Creating a system you love shouldn't be difficult. The Acoustic Frontiers blog is here to help.
If you are aiming for a "Individual Cinema Experience" then each seat should be as good as all the others in terms of audio and video performance. That is extremely hard to achieve. Even "No Bad Seats" is difficult to achieve. Why? Because you need to put seats away from walls and surround speakers. Seats too close to walls end up with boomy bass. Seats too close to speakers will result in incorrect localization and the infamous "screen door effect". To do things right you need 4' minimum from any seat to any speaker or wall. If you are using proper home theater recliners that means a two row theater will end up about 23' long. A 12' room will have a three seat row across the room, and add 3' for each additional seat across. For more see home theater seating layout article!
Way too many seats![/caption]
This is one area where we see enthusiasts and pro installers making mistakes. Enthusiasts tend to want a screen that are too big, and installers seem to specify screens that are too small. If you follow the CEDIA standard CEB-23: Home Theater Video Design then you'll end up with a 43 degree viewing angle from the prime seats for a 2.35:1 Cinemascope image. If you look, however, at the viewing angles in commercial theaters (and don't we all basically want a commercial cinema in our home at the end of the day?) then you'll see that 43 degrees is actually on the low side relative to the angle you'll get when you are out at the movies. I think most home theater dealers are using screens that are too small because they are afraid (wrongly) of using acoustically transparent screens. Really when you look at your layout, once you get over a certain size screen (about 90" wide) using a non-acoustically transparent screen puts the center speaker in completely the wrong place in a multi-row theater. Most end up below the screen, resulting in the heads and seat backs of the first row being in the "line of fire" from the center speaker to the second row. And, to top it all off, the installer usually ends up using a horizontal format center speaker, of all travesties! (see here for
more). Erm, hang on. First row viewing angle of 40 degrees?! 84" wide screen?![/caption]
Know any other good layout mistakes that even the pros make? Please leave a comment below with your favorites!
Nyal Mellor, Founder, Acoustic Frontiers