Erskine Group not the best choice for a sub 100k home theatre... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
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After advice on this forum, i was advised to contract Erskine Group to design a theatre for me, i did that and $4k later have plans for my unfinished basement.
I am having trouble getting the equipment specified by them for the budget that i gave them at the outset so looking for some help in sourcing AV equipment that can meet my budget and work well within the room.
To date i have just been told that its my theatre so i can change whatever i want, but they of course won't stand by it as they have given their recommendations (although outwith my budget).

the finished room design is approx. 28ft long and 13ft wide (but with a 13'6" ceiling height)
the distance from screen to back wall is 26ft.
the design has a hush box on the rear wall which somewhat protrudes into the room and is not quite at head height - i would prefer to move this back behind the theatre back wall but have been advised that a projector alone able to throw 26ft would be more than my whole budget.
planned perforated screen size approx 140" diagonal, 16:9 format
Quest wall panels have been specified throughout although my contractor has as yet not been able to get them to quote for the panels (been trying for 2 weeks)

See attached floor plan.


i am sure this will be a familiar list:
Stewart studiotek 130 micorperf
Runco LS-5 projector
Denon 7.1 receiver/preamp processor
9 channel amp (not specified by Esrkine)
Procella P6 for LCR (x3)
Triad inwall 6 subwoofer for balancing
Triad Inwall Bronze surrounds (x6)
Triad Platinum in room subwoofer (x2)
QSC DSP 322ua (x2)
Crestron Control system
DVDO iscan Duo video scaler


My budget for the AV equip is an absolute max of $30k.

I would consider used equip or reconditioned equip too. This is a dedicated theatre but we were just wanting a decent family fun room to watch occasional movies in (both for kids and adults)

Any advice would be appreciated in what would be the best all round within the budget. I am not really interested in installing lots of equipment with a view to upgrading later as a matter of principle i really dont want to spend more than we budgeted.

Thanks
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post #2 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 09:08 AM
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Looks like a good plan. Having worked on several Erskine designs I can tell you that a back wall mounted projector does limit your choices, On a current project the cheepest projector with enough brightness, contrast, the optional long throw lens, and add on Amamorphic lens and sled was around $36,000. The curved Stewart Mico perf is not cheap. it is a good screen and Favorite of the Erskine team.

During the build I installed a secondary projector mount location and they will probably be going with the Sony 4K projector $14K and change, hanging from the ceiling just behind the second row of seating. It will shine on a Falcon acoustically transparent screen which AV Science will deeply discount based on the Sony purchase. Contact Mike Garret.

Use your Receiver for some of the surrounds and grab a more economical 5 channel amp, Emotiva or Outlaw. for the mains

Take a look at the JTR Noises speakers for the LCR

There are a lot of sub-woofers out there, If you are handy you can actually build your own. Even the mains for that matter.

One last I item, Unless you are firm about having 8 seats the two on the left hugging the wall should be reserved for the in-laws as they are too close to the side wall IMHO. I would save that money and go with 6 seats.
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post #3 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Looks like a good plan. Having worked on several Erskine designs I can tell you that a back wall mounted projector does limit your choices, On a current project the cheepest projector with enough brightness, contrast, the optional long throw lens, and add on Amamorphic lens and sled was around $36,000. The curved Stewart Mico perf is not cheap. it is a good screen and Favorite of the Erskine team.

During the build I installed a secondary projector mount location and they will probably be going with the Sony 4K projector $14K and change, hanging from the ceiling just behind the second row of seating. It will shine on a Falcon acoustically transparent screen which AV Science will deeply discount based on the Sony purchase. Contact Mike Garret.

Use your Receiver for some of the surrounds and grab a more economical 5 channel amp, Emotiva or Outlaw. for the mains

Take a look at the JTR Noises speakers for the LCR

There are a lot of sub-woofers out there, If you are handy you can actually build your own. Even the mains for that matter.

One last I item, Unless you are firm about having 8 seats the two on the left hugging the wall should be reserved for the in-laws as they are too close to the side wall IMHO. I would save that money and go with 6 seats.


Thanks for the advice - we really like the clean look of not having a projector in the ceiling, but of course there is a cost to that. Erskine advise that the Runco projector will work from the 22'8" distance, but not from 26ft. I have no experience in this sort of stuff.

We went for the most narrow seats we could find, and really wanted 10 seats as a minimum (and a bar at the back) but were advised that wouldnt work.

Would really like to have 4 seats across, and were told that they would sound ok even close to the wall.

will look at the stuff you recommend and hopefully find some good savings!!

thanks

Mads
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post #4 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 02:14 PM
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IMHO you have room in that design for a bar at the back, won't be great seats but for a Superbowl party they will work just fine. I can't tell the elevation of that area and whether heads might be in the way of the projector. By the way of have the early version of the LS-5 when it was called Planar. Love it.


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post #5 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

IMHO you have room in that design for a bar at the back, won't be great seats but for a Superbowl party they will work just fine. I can't tell the elevation of that area and whether heads might be in the way of the projector. By the way of have the early version of the LS-5 when it was called Planar. Love it.

just not sure it will go more than the 23ft that it is currently from the screen.

here's the side view:


we really wanted a bar at the back but the hush box interfered with the rear speakers so couldnt get them high enough. Hence would like to push back the projector to give full head height / space at the back of the theatre.
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post #6 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 03:56 PM
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do a desk height sit at bar with desk chairs. Think of it as a 12-18 inch deep drink ledge 30 inches tall. get some nice plush executive desk chairs in material to match your seating.

IndyGreg did in his project, but his pictures are MIA

found another example instead

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1360031/bar-behind-seating-ideas/0_40#post_20942364


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post #7 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 04:06 PM
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To OP..............

Get screen samples of the Stewart Microperf.................................I can see hole patterns at 12.5 ft which was bothersome. Try to find samples to help with selection..............depending on which projector you purchase.............this will help with screen material selection. Also look into Seymour-Screen Excellence 4K or Seymour XD material.

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post #8 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 04:13 PM
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The projector is a DLP. Can one get a large enough piece of XD to rotate the fabric (to avoid rainbows)
with a 140" screen?
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post #9 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 04:22 PM
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The projector is a DLP. Can one get a large enough piece of XD to rotate the fabric (to avoid rainbows)
with a 140" screen?

You can get a 2' by 2' piece from Chris at Seymour.......................and rotate all you want! biggrin.gif

I believe Chris rotates material at facilities before cutting to avoid moire.

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post #10 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 04:24 PM
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The projector is a DLP. Can one get a large enough piece of XD to rotate the fabric (to avoid rainbows)
with a 140" screen?

Do you mean rainbows or moire?

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post #11 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 04:29 PM
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Do you mean rainbows or moire?

Gary

I assumed he was referring to moire..........................

Color wheel issues I understand are not screen related....................wink.gif

By they way Gary, might be in your neck of the woods in three weeks.....................visiting my cousins in Tiptree and Tolleshunt Major! Tally ho.....................biggrin.gif
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post #12 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 04:32 PM
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moire... I am rainbow proof.
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post #13 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
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you have lost me at that! i guess that's why i employed EG to design it...

appreciate all the advice, comments and PM's too.

@ bigmouthindc - really like that theatre you posted a link to - exactly what we were looking for, but we couldn't apparently do that and have a second riser?

one of the concepts were:


thanks
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post #14 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 05:00 PM
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The picture I showed you had a second riser just like yours.

Theater-SeatingSmall.jpg

I also think the naked projector doesn't look so bad, if you build a great room people aren't going to care where the projector is.


The idea you kicked around looks like a 42 inch tall back bar, I propose a 30 inch tall version sitting on your riser.


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post #15 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 05:16 PM
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I have a 28 ft throw with my SIM2 Lumis/ HOST. The long throw worked out great for me with my 168" wide screen. I use a Stewart Vistascope Microperf (with masking). Even with a 3 chip DLP, moire is a concern and Stewart sent me a device that allowed me to rotate a screen sample so as to get the best orientation of pixels on my new screen and best eliminate moire. All turned out excellent and with 3000 lumens, the screen lights up plenty bright. I have a separate projection room behind the screen and that helps to keep things quiet in the roomb(that said, the SIM2 is very quiet). I'd highly recommend one.

I may be selling mine (and I obviously have the SIM2 long throw lens) as I'm looking at something new and this one may get within your budget...

Nice design! (Dennis did my room).


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post #16 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 05:43 PM
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Would new stairs with a slightly different rise height per step, be the answer?

The differential of the two options appears to be 8.5" of extra riser height which means
no bar row.
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post #17 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 05:49 PM
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I echo Big's statements on gear...diy whatever you can. The diysoundgroup offerings can compete at a very high level if you chose the right one for the job. If you can't diy, JTR or Seaton all the way IMO. I've listened to both in the same place/time and compared to others....unbelievable value.

Also second the rec to look at Seymour screens. I have looked at the Stewart microperfs and the XD and prefer the XD due to the fact that the weave disappears to my eye at closer distance than the Stewart. I just couldn't enjoy the MP Stewarts, even at 12 plus feet.


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post #18 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Would new stairs with a slightly different rise height per step, be the answer?

The differential of the two options appears to be 8.5" of extra riser height which means
no bar row.

There was an issue with matching up the risers with the existing staircase that comes down from upstairs (in the rear RHS of the theatre) that made some fixed parameters for the riser heights.
It is a complicated design with levels etc. and i know we were trying to get a lot out of the room. I had suggested just having one step high rear riser, that way as you say you gain about 7.5 inches in height and still have the effect of 2 risers that we wanted, and should then be able to accommodate a bar at the back, but at that point was asked to sign a waiver. I feel that if i could find a projector to work from 26ft then it would solve a lot of the other problems with the wasted space at the back. I had thought just to have some high bar style tables with bar stools etc in the space at the back, but there is under 6ft clearance under the hush box so it becomes a bit of an obstruction in the room, especially when it generally has a very high ceiling - a look i really like.
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post #19 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mads1 View Post

There was an issue with matching up the risers with the existing staircase that comes down from upstairs (in the rear RHS of the theatre) that made some fixed parameters for the riser heights.
It is a complicated design with levels etc. and i know we were trying to get a lot out of the room. I had suggested just having one step high rear riser, that way as you say you gain about 7.5 inches in height and still have the effect of 2 risers that we wanted, and should then be able to accommodate a bar at the back, but at that point was asked to sign a waiver. I feel that if i could find a projector to work from 26ft then it would solve a lot of the other problems with the wasted space at the back. I had thought just to have some high bar style tables with bar stools etc in the space at the back, but there is under 6ft clearance under the hush box so it becomes a bit of an obstruction in the room, especially when it generally has a very high ceiling - a look i really like.

Personally, if you're going to sacrifice something, it shouldn't be the bar/extra seats. I would easily sacrifice the projector placement, and have it between the 2nd and 3rd rows. This also frees up a lot of other projectors options.

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post #20 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Personally, if you're going to sacrifice something, it shouldn't be the bar/extra seats. I would easily sacrifice the projector placement, and have it between the 2nd and 3rd rows. This also frees up a lot of other projectors options.

thanks - i think i am going to try one way or another to get a projector that can work from 26ft and build the hushbox behind the back wall.. then plenty of space for a bar hopefully!
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post #21 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 08:05 PM
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4k for plans/design and they didnt conform to your budget? your designers should be answering these questions imho.

that being said i would lose the back for now and get an apporpriatly budgeted projector. the lifespan of the projector for people with upgraditis is going to be 3-5 years and during that time you can evaluate if the bar/3rd row is needed and then upgrade....or not.
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post #22 of 227 Old 12-08-2013, 11:55 PM
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You really don't need Crestron to control the theater.
RTI and URC make several options for control systems for less expensive and they also offer iOS options for using an iPad or other device.

My options would be:
JVC projo (will work with that throw distance)
JTR or JBL Cinema front speakers
JTR subs
JTR Single 8HT-lp for the surrounds
Denon receiver for pre-amp/processor or Marantz pre-amp/processor
Crown DSi amplifiers with DSi system monitor.
No need for the DVDO processor in my opinion.
Weave screen instead of microperf.
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post #23 of 227 Old 12-09-2013, 06:04 AM
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My simple math says that you need a projector cabable of hitting a 122 inch wide screen from 26 ft with enough brightness. That is a 2.56 throw ratio and many projectors can do that, just need a bright enough one. It would be a much different story if you wanted a 2.35:1 screen.


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post #24 of 227 Old 12-09-2013, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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My simple math says that you need a projector cabable of hitting a 122 inch wide screen from 26 ft with enough brightness. That is a 2.56 throw ratio and many projectors can do that, just need a bright enough one. It would be a much different story if you wanted a 2.35:1 screen.

Jeff,
am i right in assuming that we have pretty much a wall to wall screen, then having a 2.35:1 screen would just mean the screen is not as high - do you see more of the movie picture or is 16:9 just a 2.35:1 image compressed to a different ratio, or cropped?

I was advised that the Runco LS-5, would only just manage to project the 120" wide screen from 22'9" but was at the edge of the performance envelope for that projector based on using the stewart 130 microperf screen and 16:9 ratio. What would be the alternative combinations (projector & screen) that would achieve a satisfactory image, and maybe using a cheaper screen? Obviously the sim2 projector would lunch that requirement, but it's a 30k projector..
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post #25 of 227 Old 12-09-2013, 07:13 AM
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A 16:9 image shown on 2.35 screen leaves black bars (blank screen with nothing shining on it) on the left and right of the screen, you need to use the zoom feature (Image size) to get it to fit on the screen and the problem is that increases the Throw ratio. In your case a 122 inch wide 2.35 format screen yields would yield a pretty small 91 inch wide 16:9 image. The throw ratio would be a 3.4 and only projectors with optional long throw lenses can do it. $$$

In your case stick with the 16:9.


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post #26 of 227 Old 12-09-2013, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mads1 View Post

Jeff,
am i right in assuming that we have pretty much a wall to wall screen,


You have a screen that is 10'2" in a 13 ft wide room, I've seen wider, click Curve Frenzy in my signature.

or http://www.avsforum.com/t/1489162/home-theater-of-the-month-vikgraos-fortress-of-solitude/0_40


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post #27 of 227 Old 12-09-2013, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by mads1 View Post

Jeff,
am i right in assuming that we have pretty much a wall to wall screen, then having a 2.35:1 screen would just mean the screen is not as high - do you see more of the movie picture or is 16:9 just a 2.35:1 image compressed to a different ratio, or cropped?

I was advised that the Runco LS-5, would only just manage to project the 120" wide screen from 22'9" but was at the edge of the performance envelope for that projector based on using the stewart 130 microperf screen and 16:9 ratio. What would be the alternative combinations (projector & screen) that would achieve a satisfactory image, and maybe using a cheaper screen? Obviously the sim2 projector would lunch that requirement, but it's a 30k projector..

Here is a photo of my screen.



Most movies I watch are 2.35 aspect. You get a 2.35 screen so as to avoid black bars and a significantly smaller picture when a 2.35 image is projected onto a 16:9 screen. A 2.35 image is big, very cinematic and greatly enhances the movie experience. It should be the goal of every theater. For me, black bars above and below a thin band of image (2.35 on a 16:9 screen) just kills the experience. In my room, the room's height was the constraining factor in screen size. My screen's actual image size is 6' X 14' wide. With my stage and the bulk of the Stewart Vistascope frame, that was all I could do (even if the screen was 16:9). However, my room is 17' 2" wide and the frame came in at exactly 17'. But image size trumps all in a home theater and the ratio of seating distance to screen size met and exceeded SMPTE and THX recommendations! I'm very pleased. But you need a lot of light to light up my 1.3 gain Microperf!


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There are more than a handful of [op amps] that sound so good that most designers want to be using them as opposed to discreet transistors. Dave Reich, Theta 2009
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post #28 of 227 Old 12-09-2013, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by thebland View Post

Here is a photo of my screen.



Most movies I watch are 2.35 aspect. You get a 2.35 screen so as to avoid black bars and a significantly smaller picture when a 2.35 image is projected onto a 16:9 screen. A 2.35 image is big, very cinematic and greatly enhances the movie experience. It should be the goal of every theater. For me, black bars above and below a thin band of image (2.35 on a 16:9 screen) just kills the experience. In my room, the room's height was the constraining factor in screen size. My screen's actual image size is 6' X 14' wide. With my stage and the bulk of the Stewart Vistascope frame, that was all I could do (even if the screen was 16:9). However, my room is 17' 2" wide and the frame came in at exactly 17'. But image size trumps all in a home theater and the ratio of seating distance to screen size met and exceeded SMPTE and THX recommendations! I'm very pleased. But you need a lot of light to light up my 1.3 gain Microperf!

Looks great!
in my situation i feel that i am already trying to get a lot into a fairly restricted budget and this will not help if i go for 2.35 format.. unless you are feeling charitable on your pricing for your projector... it is nearly christmas you know!! smile.gif
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post #29 of 227 Old 12-09-2013, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

The picture I showed you had a second riser just like yours.

I also think the naked projector doesn't look so bad, if you build a great room people aren't going to care where the projector is.

The only problem is the noise. Fan noise drives me crazy. Consequently, I'm typing on a fanless computer with no moving parts. I'd prefer to keep the projector hidden, but I realize it's a choice between increased cost versus increased noise. Even fan noise that starts at a reasonable level becomes tough for me after a while. Dust and age are deleterious to fan noise.

Bob
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post #30 of 227 Old 12-09-2013, 08:49 AM
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The only problem is the noise. Fan noise drives me crazy. Consequently, I'm typing on a fanless computer with no moving parts.

The fans and the cooling path used in projector designs are a LOT quieter than a PC case fan... My JVC (pictured above - thanks for the reference BIG!) can only be heard if the room is silent, and even then it's barely audible from the seats under it. The specs put it at ~22db (my meter doesn't go down that low).
Quote:
I'd prefer to keep the projector hidden, but I realize it's a choice between increased cost versus increased noise. Even fan noise that starts at a reasonable level becomes tough for me after a while. Dust and age are deleterious to fan noise.

A "larger" projector to throw more light from higher lamp modes will make more noise. If the PJ was hung closer, you may not be fighting the noise as the projector requirements become easier to meet...

Jeff


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