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Thread: Home cinema ideas/questions

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    The Irish Drunk! neonplanet40's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Home cinema ideas/questions

    Hi folks,

    Currently in the process of looking to buy a house (already posted about that!).

    Now, one of the things I will have in my house is a home cinema room (My OH has okayed it but I wasn't taking no for an answer!).

    So, ideally I want most of it to be DIY and as cheap as possible without compromising on the end product. I want it to be nice!

    I already have the home cinema system. This thread is more about the aesthetics and the room including finishing etc.

    So, looking ideas!

    Ideally, I want a ceiling with mood lights (I like mood lights!).

    Something like this: (without the star lights)




    But how would I do it? Any ideas?

    Also, I'd like to soundproof the room a bit to try and lower noise. Ideally it will be on the ground floor.

    I am sure I will have other ideas as well. There will be a ceiling mounted projector and eventually Dolby Atmos sound. 5.1 will have to do for now!

    Paint colour to avoid unnecessary reflections?

    This thread will no doubt sprawl out for a while. For now I am trying to get ideas as welll as an idea of cost.
    Last edited by neonplanet40; 10-01-2017 at 04:45 PM.
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    Re: Home cinema ideas/questions

    Aircon for the summer!

    And an usherette tray for the other half
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    Re: Home cinema ideas/questions

    Ha!! She would like that I'm sure.
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    Re: Home cinema ideas/questions

    I really wanted a dropped ceiling with uplighters in the gaps to provide ambience, but I never got round to it as it was expensive for somebody to do, and I'm rubbishrubbishrubbishrubbish at DIY.



    LED downlighters for when you need light, but a bit of ambiance going on above the dropped bit for watching movies but still being able to see your drink.

    Sound-proofing: Rip open all your walls (as they're likely to be stud on a 2004 build) and then have the studs filled with acoustic grade insulation slabs. Same applies to the ceiling. When attaching new plasterboard panels use resilient bars to join them to the walls, this gives a bit of absorbency to the wall skin. Greenclue any touch-points. This won't sound-proof, but it will massively reduce sound escaping. There is no point just doing the ceiling, as sound goes round things very easily. If the floor is raised then sound will go underneath quite happily too.

    You'll also want to consider acoustic treatment. DigitalSpy and other forums are good for really getting geekily into this. But generally it's about not having too many facing and reflecting surfaces - a square room is notoriously bad. Big soft furniture helps, funny shaped walls, even carpet or drapes along the walls. Thick carpet on the floor etc.

    A suspended ceiling also helps here. You can use hanging acoustic tiles to deal with reflections on the ceiling and at the same time, mount atmos speakers in the ceiling.

    Don't mount your main speakers in the walls unless it's a false wall built correctly, as speakers need space to work and you also need to mop up early reflections.

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    Re: Home cinema ideas/questions

    Make provision for 4 ceiling speakers for atmos perhaps?
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    Re: Home cinema ideas/questions

    Yes, definitely going to put speakers in ceiling. Not too sure how happy I am pulling walls down

    Is there anyway to get sound proofing tiles to put over exisiting wall or is that not an option?
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    Re: Home cinema ideas/questions

    Cinema seats are essential too.

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    Re: Home cinema ideas/questions

    I'm thinking LaZBoys

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    Re: Home cinema ideas/questions

    Right On ! I have a three seat sofa by them with the two outers as recliners. You wont regret it.

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    Re: Home cinema ideas/questions

    Quote Originally Posted by neonplanet40 View Post
    Yes, definitely going to put speakers in ceiling. Not too sure how happy I am pulling walls down

    Is there anyway to get sound proofing tiles to put over exisiting wall or is that not an option?
    No such thing. Acoustic tiles, that you may be thinking about, are for absorbing certain frequencies in certain spots to deal with reflections - they do nothing to stop sound leaking out. The only way to sound-proof is through isolation.

    You don't need to pull the walls down, just crack them open. If they're stud-partitions, then you can easily rip off the plasterboard (it'll be dusty mind) to get to the wood framework behind. You can then stuff them with insulation. As I said, resilient bars are good to put between the studs and fresh plasterboard. All this is DIY, then you can get somebody in to fill in the joins on the plasterboard and skim before painting.

    Sound travels through air really easily, that's how we hear. So the room needs to be as air-tight as possible to stop sound from leaking (although it'll get stuffy so you might want to think about ventilation to the outside).

    But, as you probably remember from GCSE physics, vibrations travel even better through solids. To deal with this you need to "mass-load" (make things heavier) or isolate. Mass-loading involves stuffing with insulation etc. If you don't have stud-walls, then you can build one off the existing wall to make an inner layer. It's all tried and tested stuff.

    If you're having speakers in the ceiling, ideally have a second suspended ceiling, as I have speakers in my ceiling, and soundproofing above, but sound still easily gets into upstairs as it just goes round the sound proofing and comes in through the walls of the upstairs rooms.

    If you have floorboards, stuffing insulation between the floors is easy, but at that age house, it'll probably be chipboard, which is a PITA to lift and even worse to put down, you might want to seek assistance if you're not good at that sort of thing.

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    Re: Home cinema ideas/questions

    Wow- researching sound-proofing etc leads to a minefield

    I thought about a 'room within a room' approach and have been quoted around £4500. Wow :O

    So, the room size is:

    9'1" (2.77m) x 18'3" (5.56m)

    But, can I do this myself?

    I mean, realistically what do I need to do?

    I most likely will need a floating wall then? As I want to put 4 speakers in the ceiling.

    Equipment list?
    DIY required?
    Experts needed? E.g. Electrician, plasterer etc.

    Approximate cost for that type of room/ materials/ etc?
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    Re: Home cinema ideas/questions

    Quote Originally Posted by neonplanet40 View Post
    ... ideally I want most of it to be DIY and as cheap as possible without compromising on the end product. ...
    Here's your issue. If you DIY it (unless you're a professional builder/plasterer and an acoustic consultant) you're going to compromise. There's a reason skilled tradespeople and consultants are expensive

    Your biggest issue is that you need to not only "sound proof", but also to consider the internal acoustics of the space. You're not going to get an optimal result without spending some money. There's all sorts of ways to minimize the sound transmission from room to room, but none of them is going to be "cheap" or "easy to DIY" (although some will be a lot easier than others, obviously).

    The issue with acoustic tiles on the walls (apart from cost) is finding the right ones for the space acoustics - there'll be an optimal amount of damping/reflection for the space to get the proper cinema soundscape, and if you get the room acoustics wrong you just won't be happy with the sound no matter what system you have in there.

    Best bet is probably to find out if you have any friends who know about acoustics, and failing that try to find a local independent acoustic consultant who'd do you some recommendation (although I suspect that wouldn't be cheap).

    As to the lighting and other effects - they're actually fairly straight forward: you can stick a false ceiling in with some appropriate wooden batons and plasterboard, insert all your lighting where you want it, then get a plasterer in to skim over. But getting the acoustics right is more important, and you might find that a consultant can recommend ceiling shapes that will improve the acoustics, for example.

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    Re: Home cinema ideas/questions

    Nightmare

    Well what do I need to do to ensure sound insulation via diy? I could then get someone in to improve acoustics?

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    Re: Home cinema ideas/questions

    I think you're heading for a compromise here, and probably a fairly big one, but some depends on circumstances.

    This will be a LOT cheaper and easier if :-

    a) your new house is detached, with no neighbours too close. In that case, minimal worries about neighbour complaints if (or, realistically, when) you crank it up a tad too far. AND

    b) an other half that shares your enthusiasm and is going to be with you when watching the latest Star Wars with full sound, and isn't going to be in the next room tryingvto watch Call the Midwife or the Great British Sewing Bee (whatever that is), AND

    c) No kids trying to sleep upstairs.

    If you can't meet ALL three of those, you're going to need to maximise isolation to keep transmitted sound down, while trying to optimise internal sound, to make it worth spending shedloads on both the A and V components of AV.

    It was some years ago, and no doubt things have moved on, some at least, but when I tried this, I gave up because the building and sound work was EXPENSIVE (and extensive).

    I ended up with the major, but sole, compromise that sound levels would need to be both wife and neighbour compatible. Do THAT, and the rest becomes so much more .... well, realistic. Unless you have a Bill Gates type budget.

    I settled for half-decent sound, good screen, a couple of comfy chairs and a dimmer switch on the lights. You can now upgrade that to wifi dimmed lights, and/or colour-changing ambient lights, with a few conventional lights, be they wall, uplighters, etc, and remote bulbs. I've posted about the ones I use before, which are colour temp adjustable via a small remote or (with a £20 wifi bridge) snartphone/tablet, but you can get colour changing bulbs from the same place, at about £25 per bulb. So a couple of hundred quid gets you several uplighters and bulbs, or even less for conventional existing light sockets.

    Is that enough "ambience", though.

    I think, either way, short of millionaire budgets, you're going to have to compromise somewhere, and probably quire a bit, especially if you're .... erm .... DIY-challenged.
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    Re: Home cinema ideas/questions

    Thanks for the reply guys. Saracen, just to answer your questions:

    a) The house is detached but I am unsure how much sound will transmit outside (the other house is around 2 meters or so away). We don't move (hopefully) until the 5th April so will know better then.
    b) MY other half does NOT share my enthusiasm haha but she does tolerate it
    c) no kids (yet!) however something that will need to be planned for.

    So I guess, the other alternative is to do it over a long period of time to ease the cost and space it out?

    I am not looking for total noise isolation. I would just like to reduce it as much as I can on a bit of a budget.

    My DIY is just alright. I just haven't done much so it would be a steep learning curve. I like the idea of doing it myself to keep the costs down and for the personal satisfaction of having done it myself! But, like everything, if I'm going to mess it up, it would waste more money than it would save!
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  22. #16
    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Home cinema ideas/questions

    Quote Originally Posted by neonplanet40 View Post
    ... Well what do I need to do to ensure sound insulation via diy? ...
    Apologies if the following is teaching you to suck eggs; depends how much physics you've done...

    Sound is a physical wave. The issue you're facing is that you want the sound to reflect back in the room to a certain extent so you still get decent room reverb for your cinema experience; however that requires a fairly rigid wall surface which will vibrate, emitting sound directly and transmitting the sound into anything it touches. If the house is a fairly modern build the internal walls are likely to be thin (potentially just studwalling) and these are brilliant at transmitting sound.

    So, the key is getting a wall (or probably a wall lining, since I doubt you're keen to rip out the existing walls ) that reflects the sound nicely inside the room, but doesn't transmit it through the wall to other rooms/the outside.

    If you google "acoustic wall panel" you'll see that the commercial panels do this by two means - firstly, they're heavy, which means (conservation of momentum/energy) they don't vibrate much when the sound hits them, and secondly they're backed with a variety of foams, that limit the amount of vibration transmitted to the rest of the wall. OTOH they're expensive (around 10x the cost of standard plasterboard) and heavy enough that you'd want to get a professional to fit them (IMNSHO).

    The cheapest DIY equivalent would probably be to line the wall with some kind of foam or fabric, then cover that with plasterboard - essentially creating a sandwich where the filling absorbs the vibration of the panel. You'd still need to get a plasterer in to finish the wall though - particularly if your DIY skills are "just alright". Plastering's rather advanced. You'd also have to consider the ceiling, although if you were going to put lighting etc. in the ceiling you could put in the false ceiling like I suggested above and fill it with some kind of insulation material.

    There are easier/cheaper options, but they'll all affect the acoustics of the room. The most basic would be to put full length curtains along all the walls (and probably drape the ceiling in fabric too) - the loose hanging fabric will absorb the sound and limit transmission, but it'll also "deaden" the room acoustic somewhat. Another DIY sound absorption favourite is the bottom half of egg boxes - the soft card and complex shape are great at deadening sound - but they'll mess with the room acoustics even more than curtains would (and let's be honest, egg boxes isn't exactly an attractive finish to a room ).

    EDIT: just thought - you'll need to consider the floor too (particularly for that heavy cinematic bass) - floor vibrations will transmit easily into the walls, and you're right back to square one.

  23. Received thanks from:

    neonplanet40 (20-02-2017)

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