A general rule of thumb for selecting dimensions for a media room is to stay away from numbers that have simple common denominators. For example a room with an 8’ ceiling and 16’ X 24’ walls would yield poor results. This configuration would guarantee standing sound waves or bass that cancels itself out in the center of the room. A better choice would be 9' ceilings with a 17' X 24' floor plan. What you want to avoid is having sound reflect back into the center of the room and create poor sound performance in the area where you would be sitting while enjoying the system.
Materials that absorb or diffract sound are good for a media room and things that reflect or amplify sound are bad. For example rooms with excessive amounts of flat reflective materials like concrete, glass, or plaster will make poor sounding media rooms. You can counter this reflective effect with rugs, furniture, and sound absorbing panels. Texturized surfaces or cabinetry can help to break up the consistent reflection if your décor calls for a level of these types of materials.
Placement of furniture and fixtures:
As a general rule, symmetrical placement of the speakers and the primary listening positions is a good practice when laying out your media room. Most audio components will correct for a speaker or listening position that is askew but it is better to place the ear in the middle of all the devices. When applying sound absorbing elements one should try and place them at a point halfway between the speaker and the listener. This is true for the floor, ceiling and walls of the room. It is also a good idea to put other items in the corners of the room.
Unwanted noise in a media room is obviously a bad thing. Sound overpowering adjacent rooms is also something to take into consideration when designing a media room. Placing noisy appliances in or adjacent to a media room should be avoided. Using low noise air conditioning devices is very beneficial in media rooms. Isolating the sound from a media room can be achieved by applying anything that will limit the wall's ability to vibrate. There are also some specific construction techniques we can discuss with you in detail if you like.
With subwoofers a general rule is more is better. The ideal placement for a sub is usually not dead in the corner nor is it in the middle of the wall. When using more than one subwoofer don’t place them in a symmetrical arrangement in the room. If the sound from two subs travels the same distance to the ear they will cancel each other out and defeat the entire purpose of the device.
Placement of the Video Display:
The video display in a media room should be placed where outside light cannot fall directly on the screen. Rooms with a large amount of ambient light are never the best choice for media rooms. If needed, one can install black-out shades to eliminate unwanted light during video operation. Consider using a white back light behind a high output video monitor to aid the eye in adjusting to extreme changes in light.
The ideal color to use in a media room is neutral gray. Bright colors of wall paint or furniture will reflect and affect the performance of the video monitor. Bright white walls will also reflect light excessively when the system is being used and diminish enjoyment of the video system.
Video monitors will vary in their ability to accurately reproduce color and contrast correctly. A great media room will need to be calibrated by a qualified technician to ensure the best reproduction and movie experience.
When designing a quality media room one of the most important things to consider is your ability to operate the system. A control system when implemented correctly will completely eliminate the need to understand how to operate all the devices in the room. A quality media room should include an interface that allows anyone to operate the system with the greatest of ease.
"You want your dream home to sound as good as it looks. You need someone like Dale Johnson."
- Omar Gallaga, Austin American Statesman
"This is the third or fourth system/configuration of yours I have owned... You guys are reliable, efficient, and effective."
- Allan Nilsson, Austin, TX
"Thank you for a job well done! It is very rare... to find someone as professional and knowledgeable as the DJS team."
- Stephen Jones, Austin, TX