The SUBmarine Theater Entertainment Complex

  • The basement of our home has gone through a much elongated metamorphosis over the last 15 years, and for fun I thought I'd share its entire – current – functioning state (who knows where it's headed!).

    When we first bought our home, the basement had two finished rooms and quite a bit of unfinished space that was used as a dumping ground for junk (aka storage :-). One finished room quickly became a giant playroom full of toys, while the other adopted one of my only remaining bachelor day possessions (a black leather recliner), a small 20" ViewSonic TV that suffered from a crooked screen, and a Panasonic VCR. That room received minimal use (an occasional late night viewing of Fletch or Caddyshack while the rest of my family slept), but is the spring broad that launched my interest in home theater. And it's that room that has undergone multiple iterations as its developed into a dedicated space. Some of you have built ideal theater rooms that are (for a lack of a better term) turn-key upon finishing... my theater space has been coaxed from what was already present. That's led to some creativity (discretely covering windows, for example) and give-and-takes... and it will remain that way for the time being.

    The theater room is slightly larger than 2000 cu ft and is totally light controlled (black rug and front 1/3rd of the room has Ultra Flat Black walls/ceiling). It houses a fixed frame 105" 2.35:1 Carada 1.0 gain screen paired with a JVC RS520 projector. The current sound system is a 7.4.4 arrangement comprised of SVS Ultra speakers (Elevation ceiling channels), with dual SB16 subs at 1/4 points along the front wall and dual PSA XS30 subs at 1/4 points of the back walls (yup... massive bass headroom... just the way I like it), and a system arrangement of an OPPO UDP-205, a Pioneer VSX21 (for bass shakers), an Emotiva XPA5 amp, and a rotation of AVRs (currently a Marantz SR7012 is running the show... and I think that one may stick around for a while!).

    Over time, as my kids have gotten older, I've slowly swallowed the remainder of the basement, ditching old boxes and toys to make space for other passions. Luckily, my wife has generously approved! I've built an L-shaped gym to keep the body young (supposedly) and two game rooms (one that doubles as a workshop) to house my crazed pinball passion (which definitely keeps the mind young) and collection of one-off skateboard art. Lots of time and hard work have been poured into all of the rooms... which, honestly, has been half the fun. I hesitate to use the phrase "man cave," opting for "Entertainment Complex"... but it could easily be a "Survival Center" if I could figure out how to squeeze a microwave into the workshop. :-)

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  1. Todd Anderson
    The Submarine Complex is officially destroyed. Our house has been under pretty intense renovation for the better part of 4 months... the first stage was to renovate our garage to function with bay doors that open for storage on the frontside, with a room built on the backside to accommodate the gym. That's done... stage two is new foundation for a kitchen and basement addition. Close-in has happened and things are moving along. Hoping to have it all wrapped up in about 3 months. Which means the home theater is completely off line for the time being. The theater is going to be re-assembled and look somewhat the same... with a few wall changes and a door way that leads into a new part of the basement. So, I guess Submarine Mach II is in the making! Looks like another Showcase will be in the works!
  2. tesseract
    Looking good, Todd. It is obvious that years have been dedicated to this complex, with a workout room and workshop as icing on the cake.

    I'll be showing my fiancee this setup!
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    1. Todd Anderson
      Gotta plant the seed in the brain Asap Dennis! :-))
      Todd Anderson, Jan 23, 2018
  3. BD55
    Complex is the right word! That is awesome, Todd! I love how you even have zipties on your sign to keep it from rattling!
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    1. Todd Anderson
      Eagle eyes! There's actually a story behind those tipties. I hand made that sign. Every once and a while I have a bunch of friends over to play bubble hockey. The first gathering ever... when the game room and the sign were new, someone scored, threw his hands up to celebrate, and knocked the sign off its hooks. Almost broke it! LOL. Anyhow, zipties were installed the next day to keep it from happening again. ;-)
      Todd Anderson, Jan 23, 2018
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  4. Matthew J Poes
    Todd that looks great. I didn't know you were so into Pinball. While not even in your galaxy, my dad is a fan too. He has just a single pinball machine. Dimension I believe, it was his favorite as a kid. It's in completely original condition with all original glass. The artwork and glass is mostly in good shape but the chrome is rough as is the outside. I rebuilt the innards for him once and its since been redone by a pinball expert who was able to obtain a lot of the replacement parts I couldn't. They are fun to work on, so basic yet so complex.

    The theater looks great, I never knew what your theater looked like until now.

    My room is in a constant state of change.

    And Talley, while I don't have 4 subs as beastly as Todd, I do have a single 18" high efficiency sub, a pair of high efficiency 12" subs, and a single 12" Dayton Reference sub, I still have a buttkicker tactile transducer. It's just a totally different tactile sensation that no amount of subwoofers can equal. Dialed in right it adds another dimension to the experience of effects.
    1. Todd Anderson
      Ha, thanks Matt. Yes, Pinball is one of my passions - dare I say it might eclipse my love of home theater? It just might! :-) I guess they’re neck and neck (of course Major League Baseball probably takes the cake). I really enjoy working on them... and dissecting the rules and learning how to advance in the games is an absolute challenge, especially with modern games. I’m constantly buying and selling machines - it’s truly an obsession... and a painful one: very hard to let go of some to make room for others! Chrome on older games (especillay the legs) can definitely get tainted. There are some tricks to bringing it back to life (namely evaporust).
      Todd Anderson, Jan 19, 2018
  5. Prof.
    Man..that is some basement!! What a cool games room and a very nice theatre!!
    A lot of guys would give their right arm for all that!!! Well done..:T
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    1. Todd Anderson
      Thanks for the kind words, Prof! Put a ton of sweat equity into that basement... lots of the improvements done with my own hands (far from perfect...but, I tried!). Should have taken some before and after photos!
      Todd Anderson, Jan 19, 2018
  6. JBrax
    Wow Todd! I could pretty much live in that space and be totally content not venturing beyond to the rest of the house. Great job and very impressive!
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    1. Todd Anderson
      Thanks Jeff! I get lost down there many a-night. Fun to share it with friends/family. We enough people get down there, it gets that old school arcade hum!
      Todd Anderson, Jan 19, 2018
  7. Tony V.
    Todd, thats a great space. I still love that jukebox you have.
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    1. Todd Anderson
      Jukebox was such a great buy... I really love firing that thing up. Classic rock just sounds sooo right pouring out of it ;-)
      Todd Anderson, Jan 19, 2018
  8. tripplej
    Great basement setup. Love the theater, the game room, exercise room, everything. Great job!
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  9. thrillcat
    Love it! Wish I had room for pinball...I could probably fit one or two in my workout room, which also serves as the theater lobby (not many people have a popcorn machine in their workout rooms). My brother has a KISS pinball machine, but it sits in his storage room.
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    1. Todd Anderson
      Which KISS? The 1979 Bally or the modern 2016 Stern?
      Todd Anderson, Jan 19, 2018
    2. thrillcat
      1979 Bally. We had a chance at one in the early 90's that was in great shape that we could've bought for $300 and passed (college - no money, and where do you put it?). He bought one for much, much more than that around the time they were reuniting and putting the makeup back on, so he really paid a premium.
      thrillcat, Jan 20, 2018
    3. Todd Anderson
      Cool. Yeah.. unfortunately the cost of games is through the roof at the moment. Seems like they get more expensive every month. Great art on that 1979 Bally version... Stern's 2016 release emulated it!
      Todd Anderson, Jan 20, 2018
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  10. Talley
    Ok man... I just reread this. Bass shakers??? really... you have 4 15" and 2 16" drivers in 2,000cuft....

    ...and you think you need bass shakers????

    I'm never taking your advice lol
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    1. Todd Anderson
      Ha! Well, they're left over from former iterations of the room that didn't have subs like that... I have them on a low pass filter of 50HZ. So, when they're on there's a little extra kick in the seat of your pants. Gives a bit of tactile texture ;-)... they've survived the cuts!
      Todd Anderson, Jan 19, 2018
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  11. leecreek
    Way too nice. And the Pinball machines. Decadent.
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    1. Todd Anderson
      Todd Anderson, Jan 19, 2018
  12. Talley
    I really love the entire setup you have. Your also the only other person I know with an ultra system like me which I got from Sonnie. The room is spot on. for the entire look/feel/setup and treatments. The game room leaves me in drool mode and the exercise room is a welcome addition.

    Seems like you could live down there lol.

    How do you like those ultra surrounds... do they work well being so close to the back speakers?
    1. Todd Anderson
      Thanks Talley. Surrounds work great... definite separation of channels as sound sweeps around the room.

      I'd love to have a shot at building a larger dedicated space, but most of us have to work within the constraints we're given! ;-)
      Todd Anderson, Jan 19, 2018
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