Atmos Home Theatre install in Living Room

jimmymleeds

Active Member
I have long wanted to have a crack at doing a proper Home Theatre install in my house having never had the chance up until recently, always making do with just sticking speakers here there and everywhere. Not ideal to say the least! Me and my Fiance live in a 3 Bed town-house that has a garage on the bottom floor underneath the living room. We recently decided to take the jump and convert it into what originally started off as a bedroom. We set out a layout of where everything was going to go, like the bed for and wardrobes etc and we got to getting quotes for building work. First step was clearing out the garage of all the stuff we had stored and getting Gas central heating installed in the house as we had electric heaters through-out which meant there was a huge boiler in the corner of the garage and ugly electric eating heaters throughout the house.

With that out of the way and the garage cleared, we got a builder in to rip out the garage door, and bring out the garage to the boundary of the rest of the house as the garage was in-set boy 4 foot or so. All in all the build took a month as it wasn't as straight forward as first thought and also because I had succeeded in the monumental task of convincing my other half to let me do my own Home Theatre install. Many weeks of convincing her and generally wearing her down to the point of telling her i'd do a good job of it were involved but I got there eventually.

At the time I had my KEF KHT2005.3 surround sound in the living room wired up to my much loved Pioneer VSX AX5IS 7.1. I bought the centre channel from the 3005 kit as I wanted more oomph from the centre channel whilst trying to preserve the looks of the 2005.3 egg speakers. I told her that I would run all the wiring up and along the walls and mount speakers on walls too and that I would do this before the garage was plaster skimmed so that you wouldn't know they were there. Throughout the conception of my HT and the actual install I spoke to my partner about several things like speaker placement etc to make sure she was happy with what i was doing, on reflection I think I just did her head in with it because the answer eventually became 'just do what you want as long as it doesnt look stupid' o_O.

Once the garage was air tight I set about decorating it, once I finished two coats of undercoat on every wall and the ceilings I had my other half come down and have a look which is when she decided that it would be a waste as a bedroom as it was now the largest room in the house, it should be a living room, so that was that we went out the next day and ordered a sofa :D the Bedroom was now a Living Room. I then set about marking out and re-marking out then re-marking out for speaker and wiring placement, remember this was my first attempt at a HT install so I didn't get it right the first or second time! I eventually got everything squared and lined up and was happy with where everything was. Mid way through doing all the wiring I decided that if i was going to do this then it was worth doing it properly and installing an Atmos set up which meant ceiling speakers and of course an Atmos capable receiver. I always enjoy looking at HT tech so I had a fairly good idea what I was looking for. It ended up being a toss up between a huge ONKYO or the Marantz SR6012 and in the end I decided I didn't need the huge ONKYO and I liked the spec and looks of the 6012 and so did the other half so I bought it online from Peter Tyson. I eagerly awaited its delivery and as soon as I got it home I opened it up and got it set up with my 5.1 system upstairs. What an improvement it was, I mean I loved the sound of the Pioneer, its a smashing bit of kit but its 15 years old and has done well to keep me smiling when watching films in THX surround mode.

Next I went ceiling speaker hunting and settled on 4 x Klipsch R1650-C which when they arrived and after doing some research I found they had sent me the updated model, no complaints.. winner winner. Once I had them I roped the builder into helping me install a false ceiling, I decided this was going to be easier than cutting into the existing ceiling and potentially coming across ceiling joists and insulation so we cracked on with that, up it went in a few hours and i started marking out positions. I went for 4 ceiling speakers as I wanted to do a Reference Atmos install and I just knew that if I'd have installed 2 then I would never have been truly happy with it.

Installing the in-ceilings was a doddle, I marked up cut out and they went in with relative ease to say i did it on my own, props to Klipsch for making it easy by providing templates. Just for that extra bit of sound insulation I filled around the speaker boxes with expanding foam. On went the covers, job well done. Whilst I was up sorting out the false ceiling before it got boarded I took a note of every joist measurement and drew a diagram for future refererence (you never know) and I also did a bit of future proofing by screwing up two pieces of wood between the joists rear and centre of the ceiling for the day I manage to buy a decent 4K projector and also convince the other half its a good idea. Leave it with me I'm working on it already!

For quite a long time I had read about having two sub-woofers in HT to help out in evenly spreading bass frequencies etc. This was something I'd never put to the test, so when I had all the electrics finished and I'd done the wiring for the receiver and speakers I tried it out by hooking up my phone via an AUX cable directly to the sub and using a frequency generator App, Lo and behold as i walked around the room, ears being pounded by a constant 60hz frequency I did indeed come across the infamous Peaks and Nulls talked about in many a YT video. Well that was me sold, back on the internet I went searching for the same sub I already had to match. Eventually I came across the sub from the 3005.3, the lovely looking circle shaped artistic looking thing. It had very similar specs to my sub being from the same manufacturer and the thought process was that one of the subs was probably going to end up on show so I bought it and boy am I glad I did. Aside from buying the 6012 this was the best purchase and improvement I had made to my HT, ever! It really has given it that extra dimension and makes it sound just like your in a full sized cinema.

During the build I had the builder knock up a small false wall around 3 feet high with a box shape at the end, designed to run wires and act as a shelf for my gear and stick the 2005.3 sub in. I really went to town on making this as solid as possible, screwing in left over TnG boarding from the flooring to compartmentalise the box for the sub from the rest of the frame, I did this after the builder had built his frame for the plasterboard so as not to be intrusive. I also got the expanding foam out and filled any gaps where possible. I am very happy with the end result of this and my receiver sits nicely on top of this little false wall, I bought some kitchen work top from IKEA, nothing too fancy as its gonna be hidden by the electric reclining corner sofa we are eagerly awaiting delivery of! In the shelving installed some lighting into it and tried my best to minimize contact with the woodwork below by using wooden spacers to minimize vibrations. to further minimize vibrations I have sat the receiver on 4 washing machine isolator pads. I then made a second small shelf to sit above where the receiver goes so I could put my Fiio media player, Tablet and Echo dot. The first time I'd extensively used a circular saw, I'm proud to say I have all my fingers!

One of the final jobs was to fashion some kind of cover for the large hole that houses the Sub in the corner and to make a reflection absorption panel to sit behind the main listening position to soak up any reflections from the front speakers. It just so happened I had a canvas painting laying around that hadn't been put up but I was quite keen on. I peeled the canvas off the frame and wrap the frame in some speaker cloth drill some holes in both the plasterboard and the frame I'd made and glue in some speaker grill tabs to them both. I bought some acoustic sound board that was going to sit square behind the main listening position between the L&R surrounds, I would then fashion a wooden frame and glue the acoustic panel to that then cover it with the canvas I'd peeled off. Yet another DIY first attempt, off I went to B&Q for wood glue and some small timber and all other bits for the job.

Once I had glued and screwed the frame I drilled holes in the wall being mindful to get it right first time as my Dad had done a great job of wallpapering so I really didn't need to get this wrong. Once I'd done that and the glue had set I fixed the hanging brackets on and fiddled about getting it to hang on the wall, attaching some spacers to the bottom of the frame so it would sit parallel to the wall. I was very pleased with the end result and I think it goes really well.

I have a 48" Samsung JU6510 curved 4K TV that I bought back in 2015, it produces a great picture especially when spinning 4K UHD Blurays. I purchased a wall mount off Amazon for £60, its a North Bayou wall mount and its a fantastic bit of kit with gas springs allowing for articulation, pan & tilt as well as height adjustment and has really made a great addition to my theatre allowing me to perfectly position the TV. The mount itself had to be positioned quite far off-centre so that when I had the TV on the wall mount it would line up. It was a relatively easy install using 3 big bolts drilled into the timber frame in the wall. I recessed it so it was flush once the plastering was finished.

A lot of the things I have done in this build are first time attempts, I am quite proud of the end result but there are a few things I would have done different. For a start I'd have left more speaker wire for the wall speakers as I've found that I'm a few inches shorter than id like to be at both ends. Also the speakers themselves weren't the easiest to mount with plasterboard fixings being a particular difficult task, the brackets themselves weren't exactly easy to do even with the wall mount guide provided. Maybe some shelving wouldn't go amiss although direct wall mount does blend in better.

I'd also like to note that throughout this build my other half has had a bun in the oven and as I sit here and type he is sleeping after a big feed, welcome to the world baby Joshua James born 27/8/18 born 3 days early :) I look forward to sitting and enjoying episode after episode of Fireman Sam, Thomas the Tank Engine and many other of the shows I watched as a child all in beautiful surround sound :'D

The first full film I watched was Avengers Infinity War UHD just yesterday and by some virtue/miracle even though my son was in the same room he did'nt wake once, good lad!
Quick comment on the visuals of that film, they are awesome the details & colors were really fantastic and I look forward to watching it again for the 6th time :) Next on the list is Dunkirk or Interstellar, while the neighbours are out is probably for the best!

I've thoroughly enjoyed my first little HT project and would like to thank my other half for allowing me to do it, she now actually likes it and enjoys listening to the Atmos demo I put on for people when they visit (always makes me grin)

Unfortunately at the end of writing this little blog I found out that I can only upload 10 Photos max so I will post some pics for anyone interested to see from start to finish on my Flickr: along with captions/brief descriptions and I hope you enjoy them and thank you for reading my little thread!

Living room conversion/Home cinema install - FLICKR page with start to finish photos

http://amzn.eu/d/5gxyaS2 - link for TV wall mount on amazon 5* highly reccomended

:clap::thumbsup:

James
 

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shodan

Distinguished Member
Cracking build and congratulations on the baby!
I'm sure they will both bring you great joy over the coming years!
 

jimmymleeds

Active Member
Thank you very much Shodan and thank you for the well wishes. Indeed they will, they already both make me grin from ear to ear, the difficult one will be keeping a toddler out of there and sticking his fingers in the subs :O good job the door has a lock and key!

all the best.
James
 

kevin7sub

Standard Member
Great build congratulations! I am far from ready for atmos but I do quite like the idea of using Kef eggs as on ceiling atmos speakers using the wall mounts on the ceiling. Do you think that would be a viable option having mounted yours?
 

jimmymleeds

Active Member
Thankyou Kevin7sub and thanks for the congratulations!

I do think that they would look great especially if you were using them as your floor surrounds too.
The speaker mounts themselves allow a few different placement options and I'd definitely say having them attached as if they were going to be wall mounted would be your best bet if they were going on the ceiling as this gives much better articulation as opposed to having them in the stand-mount position.

one of the main things to be considered with ceiling speakers is their dispersion ability, how wide they can disperse sound. you want that to be fairly wide for Atmos setups from what i've read.

The Eggs are small but due to their 'Uni-Q' concentric drivers KEF quotes that off axis dispersion is outstanding. I havn't ever properly tested this and probably the only way to do so would be to have one single speaker playing and trying it out that way. What I can say is the 2005.3 eggs I have, do have a fairly good imaging and dispersion pattern, add in the 4 overheads with coaxial tweeters and woofers and everything sounds very well focussed and where it should be.

Imagining the eggs up on the ceiling I think they would look great. My only gripe and to be fair it wasn't really the speakers fault was attaching them to the wall with fixings. as I mentioned in my post, I was fixing them to plasterboard so I had to buy special plugs which on reflection weren't great but I really didn't have any other option. The problem was once you have the fixings in place (having used the provided template provided by KEF) hanging them was a bit difficult as you can't see the holes to line the screws up and if you havn't fixed the screws bang on in line or straight out then you have some wiggling about to do which caused the fixings to start to come loose. This would have been much easier if I was screwing into concrete or wood.

Personally I would say go for it, I think it would look great if you had the eggs for your floor speakers too. I can confidently say that if you have the timber/concrete to fix into then you would achieve a tight fit to the ceiling once you had adjusted your screws to the right height to allow the holes to properly grip the screw.

Let me know how you get on. If you don't go for the Eggs I can personally recommend the Klipsch's I bought as mentioned in my Build blog.

Cheers,
James
 

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