Best Before and After Bronze Winner: 1 Sound Choice
JVC QMotion
Basement Makeover Offers High-Tech Fun for Entire Family
Best Before and After Bronze Winner: 1 Sound Choice
Basement Makeover Offers High-Tech Fun for Entire Family
Carefully constructed 2.35:1 theater shares lower level with kids room, with music and lighting control all over.
September 19, 2013 by Arlen Schweiger

This basement media room looks like it was built as part of a newly constructed home, but it’s really a renovation of an existing residence. Sure, the original finished room’s walls and ceiling might have sufficed in creating a basic home theater—affixing a projection screen to the wall, placing speakers on the floor or wall, dangling a projector from the ceiling, stacking components in a cabinet—but this approach would have created quite an eyesore in this modern, elegant house.

Ryan Herd of 1 Sound Choice, Pompton Plains, N.J., designed and constructed this beautiful basement makeover with aesthetics in mind and concealed everything except, of course, the projection screen. Since the home theater would share space with a kids’ playroom, at least one area would be assured of staying tidy and uncluttered.

“The first thing we talked about with the homeowner was how he thought his family would use the area, the entire basement,” says Herd. “From that standpoint, we talked about three distinct sections—from a fully enclosed traditional theater concept, a family room concept and then a hybrid, which is what we ended up settling on.”

The finished result gives little indication of the planning and labor (all of three weeks, remarkably, from design to completed room) behind it. The 125-inch Dragonfly screen, and its 2.35:1 super-wide aspect ratio, along the front wall of the theater area is really the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, to everything in here that you can’t see. From an electronics standpoint, that includes the 11 Episode speakers and subwoofers plus an Epson projector installed into the walls and ceiling; new lighting scheme; all the wires and cables that needed to be snaked through the walls and ceiling; and stowing a rack of equipment behind a storage space under the stairs.

System Design & Installation
1 Sound Choice, Pompton Plains, N.J.
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And all this was the easy part. More grueling details came in aspects such as building and rebuilding the walls and ceiling; insulating them; shortening HVAC ductwork; creating a tray ceiling; adding a seating riser; implementing acoustical panels; and finishing it to match well with the rest of the home decor. For instance, a false wall was constructed to house the three front speakers and two subwoofers behind the screen, while the existing rear wall was brought in a foot not only to accommodate two rear surround speakers but to provide the necessary depth for a full bookcase in the playroom on the other side.

The ceiling took care; the original soffit area on the right (looking toward the screen) was shortened, and Herd added soffits to the other three sides to produce the tray effect. “We created the tray ceiling to give it balance, and dropped the ceiling down by three inches to feel right. The ceiling looks very even, but you need symmetry and sharp, clean lines,” Herd says. “When I’m sitting in the back of a theater, I want the impression of balance—it’s very important to deal with HVAC even if it’s just a couple of inches to get the net result correct.”

The installation of the Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 6020 projector required some extra planning within the ceiling work, too. When Herd introduced the owner to the 2.35:1 CinemaScope aspect ratio theater screen, he was hooked with how immersive it felt. So during the construction process Herd included a Panamorph anamorphic lens to the projector mockup and Chief mount to see just how much depth would be needed within the ceiling to hide the entire video package—an access panel under the projector, in the tray, allows Herd to reach it if adjustments need to be made or the bulb replaced.

A final bit of coordination was tying the lights and A/V into a control system, so that the appropriate lighting and audio environment (Herd added three more audio zones besides the theater, and used one of Sony’s new receivers with Control4 built-in) could be set at the press of a button or two. Perfect harmony, all around.

Switching Gears

During the construction of the theater area in this basement, custom electronics pro Ryan Herd of 1 Sound Choice made a couple of switches that seem to have worked out for the best. Ordinarily he will use direct-radiating speakers to point at the rows of people, he says, but in this case the second row addition caused the front row to sit where one side only had a lower-half wall. His compromise was installing the two Episode “side” surround speakers (the rears are in the back wall) within the tray ceiling, but being able to place them where they would be angled down at the seating in a relatively similar fashion to his traditional solution. Another change was that the OmniMount equipment rack originally was going to face into the theater, parallel to the rear seats. This wall required an acoustical panel, however, so Herd spun the rack toward the seats at the bar instead. It has a glass door that’s lockable, so guests and kids can’t open it.

Also Check Out:
Electronics Design vs. Installation
Theo Kalomirakis Talks Theater Design
Front Projection Basics: Your Ticket to Home Theater Nirvana

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Arlen Schweiger - Contributor, Electronic House Magazine
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for and Electronic House magazine.

Systems and Equipment

Control: Control4
Lighting Control: Control4
Projector: Epson, with Panamorph anamorphic lens
Screen: Dragonfly
Speakers and Subwoofers: Episode
A/V Receiver: Sony
A/V Sources: Sony, Apple
Rack: OmniMount
Power Conditioner: WattBox

Full Equipment List

Projection Package Consisting of:
1ea Epson PowerLite Pro Cinema 6020 projector.
2pr 3D glasses, extra bulb, and ceiling mount
1ea Projector mounting plate, pole, and adapters
1ea Dragonfly 125 in. AcoustiWeave 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio Projection Screen Material
1ea Panamorph CineVista 2:35 Lens

Snap AV Home Theater in-wall 7.4 speaker package:
3ea ES-HT900-LCR-6 Front LCR Speakers
2ea ES-HT700-ICLCR-5 In-Ceiling Surrounds
2ea ES-HT700-IWLCR-6 Rear Surround Speakers
2ea ES-SUB-12-300-MB Front Subs
2ea ES-SUB-TRP8-300-BLK Rear Subs
1ea Sony STR-DA5800ES-C4 receivers with Control4 Automation built-in
1ea Sony BDPS590 Blue Ray Player
1ea Control4 HC800 Processor
1ea Control4 SR250 remote
1ea 1 year subscription to Control 4 4Sight service
3ea Control4 Dimmers
1ea Binary Single CAT5e/6 HDBaseT Extender (230 ft.), Bi-directional IR, RS 232, and POC
4ea HDMI cables
1ea Surround Sound speaker Prewire for 7.4
1ea WattBox 12-Outlet IP+ Controllable Power Conditioner with Faceplate Display Kit
1ea OnmiMount re27 enclosed rack
1ea Shipping for electronics
1ea Labor for installation of electronics

Acoustic Treatments
12ea Side walls acoustic panels (FR701 Style 2100 Color 130 Wheat) sides and rear
4ea Front Wall in black material (FR701 Style 2100 408 Black) entire front wall
1ea Creating for acoustic treatments
1ea Shipping for acoustic treatments
1ea Labor for installation

1ea rear seating riser approximate 14’w x 6’d x 8"h
1ea Tray ceiling to match outside wall by windows approximate 40 LF
1ea Paint Theater 2 colors, Ceiling, walls color and Trim color
Wall and Ceiling Color Benjamin Moore #1140 Runyon Canyon Tan
Trim Color Sherwin Williams # SW2834 Birds Eye Maple
1ea Add 2 dedicated 20A circuit for AV Equipment and 3 additional lighting circuit for;
Riser rope light
Bar down lights
Acoustic Panel accent lights
general lighting a total of 15 recessed lights
Base Molding for theater to match existing in Trim Color Sherwin Williams # SW2834 Birds Eye Maple
Crown Molding (OSCLWM-49HD) in Trim Color Sherwin Williams # SW2834 Birds Eye Maple
Remove ceiling sheetrock replace with:
R30 Fiberglass Insulation
1/2” QuietRock
Tape, Spackle, and sand
Rear wall 2"x6” sheetrock (QuietRock inside theater regular outside in kids play room tape, spackle, sand
Front speaker wall 2"x4” sheetrock tape, spackle, sand
Bar bottom 2"x6” 40” high 8’ long sheetrock on bolt sides base molding to match existing
remove and reinstall carpet
Labor for Construction including rear, front, and bar wall

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