Best Value option for AT Screen - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 02-18-2009, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
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I've decided to go in a very different direction with my screen. Having weighed the pluses and minuses of high power screens, of grey screens, and of having the speakers behind the screen, I've decided that, even if I give up a little image performance, I want an AT screen. The first thing that had be thinking about this was my talks with a certain person involved in the THX standards, as well as realizing that THX required an AT screen. I also have always felt that non-AT screens did not allow a seamless sound image to match the video. Then I read the Japanese article which Dr. Geddes had mentioned, which talks about a woven fabric screen as the optimal choice. Dr. Geddes interpretation of that article was a low thread count bead sheet. While bed sheets are often laughed at around here as a cheap skate option, not a real option, the reality seems that it does fit well with the articles findings, and conceptually, is pretty similar to the better woven options out there. I know some are Solar screen, but some are clearly fabric.

This brings me to today. A bed sheet sure is an awfully cheap option, and really, poly-cotton blend woven fabrics with similar properties to those sold by major manufacturers may be available as well. I've collected as many samples as I can of the available AT screens which fit my requirements (woven). I've also purchased samples of various types of fabrics which appear to be similar to the textile fabric options, rather than poly solar shade materials. I'm waiting to hear from the Screen Excellence on getting samples of their materials. Not just because I'm curious to see what they are like up close, but also because they may end up being the best option.

My point with this post is that I intend to compare them, and take as many measurements as I have the ability to do. my video measurements are limited, but my audio measurements are extensive. My reference will be the bed sheet. If acoustically they can't even beat the 12 dollar bed sheet, then they sure better kick it's tush in the video department. I plan on measuring the materials effect on color balance, make comparisons for gain against known samples, and take on and off axis acoustic measurements.

I can post these results if there are people interested in options for AT screens with Independent testing. While I have a feeling that some will find this ludicrous, there are some experienced HT installers and researchers who have indicated that, basically, if you want both the best acoustically transparent screen and image quality, nothing beats the value of a bed sheet. Let's find out if spending more does get you more, and how much more it gets you. I'm very open to suggestions on what to test and how to test it. I'm far more experienced in the audio world than the video world, and my knowledge and ability to test acoustics will be, for now, far more advanced.
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post #2 of 20 Old 02-19-2009, 09:21 AM
 
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although high price never guarantees performance and it sometimes worse then the inexpensive stuff, I always find that cheap usually guarantees lack of performance
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post #3 of 20 Old 02-19-2009, 10:18 AM
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post #4 of 20 Old 02-19-2009, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, I wasn't really thinking of this as DIY at first, and didnt' search there. I now see that. It's largely the same information I've already discussed, so I'm going to keep trying.

As for price/performance, that's what I hope to figure out. With the non-at screens, that was largely true. With AT screens, things seem to be a bit different. I took a look at many of the standard non-woven AT screens, and both picture and sound was compromised. Sound far more, with really bad comb filtering effects. A few db's loss is ok, comb filtering is not ok. I then tried various commercially available woven materials, which really are variations on the Solar shade material, and sure enough, still has some comb filtering. They also have a visual texture in my opinion, but that is a minor problem. I'm still looking for that material which is truely acoustically transparent in that it causes no appreciable comb filtering at all. I'm really hopeful that the Screen Excellence material will have this, and it's by no means cheap. I'm having samples sent out, hopefully today.
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post #5 of 20 Old 02-19-2009, 01:47 PM
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post #6 of 20 Old 02-19-2009, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
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yeah, but then I am stuck with the less than optimum speaker locations and staging issues. So far I'm pretty sold on the benefits of putting the speakers behind the screen. At this point it's more about finding one that offers the best performance for the least amount of money.
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post #7 of 20 Old 02-19-2009, 08:56 PM
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Pjpoes,
If you are that worried about the sound performance then Tryg is correct and do not use an AT screen. Build something that is a GOM false wall and get the speakers as close to the right location as you can.

I know your looking for a solid sound stage and placing the speakers THX style behind the screen is the way to go for it, but there is no material that really will eleminate your concern.

I just got my XD Material and tested it this week, to me it sounds great. Gain appears to be around 1.2 +/- and no moire issue I can tell at this time. There is some role off on the top end but I can use the my system to adjust for the sound I want so I am very happy ight now.

Like everything in life it depends on what you are willing to live with.
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post #8 of 20 Old 02-20-2009, 06:22 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a sample of the XD material, I have no doubt it's a potential winner here. It has some problems with comb filtering as well as reflections causing delayed impulses on the impulse response. However, it's a million times better than micro-perf. The problem could probably be called a non-issue by many. If it can be improved, I want to see. The materials I'm waiting on cost a lot more than XD, so even if they are better, it might not be a good value. I also have some special woven materials used in the printing business coming which are said to allow air to pass through them, about 5% of light, yet are epoxy coated white for better printing. I suspect this material might be more like the fabrics being offered by these more expensive brands. It's pretty expensive though, about 30 dollars a foot. I also don't know just how acoustically transparent it is. I'll report so that people know their options, and I will feel I made the most educated decision I could.
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post #9 of 20 Old 02-20-2009, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tryg View Post

dont use an AT screen

True so long as you do not care about a realistic sound stage and good room acoustics. If you fit this mould, then sure go for a high quality solid screen.

In addition to the benefits of being able to use three identical speakers positioned vertically at the same height, an AT screen permits acoustical treatment of the front wall which is not possible with a solid screen.
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post #10 of 20 Old 02-23-2009, 07:23 AM
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I have no regrets going AT from a sound or picture quality standpoint (SMX). I couldn't be happier.

That said, if I was going to do a budget AT screen, I'd probably opt for a DIY job using Sheerweave 4500 (woven window shade material).

I'd love to see a comparison between Sheerweave, SMX, and some of the other recent contenders.
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post #11 of 20 Old 02-23-2009, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott B View Post

In addition to the benefits of being able to use three identical speakers positioned vertically at the same height, an AT screen permits acoustical treatment of the front wall which is not possible with a solid screen.

There's an equally long list of drawbacks.

1. It simply doesn't deliver a image as good as a solid screen
2. Once you design the stage for AT you cant go to a regular screen. So you're stuck always using AT.
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post #12 of 20 Old 02-23-2009, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm building this setup on a somewhat temporary stand point. I rent, I don't own, so I can't build in something permanent. The particular support system I'm building (Using T-bar I hope) could have a regular screen attached to it just as easily with no side effects. The total depth of the unit will hopefully be less than 14" or so.

At this point I've received the screen excellence sample and their material is my favorite. However, having said all that, it's still a derivative of solar shade. While SMX, Screen Research, Screen Exellence, and even Seymour AV claim their current offerings are no solar shade, they are. They may have customized the product from these manufacturers, adjusted the pvc coating formula, asked for a change in weave, whatever, but it's still of that type of product. The more solar shades I've looked at make me think that products exist which are better than shearweave's option. A double thread knit makes the texture more pronounced and the holes larger, but less plentiful. Other companies offerings use single threads, and some are even thinner. I think the best option here would be one in which a thinner single thread would be most desirable.

I also found a manufacturer of a heat reflecting version with an aluminum backing and white reflective coating on the other side. It's designed to reduce UV, but looks very similar to a marketed product. I'm interested in getting a sample of this as well.
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post #13 of 20 Old 02-26-2009, 12:46 PM
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Any more updates with your research? I am also going to go with the AT screen route for similar reasons. I want to put my three identical Klipsch THX 650s behind the screen. My only other option was to put them on the floor, and I don't think that would sound very good.

Have you come to any conclusions as to how they perform with moire, sound muting, etc.? Thanks for this thread!

The Retrospect Cinema - My Completely DIY Home Theater Thread
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post #14 of 20 Old 02-27-2009, 10:03 PM
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Hello,

I'm new at this stuff, but have you tried looking at the Vutec screens? I just purchased a 147" dia Vutec Sound Screen3 - 16:9 (3% transparent material, but they also have 5%). Mine is a "Vu-Easy" fixed screen for a dedicated room. The huge benefit is placing the speakers in the wall and saving the space. I have a 26" wall cavity, so it works out great for my application. Hey, if you have a home theater....then why not make it look like one?

Here are a couple links that may help you:
http://http://www.vutec.com/Products...es/SoundScreen

This is a news artical about their upgraded sound3 material that I got: http://www.vutec.com/Press_Room/In_T...Vutec_Ramps_Up

Here is a link for their Vu-Easy model - You can view all the sizes they have available in different screen materials: http://www.vutec.com/Products/Vutec_...creens/Vu-Easy

I saw this exact 147" screen in a retail theater store and was amazed how great it looked...I was sold! But I didn't paid retail... Now, I can wait to get my RS20 to see it on my wall.
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post #15 of 20 Old 03-03-2009, 02:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjpoes View Post

I'm building this setup on a somewhat temporary stand point. I rent, I don't own, so I can't build in something permanent. The particular support system I'm building (Using T-bar I hope) could have a regular screen attached to it just as easily with no side effects. The total depth of the unit will hopefully be less than 14" or so.

At this point I've received the screen excellence sample and their material is my favorite. However, having said all that, it's still a derivative of solar shade. While SMX, Screen Research, Screen Exellence, and even Seymour AV claim their current offerings are no solar shade, they are. They may have customized the product from these manufacturers, adjusted the pvc coating formula, asked for a change in weave, whatever, but it's still of that type of product. The more solar shades I've looked at make me think that products exist which are better than shearweave's option. A double thread knit makes the texture more pronounced and the holes larger, but less plentiful. Other companies offerings use single threads, and some are even thinner. I think the best option here would be one in which a thinner single thread would be most desirable.

I also found a manufacturer of a heat reflecting version with an aluminum backing and white reflective coating on the other side. It's designed to reduce UV, but looks very similar to a marketed product. I'm interested in getting a sample of this as well.

IMHO, you are going to have a real hard time finding a better value AT screen than the SeymourAV/Sheerweave type material. A "thinner thread" screen you mention will let more light through, and therefore have lower gain, with very little, if any, gains in acoustical transparency.
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post #16 of 20 Old 03-03-2009, 06:40 AM
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Virtually all companies make an AT screen. But what you have to remember is that many of them are junk, and moreover many of them potentially have moire issues. I concur that the Seymour AT's (no moire) are the best value overall. SMX is similar but more limited in that they only do fixed frames. Stewart is amongst the best for video performance, but audio isn't quite as good as the woven ones. All in all, I might suggest getting some samples to be safe.
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post #17 of 20 Old 03-03-2009, 04:49 PM
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Well put Jason, and it's good to see you weigh in here. FYI, my Sony VW40 is still throwing a great picture on my SeymourAV screen.
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post #18 of 20 Old 03-03-2009, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlbrand View Post

Well put Jason, and it's good to see you weigh in here. FYI, my Sony VW40 is still throwing a great picture on my SeymourAV screen.

Glad to hear it!
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post #19 of 20 Old 03-05-2009, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I have samples galore, which I think I mentioned earlier. Thanks none the less.

The finer thread wouldn't let more light through, well doesn't let more light through because the weave density is higher. This is what the Screen Excellence materials are like (and similar solar shade weaves are available, just not from the US manufacturer used by Seymour). If money was no object I would go with the Screen Excellence Enlightener 2 or maybe, if I could be satisified the image was bright enough, the 4K. The 4K is an interesting material from an acoustic standpoint, as it's the only option I've seen of a truely fabric like woven quality. Best way I can describe it is that of a bed sheet with very low thread count. It looked less brilliant when compared to the others in image, but was smoother, less grainy, and far far more acoustically transparent.

If someone doesn't care about the sound then I could see liking the stewart micro-perf material, but I really think my measurements show the sound to be down right unacceptable. The issue can't be fixed with EQ, it's not an amplitude problem, it's a time/space problem. It's acting as a filter after the speaker and no amount of signal manipulation can fix the type of problems it's creating. I even picked up some small signs of resonances in the screen that were easily detected with an accelerometer as well. The video did look the closest to a normal screen though, but I really felt like anything I noticed negative about the other choices was so minor my eyes would easily get used to it.

Please don't take any of my remarks to the available woven materials as negative either. I was really hopping to avoid the problems associated with them by finding the perfect material. none the less, what's always held true, putting anything infront of the sound source will change it, has held true. If Seymour AV ever begins offering a material from one of the other suppliers of woven pvc coated thread, such as one of the finer cored materials, I think he will be offering the finest value by far. However, I have concluded that more money gets you quite a bit better, at least right now. The exception I suppose would be sourcing the material direct from the manufacturer, but so far the closest materials I've found have required buying entire lots, not just rolls, but entire lots.
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post #20 of 20 Old 07-06-2012, 08:54 PM
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pjpoes,

so how did the bed sheet material do acoustically compared to the center stage XD, etc?
i apologize for reviving old thread, i hope you do not mind.
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