Home Theater design and schematic software, it’s easier than it sounds

October 12, 2004

RacktoolsIf you’ve ever had the need/desire to make a diagram or schematic of your home theater or A/V system, you’re either about to plan one out or you’re intent on diagramming a working system for kicks. The latter indicates an obsessive, compulsive tendency and should be checked out by a therapist. But if you’re planning a home theater from scratch, then one of these free software tools just might come in handy.

There are a few “pro” type software packages to aid in schematics and design, most notably D-Tools (which the author uses almost daily) but you don’t have to spend the big bucks to get some of those same features. Many of the drawings I make for clients could be made with Visio, however it’s the custom templates and stencils that set the doodles apart from presentation quality proposals.

Among the free software tools for designing a home theater or just making a line schematic are AVSnap and Rack tools. AVsnap from Altinex is actually quite useful and the more “wiring” based of the two packages. You can create your own custom equipment types and then line draw all of the connections ahead of time, or use their pre-made library and modify the results to your system and needs.

Racktools from Middle Atlantic is geared more toward equipment layout. Even if you don’t end up purchasing one of their fine equipment racks, the space and dimension options of rack tools can be very useful for space planning. If you’re planning a home theater system with a DVD player, A/V receiver, and a cable box, these tools might not really shed any more light on system design than a piece of paper could. But as more and more home theater systems approach the complex to ridiculous in intricacy, so does the need to fully plan them out ahead of time.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Home Theater How-to


Comments

  • Jack Gershfeld

    Dear Mr. B.Greenway,

    Thank you for mentioning AVSnap in your write up. AVSnap was created by AV professionals for AV Professionals and it is free. We strongly believe that AVSnap is far superior to anything available on the market place. In fact we believe that AVSnap will become the de-facto AV Design system in the next few years. Considering that it integrates much of the functionality of the D-Tools, StarCAD, VidCAD and RackTools at no cost to the user makes it pretty much a simple decision.
    With many new features added almost every 2-3 weeks, the AVSnap will continue to provide decisive leadership in AV design software. Business is not as usual anymore. We encourage manufacturers to participate in this revolution and develop their own libraries for AVSnap and provide them to us for posting on the AVSnap web site.

  • Jack Gershfeld

    Dear Mr. B.Greenway,

    Thank you for mentioning AVSnap in your write up. AVSnap was created by AV professionals for AV Professionals and it is free. We strongly believe that AVSnap is far superior to anything available on the market place. In fact we believe that AVSnap will become the de-facto AV Design system in the next few years. Considering that it integrates much of the functionality of the D-Tools, StarCAD, VidCAD and RackTools at no cost to the user makes it pretty much a simple decision.
    With many new features added almost every 2-3 weeks, the AVSnap will continue to provide decisive leadership in AV design software. Business is not as usual anymore. We encourage manufacturers to participate in this revolution and develop their own libraries for AVSnap and provide them to us for posting on the AVSnap web site.