JVC DLA-RS10 and Screen Gain: How do I decide between 1.0 and 1.3? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 04-19-2009, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm putting together my first home theater in my basement. The smallish room is well light-controlled, with no windows and not much light reflecting onto the screen area even when the lights are on.

I know that the light output from the RS10 is going to be more than enough for my situation, so I am planning to run the bulb in low mode, with the iris in the low or medium light output mode to get the best black detail.

What I'm not sure about is whether or not I should select a screen with gain (like the Stewart Studiotek 130 G3). The additional gain may help with the lower projector light output, and the seating is all reasonably direct in front of the screen - no significant off-angle viewing is possible in the room anyhow. But the primary seating is close enough to the screen that I don't know if I should be concerned about seeing brightness falloff on the edges due to the screen gain.

Here's the layout: 91" diagonal 2.35 screen (84" wide x 36" tall). Projector at 14' back from screen. Two-seat viewing at primary location 105" back from screen. Additional seating will be two or three seats directly behind the main seating. I'll be projecting a constant image height, zooming the lens as needed for content wider then 16:9 so the black bars project above and below the screen -- someday I'll add an anamorphic lens.

What all should I consider in selecting the screen material? I like the idea of the 1.3 gain, but I just can't tell how to anticipate any edge dimming this may cause to a viewer in the primary seating.

Thank you!
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post #2 of 26 Old 04-19-2009, 04:04 PM
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I'd go for the higher gain screen, you will be able to close the iris more which will give you more on/off contrast. You will also be able to run the lamp on normal/low mode (quieter) for longer.
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post #3 of 26 Old 04-19-2009, 05:46 PM
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I just wrote this on another forum, in case it's useful to you. I have the JVC RS20:

I'll be using a 1.3 gain screen - the Stewart ST-130 (often seen as the industry standard).

I've tried high-gain screens but can't put up with their compromises (e.g. grainy screen structure on some, limited viewing angles on others). I've also tried neutral gain screens. While I absolutely love the lack of visible screen artifacts on neutral gain screens, I couldn't help but miss a bit of what the high gains screen can do for an image (more vivid, perceptually sharper image). I also note that whenever I switch a projector between low and high lamp, I always prefer the high lamp mode because the image seems to "pop" a bit more and feel more dynamic and dimensional. Especially on neutral gain screens.

In trying to find a balance between wanting some more gain but not wanting the compromises on a truly high-gain screen I settled on the Stewart 1.3 gain screen. It has wide viewing angles, a mostly invisible screen surface, but just enough gain to help the image pop more. It's 30 percent brighter than a neutral gain screen which is the equivalent of switching the projector to "high bulb" mode in most projectors. Pretty much just what I'm looking for, I believe.

It will take good light control to get the best out of a screen like the ST-130, since it is particularly affected by ambient light or reflections of light decor.
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post #4 of 26 Old 04-19-2009, 06:11 PM
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Joel;

Welcome to the forum!

I see that you will be using a relative small screen, so a 1.0 gain could very well work for you. That said I would go for the extra pop of a 1.3 gain. The black levels are still very good IMHO.

(My setup includes a 136" diagonal 2.35 screen 1.4 gain Carada BW. Projector is at 19' back from screen. UH480. Running it at low lamp mode. Room is fully light controlled. I have now some 200hrs on the lamp, still plenty of pop.
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post #5 of 26 Old 04-19-2009, 07:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, all. I was imagining that there would be some math -- probably trig -- that I could do to really understand what the difference in brightness would be from dead-straight-forward-from-seating portion of the screen vs. from the seating looking at the far edges. The Stewart calculator just got me more confused.

R. Harkness: Thanks for your experience. In anticipating a theater in this remodeled basement a couple years back, I convinced my wife to stay very dark with the color scheme, so I think reflected light should be minimal. She calls it "the cave", but not unkindly.

Axel: Thanks for the welcome! How far back is your main seating from the screen in the scenario you describe?
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post #6 of 26 Old 04-19-2009, 09:01 PM
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just pick one. the difference between 1 and 1.3 is almost imperceptible
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post #7 of 26 Old 04-20-2009, 04:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Noble View Post

...

Axel: Thanks for the welcome! How far back is your main seating from the screen in the scenario you describe?

Main seating is approx. 12', the second row is 19' away from the screen.
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post #8 of 26 Old 04-20-2009, 05:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tryg View Post

just pick one. the difference between 1 and 1.3 is almost imperceptible

Sure it's not the same as between a neutral gain and a high power screen.
However, the difference between a neutral gain screen and a 1.3 gain screen is about %30 more brightness. About the same as switching most projectors from "low lamp" into "high lamp" mode. I've never known anyone who couldn't easily see the difference between bulb modes on his projector.
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post #9 of 26 Old 04-20-2009, 06:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post

I've never known anyone who couldn't easily see the difference between bulb modes on his projector.

Thats true for my HD350, but not for my previous AE1000, 2000 & 3000....you just couldn't tell with the naked eye and only a small increase of the measured output too.

Zooming: Been there, done that, bought the lens...
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post #10 of 26 Old 04-20-2009, 07:43 AM
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Kelvin1965S,

Yeah, I can see that. From following reviews of projectors which test projectors in high/low lamp mode I've seen a few models in which brightness only changes by around 10 percent, which I would agree would likely be hard to detect. But from what I've seen a change of 20 to 30 percent brightness is about average. The JVC RS20 has a change of about 30 percent brightness and it's easy to see. (I'd add that on both my Panasonic AE900 and my friend's Panasonic AE700 I found the difference between low and high lamp obvious, and preferred high lamp).
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post #11 of 26 Old 04-20-2009, 07:45 AM
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sure this is true if you are sitting there switching back and forth...BUT not all screens are rated properly and chances are if you take the view outside the room, switch the screen material and bring then back in, they could not tell you through a series of trials which is which consistently.

is there a perceptible difference? yes but not an important one. can you tell the difference between 60 mph and 63 mph if you dont have a speedometer? Is it important?
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post #12 of 26 Old 04-20-2009, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tryg View Post

can you tell the difference between 60 mph and 63 mph if you dont have a speedometer? Is it important?

30% difference not 5%. Going from 1 to 1.3 gain is like going from 60 mph to 78 mph not 63.
BTW, Carada BW is a unity gain screen (not as advertised 1.4) and there is huge difference between that and ST130 in brightness. I compared them myself.

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post #13 of 26 Old 04-20-2009, 09:20 AM
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definition of hugeness is directly related to how anal retentive one is
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post #14 of 26 Old 04-20-2009, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tryg View Post

definition of hugeness is directly related to how anal retentive one is

Agree lightly but consider this:
There is noticeable difference going fron 10 to 13 FT-L or 500 lumen to 650 lumen. It is almost like a difference between a new lamp and one that has 500 hrs on it.
Having said that the OP might be happier with unity gain for 87" wide screen imo.

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post #15 of 26 Old 04-20-2009, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaspianM View Post

....
BTW, Carada BW is a unity gain screen (not as advertised 1.4) and there is huge difference between that and ST130 in brightness. I compared them myself.

Hmm, interesting. I compared the Carada BW directly with a G1 Firehawk, which is said to be somewhere between 1.1 to 1.3 gain, depending on the source. I found the BW to be a bit brighter. Looks like YMMV.
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post #16 of 26 Old 04-20-2009, 09:39 AM
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I own the 2nd ST130 and put a largest Carada sample on my screen and the difference in color and brightness were noticeable. I am trying to get a larger screen than my ST.

It is all about quality...that is the picture

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post #17 of 26 Old 04-20-2009, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axel View Post

Hmm, interesting. I compared the Carada BW directly with a G1 Firehawk, which is said to be somewhere between 1.1 to 1.3 gain, depending on the source. I found the BW to be a bit brighter. Looks like YMMV.
____
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It's a bit dicey comparing a white screen to a gray-based screen (unless we are talking about high gain screens). The net effect of a white screen tends to be a brighter image, even over a gray screen with some gain. My friend has a gray screen with added gain, rated at 1.5 gain. Carada BW material, rated at 1.4 gain, has often been measured at coming in around 1.1 gain real-world. Yet my BW sample looked brighter, even with projected images, when placed against my friends "higher gain" gray screen.

I was able to directly compare the stewart ST-130 material vs the Carada BW and the ST-130 material was distinctly brighter (not a lot...but distinctly).
That said, Carada offers a killer product for the price, and some may even prefer the Carada to the Stewart.
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post #18 of 26 Old 04-20-2009, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post

I was able to directly compare the stewart ST-130 material vs the Carada BW and the ST-130 material was distinctly brighter (not a lot...but distinctly).
That said, Carada offers a killer product for the price, and some may even prefer the Carada to the Stewart.

For those who sit close ST130 might see sparklies with all peak white at least with my 2nd generation.

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post #19 of 26 Old 04-20-2009, 11:20 AM
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^ Reason I went w/ unity gain (Carada) screen (I'm extremely sensitive to sparklies)
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post #20 of 26 Old 04-20-2009, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Ballentine View Post

^ Reason I went w/ unity gain (Carada) screen (I'm extremely sensitive to sparklies)

Ditto that for the 1G Firehawk (and that my FH was only a 110" 16:9 ).
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post #21 of 26 Old 04-20-2009, 12:43 PM
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This review may or may not help you in you decision. I have a 1.16 gain acoustic transparent screen, the same fabric that Seymour AV sells. I am more than pleased with the picture quality spread over an 11 foot wide 2.37:1 score screen with almost a 2x throw ratio. My RS20 is too bright actually (in a bat cave lighting controlled room), so I actually have the aperture set to 5 or 6, and the brightness to negative 12, while the contrast is almost maxed out. It looks amazing, even before a professional calibration. I think the higher the gain the better its going to look, I just don't see how much worse it would look at 1.00 or how much better it would look at 1.3. I think you're safe either ways, but I would always sprint for more gain personally.
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post #22 of 26 Old 04-20-2009, 01:00 PM
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With Stewart ST130 g2 you will see the screen coating only with the brightest clips and only if you sit very close i.e., 1~1.2 x width and have a bright PJ. I hate to run away people from such a nice screen material. I have not see the G3.

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post #23 of 26 Old 04-20-2009, 01:28 PM
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You need to get screen samples in my opinion. Making decisions about screen material without seeing it yourself could lead you to something you don’t care for.

If you want to go through the trouble, here is what I did. Took a sheet of 4x8 drywall and painted (flat paint) the whole thing a neutral negative gain (N 8.5 I think, which is a gain of 0.85) There are custom neutral mixes listed in the DIY screen section for quart mixes. This will cost you about $15 total. Then I taped screen samples to it. This gives you an idea of negative gain (Behr grey flat mixes) and then for comparison, what all the screen samples look like neutral gain, mid gain high gain, hybrids...

Very eye opening. I settled on the Da-lite High Contrast Matte white for its balance of good black level without a huge sacrifice in lumens. It’s rated at 1.1 gain, but I would guess its closer to 0.95-1.

I think screens are much more of a preference thing, and you can’t just pick one by the specs, or what someone tells you.

Dan
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post #24 of 26 Old 04-22-2009, 05:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, all. This has really helped me think through things -- as well as to realize that there's not specifically a "math problem" here to solve.

I went to my local Stewart dealer and looked at a 1.3 gain screen with a white field projected (from an Avia disc) at my approximated distance from screen (105"), seated 25% in from the right or left edge of the screen (since there are two chairs in our main seating and that's about how it works out). While I could tell some difference in brightness between the far edge and the brightest spot, it was pretty subtle. So I'm convinced that the narrowed angle compared to a matte screen won't cause me excess visible falloff on the far side of the screen from the seating.

Thanks again!
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post #25 of 26 Old 04-22-2009, 07:55 PM
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I have a 110 diagonal 16x9 1.0 gain and a 2.35.1 103 horizontal Carada with 1.4 gain. Very little difference with the HD350. The 1.0 has plenty of bright, the 1.4 has plenty of dark.
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post #26 of 26 Old 04-22-2009, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffY View Post

I'd go for the higher gain screen, you will be able to close the iris more which will give you more on/off contrast. You will also be able to run the lamp on normal/low mode (quieter) for longer.

I agree with this basic idea and recommend that you consider a Da-Lite High Power if you don't have appreciable off-angle viewing for these very reasons. I find there is some shimmer or sparklies with very bright scenes with the HP but that is outweighed by the sheer brightness it affords. You could run the RS20 at very narrow iris settings and benefit from the increased CR and low lamp for a longer time with the HP. It is also a relatively inexpensive screen.
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