Review my 5.2.4 living room home cinema plan

johntejada

Member
Hi guys,

I recently bought an open plan apartment.

I did this exact scale sketch to show how a 5.2.4 system could look like. I was using Dolby Atmos speaker setup guide.

The idea is to add the second curtain in the middle of the room so it could:
  • Aid in room acoustics by having a more proportional left and right reverberation (by using thicker curtains).
  • Visually close the space, which removes bright reflections from other furniture and gives some wow factor.
The screen is 120", and from the viewing distance it would have a 40-degree angle. I'm planning to add a floor carpet and probably some acoustic diffusers on the back wall.

  • Am I missing something or doing too much?
  • Are the curtains overkill?
  • Is the projector screen too close to the curtains?
  • As I understand if there are in-ceiling speakers the rear ones has to be lower, almost at the ear level?
Any advice is very welcome.

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gibbsy

Moderator
Very good idea.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Using suitable curtains is a great idea and can work very well to ’square off‘ the open plan area when you want to use it for movies.

Joe
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Mind you it will be the first time I've seen curtains closing at the start of a film. :)
 

Clickme

Active Member
Amazing render an a great use of space, but as someone who just had to fork out getting curtains for two 3.6m wide windows i'm wincing at the potential cost of those curtains, especially if you're going for a x3 gather as what looks like in the renders. Worth keeping that in mind in the budget.
 

AndreNewman

Active Member
We did something similar with curtains to darken down a living room but retaining bright painted walls, it works very well. Living room by day, Cinema by night.
A few comments:
If you can move the sofa forward so that it's 1/3 from the back wall (2/3 from the screen) the bass acoustics will be greatly improved. Being close to the back wall will put you in a peak or a null, definitely the rear wall panels will help with that but moving forward a little as well will be a bigger difference, the two combined should be great.

Lose the coffee table, or have a fabric footstool that can double as a coffee table with a tray on when needed, that's what we have. A solid table there will muddy up dialogue from the center speaker. Or just move it out of the room for movies.

Hide all the electronics, maybe at the back of the room, now there's some space behind the sofa ;-). All those flashing lights are a distraction when you are watching a movie and if you have an oled tv or high contrast projector they will ruin the contrast. Even better if you can move them behind the curtains somewhere, get a harmony hub remote and you don't need line of sight to the electronics.
 

johntejada

Member
Thanks a lot for your comments @AndreNewman.
  1. I'll be able to move the sofa forward. This would make me consider reducing my screen size. Current plan was 120", but the watching angle can get too big quickly. Not sure if I'll have the rear wall panels. Maybe a bookshelf instead or something that would still resemble a living room at least a bit :)
  2. I'll ditch the coffee table and get a footstool with a tray.
  3. I could surely hide the electronics at the back behind the sofa, but I had another idea. I was hoping to make a custom media cabinet so it perfectly fits my Klipsch RP-450C center along the length and also make it at the ear level. Inside it I can hide the electronics and close the cabinet. Would that make sense?
 

AndreNewman

Active Member
Thanks a lot for your comments @AndreNewman.
  1. I'll be able to move the sofa forward. This would make me consider reducing my screen size. Current plan was 120", but the watching angle can get too big quickly. Not sure if I'll have the rear wall panels. Maybe a bookshelf instead or something that would still resemble a living room at least a bit :)
  2. I'll ditch the coffee table and get a footstool with a tray.
  3. I could surely hide the electronics at the back behind the sofa, but I had another idea. I was hoping to make a custom media cabinet so it perfectly fits my Klipsch RP-450C center along the length and also make it at the ear level. Inside it I can hide the electronics and close the cabinet. Would that make sense?

1 Usually the adage is "no one ever said they have a screen that's too big" but I guess we are in that situation! Only because there's little room for speakers beside the screen. They are in the corners so suffer from that, also we are limited on light for HDR. We have a 3.3m cinemascope screen and sit 3.5m away, we have had visitors that feel ill... That said father in law drags his seat closer!!

We are at ~55degrees view angle, FIL must be 75degrees!

I'm about to do rear panels so will know how much difference it makes then but I understand it's one of the most important acoustic treatments.

2 I can hear the difference if the footstool is in front of the sofa, so I'm always moving it out of the way, we tried a coffee table and found it horrible.

3 You might start overheating things in an enclosed cabinet but it could work. In your room I'd put it all in a cabinet in the alcove behind the curtains. No need for long cables (big headache for UHD/4k). I'm moving everything to my home office directly above the projector as the lights are driving me nuts, even on shelves behind the sofa, below eye level. I see a lot of setups with everything up front so i guess it doesn't bother a lot of people.

I just recently built a bass trap to go below our screen and made an exact cutout to house the Silver C350 center, angled at ~30degrees. A home cinema enthusiast's "sound bar" if you like. I was going to hide two subwoofers inside it as well but they didn't work well in those locations.

I like the renders, looks like sketchup? I've been using Sweet Home 3D, very useful for trying ideas out and running them past the wife.
 

AndreNewman

Active Member
Oh and one more thing...

Your screen looks very high to me, we projected on the wall for a few months before deciding on screen size and height. Depends a lot on your sofa and if you sit upright or lounge about. Again a lot of people have TVs above fireplaces, I'd have to stand up to watch that!

And finally... My wife is very attached to the light coloured french rug we have in the Living/Cinema room so I was never allowed to replace it with a jet black shagpile one as I might like. After the first movie where we have blacked out the room, curtains, black velvet screen surround and bass traps, I caught her looking at black rugs in a shop.

Black curtains will enhance the picture quality greatly as will a black rug under the screen. Black ceiling is probably going to far but if you are buying the curtains just for this why not get the best option?
Sorry, I bought up all the reasonably priced jet black velvet curtains on Amazon UK last year.
 

johntejada

Member
1 Usually the adage is "no one ever said they have a screen that's too big" but I guess we are in that situation! Only because there's little room for speakers beside the screen. They are in the corners so suffer from that, also we are limited on light for HDR. We have a 3.3m cinemascope screen and sit 3.5m away, we have had visitors that feel ill... That said father in law drags his seat closer!!

We are at ~55degrees view angle, FIL must be 75degrees!

I'm about to do rear panels so will know how much difference it makes then but I understand it's one of the most important acoustic treatments.

2 I can hear the difference if the footstool is in front of the sofa, so I'm always moving it out of the way, we tried a coffee table and found it horrible.

3 You might start overheating things in an enclosed cabinet but it could work. In your room I'd put it all in a cabinet in the alcove behind the curtains. No need for long cables (big headache for UHD/4k). I'm moving everything to my home office directly above the projector as the lights are driving me nuts, even on shelves behind the sofa, below eye level. I see a lot of setups with everything up front so i guess it doesn't bother a lot of people.

I just recently built a bass trap to go below our screen and made an exact cutout to house the Silver C350 center, angled at ~30degrees. A home cinema enthusiast's "sound bar" if you like. I was going to hide two subwoofers inside it as well but they didn't work well in those locations.

I like the renders, looks like sketchup? I've been using Sweet Home 3D, very useful for trying ideas out and running them past the wife.

Very good tips, thanks again!

I'll probably keep the back of the media console open for air circulation. Behind the curtains there is a window, didn't model it in SketchUp. I've used https://www.homestyler.com/ for renders.

You're right about the screen being too high. Will definitely test screen size/height for some time.

Sounds like you have a sweet setup there. Do you have any photos to share for inspiration?
 

Officer Giggles

Novice Member
Oh and one more thing...

Your screen looks very high to me, we projected on the wall for a few months before deciding on screen size and height. Depends a lot on your sofa and if you sit upright or lounge about. Again a lot of people have TVs above fireplaces, I'd have to stand up to watch that!

And finally... My wife is very attached to the light coloured french rug we have in the Living/Cinema room so I was never allowed to replace it with a jet black shagpile one as I might like. After the first movie where we have blacked out the room, curtains, black velvet screen surround and bass traps, I caught her looking at black rugs in a shop.

Black curtains will enhance the picture quality greatly as will a black rug under the screen. Black ceiling is probably going to far but if you are buying the curtains just for this why not get the best option?
Sorry, I bought up all the reasonably priced jet black velvet curtains on Amazon UK last year.

Were you able to get curtains long enough to completely cover ceiling to floor or do you have a small gap at the bottom
 

AndreNewman

Active Member
Our curtains are 94" so there's a couple of inches to the floor and a couple more to the ceiling, I'm going to make some velvet pelmets for the tops but that job can wait until we need to block light in the evenings. Deciding whether to re-board and plaster the ceiling so that would be the first job if it happens. I did get another pair of 108" curtains and they are actually too long, I may get them altered but it's more likely I will use them as fabric for bass traps at the back of the room where I don't want to spend money on the triple velvet.

I'll try to dig out some pictures, difficult to take any when the curtains are closed, it's too black! We are having some windows replaced this week so maybe take some pics when everything is straight again.

Just a grotty phone pic with the curtains open and a construction pic of the "sound bar".

The curtains cover the whole lhs wall as that is all two windows, the rhs is covered just to 60%to keep a radiator clear, all of the field of vision is black velvet curtains when drawn. There are two more full length curtains on the rear wall to stop light bouncing back on the screen. I'll probably make some rear 4" panels with a light material behind the rear curtains, not decided yet.

I'd maybe like to do a build thread but my wife is very privacy conscious, really we both are so probably won't happen.

Screen is a 3.3m beamax 2.35:1 for scale.

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AndreNewman

Active Member
We bought 7 pairs of these:


With these behind for complete blackout and a bit more accoustic absorption:


Cleared out all the stock, they aren't completely "black", there's a purple sheen to them when compared to the Whaleys triple velvet but perfectly good for the job and £700 instead of the £3500 we were quoted for made to measure. They do have a slight chemical smell if the room is closed up for a day or two but hoping that will go eventually.

I also bought a pair of these but not impressed, they don't hang well, they are blacker than the main ones but don't look good in every other way.

 

Officer Giggles

Novice Member
Cheers thanks for sharing the links.

I was thinking of doing something similar for the open side of my proposed set up. The curtains look tidy in your pictures when not in use which was a fear of when so I think that will be the way I go.
 

AndreNewman

Active Member
No problem to share, they are both sold out now, I have all the stock, it still gives an idea I guess.
I'll try to get some more pics when the windows guys have finished and everything is back to normal! Maybe a couple of panoramas would be the right thing to show how it works. the back of the room is a bit messy still, that's the next stage of the project.

I sized the front corner bass traps to allow most of the curtain to tuck away, it doesn't quite go completely as I had planned/ hoped but it helps. I also cheated with the curtain hanging, the last few feet of the curtain hidden by the bass trap pulls straight so there is less curtain overall and a deeper fold for the visible part.

Anyway I didn't intend to derail this thread.
 

johntejada

Member
Looks proper! The curtains fold neatly. I had to look carefully to find them. Thanks for the information and photos as it helps for my setup.

Your screen looks low. When sitting on a sofa human eye level is 100-120cm above the ground. I read that eye level should align with the boundary line between the top two-thirds and bottom one-third of the screen. That makes the 110" 16:9 screen hang 55-75cm above the ground.

Is the screen comfortable for you this way?
Does the center speaker sound good being almost on the ground?

---

This is an exact model of my room. I'm fortunate to be able to plan the setup almost perfectly according to Dolby's standards for 5.1.4.

One thing worries me - aren't back in-ceiling speakers too close to the wall to cause some kind of unwanted sound reflections? The reason they are there because I'm following the adviced 125-150° angle from the MLP.
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AndreNewman

Active Member
Hi, glad the photos help, I'll try to post something that shows how the curtains look drawn after the weekend.

A few people think the screen is too low but the main sofa (not quite in pic) is quite low and we find the eye lines spot on for us. I considered moving the screen up a little to allow the projector to be tucked up against the ceiling but all the regular cinema goers here objected. Maybe it will be a problem when we replace the sofa but all the bass traps are self built so wouldn't be a drama to make the top one a bit smaller, move the screen up 100mm would be easy. My first four attempts at acoustic panels have been dismantled and parts reused already, so I'm experienced at recycling.

Center is great, many have commented how good it sounds, very important that it's angled up, flat on the floor sounded bad, rug is essential. Would be better higher, behind screen even but I haven't seen an acoustic transparent screen that didn't drive me nuts and we wanted the biggest possible screen in this room. We are going to replace the footstool with a larger fabric one some day, you can hear the difference moving it around, the leather sofa and chair are going too when funds permit.

I'm not very happy with the surround back speakers or top rear atmos, they have some bad effects from being in the corners, considering carefully how to treat the rear of the room acoustics to try and help that situation. This might be similar in your situation, that said most atmos is subtle and I've never felt it was offensive, well except for buggy Netflix atmos sending David Attenborough through top front right instead of center last night!

Left & Right suffer from being to close to the corners, vertical bass traps help considerably but if I was doing it again I think I'd get a slightly smaller screen and leave more space for the L&R. I'm only happy to listen to music since building the vertical traps, before it was painful.

If I could find an AT screen fabric I liked, I'd cover the whole front wall in 200mm deep rockwool and wall mount some sealed LCR speakers in cutouts behind the screen, in fact starting again I'd buy 11 identical speakers and pay more attention to the room acoustics and positioning than the speakers themselves. A friend in the US building a cinema room did that at my suggestion and his cheapo speakers sounded better than my expensive ones before I built the traps.
 

AndreNewman

Active Member
Ok, so here's a few curtains open & closed shots:

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The back of the room is next to deal with, projector shelf is a temporary one.

Hope it gives you some idea of how curtains might work, we only have a couple of small pieces of wall that are not covered when the curtains are drawn and none in the main angle of view when watching a movie. Yesterday my wife said "what would happen if we covered the ceiling in velvet too!
 

gibbsy

Moderator
what would happen if we covered the ceiling in velvet too
If serious you will have to use a fire retardant material. Loose material on the ceiling is one of the quickest ways to allow a rapid fire development. Got my old firefighter head on!
 

AndreNewman

Active Member
If serious you will have to use a fire retardant material. Loose material on the ceiling is one of the quickest ways to allow a rapid fire development. Got my old firefighter head on!

Good point, the velvet we have used for the bass traps has some fire retardancy and the insulation is supposedly non combustable (whatever that really means) with A1 Euroclass Reaction. There is a completely fire retardant grade of velvet available. I don't think we will do it but a good point to consider.
 

mb3195

Distinguished Member
If I could find an AT screen fabric I liked, I'd cover the whole front wall in 200mm deep rockwool and wall mount some sealed LCR speakers in cutouts behind the screen, in fact starting again I'd buy 11 identical speakers and pay more attention to the room acoustics and positioning than the speakers themselves. A friend in the US building a cinema room did that at my suggestion and his cheapo speakers sounded better than my expensive ones before I built the traps.

Seymour UF AT material is excellent, you cant see the weave once you are 1m away from the screen - I'm really picky about this sort of thing.

You'll find a noticeable improvement in sound clarity if you were to raise you centre speaker up and place it behind an AT screen.

I thought the same as you previously, I'd delayed getting an AT screen for years as I didn't think I'd a) think I would be able to live with the weave and b) make any difference to the sound quality.

I'm glad I finally caved in, it was one of the best upgrades I've made to my room. It also works well with my black velvet curtains, as the screen now goes completely wall to wall, giving the sense of a screen floating in space, with absolutely no reference point to the size of the room.

I think the OP should also consider this in your designs. It currently looks great, but an AT screen will add an extra wow factor.
 

AndreNewman

Active Member
One thing worries me - aren't back in-ceiling speakers too close to the wall to cause some kind of unwanted sound reflections? The reason they are there because I'm following the adviced 125-150° angle from the MLP.

I'd suggest moving the sofa forward, currently your head would be about 3/4 from the front wall, acoustically the best place in any room is 2/3 back (or 1/3 but that's too close). That move would also give you more room for the surround speakers, they seem like they would be right by your head currently. The atmos top rears could be brought forward a little which should help a great deal.

Otherwise/ also rear wall treatment would help, 4" bass traps on the rear wall would help, simulator shows a lot of mess between 50 & 70 Hz with your sub up front, 4 or 5" traps would reduce that. Otherwise try the sub behind one of the rear corners of the sofa that seems a better place.

If you move the sofa forward a little it's better for the sub up front.
 

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