Ron and Valerie's Home Page

The Chronicle of our Home Theaters


Hi - this section of my website describes, in text and pictures, my first home theater, in our old house.  Enjoy.
Welcome!  I plan to use this page to provide text and picture updates of my progress on building my home theater.  Right now, I'm still in the research phase, as I have been for the past year or 2.  I know what equipment I want, and in fact have everything but the projector and screen.  I'm planning on using a Sony VPL-VW10HT front projector, and Stewart 130 16:9 96" wide screen.  I currently have a Toshiba 61" RPTV (rear projection TV) with built-in line doubler (so you don't see the scan lines normally associated with RPTV's).  I plan to keep the TV to use for 4:3 (TV and non-16:9 dvd's) material.  I may get an RCA DTC100 for HDTV material on the Sony.

Here's the rest of my equipment list:

Denon AVR-4800 receiver
Denon POA-5200 amp (drives 4 ohm mains, frees up 2 extra channels for
                                     use in matrixed surround back speakers)
Toshiba SD-6200 progressive scan dvd player
Replay TV model 2003 (14 hour model)
Replay TV model 3030 (30 hour model)
RCA commercial skip VCR
Pioneer PDF-1007 300 disc CD Player
Furman Power Conditioner
APC UPS units (several)
TrippLite Power Conditioner
Bose Series 10.2 mains in upstairs tv room
Boston Acoustics VR-12 center in upstairs tv room
Domus Modules surrounds in upstairs tv room
M&K S150 THX mains
M&K S150AC THX center channel
M&K SS150 THX side surrounds
M&K Surround550 THX rear surrounds
Sunfire Signature Subwoofer (2700 (that's not a typo!) watt built-in amp)
Marantz RC2000 Mk II remote (to be used with 61" Toshiba upstairs)
Philips Pronto TSU2000 remote w/ recharging station
Zantech IR repeaters
4 Aura Bass Shakers

Well, that's about it for now - thanks for checking in!
Well, I plan on having pictures up shortly of the raw space in which I'll be building the home theater.  Right now, there's a pool table there, which I'll be selling (hopefully, but unfortunately).  The room should end up being about 22'L x 13.5'W x either 6'9" or 7'7"H, depending on where you're standing.  The reason for this is the usual basement obstacles, like an I-beam (at least there's no support post - by design!) and return air ducts, etc.  I haven't decided if I'm going to box in just the I-beam and air ducts (which cut the ceiling about in half in the lengthwise dimension) or just make the whole front of the room the same ceiling height.  I may go with the box-in idea because of clearance needs for the door (I'm using an external door with weatherstripping for sound control purposes), but I don't know what that will do to sound waves in the front of the room.  E-mail me if you have any thoughts on that!

Also, I added Bass Shakers to my equipment list above - got a good deal on a set of four, and I'll be installing them temporarily under the floor of the family room to see what they do - later I'll transfer them into the home theater, of course.

Thanks for checking in!
Well, I got the Sony projector yesterday - about 2-3 months sooner than I expected!  I guess MVS got a bunch in all at once, and my name came I got it!  I don't have any place to set it up, since the HT isn't built yet, but I did set it up showing on a wall, just to get an idea of the picture size (54"h x 96"w) and it looks good!  I looked for dead pixels - I do have one green one about 3 inches from the left side of the screen, in the middle, but from 12' back, I can't find it even if I'm looking for it.  So, that's not bad!  Looked like a good picture...I just can't wait to start building the home theater room at the end of December.

Speaking of which, I finally had a few minutes to take some pictures, so here they are:
Well, I've been working on my design...I'm about ready to start buying materials! Construction starts soon.  Here's a picture now that the pool table's gone (sniff!), looking from about 4 feet behind where the screen will be.  The dark line in the front of the picture is a pole, that's where the screen wall will be.  The chairs shown will be on a 6 inch or so platform, along with 4 more, where the 2 measuring tapes are.  Right now I'm planning on 2 la-z-boys for the front row.

Also, I found out that Stewart has developed a new screen called the Grayhawk that I'll be ordering in a month or so.  It's .85 gain, and it's supposed to help with the black levels on the Sony VPL-VW10HT.
2/9/01, Friday
Work continues!  I have the insulation for the ceiling now, and I'm installing a couple of hvac supply ducts and a cold air return.  I'm also modifying 2 existing cold air return bays to use 8" flex duct instead of the whole bay, so that I can get the joists up there for the floating ceiling.
I also took delivery of the microlams Wednesday, for the ceiling joists.  There were 16 16' I had them deliver them through the vent in the basement window!  My basement stairs end up 4-5' from the basement wall, so there was no way to carry 16' microlam beams down the stairs.  Coming through the window vent of the glass block window worked great.
So, I hope to get the hvac work done this weekend.  If I get a chance, I will post a picture of the completed changes.
Oh, almost forgot!  Due to a special rebate offer I got (because I had a Phillips CD recorder) for $200, I ordered a Philips Pronto TSU2000 remote.  Should be cool!
2/17/01, Saturday

Thought I'd add a few pictures before I go buy my 2x4's (136 of them!).  I plan to start putting up walls today.  These shots show the empty HT space, and some of the HVAC work that I did, giving you a view of how to prep for a floating ceiling.
2/25/01, Sunday

Almost 2/3's of the way through the framing, I figured I'd put up some pictures so people can see and hopefully understand the floating ceiling concept.  So, here they are.  If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail, using the link on the above left.  Getting those beams up was "fun" - thanks for the help go to DK and Todd!  Don't try this alone, people!  Those double microlams are pretty heavy.
3/11/01, Sunday
The framing is done!  I've decided to angle the drywall around the ductwork and beam, which you'll see the framing for in the pictures.  I also built a box to hang the projector under.  This does several things - it gives me a place to put the UPS, and still be able to get to it, like to change the battery.  It also allows me to put the projector mount right on the bottom of the box, without having to use a pole or pipe to bring the projector down to the correct height.  And, it allows me to retain access to the PVC that I used to allow cabling changes if needed, while still sealing off the PVC so that sound won't go through it.  I'm also using this PVC to run the speaker wire to the center channel.  I plan to put a flip-down panel on this box to allow me to access the interior, but with weatherstripping around the edge to seal off the sound from entering it.  The top of it will be open to the joists above (though insulation will still be up there).  The only thing I'm not sure of yet is how to run the power and video cables into the box from the projector, while still trying to maintain a sound seal.

Thanks to Todd's continuing help, I'm making good progress!  Next comes electrical and speaker wiring, then insulation, then drywall.  Anyway, here are this week's pictures:
3/18/01, Sunday
Wiring is done!  Lights (at least the boxes for them) are in, along with the switches and outlets.  I'll be using some Lutron Spacers for cool dimming and IR light control.  For example, I plan to program the Pronto so that when I pause a dvd, it'll automatically turn on the lights outside the HT leading to the bathroom and to the refrigerator.  I mean, why else would you be pausing a dvd??  Also, the wiring for video, speakers, and remote IR sensing is all done.

So, this week the insulation goes in!  Here are today's pics:
3/25/01, Sunday
Work continues...the insulation is done!  Drywall work has begun.  So far, we've carted down 28 sheets of 5/8" drywall - that stuff is heavy, plus a 4x8 sheet just barely makes it down my stairs.   I'm estimating that I'll need 44 sheets of 1/2" drywall, because the 1/2" is covering more surface area than the 5/8", including the inside of the closet wall, an outside closet wall, and another outside wall that I haven't shown.  But, I won't be getting that drywall until I need it - hopefully next weekend.

So, here are the insulation shots - not very exciting, but it shows the progress, along with a fun shot with Todd at the end:
4/15/01, Sunday
Drywall is all hung!  I decided to do another wall and another closet space outside of the home theatre, so in total I hauled down 66 sheets of drywall, 28 of 5/8" and 38 of 1/2".  Thanks to Todd and Ken for their help in 4 trips of carrying drywall!  I'm having it mudded and taped, because I don't think I'd do a very good job of it, and that should be done in a few days.  Then comes painting!

So, here are the latest pictures:
4/30/01, Monday evening
Doors are up, framing for the acoustic wall treatment is up, progress is being made!  The carpet is getting installed this coming Saturday.  I really want to have everything up that involves drilling into the drywall, since the carpet is dark and I'd rather not have drywall dust get on it!  I now have an official target date of May 12th for having the theatre done, but the official "public" opening won't be until some time after that because I want to finish off the area outside of the home theatre before I start having people over.  That area needs paint, a suspended ceiling, a closet door, and carpet and trim.  But, right now I'm concentrating on the inside of course, because I'm anxious to start watching movies!

Anyway, here are today's pictures:
5/5/01, Saturday
Acoustic wall treatments are up!  The carpet is getting installed later today, then tomorrow I plan to work on putting up the wall fabric over the treatment and then moulding, and I'll be nearing completion!  I'll keep this part brief since I'm kinda verbose in today's picture descriptions...

Here are today's pictures:
5/14/01, Monday evening
Getting close!  After a week of hard work (and lots of help from Todd!) I was able to watch my first movie in the Home Theatre!  Things aren't all done yet, like door handles and moulding.  But it's getting close.  The first thing I watched was the THX Tex trailer, at a pretty good volume...and I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time!  It was awesome...I'm looking forward to many good movie watching experiences...

Here are today's pictures:
5/27/01, Sunday evening
Well, it's just about done!  I'm still waiting for the Lutron Spacer switches, since they shipped the wrong ones the first time.  They did seem anxious to fix the problem, but hopefully it won't take 3 weeks to get here again.  I'm also waiting for 2 tilt brackets from M&K, which I ordered on 3/30/01!  Does anyone have any idea what the holdup is at M&K??  I thought I ordered them in plenty of time!

Anyway, it appears that my efforts at soundproofing were worthwhile.  I watched Superman last night, at a pretty good volume (i.e. pretty darn loud!), and Val in our bedroom 2 floors above said she couldn't hear it!  You can hear it some on the first floor, but it's just a whisper.  I'm so glad that worked out!  Now I can watch movies any time without bothering her or my 14 month old, which was part of my goal in building this HT!

So, I would like to thank the fine people at the Theatre Construction forum at, who provided me with much information and many ideas while I was planning the home theatre.  I'd also like to thank those at the Sony VPL-VW10HT forum at, who gave me a lot of information on my projector and screen, though I was mostly a lurker there.

Finally, here are today's pictures: