Thank you Mike!
Originally Posted by Mike W
Some questions if I might. First, I recall seeing a discussion of the window shade system in only one post. Perhaps I missed it if more followed. Were those Lutron shades or some other manufacturer's product? I assume that they have vertical tracks on the side to seal off light leakage? Other than the hard wiring/battery fiasco, are you happy with them (you did mention some slight light leakage around the top, which I assume was easily addressed)?
The automated shades are from a company called Solarfective (I think they might be Canadian). I'm very happy with the shades, which have continued to work very well. Especially when retrofitting into old windows, it's tough to get a perfect light seal. The main culprit was some light leaking at the very tops above the blind valance. It was easily solved by getting some thin pieces of wood at Home Depot, cutting to right length, wrapping some black velvet around them, and inserting them on top of the shade valance to block the light. They are essentially invisible to the eye and it all works well.
Originally Posted by Mike W
Second, is the Fidelio noticeably darker than the Black Hole material that Carada uses and if so, is this noticeble during film viewing?
Yes the Fidelio is noticeably darker than the Carada Black Hole material. Just as surprising is that the Fidelio is darker than even the black flocking material I bought that typically is used to line telescopes! (The black flocking with a sticky backing is discussed in one of my posts in this thread. It is almost exactly the same material as used by Carada for their frame and I used it to fill in some space below the Carada frame for a cohesive look).
The difference in darkness between the Fidelio black velvet and the Carada BH material is not noticeable in my set up when viewing movies. Both are pretty "black hole" like. But ultimately it depends on how you use them.
All the black hole material is on the screen wall, facing me, so it gets very, very little light cast on it, thus remaining pitch dark. Whereas used at another angle it could be different. I have my speakers surrounded in Fidelio black velvet, and a front portion of the floor under the screen done in Fidelio black velvet. In those cases, the velvet is right near the screen but at an angle such that it receives the direct blast of light right off the screen.
In those cases differences in "pitch blackness" of material really do become
more discernible, with only the darkest materials remaining invisible despite the intense light cast on them. The Fidelio remains pitch dark, but I suspect if I'd covered my floor/speakers with the Carada-like material, I may still have been able to just discern them in the dark.
The Black Hole material is terrific to be sure.
The Fidelio is expensive, but it combines two very desirable qualities: It's a real black hole in terms of light absorption, and when the lights are on the Fidelio is a particularly rich looking velvet, so instead of looking cheap they add a sense of luxury to the room...well worth the extra bucks vs cheaper velvet in my opinion.