Room Dimensions
There is much talk about what are the “perfect” room dimensions. While there is a great deal of research that goes into this subject, the simple result is that any single dimension should not be an even multiple of another. For example: if your ceiling
height is 9 feet, then you should avoid the room being either 18 feet in length or height.

It is popular for risers to be installed in theaters for a second or third row of seats. In general, we like to do an assessment of the room based on the projector, screen size, and seating distance to find the appropriate riser height for each row. We
frequently see risers that are only 7” in height and the truth is that in most cases this is too short to have the back row avoid
the heads of the row in front of them. We typically like to see risers in the range of 12-18” in height with two steps in between
rather than a single step of 7”.
Theater and Media Room Planning
The planning for a dedicated theater or media room is a process that should
start before the construction process begins. Starting with the blueprints, a
specialist in the area of acoustics and equipment should be brought in to
locate any issues before the construction begins. This will allow for the
proper dimensions of the room, location of speakers, location and height of
the risers, location and specific needs for power, and considerations for
acoustic treatment and isolation. Following are the main points to consider:
A note about the timing of when a riser should be built: Frequently we
have seen risers being put into place during the framing stage. We like to
see the riser be put into place AFTER drywall has been installed. This is
to avoid sound leaking from the area of the riser. Also, we commonly see
risers installed with nothing filling the voids made by the framing: we like
to see these voids filled with rock wool to avoid resonance in the riser that
can badly affect the low frequencies in the finished room.

Similarly to risers, we like to see stages installed after the drywall has been installed. We also like to see the stage lined with plastic or felt-
paper and then filled with dry sand. Again, this helps us to avoid nasty
resonance in the finished room.
We like to have a 20A circuit dedicated to the equipment, subwoofers(s) and projector locations. This helps us to avoid ground loops, which can affect both the audio and the video of the finished system.

The location of the projector power is determined by the projector choice and screen size. In general, of a screen of 92-106”
we prefer the outlet at 12’ back from the screen.

Frequently, we arrive after the electrician only to find that the location we would prefer to install a subwoofer does not have
power. If we are involved early enough, we can do an acoustical analysis that helps with the determination of the subwoofer
location. The low frequencies that a subwoofer produces are the most difficult to deal with from an acoustical standpoint!

Acoustic Treatment
Without a doubt, the room shape and subwoofer location are two of the most critical aspects when we are trying to achieve great sound. But without the application of absorptive and diffusive materials in the room, it will not sound as good as it
possibly can. The absence of these materials can result in a system that at one point sounds excessively loud and at
another time unintelligible. In general, we like to apply about 25-35% absorptive and up to 15% diffusive materials to the
walls. These materials can be either visible with the application of individual panels or hidden behind floor to ceiling fabric.

The improper application of soundproofing materials results in the expense of these materials being wasted. Very frequently we see that soundboard has been added to a wall or ceiling that has lights or outlets then cut out. Just like when you poke
holes in a paper cup and water runs out, when you poke holes in a soundproofed area, sound pours out (or, even worse,
in). In an ideal situation these holes are filled. We can consult with you as to the best method for doing this in each
application provided we are brought into the project early enough.

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