Advanced Tips for your Ultimate Home Theater
When making up your home theatre setup you first have to ask yourself what it is that you want to set out to accomplish.
I ought to know since I have been doing this since prior to creating Premium Audio way back in ’05. Even to this day I still stop and reflect on this purpose before drawing up speaker diagrams. Believe it or not my goal is not to create a way to run more speakers together (well not entirely anyway). Instead my real goal is to place speakers strategically to serve an actual purpose.
Some of the purposes I have setup to accomplish have been to maximize sound placement in a large room other times it has been to do so in a smaller room. I have experimented with how to optimize the sound of lesser name satellite speakers in a small room to the point of actually making them outperform much larger speakers that are expected to be much better since they are name brand but fail to perform due to the much larger environment (room) I have chosen to place them in.
I have played around with multiple elevations, multiple receivers and switches and multiple powered subs (one in each corner of the room). I have even gone as far as to create my own names for speakers that have never even been thought of by the supposed “experts.” These include “middle centers”, “side speakers,” and “pseudo subs”. Of course let’s not forget about my angle experiments too which help to enhance what exactly can be heard. My favorite experiment has been in creating ways to independently adjust the volume of different speakers with the use of multiple receivers all running simultaneously. In my first book I covered many concepts including acoustics to avoid and how to improve any rooms acoustics.
Just when you thought I would be out of ideas I released another e-book this time about custom speaker stands (again concepts never seen before by anyone). So what next? I am sure you are asking yourself what could possibly take this to the next level (beyond 30.4.4 channel surround sound)? One of my best friends (of 30 years now) always asks, jokingly of course, when I will come up with a 100 speaker surround sound system. As cool as I can imagine it being to be able to say ” I have a 100 speaker surround sound system” or to be able to say something like “I have a 100.#.#” (fill in the blank for subs and pseudo sub numbers) the reality is that will never happen. No, I am not writing about a bigger surround sound system then my 30.4.4 (at least not today). Nor I am I writing about how to create a wall of bass (because I already did). Instead, today I want to share with you my Advanced Tips for your Ultimate Home Theater. So here they are:
Advanced Tips for your Ultimate Home Theater:
- If you have the space, time and money (and if possible the know how) you can properly insulate the room for home theatre. To do this I recommend building 2 x 4 wooden frames to anchor to the existing studs in the room. Once secured add rolled insulation (be sure to follow all safety protocols when dealing with insulation) to the walls and follow them up with attaching new drywall. Keep in mind that by doing this you will have now shrunken your room by about two feet for every wall you build.
- If you have built insulated walls and attached them as mentioned above then why not take it even further? Build an insulated ceiling and floor the same way as you did for the walls. By doing the walls, ceiling and floor you pretty much have built yourself a soundproof room. If using a THX certified receiver this will be awesome! Any movie theaters that are labeled as THX certified actually start out with having to be a sound proof room.
- Real movie theaters have dimmed lighting along the sides of the room. This lighting is strategically placed below eye level when seated so you are not distracted when enjoying a film, while allowing you to find your way safely in and out of the room (which is basically pitch black once the film starts). Three affordable ways come to mind to accomplish this without taking up crucial wall and floor space. 1) Install track lighting on the walls so you can adjust where you want the lights and how many. 2) Save even more money and simply use “tap lights” as needed. 3) Use plug in night lights and stockpile lots of light bulbs because they do not last long.
- If you will be using a great room or any partially open room for your home theatre and you cannot build walls then consider adding shutters and or shutter doors as needed. This will help contain some of the sound in the room. Speaking from past experiences I can tell you that this really will help some.
- The biggest difference between your home theatre and a real movie theater is the seating arrangement. Here are suggestions to make yours better: 1) If you have the money to spare you could get a leather sofa with built in cup holders. 2) You could build your own wooden benches with cup holders built in and then pad and carpet the back and seat. 3) Get comfy matching chairs (in leather) and place them side by side. 4) Buy a leather futon with built in cup holders. I recommend adding a bed topper for added comfort and placing a blanket over it to hold it in place. 4) Go to a junkyard and find some really comfy seats from an old luxury car and build a frame (either out of wood or metal if you know how to weld) to support them from falling over.
Now that you have the seats you want it’s time to take this to the next level (literally)! To truly create the movie theater seating you need multiple elevations. To do this you will want to create a raised platform to place your furniture on. This can be accomplished by building a sub floor out of 2 x 4’s with OSB board attached on top of the frame. You can then carpet it with marine carpeting which is cheap and easier to clean up if something spills on it. You can glue or staple gun the carpeting to the OSB board. A sub floor accomplishes four things: 1) It is easy to attach steps to it for a way to get up and down the next row of seating. 2) You can easily attach railing for added safety just like in the movie theaters 3) You can run the speaker wire for your middle center underneath the sub floor to avoid tripping over it (it also looks much more professional if wires can be hidden). 4) If you are going to have your surround sound in a basement you have a lesser chance of having it ruined by water getting into the room. Please measure to ensure you will have enough headroom before building a sub floor (especially in a basement).
Bonus: If the sub floor is long enough and wide enough you can hide other wires in the sub floor too (for side speakers, sub woofers, pseudo subs, etc.).
Whatever Advanced Tips for your Ultimate Home Theater you choose to use I hope you like the outcome.