Heres my little SMX review:
I've been looking into an acoustically transparent screen for some time now and finally decided to take the plunge. SMX was by far the cheapest, in some cases by half, than others I've been looking at. Although price was a huge bonus, it was not the main reason for my choice... it was all the praise around here that caught my attention, so I placed my order.
I went with the 2.35 118" and really wanted to be in the 10 foot club, but missed it by 2 inches(can only go as big as my walls let me
) Shipping was extremely fast and I've never seen something so well packed. Everything is included(except a manual
, but I downloaded it) like a cleaning glove, cutting tools, latex gloves, plastic sheet, a mini level etc. I noticed right away that these guys paid attention to every conceivable detail and I was in for a real treat.
I'm one of the strange few that actually like to assemble entertainment centers, dressers and other miscellaneous furniture. I know immediately by looking at the pieces if it was built good or if the drawer is going to break if closed too hard. I always get a kick out of assembling something of high quality, and this was one of those rare times. This thing is built good... and I mean solid. Set up was a breeze. It does require a small bit of handiness(no more than putting together an entertainment center or something), but I would think most people on this forum would have this ability. The frame went together smoothly and secure. You could probably do pullups from it, but I didn't try... not to mention, I wouldn't want to ruin the gorgeous deep black velvet that encases it. My only fear, being an amateur, was how to spot moire. With the supplied screen sample(they really thought of everything), I immediately saw it and rotated my screen accordingly. I loved the simple way to hang it. It hangs from a track... thats it! The track even has a mini level attached to it but I suggest using a full size level just to be sure. I would of liked some way to secure the bottom of the screen to keep the screen flush with my wall. This would help anyone who doesn't have a perfectly straight wall like myself I guess
. I also liked that there was no distracting logo built onto the frame.
Hows the picture look???? You wont get any complaints from me. The other guys with their light meters can chime in if they want, but I see no difference compared to my Stewart StudioTek 130 screen, and that alone should be a compliment. Light does pass through, so you will have to have your wall blacked out some way or else it will reflect back on your screen.
Now we get to the real reason why you would choose an AT screen.... the sound! Theres something really nice about having all your speakers behind the screen. Its a beautiful thing just to see the picture and no distracting stacks of speakers, subs and wires all over the place. No matter how hard I try, I just couldn't seem to give it that"neat" look. It really gives your set up that final touch and adds to that movie theater feeling. Voices come from the screen now and not the bottom(or top). It also gives you the ability to accoustically treat your front wall.... and believe me, thats not overrated. Surprisingly, the biggest sonic improvement was being able to mount my center speaker vertically and not horizontally. Someone(on this forum) told me recently that my center would sound better that way, but I didn't believe him since my front speakers are all L,R,C speakers and made to go either way... boy was I wrong. Voices are just so much clearer and with the now invisible speakers, you are just bombarded by a wall of sound. Oh yeah... Most importantly, I noticed no negative impacts of having sound pass through the screen.
It may sound like I love this screen, but it does have its cons:
-Friends come over unannounced and sometimes unwanted.
-I spend way too much time watching movies.
The SMX screen has joined my very short list of items I didn't have immediate buyers remorse. As much as I loved my StudioTek, I always regretted not going the AT route, which gave me the ability to go bigger. (another added benefit of being able to put your speakers behind instead of the sides).
Before I wrap this up, I wanted to give a thanks to all the members on AVS who gave me the knowledge to build my dream home theater. Also a big thanks to Alan, Jason and Rich for the great deal and advice. And a real special thanks to Ruben(Sandman) who made such a great product and has, by far, the best customer support I've ever dealt with(its Ruben himself)!!!
Gotta go... time to throw in a movie!