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Thread: AV room from scratch-where to start?

  1. #1

    AV room from scratch-where to start?

    I am entertaining an idea to build an AV room from scratch, connected to my countryside home with a passage.
    Where to start the research? What to read? It is not going to happen this year or even next, rather in several years.
    Also my budget is reasonably adequate, not high-end. The purpose is to have a universal family entertainment place: multichannel HT, stereo music room, not an exotic audiophile den. It can be windowless but should be friendly inside. I'd love to have library book shelves on three walls and the screen on the fourth. Leather armchairs and sofas type of interior, no ugly soundtraps, screens or such. I do not want to get pro designers involved at this stage as not to waste their time. It might go nowhere in the end. I will appreciate any help pointing me in the right research direction.
    I'm based in Europe but US experience very much welcome.

  2. #2
    Addicted to Best! Rodney Gold's Avatar
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    you can do treatments that are very aesthetic
    To start with , build the biggest you can , and make sure the room follows the golden ratio and that you have symmetry where you are going to put your speakers
    I would NOT build windowless...
    I did a huge rebuild of my room and treated it extensively
    Heres a pic




    Roon/Tidal ..Squeezebox touch . Trinnov ST2 room correction...Twin Devialet D Premier amps , Vivid Audio Giya G1 Spirits .. fully treated room

  3. #3
    Member Sponsor [Technical Expert] DonH50's Avatar
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    Books by F. Alton Everest and Floyd Toole are worth reading regarding room design and treatments. Ethan Winer's book and website (www.realtraps.com), Nyal's site, and various other WBF members have a lot of info to share. Also maybe some of the noise control sites like Kinetics Noise Control (http://www.kineticsnoise.com/) and Mason (http://www.masonacoustics.com/) for info about construction techniques and acoustic treatments (or their counterparts in your area). Finally, consider a separate HVAC system, like a Mitsubishi or Fujitsu mini-split unit to isolate the room from the house ducts and give you better control over how (e.g. how quietly) it operates.

    HTH - Don
    Don Herman
    "After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
    Books by F. Alton Everest and Floyd Toole are worth reading regarding room design and treatments. Ethan Winer's book and website (www.realtraps.com), Nyal's site, and various other WBF members have a lot of info to share. Also maybe some of the noise control sites like Kinetics Noise Control (http://www.kineticsnoise.com/) and Mason (http://www.masonacoustics.com/) for info about construction techniques and acoustic treatments (or their counterparts in your area). Finally, consider a separate HVAC system, like a Mitsubishi or Fujitsu mini-split unit to isolate the room from the house ducts and give you better control over how (e.g. how quietly) it operates.

    HTH - Don
    +1... this is so true. I did my research for about a year or so and incorporated Kinetics Noise Control and ASC products into my build. Also look into Zero International for Doors/Windows.
    If you want some type of sound isolation/resistance from the rest of the house/world, pretend you are building a big aquarium. Remember if water can escape, so can sound. Don't forget about sealing up light fixtures and electrical boxes where sound can escape/enter. Also, mass and air space are your friend as well as symmetry. No matter how large you build, seems one always runs out of space!
    Bruce A. Brown
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    Even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while!

  5. #5
    Member Sponsor [Technical Expert] DonH50's Avatar
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    Yup. I used Kinetics IsoMax clips and sealed all outlets and wire feedthroughs in my media room with acoustic putty (fancy caulk). I used a heavy exterior door with full weather seals and it is fine for my house. I helped a friend with a studio build and the studio doors were insanely expensive, like $20k USD, but that is a studio. The exterior door trick may not work if you live in a loud area or want the absolute lowest noise floor; double doors (inner and outer) or studio doors are needed then.

    You'll want some sort of outside ventilation (required by code in my area but needed no matter where you are to get fresh air into the room; minisplits only recirculate, most them). Again if the outside is loud you'll have to build special ducting and noise filters for the outside air paths (inlet and outlet).

    The only issue with my media room is that I did not fully float the ceiling; it is suspended from clips. Heavy footfalls above do transmit down through the structure. If I had been able to fully float it, or perhaps had more ability to monitor and direct the construction so the clips were better isolated, that would not be an issue. They are muted enough that it does not matter, and besides the kitchen is above so except for a snack now and then nobody is up there in the evenings anyway. My son's bedroom is on the other side of the wall and you can barely hear the media room when it is cranked.

    Probably worth re-iterating that isolation and room acoustic treatments are different in concept and implementation. A good listening space will have both.

    Don't forget room dimensions in your planning. My nice primed dimensions lost out when we added another bedroom downstairs (which also took away about 1/3 of my media room's volume for bedroom and hallway to get to it). Prime or golden rations work much better than having any dimensions that are multiples of each other. A cube is horrible acoustically.
    Don Herman
    "After silence, that which best expresses the inexpressible, is music" - Aldous Huxley
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  6. #6
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best!
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    While it's not an exact match, it's worth reading the three stickies below on AVS Forum on the Dedicated Theater Design and Construction board:
    http://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-ded...-construction/

    Acoustical Treatments Master Thread
    What I'd Do Differently Next Time Thread
    Soundproofing Master Thread

    Having a nice quiet symmetrical room, with great (quiet) ventilation and lighting, etc. is a big part of the overall enjoyment equation, and that's not much different for home theaters than for home stereo.

    Professional assistance is highly recommended; you'll avoid mistakes and learn a lot.
    Preamps: ADA Reference (multichannel); VTL 7.5 II (two channel)
    Digital: MSB Transport+ Platinum V DAC. Core Audio + MicroRendu streaming; Roon+HQP+FabFilter/Acourate; Trinnov (multichannel)
    Speakers: PRO Audio Technology 2115sm across fronts; 4x 18" PRO subs; 11.4 overall
    Room: Design by Dennis Erskine and Keith Yates. Extensive use of RPG custom bass traps
    Power: Richard Gray 20A UPS and isolation transformer. Triton/Typhon and Sound Application. Shunyata Sigma

  7. #7
    [WBF Founding Member]
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    Depending on your build, you'll lose about 1/4 - 1/3rd the cubic volume in bass trapping if you integrate it into the design (soffits, triangulated corners, false walls).

    Green Glue is your friend. Try to use screws with everything. No nails (except trim pieces)! I have communicating doors going to the outside. The doors are solid core and use Zero International seals, cam-lift hinges and drop-in thresholds.

    And remember.... once you cover the walls, it costs twice as much to fix it. Be careful where you run conduit and such. Use a high grade UL in-wall cable for electrical.
    I even sistered the upper floor joists and put in stringers every 4' with acoustical caulk all all junctions. The ceiling was done with Kinetics Noise Control spring hangers. I've had drummers in the space hitting 130dB peaks and you couldn't hear them upstairs or outside. The neighbors can mow their lawn or fly their helicopter and I can't hear it!
    Bruce A. Brown
    Puget Sound Studios
    Stereomojo reviewer
    Seattle, WA


    Even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by nugat View Post
    I am entertaining an idea to build an AV room from scratch, connected to my countryside home with a passage.
    Where to start the research? What to read? It is not going to happen this year or even next, rather in several years.
    Also my budget is reasonably adequate, not high-end. The purpose is to have a universal family entertainment place: multichannel HT, stereo music room, not an exotic audiophile den. It can be windowless but should be friendly inside. I'd love to have library book shelves on three walls and the screen on the fourth. Leather armchairs and sofas type of interior, no ugly soundtraps, screens or such. I do not want to get pro designers involved at this stage as not to waste their time. It might go nowhere in the end. I will appreciate any help pointing me in the right research direction.
    I'm based in Europe but US experience very much welcome.
    I would love to have that opportunity myself someday.

    There is some good advice here. I think there are three main areas to consider:

    - size and dimensions, affecting room bass modes. A bigger room is better. Dimensional proportions can be critical.
    - sound leakage into/out of the room. Pay attention to HVAC systems, which might be more important than "studio doors".
    - treatment of the room itself. Avoid over treating/over damping.

    The first two are pretty much non-controversial. The third, internal treatments, has many different approaches. I would not be inclined to try to do significant bass trapping. Toole has said that is a broadband solution to a narrow band problem, for one (I agree), and it can get quite expensive if cosmetically hidden. DSP EQ is a well proven, and usually better I think, solution for this.

    I like the idea of diffusing bookcases semi-filled with albums well dispersed around the room. Also, try to keep your listening chair backs below your ears, especially for Mch.

    Do use full range DSP EQ in any case, adjusting the target curve to your liking. I would, no matter the credentials of the room designer. But, the room design can avoid many other potential problems.

  9. #9
    Rodney,
    Really nice room. Is the seating in its listening position on the photos?
    Why you would not build windowless?
    Aren't windows detrimental to sound quality?

    "you can do treatments that are very aesthetic
    To start with , build the biggest you can , and make sure the room follows the golden ratio and that you have symmetry where you are going to put your speakers
    I would NOT build windowless...
    I did a huge rebuild of my room and treated it extensively
    Heres a pic"

  10. #10
    Thank you Don for all the names, titles and links.
    When I build the room it will be fully detached from the house where I live now.
    Only joined by a passage or a winter garden.



    Quote Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
    Books by F. Alton Everest and Floyd Toole are worth reading regarding room design and treatments. Ethan Winer's book and website (www.realtraps.com), Nyal's site, and various other WBF members have a lot of info to share. Also maybe some of the noise control sites like Kinetics Noise Control (http://www.kineticsnoise.com/) and Mason (http://www.masonacoustics.com/) for info about construction techniques and acoustic treatments (or their counterparts in your area). Finally, consider a separate HVAC system, like a Mitsubishi or Fujitsu mini-split unit to isolate the room from the house ducts and give you better control over how (e.g. how quietly) it operates.

    HTH - Don

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