In the last issue we covered the construction of a totally independent ?Room Within A Room? home theater. Construction methods were addressed starting with the installation of a floating floor system to resiliently support and decouple the theater room from the rest of the house. We also talked about the isolation of vertical walls, resiliently suspending ceilings and the use of inline HVAC duct silencers for supply and return air ducts.
This issue we will cover different methods of acoustically treating the interior of your home theater / media room.
Your new A/V gear is installed and it sounds much better than the old gear you use to refer to as ?your surround system?. The problem is, the room seems much too harsh referred to as live. With a little pre-construction planning you can end up with a theater room that will take anything you throw at it in terms of acoustic energy / high volume. Remember to hear the quietest details of a whisper or the high impact power of a shuttle launch, the room must be properly acoustically treated.
Acoustical treatments typically consist of three types of surfaces, absorptive, diffusive and reflective. When treating a home theater it requires the right mixture of all three being careful not to over absorb or what we refer to as ?killing the room?.
For rooms that require treatment after the construction stage is complete (furniture is in and the equipment is up and running) we use a pre designed ?Acoustical Kit?.
The ?Acoustical Kit? consists of low frequency bass absorption panels for the corners of the room, absorption panels for the front wall around the screen, absorption designer panels for side walls and diffuser panels for the rear wall. After picking from twelve designs, the side wall designer panels are strategically placed to absorb harsh side wall reflections generated from the left and right channel speakers. The rear wall diffuser panels are positioned to break up harsh reflections without sound absorption. The surrounding painted drywall surface areas are kept as reflective surfaces.
Early stage planning allows the theater room to be outfitted with an acoustical interior treatment designed with the home owner?s personal tastes in mind. These projects are normally outfitted with 100% wall coverage treatments. While 100% wall coverage panels have the same face appearance they are designed to either absorb, diffuse or reflect sound.
100% wall coverage projects can also incorporate millwork speaker cabinets, columns and crown moldings.
The third treatment option is a fabric stretch system. This is popular for use on projects when the home owner or interior designer wants to span great distances without any seams. Our fabric stretch system is a ?total field build up system?. All materials such as stretch track, acoustical core (absorptive, diffusive and reflective) are shipped directly to the home theater site where factory trained installers are dispatched. They arrive after all drywall, wiring and painting work is completed. The track is installed, the acoustical core is installed and then the fabric is knifed into the track.
100% treatment or fabric stretch installations both require a little more planning, design and layout time. We provide both acoustical and aesthetic design help. For extremely complex projects we can recommend an acoustical consultant that specializes in home theater design. All three treatment types can be provided with a wide range of factory approved fabrics.
Whichever treatment type is selected, your high end Audio / Video Dealer or electronic equipment provider can provide these products and services. If not, contact your favorite Manufacture directly.
Larry Holben is the Vice President of Retail Sales for Kinetics Noise Control located in Dublin, Ohio. KNC is a 49 year old privately held company specializing in the control of noise and vibration for commercial and residential projects. For information about any products used, contact the factory. www.kineticshometheater.com