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Adding a Media Room to Your Home

A media room can be a great addition to your home. It can give you and your family a place to escape from the stresses and demands of the world, where you can enjoy a movie or some good music without any outside distractions.

Where to Put the Room?

The best room shape for a media room is rectangular, with a flat ceiling no higher than 12 feet. Rooms of other shapes (including square) can bounce the sound waves around unevenly. Also strive for an enclosed space. Open entrances without doors can allow the sound waves to escape and let outside noises in. Basements work very well as media rooms.

Standing Waves

This is a phenomenon that you need to try to avoid. This occurs in rooms with parallel walls and no sounds absorbing materials. This causes the sounds to bounce back the way they came, in effect canceling each other out. Also, since sounds are at different frequencies, this can cause the sound to have too much bass or be too tinny. The wall surfaces should be used to enrich the sound.

Walls

The easiest way to properly use the walls to accentuate the sound is to cover the walls with open cell polyurethane acoustic foam panels that are at least three inches thick. These will have pyramid shapes extending out that will scatter and absorb sound waves. These are the types of panels you will see in professional sound booths. Another option is to use compressed fiberglass panels that are at least two inches thick. A silicon-based caulk can be used to attach the panels permanently to the walls. If you don’t like the look of the acoustic walls, floor to ceiling curtains will give the room more of a movie theatre look and will absorb more sound.

Ceiling

The ceiling will also need to be covered with sound absorbing material. These come in squares and are made of melamine foam. All you need to do is stick them to the ceiling, and then decorate them the way you would like. Avoid coloring them in bright colors, however, because they will reflect light from a video screen. Dark tiles will absorb the light just like the walls will absorb the sound.

Floor

Select a dense carpet and install it on top of a thick pad. This will help to absorb sound and improve comfort. Stain resistant carpeting is also a big plus. Just like the ceiling tiles, choose a dark color to void reflections from the video screen.

Windows

If possible, avoid windows in this room. This is the one room of the house where windows are a disadvantage. Light from the outside can distract from your experience, and glass will reflect the sound waves. If the room has windows, double cover the windows. Use a shade or blind to keep all light out, and then use a heavy curtain to help absorb the sound waves.

Lighting

Bright light is not necessary in this room, and it can actually be a distraction. Subtle light works best. The lights should be placed so they do not reflect on the video screen. You could point track lights toward the ceiling and walls so the bounced light can diffuse throughout the room. Lights can also be directed at the floor similar to a movie theatre. Dimmer switches should be used so you can dim the lights to watch a movie but still be able to walk around.

Components

After going through all this work, do not skimp on the monitor. Flat screen monitors have become more affordable than ever before. However to get that true movie theatre feel, you should look seriously into getting a HD projector. Not one of those found at the office supply store, or a low end projector, but one designed for the home media rooms. Usually starting around $2500 and up these projectors will supply higher resolution and closer to film like quality than a flat screen monitor.

And don’t forget the sound, sound is what whats a movie, ensure that the amplifier is powerful enough to fill the room with sound. You definitely want to get a universal remote to control all the components. Some controllers can even control the lighting. When placing the speakers, set up a surround sound system so the users can feel the impact of the sound. Usually there will be a center speaker mounted above the monitor. Also, there will be two additional front speakers on either side of the monitor, two middle speakers on the side of the room, and two rear speakers at the rear of the room. Also avoid hanging any glass frames, mirrors, or metal objects on the walls, as this can reflect the sound waves.

If you want to be “wowed” and live in or around the San Antonio Texas area, check out Bjorn’s Ultimate Media Room.  Chris Case (Bjorn’s Custom Design & Install Div.   210-828-3237 ) would be happy to answer any of your audio/video questions.

Bjorn’s and A.C. T. Services would be thrilled to have the opportunity to show you the best choices for creating a media room in order to make your home the envy of your friends. We can put our over 31 years of experience to work in making your media room into the family center that you have always wanted. We will make the media room match your personality, as well as your personal tastes. Most of all, you are the most important member of our remodeling team.

Gary Harris


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