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-   -   Painted wall or AT fabric screen (http://www.avsforum.com/forum/110-diy-screen-section/1507825-painted-wall-fabric-screen.html)

DaHealey 12-26-2013 02:25 PM

Hello All - Looking for some advice setting up my basement home theater design.


For some background, here is a diagram of the wall that will house the screen.  It is at the end of a long room (~30ft long) in a semi-dedicated theater.  There are windows on the left side (partial basement), but we'll be able to mostly control ambient light with drapes.



As you can see, there is a fireplace to the left with a stoop that bumps out ~12 inches.  This leaves me with a 118 inch wide by 9'6" high wall to build my screen.  Either it can sit out 12" or it can lay flat on the wall.


Here is my dilemma:


Painted screen directly on the wall or Acoustically Transparent fabric box sitting out 12 inches?


I can see advantages to both, but it'll come down to total cost & performance.  With a screen painted directly on my wall, speakers will need to live below the screen in a custom built cabinet.  This only leaves me with ~24 inch high mains and limited space for a center, subwoofer (ideally 2 below the screen) and equipment.  Reading through the forum I get the impression that a SilverFire 2.5 painted screen will have the best performance on a hard surface (smooth drywall).


However, with a AT fabric screen I can build a 12" deep box, place my main and center speakers directly behind the screen (I'm guessing this will result in better sound overall) and still have room for equipment below the screen.  This will probably sound better, but I'm concerned about the performance of the screen fabric.


If I should go down the AT fabric screen path, what material would give me the best results?  I'd like to keep this part of the project in the $300 range, but it's not a hard budget.


Anticipated hardware list:

Projector - Epson 2000 or 2030 (if it goes on sale)

Receiver - Marantz NR1403 or NR1604

Front Speakers - TBD


General Usage of the room:

Sports during daytime with moderate light control

Movies with full light control

ahajr143 12-31-2013 09:43 AM

If you want the best picture "pop" you are going to want to go with a painted screen as long as your wall is perfectly smooth. The Epson 2000 would have been called a "light cannon" when I bought my projector but is rather dim compared to most these days. If you watch in 3D mode the brightness will be diminished further. This assumes that you want to go with at least a 100" diagonal screen. I would go with Silver Fire v2.5 in probably a 3.0 colorant level. If it helps any, it doesn't matter where in the room you put your subwoofers, they do not need to be on the screen wall.

All that being said, I am perfectly happy with my white over silver milliskin matte spandex screen with an Epson 8100 mounted at 13" from a 120" diagonal screen. I am planning to do a silver fire screen sometime this year, though.

DaHealey 12-31-2013 06:06 PM

Thanks for the input aha jr.  I looked a little more carefully at the existing wall and decided it would take too much additional plaster to coverup the texture and perfectly flatten it out.  I also decided the light control in my basement is probably better than some (I know this is hard to compare) others using dual layer milliskin spandex screens.  Therefore I'm planning on doing a white over light silver milliskin spandex screen.  I'm pretty sure there will be some trial and error getting the exact fabric combination that works best for my room.


Anyways, I went out and bought the wood necessary to make a 138" diagonal screen with the intention of masking out the edges and ending up with a 130-135 inch 16:9 screen.  I haven't ordered the screen materials yet, but plan on doing that soon.  I'll post some pictures of the completed frame once that project gets priority in the to-do list.

ahajr143 01-02-2014 07:28 AM

How do you intend to attach the spandex to the frame? If you want to experiment with different layers such as silver over white vs white over silver, you may want to look into the screen tight system available at the big box stores. I stapled mine since I had a compressor and a brad/staple gun, but I started with silver moleskin over white milliskin and then switched to the white milliskin over the silver moleskin. I ended up tearing the spandex around the staples rather than removing them all. The screen tight system would have made this a much easier process.

DaHealey 01-05-2014 09:13 PM

Well, I plan on using the screen porch stripping material that you're speaking of - but I haven't bought it yet.  The lumber ended up sitting in my garage during the holiday weekend; it's turning into a next week project :).


I still need to decide where to buy the milliskin spandex from.  Where are people currently picking it up from?

ahajr143 01-06-2014 10:31 AM

Sometimes you can get good prices at Joann Fabrics or Hancock fabrics with coupons, but most people are ordering online from www.spandexworld.com or www.spandexhouse.com.

wevtyui 01-06-2014 08:44 PM

You'll be better off with 2 front speakers without a center channel, and choose phantom mode with the Marantz. Orient the front speakers vertically, position about 2 feet from each edge of the screen and centered between the top and bottom of the screen.

DaHealey 01-06-2014 09:03 PM

Originally Posted by wevtyui View Post

You'll be better off with 2 front speakers without a center channel, and choose phantom mode with the Marantz. Orient the front speakers vertically, position about 2 feet from each edge of the screen and centered between the top and bottom of the screen.

I've read this a few times.  Why do you make this recommendation?

wevtyui 01-06-2014 09:34 PM

The biggest factor with this screen's position is the obvious potential for sound interference between the wall and the front speaker near it. Might even want to place the two front speakers as much as three feet away from each side of the screen, but at the expense of some side to side sound panning. 


The idea of using a phantom channel comes from the beauty of two channel stereo. The sound image is clearer, moves more freely from side to side (panning), and it tends to seem bigger and less localized like its coming from a spot in the screen as can be the case with a center channel speaker. And many like myself have found a phantom channel arrangement works well with a large projection screen, although shooting speakers through an AT screen reduces this somewhat. 


With a more optimal screen position, relative to the side walls, other factors become more important, such as screen width, distance to the listener, elevation difference between the speakers and the listener, whether the speakers are vertically tilted or facing straight forward. 


I'll add this too. Be sure to post in the speaker forum before choosing speakers. There are big differences in speakers, and some are better for this than others. 

DaHealey 03-05-2014 12:56 AM

It's way past due for an update here.  Over the past 2 months I built up a wood frame and stretched two layers of spandex (white over grey) using ScreenTight.  The screen itself is now hanging in my 'theater' (I use that term loosely given all the windows right now).  Overall I'm very happy with the progress so far.


As far as the frame construction goes, I had concerns about the rigidity of 10ft+ boards, so I slightly overbuilt everything.  The L shapes are held together with biscuits, as are the mitered corners.


I put two vertical supports in the middle as well.



Finished project sitting upright in my garage.  Overall dimensions are ~63x112


Attaching the screen tight and the grey base layer of Spandex (used one of the two links Aharjr suggested)



Excuse the poor lighting And here we have the screen, hung out from the wall ~14 inches to give me room for speakers behind.  I'm also planning on trimming the sides with black velvet, so all of the overhang will be hidden or cleaned up.



And finally the cabling system I used to hang the screen from 2 joists (2x12's in our house).  I would estimate that the screen weighs between 50 and 70lbs while the cable connectors (the weakest link) are rated for 300 lbs.  It has been hanging for a few weeks now and looks great.



Going forward - I was able to pickup a BenQ W1070 projector this week and it should be here by the weekend.  Next I need to work on a mount and acquiring some speakers.

awblackmon 03-12-2014 07:06 PM

Looks really good so far. Looking forward to seeing more of this project.

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