Broke EF Home Theater build

Broke EF

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Dec 8, 2017
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The last of my build spamming for you guys, and boy is it a big one!!! This isn't technically a theater, more of a multimedia room, but only HT nerds make the distinction. This was one of the very first projects we did after moving into our house. It is pretty much done, but like all projects its never really done. I have a couple things I will be doing over winter depending on how the car is coming along.

So like my other threads, I will be pulling my post from another site. This one has the distinction of having been pulled from another site before as well. Hopefully its coherent, but if not just skim the pics :D I will say as I was pulling it together I saw that there were update posts that didn't have pics, but I only grabbed the ones that did. SO I guess a bit of info could be missing, but I can always link to the original threads if anyone wants.

It is finally time! I have been passionate about home theater for quite some time (about 15 or so years) but have never really be able to have a proper setup. Usually that was because of living in a small apartment, or some other similar living condition. Now that I finally have my own house, the gloves are off! I do not post on this forum very much, but I have been lurking for years. I actually started a build thread earlier on another site, so I am going to more or less copy and paste it here for now. Going forward though I will update both sites properly.

(Originally posted 11-30-2014)

I started to write a bit of a back story, but then deleted it. Nobody wants the boring details of how I got here! Suffice to say that I recently bought a house, and the down stairs area was fairly well suited for a home theater type space. It is not without its challenges, but since this is NOT a dedicated theater it should be more than good enough. The only piece of equipment that will be making it into this setup is my Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A2010 receiver which I got a couple of years ago now. I will probably use my Panasonic BR player temporarily, but will be replacing it with an OPPO sooner or later. Why don't we just do a basic gear list that sounds easier?

Main room (7.2 planned, wired for 7.2.4 with bi-amped fronts)
Receiver: Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A2010
Blu-Ray player: OPPO BDP-103
Amp: Emotiva XPA-7
Projector: BenQ W1070
Screen: Visual Apex 106" tab tensioned motorized
Front tower: EMPTek R55Ti
Center: EMPTek R56Ci
Side surround: EMPTek R55Wi
Back surround: EMPTek R5Bi
Subs: SVS PB-2000 (X2)
I also built a new HTPC (click for HTPC thread) and have a Silicone Dust HD Home Run Extend-2

The family room is also going to get a 5.1 set up eventually. For now I will be using my old Integra DTR 5.4 to run it all along with my Panasonic Blu-Ray player, and Canton speakers. Eventually I will change out everything and go with in-wall fronts and in-ceiling surrounds, and a small sub. This will also be the "Zone 3" from the main system. I am going to do Zone 3 as a preamp out into some input (probably AUX) on the receiver in the family room.

Last up is the garage and back yard. This will act as Zone 2, and I will hook it up the same way as the family room. I am using my trusty old Kenwood receiver, and my my Infinity Pimus 150 bookshelfs for now. When I re-do the garage I will probably change the receiver and the go to in-ceiling speakers with a small sealed sub. I am going to just hook up a pair of outdoor speakers to the "B" pair for the back yard for the rare occasion I need some music out there.

I am also doing a wired network thought the house, and redoing all of the cable and antenna RG-6 cable while I am at it.

Let’s get on to the pics, the reason everyone is here!!!

I started by ordering up 1,000ft of 12ga speaker wire, 1,000ft of CAT6, and 500ft of RG-6 to start out. I ended up getting another 500ft of RG-6 and 250ft of 12ga speaker wire. Here is a shot of the first order of wire and some connectors

After the wire came in I built my equipment rack, and got the closet ready to hold it. I punched, formed, and welded the shelves at my work using 18ga brushed stainless steel. I used 1/2" rod for the uprights and everything except the casters is stainless steel.

All finished!

Then came the gigabit switch, and patch panel in the rack style bracket. I have a shelf coming this week for the remaining spaces.

And then the pieces of the new HTPC. Too bad the case didn't fit the MB, and the one HD was dead on arrival. New parts should be here soon.

Then I got the 28" Samsung 720p LED, and made up a bracket to attach it to the rack. This will be used as a monitor for the HTPC as well as a display for the system for adjustments and watching TV in the office.

After that we started cutting holes to plan our routes, and see what we were dealing with. Lucky for us there were no real surprises. You will see the holes later, so no pics of holes in walls with no wires. We also fixed the antenna wiring from the roof into the attic and removed a metric shit ton of RG59 cable that was literally all over the house (inside and out). Years of various suppliers running cable badly led to a massive amount of junk wiring. NO MORE!

After we planned out the runs, I got to rough cut everything to length!

Broke EF

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This weekend we finally got to the good stuff, running wire!!! We had set up 3 separate pulls into the main room because of the amount of wire. We ended up splitting the room in half, so one run is

Front Left 1
Front Left 2
Sub Left
Sub Right
Front Right 1
Front Right 2
Front Atmos Left
Front Atmos Right

The second run is
Network 1 (projector)
Network 2 (projector)
Network 3 (left side wall)
Side Surround Left
Side Surround Right
Rear Atmos Left
Rear Atmos Right
Rear Surround Left
Rear Surround Right

The third run (not in yet)
HDMI 1 (projector
HDMI 2 (left side wall)


Before cleaning up

And after :)

Also, that one outlet is going to change to two, one at each sub. We have to see what the circuit is like, but will probably just pull a new one for them.

The rear section is only run down the middle, so excuse the messy looking wires back there.

And here is the closet side all together!

That is all for now! Not a lot to look at yet, but it is getting there. We should have the main room all pulled to final locations this weekend, and hopefully have all of the wire up to the attic as well. Then we need to distribute out to the rooms for Antenna, Cable, and Network.

I have to take a second and point out that I am doing all of this by really mostly watching my buddy Chris do it all :) He is a union electrician who is very patient with all of my demands. We have worked on a ton of various projects over the years, but this is the biggest one I can remember where I just try and stay out of the way. So far he is being a good sport, but we aint done yet! Then again he wants it done quickly (as quick as my OCD will let us) so we can get back to working on his car (X275 turbo LS Trans AM). At least then I feel like I am contributing because the roles get reversed on the car since I can weld.

Broke EF

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(Originally posted 1-4-2015)

It is FINALLY update time!!! YAY!!!!!!!!! As you could imagine, with the holidays it’s been pretty busy so work was a bit slow. But progress was made regardless, and I finally was able to get some pics to post up and show you what we have been up to.

So since the last update we have gotten (almost) all of the wire run to the main areas. That is to say we have the upstairs wire pulled into the attic, and temporarily terminated an antenna cable so I can hook up my HD HomeRun in the basement. The TV's in the bedrooms are hung, but we have not bothered to run the wiring to them, or move the outlets yet. This may be we we do this coming weekend, or if not then, very soon.

Now I think I will take the lazy way out, and move to mostly pics

Here you can see my wife sealing me into the basement before I rip down the ceiling. There were a few reasons to pull down the entire ceiling, mostly that it was installed like crap. They had glued and nailed it mostly so it was VERY wavy. The can lights were also "installed" poorly to put it nicely. Also we needed quite a bit of the ceiling removed to do the planned electrical work. SO I decided to just take it all down.[FONT=&quot][/FONT]

I sealed off the other rooms, and the return vent, though that last one was pointless since it used the drywall to make the channel.[FONT=&quot][/FONT]

And ALL GONE! I didn't get any pictures after I pulled it down until days later after we did a bunch more work AND cleaned everything. Still, I think you get the point.

Here you can see the box for the power to the projector, and two of the 3 boxes for pendants over the bar. We also segmented the lighting, so the cans are 3 zones, and the pendants are separate from the cans. More on all of that later on once I get some of the lighting gear.[FONT=&quot][/FONT]

Here is the last pendant box

The main trunk of wire coming into the room. It is still missing a USB extension, but again you get the point.[FONT=&quot][/FONT]

New box going from a single switch to 4 for the lighting. They are all temped together so that switch turns it all on for now.[FONT=&quot][/FONT]

New cable from outside. No more cable wrapping around the house for no reason. Goes straight to the main equipment close from the junction box on the side of the house.[FONT=&quot][/FONT]

Not very exciting, but added a switch for the closet light (but have not changed out the light yet)

Here you can see where we added two new dedicated 20A circuits. We aslo changed out the sump pump outlet to the proper simplex outlet.

Here you can see the second outlet that we added higher up for the network gear.

A better shot of the two main trunks of cable coming into the closet (and the trunk that goes to the left that goes up to the attic). The bundle on the left is all of the speaker cable for the main room, and the one on the right is most of the network cables. The piece of drywall is temporary spacing.

Here are most of the I/O connections for other areas of the house (except the subs of course)

Last up is a shot of the front wall showing the two new outlets for the subs which are on a dedicated 20A circuit.

We still have a bit more wiring to run, mainly the stuff in the office. We also still need to add an outlet for the screen in the front of the room. I think this upcoming weekend we will take it easy and trim out all of the TV's :)
That means adding an outlet, bringing in/terminating the Antenna, Cable, and two CAT 6 network connections at each location. We need to do that in 3 spots, and more or less the same in a fourth spot in the family room which has the addition of the RCA connections for the Zone input.

Speaking of the family room, I am being pressured into changing my plans from a receiver in the room with in wall/in ceiling 5.1 to going with a sound bar. Obviously this would not be the room to watch movies in, but it is where we do most of our daily TV watching. What does everyone think?

OK, that is all I have for now. Let me know what you all think of the progress so far! Stay tuned for more updates soon!

Broke EF

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It is finally time for an update! It's not as much of an update as I would like, but that's how it goes sometimes. As it stands right now 99% of the wiring is pulled where it needs to go. There is still some networking and an HDMI cable that need to be finished in the office, but it is already pulled out to the main room. We still need to do the wiring at the TV's, and add 1 more outlet for the screen in the main room. Hopefully my buddy can get over by my place to knock that stuff out soon. Should only be a days worth of work to get it all finished up. Then I can spend a day or two terminating and checking everything.

Anyway, enough about whats left lets see what is done....DRYWALL!!!

First piece in!

Front wall all done. Still need to do the low voltage rings for all of the speaker and sub connections

Not very exciting, but here is where we pulled the new cable connection into the house.

Now we can do a bit of before and after

Switch box at the bottom of the stairs

Access hole outside of the main equipment closet

Ceiling area in main closet

Here is the panel before I installed it

And done!

The back wall of the closet. I cut out more than was needed to replace damaged drywall

And last up, the right side wall of the closet

I had a couple other small patches, but I figured this is enough boring stuff for one post. I know drywall work is not very exciting, MESSY, but not very exciting. I am glad to have it at least this much done now. I am probably going to outsource the ceiling, and all of the mudding. I am going to call around and see what that would cost, and make a decision from there.

I should be getting some of the materials to finish up ceiling this weekend as well. Nothing too exciting there, just some flex duct and insulation. As I said I am mostly waiting on my buddy to come finish up that last bit of electrical work so I can close everything up.

Well its been a while, so I may as well update :) Unfortunately not a whole lot has happened, but I am almost to the point where it will start going quick again. I got my buddy to come over last weekend to knock out some of the electrical, but nothing in the main room. We did however come up with the game plan for the last couple of things.

As you can see, three of the walls (rear, left, and front) all have a bit of a ledge where there is a concrete wall below grade. I decided to get rid of that ledge on the back wall since it was only about 3" wide anyway. Also that will allow me to route the wiring to rear speakers much better as the existing wall was directly under the joist. I also decided to add a sub connection in the left rear corner of the wall so I can have the two subs in opposite corners. Since we already added the two outlets on their own circuit for the subs on the front wall, we will just carry that over to a new outlet in the back corner. That does mean opening up the wall to run the piping and also the sub coax cable.

Lets get to the pics :)

First up, I decided to layout the proposed dimensions for the bar. The wife thought it would be way to big, but when I taped it out she liked it. We also put some boxes on the outer corner for a few weeks to get an idea of having to walk around it, and there was no issues.

Next up was the demo (again)! I really hope this is the end of tearing stuff down!

Back wall all opened up

And the side wall

I ended up removing that piece of drywall between the column and the bar. I still need to cut out a little bit more for the bar and the rear wall. I was always going to run some wiring to the bar, so some of this mess was always planned. Now we need to decide what we want to do with that ledge on the remaining two walls. We are thinking of some kind of stone or tile, either of which will mean pulling off the drywall :(

I should start building the rear wall and the bar next weekend. I did not have time to go get wood this weekend since I have to travel for work. I need to pull the wire for the rear sub, and we still need to run the outlet for the screen and then everything can get closed up!!!

The time for progress is upon us! I will just go right for the pictures.

I decided to start by building the base for the bar which meant I needed to cut out the floor

We are going to replace the flooring down here, but for now no need to rip it all out.

Next up came the walls!

You can see here that I actually built a 2x3 wall on the left side as well. The top is 3/4" plywood which is just part of the base for now.

Next up came building out the back wall. This turned out to be more work than I had planned. I started by adding in some 2x6 pieces between the joist above where the new wall would be. I decided to use joist hangers on the back side rather than running screws through on an angle. I put 6 up, all nice like and then built the wall.

Then when I went to install my beautiful new wall I realized that not only does it hit the bottoms of the joist hangers but even if it didn't the hangers were directly above the header which means I couldn't actually use the new stringers to attach the top of the wall. So out came all of the nice work I did with the stringers and the hangers. It's not that big of a deal, I will just tie the new wall to the old wall. It was getting pretty late though, so that will have to wait for later in the week.

While I was working on that, my buddy was busy running some wire around. We got the outlet installed and wire pulled for the screen, set the box and some of the piping for the new outlet in the back corner for the sub, started running pipe for the outlet in the bar. He also ran some of the low voltage wiring down the outside wall. We also tried to run the networking and HDMI to my office but had some trouble. More on that when we come up with a solution.

Thats all for now. Screen and projector will be here this week so I can check if I need to any blocking for mounting before closing up the ceiling. I am super excited to have some actual progress going on.

Broke EF

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My projector came in yesterday!!! I just missed the Fed Ex man, so it was either wait a day or drive over there and pick it up....

I actually wasn't even going to open it yet. The wife came home and said she was surprised I hadn't opened it, so I said "OK, Ill check it out". After a precariously resting it on a shaky stack of tool cases, I decided to put it on something a bit more stable. Once I did, I hooked up the long HDMI from the closet (may as well test it while I am playing right) and hooked it up to the server since that is the only source I have in there. I fired up some Interstellar in HD onto my green painted wall :)

The image is a bit larger than what my screen will be, but the projector is also placed back from where it will be mounted. I think (hope) that the math came out correct. The screen should be here Friday but I am not sure I will be able to hang it to test any further this weekend. Anyway, I was excited about the projector, so there it is :)

UPDATE TIME!!! I am finally starting to feel like I am getting close to closing everything off. Still quite a lot of work left to do, but made some good progress this weekend. On to the pics!

Well I stared out by figuring out that my original plan for the screen location wasn't going to work out. It was a situation where I had drawn up the best case scenario, and the discovered a problem. No big deal, just needed to come forward into the room a little bit. I put up 2x6" pieces between the joist on both sides. I have them spaced so the mounts will hit center which means I have plenty of movement all around if anything ever changes. In this pic you can also see that I started wrapping the duct work with some insulation, and also got the wires (5 CAT6, and HDMI) for the office run down the front wall. Last up you can see the new outlet box for the screen.

Better shot of the wiring snaking around everything

After that was done I put up some supports for the rear speakers and ran the wire through.

Surround back right

Surround back left

Next up I tackled the right side surround speaker location. As you know, this is the one that has been causing me some concern as it is going into the air return for my HVAC. Started by knocking a hole in the wall so I could see what I was working with.

I knew I wanted to do a 2x4 across two studs to have plenty of area to mount the speakers, so I stared with that. Then I basically just boxed it out with 2x3's. I built all of this outside of the wall so I could attach everything nice and secure. Then I put some silicone caulk on the back side and attached a piece of drywall so that it was sealed off from the duct. You can see I brought the speaker wire in from a different joist bay since I had already sealed up the one right above the speaker. Where the speaker wire comes into the return duct, and also into the box I built are sealed with silicone. I ran out, but I still need to run a bead on that right edge between the drywall and the stud. I will also run a bead on the face when I put up the drywall. I am sure it is WAY overkill, but now I have space for the terminals to go into the wall without compromising my return air.

After that, I went right to the same location on the left side wall. For some reason I expected this one to be easy! Turns out (as would make sense) that there is a big header over the window. Since I wanted the speaker to sit flat with no wire showing I decided to build out a box. Essentially its the same thing as the other side, juts not hidden completely hidden behind the drywall.

While I was over there I ran the HDMI and the CAT6 for the bar as well.

Then I added some blocking for the projector to mount to. Again, since I am not 100% sure where it is going to mount (and for some future coverage) I went with two 2x6's side by side at the center of the room.

Once that was done I was somehow able to get the wife to come down and help with the clean up! It was pretty bad, but with both of us working on it together it went pretty quick. Here are a couple shots after that was done.

I also grabbed a shot of the start of the power going into the bar.

And the new outlet box for the rear sub location

OK, that is all for now! Still a lot of work ahead, but getting VERY close to being able to put drywall back up!!! I think the plan is to finish the electrical, insulate, drywall. Once that is done I will hang the screen and projector. Then its bar top, the wood on the ledge, and flooring. I am also hoping to order up some equipment this week, not sure if I am getting subs first or a bunch of smaller things yet. It all needs to get ordered, but just not sure which I should do first.

Small update time! I couldn't let the entire weekend go to waste, so I got off my ass and did a little bit yesterday. I started off by running to the Home Teapot and got some R30 pink fluffy stuff to fill up my back wall. Insulating walls is SO MUCH BETTER! It took me longer to get myself changed and all set up than it actually took to fill the wall with insulation. Too bad I have so many wires, and pipes in my ceiling so I pretty much have to do multiple layers.

Anyway, here is the back wall all stuffed

First piece of drywall up!

And done!

I then patched up my right side surround location, which if you remember is my return air duct.

I was a little off with my lower measurement for some reason. Not bad enough to remake the piece though, so it's staying. I applied some silicone around the wood frame, and between the piece and the sheet metal. Seems perfect, no air being pulled though the trim ring, and plenty of air being pulled through the vent at the bottom of the wall!

After that was done I cut the plywood top for the bar. I will update with that later since that is pretty much its own project.

I was able to borrow a rotary laser today, so now I can see how bad the ceiling really is. I would really like to get the channel all installed and leveled off this week so that I can drywall over the weekend. Then next week I can focus on getting the bar ready to pour the following weekend. I have a fair amount of work ahead of me, but I think I can pull it off!

Broke EF

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Another weekend and more progress! Today we are going to look back at that time I decided I needed a bar in my theater.

So we have all seen the basic frame built and in place, that means we can jump into everything else. I started by putting up drywall on the surfaces I don't need open anymore.

Once that was done I started to build up my temporary support.

Then came the concrete board base. I used a very rigid fiber reinforced product that was impossible to cut! I ended up cutting the end with my circular saw... inside... That didn't go well, the wife was kind of upset :) Anyway, here it is all installed.

The concrete board was held in place with some silicone, and then I installed the outside forms.

Next up was the fiber mesh, which was held in place with clips that are screwed down to the concrete board. Simple system that holds it in the perfect location while you pour. No worries about it being pushed to the bottom, or floating to the top!

Now we were ready to pour. I didn't get any pics of this process since I was busy, but its pretty straight forward. I used an additive and coloring from, so I mixed one bag of additive, 3 scoops of color (charcoal), and 2 quarts of water in a bucket. Then add in a 60lb bag of sand/topping mix and a bit more water, once that was mixed we split it into two buckets to make it easier to carry and pour.

After running to get more concrete (more on that in a sec) everything was poured and being floated by my uncle.

Starting to hard trowel it

So this is where it gets interesting. As I mentioned I was using an additive for the mix, and I had calculated it multiple times, and for larger sizes than what I poured, and always came up with needing 5 bags of concrete. The additive is one bag per one bag of concrete. After going through all 5, we were just a little short. We all thought, no big deal I will go and get more. We still had plenty of the color additive, and the concrete was easy to get, we can just mix up that last little bit without the additive and keep on truckin! Turns out that the additive was much more than just acrylic fibers, and there was a drastic difference in how it poured, and more importantly how it finished.

Here is an area that was mixed with everything as planned, the finish was (is) BEAUTIFUL!

Just a couple inches to the side, you can see the little bit without the additive

We were able to work it a little bit more than that, and it dried better as well. It still needs to be fixed though, and I am concerned more with how well it filled the profile. I ordered up the material I need to fix it today after talking with the company a bit. I am fairly confident that I can patch it up and make everything look nice with some time.

I am glad to get that project at least mostly done. I really cant wait to get the ceiling closed off, which is coming up next!

Well, I guess it may as well be update time :)

Not really a whole lot to report I guess. I worked on getting the resilient channel up last weekend, and got almost all of it done. I started by getting myself a nice self leveling Bosh laser, and hanging it up in the corner.

I found my low spot from there, and then adjusted the laser down 1/2" (the height of the channel) so now I had a nice line across the whole room to aim for. Since I was doing this by my self, I had to come up with a way to hold them up by the ceiling while I worked on leveling everything at the joist. I decided that my best option would be to attach them in the middle, and work out from there each direction. So I found my center joist, and marked it. Then I measured down from there to the beam so I could get the spacing close. Most of the points were 1/2" off from the low point, so I was able to use two pieces of 1/4" thick lath that I had bought on impulse. That made things a million times easier since I could put up one or two of those to fill most of the gap, and then shim just a little bit if I needed to. Once I had the appropriate amount of lath in place I would attach the channel with one loose screw and move out one joist. I would more or less repeat the first step, but after the first piece was in (against the wall) I would measure center to center on both joist to make sure I was square. Then I just had to shim a bit (usually) and run the screws in, and go to the next spot. It was time consuming since every point needed something, whether it was one or two pieces of lath, and/or some shims as well. I tried to take my time on this part since I know it will pay off 10 fold when I go to hang up the drywall.

I was able to get all of the full length pieces installed, and started on the short pieces in the back area. I had more trouble there because of how I was trying to do it. I only got a few pieces up and they were not right, so I stopped for the weekend. Here is how it looked the end of Saturday, before I finished up the full length pieces on Sunday.

I still need to finish up the back of the ceiling, and then put up the insulation. I want to get all of that done this weekend/next week so that I can hang drywall the following weekend. I also need to patch the bar, sand it, stain it (I want it darker) and seal it. The bar will be a separate post when I get more done with it, but it looks awesome!! I took the molds off last week, and was VERY happy with how they came out.

That's all I got for now. I am glad I decided to take the time and level off the ceiling after seeing just how bad it was. It wasn't very expensive to do, and I think the end result will justify the time spent.

More work done! Ill keep it short and get to the pics

Couple detail shots of the grid going up

Notice no shims or spacers. AKA the low point

And here you can see 4 spacers for a full inch of adjustment!

Grid done, and insulation 95% done!

I also removed the supports from under the bar, and it didn't collapse (yet), so that's good :)

This week I am going to finish that last bit of insulation, install the other speedi-boot, and all of the mud rings. Then I should be ready for drywall (FINALLY) next weekend.

Thank you! I believe you are looking at the sump pump cover. I am planning on building a box to cover that up a little later.

So I finally have a ceiling again!!!! I'm glad I took the time when putting up the channel the last couple of weeks, it made putting up the drywall go nice and smooth. Friday I put up the last speediboot, and generally just got everything ready. Saturday morning I went and picked up the drywall lift, and my in-laws came by to help us out. My father in law and I got the ceiling all up in a few hours while the wife and her Mom decorated the house for Halloween.

Well it is just a ceiling, so here are the pics of it all done.

Looking at the screen wall

Looking at the back

This place is a damn mess though!

Well that is all for now. I need to finish up the walls, and then start the massive project of mudding and taping everything. I am not looking forward to it, but it will be nice when its finally done.

So I decided I wanted to get something done on the basement today. I figured why not get the screen up?!

So I did!

Then, why not set the projector up on a ladder?!

So I did!

That's all for now since I am going to have to take it back down to mud and tape. It was cool seeing it for the first time though, and put a big smile on my face :)

Broke EF

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Well it has been quite a while since I had an update for you guys. Lets just say its been a whole lot of back and forth as far as progress is concerned. I will try and keep this as short as possible which is not something I am known for :) Lets just get straight to the pictures!

Starting with not very exciting stuff, I finally got the wiring for the office run though the wall. I still haven't cut these in, but at least they are in the wall now. This is five CAT6 and one HDMI that just go to the main equipment closet. The HDMI is just there in case I want to display my main computer on the screen, or use one of my monitors to display the server/HTPC. Really, I have no specific use for it, but its there :) The CAT6 is so that I can transfer files between my main computer and my server/HTPC quicker and easier. I need to get new network cards for both before I can take advantage of that.

Next up was cutting in the low voltage rings along the front wall. After I ran a screw so far into my finger that I needed to use the drill to take it back out, it all went very smoothly. That is until I realized that my spacing was not going to work out! Since this project has been going on since the dawn of time, I totally forgot that the studs on the left side were directly under two of my planned locations. My OCD was having none of that, so I took down that drywall and am planning on redoing it with the same spacing on both sides. Here it was when things were good though.

Then came some simple drywall on the side wall. You can see here the "box" I built to mount the surround to. This actually worked out really well as you will see later.

I got the rest of my Insteon switches installed and at least partly programmed.

I kept working my way around the room, and got to work on installing the brackets for the surround backs. Turns out I only had one though so here it is in all its glory!

This is when things started to slip back downhill. I was on a roll knocking out these little punch list items so I decided to keep it moving and jump on the projector. I am using a Chief mount which uses NPT piping to attach it to the ceiling. After finding a pipe flange that is made in the USA I machined the surfaces for no particular reason :)

I did also drill out the holes after these pics for those of you who may be wondering.

I started out by getting the screen positioned properly first, then worked on getting the projector positioned based on the screen. That was a little tricky, but I thought I had it figured out. I marked up the holes and drilled then with a small bit to start. That was when I realized that I was not hitting anything other than drywall!!! I had installed wood between the joist in the area that the projector was going, and after checking my old pics and taking some measurements I determined I must be just outside the wood. So down came the piece of drywall so I could see what was going on. This piece was cut a bit off anyway so I wasn't too upset I needed to take it down.

Sure enough I had just missed the wood with two of the screws, and the other two were further out :( I also found out that I would need to remove the piece of drywall closer to the screen in order to fix this little debacle. As it turned out this was a bit of a blessing in disguise. I decided to switch to some DIY subs somewhere around this time, but I had no speaker wire connections in the back of the room. With that drywall down I would be able to pull the needed wires to do everything properly. Once I got to this point I shifted my focus back to the bar top debacle. I will stick with my theme of keeping that whole project for a separate post. What it means for this update is that I couldn't do anything down there for a few weeks.

Once that was all over (not really, but I needed to move on) I received my EMP Tek E55Wi speakers that I ordered during the black Friday/cyber Monday sale! I was pretty pumped to finally get some gear for this project, so of course I got them mounted up right away :)

Here you can see how perfect the "box" I built for the left surround worked out. If you don't remember there was a header over the window (obviously) so I built a box out of 2x3's to hold the speaker out a little bit. This allowed me to have some extra speaker wire behind the speaker just in case, and also allowed the speaker to sit flat with banana plugs installed.

On the right hand side I did pretty much the same thing except that it was all behind the drywall. I had to do this on this side because the speaker was being mounted on the return air duct for the basement. I am sure it was overkill (you can see the pics of this work elsewhere in here) but I didn't want any leaks and I wanted the speaker to sit flat. Mission accomplished!

We are finally caught up to this past weekend (December 19-20) where I finally closed off the ceiling again. Not very exciting, but I started by taking down (carefully this time) the forward piece of drywall.

I then started to get everything ready to pull the new wire. I was going to use the existing RG-6 to pull back two pairs of 12 gauge speaker wire and two RG-59 coax cables. I meant to get RG-6 of course, but accidentally bought RG-59. I was not feeling well as it was Saturday when I figured this out, but it was much more flexible (and thinner), and from what I could tell should work fine if I ever actually need it which is VERY unlikely. So after much debate, I stuck with the RG-59 for the two rear sub connections. It turned out to be a NIGHTMARE to pull the wire! I had done this once before already (changing the wiring), but I spent hours trying to get this going to no avail. Eventually I folded and took down even more drywall.

I immediately saw my problem (no pic) and felt like an idiot. I had put a bridle ring close to the end of the joist, so the wire had to come through the header and make two immediate bends to both come down the joist bay and make it though the bridle ring. Not sure how I forgot that, but it was really easy once I had it all exposed. After I got the wire pulled though to the other room (still need to fish it around to its final location) I put up the extra wood I needed around the projector, and then put up the drywall I took down. All of this was over the bar, so not very easy to get to with the lift. The two pieces I kept were not TOO bad to get back into place (with a few new screws for good measure), but the piece I had to remake was a bear to get put in. I had to straddle the end of the bar with the lift, and have the sheet hang way past center to reach into position. Couple that with the fact I was fighting butt joints on all 4 sides at once, it was a real blast. All's well that ends well though, and I never even got charged for the lift rental so I can't complain too much.

Yesterday I was a bit motivated after work and decided to get the projector mounted up. I am sure I way over thought this whole process, but I took about a million measurements to make sure I had it positioned perfectly. Would you believe that after ALL OF THAT, the mount ended up landing squarely on the wood that I had originally put up! The first time I went to install the projector mount I measured a bunch, but I still wasn't positive that I had it right. That was why I spent about an hour with lasers, a tape, checking and double checking and it was well off from the first time. Oh well I guess, at least I know I have room to move the mount if I change the projector, and I was able to add that extra wire. Here are some pics of the projector all mounted up (that nipple was just one I had laying around), and some images after a quick adjustment.

Just a little off, but again I didn't spend much time since it will move quite a bit when I finish everything.

I put on a BD rip of Gravity just to see what it looked like and it was amazing! For being a budget projector and screen I was happy with the image!

Blacks even looked pretty good to me. Keep in mind all of these are ****ty cell phone pics

OK, that is probably enough for now :) I can't believe it, we are finally all caught up! We are really hoping to get this project wrapped up pretty quickly after the holidays. My buddy is coming by on the 8th to finish the last of the electrical, and then I can finish the last of the drywall. Then we are gonna get some quotes to get it all mudded and taped, then some paint. I am hoping to order the rest of the speakers, and possibly the subs in the next couple of weeks. There is still quite a lot to do, and quite a bit of money to be spent, but the end is in sight now! Hopefully there is far less backwards progress than there has been lately and we can start enjoying the finished product.

Thanks for following along, and sorry if this was a bit long winded.

Broke EF

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Just a quick little update. I was able to close off the front wall for the last time, and cut in all of the low voltage rings. I don't have a pic of this, but you can see it later more or less. The wife and decided to stay in for New Years, so I thought why not throw together the basement for a movie! I started out by getting some tools so I could hook up a sub I have laying around

Turns out that the sub which I have brought back from the dead once before decided to die once again. I am just saying that my basement demands proper bass :) Anyway after messing with that for a while I finally gave up and set up my Canton's down stairs, and the EMP Tek's as the surrounds. I had to cut and terminate all of the connections since this is the first time I have tested any of these wires! Once I did that and hooked up my old Panasonic BD player, I was rewarded with this for the first time in my life :D:D:D

Here is a shot of the front sound stage in all its glory

Since this was clearly a super temporary set up, I didn't want to watch a big blockbuster action movie so we just watched Pitch Perfect 2 which I had bought my wife for Christmas. The wife commented on how great it looked, and how good it sounded. I had to agree that for just a thrown together set up that was barely level matched it was pretty good. After that was over and we rang in the new year, I threw on Gravity to give it a bit more of a work out.

As good as it sounded, I know it will be SO MUCH BETTER when I have subs and have killed some of the reflections. I really cant wait for it to be done!

OK enough gushing. We should be finishing up the last little electrical next weekend, and possibly the last of the drywall. Then I can start to get some quotes on finishing the drywall (mud and tape), then paint and carpet. Stay tuned!

The electrical is finally done!!!! My buddy was able to come by over the weekend and finish up the last of the electrical, and then I got the last of the drywall up. On to the pics!

So this is behind the bar (as you can see). Starting from the left you have two RG-59 runs (bought RG-59 on accident) for subs. Then the outlet which is on a new 20A circuit (for subs mostly). Under the bar at the top you have an HDMI and CAT 6, an outlet next to that on the same 20A circuit, and the old existing outlet down below.

In the bar we have an outlet on the front side for seating, and an outlet up high on the inside for possible lighting in the future. Both of these are also on the new 20A circuit.

Stuffed with the last of my insulation. Hopefully it helps some as a bass trap, who knows.

Drywall in! This will get a different finish, but I decided to back it with drywall.

Lastly, closed up in front of the bar

I have a guy coming out tomorrow to get an estimate on mudding and taping everything. Hopefully that comes back reasonable and we can jump on that soon. In the meantime this little guy was delivered today :)

You know its good when it comes in a pouch


I couldn't resist opening it up

Really bad pic, but the transformer is HUGE!!!

BIG caps!

I am actually going to really take some pics of the amp one of these days. The cell phone pics aren't cutting it! Well that is all I got for now, thanks as always for following along :)

So time for an update while I am here. The wife is out of town this week, so I decided to pull the trigger on having some work done. This is all a surprise for the wife, so I had to move like a ninja to get everything pulled together. The hardest was getting the room prepped (taking things down) without raising suspicion. I am pretty sure I was successful despite a couple close calls along the way. Since I had to drop her off at the airport at 4AM on Monday, work was able to start yesterday. I was beat when I got home, so I only took a couple pics. I have to admit, I am glad I am having it done after seeing how much work it is!

Today it was looking REALLY good! He is also doing some repairs in some other areas of the house, which he got to today.

I am having the same guy paint everything once he is done as well. Saturday I should be FINALLY fixing the bar once and for all! I have to say it is pretty awesome to come home to progress everyday :) I will spare you guys day three of mud and tape, and save it until I have paint on the walls.

Broke EF

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We are still on schedule to make the surprise happen. She isn't back until Sunday, and I think he will be almost 100% today probably. I know I said I wouldn't post up day three drywall work, but I am going to :) When I came home there was plastic over the basement entrance, but my curiosity got to me. Since I am able to turn the lights on with my phone (Insteon), I did, and then poked my camera past the edge of the plastic.

It is looking GREAT in my humble opinion! I wish I could have gone darker with the paint, but this was a color that we already were using in the family room. The wall to the right goes into both spaces, so we just carried the same color downstairs. The ceiling is the same color as well, but with a flat finish. I think it will look even better once I get the carpet done which should darken the space up some.

OK so paint looks to be Sherwin Williams Cashmere 7018 Dovetail

The room is about 11' wide, 22' long, and 8' ceilings. The dimensions change slightly since there is a ledge around the room about 41" off the floor. If you want anything more precise just let me know.

Last night I got the screen and projector mounted up and adjusted

I ordered up a better length power cord today, which should look much nicer. I also installed a new front entry light (part of the surprise), and started moving things back.

Today I was going to install a whole house humidifier (part of the surprise), but there ended up being too much in the way like the AC line, power, gas, etc. It is doable, but it will be a big project so I need to decide if its worth it or just get a couple room humidifiers. I started getting the gear in the rack and hooked up real fast so my brother in law can get an idea of what its going to be like.

Speakers are set up as well, but that will all be getting finished in a little bit after I eat. I am going to start final terminating the wires until later when my Uncle comes by to finish the bar. After the bar I will probably start cleaning the house which is a mess of drywall dust. More pics later today!

Got my internet back up with time to spare!

So I got a lot of the wiring trimmed to length and labels put on. Most of the speaker wire is final terminated and labeled in the closet. The CAT6 is almost all cut to length and the labels are on the wire, but not shrunk down yet. Here are the pics of my crazy overkill OCD speaker terminal wiring.

I am using the cheap Nakamichi banana plugs. I decided to shrink tube over the inside part to make extra sure the set screws don't back out, and also to act as a bit of a strain relief.

Then I put the outer pieces on, which were a bit tight with the shrink tubing underneath. I used pliers to hold the center part of the plug since the expanded banana piece can spin freely. When I do them by hand (without the shrink tubing) they are never really tight and just spin if you look at them funny. So besides tightening them better, and the shrink tubing adding some grip, I put more shrink tubing over the outside of them

Then you know what I did? That's right, MORE SHRINK TUBING!!!! This was just a piece to make it a little nicer between the outer jacket and the leads. Really pretty useless, but why the hell not. I also used shrink tubing labels because, again, I am crazy!

Here is a bunch of them together. I think I did maybe one more after this? I know I don't have the labels for the subs, or the front left and right. I will have to make up the labels and finish those during the week. The sub cables I will do later when I get the amp just in case I need more or less length.

After that I worked on getting my internet back up so I could post this crappy update :)

The HD Homerun is not secured down (ran out of velcro) and is also not hooked up yet. I will end up cleaning up the wiring a bit too, but its OK for now. I need to get a power strip for all of that stuff, and will probably get one that I can switch each outlet for resetting things.

The bar may also be almost done now! I am going to have to sand it a little once it cures for a while, but I think I am in the home stretch there (FINALLY!!) I even started to clean a little, but that will be the entirety of my day tomorrow before I pick up the wife in the afternoon. Probably will be what I am doing after that as well :) That's all for now, its after midnight (was before midnight when I started this post), so I am going to bed.

It is still a damn mess in that closet! Actually that whole room is a disaster area. I will be working on that throughout the week though so no worries :) You do see Atmos in there, but only two. I had originally ran 4, but later took two out (rears) because the seemed like they would be way too close to the surround backs. I wont be adding Atmos any time soon though, but its nice to have the option ready to go.

So no pics before the pickup, because I am already back. I have been cleaning the house since I woke up, right up until I left. I either underestimated how much work that was, or over did the cleaning itself. I didn't end up getting everything done that I wanted to, but I got a good 90% of it.

Anyway, she is home now and she loves it! She was a bit subdued at the initial reveal but she came around after a bit. There was some worry about the money at first, some shock, and some extreme tiredness going on. Now that we have been home for a bit she is taking it all in and is super happy that its done. It has been fun revealing who knew my plan, and when they knew it too!

So nothing really changed today since I was just cleaning the whole house. Here are a couple shots of the main room after I cleaned it up some.

That's all I got for now. What a crazy couple of days, but LOTS of progress so its all good! I am happy I can start to do the finish work. Since the room is not really usable I can really take my time on the terminations and cable management. Thank for following along, and for keeping me motivated :)

So little bit of an update from yesterday. The wife has a really bad cold, and is not reacting well to the steroids (very light headed, dizzy, etc.) so I am still taking care of her, but I was able to work on some wiring none the less.

First up is a shot of one of the front wall plates with the speaker wire terminated on it. I did this a last weekend maybe, or maybe it was last week. Regardless, here it is now :)

Next up, here is what I started with yesterday

I have never done ANY networking wiring before, so I started off a bit slow. I first came up with how I was going to lay them all out on the panel, and then just dove in. Here is the first one done

Repeat that 17 more times, and

I am pretty proud that I only punched one wire wrong, and caught it before I did the one next to it. I was able to take it out and punch it down in the right location no problem.

Then I put the panel back, put in the switch, and hooked up the patch cables.

I am missing one of my patch cables, but its not a big deal. I still need to connect the router to the panel, and a few other things, but for the most part this side is done. I did also punch down one of the connections on the other side and tested it with perfect results, that was pretty sweet!

After that I worked a little on the cable/antenna wiring. Nothing very exciting about RG-6 wiring, but here it is.

As you can see I still need to route the power cables for all of the networking gear. I have the power strip which came in yesterday, so maybe I can get that mounted today. I am not really sure how much I will get done today as I have some other stuff to take care of, and of course that football game later on :) I did also take pics of this work with my actual camera, but I was too lazy to go get it and pull off the pics before posting. I will probably show those when I have the closet completed.

Broke EF

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I dont know how you missed it either (I think you have posted in here), but I am glad you found it again! The bar is FINALLY starting to look OK, but I still have more to go. I am still planning a separate post to explain the never ending saga that is the bar top. Hopefully I can do that soon, because that would mean its finally done :)

So I got some work done yesterday, nothing really exciting. I wish I was able to get more done, but I was busy with a bunch of other stuff yesterday too. I started off by terminating the two rear sub cables. I had to identify which was which because I was not able to label them before I pulled them. I had that tester from my IT guy though, so that was pretty straight forward. Terminating coax is easy, but a pain in the ass at the same time! I am not sure if it is the specific connectors I got, or I am doing something wrong but I have a blister on my hand from twisting and pushing all of them down onto the cable. The good news is that I don't NEED to make any more for a while. I still have to make the various cables for the antenna distribution (HD Home run, receiver, TV), but those can all wait.

After that I wrapped up the HDMI and the CAT6 by the bar, for no particular reason. I had terminated the CAT6 on Saturday so I guess it made sense to finish the HDMI. I don't have any pictures of it though, but I had to use an adapter to turn the cable behind the plate, and I shrunk tubed the connections on the HDMI to make sure it doesn't come unplugged. I was happy to see that the HDMI worked no problem when I plugged my laptop into it. That was nice to see since I used a cheap HDMI cable (10') from the laptop to the wall plate, then the angle adapter, then a 35' cheap monoprice cable, another adapter, wall plate, then my nice 30' Bluejeans cable to the projector. That is a decent amount of failure points, and some LONG runs for HDMI, but it seemed fine for what I wanted it to do.

Somewhere in the middle of that I actually also wrapped up and closed off the wall plates in the closet.

So going top down that is

Zone 2 (Garage) left and right
Zone 3 (Family Room) left and right

Sub (Front) left and right
Sub (Rear) left and right

HDMI (Office/Main computer)
HDMI (Bar)

The USB is run to the projector just so I can plug in the receiver for the keyboard to run the HTPC/Server computer. It reaches that far, but gets a little spotty so why not put it right above me. The eagle eyed among you will notice that I am missing the HDMI out to the projector in that list. That comes through the pipe in the ceiling with the speaker cables. I have no plates on that cable, it is directly plugged into the receiver and the projector to be extra sure I have no degradation of the signal. I am sure that is overkill, but I am OK with that :) Also, I am not sure if I had mentioned it previously but the drywall guy is coming back to clean up the closet more. I think he was trying to wrap it all up by Friday, and rushed the closet thinking it was a closet and nobody would really see it. Whatever the reason, he is going to come make it all pretty like soon.

After that I started working on all of the connections along the front wall. I think I have already shown how I did the speaker terminals, so we can skip that and I will show how I did the sub plates. Since I have two ways of connecting subs in the front, I decided on a 3 port keystone plate. I had to get a little creative to get the binding post to work, but it turned out exactly how I wanted it.

Here is a crappy cell phone pic of almost all of the front connections done. I just have the right speaker left to do today.

Originally I wanted to do all screwless decora plates for everything. First off, that is VERY expensive, but also a huge pain in the ass. Actually it flat out didn't work on some of the locations because of the type of setup I used. The plates were held off of the wall about 1/8" which looked worse than some screws. I ran to home depot to get 30 wall plates, and ran into my neighbor. He looked in my cart and said "Changing out all of the wall plates eh?", to which I replied "Nope, actually these are all new constriction." That got me a strange look to say the least :) Last thing to note is that YES the circuit on the front wall is 20A, but I didn't have any 20A outlets (forgot to get some) and I probably wont even use them anyway since I am going DIY for my subs, so 15A it is.

Bit of a boring update, I know, but it is nice to see things get the final treatment! I should be able to close off almost all of the connections this week, then its just waiting for some money to do the carpet, seating, speakers, subs, and so on, and so on.

Got a little more done last night.

Finished the front wall connections and straightened them out.

Rear sub RCA connections. I need to fill in that gap on the bottom side of that outlet box.

Rear sub speaker connections.

Left surround back, and speaker bracket

Right surround back, and speaker bracket

That's all, just a quick little update. I plan on just chipping away at these as the week goes on, so you will probably see more short boring updates :)

Incoming boring pictures! I decided to tackle the network and HDMI runs in the office last night. I had been putting it off since it was under the desk, and I am not a little guy by any means. My IT guy actually needed his tools yesterday, so I figured I would tackle this so I could give them back today. I still have the two runs by the projector, but I can do those anytime since I don't actually have a use for them. On to the pics!

Marked up

I found the wires!

Two down, three to go! I broke here to get blood back into my legs, and eat some dinner.

All done!

So I was planning (yesterday anyway) to have all of the connections in one plate. So I actually terminated all of the CAT6 with them that short even though I moved 4 of them over to the right. After I got it all terminated I found out that the CAT6 connectors cannot fit that close to each other in the plate. After I realized that wasn't going to work, I remembered seeing it stated somewhere (probably the bag with the connector) that they cant be next to each other in a plate. So I cut in the ring to the right and put numbers 1-4 in there. The left side is HDMI, and #5. The good news is that all of the CAT6 tested perfect, the bad news is that the HDMI does not work. I took it all apart last night and plugged the cable directly into my laptop and still no dice. SO it is either the cable itself, or it is something in the closet side wall connections. I am hesitant to take apart the closet side since its the same plate as the bar which is working perfect. I am sure one day my curiosity will get the better of me, but for now I will probably just leave it alone since I don't really need that connection anyway.

That's all for today's boring update :)

Incoming boring updates!

So since I am a little OCD, I decided to use simplex (single) outlets for the projector and the screen. I also changed out the round simplex for the sump pump for the matching decora style even though it wont be seen. This may not seem all that crazy, but they are 6 times the cost of the regular outlets. I caught some slack from the wife for being so picky about such a small detail :)

Here is the one for the projector

The new power cord for the projector along with the new outlet. The trim ring for the HDMI cable still needs to be fitted better, but I will do that before its all done. The far plate needed to come down for a small patch to the drywall. So when that is done I will fit it all properly.

On Sunday I was downstairs working on something when I noticed that the networking bracket was a bit lower than I remembered. Sure enough the top two wall anchors were pulling out of the wall! I ran to Menards and got some different styled anchors (the large auger style) and replaced the ones that were installed. I don't think there was any risk of them pulling completely out of the wall since I couldn't even get them out with pliers, but better safe than sorry. While it was all down I mounted the HD Homerun, made up an antenna cable for it, and kind of cleaned up the power wires back there. Again, it will never be seen, but I prefer it to all be neat anyway.

I have also been working on some patching over the weekend. As I mentioned some of the outlets were cut in a bit sloppy, so I needed to fill in around them some. There were also a couple spots that bugged me, so I decided to try and smooth them out as well. The work that was done was not perfect (by my standards), but for what I paid, and the amount of work done I surely cant complain. The few areas I am "fixing" are enough to remind me how much of a pain in the ass that stuff is! Here is a shot of the bar outlets which as you can see all needed some work.

Small patch up by the projector. Also, anyone have any ideas how to get that bit of paint off of the HDMI cable?

I wont bother with the pics of the areas I am just "fixing", but you can see at least one spot in the background later on. Also, I say "fixing" since there really was nothing wrong, I just noticed these two areas so I figured while I was already doing that kind of work I would see if I could smooth them out a bit more. Most people would have been perfectly content to leave them as is, and I would have too (probably) if I didn't have the other areas that actually had to be done.

Moving on to the rack which is something I have pretty much been putting off. I started by cleaning it really well which it needed pretty badly. I then finally mounted the power strips, and properly mounted the TV bracket I made a while back. Here is one of the strips mounted (not wired yet) followed by a shot of the TV mount.

Then I got to work on cleaning everything and putting it in the proper locations. I am not 100% sure if I will leave the computer like that, but it does have a clear side with a light inside so it would be nice to be able to see it. The wire feeding the power strips is 10/3 which is WAY overkill of course, but it fit the compression fittings I had, and it looks good :)

So last night I started wiring everything on the rack, and I am not sure I like how its going so far. I think I may want to put something over the cables, or put in some kind of channel (at least down the back) for them to run though. I am not sure yet, but I will probably agonize over it for a while.

So the race was really distracting this past weekend :) Actually, the wife caught me "working" on Saturday

Actually before that pic was taken, I was busy selling off my other project

Don't worry, there is another one coming soon :) In the meantime though I am finally able to park my daily driver in the garage which I have never been able to do! Worked out well with us getting some snow tonight.

But we aren't here for cars, we are here for boring ass home theater build pics!!!! I actually got out my real camera for some pics, but they didn't really come out great. So as I already mentioned I was busy/distracted Saturday with selling the car, watching the race, and we also had a surprise party later in the day. Sunday wasn't a whole lot better since I had to go out of town for work. I was able to finish up the walls before I left so they were ready for paint.

Right speaker area (BAD pic)


Under bar (HORRIBLE pic)

All of these areas were done and painted, then I went over them again and painted them again, and then this final layer(s). This is why I don't do body work, it would never get done! They still are not perfect, but good enough. There was also a couple other small spots that I did but not worth taking any pics. I ended up getting back early yesterday so I was able to get some running around done and get some paint up.

Right speaker area


Under bar

Today I was able to finish up all of the wall plates (all 22 of them)

Projector area

Behind screen

Under bar

That's all for now, nothing exciting :) I did also order all of the wiring and stuff to finish the rack 100%. Hopefully that will all be in this week so I can wrap that up. Next up is the bar which will be the end of me...

Broke EF

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I know I have been bad about keeping this up to date, however the work continues! I will just dive right into the pics.

We had the drywall in the laundry room re-done since it was a mess. Here is the before

Apparently I don't have the "after" picture, so I will have to add that later. It looks a LOT better than it ever did though, and just one more little project ticked off the list.

I did a ton of work on the never ending bar project, and I can finally say its done!!!! I am going to write up the epic journey with that nightmare over the weekend though. That project took quite a bit of time since the last post. It was a massively dust making project, so it needed to be done ASAP so we can be rid of all of the dust making!

I also ended up doing a lot more patching, because I am crazy. I can still find more to do, but at some point you need to call it good enough, so I am. Here are some filler pics of, well, filler

After painting all of those, and doing them all over AGAIN (most for the 3rd or 4th time)

Man, looking back... Im nuts :) Anyway, that is the bulk of it. I am pretty happy with how it has turned out in the areas I reworked. Seeing how much time and effort I had to put into it though I can see why they were left how they were. Not that it was completely unacceptable before, but I am just really picky so I went for it.

Speaking of which, that got me started on yet another project :) These book cases were built by the previous owner, and as nice as they are they were finished like garbage. So I pulled off the crappy trim, sanded down the drippy flat paint, and smoothed off the edges (and blended the joints).

All ready for paint! I also ran some screws into the studs instead of the drywall, and counter sunk them so they are now hidden and its more secure.

The wife putting on the first coat of white.

After the first coat of paint, and before trim

Here is a shot the wife got of them all done, and loaded up.

Next up on the list is the wood under the bar. I didn't want just bare drywall under there, so I decided some stained birch would look nice and hold up better. Here is the board after we stained it.

After this we put on two coats of semi gloss polyurethane, and then installed it under the bar.

You will also notice the missing floor!

You can see the trim on the bar, ready to be cut and installed. First pieces installed

I had to get a little creative around my return air vent. I have a plan, hopefully it works

Last night the wife went around and filled all the nail holes, while I caulked the edges and the corners. Here is a little before and after with the caulk.

This was how we left it last night.

Today we need to sand a couple areas of the trim, and touch up the paint over the nail holes. Get a second and third coat of black on the doors. Speaking of which, here is the finished side of those.

Carpet is coming tomorrow, and I cant be more excited!!! I will have more pics tomorrow once that is done, and I got some gear moved in. I will get pics with my actual camera tomorrow, assuming I can find my charger.

The weekend has passed, and I have most of a "Home Theater" now!!!! Unfortunately I was not able to find my charger for my camera, so you guys have to deal with some crappy cell phone pics still. Chances are I am going to just order a new charger today, because I really want to get some nice pics of the room. Anyway, you didn't come here to read about my dead camera :)

Saturday was pretty uneventful as I was mostly just waiting around for the carpet guys. We had finished up filling the nail holes and painting the trim Friday night, and we also got the last coat of black paint on the doors as well. So Saturday morning I cleaned everything up, and got the doors hung with the new hardware.

This is the "before" view so to speak

Eventually the carpet guys showed up (toward the end of their 4 hour window), but they did a great job so I cant complain.

Pad down

The start of the carpet going in with no seams :)

And all done!

While I was waiting for them to show up I was working a little on wiring up my rack. As soon as they were done I finished that up. It ended up much messier than I wanted, but everything is secure and not being stressed (no pulling down on connections or anything). I pretty much knew that it would end up similar to this which is why I had bought panduit for the sides at one point, but that didn't work too well so I abandoned that plan. Anyway, here it is be gentle

Then I moved my old Canton speakers down there, and hung my EMPTek speakers on the sides and got to calibrating.

I only adjusted the SPL to level match for now. I did run the Yamaha test tone, and then adjusted slightly again with the Spears and Munsil Blu-Ray. Before anyone asks, yes my center channel is sitting on some Infinity bookshelf (Primus 150) speakers. I never thought of ordering a center stand, or shelf for whatever reason and I was not going to wait now!

After I got the levels all set I ran the DTS-HD demo on the Spears and Munsil BR

It was huge smiles all around! Even the wife was impressed with the quick demo. We ended up watching Iron Man Saturday night just for something kind of quick and with some action. I was grinning ear to ear even if I was missing a sub. The wife commented a couple of times of how she felt like this wasn't even our house, and how she forgot that there was even a window behind the screen :) Such an awesome experience to sit down and watch a movie after all these months of work even if it isn't close to actually done. For starters I really need a sub or subs. The Cantons do a pretty decent job for what they are, but they are no subs for sure! I also need some better seating than the free love seat that we got from my in-laws. It isn't the worst thing ever, but it starts to get uncomfortable toward the end of a movie.

Sunday I spent the day programming the remote and working though some small bugs. A friend ended up coming by and we spent around 4 hours watching movies and some Game of Thrones. I had some hand ups with my HTPC which I think is actually the fault of my receiver, but eventually I got to see this

Pretty sweet to see that all of my sources are giving my receiver the full HD audio mix!

Now I need to finish cleaning up the office and organizing all of the cables and things I didn't use on the build. I need to go though and adjust the projector as well, since it seems a little pumped up. I also need to sort out what is going on with my HDMI signal. Then its just a matter of adding and changing out things in the room as I can. Even with quite a bit of work still ahead of me, I am as happy as can be with it all! I think I can honestly say that it has already exceeded my expectations!

Broke EF

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Dec 8, 2017
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How is everyone doing! So nothing really exciting to update with, but I have been enjoying the hell out of the space! I have been finishing up some smaller projects as well. That and I cleaned everything up for a little memorial day party means its time for an update :)

Lets just dive into pics shall we? First up was adding some bass!! After a lot of thought, and back and forth I decided on doing 4 Infinity 1262's in ported boxes powered by an iNuke 3000DSP amp. That means getting 4 full 4'x8' sheets of 3/4" MDF back home. Lucky for me I drive a Honda Accord, so this was no problem.

I whipped up one box just to get an idea of how it would sound, and whatnot.

I screwed up some of the cuts, and forgot the braces, but I put it in the basement anyway and ran a quick sweep.

This is with no adjustment to the DSP

I think it looks pretty promising for about $600 all in (amp, subs, MDF, paint, etc.), so now I had to cut up the other sheets. Working with MDF is such a joy...

My garage is a mess, besides the mess I created, I know. I am ashamed but there it is.

And after many many cuts, here we are.

Unfortunately with the holiday and other stuff I haven't gotten much further than that just yet. I should be slowly chipping away at them though so stay tuned for that.

Next up came cleaning everything for the Memorial day party. The dog (Archer) wanted to see what I was doing.

While I was cleaning I was shocked at how many remotes I kept finding since I never use them, so I got a pic. All of these remotes (plus my Insteon lighting)....

Are replaced by this beast!

After cleaning came calibrating for the inevitable demos :) It is pretty nice to be able to do all of the calibration outside of the room. I can sit at my desk and run everything, punch it into a spread sheet or whatever, and make all of my adjustments. I usually use the USB in the ceiling for the receiver for my Logitech keyboard to run my HTPC, but it worked just fine for the mic input.

After making everyone smile with some demos and some BBQ, I got to make everything nice Sunday and Monday and get some good pics (FINALLY).

As you may have noticed, I added some trim under the bar after the calibration pics. Here are a couple detail shots from right after I put it in. Still need to caulk, fill the nail holes, and paint.

I also trimmed out the return air vent. Again we need to finish it, and paint inside black. I made up the grill at my work out of some magnetic stainless, and its held in place by some neodymium magnets.

I actually also got my rear speakers on Saturday morning, but much to my dismay they changed the mount from a single insert to two per speaker. I bought mounts based on the (out dated) info on their site, so I am not able to install them yet :( There is still a lot to do, mostly touch up paint and fix some things I messed up. Obviously I need to finish up those subs as well, and really dial everything in.

Time for another small update. The subs are done, installed, and dialed in as far as I am going to go for now. Once I change out the front speakers I will probably spend a bit more time tweaking everything. This is not the best graph I have (I moved the mic to fix that dip) but is pretty close to the final settings for the subs. Check out the link in my sig for all of those details.

Yesterday I was FINALLY able to hang up my rear surrounds as well!

(HORRIBLE PICS, I know :( )

I am probably going to have to change the angle some, and I need to level them up, but I wanted to get them mounted and see what they looked like. I will have to find the pics with the other mounts to compare, but these are a million times better. It was a pain in the ass having to swap speakers, and have the threaded piece made up, but I am happy with the end result.

Well, that's all for now I guess!

Well its about time for a few updates! We can start out with some new bar stools.

Ignore the mess, I was building a computer for a friend.

All four assembled

Then came the new EMPTek center channel!

Then we installed some new room darkening cordless blinds. You can see the temporary paper ones in the above pics.

Changed out the one in the office too. Need to finish the patching and painting, but we didn't have any of that color leftover.

Then I replaced the RGB LED lights under the bar with some RGBW's. These are way brighter, and I can get the white to match our other lighting.

Controller mounted

You can also see the USB outlet which I moved from the side wall to the center of the bar. The outlet on the side wall is an Insteon on/off outlet so I can turn the LED's on and off with my lighting programming. I wish I could control them even more (dimming, color, etc.) but that gets a lot more complicated, so on/off it is.

Here you can see the standard setting I think I will leave it at. Pretty close match to the other lighting.

Hard to tell in the cell phone pic, I will see later if I took a good pic of this, but its actually a touch more blue than the other lighting. Makes it brighter looking, and still a close match. The White LED's are much more yellow than my other lights (also LED), and the RGB White if very not white, so I actually run the White LED's and then the RGB in Blue, and dim the blue to get the color I want. Works well enough for some accent lighting.

After that was done, it was time for some spring cleaning!

We finally cleaned up the horrible looking caulk that you can see in the under bar pics. I caulked the bar trim, and the register trim. We also painted that, and touched up a few spots on the walls and trim. Cleaned the subs, and lots of other cleaning and organizing. I also started to work on the wiring, but had to order some material, so that is still on hold for now. It looks way better down there now. I am not sure if it is because its clean, or the new additions, or both, but we were both very happy with how it is looking now.

After pics!

Daytime mode

Camera stuff will go upstairs, but we need to redo that space next

Movie selection mode

Movie watching mode

Still plenty of things left to do, but it is getting there! I did hear something rattling last night while we were watching a movie, so that is top of the list to sort out this week. Then when I get all of my wiring material I will finish all of that finally. I also really want the matching towers now that I have the center channel, so that may happen sooner than later. Anyway, that's all I got for now. Thanks as always for following along!


P.S. I will get some pictures up from my camera soon.

Got my front speakers last week! Ill just get straight to pics :)

This weekend or next week I will make up some nice looking wires for them to go from the wall to the speaker. I probably will play with the toe in a bit first to see what I think sounds best (open to suggestions), and move them out a bit more. Then comes some treatments sooner or later. Too many projects going on, but I am happy to have all my matching speakers now :) They look killer and sound GREAT! As much as I love my Canton speakers, they are better suited to lower volume 2 channel music listening in my opinion. At least for now they will live in the family room upstairs for TV watching and music up there.

It has been a while, but I have news!!! I guess we can start with the good news, which is that we now have actual theater seats :D We went with the Lagoon seats from, and we are VERY happy with them. The price was right, shipping was right on time, and they fit my small room :) We went with the leather/vinyl as opposed to the bonded leather. Nothing wrong with the bonded leather. I know eng-399 has the same seats in bonded, and they have held up great. Just waned to go leather/vinyl and since we only have 3 seats the price was negligible.

I can tell you we are definitely using the room more now that we have comfortable seats! It was worth the wait to get some nice seats :D

Now for the less than good news. So as you may or may not know, all of my gear is in our office to the side of the "theater". That office shares a wall with a bathroom/laundry room. One day I saw some water around the toilet, and assumed it needed a ring or something so I shut the water off and we stopped using it. At some point it got turned back on, and we were using it again, but everything seemed OK. That is until my wife went into the office and saw this.

So I turned the water off again, and we got everything to do the toilet. Before I had a chance to install anything though (mind you I am also in process of redoing my entire garage) she noticed the water is worse in the office. So now I am faced with trying to figure out, is that just water that was under the floor from when the toilet was on and it is just coming through now, or is something else going on. Luckily for me my work has a thermal imager that I was able to bring home. That showed me right away that the drywall on the office side was wet.

Not the best pic but that green is the wet (cold) area compared to the rest of the wall.

That didn't quite tell me if the wall was just soaking up water, or if the water was originating from inside the wall. The wall itself looked completely normal on the outside, but I just figured I need to chop it out anyway so I don't have a mold problem. It was total mush, and when I pulled out a piece I got sprayed with water! There was a tiny pin hole leak in one of the joints for the cold water supply.

Got the piping replaced, and closed it back up (not my finest work, but it will finish fine)

I got around to getting the first layer of mud on yesterday, which means I am running out of reason to NOT tear everything else apart. We need to empty the room, which not only means disconnecting all of my gear, but also loading everything into the theater. Then out comes the floor, sanding, patching, sanding, painting, new floor, new trim, move everything back. The only part about this that actually upsets me, and has been making me put it off for so long is not being able to use my theater :( I will be nice when its done, and it will give me a good chance to clean up my rack wiring as well.

Broke EF

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Dec 8, 2017
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Whew, its been a while since I updated this eh! Well I took some quick pics of the room this morning since it was nice and clean in preparation for a Halloween party we are having tonight. Even though it has some decorations up, I figured I may as well post them up for you guys to see.

Clearly the office has been finished since the last update. I also ended up building a giant ported box for a 21" driver I got. You can see that build in the link in my signature. That meant that the 4 infinity's went to the back of the room, and for now are in the original boxes. I am in the planning stages of a new box for those, or possible an upgrade? Not really sure yet, but I want to gain some space back there, and I want a better looking box in general.

Broke EF

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Dec 8, 2017
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HOLY SHIT, that took way too much effort!!! I noticed that I don't really cover the sub builds in there very much, but this is already WAY long as it is so here are the links to the specific builds

12" Infinity's
21" giant box

Both of those should have measurements for the performance of the room and so on. I am really happy with how this whole project turned out. Of course its always evolving so I want to change things. Next on the list is to build some sound panels. After that will probably be finishing off the top of that ledge. Bigger plans would be a new receiver that has Atmos (already wired for it), and better projector/screen.

Anyway, that is my theater build in a very big nutshell. Hope you guys enjoy it!


P.S. lets not talk about the bar :(


El Presidente
May 23, 2007
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holy shit fuck sandwich...i need to go back and read all the details but this thread has my pants tight. The finished product is fucking awesome.


Escrow shortage crew
Donating Member
Nov 20, 2008
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how i envision this dude planning this shit...



This is my safe space
Donating Member
Aug 28, 2007
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Dude. You’re a fucking machine with these threads! I’m going to take some time and read through them all tomorrow at work whenever I have free time (lol). Skimming through pics, you’re doing some awesome work and not afraid to tackle a project the right way

Broke EF

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Dec 8, 2017
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You guys are too much :) Never would have thought my lil theater would get so much love on a car forum. Out of curiosity, how many of you have checked the links to the sub builds?


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