Tips on Building a Home Theatre

Home theatre

Putting together a home theatre takes more than just buying the right electronic gear. The space itself must be planned out from the placement of the sound reinforcement gear and viewing screen to the seating arrangements. One of the biggest concerns in building the home theatre is absolute, outside, noise elimination.

This type of quality relies on the materials used during construction. A great home theatre room will not allow sound waves to provide rattles or buzzes due to loose-fitting or poor material quality. In addition these materials should enhance the right sounds while blocking out others.

1. Floating Floor

Most recording studios have a floating floor and this means that sound vibrations are not transferred through from the floor joists. Sheets of rigid foam and neoprene pads are popular isolation techniques. These are placed under the joists of the new floor and then plywood is installed on top of this platform. The sound vibrations are stopped from coming up through floor and the low frequency waves from the subwoofers will not cause rumbling sounds welling from beneath the floor. The spaces between the joists are then packed with fiberglass insulation.

2. Walls

The walls of the room are built after the floating floor is installed and so sit on the rigid foam. They can be constructed in the exact same manner as the floor or "doubled." This is when an inner wall is built adjacent to the outer wall but the two never touch. This space is also filled with an acoustic barrier.

3. Ceiling

Using a standard drop-ceiling grid will be adequate for holding sound-deadening materials. Here is where a custom approach can be used. In other words soft foam can be cut in the same shape as the tile but one-inch smaller all around so that it can be slotted into the grid.

4. Acoustic Coverings

Bare walls will have to be covered with sound diffusing material. There are two types of acoustic materials: sound absorption and sound diffusion. For absorption choose soft or porous materials that will trap sound into the cavities. On the other hand diffusive materials enhance sound and reflect it in different directions. This is why wrapping the whole room is one-inch soft foam will not provide the best sound. In fact many frequencies can be lost making the sound boomy or even bloated. By keeping the drywall uncovered will allow the wanted frequencies to remain active. Then blocks of sound deadening foam can be hung on the walls in patterns and changed to meet the sound requirements. This is where experimentation comes in. These are diffusers, that direct the sound off the walls, and also deadeners that kill unwanted sounds.

5. Quiet Air Servers

Just like any other rooms home theatres require air circulation. It is suggested that the vents be placed at the back of the room and are attached to a low-velocity air exchanger that will give ten to fifteen air changes per hour. A duct liner board or metal ducts lined with glass fiber should be used as well as a plenum silencer near the fan. These items can be purchased from a commercial HVAC distributor.

6. Acoustic Caulking

When attaching or sealing items in the construction always use an acoustic sealer. This is a sticky substance that will not transmit sounds and works great when deadening the sound reverberation in vents.

7. The Door

For the door choose a pre-hung, solid-core exterior door. Beside the sound-dampening of the foam core the weather stripping also keeps out unwanted sounds. The door will have t be be tested for echoes as well and may need sound diffusion.

For more information on building a home theatre room consult our Contractor's Directory or simply post your project online.

Posted by: Kim Kinrade
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