DIY Home Theater Includes 176-inch Seymour Screen
Some extra space affords this theater more room to entertain.
August 02, 2011 by Rachel Cericola

When it comes to home theater, size matters—at least to Warren English. When this do-it-yourselfer decided to build his own theater room, he wanted to go big, so he chose the basement spot under his garage.

“I had always wanted a large theater,” he says. “This ended up being a little larger than I had originally planned. However, the extra size afforded another row of seats.”

Having the additional row of seating certainly isn’t a problem, especially for friends of the English family. Warren and his wife Cydney entertain several times a year, so that row doesn’t go to waste.

There are a few areas Warren wishes he could downsize. “I originally wanted to have 7-foot-wide risers to give a lot of space in front of the chairs on each row. I had been in theaters with a narrow space, and it’s hard to walk when guests have the recliners extended, not to mention in the dark,” he says. The downside is that this extra space positions the front row a little closer to the screen than what is optimal. “It’s also in a tough acoustical spot, with a dip in bass frequency response at that position in the room,” he adds. Warren says he’s used his subwoofer and the onboard Audyssey equalization to correct the problem, though it’s still noticeable.

It’s hard to believe he gets any complaints. Some of the accomplishments Warren achieved in this space include a CinemaScope (2.35:1 aspect ratio) video display, quiet components, 7.1-channel surround sound and everything calibrated for the best performance. It also looks nice, thanks to acoustical suede wall coverings.

Those coverings also serve to completely seal in the sound. Bryan Pape of Sensible Sound Solutions came up with the idea to treat them with nearly 500 pounds of Owens Corning OC703/705 acoustical insulation. “This treatment is really the key to achieving a nearly dead-quiet room,” Warren says.  “You can hear a pin drop during quiet passages, and dialogueis heard perfectly at any volume level.”

The theater also ties into the rest of the home, which is controlled via Crestron touchpanels, Crestron’s ML-500 remote and Universal Remote Control’s MX-800. The lighting, security and other home automation all use HomeSeer as an interface.

Warren thinks of his theater room as “utilitarian,” but we view it as a real crowd-pleaser. “It’s designed as a place to watch movies with friends and family, and hold up to the challenge of kids,” he says.

Total Cost: $65,000
Location: Raleigh, N.C.
Room Size: 21 x 31 x 10 feet
Total Project Time: 2½ years
Year Completed: 2010

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Rachel Cericola - Contributing Writer
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at

Equipment List

Audio Authority AVAtrix 561 Matrix Switch
AV123 MFW-15 Subwoofers (2)
BenQ W6000 Projector
Crestron CNMSX-PRO Control System
Crestron ST-1700 Touchpanel
Escient FireBall DVDM-100 Media Manager
Escient FireBall DVDM- 300 Media Manager
Escient Vision VS-100 Server/Player
Home Theater Supplies Home Theater Seats (15)
JBL Loudspeakers (5) Mirage 12-inch Subwoofer
Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 Preamp/Processor
Outlaw Audio 7x200W Amplifier
Panamorph UH480 Anamorphic Lens & Sled
Seymour 176-inch AV Center Stage XD AT Screen
Sony BDP-CX7000ES 400-disc Blu-ray Player
Sony BDP-S460 Blu-ray Player
The Speaker Company Dipole Surround Speakers (2)

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