New house build

Discussion in 'Listening Spaces' started by fish mojo, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. fish mojo

    fish mojo Active Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I’m in the process of helping design and building my new house. The plan is a great room 20’ x 20’ with high vaulted ceiling. Kitchen area open to the great room which extends the listening space out another 12’. Stereo will be set on custom built in cabinets on the far side of the great room with the cabinets on either side of a centered fireplace. Floors will be hardwood.
    Stereo will be what is in my signature. Need a bit extra depth for the big G. Want to elevate the speakers off the floor a bit- thinking 12 to 18” or so and build into the cabinets (is this a bad idea if the resonance of the speaker vibrates the casework?).
    Looking for ideas and thoughts to put into the design before it is built. Any similar pictures would be nice to show my architect. Thanks.
     

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  2. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Super Member

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    4,613
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    IME (and I am a contractor that builds and remodels homes/offices--amongst other things), built-in custom audio racks/cabinets are not a great idea. If you do decide to go that route, make sure you design something "modular"--that can be altered easily without tearing out a whole wall of cabinets--this gets really expensive, really fast. There are always ventilation and/or vibration issues that arise, and (inevitably) there will come a time when you want to make changes--and new "toys" may not fit or look good. Having the speakers in the cabinet is not a great idea due to resonance transfer to your TT. Not to discourage you, but just a few things to think about.
     
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  3. shrinkboy

    shrinkboy AK Subscriber Subscriber

    my brother spec'd a built-in bookshelf system about 25 years ago to hold his then adequately sized 27" RCA crt set, and a set of shelves to hold his speakers and amp etc. all wiring was integral and hidden behind panels and etc. there were no plans made for any changes. thus, he cannot place a flat screen bigger than 27" in the alcove for the TV, and cannot access cabling for sources like disc players, TT, game systems etc because it was all neatly tidied up and out of sight, which was really great for about 15 years, but now he has a hodge podge of cables and etc running willie nillie out front of the once neatly integrated and now totally outmoded system. his only recourse is complete demolition and starting over. like savatage says, think modularity and accessibility from the outset.
     
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  4. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Super Member

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    ^^^^ This is exactly my point--it looks great, sounds great and is all "neat and tidy", but things change over time, and now you have to totally demo and start over as you want to make changes--not a cheap or easy proposition. I have demo'd way too many custom entertainment centers, library cases, custom kitchens and baths for you to count.
     
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  5. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

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    15,058
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    Square rooms are not conducive to good sound.
     
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  6. RichPA

    RichPA Don't drive angry Staff Member Super Mod Subscriber

    I have a 19 x 20' great room with vaulted ceiling and 8 x 20' loft. I wish it were less square, though with room correction (DSpeaker) I have it sounding really good. If you can alter the dimensions (say, to 17 x 20), I think the acoustics will be better.
     
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  7. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Epic Member

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  8. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Super Member

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    You are in the rather unique position of being able to alter your design (even if just slightly as Rich mentioned), since you are still in the layout phase of the new build. Most of us are stuck with an existing home or a "cookie cutter" list of options in a new development--and acoustic considerations are not a factor in most designs--take advantage of this great opportunity.
     
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  9. KrisM

    KrisM Addicted Member

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    9,314
    Yeah.
    I worked in a cabinet shop for years, and still do reno work. I find it kinda sad when I have to demo an otherwise solid built-in unit because it just doesn't work anymore.
    Heck, 10 or so years ago when I did my basement reno I built a huge custom cabinet for my discs and vinyl. Works great for my needs, but I can't see anyone coming in after me and needing a storage space for something like 3500 CDs and 1200 albums. Ish.

    I'll add another couple of thoughts for the OP.
    -As above, do make it as modular as possible, but run as much CAT lines as you can. This goes for the whole house. Cheap n easy when the walls are open. Less so when the house is done.
    -Another downside to speakers in cabinets is positioning. It can be a HUGE thing as far as sound quality goes. Putting them in cabinets limits this quite a bit. Or completely.

    A third thought, and this will probably come across like I'm a pessimist(I'm not), but if you are approaching this as an audiophile/sound loving kinda person, be prepared for people like architects and builders to not be on the same page. You'll need to be the one on top of that.
     
  10. sKiZo

    sKiZo Hates received: 8641 Subscriber

    Built in cabs are ok if you plan for it. Add space for isolation legs/platforms under the more sensitive bits of equipment. That should also help alleviate any vibration common to adjustable shelving, which ain't a bad idea as systems tend to mutate over time.

    Also, I wouldn't lock the speakers in at a a certain height until you find out how they'll interface with the new room. Some wiggle room at each side to allow for slight distance changes and toe adjustments should do ya there. That should get you close enough to fine tune the room with a DSP solution.

    Rule of thumb is having one of two parallel surfaces "soft" acoustically. Drapes or curtains are your friend there. Not a fan of bare wood floors as ceilings tend to be hard as well - consider area rugs or a softer ceiling to compensate.

    * Don't forget ventilation. Have your contractor allow vent holes at the back of each shelf to allow heat to escape. Those are also handy for routing wires and such.
     
  11. Mellotronix

    Mellotronix Active Member

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    I would think about putting my vintage Sansui gear in its own (smaller, quieter) space and purchase some new gear for the new great room. 400 square feet, vaulted ceiling, open to the kitchen...it's gonna be a challenge to get the most out of your cool vintage gear in that situation. You'd be better off to spec a set of Bowers and Wilkins 600 or 700 series floor standing speakers with a big multi-channel, multi-room HT amp and a nice 1000 watt SVS sub that you can control from your iPhone. LG has a new roll-up TV that should be on the market by the time you're house is ready.

    I had my gear in our great room (20 x 20, open to the kitchen and dining area), and I hated it. Cooking, the dishwasher, my son entertaining his buddies (in the kitchen, of course, where the beer is), fridge opening constantly, food wrappers, family visiting, etc. etc. Nightmare.

    I finally moved my home theater to our 20 x 15 loft and eventually set up an area dedicated to listening in a small spare bedroom 12 x 15. Treated it with Auralex Pro Panels and selected some very cool gear, moved my vinyl in, even had a small mixing/mastering desk built for the space. It's private, quiet, and doesn't smell like last night's tuna casserole.

    lg.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
  12. Archguy

    Archguy Life's 2 short 4 plastic speakers Subscriber

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    Location:
    Richmond VA
    Yep. Everyone's in favor of the 'open concept' house until they actually have to live in one.

    It works for some people; others really appreciate things like doors and privacy.

    Depends on how you live your life, with whom, and who you are.
     
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  13. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Super Member

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    The "open concept" house trend is certainly on the rise. Baby Boomers are "downsizing" and an open floorplan can make a 2000 sq/ft house look bigger than the 4000 sq/ft house they are moving out of. But as mentioned above, acoustic design considerations are rarely considered in floorplan design. A friend of mine and his wife just built a 2200 sq/ft ranch style home to replace their 5000+ sq/ft 2 story home, and they have no regrets, but they are not "audio geeks".
     
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  14. KrisM

    KrisM Addicted Member

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    I think it's a balance thing. A good designer does what is right, not just what the trends are.
    One trend that drives me bonkers is the flat screen over the fireplace thing. Who watches TV like that? It's almost like stargazing.
    One fad I do like is the use of CC-40 for trim. Not that I think it's the be all end all white, it's just that touch-ups are easy because there's always a can of it kicking around.:D
     
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  15. Mellotronix

    Mellotronix Active Member

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  16. sqlsavior

    sqlsavior AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    An open floor plan can be very beneficial to good sound. Especially when you have time alone. ;)

    Dig the trapagon!
     
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  17. Drugolf

    Drugolf AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Maybe someone should invent a "bookshelf" speaker.
    :)
    Yeah, I think a great room might be best served by a quality new in wall system that has multiple speakers and a tucked away sub that has all the modern wireless connectivity. Save the vintage critical listening for a room that can be isolated.
     
  18. Old Guy8

    Old Guy8 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Be sure to install inwall wiring. Or better yet conduit/pipes for low voltage speaker wire, fiber optics or other future needs.

    I'm remodeling a basement. Taking advantage of open walls for threading wires through walls. Gets wires around a stairwell in my case.

    Avoid square or multiple dimension rooms.
     
  19. JimPA

    JimPA Distinguished Member

    Messages:
    3,023
    Location:
    Grover's Corner PA.
    The back of my first floor is open by using parallams to frame the house.
    We do have a door to the bathroom and laundry room.
    My 23.5 foot x 17 foot family room is open to the kitchen which does make for good listening.

    Back when my wife and I were looking into a house plan design we wanted a completely open design.
    We found a plan and had it modified by making the family room deeper.

    The bass really unloads in the front dining room since there is an opening through the hallway to the kitchen and family room.
    Having vaulted ceilings in the kitchen and dining rooms does cause a slight reverb.
     

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  20. avguytx

    avguytx AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Location:
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    We'll be building a new house in the near future...as soon as ours sells. We've got the property bought and that part is good to go along with the house plans. Yes, it definitely seems like all new house plans are open and have similar looks as I noticed the OP's layout in that pdf is very similar to ours to an extent. But, with us building, I made it known that I was going to have my own audio room somewhere in the house so my stuff could be OUT of the living room. The plans we've agreed on and really like is a farmhouse style and has a "bonus room" above the garage that's 15-1/2 feet x 21 feet which I'm glad of it not being a square. I wanted my stuff to be out of the living room and not clutter the house up. All I'll have in the living room is one pair of bookshelf speakers (maybe re-veneered Dynaco A25's) and a streaming capable integrated amp. The living room is going to be simple....we don't do home theater. I spent a long time in that industry; I just don't care for it anymore.
     
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