Multifunction Seat Riser - Conclusion
Step 6: Install the Riser flooring and throw down carpet padding
We again cut the MDF sheets the same size as the plywood base and oriented them in a similar manner as in step 2. We left a tiny gap between each sheet to allow for expansion and securely screwed the MDF into the joists. We used a 6lb carpet pad to not make the flooring too plush thus diminishing the tactile response of the riser.
Step 7: Secure the carpet and trim molding
I selected the exact same carpet used on my flooring for a perfect match. We secured the carpet to the riser with nails. This is definitely a 2 person job - one to nail and the other to stretch the carpet. Finishing off the corners was a bit tricky. We carefully slit the carpet at the corner, and nailed it to the riser. Afterwards we picked up some 1-1/2” trim molding, painted it white and cut it to fit the riser dimensions. The trim molding was nailed to the riser and we used a plastic corner molding to finish off the corners. We cut it about 1/2” below the riser floor to ensure nobody would scrape against it when exiting the riser.
Step 8: Install the Rope Lighting and Finish Molding
Initially I thought I could get away with placing the rope lighting on the bottom molding, but later found excessive light emanation was hampering the picture quality. At this point, I had two options: install a dimmer or encase the rope lighting in another layer of molding. I chose the latter as I felt cosmetically it would look better. I called upon the help of my local neighbor who is a skilled carpenter to custom build me trim molding (right pic) to encase the riser and deflect the light to the floor where it should be.
For the final finishing touch, I connected the rope lighting to an RF remote controlled outlet accessory. When I get around to updating my RTI universal RF remote control, I plan on adding a macro to automatically turn on the lighting each time I use my theater system.
The End Result
Now it was time to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Did all of this construction pay off? I’d sure hope so, else at best case I’d have a costly, elaborate and labor-intensive riser platform to simply elevate my second row seating position.
As you can see in the picture taken from the second row, the riser provides just enough elevation to preserve a direct viewing path to the screen while at the same time not vertically offsetting the listeners from the acoustic center of the front speakers.
The proof however is in the pudding, so I loaded up some bass-intense music to gauge the effectiveness of the riser’s ability add tactile response to the experience.
I started with a killer jazz SACD I picked up from the Jazz Depot. A particular favorite of mine is from High Note records kinda JAZZY kinda FUNKY which is a compilation of soul jazz that just gets your foot tapping. Track #7 “Peach Cobbler” by Bill Heid is my favorite on the disc. The combo of Bill’s B-3 organ and Joe Magnarelli’s trumpets sent tingles down my spine the first time I heard it. Despite the fact that it’s only a 2CH recording, the soundstage is larger than life and the trumpets sound so real that I soon found myself in an audio nirvana coma that I didn’t come out of until the 7+ minute song was over. The bass was extended and clean and I was enamored by the tactile response the riser platform extended to my chairs. It truly brought a new level of enjoyment to my listening experience. I’ve never been a huge fan of tactile transducers because they always seems artificial to me, especially for music playback. But the tactile response I was feeling from my riser was a whole different experience. It felt like a natural and integral part of the music. I was amazed at how well the bass maintained its composure despite it had a new level of tactile energy I didn’t experience in the front row. Never did I find the bass one-notey or overpowering. Instead, I longed for the more intimate connection to my music that the riser was allocating.
I next fired up the opening battle scene from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and was soon dazzled by the cannon pounding of the capital ships engaged in battle. Anytime I switched between the front and second row seating, I found myself favoring the latter, especially for multi-channel music and movie listening. It was ironic to me that I tweaked my whole theater system to perform optimally in the front row, yet in almost every circumstance I found myself preferring the second row which I am certain the riser had a lot to do with.
About the only thing I can criticize is I sometimes find a very slight lag in tactile response vs bass impact which is an inevitable result of mechanical vibration build up inside the riser. If you wish to minimize this phenomenon, you can stuff the riser with more insulation at the penalty of losing some tactile response. Personally I prefer the way it is now, especially when I have my bare feet planted on the surface of the riser. If you find the experience to be a bit too overwhelming, simply reclining in your chair and getting your feet off the riser floor will likely resolve this for you.
Anytime I have a visitor to the Audioholics Showcase home, I almost always seat them in the second row to get the most WOW effect possible. While every seat in this theater sounds great, there is simply no denying the added level of enjoyment of having a properly engineered tactile riser. If hearing great bass response is one thing, then feeling it is the icing on the cake. If you are contemplating building a riser for your theater room, I highly recommend you make it a dual purpose device such as I have done here. Auralex has provided an excellent blueprint which I neatly laid out the “how to” for in this article. All it takes now is some elbow grease, ingenuity, the proper tools, and a friend or two to help you out. Their reward, of course, is being among the first to experience the finished product. If they are bass heads like me, it will surely pay them dividends.
For more information:
Auralex Acoustics, Inc.
6853 Hillsdale Court
Indianapolis, IN 46250