Stewart screen...is AT worth the extra $2000? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 05-01-2013, 03:19 AM - Thread Starter
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So, I'm putting the finishing touches on the design of my theater. Here is the screen I currently have a quote for:

SNDQ141SUM15WX
Luxus Deluxe Screen Wall Quicksnap [00705]
Image Size: 4ft7.25in
x 10ft10in
(11ft9.25in
diag.)
Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Material: Ultramatte 150 Front
Projection Seamless
Screen Material OD: 4ft10.5in
x 11ft1.25in
Frame Overall Dimension: 5ft1.88in
x 11ft4.62in
Finish: Velux
Mounting: Wall Mount
1 $3,523.00 $3,523.00 $3,523.00

With this big screen, the plan is to put the L/R speakers wall mounted on the side and the front speaker above the screen. I can upgrade to an AT screen for about $2200. I do have room for the space needed to change out to an AT screen. My speaker system is a Klipsch 7.1 with 2 subs up front.

I was hoping to keep the A/V equipment cost to $25k but am about $2k over budget so far. I'm wondering if I should simply bite the bullet and upgrade the room and screen to AT. I don't mind spending the money as long as it is significantly superior and something I will definitely notice. Actually, the same question goes for a $4500 masking system I could add to it. Please give me your thoughts as I really need to nail down this decision, hopefully today.

Thanks for your help.

Darin

BTW, projector is Sony VW1000ES with about a 20 ft throw.
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-01-2013, 04:51 AM
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Have you considered Seymour AV for the screen?

FWIW, I'd say AT is worth having, though I think a woven screen is a better choice (acoustically and potentially visually) than a perf'd screen. And it helps that Seymour is quite reasonably priced.

As for masking, you could either go with masking panels (that you have to place manually) or you could go with the Carada Masqueraide system. Personally I'd find it hard to swallow $4500 for a masking system, I don't currently mask my 2.39:1 screen and I don't find it distracting at all (though I'm open to the possibility that I'm missing something).

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post #3 of 11 Old 05-01-2013, 07:42 AM
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+1 for Seymour AV

-Sean
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post #4 of 11 Old 05-01-2013, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Apparently I need about a 1.5 gain screen and although the Seymour is listed at 1.2 I guess it is closer to 1 from what I've been told.

Darin
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post #5 of 11 Old 05-01-2013, 08:46 AM
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+1 for Stewart.

Although I have not personally tested the Seymour material, I can without qualification stand up for the quality of Stewart screens. In all of my years testing materials at Integrity Home Theater and at Panamorph, no brand of screen has been as consistent in terms of brightness uniformity, color reproduction, and overall build quality. Even things like the screen surround material (Velux for Stewart) have been of better quality than most competitors, absorbing light much more effectively than some other choices.

None of this is should be construed as bashing Seymour, for as I said, I have never tested one. However, going from 1.5 gain to 1.0 gain is a substantial reduction.

RE: masking. I personally find masking to be quite effective, as it makes the 16:9 image appear to "pop" more. You also get less washout from any stray reflections bouncing back to the screen. However, it's one of those things that is not, IMO, critical. If you've got an extra $4500 laying around you don't know what to do with, go for it wink.gif

I don't know if you are looking at full masking from 2.35:1 all the way down to 4:3, or just a vertical mask that takes you from 2.35:1 to 16:9. I have the latter and hardly ever wish I could further mask down to 4:3. You might check into this more basic masking system (unless that is what you've already priced).

Another question - is your room going to be totally blacked out, not only in terms of light pollution but in terms of having very dark walls and ceiling? If not, the higher gain becomes even more critical as a unity gain screen will have a much bigger problem with room reflections. If you room is going to be a cave, though, a unity gain like the Seymour becomes a good option.

Have fun! Sounds like a great system.

John Schuermann, Filmmaker / Film Composer
Home Theater Industry Consultant
JS Music and Sound
Panamorph
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post #6 of 11 Old 05-01-2013, 09:03 AM
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Forgot to answer your basic question about acoustically transparent screens!

Are your walls and ceiling going to be acoustically treated? A ceiling is a notoriously bad location for a center channel speaker. Good room treatment can help overcome some of the pitfalls, though. The main issue will be poor dialogue intelligibility due to harsh ceiling and side wall reflections. Also, if the ceiling location is a room boundary you are going to get some lower mid range boost as well, which can also make voices sound unnaturally boomy. A good EQ or room calibration system can overcome some of these issues, but you can't eliminate reflections without acoustic treatments.

Going with an AT screen eliminates the ceiling problem and gets all of your speakers in the same vertical plane. This can mean a much more transparent front soundstage with more accurate pans and imaging. Are you using the same exact speakers, left center and right? If you are using a different speaker for the center much of the benefit of an acoustically transparent screen is lost, even if it is a center speaker "designed" to match the left and rights. The best solution is to truly have all three - LCR - identical.

In all cases, good acoustic treatment is essential to getting the best sound. Treating room reflections is one of the most important tweaks you can do to get the most out of your system.

As I mentioned in my previous response, the same is true of treating light reflections. Having light colored walls and ceilings is what kills picture contrast, as the light that bounces off light colored wall surfaces can come back to wash out the picture.

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post #7 of 11 Old 05-01-2013, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input. I think I'm going to go ahead and do the AT screen. The masking I can add later with the Carada system if I so desire so I'll probably simply add the outlet behind the screen so I can plug it in if I need to later. At the end of the day , $2000 isn't going to bankrupt me and if it is significantly better I guess it's worth it. I would hate to build this entire addition which will have a game room, arcade and this HT and then skimp out 2 grand on my screen. Thanks for the advice.

Darin
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-04-2013, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

Have you considered Seymour AV for the screen?

FWIW, I'd say AT is worth having, though I think a woven screen is a better choice (acoustically and potentially visually) than a perf'd screen. And it helps that Seymour is quite reasonably priced.

As for masking, you could either go with masking panels (that you have to place manually) or you could go with the Carada Masqueraide system. Personally I'd find it hard to swallow $4500 for a masking system, I don't currently mask my 2.39:1 screen and I don't find it distracting at all (though I'm open to the possibility that I'm missing something).

Quote:
Originally Posted by 230-SEAN View Post

+1 for Seymour AV

-Sean

With 20' throw you are looking at 17/18 Foot Lamberts on a Seymour XD screen. Will not have long lamp life and you will have dim 3D. With the gain from the Stewart, you will be able to use low lamp for 2D and high lamp for 3D. You will also be able to have some lights on at the back of the room for sports viewing.

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post #9 of 11 Old 05-08-2013, 07:22 AM
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Nothing beats the sound coming from the center of the screen. Biggest upgrade to date for my system.....
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post #10 of 11 Old 05-08-2013, 05:00 PM
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The only compromise that some times sticks out to me in my system is having to put the center channel below the screen. The sound quality is absolutely amazing taken as a whole, but sometimes I can be aware of the sound coming from below the screen, sometimes not, depending on the mix. An AT set up would have brought other compromises in my small room, and for what I wanted out of my system, but having the center channel behind the screen could have been nice.

That said, I've found that an AT set up does not automatically solve the image/sound disconnect problem. In some set ups I feel like I can tell exactly where the center speaker is behind the screen - the sound comes from that spot and as the actors move around the sound stays in it's location, not necessarily from the actor's mouths.
I've seen other versions that work very well of course. E.g. in good commercial theaters, and in most of the Sound Mix studios that mix my work (sound effects).
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post #11 of 11 Old 05-09-2013, 10:44 AM
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It all depends on how far from the screen you are. my screen was about 10' from my LP and i would agree that i can spot the center if the actor moved right or left. Most of the time it was fine (99%). Now, wts... if you are sitting far away from the screen a center below or above is really undetectable. So, as with everything there is the gray area where bliss can be found.......... now go find it Lol
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