Has anyone built a home theater room, new or remodeled with sound proofing construction?

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Robert D

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This article describes some different things you can do to sound proof your home theater walls. It appears that the best way is to basically build two walls back to back with some space in between the walls. Its called decoupling.

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Wondering if anyone here has gone that far and how much it increased the building cost of the room. How well does it work? This article here seems pretty good.


 

ttocs

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The article and drawings provide some good construction tips for sound reduction. The plywood is something I haven't seen used for something like this. The specialty drywall is really good stuff. I don't remember any pricing anymore, but I don't recall is costing so much more that would make it cost prohibitive. Mass loading, on the other hand, is really expensive!

Back in my college days I worked on the construction site of a 8 story condo building. My father was the developer and GC. He wanted to make sure the apartments were totally silent through the shared walls. Cork over concrete floors, two completely independent metal stud walls with 12" separation between the studs for a total depth of 21" including the double 1/2" drywall on both sides, and completely filled with pink fluffy fiberglass insulation. We would demonstrate the sound proof properties by having prospective buyer couples, one on each side of the wall, pound the wall and yell as loud as they wanted, but no sound was heard on the other side.

More recently I built some homes with theaters, some really nice, others were on a budget. It's better to stay away from using wood studs. For double walls like your drawing shows, use something like cork or rubber to separate the top and bottom plates from structure for the inner wall, double drywall with metal studs, first layer attached normally, the second is mostly secured using minimum screws and Green Glue, not cheap, doesn't go very far so lots of it. Double ceiling. Go nuts and build up the floor, cork is pretty typical. Depending on how much separation you can afford between the walls will determine what type of insulation you'll need if you're trying to hit a STC number. The more separation, the more common and cheaper the insulation can be.

Also, you'll need to consider building code. With electric outlets needing to be every 6', you won't want to cut holes in the walls so run the electric conduits on the surface and cover with crown moulding and decorative columns.

HVAC is a royal pain. It's a pipe to everywhere else in the house. Extra bends with dampening inside the ducts helps but sound will still be heard elsewhere if it's not a dedicated system. One cheap and dirty trick that works better than nothing is to use flexible ducting and add some bends. The bends add resistance to the system so more duct runs or larger size will keep the air flowing. Theaters tend to get hotter than other rooms so this is something you'll need to really be confident will work, but again, more holes means sound can escape.

Lights are another source for holes. Lighting can be surface mounted so the holes are at a minimum.
 

Robert D

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Wow, thanks. You pointed out quite a few factors for transmitting sound that I hadn't thought of. The holes in the wall is a big thing. I know my house now really carries sound through the air ducts. I can stand in my bathroom on the second floor and hear the TV and people talking from the basement, so 2 floors down. Comes right through the air duct.

So perhaps when running ducts to the theater its best to use those flexible ducts that look to be made of plastic on the outside and add in bends. Ducts we have now are all sheet metal.

I plan on building another house in a couple years and put a home theater in basement. Wouldn't have to worry about the floor, but certainly the ceiling would be most important.

Do walls carry sound upwards to rooms above, or is it mostly horizontally to adjacent rooms?
 

Speedskater

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Wrist watches are no longer 'waterproof' they are now 'water resistant'. So too for residential listening rooms, they are not soundproof but sound resistant.
Never read about the above construction, most rooms use 'Green Glue' techniques.
A decade ago, everyone was building home theaters and talking about 3D TV. But interest has diminished.

Still some discussion at:
 

Robert D

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Wrist watches are no longer 'waterproof' they are now 'water resistant'. So too for residential listening rooms, they are not soundproof but sound resistant.
Never read about the above construction, most rooms use 'Green Glue' techniques.
A decade ago, everyone was building home theaters and talking about 3D TV. But interest has diminished.

Still some discussion at:
I wonder why interest in home theaters has diminished. Do you know where people are shifting their emphasis? I figure that it should be more popular now than ever, with covid-19 and movie theater closures. Even if open, theaters have diminished capacity and many folks don't want to risk exposure. Just like the workplace, theaters have been forever changed by the pandemic. Even retail stores are forever closing since so much shopping is online now.

There are now new movies that stream right to home on opening night. So are more people just content with watching on a small led TV with a sound bar? Fewer folks going all out on a home theater?
 

Robert D

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This might help deaden some of the low frequencies from a sub. This particular product has some bad reviews, but i linked it as an example.

 

ttocs

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"Do walls carry sound upwards to rooms above, or is it mostly horizontally to adjacent rooms?"

Think of it this way. Take a cardboard box and place a smaller box inside and suspend it using string such that no part of the small box touches the large box. This is as isolated as it can get. As Speedskater noted above, nothing is "proof", only "resistant". Keep in mind, you can still talk through a taught string with tin cans on each end. What you must try to do is dampen what's on each end to kill the sound.
 

Speedskater

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I wonder why interest in home theaters has diminished. Do you know where people are shifting their emphasis?
The answer is way above my pay grade. Maybe because even young children have their own cell-phone or i-pad.
I joined the linked forum over 15 years ago. Back then everyone wanted to build a home theater. Later members noted that a home theater room did not add to the resale value of their home (but it cost a lot to build). In general interest in high end video has been diminishing over the years. Maybe budget priced large size TV's has cut down the need for a projector and screen.
 

Robert D

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The answer is way above my pay grade. Maybe because even young children have their own cell-phone or i-pad.
I joined the linked forum over 15 years ago. Back then everyone wanted to build a home theater. Later members noted that a home theater room did not add to the resale value of their home (but it cost a lot to build). In general interest in high end video has been diminishing over the years. Maybe budget priced large size TV's has cut down the need for a projector and screen.
Yes, im thinking since led tvs have gotten bigger and cheaper, interest is down. So many houses you see now have the big led tv hanging over the mantle and fireplace. Id hate to have that as my main viewing area.

I know the interest in nice stereos is way down too because of headphones. Ive got nice whole house audio in several rooms and nobody uses it but me. They all use headphones.

Then you have streaming to laptops.

I still desire a home theater. Right now im using our family room with a 55 inch OLED LG and dolby atmos setup, 11.1. It's nice, but i would like a very large screen and a nice dark room. Noise is a problem now too, especially when im up late watching a movie and others are asleep. The dang room vibrates with bass and becomes a sort of speaker all its own. Ruins the sound when it happens.
 

Robert D

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This is what I'm using now. You can see the prodigy speakers with the missing panels. Have those out now with Russ to recondition.

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I'm really surprised that interest in home theaters is down. I would think that home theater demand would be increasing for all the reasons already stated. As far as interest in nice two channel systems being down, I guess that doesn't surprise me as my impression of most of 'the kids' (sorry, no disrespect meant) today is that music comes thru a couple of earbuds and an iPhone. I heard thru my best friend that his son (late 20's) just could not understand why anyone would have several thousands of CD's, and 'old albums' (yes, that would be me) and all the equipment to play them when you 'can carry all that with you all the time'.

I think it is up to all of us to share the love of good audio/video wherever we can. I almost accidentally shared my system with a neighbor, and not only has he jumped on board with his own system, but now he shops estate sales, FB Marketplace etc for good deals on gear... and he puts together entry level two channel systems for people. Started with his kids, then his girlfriend, then her mother, etc. Today he told me that he put together a system for someone at work (he works for a Fortune 500) 'who had never heard music thru anything other than his Amazon Echo!' While that is extremely hard for me to believe, I suppose with the demise of many of the audio stores, it could be true...
 

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All of the houses our company builds have very high quality recessed speakers everywhere. The in-ceiling and in-wall systems these days, I dare say, rival and surpass most of the simple systems my friends had in the 1970's and 1980's, and even beyond. The first time I was really impressed with in-ceiling speakers was about 8 years ago when the clients actually cared about how the whole-house system was going to sound. The key lately is the back-box the audio guys are using, along with the super duper speakers being utilized. In-wall subwoofers work well also. But we have not yet built a dedicated listening room, even for the guy that spent $400,000 on ONLY Audio Wire. His system had the speakers hidden in a non-dedicated room. Not dedicated, not multipurpose. Also not my cup of tea.

Like has been said, with the advent of large panel tv's, projectors aren't as much of a requirement for friends to come over for a really nice Movie Night!. (The period is not redundant. Movie Night! is how I write it as an event since that's the title of my events.)

We finished a house last year that has a multi-purpose great room that measures 47' x 29' with exposed structural timber post and beams 23' high. Stack my house on top of itself, and that's the size of the great room - give or take a little. Kitchen and dining at one end, entertainment and fireplace at the other. It's all mounted speakers and in-wall subwoofers, and a 85" tv. A theater doesn't have the attraction from a social/entertainment point of view. They host a lot of parties and while the parties involve watching movies and sporting events, a theater would be limiting, requiring total attention to just the movie. A lot of folks want the flexibility to be in the same room socially but also be able to chat in the kitchen, or move around, etc.
 

Robert D

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All of the houses our company builds have very high quality recessed speakers everywhere. The in-ceiling and in-wall systems these days, I dare say, rival and surpass most of the simple systems my friends had in the 1970's and 1980's, and even beyond. The first time I was really impressed with in-ceiling speakers was about 8 years ago when the clients actually cared about how the whole-house system was going to sound. The key lately is the back-box the audio guys are using, along with the super duper speakers being utilized. In-wall subwoofers work well also. But we have not yet built a dedicated listening room, even for the guy that spent $400,000 on ONLY Audio Wire. His system had the speakers hidden in a non-dedicated room. Not dedicated, not multipurpose. Also not my cup of tea.

Like has been said, with the advent of large panel tv's, projectors aren't as much of a requirement for friends to come over for a really nice Movie Night!. (The period is not redundant. Movie Night! is how I write it as an event since that's the title of my events.)

We finished a house last year that has a multi-purpose great room that measures 47' x 29' with exposed structural timber post and beams 23' high. Stack my house on top of itself, and that's the size of the great room - give or take a little. Kitchen and dining at one end, entertainment and fireplace at the other. It's all mounted speakers and in-wall subwoofers, and a 85" tv. A theater doesn't have the attraction from a social/entertainment point of view. They host a lot of parties and while the parties involve watching movies and sporting events, a theater would be limiting, requiring total attention to just the movie. A lot of folks want the flexibility to be in the same room socially but also be able to chat in the kitchen, or move around, etc.
Yes, good point about the social aspect. I can see that as a big factor. 85 inches is pretty big for sure and probably big enough for me. I could see doing that, so you wouldnt have to worry about there being way too much light that would bleach out the screen as long as you have good blinds you can draw. I have blinds now I use during certain times of the day. I guess I could deal with just keeping it in our family room if the sound proofing were better. My setup now leads to walls vibrating and too much sound travels upstairs to the bedrooms at night. This is why I keep gravitating toward having it in the basement were it is more isolated and controlled. I would still have a big screen in the family room but also have a dedicated theater room in the basement. The theater room I would also use for listening. I was thinking of making the theater room a multimedia room for computer gaming too, but I cant figure out a way I would do room scale VR in it. In room scale you walk around so that one step in real life is a step in the game. The chairs or sofa in the theater room would be in the way and I would have to constantly have to push them somewhere. It would also be better to be able to game in one room and watch a movie in the other.
 

RCHeliGuy

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Since Covid-19, I've seen a number of nice in ground swimming pools being built and I "guess" that there may be more Theater rooms being built for the same reason. People are stuck home more. RV sales are WAY up so people can self isolate and travel comfortably.

What is also interesting is that I know people who have taken up all kinds of hobbies in the last 6 months. I know a young physicist who recently purchased some Leica, Mayima, and many other classic film camera bodies and he also recently got into vinyl.

People are looking for things to do. So "maybe" there will be a bump in stereo sales. Not saying this will happen, just that now is a good time.
 

Robert D

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Since Covid-19, I've seen a number of nice in ground swimming pools being built and I "guess" that there may be more Theater rooms being built for the same reason. People are stuck home more. RV sales are WAY up so people can self isolate and travel comfortably.

What is also interesting is that I know people who have taken up all kinds of hobbies in the last 6 months. I know a young physicist who recently purchased some Leica, Mayima, and many other classic film camera bodies and he also recently got into vinyl.

People are looking for things to do. So "maybe" there will be a bump in stereo sales. Not saying this will happen, just that now is a good time.
Right. I heard spending at Lowes and Home Depot are up too. People spending more time at home. Many more have a home office now. I bet spending on PCs is up too. I figure audio and video might be up too.

I've noticed the ability to watch brand newly released movies on TV now. On my Amazon 4k Firestick they come up. One had Tom Hanks.
 

RCHeliGuy

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Computer equipment has been in short supply for many MONTHS now. Gaming equipment the same. That parts for Sim racing rigs like mine have been out of stock between production runs and selling out within minutes when available. Glad I got most of the heavy duty items on mine last year!

The latest NVidia video cards were initially mainly purchased by Bots online and then sold at 200% markup on Ebay because the demand is a bit crazy right now. NVidia and retailers had to put in safeguards to keep the bots at bay so real people could actually purchase them.

I've been working from home for over 12 years now, so I already had a very nice Gilded Cage to live in before this happened.
 
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Robert D

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Computer equipment has been in short supply for many MONTHS now. Gaming equipment the same. That parts for Sim racing rigs like mine have been out of stock between production runs and selling out within minutes when available. Glad I got most of the heavy duty items on mine last year!

The latest NVidia video cards were initially mainly purchased by Bots online and then sold at 200% markup on Ebay because the demand is a bit crazy right now. NVidia and retailers had to put in safeguards to keep the bots at bay so real people could actually purchase them.

I've been working from home for over 12 years now, so I already had a very nice Gilded Cage to live in before this happened.
Many video cards were so being snatched up for bitcoin farming, but not sure how common it is now. About 2 years ago it was fairly bad, cards sold out everywhere. A store i visited had a customer come in and request 500 high end AMD cards. Of course the store couldn't help the man, but they helped put him in direct contact with AMD and he bought them that way. The same guy told me the customer owned a large warehouse space filled with computers mining 24/7. The $$ he had to spend boggles the mind. I think farming bitcoin now isn't profitable, but maybe other e coins.

Doing the math, that guy was spending more than $400,000 on cards alone. He would so buy special motherboards set up that would hold 4 or more of those cards in one machine.
 

Robert D

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the new rtx 3090 sold out in 30 minutes NVidia reported. That's a $1500 card too. I plan on getting one next spring.
 
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