Does it really make a difference painting your movie living room dark or even black? - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 82 Old 03-04-2013, 04:03 PM
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Your room doesn't have to be a " dungeon " to see an improvement, that's for sure. I've been rather complacent about my theater for the last couple of years. However, Rich's theater thread got me fired up to see if I could switch from a Firehawk screen to a Studiotek screen. The flashlight test works great BTW. I've wound up having a custom 15' 6" x 11" black rug made which ( along with the initial small black rugs from Walmart I tried as an experiment ) really cut out reflected light from the carpet.


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post #32 of 82 Old 03-04-2013, 06:39 PM
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Craig that rug looks really great, even with the lights on. It helps the screen set up look coherent in that room.

One of the things that I find helps any room, especially a non-dedicated room, aesthetically, are design and decor choices that are made with
the use of the room, and the gear in mind. Otherwise, you just get the incoherent Big-Assed-Bunch-Of-AV-Gear thrown in a living room feel.

Before my front living room went through it's home theater reno I knew I'd be using it for years for my audiophile listening. Since lots of audio gear features black (e.g. amps, source components, even speaker drivers), and brown (especially speaker finishes) and even some gold (or brass, often found in vintage or higher end components), I did my room in that color scheme: gold, cream, dark brown and lots of black accenting.
This generally worked like a charm - it allowed all manner of audio components going through that room over time to look cohesive in the room.
(Though things got a bit messy shortly before I did my HT reno).

I went the same way with the projection home theater reno - even just adding black accent pillows on the sofa ties it aesthetically in with the black screen area. Also, I extended black on the floor just in front of the screen to act as a defining little "stage" area, and the speakers being covered in black sitting on that area make it all look more coherent and designed, built-in almost, vs just looking like speakers have been placed around the screen by necessity or afterthought.

Just riffing on a theme here...
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post #33 of 82 Old 03-04-2013, 07:15 PM
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Adding black acoustic panels and the black rugs has also changed the audio response in the room - for the better. I even had a friend who has watched many movies in there ask if I'd bought new speakers when we watched Blade Runner last week !

The wall above my screen is a light grey, despite the flash making it look white ( like your sofa looks Rich ). However, I think every time my wife goes on a business trip, I'll paint another part of the room darker, one shade darker at a time ( I just repainted the entire ceiling ) and see if anyone notices..............rolleyes.gif

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post #34 of 82 Old 03-05-2013, 06:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Peer View Post

I think every time my wife goes on a business trip, I'll paint another part of the room darker, one shade darker at a time ( I just repainted the entire ceiling ) and see if anyone notices..............rolleyes.gif
haha my wife is going on a business trip a week from today and the theater is going to get the front of the riser cut out and a few more feet of hardwood flooring put down. The business trip the following week is going to see the addition of four more 15" IB woofers that I have had in the closet for a couple of years.
Just sayin'wink.gif
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post #35 of 82 Old 03-05-2013, 07:50 AM
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What do you guys reckon of black felt instead of velvet for the walls/ceiling? The black velvet I've seen has a sheen to it that black felt doesn't, wondering if perhaps felt would work better.


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post #36 of 82 Old 03-05-2013, 07:57 AM
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Velvet is still the better choice, it's the depth of the pile that determines the amount of light absorption, not the sheen

and there are also several grades of velvet, the deepest pile cost substantially more.
 

Both are substantially better than paint though wink.gif


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post #37 of 82 Old 03-05-2013, 08:40 AM
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http://www.avsforum.com/t/1387541/best-masking-material-velvet-felt-etc 


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post #38 of 82 Old 03-05-2013, 08:47 AM
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The poor thread originator. He figured that if enough people said it did, he would just paint his room or parts of it black. smile.gif

Now the thread has become saying what various people have done and in that situation there is ALWAYS a better solution than what you did. Bottom line. Almost anything you do will help even painting the room with flat black paint.

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post #39 of 82 Old 03-05-2013, 08:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Actually, it's interesting to hear various ideas. But the curtain idea has me thinking...not painting black.
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post #40 of 82 Old 03-05-2013, 09:14 AM
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From what I've seen, the biggest reflections come from a white ceiling (in close proximity to a large screen)

 

Here's some alternatives to painting it, for those who may be interested in making some fabric panels....

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1131564/check-out-this-drop-ceiling-i-built

 

 

 

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1136073/light-walls-vs-dark-walls/60#post_16283987

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


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post #41 of 82 Old 03-05-2013, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gradenko View Post

What do you guys reckon of black felt instead of velvet for the walls/ceiling? The black velvet I've seen has a sheen to it that black felt doesn't, wondering if perhaps felt would work better.

Velvet works MUCH better if you do the flashlight test, at least it did for me. I tried black felt, black velvet, protostar, flat black paint and the black velvet killed the light better than anything. As far as the sheen goes, the velvet I use has sheen only in one direction so I just rotate it 180 degrees if I see sheen and it goes away. Not sure how other types of velvet work though.

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post #42 of 82 Old 03-05-2013, 10:56 AM
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Yep, velvet does the best light rejection/absorption.

Knowing that some sort of material would provide better light absorption than paint I did my drop down ceiling in a dark brown felt. I chose the felt both because it had a smoother, finer look than velvet (looks like a solid wood ceiling unless you look closely) but also because it was fire rated for ceiling use. It's not easy to find material that is safety rated for ceiling use and I never have come across a velvet rated for it.
(Not that most AVS members seem to bother with such things...I was just paranoid about introducing any possible fire hazard into my system).

The felt is terrific at absorbing light, but not as good as the black velvet curtains and surrounding the screen. I can't see the black velvet at all during movies, but I can see the brown felt. (In fact, I'm about to proceed with another room tweak to cover the entire front ceiling with black velvet easily, only for watching movies...another movable curtain being involved).
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post #43 of 82 Old 03-05-2013, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Toe View Post

Velvet works MUCH better if you do the flashlight test, at least it did for me. I tried black felt, black velvet, protostar, flat black paint and the black velvet killed the light better than anything. As far as the sheen goes, the velvet I use has sheen only in one direction so I just rotate it 180 degrees if I see sheen and it goes away. Not sure how other types of velvet work though.

+1

I tried black paint and felt as well. Black velvet KILLS all other black material. Just hold a flashlight at an angle close to different fabric samples and the results are shocking. Even the black fabric on my Carada's fixed frame is no match. Before installing my black carpet I tried the flashlight test on it. It turns out that it is directional. One direction was a fair amount better at absorbing light than the other. There is nothing like watching a b&w movie in a all black room.

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post #44 of 82 Old 03-05-2013, 11:14 AM
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Make sure you guys clarify which brand velvet you are referring to. I've tried several samples from local fabric shops that had an obvious sheen to it vs the protostar material.
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post #45 of 82 Old 03-05-2013, 12:15 PM
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Protec actually is the best I have found though it doesn't help acoustically wise. Makes every room surface its on disappear.

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post #46 of 82 Old 03-05-2013, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zombie10k View Post

Make sure you guys clarify which brand velvet you are referring to. I've tried several samples from local fabric shops that had an obvious sheen to it vs the protostar material.

True, but as far as light reflection goes velvet does better than protostar at soaking it up. If the goal is to kill the light so it does not get back to the screen, velvet is the best I have found.

Like Rich mentioned above though Protostar is still a great material and is perfect for some things like using it on your screen wall since it is so black with no sheen. I think velvet is best for everything else though due to it killing off the light better.

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post #47 of 82 Old 03-05-2013, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PioManiac View Post

Velvet is still the better choice, it's the depth of the pile that determines the amount of light absorption, not the sheen
and there are also several grades of velvet, the deepest pile cost substantially more.

 
Both are substantially better than paint though wink.gif

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1387541/best-masking-material-velvet-felt-etc 

Thanks PioManiac, I'll try out the velvets mentioned in that thread.


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post #48 of 82 Old 03-06-2013, 02:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toe View Post

True, but as far as light reflection goes velvet does better than protostar at soaking it up. If the goal is to kill the light so it does not get back to the screen, velvet is the best I have found.

Like Rich mentioned above though Protostar is still a great material and is perfect for some things like using it on your screen wall since it is so black with no sheen. I think velvet is best for everything else though due to it killing off the light better.

I really don't care enough to go into all the science of light absorption but the depth of the velvet really has nothing to do with absorption at the light levels we are talking about. Its all about the reflectivity which is a scientific metric that varies with a particular substance with the angle the light hits the fabric. The specifications for Protostar are published. It is expensive and I use it to cover spots on my black ceiling grid, the grid being black metel which does reflect a bit. I also use it for the bottom of my center channel which is hung from the ceiling just above screen center top.

Protostarlooks like the material used to cover screen frames but it is better.

If a material has 0 reflectivity, you won't see it. Protostar in a dark room with the only light hitting it coming from off the screen will totally vanish. The effect is like being in a large space like a hugh cathedral during a power failure with no windows. Obviously Protostar doesn't have 0 reflectivity but its indices are small and at the light level we are talking about it might as well be 0. The stuff vanishes which means it essentially sends no light back to the screen. If you can see it under operating conditions like I am pretty sure YOU do regardless of the brand or pile depth, it is reflecting light back to where you are looking from. I have seen a HT where Protostar was used to cover everything in the screen wall half of the room. Sort of from the watching row all the way to the screen and around the screen. Nothing I have even seen came close. That said, some velvets are better than other but at the light levels were are talking about, the reflectivity indices at the angles in play are all that count and that depends on the composition of the material and the orientationl of the lets call it pile and not the pile depth. The orientation of course explanes why the reflectivity index varies with the angle of incidence. Velvet is a good economical solution but to say its better than Protostar is not correct.

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post #49 of 82 Old 03-06-2013, 03:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gradenko View Post

What do you guys reckon of black felt instead of velvet for the walls/ceiling? The black velvet I've seen has a sheen to it that black felt doesn't, wondering if perhaps felt would work better.

I used black car carpet on the sides and extending behind the screen. It provided both an excellent ambient light absorber as well controlling most of the audible reflections I was getting in this room during construction. In fact, at the screen end of the room, there are no slap echoes. I didn't add any to the ceiling, and want to because I do get an ambient light reflection on a part of the ceiling in front of the screen. Black Car Carpet = Cheap and effective light and sound control smile.gif

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post #50 of 82 Old 03-06-2013, 07:17 AM
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Let's see if I can deduce something. Got it! Almost anything black and fuzzy will help.

The thread is essentially devoid of science and actual measurements and lots of I used this or I tried two or three and then I used.
Black and fuzzy, its all good, but perhaps not as good as some other black and fuzzy. And if you see it shine or have a sheen , try a different black and fuzzy. Thickness of material according Mark is not relevant to the level of light absorption needed but is relevant to stopping slap echo. But that does not mean you should cover your room with deep black and fuzzy. Your acoustics will suffer. Soft absorption acoustically wise should only be used to pick up a speaker 's room surface direct reflection to the listeners. the room will sound too dull.

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post #51 of 82 Old 03-06-2013, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark haflich View Post

I really don't care enough to go into all the science of light absorption but the depth of the velvet really has nothing to do with absorption at the light levels we are talking about. Its all about the reflectivity which is a scientific metric that varies with a particular substance with the angle the light hits the fabric. The specifications for Protostar are published. It is expensive and I use it to cover spots on my black ceiling grid, the grid being black metel which does reflect a bit. I also use it for the bottom of my center channel which is hung from the ceiling just above screen center top.

Protostarlooks like the material used to cover screen frames but it is better.

If a material has 0 reflectivity, you won't see it. Protostar in a dark room with the only light hitting it coming from off the screen will totally vanish. The effect is like being in a large space like a hugh cathedral during a power failure with no windows. Obviously Protostar doesn't have 0 reflectivity but its indices are small and at the light level we are talking about it might as well be 0. The stuff vanishes which means it essentially sends no light back to the screen. If you can see it under operating conditions like I am pretty sure YOU do regardless of the brand or pile depth, it is reflecting light back to where you are looking from. I have seen a HT where Protostar was used to cover everything in the screen wall half of the room. Sort of from the watching row all the way to the screen and around the screen. Nothing I have even seen came close. That said, some velvets are better than other but at the light levels were are talking about, the reflectivity indices at the angles in play are all that count and that depends on the composition of the material and the orientationl of the lets call it pile and not the pile depth. The orientation of course explanes why the reflectivity index varies with the angle of incidence. Velvet is a good economical solution but to say its better than Protostar is not correct.

I dunno. Protostar is great, but when I was deciding which material to use for my masking panels, around my screen, below my screen and covering my speakers, I did lots of comparisons, specifically for how a material would look with only the reflected light from my screen as a light source. The Protostar just wasn't as dark as the Fidelio velvet. My center channel is right under my screen and my L/R speakers are also right at my screen edge (when I'm using my largest image size). With the Protostar material on my speakers I could still see them light up, become a lighter gray when brighter scenes came on - this was from every angle, from the viewing position, from the sides of the screen, and my head "at" the screen. Whereas covered in Fidelio velvet the speakers remain pitch black. Viewed from right at the screen the Fidelio becomes barely discernible in brightest scenes, though still significantly darker than the Protostar. From the viewing position I can never see anything but pitch black where my speakers are, vs being able to see the Protostar light up.

I think if an entire screen wall and surrounding area were done in Protostar only it would likely appear to the eye to disappear. But once you have something even darker near the Protostar, then you would notice it being a lighter gray.

I'm view such a scenario everyday. Part of my screen wall is done in the Protostar, with Fidelio panels on both sides (so, both flat sides facing me). Next to the Fidelio's pitch blackness, the Protostar is a distinctly lighter and visible gray.
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post #52 of 82 Old 03-06-2013, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark haflich View Post


If a material has 0 reflectivity, you won't see it. Protostar in a dark room with the only light hitting it coming from off the screen will totally vanish. The effect is like being in a large space like a hugh cathedral during a power failure with no windows.

Mark, I ended up using these tiles (just released a few months ago)

blackout2.jpg

then I covered 200+ sections of the white grid with the proto material. this was a painstaking process, but the results are out of this world. If you recall, my HP is just inches from the ceiling and had massive amounts of reflection from the screen. Now it looks like a black hole when the lights are out (I covered the floor as well 1 SW from the wall).

visitors who generally don't notice these things have all commented how excellent the PQ looks when the lights are out.

The proto material is great if you need the adhesive qualities. I also have have a ton of the Dalite 'pro-trim' material which is just as good, but thicker. I'm using this for masks to match the cinema contour. Dalite sold it for a fair price a few years ago, but a recent inquiry shows they don't really want to sell it to end users. The price was astronomical.

edit: Prostar vs. Dalite material. The Dalite is thicker. 2nd photo is a direct flash on the materials.

prostar1.jpg

prostar.jpg
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post #53 of 82 Old 03-06-2013, 07:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zombie10k View Post

Mark, I ended up using these tiles (just released a few months ago)

blackout2.jpg

then I covered 200+ sections of the white grid with the proto material. this was a painstaking process, but the results are out of this world. If you recall, my HP is just inches from the ceiling and had massive amounts of reflection from the screen. Now it looks like a black hole when the lights are out (I covered the floor as well 1 SW from the wall).

visitors who generally don't notice these things have all commented how excellent the PQ looks when the lights are out.

The proto material is great if you need the adhesive qualities. I also have have a ton of the Dalite 'pro-trim' material which is just as good, but thicker. I'm using this for masks to match the cinema contour. Dalite sold it for a fair price a few years ago, but a recent inquiry shows they don't really want to sell it to end users. The price was astronomical.

edit: Prostar vs. Dalite material. The Dalite is thicker. 2nd photo is a direct flash on the materials.

prostar1.jpg

prostar.jpg


Which side is what material? The important thing which you guys are not considering is the angle the light is hitting. The reflectivity of various materials changes with the angle of light incidence.his is important. Zombie's tests are head on. This would not be the situation with light bouncing of a screen ad hitting a side wall etc and bouncing back to the screen. Protostar was originally designed for lens barrels, telescope barrels etc where the angle of incidence is not 90 degrees.

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post #54 of 82 Old 03-06-2013, 08:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark haflich View Post

I really don't care enough to go into all the science of light absorption but the depth of the velvet really has nothing to do with absorption at the light levels we are talking about. Its all about the reflectivity which is a scientific metric that varies with a particular substance with the angle the light hits the fabric. The specifications for Protostar are published. It is expensive and I use it to cover spots on my black ceiling grid, the grid being black metel which does reflect a bit. I also use it for the bottom of my center channel which is hung from the ceiling just above screen center top.

Protostarlooks like the material used to cover screen frames but it is better.

If a material has 0 reflectivity, you won't see it. Protostar in a dark room with the only light hitting it coming from off the screen will totally vanish. The effect is like being in a large space like a hugh cathedral during a power failure with no windows. Obviously Protostar doesn't have 0 reflectivity but its indices are small and at the light level we are talking about it might as well be 0. The stuff vanishes which means it essentially sends no light back to the screen. If you can see it under operating conditions like I am pretty sure YOU do regardless of the brand or pile depth, it is reflecting light back to where you are looking from. I have seen a HT where Protostar was used to cover everything in the screen wall half of the room. Sort of from the watching row all the way to the screen and around the screen. Nothing I have even seen came close. That said, some velvets are better than other but at the light levels were are talking about, the reflectivity indices at the angles in play are all that count and that depends on the composition of the material and the orientationl of the lets call it pile and not the pile depth. The orientation of course explanes why the reflectivity index varies with the angle of incidence. Velvet is a good economical solution but to say its better than Protostar is not correct.


Do the flashlight test and report back Mark. smile.gif All the the science in the world does not mean $hit if practical real world tests show otherwise. Many of us have tested the materials in question and as far as killing off reflected light so it does not get back to the screen, black velvet (at least the cheap Walmart velvet and Jo-Ann velvet I tried) is the best and works better than Protostar. Rich found the same thing, so I am not crazy and the flashlight test is valid and simple to do.

I do agree with you however that if the goal is to make the room disappear, Protostar is best as it does just what you say as far as turning the room into a black hole. It is not the best at totally killing off the light though which I was very surprised by when I did my tests ~8 years ago or so when I was deciding what material to cover my room in. Velvet works best if your goal is to keep light from making its way back to the screen.

As far as the sheen on velvet, as I mentioned above in one of my posts the velvet I use only has a sheen in one direction so its easy to flip around to eliminate (mostly) the sheen at which point it is very BLACK and very comparable to Protostar.
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Originally Posted by mark haflich View Post

Which side is what material? The important thing which you guys are not considering is the angle the light is hitting. The reflectivity of various materials changes with the angle of light incidence.his is important. Zombie's tests are head on. This would not be the situation with light bouncing of a screen ad hitting a side wall etc and bouncing back to the screen. Protostar was originally designed for lens barrels, telescope barrels etc where the angle of incidence is not 90 degrees.

Makes sense, but its easy enough to test various angles when doing the flashlight test which I remember doing since I tested out on my floor, ceiling, and sidewalls and in each case the velvet beat out the Protostar as the screen would light up less under the velvet.

Dont get me wrong as Protostar is still very good as far as this particular aspect goes, its just not as good as velvet.

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post #55 of 82 Old 03-06-2013, 08:26 AM
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The Dalite pro-trim is on the left and the Proto material is on the right..

I hope the readers of this thread don't get hung up on velvet vs. proto vs. whatever it takes to get the room reflections down to a minimum.

the downfall is, it will make most folks realize the black floor on their projector isn't as good as they thought it was.
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post #56 of 82 Old 03-06-2013, 08:41 AM
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I ordered the protostar material too. It was a perfect match with my Carada screen frame "black hole" material, and allowed me to finish off the wall below the screen matching the screen frame for a built-in look. But to my surprise as you mention a dark velvet is visibly darker than the Protostar material in terms of light rejection/absorption. Not exactly what I expected of a material made to be as light absorbent as possible for lining telescopes. (It IS very dark though and quite a useful product).

The reactions of others to these darkening room tweaks has been interesting. It's the trades people who help me put some of it together who seem to wonder "what the hell is this guy doing? Why does he want this?" But once guests see the curtains go around etc, they immediately get it and really like the results. Even during my UFC parties should anyone exiting the room for snacks/beer leave the doorway curtain open a crack, everyone yells at him to close it completely, because they really appreciate what a pitch black room does for the experience.
I wanted things neat and tidy - not like I just put an ill-fitting velvet shroud over the speakers - so I measured my speakers and had velvet covers made for each one. Now it looks like they came that way. The covers stay attached by Velcro. Of course once you do your speakers you notice your speaker stands, so I covered them as well. Pretty simple to do.

Now when I watch at some friend's places who use projectors and the standard "all the equipment on racks around the screen" look, I'm amazed how much visual distraction is added and when I get back to my set up I'm so glad
I put the effort in for (IMO) the better viewing environment.

Rich:

Where might I ask did you purchase the custom speaker covers?
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post #57 of 82 Old 03-06-2013, 09:03 AM
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The post Rich made above got me curious so I just went down and checked out the comparison with the Protostar vs my black velvet and I found the same thing and was wrong with my previous statement. Not only is the velvet better at killing off light, it is actually darker as well which I had not remembered. My photography skills are bad, but this pic is good enough to show what I am seeing with my eyes. You can see where the rectangular piece of Protostar is taped to the top of my velvet covered bass trap in this picture. You can also see on the very left my first reflection panel which is also covered in velvet which is clearly darker.



Also note the slight sliver of dark blue wall on the right side of the Protostar which gives some perspective to how much darker either the Protostar or velvet can make your room vs even dark blue paint (which is what color my side walls were before putting up the velvet).

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post #58 of 82 Old 03-06-2013, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LJG View Post

Rich:

Where might I ask did you purchase the custom speaker covers?

I was working with an interior decorator during my project. I ordered the Fidelio black velvet, measured for the size/shape velvet cover I wanted, and the decorator's sewer made them. I attached them with velcro. It's very simple to do for the standard rectangular speaker - you just end up with a single long rectangle of velvet as deep as the speaker, and long enough to wrap around the speaker sides/top. (My cover doesn't cover the black back of my speaker, as that part does not directly face my screen). The sewing was mostly just to make the edge of the velvet neat and not frayed from cutting.

I've also had quite a few similar pieces of velvet and dark material cut and sewn by the local tailor/dry-cleaners.

One I had done was the velvet "blanket" I lay across the rest of my floor, covering my brown rug, near the screen. It's about 3 1/2 or 4 feet wide and 12 feet long, covering the span of my floor so I see no rug whatsoever near the image once it's placed down. Velvet doesn't have the weight of a rug so it's naturally a bit more finicky to lay out such a large piece on a rug, pulled tight and in place with no wrinkles.
So, on one side of this velvet blanket (a short side) I had some metal chain sewn in (very easy to do). So I place that side down first and it stays put as I pull the blanket across my floor, in effect like someone holding the other end in place. Makes it ridiculously fast and easy to throw the blanket on the floor perfectly placed and wrinkle-free.
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post #59 of 82 Old 03-06-2013, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toe View Post

The post Rich made above got me curious so I just went down and checked out the comparison with the Protostar vs my black velvet and I found the same thing and was wrong with my previous statement. Not only is the velvet better at killing off light, it is actually darker as well which I had not remembered. My photography skills are bad, but this pic is good enough to show what I am seeing with my eyes. You can see where the rectangular piece of Protostar is taped to the top of my velvet covered bass trap in this picture. You can also see on the very left my first reflection panel which is also covered in velvet which is clearly darker.



Also note the slight sliver of dark blue wall on the right side of the Protostar which gives some perspective to how much darker either the Protostar or velvet can make your room vs even dark blue paint (which is what color my side walls were before putting up the velvet).

Yep.

You can see it here also in a picture from my Home Theater build:



The screen wall below the screen is done in Protostar. The black hanging side panels are Fidelio Black velvet. There's a strong shaft of sunlight hitting the rug and wood to the corner of the picture, reflecting light toward both the Protostar and Fidelio velvet, and it's pretty obvious which material is staying darker (Fidelio velvet). The velvet mostly disappears as a black hole under almost any lighting condition in the room, whereas it's only in the lowest light levels that I stop seeing the Protostar material.

Again, viewed alone the Protostar would be very dark. And we are splitting hairs here as either would do a terrific job of light rejection.
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post #60 of 82 Old 03-06-2013, 09:39 AM
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