Manu, one of our loyal customers, has invited us to visit his dedicated home cinema room, constructed by himself, located in his basement and fitted out with a Klipsch THX 7.2 speaker system and Anthem amplification. A fine example of DIY!
We’d like to firstly take this opportunity to thank you for being the first ever customer at Son-Vidéo.com to let us into a private home cinema room. When did you decide to construct this dedicated room?
Manu: This has been a dream of mine over the last few years. I had the opportunity of having a house with a basement. This basement was therefore adapted for home cinema purposes. This is my very first private screening room and it’s a dream come true, allowing me to experience films and music with a realistic sound reproduction.
What do you watch – films, series, sport or do you use it for video games?
Mostly films but I also watch concerts and I use the room for listening to CDs.
Did you do all the work yourself or did you call in professionals (for the electricity, acoustics and decor)?
I carried out the work with friends and family who I would like to thank for their support. Work lasted from August to December 2015. There are some things to finish off and I want to construct a soundproof door. This is scheduled for 2016.
Tell us about your home cinema room.
The room is located in the basement, underneath the living room. The separating floor is sound-proof and fitted with underfloor heating. The four walls are support walls and this makes the overall structure solid.
At the front of the room, we constructed a 60 cm deep wooden frame, made up of 45×95 mm section rubber-insulated joists. The frame is decoupled from the walls, the floor and the ceiling using rubber strips. The structure is filled with rock wool. The entire surface was covered with a taut canvas. The left and right sides of the screen are made up of 45% rock wool and taut canvas.
The side walls were each constructed using two parts. At the front of the room, there are 40×50 mm section slats with a 50 cm spacing, glass wool and a taut black canvas. At the back and on the rear wall, there are 40×50 mm section slats with rock wool and high density OSB panels, covered with thick black carpet. The platform in front of the screen is a semi-circular shape (7 m radius), 10 cm high, made up of 80×100 mm section rafters, covered with OSB panels and thick carpet. We used rubber insulating material between the floor and each rafter and filled each one with rock wool. The rear platform is 13 cm high and is constructed in the same way as the front. The space between each rafter is 30 cm. The ceiling is currently covered with acoustic foam while we wait for future developments for Dolby Atmos.
The decor and lighting is excellent. Where did you buy the material?
The panels come from Krono Swiss. These panels are thicker than those found in stores and the coating is of a high quality. The panels were customized and finished off with a PVC covering.
Lighting is from SKOFF, including the LED lights on the glass panels of the hi-fi cabinet. The complete range of lights doesn’t use more than 69 W when all lamps and spotlights are switched on (4 high downlighters, 9 AR spotlights, 7 AV spotlights and 8 low downlighters).
We used 260 metres of 25 mm diameter electric cable and 10 m of 40 mm diameter cable. The entire room is already fitted with cables for future updates including a home automation module.
Lights currently operate using standard stepping switches and switch sockets. Each platform armchair is fitted with an electric input with stainless steel built-in sockets and a specific cable duct for future Buttkicker transducers.
Any tips for anyone wanting to create their own home cinema room? Have you built in any home automation modules on the lighting control panel?
I read tutorials and advice from home cinema enthusiasts regarding acoustics, insulation etc. The room is built in line with a progressive development concept. Acoustics could be optimised using soundproof panels, diffuser panels and bass-traps if necessary.
I would advise anyone wanting to create their own private viewing theatre not to skimp on the costs of cable ducts but to fit each cable with its own duct and to try as much as possible not to bridge light fixtures or electric cables. Consider using 25 mm diameter cable duct in order to leave enough room for an upgrade. I built a 50×70 cm access hatch behind the hi-fi cabinet and underneath the carpet on the rear platform.
If you have a speaker wall at the front, don’t skimp on costs of the section and quality of joists of the frame to avoid any unwanted vibrations. I also used MDF panels and placed the speakers on decoupling spikes.
Make sure you have a good WiFi connection in order to have access to equipment control apps on tablets and smartphones or if you want to be able to check on a baby monitor, as I do. A home cinema room is sound-proofed from the rest of the house. If you have an alarm system with a detection of openings, consider connecting an indicator light. The Siemens SPC series is perfectly adapted for this type of use.
For a high voltage power supply, I use a converter to filter power decreases, power surges and power cuts in particular. An APC 1500VA Pro converter is ideal for the projector, Blu-ray player and A/V amp.
Let’s talk now about your speakers – why did you choose a high-end solution such as the Klipsch THX range?
Over the last twenty years, I’ve had different home cinema and hi-fi systems and I’ve listened to many ones in order to find the right system for me. The Klipsch 650 THX Ultra 2 system (with two Klipsch R-115SW subwoofers) is ideally adapted to dedicated rooms with minimum acoustic treatment. I say “minimum” because, speaking from experience, in a room which is too clear in terms of acoustics, it is important to be mindful of the upper medium range of horn-loaded tweeters. This speaker is well balanced and can handle the significant dynamic range of cinema soundtracks. It projects an extremely realistic sensation. Voices are clear and never forced and the music and sound settings are unbelievable. The Klipsch THX dipolar speaker (Klipsch KS-525-THX) is in phase with the front speakers. The sound is consistent and not located in one spot. There is the feeling of the sound “bursting out of the walls” with impressive consistency at the front. Actions are reproduced physically. This is such a rare occurrence that it is worth a mention. A 5x70w high-range amplifier is adequate to power this high-sensitivity system.
I have chosen an Anthem MRX710 amplifier, firstly for its manufacturing quality with a well structured power supply, for its extremely low signal/noise ratio, for the quality of its components and its ARC correction system. Once the entire configuration is calibrated, it works a treat. The ARC enables users to have an overview of the room’s flaws and allows them to see the areas which need improvement as regards frequency response in the lower end of the spectrum and the issue of stationary waves.
The Anthem MRX710 offers 2 calibration set-ups. I use 2 separate settings – 1 for films and the other for concerts. By playing around with the cut-off frequencies and the subwoofer settings, an excellent balance can be found for these 2 different types of listening. The Klipsch/Anthem pairing is a smooth, uncompromising mix of neutrals and dynamics.
Do you intend to progress to Dolby Atmos?
Yes, the room is already pre-equipped. There are cable ducts installed on the ceiling, planned to support 4 Dolby Atmos speakers. I can’t wait to see the new additions announced by Anthem in 2015. The aim is to move on to an AV integrated amplifier or power units + Dolby Atmos home cinema pre-amplifier.
Thanks for your time and congratulations on this wonderful room!
Features of the home cinema room:
- Overall construction costs: 10 000 € approx.
- Equipment costs: 15 000 € approx.
- Surface area: 33 m² approx. (8 m x 4.2 m)
- Height under the ceiling: 2.25 m (75 m3 approx.)
- Video-projector screen: 3.32 m x 1.86 m (projector situated at a distance of 7 m)
- Audio system: Klipsch 650 THX Ultra 2 System 7.2 R-115SW, Anthem MRX-710 amp and Oppo BDP-103 player.