Bencorn's Apartment Home Theater

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
Living in an apartment has provided a significant amount of struggles in making this home theater. I'd really like to change the color of the walls and ceiling and I'd also like to attach the pulldown screen to the wall, and attach the projector to the ceiling but no dice until I have a house. So I had to get a little creative in trying to get it setup without involving any alterations to the apartment itself.

The Equipment:
Main Computer
Cooler Master Stacker 810
Intel E6600
4gb ram
EVGA 8800GTS 640mb
64bit Vista Business
4TB storage on 2 raid 5 arrays


HTPC
Antec NSK2400
AMD X2 5000+
2gb ram
EVGA 8600GS
32bit XP
300gb drive for OS and programs and what not
Runs XBMC currently
Logitech MediaBoard for input right now, trying to get my remote to work

Audio/Video
Streem HT-808 surround sound consisting of 2 towers, a center, and 2 bookshelf speakers
JBL 12” woofer for the lows
Old pioneer receiver to send the 5.1
Panasonic 720p projector
106” GrayWolf pull down screen
42” HP 720p plasma


The main computer stores all the music/video and then streams it to the HTPC. The HTPC then shows a 720p image on the projector as well as the bedroom plasma. Audio for the projector is run through optical to the receiver and then out to the Streem surround. The audio is also sent through a stereo plug to the tv in the bedroom. I would like to upgrade that to optical and put a Logitech z 5500 in there but this works for the time being. The couch is a full U sectional that I got off a street corner. It was in pretty bad shape but after removing the stained slip cover and making a new suede slip cover it looks great and I just had to invest $80 in fabric. I don't have any progress pics because I didn't think of doing it while I was setting everything up. Living room is pretty cluttered right now but I wanted to get some pictures put up of the whole setup.



Front Stage in the dark with the a kitchen counter lamp on for the background lighting


Front Stage with the lights on and the speaker covers removed


The rear of the room showing the projector mounted on a bookshelf and the two rear surround speakers on custom built stands. The fabric hanging near the window is a blackout curtain that I have with grommets in it so I can hang it up quickly during the day to improve projector performance but I can take down easily for wife approval. If it was a bachelor pad, all 3 windows would be blacked out completely 24/7 but gotta keep the lady happy.


Represent the Iowa State Pride and a painting that I got for my wife's birthday.


The Panasonic projector up close


Streem speakers with the front port on the towers


Close up of the tower with the cover on


Close up of the tower with the cover off


Bedroom Plasma setup


Close up of the center console. I really want to get a new stand for my equipment that is lower and wider than the one I have now. Need to hit up ikea again and see what I can find.


HTPC installed


The Main System


Desk currently setup in the rear corner of the living room. Makes a nice seat to watch a movie while browsing the forums


Front panel removed


Front Panel waiting to get painted


Front Panel getting its first couple coats of paint

Once I get a dedicated space that I can do what I want with I would really love to get the walls and ceiling painted in a nice deep red color and have a little more space to spread everything out. I'd also like to upgrade the projector to a Sony SXRD 1080p projector and increase the screen size to about 120" and have a fixed mount instead of a pull down. I would also like to be able to ceiling mount the projector and wall mount the rear speakers. Having a better equipment rack and hiding all the wiring is also a high priority for a future space. Feel free to make comments and ask questions. Any advice you may have about arrangements, equipment, or things to change would be great too. Thanks for looking.
 
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Verge

[H]ardness Supreme
Joined
May 27, 2001
Messages
6,386
Why mount your projector like that. Didn't you have to keystone it to get the picture square?
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
I barely had to keystone it, I think one notch on the horizontal was all. The projector was designed to be used either from the ceiling upside down or from a coffee table so the lens naturally aims upward (or downward when ceiling mounted). So to get the image to go forward, I had to angle it downward. I was pretty confused when I set it up the first time but that's just how it was built. It looks kinda awkward cause it is actually aimed at the floor in front of the couch but the image shows up perfectly on the screen with it like that and like I said I only had to keystone it a little because it is slightly off center but the vertical keystone is right.
 

Aku12

Gawd
Joined
Jun 19, 2002
Messages
642
can i come over and watch some movies?

I live just off south dakota.
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
Very random, I also live off of south dakota. Out in the fountainview area.
 

Aku12

Gawd
Joined
Jun 19, 2002
Messages
642
ah, i looked at fountainview, but went with another apartment from jensen when they were doing the 4 br deal about 2 blocks north of their offices on dickensen.

Either way, impressive set up. I have just under 3tb's of movies, i could bring some over haha.
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
Lol, no I just needed a cheap, temporary fix that didn't require me to put any nails or screws
in the wall. I would much rather have really dark curtains but I don't think I could hang a set
of the up with 3m easy off hooks. Plus I'm only going to be living here for like 6-8 months so I don't really want to put much work into it.
 

Adidas4275

[H]ardness Supreme
Joined
Mar 11, 2006
Messages
5,974
why are you running XP on a HTPC? W7 with media center has good H/A for GPUs and mediabrowser is on the the best HTPC apps ever!

you could be running XBMC, SageTV or mediaportal but i didnt see it....

what frontend are you using?
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
I'm using xbmc for right now but I plan on getting windows 7 at the end of the month because I've been hearing such amazing things about the media browser. I just don't want to instal it now and have to reinstall it again when it goes public on the 20th or whatever. Currently running the xp over vista because of resource usage. I had super slow ram in the htpc until about 2 weeks ago and vista just ran terribly on it. But with 7 just around the corner I don wanna install vista and then have
to reinstall 7 again right after I get everything set up again.
 

lord_farfig

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 3, 2004
Messages
1,410
The HTPC looks great painted black. I was going to ask where you found a black NSK2400/2480.

I have the Fusion, and I love it!

(Now I don't have to spend as much for my next HTPC! ;))
 

Adidas4275

[H]ardness Supreme
Joined
Mar 11, 2006
Messages
5,974
I'm using xbmc for right now but I plan on getting windows 7 at the end of the month because I've been hearing such amazing things about the media browser. I just don't want to instal it now and have to reinstall it again when it goes public on the 20th or whatever. Currently running the xp over vista because of resource usage. I had super slow ram in the htpc until about 2 weeks ago and vista just ran terribly on it. But with 7 just around the corner I don wanna install vista and then have
to reinstall 7 again right after I get everything set up again.


got it, i forget sometimes that not everyone on here purchased a technet sub...... its been nice to have W7 since august.

make sure you get W7 for cheap..... there are too many ways to get it at a good price to pay retail

newegg OEM is a good price also...
 

sondo2121

Gawd
Joined
Jan 31, 2008
Messages
606
Ben, you've changed your setup since the last time I was over...that was a long time ago. Looks nice :)
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
Yeah, when was the last time you saw it? The dorms sophomore year? Back in the 32inch tube tv days. It would be sweet to have this setup with the stadium couches that I had that year.
 

sondo2121

Gawd
Joined
Jan 31, 2008
Messages
606
I think it was in the apt you had by Thumbs...but I do remember that dorm setup you had..
 

Verge

[H]ardness Supreme
Joined
May 27, 2001
Messages
6,386
I barely had to keystone it, I think one notch on the horizontal was all. The projector was designed to be used either from the ceiling upside down or from a coffee table so the lens naturally aims upward (or downward when ceiling mounted). So to get the image to go forward, I had to angle it downward. I was pretty confused when I set it up the first time but that's just how it was built. It looks kinda awkward cause it is actually aimed at the floor in front of the couch but the image shows up perfectly on the screen with it like that and like I said I only had to keystone it a little because it is slightly off center but the vertical keystone is right.

Not sure how, with some geometry knowledge you can tell how non-perpendicular the screen is.


They make projector wall mounts with 90 degree bends in them... You really want it perpendicular to the screen as much as possible.
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
Can't mount anything to the walls or ceilings unfortunately. I have to mount it on something else. I may have to try getting a lower shelf unit to mount it onto because I went back into the settings and move the screen around a bit more but found out that the angle of the projector is why I'm getting the light over-spray at the bottom of the screen. The projector will fit in the shelves but it over heats pretty quickly then, but I could try putting it down there and putting like a desk fan or something in there with it to help push the heat away. I'll have to try some other arrangements and see if I can get it lowered a a bit more or mounted in a better way.
 

BigDH01

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 9, 2003
Messages
452
ah, i looked at fountainview, but went with another apartment from jensen when they were doing the 4 br deal about 2 blocks north of their offices on dickensen.

Either way, impressive set up. I have just under 3tb's of movies, i could bring some over haha.
Haha, I live a few blocks north of downtown on Douglas. There must be a lot of Iowa Staters on this board.
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
It does seem like there are quite a few that are popping up. I was really surprised at the amount that commented in here.
 

Zachstar

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Messages
1,407
I really like how "cozy" the setup is. It really seems like a nice comfortable place to just sit down and watch TV or a light movie with.

Its one of the things that seems to be lacking in many setups including mine these days. Its lacks that "feel" of the old days. Friends over. Watching tv and all that.
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
It was a bit more than just cozy when I took those pictures. I need to get some new ones taken because it looks a lot neater now and I've got a new stand for my equipment. Just haven't gotten around to taking the pictures yet.
 

kdizzle

n00b
Joined
Dec 7, 2004
Messages
28
Iowa state alum here, class of '05.

Seeing this setup made me realize the underutilized potential of all those apts I had in Ames.

Very nice and go Cyclones!
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
Acer Aspire Revo computer added to the plasma to do my media streaming in the bedroom. New table up front to hold all the equipment, and as soon as I sell the surround sound system, a new surround sound system will be on it's way. I love this stuff.
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
Acer aspire sold, plasma sold, speakers sold, upgraded speakers and receiver, moved 900 miles, projector burned out, upgraded to a new projector, new furniture. Bascially a whole new setup in the past month or so. I know.... pics or it didn't happen. Will get them posted later today. In the meantime, here's some pictures I found from old setups.



My dorm room in college about 4 years ago. I had my old surround sound system and a 32" tube tv. That is my friend still passed out on the couch from the night before. Couldn't find a picture of the front of the setup though.

Move a year forward and my room mate and I had the same surround sound systems and 2 tv's set up on the same wall. Made it great when there were 2 college football games on to watch both.


 
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bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
Here we go, only thing that didn't change is the HTPC and the wiring.

New equipment:
Polk Lsi9 Fronts
Polk LsiC
Polk LsiF/X
Pioneer VSX-72TXV Receiver
Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 8100 Projector
Ikea Lack TV stand for both the equipment rack and the coffee table

Now.........on with the pics.


The rats nest I started with.



After organizing it a bit


Old projector sitting on the newly unboxed projector.



Fanart showing with dining room light on. Camera caused a flare on the middle of the screen, doesn't look that washed out normally. You can see my desk setup behind the couch so I can work and enjoy the movies at the same time.


Underwater scene with lights off but light coming through the side window.


Scene at night with the lights off as viewed from the dining room.


My view from the couch, my feet to prove it.


Lights on equipment rack. I know it isn't centered to the screen, I had to get in the side closet the day before and I forgot the move the rack and left speaker back over.


Little bit closer in on the main rack. Showing the receiver, LSiC, XBMC PC, internet modem, cablebox, and a dvd binder to help balance the appearance of the rack. I'm kinda ocd and wanted 3 things on each shelf.


Receiver being sexy and shiny.


Another Rack Shot


The rear speakers perched on the computer desk peaking over the back of the couch. They sound really good despite being about a foot lower than recommended.


Rears with the flash on.

Comments? Suggestions?
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
Oh, this is in a rented apartment so I can't paint the walls or ceiling despite my strong desire to do so.
 

mrbrad

n00b
Joined
May 26, 2010
Messages
24
I totally dig the look of the rears. Have been looking for something similar for my own setup (similar type of layout with work table behind couch). Any suggestions on something similar (those are definitely out of my price range, something cheaper)? I use black Monitor 70s as my fronts, CS2 as center, and currently have 30s for surrounds.
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
If you like the bipole/dipole type rears you could look at the polk RTi rears. They are similarly designed and sound very good as well. Both models are about half the price of the Lsi series rears. The used market on these is really good too if you want to check around on craigslist and such. I got all 5 LSi speakers for 800 used. Plus someone else already broke them in for me which made it even better.
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
Projector and both rear speakers have been moved up onto the plant ledge above the kitching/dining room area. This puts the rear speakers about 9-10 feet off the ground, about 6 feet above the listening position but they are far enough back and have a wide enough dispersion that they don't sound out of place. I thought I'd have to angle them downward but they sound great as they are. I may try tilting them downward the next time I climb up there to clean the filter and leave them tilted for a while to see which I like more. This makes the appearance of the rear setup look much cleaner and it allowed me to move my desk (which was acting like the rear speaker stands) to a different wall which opened the room up to the dining area so you can watch movies from there as well.
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
Recently talked the wife into letting me get rid of the mirrors on the side wall near the screen and replace them with some canvas artwork. Light reflection has been reduced a fair amount. Still wish I could paint the walls though, don't think the apartment would appreciate that much though.
 

criccio

Fully Equipped
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
12,647
Its a shame about all the white wall so close to the sides of the screen. That is reflecting so much light it would drive me insane.
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
Its a shame about all the white wall so close to the sides of the screen. That is reflecting so much light it would drive me insane.
Yea it's pretty bad. The photos make it look slightly worse than it is in person but it is still really bad in person too. The details in blacks get washed out. The left wall is bad but the right wall is actually worse. That edge on the right side isn't a hallway, it is a 45 degree wall that pretty much reflects all light back onto the screen. The layout of this apartment is horrible for the PJ setup but I couldn't go back to a smaller size so I just deal with it for now. I don't think the wife would approve of it otherwise I would just hang some dark fabric on the walls to keep it from reflecting.
 

Zachstar

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Messages
1,407
Yea it's pretty bad. The photos make it look slightly worse than it is in person but it is still really bad in person too. The details in blacks get washed out. The left wall is bad but the right wall is actually worse. That edge on the right side isn't a hallway, it is a 45 degree wall that pretty much reflects all light back onto the screen. The layout of this apartment is horrible for the PJ setup but I couldn't go back to a smaller size so I just deal with it for now. I don't think the wife would approve of it otherwise I would just hang some dark fabric on the walls to keep it from reflecting.
That is what I was thinking. Isnt there some quick way to deploy dark fabric around just in times for running the PJ?

Perhaps some hooks where you can loop a ring through fabric and quickly take it down and put it up.
 

bencorn

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
230
That is what I was thinking. Isnt there some quick way to deploy dark fabric around just in times for running the PJ?

Perhaps some hooks where you can loop a ring through fabric and quickly take it down and put it up.
That could work, but the projector is our primary video display so it gets every day. I actually don't own a tv. So the fabric would basically be up permanently and I don't think I should push the WAF that far. Plus it looks VASTLY better than the projector we had there in it's place before so I shouldn't complain. I've honestly never seen the full potential of this projector because my living room is the only place I've seen it in person. I just know that it COULD be better, but since I've never seen it better I don't really know what I'm missing which makes it easier to tolerate. Ignorance and bliss and whatnot.
 
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