Home Theater Design
A home theater is more than a room with four walls, a screen and a sound system. Sure, the equipment is important, but we believe that if you
start with the room, that you will end up with a system that may not require spending $50,000 on the equipment to get you the experience you
Room layout is the first step. How big is the room? What are the dimensions? How many seats are you
after? These are questions that have to be answered long before your equipment is selected. A room with
dimensions that are multiples of the same number (say 8’ high, 16’ wide and 24’ long) is a recipe for
disaster! These rooms will wreak havoc on the acoustic of the room making it difficult to have good sound
down the road.
Once we have found the number of seats you are wanting, we can start some basic room layout. The layout
helps us determine the ideal size of the screen. “You mean I can’t just put the largest screen possible on the
wall and call it a day?” Sure, you could do that, but SMPTE and THX have done lots of research for what the
ideal screen size is for a movie theater, so why not listen to them?
Once we have determined the screen size, we can start looking at
speaker placement. There are three primary types for the front
speakers: in-wall, in-ceiling and box. Now is the time to decide
what type you are after. Once this decision has been made, we
can place the speakers in your design and do a ray-trace to help
determine the placement of acoustic material.
Room acoustics are the single most important factor in the quality
of sound in your home theater. It is easy to think that the $10,000
pair of speakers will sound amazing in your room, but in reality,
they may sound no better than the $1600 pair if you have not addressed the room acoustics. With the
room properly treated with absorptive, reflective and diffusive materials, we can have those $10,000
speakers sound more amazing than you could have ever imagined!
With the primary surround sound speakers placed, we can move on to the placement of the subwoofer.
In many cases, we actually will recommend that you use two or more subwoofers in your room to best
reproduce the low-frequency sound. Placing your subwoofer in a corner may be the worst thing you could
do or it could be fantastic! We can use our suite of programs to best determine the location of your
subwoofer before your room is constructed so you don’t have to guess.
Now we can move on to equipment. We know the size of the screen, so now we can look to projectors. We look at several factors with regards
to projector placement: Screen size, room layout, desired brightness are chief among them but price is also a driving factor. Room size is also
a factor when choosing your receiver or processor/ amplifier combination. If the room is smaller, then you may not need a large amplifier, but if
you are looking for fantastic sound, you may need an amp that has lots of power: you don’t drive your car at 6000 RPM all the time and in the
same way, you don’t want to run an amplifier at 100% all the time either.
With basic equipment selected, now is a good time to consider a control system. You equipment will
come with a single remote for each component: Projector, receiver, DVD player, cable or satellite box,
and in some cases your subwoofer will even have a remote. That is easily four remotes and we have
some systems with as many as 7! All of those remotes make for a very clumsy system to operate.
Bringing all of those remotes into a single, easy to use system that can also control your lights, climate
control and other systems will make it so anyone can use the system. But of course, we can also lock it
down so the kids can’t use it when you’re away!
With all of the equipment selected, speakers placed, subwoofer location determined and projector
placed, now we can develop a wiring plan for your system. This plan will not only tell out installation team
where to place wires, but insure that you are ready for your equipment both now and in the future.
After your room is pre-wired and the rest of the construction is progressing, we will order the acoustic
treatment for your home theater. When the time comes, this treatment will be installed (usually after paint
and trim are finished, but this can vary depending on the selected treatment). When the carpeting is
placed, then the real fun can happen: equipment installation!
We will carefully install all of your equipment and make sure that everything is working properly. Once the initial equipment is installed, then the
remote programming can begin and the audio and video calibration can take place. These steps are in place to make sure that the system is
easy to use and looks and sounds as good as possible.
Everything is in place! Now we will guide you through your system, showing you how to use everything. We hand the remote over to you in this
phase to make sure you understand how the system works.
Of course, we are there for you after the sale as well! We include a full 1-year warranty on our installation, so if there are any issues, we take care
of them promptly. Our goal is for you to be 100% satisfied with your home theater purchace!
Above: Example of a ray trace
drawing for a home theater (Click to
Example of an acoustic diffusor