I received my 8" X 11" sample of Center Stage UF in the mail today. (Thank you very much Jon for the prompt service.)
For the past 3 years I have played around with various DIY acoustically transparent screen materials.
Tonight I rigged up a test board to compare Center Stage XD with the new Center Stage UF material.
What follows are my thoughts and observations. I have no video test equipment and made no attempt to listen for audible differences.
Everyone has different setups, different priorities and different visual acuity so please feel free to comment and rebut away.
My subjective opinion will remain exactly that.
Center Stage UF vs. Center Stage XD
Gain - As spec'd, the XD obviously has more gain and is noticeably brighter. In direct comparison this is not a subtle difference. The brightest image will typically appear to be the best, at least at first. After watching a few scenes though, and noticing how the XD elevated the black levels on my cheap DLP projector (BenQ W1070) I realized that for my setup the less bright UF provided a better balance.
Texture - I must be sensitive to texture, because in bright images (camera pans of the sky are the worst) at my relatively close viewing distance of 9.5 feet the XD weave is visible. This was absolutely not the case with the UF. At any sane viewing distance texture was simply not an issue.
Detail Resolution - The easiest way for me to determine detail resolution is by examining the visible pixel structure on my DLP projector. With the Center Stage XD material there is a resolution of fine detail that rivals even a solid screen. In comparison, the UF fabric had softer edges. With my nose on the screen this was obvious, beyond any difference caused by gain. From my viewing distance the pixels were obvious on the XD sample, whereas they were present but more subtle with the UF. On static images this translated into more detail for the XD, but with regular video the differences in detail were overshadowed by differences in brightness and texture. How this translates to an entire screen of fine detail at normal seating distance I can only speculate.
If I had a higher end projector with better pixel fill and excellent black level I would sit 11 feet away from an 11 foot wide Center Stage XD screen and be completely happy.
In my current setup, using a bright DLP projector with mediocre black level and incomplete pixel fill, sitting 9.5 feet away from a 9.5 foot wide screen, the Center Stage UF seems just about right.