Home Theatres

Home Theatre and Acoustic Design

A Home theatre room can be designed as a basic television room or a full dedicated home theatre with surround sound and theatre seating or anything in between.  Before starting to plan your home entertainment area, you need to determine exactly what you want to achieve.  Is it a relaxing area for casual watching of television and gaming?  Is it an area for listening to music along with watching movies?  Or do you want the full movie experience?  Then, what is the budget available for the home theatre?

Designed properly, the sound quality will be well balanced throughout the room. Echo, reverberation and standing sound waves will need to be taken care of in the home theatre room.  There is a multitude of acoustic concerns and careful consideration needs to be given to the correct amount of sound absorption with some reflection and diffusion. Then, the area needs to be aesthetically pleasing and a with a visual beauty which does not interfere with watching movies.

Acoustic Design Strategies

Audio systems to perform at their best, it is essential for the room to have acoustic treatment which effectively controls the sound.

To start, it is best to make a basic sketch of the space you are working with and determine a layout for the area. In your home theater design take into consideration the room use, importance, and performance of the home theatre system, type of audio/ video equipment, lighting and some storage needs.  Many things in a home theatre are interdependent.  The choice and kind of equipment affect the layout of the room; the type, amount and location of the acoustic treatment; the type of seating and carpeting.  All elements need to be considered in the planning stage. Obtaining a general idea of how sound innately will respond in your circumstance will be of great help in the planning of the home theatre.

All materials have an effect on the sound quality of the room.  Some absorb a high percentage while others reflect more sound. Softer materials, like fiberglass insulation, upholstery, are less dense and will absorb more sound waves while material like gypsum board and concrete block are denser and will reflect more sound while glass is the most reflective as it is very dense and shiny.

Sound Proofing

Prior to planning the acoustic room treatment for your home theatre, you will need to provide good sound control isolation so the sound does not transfer throughout the home and so sounds from the house are not heard in the home theatre room.  Careful attention needs to be given to stopping the

sound from passing through the walls and through the ceiling by providing solid hard surfaces with no air leaks.  Also, sound vibration needs to be addressed with appropriate structural construction design.

Acoustic Panels and Stretch Fabric Treatment System

After the structural considerations are taken care of, then the room interior can be designed.  The amount of acoustic treatment to be installed in the room is affected by the room’s size and shape and the location of the speakers.  A combination of ceiling and wall sound absorbing treatment, some reflection points and areas to scatter sound will need to be located in order to achieve the proper quality of sound and value for your speakers.

Acoustical products are designed to absorb sound emanating from the source and depending upon their design, they will control different types of sound frequencies. When sound waves come into contact with a surface it will be absorbed or reflected and the amount of each and at what frequencies will depend on the type of material.

In a home theatre with a carpeted floor, approximately 60 – 70 % of the wall and ceiling surfaces need to be covered with sound absorbing material; the balance to be for diffusion and reflection of sound.  The ceiling, side walls, and the back wall need to be treated in order to achieve clarity of sound and the control of unwanted sounds.

Acoustic panels are the most common products used to address echo and reverberation problems in home theaters.  Panels are effective at mitigating sound reflection issues and they contribute nicely to a cost-effective strategy. The acoustic wall panels in a home theatre are designed in a variety of types from standard rigid fiberglass covered with fabric, fiberglass panels with a scattering board under the fabric and bass traps which absorb low-frequency sound.  Acoustic wall and ceiling panels come in a standard 2’ x 4’ or 4’ x 4’ sizes or a variety of designer styles and shapes.

Alternatively, theme home theatres often use stretch wall system installation which allows for a different type of visual beauty and design of the room.   With our Griptex PVC track system, the fabric is stretched over the acoustic material to provide a neatly tailored finish which is custom fit to the wall size and shape.  Griptex PVC track system, extensively used in the commercial industry for many years, adapts easily to home theatres providing visual interest lines where desired.  The decorative wall layout can be a smooth finished wall surface; have different widths of long horizontal lines; have curved shapes or other creatively arrange graphic designs.  As seen our dedicated home theatre blog.  This stretch fabric system covers easily over the variety of sound absorbing material used on the walls.

For more information for Home Theatre Acoustic, please contact us.