Tips for designing listening room from scratch


I am designing a listening and video room from scratch for a new house. General dimensions are approximately 11' wide by 20' long by 8' high rectangular room. This will be in the basement, so one wall and the floor will be concrete, at least to start. Length is the one variable that can be adjusted easily.

What tips can you offer as I design this room?

- electrical system, wires, outlets and breakers (house will have new electrical panel and wiring)
- flooring material (bare concrete, carpet, wood or laminate, cork, etc?)
- walls and ceiling (dry wall, bare concrete, wood paneling, other suggestions)
- soffits in ceiling - yes or no?
- book shelf along one long wall - OK?
- Door better at far end of wall away from front speakers?
- Speaker wire suggestions for in-wall installation for rear speakers (cost is an object - up to 30ft. runs)
- other ideas/suggestions welcome?
I recommend "Premium Home Theater: Design and Construction", by Earl Gedds.

This is the best book I have found on the subject. Just ignore the video-centric chapters. The author is one of the world's foremost experts on small room acoustics and psychoacoustics.

The first four chapters are online:

The author's name is "Earl Geddes". Sorry for the typo.
Read Toole's 'Sound Reproduction' book before you do anything. Lots of information on home theatre considerations. Remember, the video is the easy part of the design, the audio the most difficult. Many years ago I did a room and it was a fustrating trial and error process. Information availbe today provides better chance of success.
i would pay Rives to design it for you and eliminate that part of the process. you will spend tons of time with the treatment part afterwards and get it right the first time.
Duke and Buconero117,

Thanks for the references. Both of these will provide a lot of help.


Who is "Rives"?
Duke and Buconero117,

Thanks for the references. Both of these will provide A LOT of help.


Who is "Rives"?
We had Chris Huston of rives custom design our Mastering and Post Production rooms in our basement. Granted they had 12' of ceiling heigth to work with.
We built both using "room within room" method. We had Bob Hodas do the acoustical tuning afterwards. These are some of the best acoustics in the Pacific NW.

Rives Audio


Wow! Thanks for the tip, can see why you pointed me in this direction given all the questions I ask above. Looks like they have consulting services to match pretty much any budget.

Your mastering studio looks fantastic by the way.