OK, CRT boys. There's still a ton of work to do - and taking pictures of it makes it painfully obvious - but, I thought it was time to show a few of you what MY room looks like. I'm not worried about everything being perfect and finished because I love watching movies in this room. It's our escape from reality. It's practically impossible for the wife and me to get any motorcycle riding in these days (two little kids), so the theater is our escape, now.
It's not exactly everything I want, but it's still the culmination of years of dreaming and thinking and reading and planning and building and buying... All within the confines of a reasonable time-frame and a pretty tight budget.
The design admittedly isn't for everybody. We decided to have a little more 'fun' with the design since it was a completely dedicated room... We can stay safe and sophisticated everywhere else in the house. This room is for FUN! Well, that and the red Berklines I bought super-cheap on fleabay kind of dictated everything else to some extent.
Keep in mind that everything was completely DIY. The only two things I hired out were drywall finish and carpet. More than half of the equipment is used, surplus, or second-hand. The chairs, switcher, all the speakers, and AMX equipment came from fleabay. The old Sony 1271 came came from university surplus, but the new G70 came from ebay. The Crown amps, PS3, HD-DVD and Integra preamp/processor were purchased new (the receiver was refurb).
Here's the vitals on the system and room:
All double-drywall with Green Glue on Integrity Gasket
Commercial low-pile carpet
Insteon-controlled halogen lighting
ATS Acoustics sound treatments on side walls
Berkline recliners (6, from ebay)
3 Berks on the floor, 3 on 8" riser
Toshiba XA1 (HD-DVD)
Sony PS3 (Blu-ray, media extender)
Xbox 360 (Games, media extender)
DirecTV HR22 HD DVR
Integra DHC-9.9 Preamp/Processor (running 6.1)
Crown XLS202D 300w x 3, powering all speakers
M&K LCR750THX (LCR)
M&K S550THX (SL, SR, SB)
M&K V75 Mk II 12" subs (2)
Extron Crosspoint 84HVA 8x4 matrix switcher (RGBHV)
HD Fury HDMI-to-RGB converter
Screen and Viewing Distances
96"x54" WilsonArt Designer White laminate screen on 3/4" MDF
Approx 10' to front row center (50 degrees)
Approx 15' to second row center (32 degrees)
Switching from AMX Axxcent3 automation controller to iRule, an iPhone/iPod touch-based remote (operational fall '09)
I'll post the pics here, but here's also at this link with comments - on a BLACK background.
Thanks again to my awesome friend Chad for helping make it a reality - there's no way the project could have happened without him. I'd still be looking at test patterns on a bed sheet tacked on framing without his help. I'll owe him for a long time to come.
Last edited by ecrabb on Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:46 pm; edited 4 times in total
Link Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:59 am Post subject:
Are you saying my carpet looks like Walt puked on it? That would be a bummer. I specifically picked something that had a little element of fun to it, but I thought if the colors were on a simple grid, it would be a little fun - but a little understated at the same time. It's not like it has big white and red boxes of popcorn, neon confetti, film strips and movie reels the size of spare tires all over it.
Link Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 4:40 am Post subject:
John, that avatar is seriously nice, too! Wow.
Yeah, the sound is pretty awesome! I've heard some much better sounding systems and rooms, but they cost a LOT more to put together than I spent on mine. So far, I think the best money I've spent was the Crown amps. WOW, did they make a difference in the sound of the system. Mid-bass, and even stuff like drums - toms, for instance - have 'kick' or 'punch' that the receiver didn't have. Huge difference. All I know is for what I spent on the whole thing, I think it sounds and performs really well.
I love the CRT too, of course. That's really what started the whole system - that was the beginning. A university surplus 1271. We watched Children of Men Friday night and Derailed Saturday night (both on HD-DVD), and both nights I thought a couple of times about how much the image looked like 35mm film - just a little softer. Man, it's beautiful. I LOVE watching movies on HD-DVD and BD. It really puts the quality of the image over the top. DVD is really a disappointment, but HD-DVD and BD is HT nirvana.
Link Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 5:19 am Post subject:
Thanks, again. Kal, the rest of the house trim is solid maple 1x material, so it's probably more like $150, and there's the dry-fitting, spraying the clear polyurethane on it in the garage, and all the cutting, nailing and filling... but yeah - that won't be bad.
But, then there's the rest of the list: Finish the trim, build and install the hushbox and exhaust fan, build and install the door on the back of the rack, finish the rack shelves, take the room door back off and spray it in the garage, re-install the door, lockset and jamb gasket, paint and install the HVAC supply and return diffusers, buy and install the track lighting, dress the rack properly with cable management, and finish designing and programming the AMX controller.
Yep. I should be finished by next Christmas.
Just getting the trim on would definitely help the room look more finished.
Link Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:54 pm Post subject:
Oh, yeah. I used the theater for months before I got the panels hung up. They leaned against the back wall from let's see... June until... October.
I wouldn't characterize the sound difference as 'huge.' It wasn't like putting a pair of glasses on and suddenly being able to see, it was like cleaning the smudge marks off your glasses.
Dialog intelligibility got better, highs like cymbals were crisper and cleaner, and overall sound was just more articulate. Localization was definitely improved and you could hear subtleties that you couldn't hear before. The panels were a little more critical in my room than maybe some people's rooms because my mains are so close to the side walls.
The only down-side (besides cost) was that with the absorption really sucked up some of the ability of the system to play louder. It was after I put up the acoustic panels and then visited another guy's theater that I realized I wanted to try separate amplifiers. First, I noticed I had to run the volume level up higher. Where I used to set the volume at around -20dB, all of a sudden I was pushing it 0dB all the time.
I guess now that I think about it, both the acoustic panels and the amplifiers made considerable and noticeable improvements to the sound of the system.
With the receiver powering the speakers and no panels, the system played decently loud. Then, with the panels, cleaner, but not as loud. When I added the amps, I got the loudness back, but it was super-clean. Let's say it was a 6 first. It sounded good, but not great. Adding the acoustic panels bumped it to a 7 or so. Then, adding the panels, bumped it again to an 8.
Now that I think about it, I wouldn't want to give up the amps OR the acoustic panels. They were both valuable upgrades. A bigger room would sound better, but I'm simply real-estate limited.
Link Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:48 pm Post subject:
Crabtastic... sweet, I like it. Thanks!
Stainless switch plate covers... Lowes. About 10 times the price of nylon, but worth it in my opinion. They're 'commercial' wall plates... 'cause nobody would ever want a brushed stainless wall plate in their residence!
Link Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:23 pm Post subject:
Reflecting on the past is interesting sometimes. I just ran across some old design stuff.
Before I fully understood CRT lens/throw relationship, here's what I was thinking about
when I was in my old house with super-low ceilings back in the '01-02 timeframe:
Here was my design after I was in the new house in February '05:
Here's a rendering I did in April (during construction) using SketchUp and a little freeware app called FRV to visualize first reflections:
The blue dots are right channel's reflections, yellow are the center, and red dots are the left channel.
The left wall's reflections would look just the opposite with red and blue interchanged.
Here's the materials palette:
Here's the room in October before I had the acoustic panels up (IMAX Blue Planet HD-DVD on):
Last edited by ecrabb on Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:49 pm; edited 2 times in total
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