Listener Advice: Rob W. on Movie Poster Absorption Panels

May 25th, 2015 No comments

WP_20141121_18_30_05_ProRob W. shared with us a picture of his home theater and we were AMAZED by his DIY acoustic panels. When we gushed over them on the podcast, he shared with us how he did it. Thanks Rob and congrats on the coolest DIY panels we’ve ever seen

From Alan: As to the acoustic panels, I watched a ton of DIY Acoustic Panel videos on YouTube and distilled everyone’s technique down to: 1×4 frames (to maintain an air gap behind the absorption material), Roxul Safe’n’Sound Insulation or Owens-Corning 703 glass fiber panels, and cheap muslin material for backside of the panel. A DIY Acoustic Panel thread on AVS here told me about some fairly good AT printed fabrics from (note that they require you take responsibility for having the “legal” ability to print the poster by clicking a check box). For a good turnout, you need a 150 dpi image to upload.

First step was to find high quality movie poster images. Found some at, the forums on or just searching Google/Bing. Since I didn’t pony up for Photoshop, I used the free Gimp software for image editing. I made a canvas the same size as 1 yard of fabric at spoonflower (54″x36″), colored the background solid black, centered my movie poster and then resized it 36″x24″ (or at least 24″ wide if I didn’t want to change the original aspect ratio). I also added a 2 pixel thick white line at the point where the fabric would fold around the back of the frames to give me some helper guides during attachment. Each print from spoonflower on their silky faille material cost $21.60. The quality of the prints are amazing with vibrant colors and very dark blacks. Even with the camera flash washing the blacks out some you can still see how dark they’re printed.


I bought the lumber (~$1/8′) and Roxul (~$50 for a pack of 8 – 4’x2′ panels) from Lowes and had them rough cut the lumber down to 36″ pieces and 22.5″ pieces (since 1×4 are actually 0.75×3.5). I pre-drilled and screwed and glued the boards together and added corner bracing for support. Really could’ve come out much better if I just cut the wood myself (their rough cuts are really rough) but the thought of not having to break out the saw was just too appealing


I cut the Roxul down to size with a bread knife. This insulation is very stiff and didn’t require any additional support to stay in position though you can add some bracing on the back side to ensure a consistent air gap is maintained.


Purchased the Muslin from Joann Fabrics for something like $8 (enough to cover 6 panels) and stapled it the back (air gap) side.


I stretched and wrapped the prints as best and as evenly as I could (was not great at this technique the first few times) and then folded the corners using canvas corner folding techniques again from YouTube and stapled everything together. Finally, I screwed in some picture wire on the backside and added some circle felt pads on the corners. You can see the white pixel guide lines that I added to the print around the edges. Those helped immensely when trying to center everything.


I got progressively better at making the panels the more I did and unfortunately the majority white front panels with the black borders (which show your mistakes the most) were the ones I did first. But these are going into a normally dark theater and there was no way I was removing all those staples and redoing them.


As to the performance, these replaced some previous panels I had on the walls (a hodge-podge from Gik and other places) and measurements in REW were amazingly similar. So all total for the six panels with shipping I spent about $225:

  • Poster prints – $137
  • Roxul – $50
  • Lumber/Screws/Corner Braces/Hanging Wire/Glue/Staples – $25
  • Muslin fabric – $8

Thanks Rob! You prove, once again, that AV Rant has the COOLIST listeners in all of AV and Home Theater!

Categories: The Soapbox Tags:

Listener Advice: Alan on Home Theater Construction

May 24th, 2015 No comments

Alan recently finished his own basement home theater, and he wanted to pass along some tips he learned along the way:

1) He suggests reading books and making use of your local library. Some specific titles he recommends:

  • Taunton’s Remodeling a Basement
  • Taunton’s Wiring Complete
  • Black & Decker Complete Guide to Home Wiring (really good wiring diagrams)
  • Black & Decker The Complete Guide to Finishing Basements

2) For managing cables and power inlets in your walls, Allen found the least expensive recessed wall plates on Amazon. Rather than sitting flush on the wall like regular wall plates, these recessed wall plates let you plug things into the wall, or extend a power connection (extremely handy for ceiling-mounted projectors or wall-mounted flat panels) without the power cords protruding out of the wall:

3) For people looking specifically for Owens Corning 703 insulation to build absorption panels, he sent us a link to the best price he could find. And he suggested Parts-Express for fabric to cover DIY panels.

4) He also suggested Parts-Express’ Dayton Audio in-wall and in-ceiling speakers as another good, inexpensive option at around $70 a piece. He says their frequency response actually measured well after they were installed, so he’s impressed.

5) For an acoustically transparent screen, he can’t speak highly enough about Seymour AV’s DIY fabric and online guide for building your own screen. For under $400, he made a 120″ acoustically transparent screen, and he says it was pretty easy!

6) Lastly, for now, when doing measurements in Room EQ Wizard, he highly recommends breaking up the measurements at around 150 or 200Hz. That way, you can look at a completely unsmoothed graph for the bass separate from a smoothed graph for the midrange and treble.

Thanks Alan!

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AV Rant’s The Current State of Projectors 2015

May 23rd, 2015 No comments

Looking for a projector? Here is our definitive guide of what is out there that we would recommend in descending price order:

Until the new crop gets announced at CEDIA, here’s what’s out there for under $10,000:

1) Sony VPL-VW350ES: $10,000. Genuine 4K (4096 x 2160). Motorized zoom, focus, and lens shift. Low lag for gaming. Limited to 8-bit with no WCG or HDR. So it’s just a resolution bump.…/cat-27-catid-all-tv-home-theater-pr…

2) Epson LS10000: $8000. Laser light engine (2 blue lasers, one powering a yellow phosphor). 3 reflective LCD (liquid crystal on quartz) 1080p panels with pseudo-4K (think e-shift or “wobulation”). Powered zoom, focus, and lens shift. Has HDCP 2.2. Can do DCI-P3 color.…

3) Epson LS9600e: $6000. Same as the LS10000, but 1080p only. Also has Wireless HD connection box with 5 HDMI inputs.…

4) JVC DLA-X500R / DLA-RS49U: $5000. Still the black level champ. e-shift pseudo-4K, but no HDCP 2.2 support. Lots of lag, not great for gaming. Powered zoom, focus, and lens shift…

5) Sony VPL-HW55ES: $4000. Close to the JVC X500R. Not quite as black, but brighter. No pseudo-4K of any kind. Manual zoom, focus, and lens shift. Great minimal lag for gaming.…/cat-27-catid-all-tv-home-theater-pr…

6) Optoma HD91: $4000. DLP. Interesting for its LED light source. Dim. Not loud but apparently has a weirdly pitched hum that bugs some people. Awful input lag. There’s an HD91+ model coming very soon that promises to be brighter.…

7) Sony VPL-HW40ES: $2500. The “little brother” of the HW55. No iris, not quite as deep blacks, not quite as bright. But pretty awesome for $2500. And the best out there for gaming – almost no lag.…/cat-27-catid-all-tv-home-theater-pr…

NOTE: All of the above projectors have very quiet fans – particularly in “low” or “eco” modes. Everything below gets louder, some much more than others, though.

8) BenQ W7500: $2400. DLP. 6x speed color wheel. Small amount of vertical and horizontal lens shift and 1.5x zoom – all manual. Best 3D of the bunch thanks to DLP. Not great as far as lag for gaming.

9) Epson 5030UB: $2300. Been around a while now, but still a champ. Deep blacks, lots of light output. Tons of lens shift and zoom range, but all manual.…

10) Epson 3600e: $1800. There’s also the 3500 for $1500, but the 3600e gives you Wireless HD. Can’t compete with “ultra black” models, but it’s super bright.…

11) Panasonic AE8000: $1700. Still out there, but a lot cheaper now. Should be, since it goes back to basically being an Epson 5010UB, but with powered zoom, focus, and lens shift. Good deal if you want powered adjustments.…

12) Epson 3000: $1150. Basically replaces the 8350, but adds 3D. It’s also louder.…

13) BenQ HT1085ST: $1000. Interesting because it’s a short throw projector that you put very close to the screen. DLP.

14) BenQ HT1075: $800. We all know this one. Kind of impossible to beat at its price.

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AV Rant #433: Soundproofing

May 22nd, 2015 1 comment

This week Tom completes his review of the BenQ treVolo portable electrostatic bluetooth speaker. We thank Shannon and Rob W. for their donations and James and Shannon for their support. We cover some news from Onkyo and Hauppauge. James likes inwall speakers from SnapAV (LINK), Nelson’s dad got a 90″ Sharp and he wanted to share (LINK), and Infinite Gary has questions about Betamax. Joshua has a mirror issue (LINK), Kris “I Don’t Live in a McMansion” got his new SVS subs and now has some Audyssey questions, and Alan has some suggestions for cable management (LINK) along with a question about backer boxes for in-wall speakers (LINK). Ashley has some video calibration questions, Dave is looking for a display (LINK) and Blu-ray player (LINK) for his non-Audiophile friends, and Don is confused by SVS’s Merlin advice. Rob M. wants to know if he should go HDMI or HDbaseT for his long run, Scott shares some knowledge about home theater construction costs, and Efrain called Trinnov. Jonathan sent us a link to an article from a person that REALLY hated Age of Ultron (LINK), Brian got a defective unit from Accessories4less and reports, and Alan and Rob W. tell us how they remodeled their basement and made the coolest absorption panels ever (respectively). Look for individual posts about their tips soon.

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AV Rant #432: Oppo PM-3 Headphone Review

May 13th, 2015 No comments

Tom finally reviews the Oppo PM-3 headphones comparing them the Oppo PM-2s, the V-Moda Crossfade M-100s, and the Alpine Headphones. This week we thank Scott, Steven, and Jose for their donations and John for his support. In the news, Ultra HD, Pioneer gets HDMI 2.0, Oculus Rift, and a use for 4k and curved screens. James has some tagline suggestions (see our Facebook page for specifics), Richard wants to know our thoughts on compression tweeters/drivers and JTR speakers (LINK), and Robert thinks that movies mixed for 7.1 sound better than those mixed for 5.1. Caesar has some questions about HDR (High Dynamic Range) and HDMI 2.0a (LINK), Jeb isn’t convinced we’re right about how to handle dual subs in oddly-shaped rooms, and Scott wants to buy a receiver. Tim’s planned home theater has changed and he wants to know if our suggestions have as well, Mike is having an odd subwoofer problem, and Jonathan found a turntable that uses frickin’ lasers instead of a needle (LINK and LINK). Dev is having a weird problem with his Dayton Sub-1200 (LINK), Bill is wondering what distortion sounds like (particularly harmonic distortion), and Ian is having dialog intelligibility problems. Lastly, Rob (a different Rob) is purchasing a home and needs help planning his home theater.

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