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Category Archives: The Rest of the House

Running the Audio

Back of the RackThe plan for the basement is to have speakers wired from the rack to the family room, the deck, the bar, and the theater:

• Family Room – Two Speakers
• Deck – Two Speakers
• Bar – Five Speakers and One Subwoofer
• Theater – Seven Wall Speakers, Four Overhead Speakers, Two Subwoofers, Two Sets of Transducers

All total, that’s 24 channels of audio going to the rack. In this pic of the back of the rack, the bottom two rows are the connections to all 24 channels, with the four at the right already connected to the family room and deck.

Family Room SpeakersBefore the basement ceiling can be drywalled and closed, I have to install the speakers in the family room and the deck. I’m running these with as the same zone, so what’s playing on one will play on the other. My thought is that if we want to listen to something on the deck, we’ll use the tv in the family room to view/control it. Or, we’ll use a phone app to control it while out on the deck.

Installing the family room speakers involved cutting a couple of rather large holes in one wall of the room, making a bunch of drywall dust in the process. While the initial mess had the wife a bit nervous, the final result had her rather pleased. Eventually, these will be painted to match the wall.

deckspeakerOur deck isn’t very big—12’x16′. We decided on a smaller deck with the thought that we’ll eventually have a very large patio below on to which our entertainment level (i.e., the basement) will open. Because we don’t want to disturb our neighbors (at least too much), I put the speakers on the outside corners of the deck, aimed up at the seating area. This way, sound is aimed away from the surrounding houses, and reflections off the house will be aimed up and away, instead of directed at our neighbors. When the wife is at ground level in the backyard, which is 14 feet below the deck, I have to get the system uncomfortably loud before she can hear anything.

The bar speakers will all be in-ceiling speakers, with the three front LCR speakers being angled at the TV, so that primary sound should be heard as reflections from the TV and wall, instead of the listener hearing the sound coming from the ceiling. I’m still not sure how effective this’ll be, but as the primary purpose of these speakers will be watching sports at the bar, I’m not too concerned.

Front of Bracket

Back of BracketFor the speakers in the theater, all of them will be in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, so that when the room is finished, they’ll all be invisible. Normally, in-wall and in-ceiling speakers fasten directly to the drywall, which works well; however, I wanted the theater speakers to be more solidly attached, so I made brackets out of OSB and 2x3s. They’re solidly attached to the framing using deck screws.

Category Archives: The Rest of the House

Fixing a Problem

Open BoxWhen we first saw the house, while the drywall in the basement meant I couldn’t easily see the floor above, or look for any mechanical issues that might be tucked in the joists, I did see an uncovered electrical box. I thought it a bit odd, in that it had obviously been there when the house was built, and being open, a code violation. I also thought it a bit sloppy of the original electrician, as it’d be rare to have to splice something in during the original build. I figured that all I’d have to do with it would be to put a cover on it, and that’d be that.


About four months after moving in, the overhead lights in the kitchen flickered and went out. My first thought was a bad switch, so I looked at the switches and saw the electrician had (as is too common) used the push in connectors on the back of the switches, which can fail. So, I bought three new switches and installed them. No luck.

Burnt EndsThen I remembered the odd open box in the basement, and thought it could be the problem. I shut off power to the kitchen again and tested the box for power. Nothing—I’m on to something. I removed one of the wire nuts to inspect the connection, and saw not only that the electrician had merely held the stripped ends of the wires together and screwed a wire nut on to them, but that the unsecurely connected wires had arced repeatedly to the point of charring. I got my lineman’s pliers out, snipped the burnt tips off, stripped and twisted them securely before screwing fresh wire nuts and taping. The kitchen lights were fixed.

Category Archives: The Rest of the House

Joe’s Bar Is Live Again

Welcome back to Joe’s Bar.  We recently moved across the country, which meant we had to sell our house, including the bar and media room.  But, the new house has a much bigger space for a new bar and a dedicated home theater room.  In the coming days (ok, weeks, months), I’ll start posting photos and plans for the new space, as well as re-posting pics of the old bar.

Stay Tuned!

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