What is a False Wall for Home Theater and Why Would You Want One?
When researching home theater, especially if you are thinking of getting a projector, you’ve probably come across the term “false wall.” Unfortunately, too many people throw around home theater terms and expect everyone else to know what they are talking about. Well, not everyone does. So, what is a false wall, what does it do for you, and why might you want one in your home theater? Let’s discuss.
Just the Facts
A false wall, as the name suggests, is a fake wall in your home theater. It is simply stick framing (sometimes two by fours, sometimes smaller lumber) that is wrapped in acoustically transparent fabric. That fabric is usually black or matches the colors of your walls.
If you’ve ever been to a movie theater, you’ll see speakers on the walls and ceiling (if the theater is Atmos-enabled). But you won’t see any up front. That’s because they are all behind the screen. Installing a false wall in your home theater allows you to achieve that same clean look. You can put your speakers and one of your subwoofers (but not both) behind the wall. For those worried about getting the best front soundstage, you can have three identical speakers up front.
You can often put other things behind your home theater false wall like lots of absorptive material to acoustically treat your room. Since the material is behind the false wall, you don’t have to worry about making it look pretty. Which saves money.
What About Your Picture?
False walls are normally linked to projection setups. You’d normally install an acoustically transparent projection screen into the wall (pictured above). The projector is usually mounted to the ceiling above the seats giving the most recognizable movie theater experience.
You could, in theory, install a flat panel into the false wall instead. The difference would be that the center speaker couldn’t be mounted behind the screen at ear level (something you can do with an acoustically transparent projection screen). It would have to be mounted above or below. But it would work.
How Do You Mount Your Speakers?
The joy of a false wall in your home theater is that you can do many things on the cheap. You don’t need pretty speakers because no one will see them. You don’t need fancy stands because no one will knock them over. If you have floorstanding speakers, you can just throw them back there. If you have smaller speakers, you can use stands, build shelves into the false wall to support the speakers, or just put them on some cinderblocks. No one is going to see them so it won’t matter! Whatever is the cheapest, gets them into the right positions, and the correct distance from the walls.
How Do You Get Behind the Wall?
Once you have your speakers placed behind the wall, there is usually little reason to get back there again. But most people install some way of doing so. Either their home theater false wall has a removable panel, a screen that can be retracted or pushed aside, or an actual door. We’ve also seen false walls that have access from behind the wall from a different room. No matter how you do it, you’ll likely want to ensure you can get back there to service or replace gear.
Do you have a false wall in your home theater? Any tips for our readers? Leave them in the comments below!