Recently in Home Theater Category

Ok - I lied...

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Here are a few more pictures from the theater... A guy on one of the A/V message boards that I frequent was asking about the Panasonic AE700U projector (it's the one I have). He wanted to know what the picture would look like on a certain type of screen, so I took a few quick pictures and posted them. I think they look pretty good, especially for a $80 screen solution. :-)


Peter Parker's eyes from Spiderman. Notice the pores in his skin? How's that for detail, especially on a 133" screen?

Mary Jane and Peter in the cafeteria. On the full-sized image, you can see MJ's hair strands. Color isn't too bad either, for an uncalibrated projector.


Spiderman in the burning building, with the Green Goblin.

And one more shot of the room - taken at about 6:30pm, with curtains closed.

This will probably be one of the last posts I make about the theater, unless I add something new (like a new screen, or something like that), as it's basically done. I say "basically" because all that's left is the baseboard/door trim and the wall plate for the light switches. I'll probably finish that stuff within the next few weeks, but for now, I'm just enjoying it "as is."

We hung a curtain a few weekends ago, and finished the riser. The front row of seats need to be attached together, but that only takes about 5 minutes, and we've basically only been using the 2nd row, so it hasn't been a priority. I suppose I'll attach them all this weekend...

Anyway, here are some pictures, and sorry for the "grainy" nature of the photos - I shot them at ISO 3200, and as a result they're quite noisy. I tried to adjust them after the fact, but it's so dark in there that it's difficult to get good photos. :-)

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Picture taken while standing on the stage, trying to get as much of the room in the photo as possible.


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The new curtain and curtain rod (brushed nickel, to match the sconces) - it has a "blackout curtain" behind it, so even during daylight it's 100% black in the theater.


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A view from the left-front seat - those 4 18" subs are going to be the death of me and the house...


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Another shot of the seats - trying to show the 2nd row "riser." The second row sits 12" higher than the front row, on a 6'x13' riser that's covered with black carpet (I'm going to cover the stage with the same stuff, eventually).


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The view from my favorite seat.... ahhh... 133" of HD goodness. :-)

And my newest toy - it just arrived today:

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A 4GB Apple iPod Nano (center). The thing is unreal - it's *tiny*, and has an ultra-sharp color display. I tried to use other objects to communicate how small it is - that's a 3.5" floppy disk on the left, and a 128mb USB thumb-drive on the right. I've got 780 songs on the Nano, and still have more than 1GB free... I'm lovin' it.

Almost there...

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Well, we finally got the carpet situation fixed. I called Lowes on Wednesday, and they sent the carpet crew back out. Apparently, the tack strips had broken in several spots, so they replaced them, and now the carpet seems to be ok.

Here's what it looks like:

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The carpet is Mohawk Premiere, 25-year warranty with stain guard protection and a premium, odo-ban pad. The carpet feels *really* nice, and the dogs love to lay on it. Regis gets in the room and immediately lays down, and refuses to leave... so, we have to carry him out.

Oh, and I sure hope the price of gas starts to drop... Amy filled-up the Tahoe today (thankfully she's only driving it 5-6 miles a day) for a whopping $54.25. Whew. That one hurt.

Strike 3 for Lowes

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Well, the carpet was installed, but... well, you be the judge:

Carpet along the wall:

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Notice the "bump" along the wall? Well, I was looking at the carpet, and I thought it felt a little loose... so, I take a little dig at it with my index finger, and:

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Hmm, that doesn't seem right... check the rest of the room, and I can basically move the entire carpet just by sliding my feet around on the carpet. Great work, Lowes! You guys are the best!!

I'm seriously done with Lowes... I can't wait for the Home Depot to open in our area - it'll be done in a month or so. I tried, and tried, and tried to like Lowes - I thought they were great, actually - but then I started having one problem after another, and no one there seems to care or have any idea of what "customer service" means. I even talked to the store manager about my carpet problems, and I got a "I'm sorry," but that was it. Nice, eh?

Any way, here's what the carpet looks like:

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and

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Now, if it would only stay in place, I'd be really happy. They (Lowes) were supposed to have someone call me today to come out and fix the problem, but alas, no phone call. I won't be holding my breath for them to call.... I'm sure I'll have to call them a half-a-dozen times before someone comes out to look at it, and then I'm sure they'll have an attitude about it, and the "repair" will probably be crummy. I can only pray that Lowes goes into bankruptcy some day.

That's what I get for trying to save a few dollars. I should've gone through a real carpet store. :-(

Anyway, I don't mean to harp on Lowes, but dang it, talk about frustration.

On a more serious note, please consider donating to the Humane Society. I hate to think of all of the helpless dogs/cats/horses/etc. that are suffering as a result of the hurricane. If I could, I'd donate a million dollars to help them out...

STILL No Carpet...

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Free advice: If you're in any type of a hurry, or have any type of a deadline, avoid Lowes at all costs. I've been waiting on carpet since August 8... they don't call you, they tell you it will be in "tomorrow," and even after it does come in, they don't update you with an installation date/time. Ugh!!!

All Lowes incompetency aside, we did get the chairs moved downstairs and set-up (thanks to Brian, Karl, and Amy). If the carpet ever gets installed, we'll move the chairs out, I'll assemble my riser, and we'll be in business.

Here's a picture of the chairs all lined-up...

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Here are some poor photos of the theater in action:

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Finding Nemo...

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The Incredibles...

Those pictures are 100% untouched, and the projector is not calibrated or dialed-in - it's exactly like it came out of the box, so once I get a chance to properly set-up the projector, the image should improve. And *if* I ever get carpeting, the sound should improve as well.

The screen measures 10'3" x 5'0". I'll put a frame around it after a while.. for now, I'm going to enjoy it "as is."


In other news, my family stopped down to visit last weekend, and we had a great time. We watched a few movies (naturally): X-Men, Pirates of the Carribean, I Robot, and The Incredibles, and we went to Eureka Springs, Fayetteville, and did a few other things. They left on Sunday morning, and Amy, Karl and I went to Joplin for some Pizza by Stout and to buy a new gas trimmer (MO sales tax is half of what it is in Arkansas).

Soooooo close....

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We're almost there... had a big weekend.

Finished: painting, lights, 2 of the 3 doors, cabinet, final wiring, speaker distribution block wiring, sconces, and a few other things.

All that's left: carpet needs to be installed, hang screen, mount projector, do trim work, build riser, install chairs, and our closet door needs to arrive (it's on order)...

I don't think the closet door or trim work will be done by the time my family gets here, but everything else should be all set. With any luck, the carpet will be installed on Tuesday, the projector will arrive on Tuesday, and I'll be all done by Wednesday night.

Photos:

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The entry (it's not trimmed yet, and our closet door was the wrong size (I used 5/8" drywall, so it threw off the jambs).

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Looking in to the theater; you can see the new sconces, and the side surround speakers.

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The left front corner/side, with door to the crawlspace.

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The front stage - almost done... the tops are drying (they're the 3rd layer of the "top." (2x 14-ply Baltic Birch + 3/4" MDF)

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The amp area and cabinet. The gap is for future growth, plus it serves as an access hole in the event that I need to work on something. I have to build a plate for it, but that'll be sometime in the future.

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Looking out toward the back of the theater (just took it a second ago, as I type this from my laptop while sitting on the speakers/stage).

Keep your fingers crossed for carpet...

Ooh! Our backs...

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I think this weekend almost killed us. Both my and Amy's backs are killing us... and our hands... and our arms... and our shoulders... and our knees... pretty much everything but our nose hair hurts.

Friday night we went and picked out paint, got home and primered the walls. Primer on drywall = horrible... the drywall sucks up all of the primer almost instantly, and it takes forever to finish the job...

Saturday morning I threw on another coat of primer, ran to the store to get a few things, then started painting the ceiling. Amy came home in the afternoon and we put on another coat of paint on the ceiling and then called it a night.

Sunday morning, we went to put up our wall color, and we hated it... problem is the paint was non-refundable, so we went back to the store, shelled out another $120, and got a new color... red... and we found out that the red needed a tinted primer, so we primed the walls again (ugh!), went to Pizza Pro for dinner, then threw on a coat of red.

We almost died when we first saw it - it looked purple. But, we soldiered through it... and as the paint was drying we mounted some subwoofers, and I wired them. Of course, then it was time for a test... hehehehe.

Here's a picture of me wiring the subwoofers:

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You can see my head poking up from behind the stage...


And here's what it looks like behind the stage:

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We fired-em up, and while I wasn't shocked, Amy said it was making her sick to her stomach from the bass (we had it on about "2"), so I guess that's a good thing... Once I get the rest of the cabinet put back together it should be a lot better.

Tomorrow night we'll throw on another coat of paint, and if I have time, I'll finish the stage. Tuesday night will be final wiring (installing the outlets). Wednesday and Thursday = Hang doors. Friday/Saturday = Carpet. Sunday = finish stage/cabinet area.

Chairs should be here tomorrow.

The dreadful part is done

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I completed the stage this weekend. Wow - what a job that was. I had been dreading it all week - I knew it would be a monster job... I cut the final facing for the subwoofers, cut the 2nd layer for the top of the stage, built the cabinet that will hold the audio equipment (and amps), and did a little more bracing work to the stage. I can safely say that at this point, the stage is 90% done.

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As you can also see, the drywall is almost done. Once done, we can start painting, then we'll hang the doors, install the carpet, and do the trim work. We're in the home stretch now. :-)

Oh, and here's a picture of our pal, Lump-Lump. He's the sweetest bird ever.

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I'm covered in sawdust, so it's time for a shower.

Drywall ain't light...

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We moved the drywall from the garage to the basement on Tuesday night (thanks again to Brian and Karl - I owe you guys big time!), while dodging rain... We moved 38 pieces of 5/8" 4x8 sheets and 15 pieces of 1/2" 4x12 sheets (I was paranoid I didn't have enough from the initial order so I bought more earlier this week)... I think we're all still sore, 2 days later.

Now, for the good news- the drywall is going up, as we speak:

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With any luck, I'll get my cabinet finished over the weekend, and will be ready to start painting by early next week. Say, Brian and Karl - what are you guys doing next week? Got any paint brushes? :-D

Ready for drywall

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The theater is coming along nicely... I'm a *tad* behind, but not much - I'll make up the difference by Wednesday night, so things should be on schedule again.

Here's the progress so far:

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That's looking "into" the theater from where the outer-most 2nd row seat will be. 2nd row seats will be on a 10" riser.

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Sitting on the stage, looking "out" of the theater. In hindsight, I made the stage way too tall, but the thing is so solid (I'm convinced it could survive a direct mortar hit), I can't even contemplate making it shorter...

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Looking at the new closet, the theater main entry, and the door to upstairs.

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Looking into the closet, which measures 6'x5'. It'll have a 24" door to maximize the room inside of it.

We'll be hanging drywall by Thursday. With any luck, drywall and tape will be done by next Thursday, at which point, I can start painting...

All that's left:

- Build component rack (in stage; face is done, need to build shelves)
- Drywall & tape/mud
- Prime/paint
- Install carpet
- Install doors
- Install trim
- Finish wiring (install sockets on outlets)
- Install projector, screen, and audio components
- Install seating
- Enjoy movies

In other news, I blew my diet tonight... Amy helped me with the insulation this afternoon, and we didn't finish until around 7pm, so we were both starving, and neither of us were in the mood to make any food, so we ordered Pizza Pro... ugh. Good thing I only ate an entire medium bacon pizza...

Now I'm off to take a shower (so I can get this itchy fiberglass off me) and hit the bed. My back is killing me, and 6:30am will roll around all too early...

They're here!

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I came home from work today to discover FedEx had left 4 packages on my front step. The packages were large and heavy, so that could only mean one thing: SUBWOOFERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Look at these bad boys:

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I set the crock pot next to it for comparison... that's a 6qt crock.

18" of Ascendent Audio Avalanche goodness. I can't wait to hear these monsters rumbling. They weigh about 50lbs each (each box was 59lbs), and are absolute animals. I'm tempted to hook them up right now and listen to them free air... EEEEEK!

Ok... must calm down...

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Nah, to heck with it! I'm going to go unpack the other three and just stare at them for a few hours... while drooling... and smiling...

Phase II

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On Sunday, I took delivery of phase II of the materials necessary to finish the home theater. The Lowes truck delivered:

30 sheets of 4x8x5/8" drywall
12 sheets of 4x12x5/8" drywall
5 sheets of MDF
5 sheets of 7-ply baltic birch
2 sheets of 23/32" OSB
16 rolls of insulation
30 2x4x12 lumber
6 2x4x16 treated lumber
A bunch of painting supplies
A bunch of drywalling supplies
A Bosch 2.25HP plunge router and 4 bits
A Dewalt drywall screw gun
And a few other miscellaneous tidbits (ceiling fan, etc)

I spent this weekend running speaker wire (300 feet of 12/2 in-wall THX certified wire), and trying to run my video cable (only to realize it was too short by about 5 feet...).

I also bought our couch, which will be delivered sometime in August.

I hope to have the stage framed by next weekend, at which point I'll insulate and then it's drywall time... eeek!

Hope everyone had a good 4th of July. I mowed the lawn today and worked on the basement.

Weekend Update

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Howdy. No pictures today... too tired.

I installed HVAC ducts and vents, and started on a cold-air-return, but decided to hold off on it until I get everything else done. It will be too hard to work "behind the main wall" if the return box is there - I'll be tripping over it all the time, so I'll install it at the last possible minute.

I had hoped to get the riser framed, but because it was so freakin' hot this weekend (I had 95+ on my thermometer near the porch), I just didn't have the energy... that, and I re-wired my main light-switch box to include wiring for wall sconces.

I hope to order drywall, more wood, carpet, and a bunch of other stuff this week... Lowes will love me. :-) With any luck, the stuff will be here this weekend, and I'll be able to continue moving forward.

Oh, we also went to a few homes on the Parade of Homes tour this weekend... saw one beauty for $547,000, and its home theater was horrible, so I'm pretty stoked about this project. :-D

Let there be light.

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Finished roughing in the wiring today. Whew... what a job...

500+ ft of wire, 12 120V-20A outlets, 2 125V-30A outlets, the light cans, the dimmer switches, the fan and projector wiring... And this is the result:

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And with the back set of lights dimmed (all can be dimmed by "bank"):

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Tomorrow I'm going to run speaker wire and put in the heating and A/C ducts. Then it'll be time to build the front stage (and sub/component box), then insulate and drywall.

I'm off to take a shower... I stink right now. :-)

Insomnia

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I can't seem to sleep right now... I have to leave for work in less than 3 hours, and I'm wide awake. :-(

Anyway, here's some pictures from this weekend's progress. We got our final wall up this weekend, and it's a doozy - 2x6 with 3/4" plywood backing + styrofoam. This is the "front wall" of the theater, and is the one that will take the most abuse from the subwoofers, so I wanted to make sure it was plenty strong, vibration free, and that it would protect the concrete block wall of the house.

We used 2 huge tubes of construction adhesive gluing everything, and then we nailed the framing together, screwed it for additional support, and then screwed the backing plywood onto the framing (1 screw every 12" on the studs, and every 6" on the floor plate and header). Styrofoam backing was also glued and tacked into place with 1.5" sheathing nails every 12".

Here's a picture of me nailing the 2nd to last piece of styrofoam on...

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And here's the final wall (taken about 5 minutes ago):

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We finished the wall on Saturday afternoon, then went to Lowes and Home Depot for lighting and wiring supplies... I'll be darned if wire isn't outrageously expensive right now. I put up the 7 recessed lights today, and started to wire them, but realized I needed a few extra items, so I stopped early. I hope to have the lighting and outlets done by next weekend, then I'll do the HVAC work and start the insulation phase.

Present arrived early

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My subwoofer amplifier arrived about 4 days early. I wasn't expecting to receive it until mid-week. I guess UPS didn't like the idea of having an 80-lb amplifier package sitting in their trucks/warehouses any longer than necessary. :-D

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This thing is a beast. I can't wait to try it out. It's 70-odd pounds outside of the box... plenty of power for the subs.

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We're going to finish the final wall today, then it's on to wiring duties. Amy and I bought the light cans (for recessed lighting), wiring, outlets, and gang boxes last night. With any luck, the wiring will be done by the end of next weekend. Then it'll be time to add HVAC ducts and insulate.

We started the home theater project today... whew... my dogs are barkin'.

Built a 2x6x15 wall today that's 8.5' tall. We used 2x6 because I want the room to be as solid and quiet as possible, so 2x6 allows me to use R44 insulation around the entire room, including the ceiling.

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The calm before the storm...

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More lumber. The Element rules - it hauled the 2x6x16 treated lumber with no problems.


Took us about 5.5 hours to build the wall, including measuring everything, figuring out where we'd put a closet (on the outside of the room), where the door should go, and sort through some of the world's crummiest lumber (never use Ridout Building Supply - they're horrible!).

Thankfully, my new Dewalt pneumatic nail gun (with 3.5" Duofast full head nails) made things a lot easier on us - that thing is a monster... shoots nails about 250', and will stick 'em into trees from 100'. :-D

Nat lent me his Dewalt 10" compound miter saw, so the framing went pretty well once we got all of our measurements sorted. We used construction adhesive on the bottom "plate," along with cement nails, driven with a .22-shell nail-set tool. It worked really slick.

We'll get the other wall up this week, and then it's time to start wiring. Once the wiring is done, I'll build my "riser" (a 180"Wx32"Hx36"D 'box' that will hold my subwoofers, audio componets, DVDs, and the TV (it'll sit on top)) and load it with the subwoofers (4x18" Avalanche).

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6 hours later, a wall is born. :-) And, yes, it's level and plumb.

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The closet area.

The room will measure 15'Wx21'L; the closet will be about 25-square feet. More to come.

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