Originally Posted by tuxedocivic
I wanted to drop a quick comment about my viewing experience with the Symour XD. Seems most people are pretty pleased with it, especially sharpness. I will start with a few caveats. I've seen screen shots of the XD and spandex and yes, it seems obvious there's more sharpness. I can't say why that is, but it certainly looked that way. Second, I'm using a Viewsonci Pro8200 throwing from 10' and I sit about 10' as well. Screen size is 92". PJ has tons of lumens.
Black level vs Brightness. This is a 1:1 trade off against my grey spandex. Ya, I'm eyeball calibrated to my grey screen, but for everything the XD gained in brightness, it lost in black level. Again because of my PJ, if I had a PJ with better blacks and less brightness, XD might be a better choice. But I certainly felt the loss in black was a not worth it. Even if sharpness was better. But....
Sharpness. Nope. My spandex was sharper. Especially on a white background, I can see weave
I don't know if it's cause I'm sitting so close or what. I will say, even though I'm an audio guy, I'm certain my sight is better than my hearing.
I really was considering a future upgrade to this XD stuff based on comments from guys I trust. But for my situation, that won't be happening. The spandex (I'm comparing again FabricLand spandex here) is way better. Measurably though, the XD is very AT and quite good at it. Probably a very good choice for the guys with low lumen beamers with light control. Hopefully you sit far enough away to not see weave. Honestly, the weave and black levels were killing me.
I didn't bother with screen shots based on the above discussion. I agree they aren't much help.
Often, much of what you read coming from Mfg Screen advocates is not only biased against the idea that any non-specific Mfg Screen material replacement simply cannot be worthy, often it is simply based upon a total lack of experience. I myself, while limited in experience with Spandex, had no trouble ascertaining that the decidedly smooth weave of Spandex would be more than acceptable "Image-wise" and on par or better than Paint in many instances. Especially when measured against Rolling or poorly done Spray attempts. Once I made actual visual determinations, even the difference between Moleskin and Milliskin weaves showed there was a marked advantage toward using the Milliskin variety.
Throughout DIY Screen making, many have chosen to make issue with the difference between using a White or Gray. Almost always using a comparison between both, with neither really optimized individually for the specific use. White will always show "brighter" of course, but brightness isn't the "end all" many seem to hold it to be...as you seem to have come to realize. The use of a light Gray / Silver has some very definite advantages.
As far as the relationship between Spandex's tighter weave and a Mfg's AT construction (Perf or Weave) there can be no doubting that spandex offers up more surface area for light to reflect off of. But it also is much thinner and absorptive, effectually negating any potential advantage as far as gain. However as far as it having a tighter surface area, that is why it can deliver a sharper, if not indeed a slightly more attenuated image.
Adequate lumen output can absolve one of that loss in brightness. but you cannot effectively overcome a loss of reflective surface area....because the amount of available surface area is what generates the density potential of any given image.
I know you have gotten quite a lot of "feedback" from varied sources. Some perhaps a bit less than congenial.
The truth is that those who care enough to really listen and delve into the real, actual needs of any given DIY'ers situation are more apt to be of help in both the long and short run than those who rail about how others don't adhere to what they consider as being the only legitimate way things should be done.
A prime example is the reasoning that a light, or semi reflective backing behind a White Spandex Top covering is detrimental. It is not...and reasoning that goes beyond rhetoric should easily show that anything that can reduce the amount of light lost will offer up a better end result than employing something that effectively absorbs all light that get's passed through the initial reflective surface. White is of course best in this regard...with Silver / Light Gray being good for enhancing Contrast without allowing excessive amounts of light lost.
Personally, I hold the approach you have taken as being quite beneficial and well measured. It is, I'm sure, appreciated by many.