AV room from scratch-where to start?

nugat

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
10
0
0
#1
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.
 
Jan 29, 2014
983
0
0
Cape Town South Africa
#2
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




 

DonH50

Member Sponsor & WBF Technical Expert
Jun 23, 2010
3,523
2
38
Monument, CO
#3
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
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
6,558
3
38
Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#4
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!
 

DonH50

Member Sponsor & WBF Technical Expert
Jun 23, 2010
3,523
2
38
Monument, CO
#5
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.
 

Brucemck2

Member Sponsor
May 10, 2010
240
0
0
Houston area
#6
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-dedicated-theater-design-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.
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
6,558
3
38
Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#7
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!
 
Nov 3, 2014
405
0
0
#8
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.
 

nugat

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
10
0
0
#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"
 

nugat

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
10
0
0
#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.



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
 

nugat

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
10
0
0
#11
Thanks Bruce.
Why put windows in such a room?
How big is large enough? 650sq ft/ 60q m? 850q ft/ 80 sq m?
TIA


+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!
 

nugat

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
10
0
0
#12
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.
My AV room will be fully detached from the house with no extra functions. 20k doors are rather out of the question. Double doors entrance compartment is an option. Outside is not loud, it's a quiet countryside.
 

nugat

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
10
0
0
#13
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-dedicated-theater-design-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.

Great threads, thanks! When I learn more about the topic I'll get pro advice for sure. Now I don't even know what to ask!
But I'm more knowledgeable already thanks to you guys.
 
Last edited:

nugat

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
10
0
0
#14
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!
Yes, bass trappings... What if three out of four walls are ceiling high shelves with books (library)?
Plus solutions like Audiokinesis Swarm?
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
6,558
3
38
Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#15
Thanks Bruce.
Why put windows in such a room?
How big is large enough? 650sq ft/ 60q m? 850q ft/ 80 sq m?
TIA
Personally, I would never put windows in a room, but I know this will be something that the family will share. If you put windows in, make them symmetrical to the other half of the room. Also use laminated windows for sound resistance.
As for size, I'd have a minimum 15-20' for the width. I think this measurement is more important than length since is will be a problem with side wall/first reflection.
I think a 30 x 18 x 11 is a good size room. Don't know if this is "Golden Ratio" but it should be close.
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
6,558
3
38
Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#16
Yes, bass trappings... What if three out of four walls are ceiling high shelves with books (library)?
Plus solutions like Audiokinesis Swarm?
Yes, books/albums/CD are your friend. This makes for great diffusion. But make sure that the fourth wall is your front wall, since this one will have the least impact on sound.
 

nugat

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
10
0
0
#17
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.
HVAC--I'm thinking of a "passive house" construction. Super insulation, airtightness, natural ventilation, geothermal heat pump-- somehow it plays along with the acoustic side of the venture. I like its eco side too.
Internal treatment-- I'd like to make it as natural as possible. Hence the "library" idea. I also happen to have lots of books in many rooms now, they would benefit from the concentration.

I am not a great fan of DSP solutions for stereo. HT is something else, and since the room would double as music/HT, I find this integration of functions a challenge.
My dream is to build as "natural analogue" music room as possible with the only "half-digital" element being the DAC (I am using Lampizator now). The Home Theater function would be secondary to that of playing music.
I like ideas like Larsen speakers (I own a pair), Audiokinesis Swarm (only read about them), ATC scm40 active (heard them) etc etc.
For HT I would gladly hide all DTS X/Dolby Atmos speakers in the walls/ceiling.
 
Last edited:

nugat

New Member
Jan 26, 2016
10
0
0
#18
Yes, books/albums/CD are your friend. This makes for great diffusion. But make sure that the fourth wall is your front wall, since this one will have the least impact on sound.
Is the "front wall" the one with stereo speakers which I am facing while listening to music?
The fourth wall also needs to be the HT screen. The sound systems for stereo/HT will be separate (just like in my living room now)
and I'd love to hide the DTS/Dolby speakers in the walls.
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
6,558
3
38
Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#19
Is the "front wall" the one with stereo speakers which I am facing while listening to music?
The fourth wall also needs to be the HT screen. The sound systems for stereo/HT will be separate (just like in my living room now)
and I'd love to hide the DTS/Dolby speakers in the walls.
Yes, the front wall will be the one you are facing (behind the speakers).
 
Jan 29, 2014
983
0
0
Cape Town South Africa
#20
My listening position is the Steven hawkins chair.
I am really only concerned about listening position sweet spot sound.. the only time the rest of the room is an issue is if I have a group of people in it , and thats rare

I have a large house 6000 sq ft under cover , the room I have co opted is actually a 3rd lounge.. my construction etc also had to bear in mind the sale of the house.. we are 3 people living in an 11 room house with only 3 bedrooms and my 19 yr old daughter will be leaving us after she finishes her studies .. the house is already becoming a maintenance bottomless hole and when she leaves , we will be downscaling . (3 yrs time or so)
Having a windowless room that is totally dedicated to music only and cannot be repurposed is not an asset when selling , windowless rooms are a bit like bunkers IMHO ..