Quantcast

Seeking HT room remodeling advice

MartinLogan Owners (MLO)

Help Support MartinLogan Owners (MLO):

Juan N Only

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Location
Detroit, MI
I’ve been lurking in this forum for some time now and I would like to get some advice on a remodeling project. I have owned a pair of Ascent i's for over two years and am now working on an audio/video room that will be the new home for my Logies. (Hey, if Magnepan owners can call their speakers Maggies, why can’t we call ours Logies? Or does Marties sound better? I like Logies—hope it doesn’t rub anyone the wrong way.
)

Anyway, I live in a 90-year-old house in a historic district in Detroit. (Yeah, Detroit, the source of all those great jazz musicians! Just ask me, I'd be glad to compile a partial list of Detroit's jazz talent.) The 2nd-floor room on which I’m working (see diagram of floor plan below) was formed by removing a wall between two rooms to make one room approximately 13’ x 22’. Where the wall was, I put in a pair of fluted columns (about 6 1/2" deep by 5 1/2" wide) against the side walls and a shallow header between them. This wasn’t because the wall was load-bearing, but instead was to help cover where the wall was and for aesthetic reasons. I’m hoping it will also help with sound diffusion.

What was the south room, that will now be the back of my home theater, was a sunroom, so it has lots of windows. As you can see in the diagram, the entire back wall is windows and these windows are flanked by another pair of large windows, one on each side wall. So maybe I’m crazy for trying to make a sunroom into a home theater, but who wants to go down to the basement just to listen to music? When not watching video, I will be able to open the curtains and get some wonderful daylight. Besides, the ceilings in the basement are low—here I have nearly 8 1/2' ceilings.

In the front of the room, in what was the north room, is another pair of windows on the left wall. On the right wall, near the middle of the combined rooms, is the door from the hallway. (I removed the door to the south room and put up drywall in its place.)

On the left side of the front wall is a door to a closet. I’m thinking of putting my turntable inside the closet to protect it from feedback. The door, however, presents a problem because it will be directly behind the left speaker. I would like to have some kind of sound dispersion here, but would hate to cover up or damage a 90-year-old, wooden door. Any ideas? I thought maybe a DIY lens on casters that could be moved aside to open the door, but it would be an extra obstacle to changing the record. Do you think it’s necessary to put the turntable in the closet, or do I just need to dampen vibrations coming up to the turntable from below? Do dipole speakers present a problem for putting a turntable behind them? If I don’t have to stash the tt away, it really frees up some design choices. For example, I could remove the closet door and put the equipment rack in the doorway.

I will probably get a rear-projection TV and it will go right next to the closet door. I plan on putting in a riser in the back (for the rear row seating) and wall-to-wall carpeting. I may install wainscotting on the wall space not taken by windows or doors, in order to have someplace to discretely put bass traps. Of course it would also be nice to have some wall space available to put a shelving unit to hold LPs, CDs, DVDs, books, etc.

Other questions I have:
Should I do something architecturally to tame the front corners of the room? Maybe a narrow strip of drywall, from floor to ceiling, cutting across each corner?

Any suggestions for window treatments? Maybe horizontal blinds and heavy curtains? Assuming heavy curtains, should I also put curtains over the right side wall, opposite of the west windows, so as to be symmetric?

I’m sorry about the length of this message, but hope I can get some opinions and guidance on this project. Thanks much.

-Juan
 

Attachments

Robin

Well-known member
Joined
May 9, 2005
Messages
3,292
Reaction score
0
Location
Calistoga, California
Interesting HT Room Project...

Juan,

Welcome to the ML Club!

Well, your room is a good size that's for sure. If it was me I would; 1). I would use tight fitting mini-blinds and heavy curtains as well, for all the windows. 2). I would remove the closet doors and use it for my equipment rack and LP, DVD, CD storage. 3). I would go for a Front projection set-up if at all possible for sonic reasons. 4). I would use 16 inch triangle sound baffles for the each ceiling corner in your HT room. I like your idea of fabrication a platform for raised seating. I also agree with your conclusion about the basement vs the second floor with the higher ceiling. As you already know your HT room acoustics are a huge factor in how your system will sound sonically. I always referred to my HT room as my biggest component of my system. Roberto's famous words hold true here, "Trust your ears". Sonically, your HT room should always please your ears... ;) Ultimately, I think your HT room will sound wonderful and be totally awesome. Good luck with your HT room project. I'm excited for you... :D
 

jmschnur

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
Messages
702
Reaction score
1
Location
Northern Virginia
Robin,

Why the front projection over a rear projectoin of plasma for "sound reasons". I can think of lots of vrason that front projection would be better for viewing but do not undertand the sond part.



Joel
 

Reverb

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 3, 2005
Messages
1,543
Reaction score
0
Location
Palm Springs, CA
jmschnur said:
Robin,

Why the front projection over a rear projectoin of plasma for "sound reasons". I can think of lots of vrason that front projection would be better for viewing but do not undertand the sond part.



Joel
Because rear projection TV’s are typically BIG cabinets that get in the way of the sound. Getting rid of any objects in between your speakers can really open up the sound stage. Plasma screens are better, like if you hang it on the wall it’s only about 6” sticking out, not much to get in the way of the sound. The one problem with plasma screens is the fronts are typically glass, and glass is not good for acoustics and can screw up your sound stage or make your speakers overly bright.

Front projection is the best solution for us, because you can have a fabric screen that hangs on the wall that will not get in the way of the sound. You can even get a micro-perf screen, with small holes in the fabric that will let the sound threw if you wanted to have a pull down screen in between your speakers.
 

Juan N Only

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Location
Detroit, MI
Thanks for the ideas and words of encouragement. I would like to go with front projection, but it's just too expensive (to do it right). Any ideas on how to minimize sonic problems caused by a rear-proj. TV? Maybe build a cabinet around it that has enough texture to give sound diffusion? Or remove the wall between the two closets, cut a hole in the front wall and imbed the TV in the wall? Any thoughts about the turntable?

I look forward to posting pix of my room when I finish it, but that's probably a while away.

- Juan
 

Reverb

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 3, 2005
Messages
1,543
Reaction score
0
Location
Palm Springs, CA
Juan N Only said:
Thanks for the ideas and words of encouragement. I would like to go with front projection, but it's just too expensive (to do it right). Any ideas on how to minimize sonic problems caused by a rear-proj. TV? Maybe build a cabinet around it that has enough texture to give sound diffusion? Or remove the wall between the two closets, cut a hole in the front wall and imbed the TV in the wall? Any thoughts about the turntable?

I look forward to posting pix of my room when I finish it, but that's probably a while away.

- Juan
What is your TV budget?

The best sound I was able to achieve with a rear projection TV was my Grand Vega 8” from the back wall for extra ventilation, and the Ascents at least 12” in front of the TV. I would not recommend you have the TV placed in between the speakers, but Have the speakers as far out from the TV as you can. The more I pulled out my ascents the more the sound stage opened up.
 

Steve

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 3, 2005
Messages
145
Reaction score
0
Location
Austin, tx
Some other pros/cons to think about:

1. front projection will be difficult with all of the windows. It will tend to wash out with lots of daylight coming in. This may or may not be a problem for your room. You could also treat the windows to fix this issue, but it depends on your preferences.

2. would it be possible to recess a rear projection TV into the closets? That would minimize the effect of having the big box between the speakers. If you do that, I'd suggest also building your equipment rack into the closets as well.

3. I'm angling the side walls of my media room slightly to reduce the parallel surfaces in the room. Not sure how much this will help, but it's easy to do with new construction.

Let us know what you decide to do.
 

Robin

Well-known member
Joined
May 9, 2005
Messages
3,292
Reaction score
0
Location
Calistoga, California
Front Projection...

Zip3kx07 said:
Because rear projection TV’s are typically BIG cabinets that get in the way of the sound. Getting rid of any objects in between your speakers can really open up the sound stage. Plasma screens are better, like if you hang it on the wall it’s only about 6” sticking out, not much to get in the way of the sound. The one problem with plasma screens is the fronts are typically glass, and glass is not good for acoustics and can screw up your sound stage or make your speakers overly bright.

Front projection is the best solution for us, because you can have a fabric screen that hangs on the wall that will not get in the way of the sound. You can even get a micro-perf screen, with small holes in the fabric that will let the sound threw if you wanted to have a pull down screen in between your speakers.
Juan,

Joe said it all and I concur... :) I would also agree with Joe, that if you had to use a rear projection TV, recessing it into a wall would be good, with proper ventilation for the TV. Joe's ideas about positioning your front ML's at least 12" from the TV screen are excellent. :D
 

Juan N Only

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Location
Detroit, MI
Joe and Steve,
Thanks for the thoughts and advice. Regarding my TV budget, audio is my number one priority, so I don't want to spend a lot on a TV at this time. Of course, I do understand what you're saying about the TV box adversely affecting the audio presentation, but I guess I'm looking for a happy compromise.

As Steve suggested, embedding the TV into the closets does have a lot of appeal. However, it would make it a major deal to upgrade the set in the future. But I have time before I need to make that decision; I won't be cutting a hole in the wall for the TV until I buy the TV and I won't be buying the TV until I'm near finished with the room.

So I guess I would like to remove the closet door and put the equipment rack in the doorway if I can put the turntable in the rack. I was wondering if putting in a half-height door on the front of the rack and having the TT enclosed behind this door would help shield it from feedback. Any thoughts?

Thanks much,
Juan
 

jfm

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2005
Messages
308
Reaction score
0
a few thoughts:

You have a great opportunity to have acoustic treatments built into your walls, instead of adding free-standing ones like many of us have to resort to, which would also be more expensive. Lots of stuff on the Net on this.

I wouldn't put the turntable behind the speakers, or even close to them.

Lots of nice-looking blackout roller shades that would cover your windows and look good. Hunter Douglas is what I use and I'm happy with this brand.

I would also encourage the front-projection option. Don't dismiss it until you've proved to yourself you don't like it or it absolutely won't work. Even an inexpensive one like a Panasonic AE900, coupled with a good screen like a DaLite High Power, would be a great choice.

Wire and cable management would need lots of attention; I'm sure you're working on this already. My favorite configuration would be to place amps on floor stands near the speakers. You could hide them under a rack that would also be the platform for your center speaker.

Good luck and enjoy the process!
 

kwr

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 12, 2005
Messages
301
Reaction score
0
Location
Sydney Australia
I think there are a few fundamentals that will dictate your layout.

The closet door dictates the size of your screen . I would not use the closet and would move the door to the room next door. Always a shame to lose storage space.

This leaves you with a room that is pretty close to the golden ratio dimensions with a near Fibonacci sequence (8.5/13/22 cf 8/13/21) - good dimensions to start off with acoustically.

This is entirely my preference( I would always look to emphasising the livability of a room rather than purist audiophilia) but I think the two biggest issues in this room will be creating a good live end dead end setup and damping/diffusing early reflections. The windows at the southern end of the room will be very lively and I think dictate damping at that end. I would just use heavy curtains on the windows at the end and at the side window.

The front wall I would initially leave bare but I would have bookcases on either side of the room at that end. Add damping later on if neccesary. With wall to wall carpeting your problem will be creating a boomy sounding room secondary to the absorption of mid to upper frequencies. The speakers I would put about 5 feet into the room and about 3 feet off the side walls. The primary listening position I would have approx 10 feet from the front speakers.

Visually I would head for the ease of a plasma secondary to minimising the acoustic reflection as you can get it close to the wall - maybe even mount it on the wall and place the equipment and centre on a stand beneath it.

Surrounds somewhere near the intersection of the south windows and the wall.

Good luck - your room has good basic dimensions - you will not have to fight it.

Kevin
 

jmschnur

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
Messages
702
Reaction score
1
Location
Northern Virginia
I use the black roller shades and they are good bu not perfect. I put some Home depot white shades in front of them on the outside so from the house it is white) (and taped them to walls at edge of window to cut off any light leaks). The combination is light tight. If you want to open the windows just do not use the tape.

I have a plasma on the rear wall and then a pull up screen about 2.5 feet in front of it with my Vantages to either side. When I use the projector the screen goes up (or for serious listening). When we watch the plasma the screen goes down.



Joel
 
Last edited:

Matten Logan

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 21, 2006
Messages
56
Reaction score
0
I don't know what kind of $ your looking to spend overall, but there is this company called Rives audio Rivesaudio.com . They have five tiers of room treatment plans. The level 1 diagnostics is a great deal. They come to your house with some test equipment, then they take all measurements for room size, seating position, windows, tv location, etc. Then they draw up a custom plan for your room with suggestions for which acoustic panals and diffusors are right for you. They even give you model numbers and a couple of different manufacturers that would be good. It costs somewhere between $1000 and $1250, but for what you get (professional and accurate room treatment plans) its well worth it if you want to get the sound right.
 

Juan N Only

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Location
Detroit, MI
Taking jfm's advice about keeping the turntable away from the speakers, I'm either back to putting it in the closet, which, of course, means keeping the closet door, or maybe putting it in the back of the room, which will mean getting a separate phono stage outputting to balanced outputs for the long run up to the front of the room. Having the turntable closer to the listening position might be a nice convenience, but I may get better sound if it is close to the preamp and out of the soundfield. Dilemmas, dilemmas!

After reading suggestions here in this thread and in other threads comparing front and rear projection, I am going to give front projection serious thought. I'm not sure if I want to black-out the room just to watch TV, but maybe I could just keep the front end of the room dark for casual viewing. Also, it sounds like lamp replacement can be costly.

Anyway, if I do go front projection, should the screen go against the front wall or between the speakers? I think between might be best: I wouldn't have to remove the closet door to get a decent size screen and I could put a room lens behind and between the speakers. However, I would have to suspend the center channel from the ceiling.

I'm getting excited about this project and wish it could be done soon. Unfortunately, it's going to take a lot of time.

-Juan
 

Reverb

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 3, 2005
Messages
1,543
Reaction score
0
Location
Palm Springs, CA
Juan N Only said:
After reading suggestions here in this thread and in other threads comparing front and rear projection, I am going to give front projection serious thought. I'm not sure if I want to black-out the room just to watch TV, but maybe I could just keep the front end of the room dark for casual viewing. Also, it sounds like lamp replacement can be costly.
Not trying to push you into doing something you don’t want to do, front projection is not for everyone, but if you have the right arrangement it can be very rewarding. I waited several years to go front projection, and it was defiantly worth the wait, but I did know the draw backs to it, and knowing ahead of time what I was getting into the positives of doing it defiantly out way the negatives.

Anyway, if I do go front projection, should the screen go against the front wall or between the speakers? I think between might be best: I wouldn't have to remove the closet door to get a decent size screen and I could put a room lens behind and between the speakers. However, I would have to suspend the center channel from the ceiling.
You can go with a fixed frame screen or a pull down, if pull down it can be Manuel or electric. For now I am going with a fixed frame screen on the wall but eventually if I can get a bigger room I would like to have an electric screen that drops out of the ceiling in-between the speakers. If you do go with a screen in between your speaker I would subjects you look at Micro-Perf screen that will let the sound threw the screen. One draw back of a miro-perf is the small perforations in the screen can be seen if you’re sitting too close to the screen.

Screens come in different flavors, White, Silver, Gray, and Black. Each material has it strengths and its weaknesses; Silver screen will give the colors in your picture that plasma POP, but your blacks can suffer a little. Gray and black screens are good for situation ware blacking out the room may not be a practical option, or if you like watching with some light on in the room. The Gary color of the material can make your blacks in the picture look blacker on a digital projector and help preserve the blacks from washing out with the lights on.

Prices of replacement lamps are dependent on the projector. The lamp in my Sony HS-51A last’s about 3000 hours and coasts around $300.00 to replace. The lamps in Sony VPL-WV100 projector coast $1,000.00 to replace because the lamps are pure Xeon lamps. All of those Digital rear projection TV’s LCDs, DLP, SXRD, ETC. use lamps, so you would probably still be buying a lamp even if you did not go front projection.
 
Last edited:

jfm

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 4, 2005
Messages
308
Reaction score
0
Juan,

Let's work on that turntable placement. On second thought I wouldn't dismiss the inside-the-closet option -- as long as it has good isolation it might work.

At the left side of the room, before the window (looking towards the front of the room) might also be good?

For either position, you may want to explore a wall mount, aside from a rack mount.

At the back of the room -- well, you do have lots of room there, but looking over your back to check whether the tonearm/cartridge is getting close to end of the LP side may be a pain, unless you get one of those nifty tonearm lifters that lift the tonearm before it gets to the label.

Cheers.
 

Juan N Only

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2006
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Location
Detroit, MI
Matt,
Thanks for the Rives Audio suggestion. I just might do that. Anyone had any experience with them?

-Juan
 
Top