As most of you know, I had a Marantz VP-15S1 which I recently switched for a SIM2 D80E, which was fully calibrated by Jason. The picture is gorgeous. This will be an odd review. Stewart StudioTek 1.3 G3 100" diagonal.
I. D80E vs. HT380
Please do not let this descend into a another discussion of the differences between the two units, which has been discussed ad nauseeum. I know for a fact what they are but am not at liberty to diclose the info., so dont ask. Draw your own conclusions from what follows or call SIM2 Technical Support at its HQ in Florida, if you are that interested.
Since Jason calibrated the HT380 for his review, and my D80E, valid comparisons can be made, The CIE chart in the HT380 review matches my CIE chart on the D80E.
The color temp on the D80E is flatter than the HD380. Also, at20IRE, the HT380 drops to 5900. On the D80E it remains flat to 10IRE, and then rises to 7300 at 0IRE.
The Contrast Ratio on the D80E is 5713:1, compared to 4092:1 on the HT380 (long range). The lumen output on the D80E is 541 vs. 608 on the HT380 (short range).
I found no problems with the SIM2 proc. uses test discs or DVDs. When focusing, you can see individual pixels at 1080p. There was no noise at all on Blu-ray discs, and a small amount on std. DVDs. (The claim of the visual diff. between the two was that the D80E was not quite as sharp and a little noisier than the HT380. I did not find any problems with either.)
So the D80E has the same primary and secondary colors as the HT380, a flatter color temp. than the HT380, higher contrast than the HT380, and the same lumens.
You may draw whatever inferences you like.
II. D80E vs. VP-15S1
This comparison is hampered because my 15 was NOT calibrated by Jason. I was unable to do any direct A/B comparisons. And video memory is notoriously short.
A few quick things, The Marantz is far more solidily (and heavily) built. The SIM2 Manual and Remote are confusing. My Universal Remote RF10 could not learn the commands from the remote. The remote is not backlit. The fan noise is about the same as the Marantz in high setting; but the SIM2 has no high or low lamp setting.
I will give my impressions, for what they are worth later. But Jason's review of the 15 was after he fully calibrated it, like my D80E.
The CIE on the 15 is very similar to the CIE on the D80E. The color temp is somewhat flatter on the D80E, but not by a great deal
The biggest difference, as Jason put it, is that with the Marantz, you have to chose between high contrast and low lumens, or high lumens with low contrast; with the D80E you get both at the same time.
People can refer to Jason's 15 review to see how the various iris settings reflect what he says. I did a post earlier comparing contrast and lumens on the 15 vs. the HT380, which clearly demonstated that to be the case. (Search "VP-15S1 HT380" in this Forum.)
Now, for my personal observations on the Jason calibrated D80E vs. an uncalibrated 15. I would say the colors were very similar. I think the skin tones were more natural on the D80E, but that is probably Jason's handiwork.
Sharpness was equal. Video processing was equal.
The big difference was the simultaneous high contrast and lumens on the D80E. It resulted in a high lumen output picture, with deep blacks. The shadow detail was better. The picture had more pop and three dimensonality.
III. Why did I switch?
Why not? That's what we do. The British and Australian Reviews of the D80E and the HT380, were positively glowing. The projs. rec'd year end award from all magazines. Two reviews said they came very close in PQ to the C3X 1080. And, Jason's review of the HT380 was especially persuasive. (You can expect American reviews to start appearing soon.)
I have a bias. I have only ever owned, and only would own DLP projectors. In my opinion, the 2 best deals right now for truly high quality DLP projs are the Marantz VP-15S1 ($9k) and the SIM2 D80E ($8.5k).
What something better? Well, if you absolutely need higher light output the Sim2 HT3000E with a 200 watt bulb. Remember, when that and the HT380 were matched for light output, they were indistinguishable.
The Marantz VP-11S2, which is an unknown quantity, but will almost certainly match or exceed the D80E contrast, but, again, without the lumen output.
So you want something that's REALLY better than our two bargains. Go with the SIM2 C3X 1080.
P.S. NO RBE on either machine, but I have never seen RBE on any DLP proj., even one with a 2x 4segment wheel.
P.P.S. No, I do not have a digital camera, and can not post screen shots.