Take your basic room to use for home audio design; most home theater enthusiasts place their home theaters into a living room, den, or sometimes even a spare bedroom that is already part of their floor plan. Locating the best solution for something like a home theater is worthwhile to explore all the options.
If starting from scratch you will have some advantages that the rest of us whom must deal with an existing room can forgo… This article will focus on those who have to work with existing walls and boundaries.
Meaning; placing a home theater into an existing room that was already there. (what most of us have to work with within a reasonable home theater budget)
This isn’t to say that a lot cannot be done with existing construction, you can – but just that some challenges may arise that need to be dealt with.
Doorways and windows
I think that doorways and windows are probably one of the most common problems right from the start. Especially in smaller homes the doors and windows always seem to be placed right where you want to place the speakers, or the HDTV, or room treatments, or other equipment, stands etc. In some cases the doors or openings can be moved, but this is more expense than most of us care to get into.
Home Theater Room Ideas: If you have more than one entrance into the room, such as a walkthrough kitchen and two entrances from either side of said kitchen, consider placing a partition in front of the door. This could be a foldable partition where you could place some type of hanging decorations or something decorative.
This would allow essentially closing off the door without actually doing so; and also let you place the speaker right in front of where the door would be. As long as you have more than one entrance into the room this is an elegant solution compared to moving a door or window. I’ve seen several home theaters where this is done and it can look very nice.
Closing off open doorways
Another often overlooked solution is just to put a door in the open door way, (if there is none) and then lock it so it cannot be opened. Then you can place whatever equipment you wish right in front of this door without fear of someone opening it and knocking over your expensive equipment. (assuming you have another way to get into the room)
Using window coverings and window treatments to damp light and sound
This one is a no-brainer for most home audio design projects on a budget or even cost no object installations.
By covering windows you achieve two things in a home theater environment. Damping rigid materials and controlling light. This can be a substantial upgrade over plain window coverings and light bleed problems.
Opt for heavy fabrics; I’ve had custom made drapes made that were a big help for the acoustics. If you know someone who is familiar with a sewing machine it can also be cost effective. Not to mention you are only limited by the fabrics you can find, (there are tons of options at a fabric store) so your visual tastes can be accommodated at the same time. Window treatments are a highly recommended upgrade for your home audio design and interior design goals.
More about room acoustics and building a home theater
1. Learn to build home theater walls and other tips forbuilding a home theater and home audio design.
2. All about HTPC System guide
3. Learn how to choose yourHTPC Software
4. How to build a speaker boxthat’s worlds better!
*the links above may or may not be found on any other page or on the Left Navigation Bar. This section is to help you find your way to pages within the site as well as the links at the bottom of the page.
Use multiple layers of fabrics instead of just one curtain. You can use a sheen type fabric for visual appeal over multiple layers of heavy damping fabrics that block out light and sound. (of any color and patterns you wish)
This site obviously holds room correction and speaker correction in very high esteem; so I would be remiss if I did not touch on this subject here at least once. Room acoustics are vitally important and there are just too many things you can do that are easy such-as-this to ignore the advantages of DSP. (digital signal processing)
Nearly any receiver and especially any HTPC based home theater can easily and effectively offer room correction for your home audio design. There’s simply no reason to ignore this step anymore. It’s cheap, effective, and anyone who can read a manual can figure it out.
Taking some basic measurements even with a cheap receiver can tell you a lot about your room acoustics. Ignore this step and you will experience lower performance than you could if a person goes through the fairly simple process.
Summary – Home Audio Design
My father recently purchased a home theater from EbenLee Audio.
He also bought a used receiver that included some basic room correction functions. He was able to dial in his system with the receiver and the performance is quite impressive especially considering the overall price he paid for the system.
His receiver was only about $250.00 bought used. (purchase on Audiogon – the retail price one year ago was over $600.00)
Equipment is getting cheaper to buy and also easier and more simple to use. Make some measurements and correct your speaker and room response. It’s too important to ignore.
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See even more on-topic home theater articles here:
HTPC System guide
build a speaker box that’s worlds better!
build a home theater PC, what you need to know first
Intel i5 2500k CPU processor HTPC build
sub woofer reviews
subwoofer wiring diagram
subwoofer box plans
sub woofer installation