't want to.

Oh, but don't worry, just because I like this or that, I won't try to exclude other options in any advice. I love my JVC, but you may have different needs, or price points. This isn't AVS, so I know that we all have real world budgets here. And what is important to one person, isn't to the next.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/18/12 04:56 PM

Awesome, Nick.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/18/12 05:10 PM

Ya, what Nick said....

I'll just add a pic of the seating I bought a couple months ago.

Posted by: pmbuko

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/18/12 05:21 PM

Oooh, adjustable headrests! My tall body would appreciate those.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/18/12 05:25 PM

I don't see any coasters on the table. Puzzling.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/18/12 06:46 PM

Too far of a reach from the chairs, which do have coasters Tommy.

The head rests both raise and tilt, something I was looking for. I don't like cup holders either, so the flat area on the arm rests works well, as long as you remember them and don't spill a drink. Kinda wishing I didn't go with the power recline option though.

I bought them from Scan Design down in your neck of the woods (Lynnwood) Tom. If you are into Scandanavian furniture, you ought to swing by and get on their mailing list. They have pretty good sales throughout the year (only way I could spring for them actually).
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/18/12 07:35 PM

D'oh! Of course. The table would be WAY too far away to put your drink.

I thought you got Palliser chairs?
Posted by: CV

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/19/12 01:58 AM

Originally Posted By: michael_d
The head rests both raise and tilt, something I was looking for.

Can you remove them completely? I'd be interested in that ability.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/19/12 05:54 AM

Charles, they are head RESTS.... it's not like you can make a bag out of them.
Posted by: Murph

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/19/12 07:23 AM

Posted by: michael_d

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/19/12 12:14 PM

I don't think so.. They're just stainless rods with detents the head rests slide up and down on. The rests must have clips with springs that snap into rod detents. Kind of like vehicle head rests.

No Tom, I was 'looking' at the Palister chairs, then after sitting in one of the IMG's, decided to go that route. They weren't that much more expensive in the end.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/19/12 12:51 PM

Ouch. I hate when things are expensive in the colonoscopies.
Posted by: fredk

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 12/20/12 01:00 PM

Originally Posted By: michael_d
... Kind of like vehicle head rests.

That would make them easily removable. just slide the metal posts past the stops and pull up.

We test the function of our headrests before shipping, pull the headrests and ship them in a separate holder.
Posted by: EFalardeau

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 02/07/13 07:49 AM

Quick update.
I am moving in on March 12!
The first pieces that will cross the door are my speakers! (fitting)

Everything is ordered for Home Theater:
1. Adding a VP-180 for center
2. Adding a EP-800 for subwoofer
3. Panasonic PTAE8000 for projector (this weekend I will write the RS-232 module I need to integrate into my remote software)
4. Elite CURVE235-125W projector screen
5. Pallister 3-seats "Media" chairs with removal trays and even tablet holders for my tablet-based remote software
6. Counter-bar in the back with three nice high-chairs (for the in-laws!)

It's gonna be AWESOME!! Except for the in-laws part...
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 02/07/13 08:17 AM

Originally Posted By: EFalardeau
with three nice high-chairs (for the in-laws!)

It's gonna be AWESOME!! Except for the in-laws part...

Your in-laws are babies? grin

Sounds great, Eric!

When is the Axiom Forum Open House-warming Extravaganza?
Posted by: EFalardeau

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 02/07/13 08:24 AM

March 13!

Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 02/07/13 08:33 AM

::Scribbling in my Calendar::
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 02/07/13 10:18 AM


I have a meeting that day, but I will see if I can reschedule it.

We will expect pictures.

Posted by: onn

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 02/07/13 07:38 PM

Originally Posted By: EFalardeau
March 13! 2023...

Isn't that date the "Ides of Mark"

I mean March
Posted by: EFalardeau

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 02/19/13 09:32 AM

My system is now 2.0, after a few days at 2.1.
The effect is pretty interesting. I never had a 2.1 system before as I went from 2.0 to 3.0 and 5.0 before 5.1. M80 + EP500 is a very potent combination, I was pleased to discover!

I will have 2xM22s in my family room in a 2.0 setup. I am now seriously considering installing my EP500 in that room and using only my new EP800 in the home theater instead of both subs.

In any case... 2.0 makes me hear my M80s alone for the first time in 2-3 years. Those are really great speakers! But I have to admit that music in 2.0 sounds unnatural (at least classical). As if they had put the orchestra in a sound-proof studio sucking all the ambiance out of the performance. The M80s are reproducing the sounds very accurately, but the concert hall in which the musicians are playing kind of disappear completely...

Can't wait to have finished re-building my sound system in the new house (should be done on March 13).
Posted by: JohnK

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 02/19/13 09:56 PM

Eric, enjoy your new setup. As to music in 2.0 sounding "unnatural", that's because it is. Despite the misconceptions of enthusiasts who maintain a separate 2-channel system so that they can hear music as it was "intended" to be heard, listeners at live concerts hear the majority of sound as ambience from directions other than the front. Using modes such as DPLII to extract the ambience from 2-channel source material and send it to the surrounds where it belongs brings us closer to realism in home listening.
Posted by: EFalardeau

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 04/08/13 11:16 AM

A few early pics and status update. First of all, the whole project was slowed down because my order for projector, screen and home theater seating never made it to my new house due to merchant going bust (currently waiting for my 9,200$ back from credit card insurance). Apart from that, things are moving along. I arrived in the old workshop with a lot more things to dismantle than I had anticipated, which added further delays.

You can see some of them in the next set of pictures showing my QS8s (the one clearing the door had to be moved because it did NOT clear the door on first install!). One QS8 had to be wall mount because there is a large metal structure where it would normally have be mounted. Fortunately, it was also the only one I could actually put on the wall!

Since I will not do the "nice" renovation and sound proofing until late fall or next spring, I at least improved a bit the look of the place by adding newly purchased and assembled media storage units (6 total). The units were then wall-mounted (using two sturdy brackets underneath each unit for the weight and then two screws through studs near the top for stability) and placed three on the right side (for BDs and DVDs) and three in the back for music. It removed a lot of the ugliness, but there's lots left! (there is still a lot of room for new purchases as many of the biggest box-sets can move to the top to get even a better look). In the 4th media picture, we can also see the "bar" that is used to accommodate 3 stools and eventually a mini-fridge!

Since the equipment was not going to be directly visible, I finally decided against anything fancy for equipment holder and opted for a big sturdy rack. Easy access and also plenty of natural air flow to keep everything cool! The result was OK in terms of functionality, but it was both an eyesore and a HUGE source of artificial lights. All those LEDs were actually lighting the room way too much for my taste. So I decided of a simple way to kill both birds with one credit card. I installed a curving curtain rail and some light-and-sound blocking drapes. Results is pretty cool. May not be the prettiest thing, but it sure is dark now in that room... still waiting for its projector! It looks like Wizard of Oz with all the magic behind the curtain...


After the debacle with the bankrupt merchant, I slightly changed my choice of equipment and screen (moved away from 125" 2:35 screen which caused my speakers to be too far apart and opted for a 110" widescreen). Right now, I have the screen (installed, WHAT A PAIN TO STRETCH THAT SCREEN MATERIAL!!!), the 3D glasses, my new Oppo BDP-103 [allows me to split the video directly to the projector, as my D2v doesn't support 3D, and the audio through a secondary HDMI connection]. Best images and best sound! Alas, a 500$ player! (at least it is doing very good streaming and replacing 2 other devices). Screen is up and so is the projector mount on the ceiling... on so are the cables (2xHDMI and 1xRS-232 so my remote software can control the projector).


Once I purchase and install the seating furniture (need the reimbursement money first!), I will take 360-degree pictures of the final result! See you then!
Posted by: EFalardeau

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 04/08/13 11:17 AM

I guess there is a limit of number of pics in a post!

Screeb & projector mount

Posted by: jakewash

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 04/10/13 10:04 PM

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain......

Looking good Eric.
Posted by: EFalardeau

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 04/23/13 11:43 AM

Finally got my projector! (last Wednesday evening)
After the hiccup with, I settled for a BenQ W7000 as I no longer needed all the features from the PTAE-8000 (because of originally planned 2:35 screen) and it was 1000$ less!
Results are very, very good. It took a lot less time that I feared to get basic settings right-enough for me to start watching and start accumulating patterns of issues that needed resolving.

After about 40 hours of watching, yesterday I sat down with the manual and rapidly found the main toggles that solved the issues I had found (mainly: way too high contrast, which made well lit scenes look like hand-held videos but left dark scenes great). Finally, by shutting off "Brilliant Color" and "Dynamic Black" while still using a high-contrast gamut, I managed to get everything looking great.

At this point, very little tweaking is possible without the use of measurement tools (my eyes are telling me things look great, which is the main thing!).

So my Home Theater is complete and is exceeding my expectations (for 2500$ instead of 5000$ as per the original plan!). Now all need is, once I get my money back from credit card company after went bankrupt, to get proper seating...

3D is a much more mature and increasingly well used technology. I had initially went that route because of kids, I actually enjoying a lot myself!

I'll keep you posted!
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 04/23/13 02:37 PM

Awesome, Eric!

But again, when is the open house party? smile
Posted by: EFalardeau

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 05/07/13 12:26 PM

One more step... ALMOST!
Bought my seating yesterday. Floor model, but that was OK considering I still haven't received my money back from fiasco.
Funny enough, I was just going to shop and check prices, but the one in big special (2000$ less than what I had paid wholesale) was also the most comfortable.
Only "issue" is that it is white, but very "matte".
Model is Lemans if you go to Palliser:

Receiving it Saturday. I will take picture of the whole room after that to close this long post!
Posted by: Murph

Re: New project, helping tips welcome ! - 05/08/13 07:50 AM

They look quiet nice.!!!
I'm Jealous.
Posted by: EFalardeau

Home Theater Complete... for now.... - 05/11/13 01:14 PM

Finally! Seating is in. Which was the trigger for cleaning up. Now I'm done until I ever decide to renovate and sound proof the room. It's not "pretty" (walls are marked and ugly and white), but the rest ends up better than expected so I am very pleased with the result and enjoying it a lot!

Seating is really nice. It is very comfortable sitting straight and even when using the recliner to its fullest, eye-level never moves higher than the middle of the screen so it is ALWAYS looking good even in 3D!

Room from the staircase leading to basement. First picture is which both doors open, second only with one (normal case).

Next pictures are front / center / front.
On the left, my cable & tools "armoire" and on the right the beginning of BD / DVD shelves.

Back-right wall with bar, EP-800 and back surrounds and projector.

EQuipment rack (back left of room), draped and not.

Seatings with armrest space sufficient for XPS 10 tablet (running my remote software), 3D glasses and little tools like a small searchlight and SPL meter.

Posted by: brwsaw

Re: Home Theater Complete... for now.... - 05/11/13 08:27 PM

I miss TNG.