Your chance to help build the ultimate home theatre / listening room

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Shortly I am looking to purchase some acreage and build a house of my own design on it. Instead of trying to make the purpose fit the room in some off the plan design, I should be in the position to make the room fit the purpose.

To that end I am looking to build the ultimate home theatre / listening room. What I would like from the forum is suggestions on what you would and wouldn’t do to build this ultimate room. Pen hasn’t touched paper yet so this is a completely blank slate to start with.

Please keep all suggestions sensible, but not so limited that it affects the overall result. Below are some considerations that need to be taken into account:

Screen size will be around 130” - 150” diagonal (3.3m - 3.81m) with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Front L+R speakers will be open baffle and need to sit outside of viewing area.
Subs are likely to be a couple of 18” TC Sounds Pro 5100 or LMS Ultra 5400
Contemplating building a separate room behind screen as an enclosure for the subs.
Screen bottom would be around 2” off floor to allow subs to sit under it.
Considering a recess in the wall with door to house audio equipment / amps so as to not interfere with the room.

Ok so go for it… sloping roof / floor, curved walls, go nuts but please keep it sensible.
I live on acres and my neighbours are beef cattle. I can crank the stereo up and listen to my music while I am pushing the lawn mower around the formal garden.

Its harder however when I am on the ride-on because I always wear ear protection.

But the main "thing" with acreage is that there is always stuff to do outside, the HT will end up the least used room in the house. IMO anyway.
At the moment I am looking at a block that is 1.25 acres (5000sqm) so it wont be overly hard to maintain, but I do take your point there will always be something to do for the first few years.

I have drawn up a rough draft of the first floor, and where the home theatre will be located. I have alloted 6 meters wide by 10 meters long, 2.5-3 meters of that length would be used for the sub enclosure.

Also thinking I would be better off putting the sub room at the rear instead of the front. That way I can distribute the L-C-R a bit better.
Thanks eds65gto I had seen both of those websites before. My first thought was to put a sub underground, but then for convenience I decided against that.
I can’t work out how to use Hornresp properly so I thought I would just settle for a big box in the form of another room, but I was thinking about sloping the floor in the media room, so perhaps if I can work out how to use Hornresp a bit better I could use the slope of the floor to create the flare of the horn.

What has been going through my thoughts is if I make the sub box out of another room, I will be putting a lot of low frequency stress into the first floor walls a of two story house. Perhaps building the sub under the first floor might be more stable.
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Thanks Speed I will be trying to stay around the golden rule, but that is obviously designed with just sound in mind and not visuals, so it may not be possible to put thing exactly where I would like them to go, but there is a lot of freedom when building from scratch.

In the offshoot thread to design just the sub part of the system, the room keeps on changing, so at the very end I will try keep the golden rule once I have a final design.
Have you ever been in a large anechoic chamber?
Its a disconcerting feeling, there is no aural feedback about the space you are in, it feels like a very very large space up down and sideways. Mixture of vertigo and acrophobia.

Great for open baffle - no room artifacts?
You sound like me since i'm planning similar. You need to mention budget, it's real important. I'm considering use of things like strawbales (the hell with quietrock, these will be more effective) and earthbags but then i'm a fan of alternative construction anyways for cost, health reasons, and energy reasons. If that were inconceivable because your tastes are more upscale, I would be planning 2 inch thick Quietrock or things like 5 layers of 5/8" drywall (2 inch quietrock will beat 4 layers otherwise) with lots of green glue between it as a lower cost alternative so expect to lose a foot in every dimension of your designed room. You want a minimum STC of 60 or so (thats a 60db drop from the outside world), though you can go even further if you want, some luxury homes have 70. I'd also have dual sequential entry doors, commonly used in studios to quiet things inside vs outside. The door starts to become a weak point in sound insulation above a certain point. You can get super insulated doors but dual doors is just cheaper probably giving STC 80-90 through that sound path and is good if you take things even further or upgrade in the future since even the best single doors can't match that. You'd also want special HVAC work because sound travels through forced air ducts, and it's also a source of noise when the blower kicks in. You can easily take things beyond the above but it starts to require more intensive engineering to get much over STC 70. The above is just the minimum i'd consider for a "darn serious" home theater. Things like separate subwoofer rooms or in floor chambers and similar all add on top of this. The most important issue is room shape and size, once that's set you can't really change it. The 1:1.6:2.6 is one of the golden ratios, so your room will be at least 13-14ft wide i'd guess. A guesstimated 9ft ceiling, 14.4ft wide and 23.4ft deep gives a 3000 cubic foot theater, which is what THX Ultra2 standards are designed for. Much bigger requires either more power or more speaker efficiency to hit reference, so does wanting to play above reference. Add a foot to the studs everywhere because that's inside dimensions after all that quietrock.
I tried planning the house around home theatre room, and using the rooms around it to absorb / block some sound. My partner suggested we build a prebuilt house on a large block, and I build my own dedicated home theatre room external to the house.

She has a point and it has some merit as it is hard to build a golden rule room inside an existing dwelling, that way I wouldn’t have to worry so much about different roof heights / compromise dimensions.

This is a rough idea of what I had planned for an internal build.


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Take some time out and go to a few live concerts in good auditoriums (auditoria?). Opera, symphony orchestral, Rolling Stones if they do an indoor gig when they get here. This is what it is meant to sound like and can be your reference point. Its quite different to what you get in a normal lounge room with ordinary 2.1 speakers. For me, playing Beethoven's Ninth with full choir only reminds me of the live experience (and I run Manzanita OBs).

Deconstruct the methodology of the good auditorium. Go look inside the Sydney Opera House. I think you will find they are trapezoidal rather than square in both the sideways and vertical profiles. Sides, rear walls, floor and ceiling all have sound reflection minimising treatments (curtains, funny shaped tiles etc) along with the trapezoidal profiles.

Which ever way you decide to go, with a good listening room design you will be so much further ahead of the game than the rest of us. So don't give up. Although with the sympathetic room you will spend the rest of you life designing and building new speakers in the search for that little bit extra.

And if it was me, I would reserve a little bit of space at the rear for the motor bikes.
I read somewhere that odd shape rooms don't fix room mode issues they only shift it to a different point, but if I was to build a HT outside I could very easily taper the walls in at the back.

Don't worry the bike has its own lock up area planned. Also need room for the electric trike I am building.

Was up in Brisvegas over Easter looking for property to build on, nothing of real interest came up, but still looking...
Just crunching some numbers to see if a golden ratio room is even possible with a large projector screen in the room.

I was originally looking at 8 meters wide, but to keep the room down to a sensible size I have reduced that to 7 meters, that gives me a length of 11.375 meters and height of 4.375 meters.

Length and width aren't major problems but the height is the tough one... Trying to build a home theatre room without it looking like an industrial building means I need to try and loose some of the height.

That gives me two options either reduce the length / width or sink the room. I think the later would be the way to go. If I sunk the room by 1.375 meters I could have a 3 meter ceiling height, the same as the room I am in.

Obviously any wall width and acoustic linings would need to be added to the outside dimensions. Also thinking that a second door would be a nice touch to help keep the noise away from the neighbours.


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