Converting a space into a complete home theater takes planning and the right equipment, but the added value and the enjoyment factor make it well worth it. Whether you’re adding one to your own home, building one for a client, or presenting one as an option for a client, bringing the movie theater experience into a home can really work in your favor.

Space is the ultimate starting point. You have to define the space you have to work with. If you think of most any theater you’ve ever been in, the space is never square, or even rectangular. A home theater can start out this way, but it will take on a wedge shape as you progress through the building process. Since this is a home theater, the room will be as acoustically perfect as possible, while at the same time, keeping the sound from the system contained. Just because you want to get the full effect from watching Jurassic Park doesn’t mean you want to have your neighbors call the police with a noise complaint every time the T-rex makes an appearance.

Let’s have a look at a Sony home theater build that was put together in Austin, Texas, which may give you some ideas for your next home theater project.

The Walls

Property Wood Flooring Floor Hardwood

This project converted a garage into a theater space. It started with 2x6 construction and the walls were filled with Auralex Mineral Fiber insulation. Additionally, the walls were built with double layers of 5/8 sheetrock sandwiching Auralex SheetBlok material. SheetBlok is the same stuff they use when building music studios to help preserve sound quality in the room, but deaden the sound that escapes the room. The space was prewired with Audioquest 14/4 SLiP XTRM inwall speaker cable and HD6 Pear for the subwoofers. The speaker spacing was installed with KEF rough-in kits to ensure exact placement after drywall.

Theater lighting can be tricky because it can lead to sound leakage or fixtures that rattle. For the project, the builder used the American Lighting Verge series of in-wall extrusions with RGBW LED strips. The extrusions are less than 1/2-inch thick, which doesn’t affect sound quality. These strips go floor to ceiling wrapping the room in light and giving the user dimming control and color-changing options. American Lighting extrusions were used for step lighting to complete the look and feel of the space. Installation was a challenge, as the extrusions had to be cut into the sheetrock and extra care used for a clean look.

Property Interior design Floor Flooring Couch

The Screen

The core of the theater system by Kaleidescape and a Sony UPBX800M2 Blu-ray for the best possible picture and sound. A Screen Innovations 150-inch Zero Edge screen with Pure White Acoustically transparent material, illuminated by a Sony XW7000ES that kicks out 3,200 lumens of native 4K laser power, with Live Color processing, and an X1 Ultimate for Projector processing.

The Acoustics

To mount everything in a central control location, a Middle Atlantic SRSR series pullout rack was used. Support components include a Control4 with a Core processor, Arrakinis router, Wattbox power management, Roku for streaming and Eero to tie into the existing home network. The rack was wired with all Audioquest cables and a Sony STRAZ7000ES receiver pumping out 150 watts per channel was installed.

Black Wood Art Door Rectangle

This theater was built using a complete in-wall system with nine listener-level speakers, four height channels, and six subwoofers. A KEF THX Extreme Speaker package consisting of the CI5160 for the front stage, CI3160 for surround channels, and CI200RR for the overhead channels was used. The bass is extremely important, and for that purpose, six KEF Kube 12 subwoofers were used. This provided a massive wall of bass sound, which is managed in the room by having the risers custom built to serve as bass traps. Each riser was filled with mineral fiber and standard pink insulation, and then ported with four 8-inch ports cut into the front.

To perfect the sound quality and acoustics, all 13 speakers and the six subs were calibrated using the Digital Cinema Auto Calibration IX. This includes a stereo microphone and stand for measuring four points in the room and giving you a detailed, 3D sound mapping. Greg Carlson, a Sony sound engineer, completed final calibration.

The builder added Auralex 24x48x2 Pro panels for sound absorption, Metrofuser V2 panels for diffusion, and Sonolite bass traps. With gray-painted walls, the black panels added a nice aesthetic touch, making for a theater that is both acoustically amazing, and sharp looking. The room has a very live feel to the sound quality, yet outside the room, the sound is cut dramatically, achieving everything needed for a perfect home theater.

This theater's performance and style are unquestionably spectacular. It's quite an accomplishment and an exceptional example of the home-theater art!