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Old 23rd June 2009, 14:11   #1
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Default Building a Home Theatre - need your help

I am in the process of building a Home Theatre(HT) room and need your advice. I have gone through several threads but could not find one which would guide me in designing the HT room.

About the HT room: The Civil work is currently in progress. We have some garden space in our backyard. The plan is for the HT room to be on the 1st floor and thus leaving ground floor available as a semi-outdoor space with some plants, water bodies etc. The architect has been involved only for the civil work. This is because I want to do the HT Room and the garden in a phased manner ie., I will be adding bits on an ongoing basis as and when I am able to afford or procure the materials\gadgets required. Also, I want the work to be mostly DIY or at the most with skilled labours performing certain tasks. Currently, the RCC floor and ceiling has been cast and brickwork for the walls are about to start anytime. The size of the room will be 12x15 ft. On one side, I will be having some storage space and also provide ventilation for the adjoining room. So, I will lose atleast one feet. So the available space is 11x15 ft.
Regarding the electronics, I already have some stuff that I collected over the last 7 years. I had this in my bedroom all these days and it is no longer practical since I now have an inquisitive toddler at home. Also, my wife and I have different taste/genre when it comes to music and movies. Also, she prefers to watch movies over listening to music.

I have two AV setups:
a) Stereo Setup: I am a stereo-phile and like to listen to stereo the old fashioned way. So I wanted everything from pre-digital era. So, part of my stereo setup is second hand. I picked them up either from abroad or from a family friend in chennai.

Amp: Adcom 545 Mark II - bought 'used'. Missed out on a ‘brand new like’ Adcom 555 Mark II in Singapore as I could not figure how to take it back to India [It was DAMN heavy] with flight starting in 4 hours from then. So, bought the 545.
Pre-Amp: NAD Monitor Series 1000 - bought 'used'. I settled down for the NAD after listening to atleast 5 different pre-amps over two years [losing money each time I exchanged. Anyways, I like it the way it sounds now]. I might get a turn table too some day, but don't have any plates yet.
Speakers: B&W Speakers that I bought in Australia. These are 'Made in England' speakers and I bought them as NOS from a shop that was closing down for around INR 17k. Super deal me thinks. Transporting them safely was a huge pain though.
CD Player: Marantz Special Edition - bought 'used'
Speaker Cables: Jamo wires
Interconnects: Vivanco

Damn, as I type I realise how rusty I have become with model numbers :(. I will share the correct model numbers a little later.

b) Home Theatre\Movie Setup:
AV Receiver: Sony 6.1
Speakers: Jamo E series
Sub: Jamo Sub from same series
Center Channel: Energy Center Channel - bought 'used' from same chap
Rear Surrounds: Yet to buy from same series (Timber-matching + looks ). Was using the same B&W speakers.
TV: Currently using an old Samsung Wide Vision 30 inch TV. Plan is to go in for a Panasonic 42inch Plasma TV.
Speaker Cables: Jamo wires
Interconnects: Vivanco
Digital Component Cable: DAC?? I can't recollect the name

The HT setup has been getting step-motherly treatment so far as I prefer to listen to music over watching movies in my free time. So, I did not have dedicated surrounds and was using the B&W all these days as rear surrounds as well as with the stereo setup. While listening to stereo, I would turn around, face the rear speakers by moving my Bean Bag to my preferred location also know as 'Sweet Spot'. This also involved changing the banana plugs at the rear of my B&W speakers every now and then. These will be addressed in my new system. B&W will be used only for stereo. I bought the Jamos first and then B&W because the B&W sounded very nice compared to the Jamos(which also I bought after listening to a few other speakers). So will use Jamos for Hometheare. Jamo Bookshelf or smaller speakers from same series will be bought to for surrounds on a later date.
As we can see, I already have most of the electronics required and don't intend to spend on these unless absolutely un-avoidable. I require help regarding the other design aspects of HT like:
a) Sound proofing and dampening to use? Any brand available in India? Are acoustic curtains a good option?
b) Electricals - brand of switches, rating of points, line filters, fuses etc
c) Placement of windows (just two planned). Is it alright to have a window behind a speaker?
d) Placement of air-conditioner
e) What flooring to use? Wooden flooring or carpetting or combination of both?
f) False ceiling - Wood or Gypsum or Acoustic tile\panel. Any brand available in India?
g) Speaker positioning
h) Wiring - I plan to have two different sets of ducts/pipes such that electical wires and audio cables don't interfere. Any special tips to keep in mind?
i) Lighting - I plan to do a DIY alround LED setup at the skirting level on the floor or on the ceiling. Also some indirect lighting
h) Furniture - I want this room to be very stylish and unique. The room should be a total shift from the ordinary and should impress anyone who sees it for the first time. I already have some audio racks, speaker stands and would like to incorporate it. Will post pictures shortly.
j) Anything else that I may have missed out or over looked

I was wanting to put up this thread, but have been procastinating because I wanted to put up pics of WIP. But I have not been able to do so as I cannot upload pics from office (No USB access ) and at home, my 8 month old son hogs most of my time. I have to make some quick decisions as brick-work starts this week. So, starting thread without any pics. Will post pics from home tonight.
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Old 24th June 2009, 08:48   #2
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Bump!! Folks, I need your help ASAP as the construction of walls is going to start tomorrow, so placing of windows, electric points on walls etc need to be decided quickly.

Some considerations
a) This is an ongoing project and is expected to be complete maybe over the next 2 years. The civil work will be basic and will be completed in the next one month. Things like false-ceiling, acoustic-proofing, flooring and purchase of electronics will be done in a phased manner.
b) The HT should be usable through out the project and there shoulb be some perceivable improvement (even small differences) in each phase as we progress towards the final product. So, order of execution is important
c) I enjoy DIY and would like to include as much DIY as possible
d) I would prefer to use products that are locally available
e) I am on a budget and hence would like to avoid spending time and money re-doing anything as much as possible
f) I would also like to make it compatible for future additions like projector, playstation, some musical instruments etc
g) If on a later day, if we decide not to use this room as a home theatre, we should be able to revert with minimum modifications

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Old 24th June 2009, 09:27   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S@~+#0$# View Post
Bump!! Folks, I need your help ASAP as the construction of walls is going to start tomorrow, so placing of windows, electric points on walls etc need to be decided quickly.
what do you help on? I read your posts and it looked like you had all the bases covered.
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Old 24th June 2009, 10:02   #4
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Originally Posted by navin View Post
what do you help on? I read your posts and it looked like you had all the bases covered.
Navin, I need help on the actual construction, materials used and placing of the non-electronic components of a Home Theatre. Here are some things that I require guidance on:
Quote:
Originally Posted by S@~+#0$# View Post
a) Sound proofing and dampening to use? Any brand available in India? Are acoustic curtains a good option?
b) Electricals - brand of switches, rating of points, line filters, fuses etc
c) Placement of windows (just two planned). Is it alright to have a window behind a speaker? The bass-port on the Jamos are are front while they are at the rear on the B&W.
d) Placement of air-conditioner. Any thing to keep in mind?
e) What flooring to use? Wooden flooring or carpetting or combination of both? If we decide either wooden or carpet, is it required to have an existing layer of tiles below it?
f) False ceiling - PlyWood or Gypsum or Acoustic tile\panel. Any brand available in India?
g) Speaker positioning
h) Wiring - I plan to have two different sets of ducts/pipes such that electical wires and audio cables don't interfere. Any special tips to keep in mind? Suggestions on gauge of electric wire and brand if any. Finolex is what I have in mind, but any specifications on gauge required?
i) Lighting - I plan to do a DIY alround LED setup at the skirting level on the floor or on the ceiling. Also please give me tips for some indirect lighting while viewing movies.
h) Furniture - I want this room to be very stylish and unique. The room should be a total shift from the ordinary and should impress anyone who sees it for the first time. I already have some audio racks, speaker stands and would like to incorporate it. Will post pictures shortly.
j) Anything else that I may have missed out or over looked
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Old 24th June 2009, 15:34   #5
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Santosh, you are asking for lots of things, this can be done in two ways.

1) You let a professional audio/HT consultant to drive the whole project.
2) You have to learn each and every aspect and execute it one by one. This will take lots of time because you have understand everything a professional has to know. This will involve lots of trial and error, which can turn expensive. You can eliminate the middleman, you can't eliminate the work he does.

I don't know about stereo, but I haven't noticed too much difference between professionally prepared HTS and my living room HTS. OK, I am no audiophile, I just found the former setup louder, that's all.

Kalpesh, thanks for the compliment. I originally wrote this article in 2003 after 6 months of researching as a noob, to help other noobs. I am currently deploying the same system in it's third location, once I fully complete the system, I'll update this thread.
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Old 24th June 2009, 17:08   #6
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Santosh, you are asking for lots of things, this can be done in two ways.

1) You let a professional audio/HT consultant to drive the whole project.
2) You have to learn each and every aspect and execute it one by one. This will take lots of time because you have understand everything a professional has to know. This will involve lots of trial and error, which can turn expensive. You can eliminate the middleman, you can't eliminate the work he does
Samurai, I agree about the options suggested by you and I would prefer Option 2 because:
a) I want to get involved in the entire process like I did earlier in choosing the electronics. I agree there are 'trials and errors' but the learnings are something I do not want to miss. Also, we don't make some glaring mistakes because of the Internet's resourcefulness
b) HT consulting is very expensive and I can't afford it. Even, if it were not as expensive, I would have prefered one with whom I could just cross-check over the phone (after an initial inspection). I do this even with my automobiles - If a fix is of low or medium complexity, I like to do it myself. If it is highly complex, I work with my mechanic and understand the complexities involved even if I may never have to do it again.
c) Since I am doing it at my pace and at a phased manner, it will be difficult to have a consultant engaged through out the process

Through this thread, I hope to:
a) Get my basics right at the time of construction itself
b) Get an idea of whats available in India and make provisions now so that they can be incorporated in later stages
c) Not go overboard and implement only those aspects that are important
d) Get an idea of what alternate 'VFM' methods/products I can use/try for dampening and sound-proofing

For Eg: I have seen in old theaters that the wall used to be clad with a peforated hardboard. I do not know any more about it but know that if I were to implement the same, the dampening would cost me far lesser and probably sufficient for my application too. But, I would like to know what other alternatives exist before proceeding. I am also aware of a tile (around 2x2 ft in size) that I saw recently at Home Town, a building materials mall. They had used these tiles on walls and ceiling in a HT demo room. When I asked around, it was not available there nor did they have a clue.

I searched the net, but could not find any India-specific products/leads. Knowing the varied audience on Team-bhp, I am hoping to learn from bhp-ians who have already done this.
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Old 24th June 2009, 20:01   #7
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I have become rusty with the Model Numbers. So, as mentioned in my earlier post, I am providing the correct Model Numbers in bold below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by S@~+#0$# View Post
a) Stereo Setup:
Amp: Adcom 535 Mark II
Pre-Amp: NAD Monitor Series 1300 (I had Monitor Series 1000 earlier)
Speakers: B&W DM610 Speakers
CD Player: Marantz Special Edition CD-63SE
b) Home Theatre\Movie Setup:
AV Receiver: Sony 6.1 STR-DE598
Speakers: Jamo E570 series
Digital Component Cable: Designer Audio Cable
Some old pics that I could find on my HDD:
Shot in 2004: My prized possession and I
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My B&W DM610 Speakers on custom made stand (legs filled with Sand to provide more stability as stands were mounted on spikes).
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My custom made AV rack (I have packed up all the AV equipment, only the TV remains). The rack rests on 4 coins as they were damaging the marble floor. Damage prevention costs - Re.1 (four 25 paise coins)..lol.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S@~+#0$# View Post
I am also aware of a tile (around 2x2 ft in size) that I saw recently at Home Town used on walls and ceiling in a HT demo room.
I took some pics with my mobile after seeking permission from staff. Anybody knows what brand these are and where I can source them from?
Building a Home Theatre Room-image357.jpg
Building a Home Theatre Room-image359.jpg
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Old 24th June 2009, 23:26   #8
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Santosh, the tiles are most probably from Armstrong. They have a variety of tiles for sound proofing used in offices, hotels, theaters. Another product you could try is from Anutone from whom I have my home theater room treated.

If you need any more information on building a dedicated home theater let me and I can help you with whatever little knowledge I have acquired.

Srisha
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Old 24th June 2009, 23:42   #9
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Santosh, the tiles are most probably from Armstrong. They have a variety of tiles for sound proofing used in offices, hotels, theaters. Another product you could try is from Anutone from whom I have my home theater room treated.
Thanks Srisha, do let me know where I can have a look at these. Do they have a show-room/web-site?

Quote:
Originally Posted by srisha View Post
If you need any more information on building a dedicated home theater let me and I can help you with whatever little knowledge I have acquired.

Srisha
Thanks again Srisha, please PM me your phone number. Will give you a call tomorrow.
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Old 25th June 2009, 00:07   #10
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a) Sound proofing and dampening to use? Any brand available in India? Are acoustic curtains a good option?

Are you looking at complete sound proofing?? All the four walls? Very thick drapes also can work but it may not be aesthetic. For best results sound proofing all the walls will be more effective. The cost of this may be around 200/- per sqft.

Some brands available in India,

Roof Insulation Board,False Ceiling Panels,Roof Insulation Board Manufacturer,False Ceiling Panels Supplier

Anutone - makes you feel good

Anutone is a far superior brand and are little expensive compared to the others. I have used anutone in my theater. It will cost you around 200/- per sqft.

b) Electricals - brand of switches, rating of points, line filters, fuses etc

I have Siemens switches in my house, since I work for Siemens I got a good deal. other wise I am not sure of any other brand.

c) Placement of windows (just two planned). Is it alright to have a window behind a speaker?

Windows which are accoustically treated is good to have otherwise it may create vibrations. Try an avoid them behind the speakers, look at the reflections points of the speaker from all direction to know whether there is a reflection and avoid windows in that direction.

Some reference material I have gathered during my research is below,

SIMPLE ACOUSTIC TREATMENT
Room acoustic treatment is the easiest way to get the best out of your music system, be it a modest system or a high end extravaganza. The reason for this is that an average untreated room is a prime cause for degraded sound.
More often the deficiencies of a listening room are recognized only after doing some basic acoustic treatment, after which a veil is lifted off from the room making music more involving. The bass instruments will be fuller, clearer and more palpable. The peal of an organ, the blast of a trumpet, will sound life like all because the room treatment does away with boomy bass, obscured mids, and extra bright highs. The sound intensity of various audible frequencies now becomes balanced and the frequency response of the room becomes flatter. The room acoustic treatment is not a simple tweak, but it will give you a most significant improvement rather than you buying an expensive system, interconnects, speaker wires, power cords, even in which case you will still wont be using the full potential of your system
Making the room 100% perfect may involve a lot of acoustic engineering and money. But by doing simple acoustic treatment, one would be definitely excited to notice the outcome.
So, how do you get started on treating you listening room? Well, there are a few key steps involved in the process, what I will explain in details.
1. Making the panels
2. Placement of speakers and finding the optimum listening position.
3. Placement of panels.

MAKING THE PANELS:
Semi rigid fiber glass boards are available from most concerns dealing with industrial insulation products. The standard available board measures 3 ft X 2 ft and is a rectangular slab, having a thickness of 50mm and density of 48kgs/m3. You will be needing material for the four reflection points and for the corner traps.
PROCEDURE FOR MAKING REFLECTION POINT BOARDS:
1. Reinforce all the edges of the panel by pasting cello tapes as shown in the figure.
2. Make a suitable cover using acoustically transparent cloth, stitching it like a pillow cover.
3. Push the board into an already stitched cover.
4. Attach a cloth eyelet and hang the panels against the wall like picture frames.
PROCEDURE FOR MAKING CORNER TRAPS:
1. Depending on the height of your room, paste enough fiber glass boards vertically on a 4mm MDF or plywood.
2. Cover the corner trap panel with the acoustically transparent cloth.
PLACEMENT OF SPEAKERS AND FINDING THE OPTIMUM LISTENING POSITION:
1. Speakers should placed with at least a distance of six feet between them.
2. The listening position should be 38% of the room length placed from the rear wall.
3. Toe in the speakers to the listening position.
4. Make sure that you have some absorption material like carpet in between the speakers and your listening position.
5. To find the first reflection point of your speakers you will need a mirror. After positioning the speakers and your listening position correctly, ask some one to walk with the mirror in his/her hand keeping it parallel to the side walls at all times. Remain seated in your listening position and continously observe the mirror. At a certain point you will see the reflection of the opposing speaker's mid range driver and tweeter fully in the mirror. This is your first reflection point. Repeat the same for the other side wall as well.
PLACEMENT OF ACOUSTIC PANELS:
1. The four corner traps should be placed vertically in the four corners of the room, in such a way that the rear edges of the trap should be aligned at 45 degrees to the adjacent walls as shown in the figure.
2. Place two acoustic boards each behind the speakers and the listener towards the center of the room as shown in the figure.
3. As mentioned earlier, find the first reflection point of the speaker and place a panel each on the side walls of the room.
These simple acoustic panels and placement are the simplest way to treat a room, and should prove to be a significant improvement to an untreated room, an inexpensive way to get the maximum out of your existing hifi setup.
Further improvements can be made by increasing the size of the panels as size does matter in absorbing low frequencies. This simple DIY room treatment deals with just the absorbtion aspect of acoustic treatment, so as to make things simple and affordable. A more elaborate treatment may include the usage of diffusers and broadband resonaters like Helmholtz resonators.
After doing the room treatment, it will sound magical, well its the sort of magic that most audiophiles desire. A magic designed and delivered by acoustic physics to serve the music.
A Few Final Words:
The room is the most basic element in your sound system, in which you can do some treatment yourself or you can even hire a professional who may do a better job, but at an expense. Whatever you choose, room acoustic treatment will definitely heighten your listening pleasure.


d) Placement of air-conditioner

Will be ideal to have it behind the seating or facing the seating area

e) What flooring to use? Wooden flooring or carpetting or combination of both?

Wooden flooring is good, you may also use carpets but the issue is with cleaning and maintenance. It attracts a lot of dust and water proof carpets are expensive. I have wooden flooring in my theater and cost around 85/- per sqft

f) False ceiling - Wood or Gypsum or Acoustic tile\panel. Any brand available in India?

I have used Gypsum for false sealing, you may also try Armstrong accoustic tiles. They are expensive compared to Gypsum. Advantage of using Gypsum is you can create your own designs and decorative lighting.

Flooring, Ceiling and Cabinet Products by Armstrong

g) Speaker positioning

Refer to the attached word doc, which has a lot of websites listed which will give you enough information.

h) Wiring - I plan to have two different sets of ducts/pipes such that electical wires and audio cables don't interfere. Any special tips to keep in mind?

Yes, it is mandatory to have them split in two diff conduits, keep some distance between the two.

i) Lighting - I plan to do a DIY alround LED setup at the skirting level on the floor or on the ceiling. Also some indirect lighting

Plenty of options available from 40/- locally made stuff to1500/- per sq ft with automatic color changing lights and galaxy lighting with optic fibre for the cealings.

h) Furniture - I want this room to be very stylish and unique. The room should be a total shift from the ordinary and should impress anyone who sees it for the first time. I already have some audio racks, speaker stands and would like to incorporate it. Will post pictures shortly.

Plenty of options, sky is the limit if you have the right budget

j) Anything else that I may have missed out or over looked

Projector, screen, bar, automated lighting controls, gaming, star lighting, strobes, lasers, and many you will come across in your journey,

Santosh, if you would like you may come over and have a look at my home theater to get an idea and help you choose the right ones.

Some pic of my home theater when it was under construction,
Attached Thumbnails
Building a Home Theatre Room-101_1621.jpg  

Building a Home Theatre Room-101_1620.jpg  

Building a Home Theatre Room-101_1626.jpg  

Building a Home Theatre Room-101_1663.jpg  

Building a Home Theatre Room-101_1666.jpg  

Attached Files
File Type: doc Home theater set up.doc (41.5 KB, 2707 views)
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Old 30th June 2009, 09:34   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S@~+#0$# View Post
I am in the process of building a Home Theatre(HT) room and need your advice. I have gone through several threads but could not find one which would guide me in designing the HT room.
So, starting thread without any pics. Will post pics from home tonight.
Hey, What is this thread doing here, is it merged by any chance?

Santhosh, AFAIK you are constructing a fixed concrete/Brick structure, a Home Theater room.

Why dont you start a different thread on constructing it.

This kind of thread is every mans dream. I've been toying around this idea since childhood, but other things in life has taken front foot.

Would love to know how you are building this dedicated space at home.

Srisha - Buddy you are doing a wonderful job, please have a separate thread for this kind of information.

Please start a different thread.

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Old 30th June 2009, 10:51   #12
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@srisha ,

Awesome, Is your HT room completed ?
If so do post some pics of the completed room.

btw what is the make/model of the Projector that you have ?

-Fillmore
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Old 30th June 2009, 11:00   #13
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@srisha ,

Awesome, Is your HT room completed ?
If so do post some pics of the completed room.

btw what is the make/model of the Projector that you have ?

-Fillmore
Yes my home theater is completed now, unfortunately the camera I have is not good enough. The pix are not justifying the real look. I will try and post some later. Santosh, if the pix you took have come out well, pls post them.

I am buying the Optoma HD65 projector from the US,.
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Old 30th June 2009, 11:05   #14
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Hey, What is this thread doing here, is it merged by any chance?
Yes, it was merged because he titled the thread as building a home theater and talked substantially about the electronics side of it.

Quote:
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Santhosh, AFAIK you are constructing a fixed concrete/Brick structure, a Home Theater room.
Now that the discussion has deviated totally towards civil work, we can separate it with proper title.
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Old 30th June 2009, 15:57   #15
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Hey, What is this thread doing here, is it merged by any chance?............Please start a different thread
I started this as a seperate thread, but it was merged into an existing thread as there was an existing thread about Home Theaters.

Quote:
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Yes, it was merged because he titled the thread as building a home theater and talked substantially about the electronics side of it.

Now that the discussion has deviated totally towards civil work, we can separate it with proper title.
Well, I had intended my thread to be about the construction and making the room a HT Room. The mention of electronics was more FYI and will be re-visited at a later stage. Hence, I had also written to the Mods requesting that this be a seperate thread.

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Yes my home theater is completed now, unfortunately the camera I have is not good enough. The pix are not justifying the real look. I will try and post some later.
Thanks a lot Srisha for letting me have a look at your Home Theatre. I got a lot of ideas and am better informed than before about whats involved in Sound Treatment and Acoustic Treatment. Also, you have inspired me to go the whole hog. You have very good taste mate and you have not compromised on the quality of materials . I liked your home in general and the Home Theatre in particular. I would have liked my HT Room to be as large as yours but there are existing building design and space constraints because of which I have to stick to 11x15 :(. The visit to Srisha's house also reminded me once again about how much of planning is required.

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Santosh, if the pix you took have come out well, pls post them.
I am noob when it comes to photography and I just could not capture the effect inspite of using several preset modes. Here are some pics of Srisha's Home Theatre that I took:

Mounting for LCD\Plasma screen. Srisha has also provided a concealed space where the rolled-up Projector Screen rests.
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Mounting for Projector
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Lighting - Halogen Spot Light + Ceiling Effect
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Lighting - Ceiling Effect with Halogen Spot Lights switched off
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Two rows of Sofas. Srisha plans to have a few bean bags so he can accomodate a few more movie-watchers
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The wooden floor
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Last edited by S@~+#0$# : 30th June 2009 at 16:06.
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