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New home cinema prewiring and setup - do I need a professional?

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Hi guys, I’m about 3 weeks away from prewiring the theatre room in our new renovation and would love your advice. I’m pretty confident with wiring and have installed my old cinema by crawling around in the roof but this time it’s at frame stage and I really want to get it 100% right. I’ve had the builder get sound insulation for the walls and we are installing 2 layers of sound check plaster in here. I’m going for a 7.1.4 Atmos setup. The room we s 6.5m long and 3.2m wide.

 

The equipment I have is

 

Vision:

Samsung KS8000 4K TV to be mounted on the wall

Epson TW9300

120” Elegance 2.35:1 motorized tab tension screen ( the projector screen will drop down in front of the TV screen)

 

Speakers:

Fronts: Martin Logan Motion 40s

Center: Martin Logan Motion 30

Sub: Martin Logan Dynamo 1000

L/R surrounds: Martin Logan FX

Rear surrounds: Martin Logan EM IW (in wall)

Atmos In ceilings: 4 x Krix Atmospherix AS

 

 

Amps and AV equip:

Yamaha Avantage 3070

2 ch Power amp Rotel 1582 mk I (for fl and fr speakers)

Oppo UDP 203

Project essentials turntable

Amazon fire TV 4K

Google Chrome cast ultra 4K

Google Home Assistants throughout the house

 

 

Wiring I have purchased:

2x 4K 18gb/sec 20 meter fibre optic cable

200m in wall fire rated 12 AWG speaker cable

 

 

My questions are:

 

- I would like to have multi room audio, would I just wire extra cable to the Yamaha and do a long run to speakers in other rooms (20m) or would I need to get another Yamaha amp for other rooms? Or Sonos? Does Sonos talk with Yamaha?

 

- how many other ethernet ports should I get in this room?

 

- should I buy the custom speaker installation brackets for the ceiling and walls or make the out of cardboard. These are the ones that the plasterers can see where the speakers go.

 

- I’ve heard that you need to keep av cables (speaker and HDMI) away from power cables in the wall. How far away do they need to be not to cause interference?

 

- even though I’ve only got 1 sub should I wire for another one? Where should I put it.

 

- I want to put my hdmi cables through conduit in the wall or under the floor so I can replace them later if needed. Anyone done this? Any tips?

 

- I’ve got AV wall plates from selby for the speakers but I’ve heard that a hdmi wall plate will make the 4K hdmi not work as well. I think I’ll go with a port that allows the hdmi direct connection? Good idea?

 

- how do I wire the speaker cable so it will be easily accessible after plaster is on?

 

- would I be better off paying a professional to do this?

 

- any tips on anything I’ve missed?

 

33826a4412eb3f042d3f59e54db81d26.png

 

 

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I would talk to one of the professional AV installation mobs around Melbourne Paul, for sure. This is a significant investment and you need to do it right. They might also have some great suggestions about hat else to incorporate, alternative products, futureproofing and so on. They will also help with what you might be missing as they will have vast previous experience with other clients etc. They will help with room acoustics, maybe lighting, all sorts of stuff.

 

Once you have good rapport going with a given mob, then keep the discussion going and eventually all of your questions will become clear in your head as only you know what you do or don't want/need. It will take time to be clear but I think starting the conversation with a professional AV/Audio company/installers is the only way to go in your scenario.

 

When you weight all of that up, I think it would be false economy to try and do your own thing for a project of this size. Paying money only hurts for a little while, you will enjoy the end product for decades. Just my opinion.

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Sounds like a good idea Darren. It’s a case of I don’t know what I’ll miss out on if I go it alone. Happy for any recommendations from anyone who has employed a good installation crew?

 

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Guest guru

Your plan doesn't give enough information as to what the roof structure/ cavity space will be above the room so determinations of what may be required are hard to make regarding access and controls. There are at least 10 questions I would ask as an installer if I was looking at the job without even getting down to small details. Significant costs could be made in terms of noise abatement or funds redirected into significant variations that would lead to improved performance. Cable runnering as you have done before is one thing but getting this to be a high performance system is going to require significantly more input than the questions you have asked.

i used to do this type of installation as a job for quite a few years so I know a thing or 2 about what you are after.

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The ceilings are 2.7m high with a 300mm cavity in the roof. Double layer plaster with sound proofing insulation in walls and ceiling. Here is what it’s like today..

Any installer recommendations?

3c20bf6582f1a99a314b67038690f388.jpg
9391ebc7f994e1aefb3b39acfcd14222.jpg

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I am in NE NSW sorry.

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I like those rafters, solid as.

 

The side surrounds should probably be further forward shouldn't they? I'd hang it on the rack door at a minimum.

 

Any chance you can move that door at the front closer to the stairs? That's a rubbish spot for it, doesn't give you much space at the front

 

That's quite an investment in gear....if I were you I'd drop a couple of grand on a professional layout - Shawn Byrne does one.....you wont get it done in time for wiring though.....

 

 

 

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Had a call from Universal Home Theatre Melbourne today. They will do speaker placement and pre-wire for $880. I reckon that sounds ok? Anyone used them?

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Ive never heard of them but im in NSW.

price sounds very reasonable.

 

Just a side note; Im running similar equipment in a similar sized room.

 

I would recommend ceiling mounting the projector closer to the screen.

Around 4.5m from the screen would produce a brighter image and still leave plenty of zoom for adjustment.

 

Also, have you thought about running all of your "ground" speakers off the avr and running the atmos of the external amp? (you will need a 4 channel external amp).

By wiring this way, you can by wire and bi amp your front mains.

Also, you will have all the "ground" speakers running off the same amp/s producing the same warm yamaha sound.

Having the fronts on a different external amp may make them sound a bit different to the centre channel and the rest of the speakers.

 

Im running an emotiva 5 channel amp, just for my atmospherix, they're great speakers.

 

Cheers.

 

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How you are progressing with installation mate?

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All good. Had heaps of advice from professionals and have already bought all the cables and speakers required so will do it myself. I’ll use the money saved on installers for another Yamaha amp in another room to do music cast.

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On 17/07/2018 at 12:57 PM, HDobsession said:

All good. Had heaps of advice from professionals and have already bought all the cables and speakers required so will do it myself. I’ll use the money saved on installers for another Yamaha amp in another room to do music cast.

If the other room is for music it's better to go with 2ch integrated amp or 2ch receiver.

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36a56856568351ec4180501b77582c27.jpg
Marking out speaker location, photos, measurements for plasterer.

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Marking on the floor exactly where speakers are going overhead.
a252754a100402200942b01670932d92.jpg

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Sorry if I'm off the mark here or missed something only had a quick squiz.

Pre wiring is easy enough to do your self. You will need a drill and a 25mm 3tip timber hole cutter. Irwin makes a good one and can be bought from bunnings.
Do your wiring after the electrical has been so you can avoid his wiring paths. He will more likely take the best routes. If you need to cross his wires do it at 90 degrees to his like a cross. I made little wood bridges as well to make sure they never touch. Only punch holes in the studs or the cross member at the top between the studs. Try to keep all your wiring together and branch out from there. Leave plenty of cable length at each end. Use different colored tape at each end so you can Identify its location later. For example I used red for Front Right, white for front left. White and black for for left surround. White, black yellow for rear left surround. For atmos front left white, black and blue and rear left surround white, black blue and yellow etc. Do this at both ends. It will save you heard ache later.
Pull you cable through from the reel and cut it to length when your sure you have enough.
Use rough in plates everywhere you will have a wire come through the wall. Mark on the concrete with builders crayon exact locations with lines and height measurements. Measure everything with a tape measure and take a photo of it with tape measure numbers visible. Take photos of the floor and everything. It could help you later. When plaster goes up see if you can cut the rough in holes. You can have your knife run around the inside of it. Also make sure you staple the end of the cable right near the rough in place so you dont have to fish for it later with a coat hanger. If you have to cut holes later after hand over make sure you put stickers on the kick boards around the room for each location then all you have to do is measure up and cut.
With a house with flat roof like yours make sure you prewire every wire and even add in future speaker locations. Nothing worse then having to run cable later. Hope this helps.

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Also make sure your in ceiling soeakers are not to close to walls and not to far off axis. Better to have them too close together than to far away and on top of your surrounds. Otherwise you loose the effect of the Atmos speakers.
You will need to add a lot of sound treatment to the room later. A couple of wedges wont cut it. You will need a custom paneling or even some curtains. Them back corners will be a nightmare if left untouched. Also wooly rug for in between the MLP and the screen will help a lot. My wife bought us a rug for our living room and I hated it so I put in the theater and it made a huge difference to first reflections from the floor. As for the sound proofing you have done well. Any more and it costs too much and you loose room space.

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Brilliant! That advice is gold. I’ll be definitely doing the color coded wiring. We will have carpet in the room and some blue clout curtains st the back. I’ve followed the Dolby atmos 7.1.4 locations from their site. I’ll wire for extra sub woofer at a later date too.

Yep, I’m waiting for the sparky to do his run first then I’ll avoid his wires. I like your advice about 90degree angles over the wire if I have to.

Thanks so much for your advice. I’ll take more photos ehh measuring tapes and write locations on the floor. Nothing better than being absolutely sure when it comes to cutting holes in celings!

Cheers!

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Do you reckon the atmos ceiling speakers need to go 1 space closer?
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Moderator
1 hour ago, HDobsession said:

Do you reckon the atmos ceiling speakers need to go 1 space closer?

if you look at the dolby template you will see the heights line up with the fronts. the heights here look like jammed in the corner ?

 

should be more forward. if look at the template again you will see they fill the space between sides and rears. 

 

you havent posted a full plan showing seating or speakers in reference to the room so very hard to comment. the post have seen is the one in the original post, and we are none the wiser to know if things changed since then ? the drawing in the original post doesnt show seating ? but if it were aligned with the side speakers in the original drawing it looks too far back,

 

a good rule of thumb i have yet too find not work, and instead works very well both audio and video wise is the rule of 1/3rds

 

so depending on the room length. put main seating at 2/3rd room length. put side speakers either side. and you will then find 1/3rd of the room behind you to perfectly accomodate a full 7.1 setup and height speakers around with plenty of room to breathe.

 

as it is looking at the initial drawing if still going for that it all looks jammed up the rear of the room. which wont do things any favours. 

 

will end up needing larger screen pushing further projector needs, and compromising things audio wise with speakers all on top of each other which is what appears in the drawing you have and if still working to that...  

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That’s heaps for the advice. I see what you mean and I moved the rear ceiling atmos forward. The seating position is about where the orange conduit is. The side surrounds are on wall so I can move them forward or back if needed. What do you think of the positioning of this now?
339a29b1c3da8bcc291d0ec274aad8ba.jpg

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in ceiling looks much better placed. the side looks cramped and pushed back if ask me. I would have it more where the orange conduit is and along side the couch

 

but hard to say you havent provided an plan showing speakers and seating as plan to have it. is your couch with main listening position at 2/3d depth or still pushed up back ? 

 

as mentioned I would place the couch with main listening position at 2/3rd room length and work from there with sides either side of couch. and from there rest will find plenty of room to work pretty well :)

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a7d4153783d7fb960970a32c0eda8361.png

That sounds good, room is 6.78m long, my seating is at 4.5 m. It’s not a very wide room unfortunately 3.25m.

Thanks so much for your advice.

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2 minutes ago, HDobsession said:

a7d4153783d7fb960970a32c0eda8361.png

That sounds good, room is 6.78m long, my seating is at 4.5 m. It’s not a very wide room unfortunately 3.25m.

Thanks so much for your advice.

yep seating at 4.5 will be good. wow 3.25m is narrow !

 

I suspect  you will then be width constrained in which case I am suprised you are going a 2.35:1 screen as per original post, and would have thought be going a 16:9 screen instead ? 

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Sorry to say but it looks a little bit unprofessional. My advise don't cut, drill, notch any timber framing without very clear approval from builder or engineer. The framing doesn't look over engineered , it probably only comply with minimum Australian standards AS1684. There is missing ceiling joist, is the pine even treated to H2? Hopefully there are not many termites in your neighborhood. 

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