Dedicated Audio Room Lighting Ideas?

Before closing up the walls in my new dedicated audio room, I need to settle on the room lighting approach so I can put in the wiring and boxes. The lighting needs to be both bright enough for working in the room and adjustable to suit the moods of 2 channel listening.

The only constraint is I don't want to use can lights since the ceiling is a key part of isolating the sound from the room above and they provide a conduit for the sound. Track lights might work but they would need to be very unobtrusive as the ceiling is 7 1/2 ft. Sconces are a possibility.

Any suggestions? I have looked at many rooms on this site and most pictures show the rooms well, but not the lighting.
You can do indirect cove type lighting that can be put on a dimmer (don't run the dimmer from the same sub panel as your audio) and comes in custom colors, lengths, etc. It can be as easy as nailing a 2x4 to your wall at whatever height you like the lighting above the floor, and a 2x6, same height at the bottom, that will form the cove, then just texture-paint to match.
Install an outlet box in the cove area for the lighting connection and run to a switch, maybe one the has the remote control features like the Lutrons do.
I was able to use track lighting since my ceiling is 9 feet. The walls were already finished. If I had it to do over I would put wall sconces every 6 feet or so, on dimmers if they were silent, and then floor standing or table lamps for task lighting. Good luck
2 things to consider, old fashion light bulbs will add alot of heat to a room, doesnt sound like a big deal but it can make the room uncomfortable if you have no good ventilation or ability to control the room's temp individually.
Also dimmers make for hum problems, maybe you could do a couple of light options with seperate switches for a brighter light when desired and a lower, warmer lighting for casual glow when you listen......just a thought.
Disco ball and stobes.
Zargon, you said:
Before closing up the walls in my new dedicated audio room...

If you have a choice in how you will finish your ceiling, you may want to do a drop ceiling, with a solid ceiling hidden underneath. That's what I did, and the results have been wonderful. The listening room is almost completely acoutstically isolated from the rest of the house. It is so well constructed that while my boys sleep above in their rooms I can listen to audio at very high levels!

I built individual recessed sound barrier boxes into each floor joist above where the cans were placed. a LOT more work and planning, but I would gladly do it again for the results obtained. Also, with drop ceiling I have accessability to the wiring if I ever need it. The ceiling panels also give a small degree of absorption of reflected waves from the main speakers.

This is definitely NOT the lazy man's way of doing things, but it's absolutely wonderful to be able to have both sconces and cans AND have the acoustically isolated environment.

If you wish to contact me, I can send you a couple pics of my construction of the ceiling. In a nutshell I:
-Insulated between floor joists above
-built the can light "sound-proof" recessed boxes at the positions of the lights. NOTE: boxes need to be large enough to give some room to maneuver the can lights when drop ceiling installed. Also, you'll need insulated can lights, so the smallest, I believe 4" were used so that insulated housing can fit into recessed sound boxes.
-caulked all seams of said boxes and injected expanding foam into the holes where the cables entered the boxes
-Put insulating sleeves over all ducts between floor joists
-Used "Hat Chanel" (2 leg) to hang soundproof ceiling
-Used sheet "Homasote" (obtained from Home Depot - no longer sold there) as primary sound barrier; affixed to hat chanel. The sound proof boxes for can lights were of Homasote too.
-caulked all seams on homasote sheeting
-Used triple # of drywall screws necessary to affix sheeting, as it reduced odds of vibrations
-Caulked all screw heads (NO! Just kidding!)
-Used black drop celing rail and tiles for proper HT appearance. I'm REALLY happy I did that! Makes the room look serious as a high end music/video space.

Other lighting ideas:
Do some reading on "how to" books regarding lighting, or else you're likely to have hot/darker spots in the room if the lighting plan is not done well.
I used BOTH cans and sconces in order to have options re: lighting. If you're doing video, do NOT place sconces too close to the screen or else you will not be able to have them on dimly without effecting the screen! (You have to plan for symmetry, but not mindlessly)
I used a remote lighting system, i.e. Lutron, with "scenes" or preset memories for coordinated settings on all the lights. While a ridiculous up front cost, the longer I use it, the more I feel it was well worth the money.

Bottom line: I took my time, did not rush, and stopped to think long and hard prior to making difficult decisions at critical points. If you rush it, you will likely regret it.

Blessings, and I'm sure you'll love the room when finished!
Zapper: I like the idea of the cove lighting and am trying to picture it. Does the 2x4 go face on the wall with the 2x6 face to it and even at the bottom? That would leave a 2x2 hidden cove? What kind of lighting would fit into that small space? PS, I really like the dark green walls on your room in contrast with the hardwood floors and white trim. Great job!

Tgrisham: Yes, I too think the sconces would be effective and would want some that are small as possible. Indirect light on a white ceiling should be very relaxing.

Chadnliz: Good point about the heat (I hadn't considered that) and dimmer noise.

Anyone have any experience with quiet dimmers?
Consider a Lutron controller:

Many different settings, different lighting patterns, variable dimming, and remote control.
I love my Lutron . . . I can control the light intensity from my listening position, as well as which lights are on.
Try shelve lighting on the perimeter of the room with dimmers, each wall should be on a separate dimmer. If you are into DIY, try using rain gutters, about with the top about 6 inches down from the ceiling, and place the lighting in the gutter. You can move the fixtures around to get the exact mood you are looking for. Look for T8 bulbs with a natural color curve.
Low voltage rope lights might work in your application. You can have 2 runs of low voltage rope lights in the same fixture box/cove but have each on a separate switch which will let you turn on both circuits for more light without using dimmers, use just one for low lighting. I found that well made dimmers are expensive and fail frequently. I also went the route of radio controlled dimmers and zones, they were great while they worked but the receivers/controllers eventually failed, so I went this route. My PS Audio Noise Harvesters go crazy everytime I use a dimmer
Older dimmers did cause noise, but new ones, in my experience, have solved this problem. I suggest that you buy one dimmer, wire it up near your system, and see what happens.
you may want to consider incandescent wall sconce lighting. The link I provided is a nice paintable ceramic type wall sconce. Paint the the same as the wall color.

Lutron makes a nice dimmer that will not put noise or DC offset back on your AC line. A little pricey but well worth the money.

I would go with incandescent over florescent, warmer felling. Max wattage per fixture, 60 watts.

Wall sconce lighting is also great for home theater......
I love my sconces and use them 99% of the time and yes on a dimmer but different circuit of course. My ceiling installer said that I would need more lighting and he was wrong, I have never needed anything more in my audio/video room.
Ncarv: Thanks for the Lutron reminder. Lighting is so key to music moods and a dimmer with remote from the seating position would be a nice touch. Which one did you buy?

Jea48: Nice to hear from you since your good advice on installing my Topaz ISO a year or so back. I do like the sconces and will want one that has minimal protrusion into the room. Four inches would be ideal. I hadn't thought about "paintable" and thats a great idea.

Pawlowski: My teanage daughter would love the ball...

Douglas: Thanks for sharing your extensive experience. I don't have the height for a drop ceiling, however, I do need the isolation from the room above. My current plan is to use IsoMax Isolation Clips with hat channel and 2 layers of 5/8" drywall sandwiched with Green Glue. This creates an isolated and suspended ceiling much like yours. I will forgo the cans however, as I don't want to compromise the isolation in any way. Which Lutron system did you buy? Thanks for the offer to contact you and I may just do so.
There are lots of possibilities. For example, low voltage track lights are very flexible in terms providing perimeter "mood" lighting as well as more direct task lighting. . . and they tend to be small and attractive. The lighting design is as important as the equipment.
Great ideas from all!

Tiger: The rain gutter application is very creative and worth considering.

Somec59: Turns out I have some rope lights that I used for decoration outside, and will try them out for brightness and report back.

Krell1: How many sconces are there in your room? I can see at least 2 on the side walls in your system picture.
The way you see it is correct.
The remote dimmers I installed have been working great for 2.5 years now.
I like the dual rope idea with different colors. The brighter you can get the cove lighting the better as you can always dim down, but you only have as bright as you have.
The run a 12/3 or 14/3 wire, which ever you are using, to your cove outlet to keep this idea an option.
Z, You seem to be thinking it out well; don't forget the good 'ol floor standing lamps which can be attractive and highly effective! Or a small coffee table with a lamp on it near the listening position for reading, etc.
I used a Lutron "Spacer" system, if I recall correctly. Four "scenes" and it cost about $700 for the whole set including remote control. Not cheap, but works great.
Thanks to all the A'Goners for the ideas and advice. At this point I believe I will go with a combination of sconces, one section of cove lights, one light on top of the media cabinet shelves and potentially 2 wall washers behind the speakers. Oh yes, and the appropriate dimmers all on separate circuits from the audio conditioning.

Time to get on with the wiring...
I just learned that my email address was not updated in the AGON records during this thread and someone attempted to send me email unsuccessfully. It is now, so please resend. Again, thanks for all the input.
I used the Lutron GRAFIK Eye.
In regards to 5/8 drywall sheets,each weights 100lbs and if you are planning to do your ceilings with double 5/8's have extra 3-4 helpers available .I did my entire 3 floor house with 5/8 drywall only the exterior walls as per building firecode,all ceilings are done in 1/2 .It wasn't easy to lift the sheets in place let me tell you.I did insulate between floor joists and interior wall studs using Roxul acoustical insulation.No sound comes through as far as I can tell and in general the rooms feel more cozy.Just a reminder in case you are not aware of it but there is got to be at least an inch of air space between the acoustical insulation and drywall for it to work properly.So don't pack it in there.Actually I like the Disco ball and strobes myself and I might just install some in my listening room for when playing dance music.
Best of luck with your project.
I use tubes.....whole 31 of them, just enough light to find my remote control.
Now seriously, I think that your idea of creating a desire listening mood by using your room's lighting is great.
It was also "kind" of important while constructing my new listening room. General rule, combination of lights and dimmers will give you what you are looking for. Low ceiling is kind of an obstacle that you will have to overcome with smart solutions and ideas.
Above suggestions are all great and will point you in the right direction.
If you are planning on incorporating acoustic treatments, there are great lighting ideas from the company that keeps me informed about "what's new and cool" in the room deco.
It is a ceiling acoustic panels (about 2'X2')that can be joined together with fiber optic lighting build-in. The effect of a sky at night is what you get. What I like about it is functionality with a peace of COOL.

Good luck and happy listening
Yioryos: Thanks for the tip about the space around the insulation as I was unware of the need for that. Yes, I estimate the suspended double drywall ceiling will weight at least 1500 lbs. The number of sound isolation clips was determined to keep the maximum load on each under 36 lbs (that's a 2.5:1 safety factor). I'll need lots of volunteers...

Mrjstark: I do envy the high ceiling on your room as it gives so many more lighting options.
Jea48: Lots of good information there. Thanks
I just put up 5/8s drywall attached to resiliant channelling in my dedicated room on the ceiling. It's very easy to put up if you rent a drywall hoist. They are available at rental supply stores, my drywall supplier had one. It makes putting the drywall on the ceiling an easy task. I used full 4x12ft sheets. I highly recommend spending the $35 to rent the hoist.

You crank a wheel as if rolling up your garden hose and the drywall ascends to the ceiling. Once in place , the hoist has a lock and you can then apply the screws. I used 3 layers of roxal in the ceiling with the resilient channelling and 5/8s drywall, you can't hear a thing upstairs.

Another good tip is to acrylic caulk all drywall seams before taping and mudding to insure the room is sealed. This is an important step.

Getting back to lighting, I used the light boxes from Home Depot designed to go in an insulated ceiling with halogen lights run off dimmers, looks great.
Moonguy: Another good tip on the drywall hoist, as I was concerned about lifting 4x12 sheets to the ceiling. I am unfamiliar with Roxal and it appears it is primarily for fire resistance. Do you know of any data on its acoustic isolation abilities? Is it any better than standard R19 insulation?
Moonray,the hoist is great but only when there is space to wheel it around and no obstructios.In my years in construction I only seen it used rarely in residential work.I my case I had to do cathedral ceilings(sloped)on the third floor where my listening room will be.Also I had a large staircase opening on the floor that the machine couldn't being used.I carried all drywall from Home Depot to my home in my F150 and had to offload and carry each sheet up three floors turn and manuver around.The first one felt alright but on the 12th one I was exausted.I am sure you get the picture. I did three floors of drywall,walls ceilings.A complete home you see.It took me 4 months by myself and when I did the ceilings first I had floor jacks made of 2x4 studs and two pieces of rigid insulation on top of the jacks so the drywall wasn't damaged .It worked good but still all lifting was manual by me while my wife held the drywall gun ready to hand it to me.My two kids aged 8 and 12 were assisting also by placing the jacks in position once I had the drywall in place on the ceiling.I saved a lot of money by doing it myself and in the process I lost some unwanted pounds.LOL.
Zargon ,just to clarify there in no space required around the insulation but between insulation and drywall.A 2x4 constructed wall provides a 3.5 inch cavity depth,the insulation is only 2.5 inch thick.But between the studs the insulation needs to be tight.
All the best
Zargon You need to buy the Roxul brand Fire and Sound insulation.It is greenish brown in color and you cut it easy with the help of a bread knive.If you use regular Olfa knive it will dull the blades fast.Don't use R19 Dow Corning Pink ,that's good for thermal only ,although I believe pink brand makes their own version of acoustical insulation.My local Home Depot here in Toronto only stock Roxul.
Also R19 or the most efficient R21 is for 2x6 walls ,the R12 is for 2x4 wall.If you R19 or 21 on 2x4 walls the pressure of the insulation on the drywall will eventually make it pop off the drywall screws in the future,and you will need to repair that.Not a good idea.
I use my optical starlight ceiling for two channel. I don't like a lighted room for two channel as I think a darker room makes it more easier to hear the positioning of instruments.

The starlight ceiling gives just enough light to move around the room.

You could add a starlight ceiling via on a large panel attached to the ceiling.
George: I have sent an inquiry to find out who carries Roxul here in the US. I don't believe HD does.
Freemand: Very cool lighting, however, my relatively low ceiling does not allow for this and I am trying to maximize isolation to the room above. Others might take a look.