Sunday, November 11, 2007

I'm Building a Mancave!

Yes, the time has come to build a room of my very own. I have a very nice setup in the living room currently but my thirst for high performance has left me wanting more. Here is a picture of my present setup:

It's hard to see the gear in this photo so here's a list:

  • Samsung DLP TV, HL-R5067W (50")
  • Denon AVR-3806 Receiver
  • Denon DVD-2930CI Universal Disc Player
  • Scientific Atlanta 8300HD Cable DVR
  • Axiom M60 towers and VP150 center (not pictured: EP350 sub and QS8 surrounds)

It's all installed on a bench I built with a friend. It's great for movies but not so great for music. The main reason being the speakers are too close together and too high. I put them up on the bench to help clear the furniture. You can see the upholstered chair on the right side of the picture. This chair blocks the woofers in the right channel. This rig is in a corner which is less than ideal. Plus, there is a large opening to my dining room on the left and an open doorway in the rear. Sound absorption isn't bad with the upholstered furniture and a large carpet. Also, because I live in a duplex, I can't really run the sound at reference levels. I finally then got the OK from my wife to turn our unused bedroom upstairs into a dedicated theater room.

Here is my blank canvas:

This room is approximately 12'x12' with an 8' 6" ceiling. Not quite a cube luckily! The color on the walls is graphite with just a little bit of shine. I just painted it. I wanted a matte finish but the dark paints from Lowe's all had this finish. It's OK though since I'll be putting up sound absorbing panels and completely covering the windows. There will be carpet too, of course. A ceiling fan will replace the current fixture and I will be building a radiator cover to hide that eyesore. My first order of business will be the floor. This room is directly above the living room and I want to keep sound from going through the floor. To that end, I'm installing a layer of rock board and a layer of OSB under the carpet. This should provide sufficient mass to keep my music and movies from traveling into the room below. This room is also opposite the shared wall in my duplex so high volume won't be a problem for the neighbors.
Here is the proposed gear list:
  • Onkyo TX-SR805 Receiver
  • Samsung BD-UP5000 HD/BluRay Player
  • Axiom M60, VP150, QS8, EP350 surround speaker system
  • Panasonic TH50-PZ700U 50" plasma TV

I'm also planning more home-built furniture to hold all these goodies. I'll be building a flexi-rack for the gear and stands for the surround speakers and the TV. I'll finish it all off with a pair of theater recliners in leather of course. I'll control it all with another Harmony 890 like I use downstairs. Despite my less than glowing review of this unit, the latest software and firmware seems to be working perfectly. I haven't had to press the Help button in several months. Another piece of gear I hope to add to all this is a Lumagen video processor. I'm currently in the application phase of becoming a dealer for their products. They represent the ideal solution for an ISF calibrator. ISF in a box if you will. A Lumagen offers complete control over color, grayscale, gamma, geometry and even signal timing. And they do this for far less than competing units from Pixel Magic or DVDO. I'm really excited to be able to offer these products. When I get a few in, I'll be sure to post a complete review.

Please come back soon over the next few weeks as the mancave evolves. I'll post pictures and a blow-by-blow as the room moves toward completion. Thanks for reading and enjoy the view!