If you’re reasonably handy and not afraid to cut into drywall in your home, installing in-wall speakers can be a fairly simple affair. You’ll need to assemble the basic tools, including a drywall saw, a stud finder, an electrical snake or fiberglass push rods to run the wires, a tape measure, a drill with a long bit wide enough to pass your speaker wire, and a screwdriver, most typically a No. 2 Phillips.
While this theater was my dream, the 7-year project required the support and occasional manual labor from my wife, daughters, son-in-law and a couple of friends. I did consult with Roy Johnson of Green Mountain Audio a few times and want to thank him for his insights.
Treat your room right, and it’ll treat you the same.
If you’re serious about your home theater, you’ve probably spent a lot of time agonizing over what gear to buy. But what about the room itself? Even with extremely high-end gear, you can’t achieve optimum audio performance without paying attention to the acoustics. Without room treatment, expensive speakers can sound awful, but even moderately priced speakers in a properly treated room can sound terrific. Some experts even say the speaker system and electronics contribute only 50 percent to your system’s overall sonics—with the room responsible for the other 50 percent. If you’re not factoring in acoustics, your system might sound only half as good as it could—and should.
Once when we were watching a DVD in the media room, my wife missed a scene because she was nodding off. But usually it’s me who does the nodding. I search for the remote control, and I can never find it when I need it. Forget about the whole remote, I’ll just settle for the right button. I fish around. There, that must be it. My fingers traverse the button terrain to find the Pause or Rewind button in the dark purely by feel. Because I’m holding the darned thing upside down, I accidentally hit the Open/Close button, which stops the movie cold and slides open the disc tray. Ah, the joys of not missing a minute of a movie!
Last month, I introduced some basic concepts to help you design the ultimate home theater. For those of you who missed it, we invited three home theater design gurus to help us build a new listening room: Anthony Grimani, Russ Herschelmann, and Norm Varney. I tried to cover everything you'd need to build a great home theater, regardless of your budget. This month, I continue that approach as I discuss the construction and acoustic treatment of our room.
How many people have purchased high-performance sports cars only to drive them in bumper-to-bumper traffic? Sure, they might attract attention, but they certainly aren't taking advantage of the car's performance benefits. The world of home theater isn't all that different. Your listening environment can noticeably affect your system's performance, for better or for worse. Changing that environment may cost nothing, or it may cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Then again, we review plenty of subwoofers and amplifiers that cost thousands of dollars. Perhaps spending a little on room acoustics may not be such a bad idea.
Creating a home theater, be it a dedicated room or part of an existing living space, requires more than a general knowledge of AV technology. In actuality, that is only a small part of the equation. To maximize the performance of your AV gear, the overall design of the room is crucial.
For DIYers, it's never been easier to find the right mount for any model flat-panel TV. Just download the free Install Tool Kit iPad app from Sanus in the Apple App Store. Within seconds you'll find the perfect mount and determine the exact drilling hole placement for installation. It's also possible to keep your own notes and single out the mounts you like the most with the MyNotes feature.
I’ve always lived in a used house. “Existing home” is the euphemism real estate people like to use. Life is good—until you realize that there are no phone jacks close to the spots where your bed or desk should go. And why are there no Ethernet jacks in the house? And no wiring for TVs anywhere but the living room? Needless to say, you can’t find in-wall speakers, volume controls, or multiroom A/V distribution of any kind. Maybe you should have guessed from the horse and buggy parked in the garage when your real estate agent showed the house that the previous owners weren’t interested in keeping up with the more technologically advanced Joneses across the street.
How do I build a home theater or media room? The question is a complicated one that every reader wants answered. That's why we created this new, ongoing column in AVI. Whether you're going to build the room yourself or hire a custom installer, there's information you can use in Home Theater Builder. We'll discuss all facets of building a home theater here—from construction, to equipment selection, to room tuning. Our first column is devoted to budgeting. How much can I spend, and how do I allocate my budget? Building a theater is a personal experience, so how far you want to go and the design of your system and room will determine your budget. This overview will help you start to think about how to spend your hard-earned cash.