to wall or not to wall?

I am building Home theater/listening room now.Today I put r-30 insulation on the ceiling and polysisocyanurate tuff -r in betwwen the studs on the cement. The electrician comes tomorrow and I am having at least 4 three dedicated runs with hospital grade outlets,for the vtl 450 mono blocks driving b&W 802ds and the vtl st 150 stereo bi-amping the monster htm1d, he is also installing 14 recesses lights and lutron dimmers.Should I run the rear speaker wire (goetz/alphacore bulk)on the sides in the walls or in the ceiling?
Today I had the carpenter reframe the corners so they are flat .I can't decide weather to wall up on half left side of the room ,the room would then be 11x14 with 7 feet ceiling. Or keep it open to another 11 X 12 ft would only take about 10 feet to close it off with a door. Would this improve the sound? I am limited because of a remodel that left the basement kind of an odd shape. Thanks for any imput

Personally, I would leave the wall open. Anything that creates parallel relecting surfaces is generally a bad thing acoustically as it supports standing waves. The more odd shaped the room, the better it is in preventing standing waves.

However, there is something you could do as an experiment at no real cost. Start out with the wall open. Don't trim the edges of the opening for now. See how your system sounds. Now, take a piece of drywall and stand it up to block the opening totally or partially. Just tack it into place. Now see how the room sounds. If you don't like it, you can finish the trim on the opening. If you do like it with the blockage, you can now finish the wall/door as you originally thought of doing.

By the way, this may or may not be an issue to you. But, many speaker wires cannot be buried in a wall or ceiling unless it's approved for such a use by government regulation. If you don't have approved wire, and you bury it, you will not pass an electrical code inspection. Also, if your insurance company finds out about it, they will not pay any insurance claim. It might also be an issue upon selling the house. I'm not preaching, but if you're going to do what you're going to do, at least be aware of the implications.
I wouldn't get too freaked out about the 'to wall or not to wall' question. The more important question, imho, is if you want the room secluded or not? You will not have an authentic HT if it's an open-air affair where room noise can intrude. Same with two channel listening. Will you be bothered by outside influences if you keep the wall open? does that matter to you? What's the purpose of the room, for you alone, mostly or entertaining? If you want seclusion, then build for seclusion. If it doesn't matter, then it's cheaper to build a three wall room than four wall...

I can discern a difference in sound in my HT just when the rear door is open! I prefer the sound of the enclosed room with the door closed.

A lot of sound issues can be worked with by room tuning after the walls are up. Markphd has a pretty good idea about putting up a piece of drywall as an experimental back wall. However, it won't sound anything like that in the end, least of all due to the additional drywall to be added at later date. Moreso, it won't sound great, I'm guessing, if there's no carpet down yet, no furniture, etc. It will probably have more of an echo effect with the back experimental wall in place, and that could throw off your perception in an unrealistic simulation of the finished product.

Regarding the wire, I put the wiring for all surround and the video above the dropped ceiling so that it could be accessed for later replacement if so desired. I made the access from the ceiling into the side walls such that new cables could be pulled. It's not very likely you'll change that wiring often, but you may want to think twice before burying it under drywall ceiling. Your call...

Since you do not have the walls done, you still can save yourself... by finishing your walls in exceptionally soundproof style. I used hat channel (2 leg) on the exterior walls of the room facing the inside of basement. Then I used Homasote (from Home Depot; a sheet compressed paper product for soundproofing) as a first layer prior to drywall. I used 5/8 sheetrock over that. Works fabulously! I ran the screws from the outer later drywall into both the Homasote and the hat channel. The room is like a vault! No sense of hearing room resonance, and that with twin subs!

I would also, if you have the space overhead, consider running the hat channel above on ceiling of room; then use the Homasote as first barrier, especially if there are bedrooms above. In order to have entirely soundproof ceiling (zero gaps) you will need to build recessed sound proof boxes into the joists where the can lights (in order to make this work, you must use mini cans - about 4") will go. make them big enough to have room to maneuver them when you later put up grid and ceiling tile.

Order the hat channel at local Lowes or similar home improvement store at fraction of cost of an audio sound supplier.

Calk very seam and hole. Caulk outlets, etc. Use cable holders to screw the A/V cables to the solid underceiling, so they won't potentially rattle on the grid of the dropped ceiling.

Screw down everything conceivable in the walls when you do drywall. I used approx. 3x the normal amount of drywall screws and screwed into such things as A/C supply duct inside the wall next to the drywall so as to remove any possibility of rattling due to subwoofers.

You have to keep your brain in gear on this not rush it, or you'll potentially regret it.

Yes, this seems excessive, or overkill, but I have an EXCEPTIONALLY quiet room which makes the audio/video experience all the sweeter! WELL worth the extra effort! Cost-wise, it may add another $500-$600 ball park to the project. Most worth it for the super quiet environment in the finished product. If you do it well enough, the room will almost seem like an acoustically separate building.

Remember, going to this extreme will not only save your loved ones from noise (they won't tell you to turn it down!) it will also save YOU from their noise like wallking on the floors above you!

One last thing; if you decide to go this route, with the solid soundproof ceiling under the dropped ceiling, draw out both your electric and A/V cabling schematic a few times to make absolutley sure you're covering everything, and consider upgrading and adding extra cables to future-proof your system as much as possible.

There is plenty more to consider, but this'll get you thinking.
Thanks for the quik posts , I went to home depot last night and bought the biggest solid door I could find
my deciding factor was a new baby is due in 4 months and I don't want him getting near all those tubes from the monoblocks(Safty factor).My ceiling is only 7 feet, so wouldn't a drop down make it too low? I have been using the poly they make bass traps with all around and plan to put it in the new wall as well then in between the rafters on the ceiling i had planned to put pink insulation over the r-30 but it is very difficult and time comsuming but i dont want to lower the ceiling another inch. I am trying to decided where to put the rack its a brightstar sandfilled horizontal and i had it to the side but I am not sure now? What is Hat?
The carpenter came but the electrician no showed so I can make some adjustments like douglas suggested maybe returning the 5 inch cans for some 4inch , my rafters are 9 inches deep what do you make the soundproof boxes out of? I went to the electric whare house today and bought lutron smart dimmers and leviton hospital grade recepticals I wasn't sure what kind of wire would be best for the dedicated lines. So I called VTL and I spoke Luke Manly the man who designed the equipment I just bought (5.5 pre ,TP2.5 phono ,St150,and the mb450) He said to use the 30 amp wire and it would be better if it was sheilded,to keep out rf but most important he said was to make sure all the components where on the same phase in the electrical fuse box,to keep out ground noise...
The door I bought last night was to big .There is a structural beam making it only 75 inches tall and the door is a six panel so it couldn't be cut .I have to go back and get a solid flat that he can cut. I have the option of putting the door in the middle of the left side or at the front closer to my left front channel speaker.Thanks
Tis a dilemma I too have faced. In my case the room is about 14x13 with a eight foot ceiling. From the sound perspective, the folks from the speaker maker susgested the smaller space.As the amp, a tube one, would not have to work as hard. The big issue is really one of family lifestyle. Do you want a room dedicated to music and movies alone or one that will bring in the future pool table and such. You mentioned a former remodel job,consider moving such things as water heaters etc that may be in the wrong location for your needs. Douglas puts some very good points for anyone looking to do this project. Main thing is try to get it right the first time no matter how long it takes, once done you may have little chance to go back and change the configuration. Good Luck

Well today I took out a storage closet and it makes the whole basement look a lot bigger. I opened the vtl 450 mono blocks and was pleasantly surprised by the new design . I didnt know they had changed it. They have a cool glass closure . But after I listened to them in my living room I am thinking bigger may be better and my take down the frame and bring the door back to home depot.I sent the plans to a friend who is a developer/architec .Went to go pick up the 30 amp wire and the stuff was covered with armor and 400$ so I bagged it and going to run 4 20amp line and put in a new extra panel .Anybody know which brand sounds best?
Ok, Chayes, you're in the beginning phase of "freak out". That's good, You have much freaking out to go, however! Do not freak out too quickly or you will "SCREW" the entire project. You want to have a CONTROLLED FREAK OUT. That way, as you work on the project with less sleep, you will actually fall into a semi-comatose state in which the correct door will be found, the correct wiring will be located. etc. ;)

By the way, the Freak Out Phase lasts until the last bill is paid! hahaha

Seriously, Glenfihi is absolutely correct. Do not let this project be pushed too quickly! Mistakes will be made and you'll regret it. Time in construction is your ally. Now, if you could only convince your wife! :)

I told my wife it would be one year to do. It took 8 months, I'm a hero!

You're getting solid core door to keep out 4 month old baby! Wow, must be strong baby...

yes, definitely solid door! Do dedicated outlets for audio and AV. Subpanel is very good. Square D definitely BEST sounding panel! :) You should be FREAKING OUT over that issue more! I sense you are not FREAKING OUT enough about the sound of the panel!

I had people tell me 110 wasn't enough for our house (1800 sq. ft ranch) to add HT. More honest electrician said we didn't need upgrade on electrical, that 100 was fine, we just needed subpanel. He was right. Oh, the lights go out in the Ht when the AC kicks in, but who cares! ;)

Ok, seriously: Only 7 foot ceiling? Hmmm. No dropped ceiling. Better be DOGGONE sure what you want up in that ceiling before you seal it! I would, in that case, Put PVC pipe in the walls to run wiring to surrounds. That way you can fish new wires later if you want. CAULK the pvc and holes if you do, or it may rattle!!!! You gotta nail down, caulk EVERYTHING! Do not allow ANY looseness in walls, ceiling.

Yes, make your changes to dimensions of room NOW while you still may relatively cheaply. Studs cost nothing compared with the right result!

If you're doing the thicker walls, you may have to order wider door jamb!!! Finalize how thick your walls will be and check on that! I went to Home Depot and got thickest one piece jamp they had; 7.5 inches (you can go bigger but they're composite and cost more).

Call your Home Depot and ask for "Hat Channel" or "Resilient Channel" They will probably know it as Resilient channel. Look it up on the web. Pops out about 1/2" from the stud and separates the sheeting (homasote or sheetrock) from the stud. You SHOULD at least use it on the walls! If you can, also on ceiling, but that's making it pretty low. If you decide not to do so on ceiling, I would put at least two layers up. Two layers of sheetrock/drywall and second layer applied at 90 degree turn to first layer, so no seams line up.

I built the soundproof boxes out of Homasote and recessed them into the floor joists above the basement. You gotta get your own system to rig them. I did not have them flush with the floor above, but floated them about 1.5-2" below.

I've got some pics I can send you. Send me an email to make sure we connect.

You do NOT want to run long runs of electrical and component wiring parallel to each other. Cross over at right angles, and only cross when you have to. Yes, this means lay out the plan for electrical and component wiring. I did have to cross my electrical a few times, and have zero problems in the wiring. so, FREAK OUT only a bit on this issue.

Did I tell you NO flourescent lighting in the HT! NONE! Will very likely cause noise in the lines. do all Halogen or Incandescent.

You know, you're getting about two months of reading distilled down in two minutes! Where was MY mentor when I was doing this!!!! :)

Architect, yes. Good.

Crap, too much to say. Just email me and we'll set up a phone call.