Sony 55ES with SI Black Diamond 1.4, SI Slate, Stewart Firehawk G4, and Neve.... side by side comparison and irony at its finest..... - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 15 Old 04-14-2014, 03:42 PM - Thread Starter
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So, I got a Sony 55 projector and I'm working through the "which screen should I get" dilemma. Knowing it would take time to get a screen, just to pacify my need to watch the projector and tinker- I ordered some cheap material from Carl's; the "Pro Gray" they sell for $90.00 or whatever. I literally tacked this material to my wall using thumb tacks. No frame, nothing... just to see the picture of the Sony and get a baseline.

My room is a light gray paint, white ceilings and trim- with medium ambient light. There are a total of 4 windows that just have basic window blinds. This is more of a man cave as opposed to a dedicated theater room and I'm not going to bother with any type of light control. My goals are to be able to use this projector as my main display in any room so I was concerned with ambient light and absolutely thought that my only option is black diamond. Well, I got the Carl's material up and when the projector came in I was surprised to find that the light conditions really aren't that bad and even with all the lights on in the room and blinds open I can still watch a movie without having a totally washed out screen.

So, I decided the next step to be order material and figure out what looks best and then order my screen. This is what I have in hand:

Black Diamond 1.4 gain
Slate
Neve
Firehawk G4

All 4 samples are taped dead center onto my cheap $90.00 screen material from Carl's. I have viewed this in every possible configuration with variations of ambient light.

Here are my thoughts:

Black Diamond 1.4- Some advantages when all lighting is in "torch mode" and the room is so bright that I'd never watch anything in that much light..... but not $4K worth of advantage.

Slate: You can't even tell its on top of the Carl's screen material. Seriously- if you don't look for the seam you can't even tell its there. Its almost IDENTICAL to the Carl's material.

Neve- Way too white.. makes the picture look dull. Only advantage I see is if you want the whitest of white and don't care for much contrast.

Firehawk G4- Brighter than Slate but only by a margin and its a very small one. Its in between the Neve and Slate if that makes sense.

Now for the part that is driving me absolutely nuts..... IMHO.... out of all the materials... the Carl's Pro Gray actually looks the best- not kidding.

To make sure I'm not insane... I threw up a black blanket (the fuzzy type) over the screen, and taped the same materials to the blanket and then zoomed in the 55 so it didn't throw a picture on the Carl's material. Still- the Slate material looked best to me which ironically is dead nuts on par with the Carl's picture.

frown.gif This is totally hopeless............. Only sample left is the Stewart Tiburon and I have a feeling its going to fall in between the Firehawk and Slate.
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post #2 of 15 Old 04-14-2014, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
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BTW- you CAN tell the difference in smoothness and material quality between the Carl's and the rest of them. All of them smoke Carl's for resolution/smoothness.... don't get me wrong though- for $90.00 you really can't beat the Carl's stuff but it does have its flaws, mainly the smoothness it lacks. smile.gif
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post #3 of 15 Old 04-14-2014, 07:30 PM
 
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One thing I learned with screens is samples are OK for a general idea of the screen qualities but you really need a half or a full screen to really see the differences. I thought many screens looked similar with samples with one maybe being slightly better, etc. But, if you get the chance to compare full screens what seems like a slight difference with a sample can actually be considerably different when viewing the whole screen.
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post #4 of 15 Old 04-15-2014, 03:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan30306 View Post

So, I got a Sony 55 projector and I'm working through the "which screen should I get" dilemma. Knowing it would take time to get a screen, just to pacify my need to watch the projector and tinker- I ordered some cheap material from Carl's; the "Pro Gray" they sell for $90.00 or whatever. I literally tacked this material to my wall using thumb tacks. No frame, nothing... just to see the picture of the Sony and get a baseline.

My room is a light gray paint, white ceilings and trim- with medium ambient light. There are a total of 4 windows that just have basic window blinds. This is more of a man cave as opposed to a dedicated theater room and I'm not going to bother with any type of light control. My goals are to be able to use this projector as my main display in any room so I was concerned with ambient light and absolutely thought that my only option is black diamond. Well, I got the Carl's material up and when the projector came in I was surprised to find that the light conditions really aren't that bad and even with all the lights on in the room and blinds open I can still watch a movie without having a totally washed out screen.

So, I decided the next step to be order material and figure out what looks best and then order my screen. This is what I have in hand:

Black Diamond 1.4 gain
Slate
Neve
Firehawk G4

All 4 samples are taped dead center onto my cheap $90.00 screen material from Carl's. I have viewed this in every possible configuration with variations of ambient light.

Here are my thoughts:

Black Diamond 1.4- Some advantages when all lighting is in "torch mode" and the room is so bright that I'd never watch anything in that much light..... but not $4K worth of advantage.

Slate: You can't even tell its on top of the Carl's screen material. Seriously- if you don't look for the seam you can't even tell its there. Its almost IDENTICAL to the Carl's material.

Neve- Way too white.. makes the picture look dull. Only advantage I see is if you want the whitest of white and don't care for much contrast.

Firehawk G4- Brighter than Slate but only by a margin and its a very small one. Its in between the Neve and Slate if that makes sense.

Now for the part that is driving me absolutely nuts..... IMHO.... out of all the materials... the Carl's Pro Gray actually looks the best- not kidding.

To make sure I'm not insane... I threw up a black blanket (the fuzzy type) over the screen, and taped the same materials to the blanket and then zoomed in the 55 so it didn't throw a picture on the Carl's material. Still- the Slate material looked best to me which ironically is dead nuts on par with the Carl's picture.

frown.gif This is totally hopeless............. Only sample left is the Stewart Tiburon and I have a feeling its going to fall in between the Firehawk and Slate.


I have the Stewart Tiburon. It's a MUCH lighter gray than the Firehawk G4, and also lighter than the Slate by quite a bit. It helps a bit with ambient light, and sounds like it would be a good match for you because of how you describe your room's lighting, walls and ceiling (which is very similar to mine.) To me, the surface smoothness and lack of grain & sparkles are very important. That's really all the small samples are good for: it's hard to judge overall brightness with them. The Tiburon is my third screen & I took my time & evaluated just about everything I could get my hands on, and I felt this was the best solution for me. Good luck in your search!
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post #5 of 15 Old 04-15-2014, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I think I'm going to go with the Firehawk G4. That gives me a little flexibility that I need for ambient light and seems to be the safest bet. Now I just gotta figure out what size I want since I can go larger than the 115" limit of Black Diamond zero edge and also if I want the screen to be wrapped or velour frame. I can't find a good picture of a Stewart screen wrap anywhere on Google and Stewart's website just sucks so.... rolleyes.gif
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post #6 of 15 Old 04-15-2014, 03:04 PM
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Neve- Way too white.. makes the picture look dull. Only advantage I see is if you want the whitest of white and don't care for much contrast.

Your projector ( and room reflections or lack thereof ) determine contrast. The Neve is pretty close to the StudioTek 130 G3. I don't think anyone would call the picture on the ST 130 dull.
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Well, I got the Carl's material up and when the projector came in I was surprised to find that the light conditions really aren't that bad and even with all the lights on in the room and blinds open I can still watch a movie without having a totally washed out screen.

Your room conditions are of course why you find the Neve " dull " looking. However, if you aren't going to make the room darker / block the incoming light, you'll be better off using one of those grey screens for sure.

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post #7 of 15 Old 04-16-2014, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Craig Peer View Post

Your projector ( and room reflections or lack thereof ) determine contrast. The Neve is pretty close to the StudioTek 130 G3. I don't think anyone would call the picture on the ST 130 dull.
Your room conditions are of course why you find the Neve " dull " looking. However, if you aren't going to make the room darker / block the incoming light, you'll be better off using one of those grey screens for sure.

Ah, yea I'm a rookie at this (first projector). I have no intention of doing any type of light control at all beyond the "normal" window treatments like blinds. The projector is replacing a plasma and I'm using it as my primary TV more or less. smile.gif I didn't see the substantial benefit in the BD 1.4 gain that I thought I was going to see over Firehawk G4 (especially for the cost increase) so I'm leaning more towards the G4. I know that any white screen isn't going to fly for me though.
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post #8 of 15 Old 04-16-2014, 03:24 PM
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I used a Firehawk G3 for 5 years - it's a good screen ( the G4 is even better ) !

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Looking for a good screen to pair with the Sony HW55ES in a dedicated theater. Looking to go up to 120" diagonal
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-17-2014, 09:14 AM
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Looking for a good screen to pair with the Sony HW55ES in a dedicated theater. Looking to go up to 120" diagonal

Sent you a PM. smile.gif

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so how did this turn out.. I have the HW55es w/ a 100" black diamond zero edge 0.8 gain. It looks great at night but I have way too many windows & ambient light during the day.

Was either going with 120" 1.4 gain black diamond zero edge or firehawk.
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post #12 of 15 Old 01-13-2015, 08:48 AM
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so how did this turn out.. I have the HW55es w/ a 100" black diamond zero edge 0.8 gain. It looks great at night but I have way too many windows & ambient light during the day.

Was either going with 120" 1.4 gain black diamond zero edge or firehawk.
Have not seen the room, but if you have a lot of ambient light, the 1.4 gain of the BD will help you. Just don't mount too close.

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post #13 of 15 Old 01-14-2015, 09:45 PM
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I just recently bought a Sony 55ES this past November to replace my JVC RS1 and I'm now finding my Carada Precision series screen lacking. Since I first installed this projector I've had issues with my screen - pretty much mostly on white and very white scenes. Sparkles and what I see as a lack of material smoothness (I can perceive the weave).

So, I'm starting the confusing process of finding a new screen. I have a dedicated theater room that is 100% light controlled - you can't see your hand in front of your face when the lights are off. My ceiling and front wall are matte black and my side walls are a deep matte burgandy.

Any thoughts on what screens/companies are should start looking at?
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post #14 of 15 Old 01-15-2015, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by jaymind View Post
I just recently bought a Sony 55ES this past November to replace my JVC RS1 and I'm now finding my Carada Precision series screen lacking. Since I first installed this projector I've had issues with my screen - pretty much mostly on white and very white scenes. Sparkles and what I see as a lack of material smoothness (I can perceive the weave).

So, I'm starting the confusing process of finding a new screen. I have a dedicated theater room that is 100% light controlled - you can't see your hand in front of your face when the lights are off. My ceiling and front wall are matte black and my side walls are a deep matte burgandy.

Any thoughts on what screens/companies are should start looking at?
Stewart ST100.
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post #15 of 15 Old 01-16-2015, 04:03 PM
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Stewart ST100.


I have a special deal on an open box 120" diagonal 16:9 Stewart StudioTek 100 fixed screen - email me if interested.

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