Originally Posted by NYC Guy
I also recommend doing a calibration. On Wednesday afternoon I had the pleasure of having Gregg Loewen visit my apartment. He worked on my all Pioneer Elite setup which has a Kuro 111FD, a 05FD BD player and a 01THX AV receiver. Gregg calibrated my Kuro 111FD for Pure, ISF Day and ISF Night modes. He also did a 5400K Movie mode for me to view old black & white movies (my request). I have a funny feeling that I will be leaving the Kuro on the ISF Night mode the majority of the time.
All I can say is what a difference his calibration made. I thought that the Pure mode settings that I had been using based on D-Nice's settings were extremely good, but once I viewed the ISF modes that Gregg calibrated on my Kuro I am now hooked on recommending a professional calibration to all of my friends. This definitely makes a big difference on the Kuros.
All I can say is OMG!!!
In addition he installed a Ideal Lume Standard Light on the back of my Kuro at no extra charge as I had purchased the light from his website. http://www.lionav.com
The light really makes a difference when viewing the Kuro in a dark room setting.
Gregg also checked out my audio settings. This included making sure my AV receiver was correctly set up, that all speakers were on the correct size, that I had the correct crossover timing and phase and was SPL balanced. He then made a number of adjustments in my 01THX receiver. I had done the Pioneer auto MCACC setup and he showed me how they were not accurate. He also changed the positioning of my speakers by toeing them in to my sweet spot on the sofa. After he was finished I could definitely hear the difference.
Gregg took the time to properly explain everything
in a step by step manner about what he was doing and answered all of my questions no matter how ridiculous they were. He is a true professional and I highly recommend him to everyone.
I also recently had Gregg Loewen calibrate my 151. My experiences are similar to NYC Guy above. Gregg is quite the professional. He was using around $32k worth of equipment. Fascinating to watch and learn what he was doing and how the equipment was operating. Here are some observations.
I was using Pure mode before the calibration, having decided that the Performance and Standard, while providing initial-appearing POP, lost too much black detail and showed artifical-looking faces, etc. I can, however, understand how people who are not "well versed" in image quality characteristics would like the more vivid modes best. (No judgements, here.)
Gregg calibrated for Pure and ISF DAY and Night. While the new Pure is nice, it does not compare with either of the ISF modes. The advantage of calibrated Pure is that you can still tweak the setting to your liking; you can't with the ISF modes. What those modes give me are much brighter images while retaining all of the contrast and POP of the "vivid" modes, but enhancing black levels and especially shadow detail to provide a more natural image and facial quality. Frankly, I'm suprised how much better the ISF modes are than anything I was using before. All you who raved about the differences in the calibrated images were/are correct.
I find that I use ISF DAY the most, since even at night, I usually have a reading lamp on ("multitask") for causal magazine flipping, etc while watching HDTV. In any case, there's always a little ambient light, so the room is never pitch black. In a dark room ISF Day provides a too "glarey" (sp.) image. When I watch a BD at night, getting the room as dark as possible, then I use ISF Night - it's a revelation. With either ISF mode, I don't have to fiddle with any other settings (since they're locked, anyway). That's a pleasure in itself.
I highly recommend professional calibration for anyone who can afford the $400+ bucks. The difference is well worth it. What I now have is the satisfaction of knowing I not only have the best set available, but the best PQ for that set. People like me, then, can just sit back and watch without anymore wondering about getting a better picture.