I tried like hell to get someone to sell me Draper AT 1200 fabric only (bound or bare fabric, either one) but no one seems able to convince Draper to do this. Given my center channel location I must have accoustically transparent.
Anyone have Dalite "Audio Vision"?? I've hopefully got a sample on the way (Draper, Vutec and Stewart got samples to me in 4 days, Dalite is still MIA after 3 calls and two weeks). If I can ever get a sample it might be my only option since Dalite will apparently sell bare fabric at a reasonable price.
Already have a frame, and my Sony 400Q awaits something more than white speaker cloth (my interim screen).
Thanks for any info or opinions.
I'd like to hear about your results, and how much the material costs unmounted (and what size screen). I've wanted to go with an AT screen, but the cost is too prohibitive at larger sizes.
Hey thanks guys (and the e-mailed tip too),
This has turned out to be harder than I thought, mostly cuz I'm trying to do it cheap (I may be moving soon, who knows what the next HT room will be like).
FWIW my temporary screen uses a wood frame, and the flattest side of knit white speaker cloth ($7 a YARD, Parts Express), with a bed sheet backing stretched tight. Works pretty well actually. Very low gain, but excellent blacks, and totally non-visible pixels. A very smooth, if somewhat muted image. If you want something accoustically transparent to get a feel for what size screen to get, you can't do much better IMO. As others have said, a bed sheet alone is HORRIBLE.
So far I'd say:
Stewart "Studio Tek"... brightest, and best colors, but poorest blacks (no surprise I guess) with some glare and lots of "sparklies". Given it's heavy soft vinyl backing the most disruptive sonically (subjective opinion). Cost, in the "GMAFB" category.
Vutec Transparent...very coarse with heavy pixel accentuation. Similar to the Draper with its woven screen material. Might work well with CRT and a BIG screen but a bust with small, close LCD viewing. Cost, cheap < $10/ft2.
Draper AT 1200 nice image, not as bright as the Stewart but better blacks. A good compromise all 'round. Much tighter weave and smoother finish than the Vutec but still a "woven" sceen like material, something like mosquito netting. Cost, who knows? Can't find anyone to sell fabric alone.
DaLite "Audio Vision"... TBD. Samples en route hopefully. Said to be matte white perforated vinyl more like the Stewart than the Draper/Vutec materials. Cost, very reasonable, far under $10/ft2.
Will post my findings when I get done buying something and mounting.
[This message has been edited by Ron Stimpson (edited January 27, 2000).]
I have some experience with the Da-Lite AV screen. First I wanted the AV screen because I wanted to place my center very high behind the screen. After getting a screen sample (got it overseas within a few days) and some experimenting, I decided against the AV in my situation. I saw the following problems:
1. I saw the holes from a distance of about 13' when I looked very hard.
2. As there is a regular TV set behind the rolled-down screen I expected annoying reflections from behind.
So I went a different route by using the normal DaMat screen and combining it with a black AV drop. I have 16:9 screen combined with a 4:3 DLP projector and wanted that the black bars hit black screen surface and nothing behind the screen. The center is now placed just below the white screen area, behind the black AV drop.
No it comes: Da-Lite first accidently shipped me an old version of the design where the AV was used as white screen. I have mounted the screen and wasn't very happy with the image quality. There were not only the above problems, there was also a nasty interaction between the holes and the pixels of the projector. The image just looked bad. After Da-Lite replaced the screen with the ordered one (no problem here, good service), The image was as good as expected.
So, I would recommend to use the AV only when you have a large viewing distance and can avoid any reflections from behind the screen.
Got my DaLite "Audio Vision" material on time and on budget!
And packed like the Mona Lisa! (Well, the Mona Lisa if it was rolled up.) When DaLite packs your screen they do it right!
Anyway, if you are a cheap SOB like me and need a center channel friendly screen, you can't go wrong with this stuff. For less than $150 ($6.00/ft2) I got spot on measurements and heavy black binding on the perforated vinyl AV fabric. I was SUPER pleased with the dealer I used and would recommend them in a second.
Given I had already built a clear pine frame (see below) fastening the material was a piece of cake. While I'd debated using velcro (not an ordering option with DaLite) and grommets, I finally elected to delete the grommets normally done at the factory. Instead, I simply used 3/8" construction staples, tensioning on alternate sides as I went along. Since the material has a good bit of "give" it cinches up tight as a drum, and perfectly flat.
My frame is 1"x3" clear pine, joined at 45 deg. corners with all edges done in a 3/8" radius. I finished this with two (sanded) coats of flat black latex paint. Hidden corner braces were needed to keep the frame from torquing/flexing. This frame is "only" a 75" diag. @ 1.78:1 however. Bigger frames might need more reinforcement.
If I mounted this permanently on a wall, most folks would be hard pressed to tell it from a $1,500 frame from Stewart (OK, stand back a couple feet). Total cost for me $150, not counting labor of course. In my case though, I've designed some pullout arms which extend from a bookcase. This allows me to hook the frame (extended with 6" long black chains) in front of my equipment stack, 36" Toshiba direct view and center channel speaker. It clicks off the arms with two snap rings and slides behind the piano when not in use. I can have it up in less than 60 seconds.
Having struggled with the idea of an RPTV, pull down screens etc. this turned out to be a perfect compromise for my non-dedicated HT room.
While I've only done a few minutes of demos so far, with my newly tweaked Sony 400Q, it it is definitely a quantum leap over my temporary screen (using white speaker cloth). The image is so colorful and bright now that I'm finally seeing line doubler artifacts that were masked before (not that they are that distracting). The perforations are barely discernable, but again, not very distracting. And this is from a 8.5' seating distance. There is some light bleeding thru but it's not a problem, even with the screen hanging in front of my direct view set.
I haven't yet recalibrated my center channel levels (it seems like I'm down a dB or so, but I didn't have a chance to check this with the 'ol SPL meter) but that'll happen tonight with no drama. I did switch off my receiver's "Theater Re-Eq" circuit, and the tonal balance seems perfect this way. Having the center speaker firing right thru the screen really seemed to be the right solution for me. Thanks for the tips. Most cost effective project I've done since I started building subwoofers!
All the best,
While I can only speak to the 8x11" sample of the Draper AT 1200, I did compare it to the sample of the Audio Vision.
My subjective opinion is that DaLite's material gave a brighter and smoother image, but the perforations are slightly more noticeable (the Draper doesn't have perforations, per se, but it still has "holes"). At anything more than 9-10 feet though I think the perforation issue would be a wash between the two very different materials.
All things considered, I felt the DaLite material was the best of the bunch (even the far more costly Stewart, though it was brightest of all and may be preferable to some of you). The fact Draper would not sell bound material (without one of their frames) made it a no-brainer. And there was never a chance I was going to shell out $800 to Stewart.
From an audio standpoint, (even more subjective now) I'd guess that the Draper might be a tad less disruptive, given its looser structure, and slightly thinner backing. I'd bet that if you balanced the levels to a dB, you couldn't tell them apart though.
[This message has been edited by Ron Stimpson (edited February 18, 2000).]
Congratulations, Ron! I bet your Sony looks sweet on that new screen.
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