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AT or Non-AT that is the question

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Ok, so I am getting to the point where I get to make some fun decisions.

You can see in my build that I have a long room and I plan on doing a false wall for my speakers regardless but the question is this:

- Is it better (in your opinion) to go with a fixed non-AT screen on the back wall and have the false wall come out around it creating a "shadow box" more or less or just mounting the AT screen on the false wall?

Considerations:
- I have a 15 month old son that like to touch everything, the shadow box setup would put a good obstacle in his way in addition to the stage.
- I have read and been told by any number of folks that from 11" in my first row I will see the perf and I think that might bother me.
post #2 of 34
Hi wraunch - a few thoughts on this decision:

Regardless of whether you choose an AT screen or not, I personally would make the front wall one flat plane (without the shadowbox for speakers etc). I don't have children so I may be ignorant of the practical difficulties (impossibilities?) associated with 1 year old hands. wink.gif I think the shadowbox invites potential for some not-so-good screen reflections.

If you choose to go with a non-AT screen, where will you locate the center speaker? (below or above the screen?) In a multi-row theater, locating the center channel below the screen can seriously compromise dialog intelligibility.

In addition, don't underestimate the improvement in dialog localization you will see from using an AT screen and being able to move that center chanel up three feet (from below the screen to the center of the screen). As someone who initially had a non-AT screen with center channel below and then moved to the second scenario, I can say that I was astounded by the amount of difference it made. Dialog really pops off the screen and scenes are much more believable.

Anyway, my vote is for one flat wall with an AT screen.
post #3 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks Benji. Other thoughts?
post #4 of 34
One of the most common AT screen fabrics is SeymourAV. That fabric is tough, it is a close cousin to the material used in outdoor sun screens and awnings. Your kid would have to really work at it do any damage that can't be wiped off. On this business of sitting 11 ft and seeing the weave (it is not perforated like the Stuart screens) you should ask the people that have the screen whether the weave even detracts 1% from the movie experience. I sit 10'-10" from an SMX screen and the weave is not a factor.
post #5 of 34
I sit 9'-6" from a SeymourAV Centerstage screen and am a happy camper.
post #6 of 34
I'm 12' from the orginal SMX material and I can't see the weave.
post #7 of 34
Like others above, I have the SMX CineWeave HD material. I sit about 11' away and can see the weave with the lights on. But once the lights go down and the movie starts, it is not a factor at all.
post #8 of 34
Another great option for an AT screen material, especially if you're worried about seeing texture or perforations, would be the Seymour-Screen Excellence Enlightor 4K material. It has the look of a non AT screen yet has the acoustical properties of one.
post #9 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks all! I definitely plan on using the Seymour screen as there pricing/quality combo is hard to beat! So it sounds like AT is what I'll use. Did you find the sample material from Seymour to be helpful in making the decision? For the guys sitting 11' or less from the screen what size is your screen? I'm planning on doing a 120-130" screen. First row about 11', second row at 17'.
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by wraunch View Post

Thanks all! I definitely plan on using the Seymour screen as there pricing/quality combo is hard to beat! So it sounds like AT is what I'll use. Did you find the sample material from Seymour to be helpful in making the decision? For the guys sitting 11' or less from the screen what size is your screen? I'm planning on doing a 120-130" screen. First row about 11', second row at 17'.

115" wide 2.35-front row at 9'-6", back row at 16'. Like others mentioned, I can see the weave with the lights on if I'm looking for it but during a movie, I have no complaints.
post #11 of 34
120" 2.35 Seymour XD. Front row is 10.5", back row 16.5-17". Can't see the weave at all during a movie, and not sure why I would look for it when a movie isn't playing...tongue.gif
post #12 of 34
Seymour XD material here too. Sit about 11' from 130" wide 2.35:1 screen. No issues with the weave at all. Really happy with mine.
post #13 of 34
AT all the way. Not sure how you can have a 'proper' home theater / cinema without an AT screen. Too many compromises with the center channel, unless you have a very tall room, a very small screen or very nicely designed speakers with great vertical off axis performance, or even some combination of all three. Doesn't happen that often around here!

Tips on building baffle walls.

When selecting the screen material note that the 4K material has less 20% less gain than the XD and you will need a brighter projector. You will need a bright projector to hit industry standard brightness levels for any decent size AT screen anyway.
Edited by Nyal Mellor - 4/1/13 at 7:32pm
post #14 of 34
Seeing the weave on the XD screen at those seating distance is really dependent on visual acuity. Some people simply have better eyesight. I played around with an XD screen and at my 10.5' seating distance I could make the weave out on most brighter scenes. It isn't something you want to look for. Sometimes it's just THERE. When there is motion on a brighter scene I was basically forced to see the texture/weave. Unfortunately it didn't work for me so I had to sell it. Though, if you have really good far vision but have a seating distance farther than mine you should be okay. The Enlightor 4K material is a different beast all together, though.

I've been in Ben's (airbenji's) theater and the SMX Cineweave material looks great. I saw no weave or texture from either row. If you've got the money I would also highly recommend that material.
post #15 of 34
Nyal, do you know if the B&W htm1d is has good off axis performance? I was thinking of re-useing it my theater to save some money. I'm not convinced the speaker won't sound good from 15 or 20 feet away. I used to sit 12' from away and it would play way louder than I ever cared to listen to.
post #16 of 34
Nyal can report his own experience.

The constraint with this speaker (and many others) is the inherent limitation of a 1" dome tweeter. If I recall, B&W claims +/-2dB on axis and 90dB efficiency. What they do NOT tell you is at what volume; but, typically they measure at 1w/1m. Measure at 100w/5m, you'll get a radically different measure. At 500w/5m, even a different measure...and even a bigger difference when the tweeter fails. The fact of the matter is B&W and a long list of other speakers can play incredibly loud; but, as the seating distance increases the in air absorption of the high frequencies significantly reduces the SPL of the HF content at the listening positions, hence, while having "loud" you do not have the same "loud" in the HF area. While the "Diamond" tweeter is much more capable than most, at 1 meter, on axis, published measurements show a increasing significant roll off from 12kHz to 20kHz further indicating the lack of HF response at greater distances. By contrast, several speakers (no longer in production) from a U.S. manufacturer, when measured at 1 meter indicated an increase in SPL (on axis) over the same range. Why was that? The designer determined their typical customer listened at an average seating distance of 8'. The response of the speaker was therefore designed to be +/- 2dB at the listening position. Certainly the speaker was "bright" at 1 meter; but, not at all at 8'. Again, back to the HTM1D, you'll find they claim the tweeter has a horizontal dispersion of 60 degrees ... what that is telling you is a significant amount of the HF energy is going to where ears are not ... further decreasing HF content at long seating distances. Compression drivers, wave guides and other mechanisms can be used to compensate for longer seating distances (and constantly burning out 1" dome tweeters). Also problematic with the HTM1D (and HTM6D) was the lack of timbre matching to any B&W L/R speaker. Some of the inability to timbre match is simply due to the physics which get in the way of a horizontal speaker orientation to match the timbre of a vertical speaker orientation.

Therefore...the B&W's will play loud and sound loud at 15' to 20', they will not however be anywhere near flat and significant HF content will be lost. That is just the way it is, and, in B&Ws defense they (1) didn't design their speakers to be critically enjoyed at those distances; and, (2) B&W has always preferred "warmth". Given all of that, the B&W speakers would be far, far better than no speakers at all.
post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by rabident View Post

Nyal, do you know if the B&W htm1d is has good off axis performance? I was thinking of re-useing it my theater to save some money. I'm not convinced the speaker won't sound good from 15 or 20 feet away. I used to sit 12' from away and it would play way louder than I ever cared to listen to.

It looks like an expensive speaker but unfortunately I doubt it. I have measured the B&W 803d before and they do not have a good lateral off axis response. That doesn't mean they won't sound good, if your side walls are far away or very absorptive. Nearly all vertically stacked / oriented speakers have dubious vertical off axis performance. The more drivers the worse the vertical response.

For home theater use I'm with Dennis. You need a high power handling driver preferably with high sensitivity or if not good thermal performance (i.e. they stay consistent as they heat up). Generically the only technologies that work IMO are compression drivers and air motion tweeters. There are some dome tweeters that work for home theater but they are very very few and far between.
post #18 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seegs108 View Post

Seeing the weave on the XD screen at those seating distance is really dependent on visual acuity. Some people simply have better eyesight. I played around with an XD screen and at my 10.5' seating distance I could make the weave out on most brighter scenes. It isn't something you want to look for. Sometimes it's just THERE. When there is motion on a brighter scene I was basically forced to see the texture/weave. Unfortunately it didn't work for me so I had to sell it. Though, if you have really good far vision but have a seating distance farther than mine you should be okay. The Enlightor 4K material is a different beast all together, though.

I've been in Ben's (airbenji's) theater and the SMX Cineweave material looks great. I saw no weave or texture from either row. If you've got the money I would also highly recommend that material.

What screen material were you using for the AT? What was your seating distance? I have pretty good vision and if I know something is there I have a tendency to look for it. That is what I'm worried about. I'm leaning towards the Seymour AT screen and if it doesn't work I'll only be out the $3-400 until I can re-sell it.
post #19 of 34
If you want to show Star Wars, then you want AT-AT.
post #20 of 34
For my own two cents, and wraunch has seen my theater so he can verify, I have been very happy with a fixed screen from Hurley (DIY frame, grommet with tensioned screen) 1.0 gain at 110 " diagonal, sitting (in sweet spot) about 12-14 ft from screen, I have no issues with sound quality from my Atlantic Tech 4400 center channel which is tilted up slightly in its cradle just below the screen. The effect is like it's coming from the center of the screen, at least to my unsophisticated ears, and never have been distracted otherwise. It sits in a "shadow box" configuration, but covered in black acoustically transparent cloth and never seems distracting (but oh would I like to cover it with the Fidelio velvet that surrounds the screen frame!). The projector is dead on perpendicular to it, so no shadows during movies.

However, a future, bigger, AT screen isn't out of the question when I get to the rebuild phase....! smile.gif
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by wraunch View Post

What screen material were you using for the AT? What was your seating distance? I have pretty good vision and if I know something is there I have a tendency to look for it. That is what I'm worried about. I'm leaning towards the Seymour AT screen and if it doesn't work I'll only be out the $3-400 until I can re-sell it.

I wouldn't stress about seeing the weave. Very, very many people around here are using it and I think you'll have to search hard for a complaint. I recently had laser correction and since then my vision is excellent (between 20/15 and 20/10...let's not discuss my prior vision redface.gif). I'm about 11' away from a 120" wide screen in front row and have no issues.
post #22 of 34
I also have an SMX screen - 130 inch Cineweave and love it. You can see the weave with lights on / full brightness in the first row, but not from the 2nd row. With lights dim / off, it disappears completely.
post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by wraunch View Post

What screen material were you using for the AT? What was your seating distance? I have pretty good vision and if I know something is there I have a tendency to look for it. That is what I'm worried about. I'm leaning towards the Seymour AT screen and if it doesn't work I'll only be out the $3-400 until I can re-sell it.

The material I had was the Seymour CenterStage XD, not to be confused with the Seymour Enlightor 4K. The latter is much better when it comes to texture and weave "see-ablility". It looks and acts like a non AT screen but has VERY small holes to allow audio to pass through. I also really liked the SMX screen Ben (airbenji) is talking about. Really good AT material. I saw no texture from his seating distance. I don't know off the top of my head, but I'm sure you can find a measurement somewhere in his build thread as to where his rows of seating are. My seating distance to the Seymour XD material was 10.5 feet and I saw the weave with brighter scenes. The extra brightness made it a lot easier to see. Many people use the XD material and get great results. It's a nice material to use as long as you aren't sitting too close. I think of it like this; commercial theaters use perforated screens and the holes are actually larger on those screens than a perforated screen you'd get from Da-Lite or Stewart, but because people sit far enough away you simply can't see them. The same principle goes with the weave on the XD material.
post #24 of 34
I would vote AT
post #25 of 34
I have a much smaller seymour screen (104" wide). My seating is right around 11' and I notice it in all bright scenes though I admit it's never bothered me except watching hockey.
post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by wraunch View Post

Thanks all! I definitely plan on using the Seymour screen as there pricing/quality combo is hard to beat! So it sounds like AT is what I'll use. Did you find the sample material from Seymour to be helpful in making the decision? For the guys sitting 11' or less from the screen what size is your screen? I'm planning on doing a 120-130" screen. First row about 11', second row at 17'.

What did you end up deciding ?
post #27 of 34
Thread Starter 
AT all the way! Don't know size for sure yet but it'll most likely be 120-130".
post #28 of 34
The thing with the weave....just my opinion, even if you can see the weave it can be mistaken for film grain. I love my Seymour 153" screen 14-15 feet seating distance.
post #29 of 34
As I mentioned in another thread, screen size has nothing to do with whether you can see the weave; it's all in relation to seating distance. Visual acuity will play a role in this as well, but you won't see the weave any more or less on a 10' wide screen then a 20' wide screen (all things being equal).

I sit right about 12' from my XD, and have yet to be distracted by the weave during a movie. If you are unsure, simply order a test piece and try it out for yourself.
post #30 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help. I get what you're saying I was merely soliciting feedback from others with AT screens.
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