Home Theater Setup

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Quetzal

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We recently purchased a new house. We found it after it was complete, so unfortunately we were not able to add our tweaks to the house.

There is a game/media room that, while not ideal, is better than not having a dedicated space for music listening and home theater enjoyment. This space had a TV mount on the wall, and was pre-wired for 7.1 implementation (supposedly). The pre-wiring consisted of 7 runs of 2-conductor 16AWG and 1 run of 4-conductor 16AWG cable from the room's closet to each of 8 outlet boxes installed in the ceiling (all w/ solid covers attached). The boxes were nailed to joists. (See attachment "Original Room.pdf")

I really wasn't sure what to do with this... is it common for people to use exclusively ceiling speakers for a home theater application? And even if this was the case, why would the boxes that would need to be removed in order to install speakers be nailed to the joists... and the resulting holes could not be within the cut-out of a normal speaker. Regardless, this wasn't going to work w/ my system anyway.

Some other adjustments were required - The TV mount was to high, and I needed to run cables to the surround speakers, so I started working on a design, hopeful to be up and running quickly (perhaps a few others can relate to "wife pressure"). (See "2-Initial_Placement")

I have never implemented Atmos before (my current AV Pre/Pro does not support it), but I figured it was time to get up to date. While researching and inquiring about good options to match my ML mains, I found the Dolby placement guidelines that indicate where I needed to install the ceiling speakers. Perfect! Except, not so much... following the guidelines, I did not have room for rear ceiling speakers, thus limiting me to a 6.2.2 system. (See "3-Atmos_Evaluation-Inital")

I believe I have found a solution, however, by ignoring the general room orientation as set up by the builder, and rotating 90°.

Attachments added for the original room, initial anticipated speaker placement, and the Atmos evaluation. I have a total of 7 drawings associated w/ this story, so I''ll have to continue w/ a second post...
 

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Quetzal

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Rotating the layout 90° gave me a a couple additional feet of room length, allowing the placement of the ceiling speakers in the 11' ceiling, following the Dolby guidelines. It also looks like I can probably get a second row of seating in, although I need to make sure that this is not going to interfere with sound from the rear speakers (Generally, it is just the wife and I, but on occasion friends and/or family join us). It also looks like I have room for a 9.2.6 installation.

See attachments:
04-Main_Speaker_Placement.pdf (Accounting for Room Limitations and Considering Triangle Dimensions in ML Literature)
05-Dolby_Surround_Orientation.pdf (Dolby 360° Recommended Angle Ranges Mapped)
06-Atmos_Evaluation-Final.pdf (Per Dolby Recommended Angle Ranges)
07-Full_Speaker_Layout.pdf (Ceiling Speaker Placement Approximate, Pending Confirmation of Joist Locations)

My current plan for the system is:

Mains: 15As
Center: C34A (currently using a Stage)
Surrounds (6): EFXs
Ceiling (6): TBD

By rotating the room orientation, I also need to move the equipment racks. In the initial plan, I had them in the "Media Closet" although this really wasn't ideal, as they took up too much space (this closet is not identified as a media closet on the blueprints... apparently the building decided to make it one, but didn't take into account the depth of typical AV equipment).

I have room in the closet under the stairs, but I am a bit worried about air circulation... while the "Media Closet" has an HVAC register, the stair closet does not. This will need to be added. Additionally, I'll need to install two 20A lines to the closet. Then, of course, there's all the in-wall speaker cable runs...

Seating, other than the location of the primary listening position is still relatively undetermined.

This is turning into much more of a project than I had anticipated, but hopefully it is all worth it in the end.

While I'm sorting this all out and figuring out how to make it happen, please chime in w/ helpful comments or words or wisdom to help me avoid complications or regrets.

Thanks!
 

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Quetzal

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The more I think about the new layout, the more I am concerned about air circulation and temperatures within the closet under the stairs. I'm not seeing an easy way to run a duct there.
 

ttocs

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For the closet air circulation, if a return vent isn't close enough to connect to, you can exchange the closet air with an adjacent room. Cut an inlet grill in the closet/theater wall low, then cut an exhaust vent with a slow, quiet, (but large for the cfm) fan pushing the closet air into the adjacent room - hopefully near enough to a return vent in that room so the warm air doesn't throw off the temperature balance of that room.

edit: a bath fan is nice and quiet.
 
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JonFo

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For the closet air circulation, if a return vent isn't close enough to connect to, you can exchange the closet air with an adjacent room. Cut an inlet grill in the closet/theater wall low, then cut an exhaust vent with a slow, quiet, (but large for the cfm) fan pushing the closet air into the adjacent room - hopefully near enough to a return vent in that room so the warm air doesn't throw off the temperature balance of that room.

edit: a bath fan is nice and quiet.
good suggestion, up until the bath fan, most of the ones I've seen are way too noisy and get more so with age. I installed one to exhaust the heat from the projector, and after 5 years had to stop using it due to noise.

Check out the products from AC Infinity, they have something for nearly every possible scenario: https://www.acinfinity.com/closet-room-fan-systems/
 

JonFo

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Rotating the layout 90° gave me a a couple additional feet of room length, allowing the placement of the ceiling speakers in the 11' ceiling, following the Dolby guidelines. It also looks like I can probably get a second row of seating in, although I need to make sure that this is not going to interfere with sound from the rear speakers (Generally, it is just the wife and I, but on occasion friends and/or family join us). It also looks like I have room for a 9.2.6 installation.
...
My current plan for the system is:

Mains: 15As
Center: C34A (currently using a Stage)
Surrounds (6): EFXs
Ceiling (6): TBD

...

While I'm sorting this all out and figuring out how to make it happen, please chime in w/ helpful comments or words or wisdom to help me avoid complications or regrets.

Thanks!
Well, my kind of thread! Sorry I missed your initial posts, but you'll be hearing a lot from me ;)

First, let me congratulate you on a very thoughtful and well-planned start to this project, the details in the diagrams are very helpful.

This orientation seems to give you the best layout from a seating and relationship to gear. One observation though is that the door to the media closet could have the mounts changed so it opens into the closet, as that would allow you to move the right speaker a foot or so further towards the side wall, and the left could likewise slide symmetrically. Basically align the inner edge of the speakers to the outer edge of your seating, so maybe less than a foot. That should help with imaging.

Second observation is to suggest you locate one sub at the rear of the room, centered behind the rear seats. That will balance out the bass energy in the room.

Your locations for the Atmos speakers looks reasonable an adhere to the specs. 6 in that room will be pretty awesome, just get units that meet the dispersion characteristics, typically coax designs meet those best.

I have a bunch more to say about room treatments and integrating the EFX units, but I need to run. More in the morning when I'm having coffe and my usual forum surf.

See attached annotated drawing.
 

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ttocs

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good suggestion, up until the bath fan, most of the ones I've seen are way too noisy and get more so with age. I installed one to exhaust the heat from the projector, and after 5 years had to stop using it due to noise.

Check out the products from AC Infinity, they have something for nearly every possible scenario: https://www.acinfinity.com/closet-room-fan-systems/
I build enormous homes for a living. For those folks on more of a budget and who have small equipment rooms (large closets), the bath fan idea is what they use (normally we install room chillers which works the best). The high end bath fans are extremely quiet, most people don't think they are operating - not found at home stores and not good for disguising human noises.

That said, the link you provided has a nifty solution which includes temperature display which is very useful.
 

Quetzal

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I actually had two different conversations with folks at AC Infinity this last week. Their products look like what I need, and appear to be of good quality, but I'll have to figure out how to modify them to my needs. I like their "Closet Fans" (Airframe Series), but don't want to put holes in my door (there is no way that it would fly w/ the wife!). I was considering placing one or possibly two above the door, but I'll have to fashion some sort of plenum (this was the primary reason for calling AC Infinity - to see if they have options for going through a wall. They don't), in addition to modifying the support above the door (the units would need to be centered above the door, and there is a stud dead center at the moment), and figuring out how to get power up there.

I plan on contacting an HVAC company to see what it would cost to install an exhaust vent in the ceiling (I *think* I have a route to a small potion of the highest part of the ceiling, but I might have to do something w/ the light that is there), and tie it to the rest of the HVAC system. If this is a realistic option, I'll probably also add one of AC Infinity's in-line duct fans (The Cloudline Series is available with a temperature controller). Assuming that the exhaust duct can be routed, the addition of an in-line duct fan would actually be the easiest part of all this, as I do have good attic access.

For air intake, I'm currently considering the Airplate Series. I was locating the walls studs earlier today, and working on a drawing to figure out how I can make this work. I'm considering six single 6" fans - three in each of two wall bays, all drawing air from the other closet. I'll have to fabricate a plenum within the wall space to make this work. I'm currently planning on putting the fans directly behind the equipment racks. Anyone foresee any issues or induced noise by blowing air at the back of the equipment?
 

Quetzal

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I build enormous homes for a living. For those folks on more of a budget and who have small equipment rooms (large closets), the bath fan idea is what they use (normally we install room chillers which works the best). The high end bath fans are extremely quiet, most people don't think they are operating - not found at home stores and not good for disguising human noises.

That said, the link you provided has a nifty solution which includes temperature display which is very useful.
When you initially mentioned bathroom fan, I also could only think of the run of the mill fans that are very loud, even when they claim to be quiet. The typical bathroom exhaust fan certainly would not be ideal background noise when enjoying music or during quiet portions of movies. I am not familiar with the type that you are referring to... can you provide a link to any particular brand that you recommend?

When a bathroom fan is installed for this purpose, is it generally kept on continuously, or is it tied to some type of temperature switch (or other triggering mechanism)?
 
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ttocs

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When you initially mentioned bathroom fan, I also could only think of the run of the mill fans that are very loud, even when they claim to be quiet. The typical bathroom exhaust fan certainly would not be ideal background noise when enjoying music or during quiet portions of movies. I am not familiar with the type that you are referring to... can you provide a link to any particular brand that you recommend?

When a bathroom fan is installed for this purpose, is it generally kept on continuously, or is it tied to some type of temperature switch (or other triggering mechanism)?
We like the Panasonic Whisper series fans, mostly we use inline fans mounted remotely, they have extra sound insulation and can pull air from multiple rooms. But we also use a ceiling model which is 50 CFM, 0.3 Sones, which can be ordered from depot so I stand corrected on this (it's just not a stock item). The inline fan is designed for continuous duty if needed. The first time we used a bath fan for a equipment closet (two racks) the A/V guy tried a temperature switch but it was too much trouble so he set it to run continuously, so it's been running for 6 years now.

Frankly, I don't see how the AC Infinity products run so quietly with the CFM ratings they get. Pretty impressive! I just ordered a smart T3 to try out to replace the "dumb" fan with speed control I'm currently using to keep air moving behind my Krell amp. It will arrive tomorrow. I like the temp probe and control panel. Thanks JonFo for telling us about this!

Also, regarding holes in a door, if the door is a stock size you can get a really cheap door to carve up and save the good one.
 

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We like the Panasonic Whisper series fans, mostly we use inline fans mounted remotely, they have extra sound insulation and can pull air from multiple rooms. But we also use a ceiling model which is 50 CFM, 0.3 Sones, which can be ordered from depot so I stand corrected on this (it's just not a stock item). ...
Thanks for sharing that tip, I'll replace the projector vent fan as well all the bathroom fans with Panasonics. The home is 20 years old now, and the original fans are due for replacement as they are all super-noisy now.

Also good to know about the inline units, I have a scenario for one of those as well.
 

ttocs

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Well color me ecstatic! I really don't understand how AC Infinity can produce a high quality product with the features the Airplate T3 has and only charge $49!!

I just tested the fan and it's very quiet and balanced. Any while playing with the temperature sensor it seems that the fan starts at very low speed while the temp approaches the set temperature, maybe 5-6 degrees below the setting I chose, and ramps up to higher speed while the temp gets closer to the set point. What this means is that the user can tweak the temperature setting to get the fan speed at optimum for both noise and cooling performance.

The control is very attractive, and very well thought out in how versatile the settings are. Very nice!
 
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