Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a home theater buff. It’s in my blood, but I also used to review home theater speakers, receivers, and other A/V products for a living. In the past, I built home theaters for myself and others with only minimal tools. Now that I own and operate Pro Tool Reviews, I have access to the tools that make building a home theater a much simpler proposition. This article will give you a checklist on how to build a home theater with hidden speakers. If you’re going to do it, I think you should do it right—and that means putting your speakers behind the projector screen.
Step 1 – The Room Matters
Before you can do anything, you need to consider the room. If I teach you how to build a home theater and you think you can do it in a 9 x 9 room with 8-foot ceilings I haven’t done you much good. It’s not that you can’t enjoy a good movie in a small room, but I would never suggest spending excessive money where it’s not needed.
If your room is closed off from the rest of the house—excellent. If not, then set the “boundaries” for the space you’ll use for your home theater. A dedicated room always works best, but you can certainly design a home theater around a shared space. Having a dedicated room with a door allows you to pressurize the room with a subwoofer and get better overall sound by not having to deal with objects and architectural features not related to the home theater.
Take a look at a quick overview of the steps you can expect to take to build a home theater with hidden speakers:
- Step 1 – Consider the Room (The Room Matters)
- Step 2 – Plan the Layout
- Step 3 – Build the Plan (Framing and Insulating)
- Step 4 – Pre-wire Your Gear
- Step 5 – Install Your Speakers
- Step 6 – Dry It In (Install Drywall)
- Step 7 – Paint & Carpet
- Step 8 – Trim and Decorate
- Step 9 – Install Your Seating
- Step 10 – Calibrate and Enjoy!
Step 2 – Plan the Layout
Once you know your room and your space, begin planning your layout. This includes deciding how to run your speaker wire, HDMI, lighting, and network cables to ensure everything you need gets placed correctly. For tips on setting your speaker positions, check out an article I wrote over at Audiogurus titled Speaker Placement Guidelines and Tips.
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