If you’re a movie buff you’d probably be including a home theatre in your new home, however creating the ULTIMATE home theatre is more than just dedicating a room in your home to indulging in the latest blockbuster. There are three key elements involved in getting it right – audio, video and of course the room itself, all three are equally important and must be set up optimally and work in synergy together to create the perfect environment to completely immerse yourself in the cinematic experience.
In this series of articles we are going to talk about each element that combines to create the perfect home theatre, part one, the obvious place to start is the room itself and how this should be set up to create the perfect home theatre.
1.Ideal Location of Home Theatre
Ideally your Home Theatre should be located on the ground floor of your home. Solid structures are great transmitters of sound waves. You want to minimise this as much as possible and taking your home’s floor out of the equation as a sounding board is the best place to start.
2.Ideal Shape of Home Theatre Room
You’d generally think of a theatre as a rectangular shape and this is in fact the best shape for your home theatre room in case you’re considering an alternative just to be different.
Square rooms have a greater propensity for creating standing audio waves, and the elimination of these standing waves is partially what you will be trying to achieve by using sound-reduction applications. Standing sound waves distort the intended sound of an audio signal, and this distortion can run the gamut from being slightly annoying to making recorded dialogue practically unintelligible. Eliminating them as much as possible should be a main consideration in both the construction and the fit out of your home theatre.
3.Ideal Size of Home Theatre Room
Even if you’ll only ever be making popcorn for two, small rooms are not ideal for a home theatre as they accumulate longer low frequency waves, however more than just being large, the height to length to width ratio is paramount. If you don’t have a huge amount of space to allocate to your home theatre, the ‘golden ratio’ should be considered above floor area.
Most industry professionals consider the following as an ideal ratio for a home theatre room:
Ceiling Height = 8’ x Room Width 12’ x Room Length 20’
4.Architectural Elements of the Home Theatre
If you’ve ever visited a recording studio, one of the first things you might have noticed is the lack of parallel hard surfaces on the walls and ceilings and the use of soft fabrics and other materials to absorb sound. Windows will contribute to extraneous noise. Glass is a very acoustically reflective surface, so the less glass you have in your home theatre, the better. Tiered seating of course is the best way to ensure that everyone has a great view, but don’t start your tiers to close or extend them too far. According to the Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers, each seat should have a view of the entire screen that is within a 30 degree field of view. To figure this out multiply the length of the screen, multiply this by two to get the minimum distance from the screen and by 5 to get the maximum distance from the screen. Curved tiers are also better than straight tiers to ensure every audience member gets the best view.
Wall coverings should be chosen to contribute to the acoustic as well as the visual experience. Acoustic wall materials are available specifically for sound environments, and will not only improve the auditory experience for the movie-viewer but go a long way towards keeping the peace and quiet in the rest of the home. These should also be in darker tones, anything bright or detailed can reflect on the screen and distort the colours.
Carpet is the obvious and best choice for an ideal home theatre experience, a thick luxurious carpet will best absorb sound. Remember, standing sound waves occur between parallel hard surfaces, so the floor and ceiling are also culprits for distortion, had flooring is a definite no no.
If you’ve followed the above you should have achieved what is referred to as a ‘dead room’. A dead room is apparent to anyone who speaks or makes any sort of sound as it has absolutely no reverberation. Now that it is reverberation free it’s time to shop for furnishings and the best furnishings are specialised home theatre suites that can be joined and include space to accommodate drinks and food. Note: if you choose reclining suites ensure you leave sufficient space behind each tier.
Custom Homes highly recommends the range of quality home cinema seating from Stressless – see more at: www.ekornes.com.au/home-theatre
Stay Tune for Creating the Perfect Home Theatre Part 2 – Visual Equipment – coming soon.