Home Theater Design and Build

For most of us choosing to build a home theater is a fairly major undertaking. The home theater design and build process can be both lengthy and quite expensive. So what are the main things you need to know? How do you start?

Building yourself or hiring a contractor?

Given that most of us are not that skilled when it comes to construction work I will assume for the moment that you are having this home theater built from scratch by an approved builder. REWplot1

  1. Start with a trusted expert in the home theater field (easier said than done)
    1. I cannot stress this enough. There are ‘builders’, and there are those who really understand what a home theater needs to function properly
    2. there are plenty of silly and easily avoidable mistakes made every day by so called “experts”. Find someone who really knows their stuff.
  2. How, you may ask?
    1. ask the installer how they plan to structure the room dimensions to avoid room nodes
    2. then calculate the room dimensions yourself to be sure they get it right
    3. use a calculator to do it: http://www.marktaw.com/recording/Acoustics/RoomModeStandingWaveCalcu.html
    4. look for duplicate numbers, or numbers that keep repeating themselves (this is bad)
    5. or just determine the room dimensions yourself after getting them exactly how you want them and checking yourself
  3. Ask trusted friends, you may be surprised who is into home theater and has already done this process
  4. Use the BBB, better business bureau and find a reputable contractor
  5. Consider subbing the job out after you learn all you can about the finer details of what would make your theater the best it could be in your space
  6. Use REW to learn about your own room (fun exercise if you have the equipment) REWwaterfall1
  7. Room EQ Wizard is free, fun, and a great way to get yourself introduced to what your room is doing.
    1. consequently, its also a great tool to use when setting up any stereo or home theater design and build project as well

If you are a Hands off Customer

I hope you have deep pockets. Home theater design and build projects are extremely expensive if done correctly. That’s not to say that they have to be. But to get someone who knows what to do and how to do it correctly, well as you already know, most things excellent are not free.

That being said you can learn a ton on your own and save yourself heaps of money if you know how to avoid some basic pitfalls. Most issues surround the area of room acoustics. This is where many contractors simply don’t even know to check the dimensions and tweak a wall location by a few inches just to avoid problems. Often, the solution is as simple as that. Moving a wall 6 inches can make a huge difference to an acoustically poor room.

Hands on Home theater installers/home owners

You are in luck. If you have the knowledge and skill to attempt a home theater build, the rewards can be more than you had hoped. For one, understanding what you are doing means that you can fix, make changes, update all you like and never be at the mercy of a contractor.