A Quick Tour of Eric's Home Theater

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So here is a quick tour of my home theater room. The room itself is about 14 feet wide by 24 feet long by about 7 and a half feet high. The screen area is painted onto the front wall and is either 10 feet diagonal (with the curtains closed for 16:9 aspect ratio films) or 12 feet diagonal (with the curtains opened for 2.35:1 aspect ratio films).

Below is an image of the front of the theater. There are several important elements here with respect to the projection area on the front wall. First, the non-screen area of the wall is painted a flat black. Most of the visible area of the front wall is also covered with curtains. The dark colors and textures help to limit reflected light. The ceiling is also black and heavily textured to prevent light from the screen reflection from the ceiling back onto the screen or to the audience. The carpet is also a dark color to prevent light reflection. The remaining walls of the theater are painted with a flat, neutral grey paint. Thus, any light that is reflected by the side and rear walls won't impact the color and hue of the projected image. Finally, the acoustic sound panels I ave mounted to the side walls play a dual role. The blue panels not only catch the first reflection from the speakers they are closest to, but also help to prevent light reflections from the screen to the side walls since they, too, are a dark color. The next set of acoustic panels (tan in color) catch the first reflection from the speaker on the opposite side of the room. Thus, on the left side of the room, the blue panel catches the reflection from the left speaker while the tan panel catches the reflection from the right speaker. This minimizes echo in the room and provides a much improved stereo image and soundstage when listening to music.

Below is an image of the rear of the room. You can see the projector, the four surround sound speakers, and some additional acoustic panels. The panel direclty below each side-wall speaker absorbs sound at the primary reflection point for the speaker on the opposite wall. This helps to reduce the sound reflection in the back of the room and makes the surround sound effect more clear and distinct. The acoustic panel between the back-wall speakers helps prevent sound reflections from the front array of speakers. The sloped baffles for the surround sound speakers aim the sound down toward the listening position and keep people from bumping their heads as they walk by.

The image below provides another look at the ceiling tiles as you look toward the front of the room. You can better see the dart pattern in them - they actually have a relief that is about 1.5" deep that works well as a ceiling diffuser that helps to create a more realistic sound field for movies and music. Orienting the tiles so the relief pattern runs parallel to the screen also greatly reduces the light that is reflected from the screen so the ceiling is not a visual distraction for movies. Because these tiles are so lightweight and tend to bounce around from the subwoofer, I cut squares of drywall to go on top of each tile. This helps keep them from bouncing around when the action in the movies really gets going!

Here is a closer image the high-definition projector - a Panasonic AE4000u. This model had just been replaced by Panasonic with their newer 3D projector when I purchased it, so the price was right. You can see my ultra high-tech mounting mechanism for the projector. I attached two short lengths of 2x4s across a few of the floor joists and dropped some threaded rod down through holes that I drilled. The platform that holds the projector is connected the very same way. The two nuts on each end of the threaded rod are locked together with wrenches, so the mounting is very secure.

One item worth mentioning about projectors is the value of a periodic clearning. Your projector should have some sort of an air filter for the fan. It is clearly worthwhile to remove and clean this filter every few months or so to help make sure your projector stays cool and doesn't overheat. But after about a year or so, I started noticing dark blobs on the screen during the darker scenes of movies. Dark blobs are caused by the accumulation of dust and other fuzzies in the projection mechanism. To get rid of this, I removed the top cover of my projector and found the location of the actual LCD devices and blew in some compressed air - do this CAREFULLY! The point is to remove the dust, not damage the projector.. There is a great thread with a detailed procedure over at HomeTheaterShack. Just work carefully and you'll be fine.

Below is another view of the ceiling tiles. The perspective in this view is rotated 90 degrees from the image above, so the speaker that you see is mounted to the side wall of the theater.

When I get a chance, I'll add an image or two of the other side of the front wall where the amps, preamp, and subwoofer equalizer are sitting...


 

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