Design the cinema of your dreams with the Audio Advice home theater design tool


I first encountered home theater when I was in high school in the late 90s, when DVD was brand new and the 5.1 channel audio was mind blowing. My first system was all Sony gear, bought from Best Buy, and it did my mom’s basement
the place to watch movies. My friends and I crowded around my hilarious little 20-inch Sony Wega TV and had a blast. The screen size left something to be desired, sure, but my friends thought the audio experience was amazing. Thanks to my habit of inhaling all the audio and home theater magazines at the local bookstore, however, I knew my system was far from endgame. On the contrary, it was only a starting point of my journey. Before long, I had the upgrade itch, and even though I didn’t have the money for new hardware, I wanted to see and hear what else was there. My hometown of Greensboro, NC had no real hi-fi or home theater stores, and Best Buy had lost its appeal. My friend Drew had a legit stereo at home, which his dad Tom bought in the 80s – Vandersteen speakers and PS Audio electronics. Tom directed us to audio tips in Raleigh, which carried several of the high-end audio and home theater brands I had only heard of. My friend Lauren was the only one in our group with a car running enough to make the 90 minute trip, so we piled into her old Volvo station wagon and took off. I had to go there dozens of times over the years, not only because of all the material available to audition, but also because the people there never made me feel bad about wanting to learn more and listen to material that I clearly couldn’t afford. Now, years later, audio tips has partnered with Audioholics, and I couldn’t be happier to recommend the store to our readers. I have been recommending it to friends for years.

One of the coolest features of the Audio Advice website is a patent pending free service
home theater design tool, which designs your dream theater right before your eyes as you enter information such as room dimensions, speaker layout preferences, and ideal viewing distance. You can choose how many rows of seats you want, the type of projector and screen, and whether your speakers will be visible or hidden in the walls and ceiling. The tool makes it easy to visualize what everything will look like and offers helpful tips if you’re not sure what to choose. The tool can perform complex calculations in real time and tell you the optimal screen size, seating location, and speaker location for your room. At the end, you can save your design to receive custom measurements for your layout. Then you can work with the Audio Advice staff (via chat, email, phone, or in-store) for the final optimization of details, including individual product selections, room acoustic treatment, and more. But you can use these online tools for free even if you don’t buy anything from Audio Advice! Audioholics founder Gene DellaSala recently discussed this invaluable tool with Scott Newnam of Audio Advice on a live video.

Audio Advice talks about their NEW home theater designer

Projector Calculator – Find Projection Distance, Screen Size and Positioning Made Easy

Here is a brief overview of how to use the Home Theater Designer and associated Projector Throw Distance Calculator. You must first measure the dimensions of your part and enter this information by moving the sliders to adjust the tool’s virtual part. Next is the seating section, where you add the number of rows of seats you want and the number of seats per row. If you select two or more rows, additional sliders will appear to allow you to change the height and depth of your riser. Choosing which line you want to use as the “main line” will allow the system to maximize the performance of that line. Next, set the distance between the seats and the screen by using your mouse to move the seats or by moving the slider. You can also set the position and width of the aisle. After sitting down comes the video setup, which starts by asking if you’re using a projector or a TV. If you select a projector, you will be asked to enter the make and model, assuming you have already chosen one. If not, you can tell the tool to continue based on a non-specific generic fixture. This is where the projector throw distance calculator comes in. It will determine the ideal throw distance, projector placement, screen size and screen gain in your home theater, based on your individual plan. It’s a useful tool even if you’re not designing an entire home theater from scratch. Maybe you’re considering switching from a TV to a projector in your living room, or maybe you’re replacing an old projector in an existing home theater space. Either way, this tool relies on accurate data from Audio Advice’s in-house lab testing to help you get exactly what you need for your space. The tool will help you choose your screen’s aspect ratio, size, and gain, based on the type of content you watch most and the level of immersion you want.

Each selection has a pop-up window with a detailed explanation of that item, so even beginners will feel like home theater pros. If you want a more in-depth explanation, the Audio Advice website also has some incredibly helpful articles that go in-depth on a variety of topics, including how to choose the best screen, what screen size is right for you, and the differences between aspect ratios. If you’re new to home theater, you can determine your preferences based on where you like to sit in a commercial theater. For example, if you like to sit in the middle of the theater and choose a 16:9 aspect ratio screen, you’ll probably be comfortable with a 30-degree field of view. With a 2.40 widescreen, a 42 degree field of view will probably work for you. But if you’re sitting closer to the front in a commercial cinema, you might prefer a 36 degree field of view for a 16:9 screen and a 48 degree field of view for a 2.40 screen. The desired field of view, combined with the viewing distance, will determine the ideal screen size. The online tool makes all those complicated calculations incredibly simple. When the tool has determined an ideal projector mounting location for your room and screen, you can see the brightness (in nits) of a specific projector in your theater. If the resulting brightness is fully HDR compatible, the LED turns green. If your selected projector is not bright enough, the indicator turns yellow. You can move the projector forward and backward using the cursor (or your mouse) to see how different viewing distances affect the resulting brightness. You can also try this with a number of different projector models.

Choose your speakers and locations with ease

Once the video part of your cinema is perfected, you move on to audio. If you’re not sure what speaker layout you want, you can start by reading this detailed article on speaker layout options. The tool starts by asking you if you want in-wall or boxed speakers. If you choose in-wall speakers, you can choose to place your front speakers behind an acoustically transparent screen. You can select whether you want to use surround back speakers, front wide speakers and any number of height effect speakers and subwoofers. If you remove speakers or move seats, the tool automatically moves all speakers to their new optimal positions. If you manually move a speaker to a location that will not work properly, it will turn orange, indicating that it is out of specification. You can then make adjustments until its color returns to normal, indicating you are good to go.

AI Optimizer audio tips

One of the biggest challenges in theater design is finding the balance between a layout that delivers absolutely perfect results in the primary listening position and one that maximizes performance across all seats. Audio Advice’s proprietary AI algorithm solves this problem in a unique way, and you can view the sonic results of your setup by activating the sound disperse button. According to Audio Advice, “Most people will want to go as far as possible from AI optimized until the speakers turn orange to get the best performance for all seats while staying 100% within Dolby spec. for the primary listening position.”

Audio Tips HT Lines of Sight

At the bottom of the tool you will see a set of other buttons including a ruler showing you the main measurements as you build, a line of sight button showing you how the height of the screen is automatically adjusted for optimal viewing from all seats, and view buttons that let you see what the screen looks like from the primary viewing seat and what the room looks like from various other angles. When you save your design, you have the option to review it with a audio tips expert to ensure you get the best possible results. You can also get a printable version of all the measurements, including screen height, locations of all speakers and seats, and even the pole length you need for your projector. If you ask Audio Advice to install your home theater, you can work with the store staff to choose each product individually, or simply explain the type of experience you want and leave the details to the experts. If you’re doing it all yourself, the website is full of helpful how-to videos, design guides, product selection guides, and a fantastic Image Inspiration Gallery.

To try the Audio Advice Home Theater Designer tool for yourself, Click here.

If you just need the projector throw distance calculator, Click here.

Have you used these tools to design your home theater? Share your experiences in the forum thread below.

embarrassed posts on Nov 23, 2022 3:24 a.m.

audio tips free online home theater designer and Projector Throw Distance Calculator are powerful tools for designing the theater of your dreams. These tools produce custom designs based on your room dimensions and audiovisual preferences. Not sure what screen size you need or where to place your speakers? These invaluable tools take the guesswork out of designing the ideal theater.


Lily: home theater design tool


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