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Dedicated Basement Theater - Room Layout Advice

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#1
Hi all, need some advice on room layout. My vision is to build my dream 7.2.4 theater with two rows of seating, 2nd row on a riser with 3 seats in each row. The best space available in the basement of my new house is only 12ft wide with 7 ft ceilings (length is flexible and not an issue). This seems tight to me for a theater of this level. My concerns are:

Width:
  • There only seems to be about 26 inches of aisle space on each side with three seat rows based on measuring
  • Also means that side surrounds would only be ~26 inches from listeners (I plan to go bi-poles in the middle of the two rows to help with this)
Height:
  • Is 7’ ceiling enough separation between Atmos speakers and bed layer?
  • Clearance of head space from riser to ceiling is limited
  • The ceiling is not 100% flat and symmetrical as there is some ductwork along the back right corner of the space.
What’s everyone experience with similar room widths and heights? Wondering if I should just go with the layout as is or look at some major renovation to alter the width/ceiling height?
 

Helicopter

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#2
Hi all, need some advice on room layout. My vision is to build my dream 7.2.4 theater with two rows of seating, 2nd row on a riser with 3 seats in each row. The best space available in the basement of my new house is only 12ft wide with 7 ft ceilings (length is flexible and not an issue). This seems tight to me for a theater of this level. My concerns are:

Width:
  • There only seems to be about 26 inches of aisle space on each side with three seat rows based on measuring
  • Also means that side surrounds would only be ~26 inches from listeners (I plan to go bi-poles in the middle of the two rows to help with this)
Height:
  • Is 7’ ceiling enough separation between Atmos speakers and bed layer?
  • Clearance of head space from riser to ceiling is limited
  • The ceiling is not 100% flat and symmetrical as there is some ductwork along the back right corner of the space.
What’s everyone experience with similar room widths and heights? Wondering if I should just go with the layout as is or look at some major renovation to alter the width/ceiling height?
What's the speaker budget?

That might make it easier to recommend spending more on the room or not.

You might try low seating in front instead of elevated rear... like giant beam bags.
 
OP
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Thread Starter #3
What's the speaker budget?

That might make it easier to recommend spending more on the room or not.

You might try low seating in front instead of elevated rear... like giant beam bags.
For speaker budget, probably $7500-10k. Total A/V budget is around $20-25k, that's excluding furniture and any room construction costs.
 

Helicopter

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#4
I'd dig it out and get 8ft from the top platform to the ceiling. I wouldn't worry about the irregular ceiling though.

You will probably be fine as is, but if you are smart with your budget for speakers then this space is likely going to be the constraint. I would dig it out because it is your 'dream' home theater. Not really sure what level of undertaking construction is for you though, only that it is not usually a huge deal for me to remodel something or add an addition.

I am actually expanding my basement and garage right now and digging into the hill a bit too, but I am going to take my time finishing the new space so I can get everything right, particularly acoustics and in wall/ceiling speakers.
 

alex-z

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#5
Average height for front channels is about 3ft, and Dolby specifies 2-3x front height for Atmos use. So a 7ft ceiling can work, it just isn't optimal, especially when adding a second row. You will also lose another 6-8" if you are adding acoustic panels to the ceiling, which is strongly recommended.

I would dig down 2ft if possible, and widen the room by the same amount. 20x14x9 gives you a pretty ideal room mode distribution.

https://amcoustics.com/tools/amroc?l=20&w=14&h=9&ft=true&r60=.45
 
OP
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Thread Starter #6
I'd dig it out and get 8ft from the top platform to the ceiling. I wouldn't worry about the irregular ceiling though.

You will probably be fine as is, but if you are smart with your budget for speakers then this space is likely going to be the constraint. I would dig it out because it is your 'dream' home theater. Not really sure what level of undertaking construction is for you though, only that it is not usually a huge deal for me to remodel something or add an addition.

I am actually expanding my basement and garage right now and digging into the hill a bit too, but I am going to take my time finishing the new space so I can get everything right, particularly acoustics and in wall/ceiling speakers.
Thanks, yeah that's what I was debating. Either excavating and gaining about 2 feet in height or even putting an addition on so the room is proper and to my specifications. Although, not sure we can live with the loss of yard space for an addition and I'm a little nervous about excavating the floor. Perhaps I need to research it more. Anyone have experience excavating their basement?

Average height for front channels is about 3ft, and Dolby specifies 2-3x front height for Atmos use. So a 7ft ceiling can work, it just isn't optimal, especially when adding a second row. You will also lose another 6-8" if you are adding acoustic panels to the ceiling, which is strongly recommended.

I would dig down 2ft if possible, and widen the room by the same amount. 20x14x9 gives you a pretty ideal room mode distribution.

https://amcoustics.com/tools/amroc?l=20&w=14&h=9&ft=true&r60=.45
Yeah I was also considering widening, but I'm not sure if it's possible. There is a plumbed wet bar on the other side of one wall, and the other wall is exterior supporting two floors of house above.
 

Helicopter

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#7
Probably depends on the house a bit, but a couple practices are temporary support using floor jacks as sections get dug out or with a new space, putting footers a few feet outside the old wall and having dirt and a crawl space between.
 
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