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The High-Gain/Exotic Screen Review - Page 5

post #121 of 200
Thread Starter 
I just call em as I see me.

The firehawk is a good product (it's definately grey though). I have one, yet I prefer to watch the higher gain screens mostly because they are simply brighter. If my screen was 5 foot wide instead of 10' I might feel otherwise( or if my projector was 5000 lumens). I also notice the hotspotting on the Firehawk as they had to give up a significant amount of the viewing cone to obtain posative gain with the grey backing.

BTW Silver in itself really isn't magic. I like other white higher gain screens too

Any setup that obtains 40 foot lamberts, or more, is my cup of tea.
post #122 of 200
Todd, I don't have a High Power screen, just a 65" diagonal matte white screen for now. I did see a 150" diagonal high power screen (projecting only about 110", or maybe it was 120"? The throw didn't permit a larger image at the time) with a table mounted Benq 8700, with only 20 hours of lamp time. It looked nice and punchy. With a few tweaks to brightness the black levels looked quite good for most material we saw.

Keep in mind that I'm using Takisot's (try a search, he has some nice tweaks) DLP menu and user menu tweaks. The DLP brightness was dropped to -4 from the default of 0, which is a LOT of brightness lost. DLP brightness is basically a very course brightness adjustment - when combined with user brightness it seems to give you more brightness range.

I'm pretty sure my Benq is only outputting 350 lumens now! User contrast is at 18 too.

Todd, I suggest you press Memory 3 on your remote - it lowers the brightness quite a bit, and will give you an idea of how bright my image is. Assuming you didn't reprogram 3 that is.

I like Tryg's reviews, because since everyone's ideas of what a screen should do is subjective, he at least tries to compare them with each other so we can use our own judgement based on his (more) objective comparisons. And he does it without throwing measurements around making it easy for laymen such as us from getting swamped in the details.

I liked the High Power when I saw it. Surprisingly, the elevated black level didn't bother me as much as I thought it would...it really does depend on the video material used. Movies such as Fellowship of the Ring, even in dark scenes, looked really good because of the way the film was shot...dark backgrounds but always with a bright light source or reflection in the foreground (ie. torches, well-lite character's faces, shiny swords, etc.). However, if the movie is very dark with low light sources, the overall contrast is extremely low, and will not look nearly as good - and you may perceive elevated black levels as a result. At least with a high-gain screen, you have a better chance of perceiving subtle shadow detail.
post #123 of 200
The Frehawk viewing angle isnt so great. I also noticed gain drop off at the bottom - I assume the sides as well. White high gain eh? I thought your Silver/White/Grey review was pretty darn good - and you were a Silver believer. If I could stomach the cost I'd probably buy a SilverStar myself - for the record. I think the Firehawk is about it for my pain threshold in dollars.

I did remap 3. The first time I tried it I did notice an improvement though. Thanks for the info on DLP Brightness. I'll have to check out the service menu.
post #124 of 200
Thread Starter 
The biggest benefit by far of the Silverstar is that it's viewing cone is simply much wider than any other high gain screen in it's class (2.5 and up). And wider than the Firehawk at only ~1.35 gain. This has many benefits.

Shop around.

If you think high gain may be for you, get your eyes to a Da-Lite High Power.
post #125 of 200
I have the pitifully small DaLite sample of the High Power. I couldnt stand the black levels - way too grey - similar to the StudioTech 130.

I have ordered larger samples of the two CinemaVision's and the Silver Matte. The Silver Matte was pretty incredible - brighter than white (wall paint) and as dark as the Firehawk for blacks.

The problem was though - the viewing cone is rediculous - like a one person cone - reach over for your beer and the the room goes black .
post #126 of 200
I have the pitifully small DaLite sample of the High Power. I couldnt stand the black levels - way too grey - similar to the StudioTech 130.
I hope I'm not the first to inform you but making a purchase decision with only screen samples won't ever come close to telling you the whole story about any screen material.

For instance, there have been many members that wouldn't ever consider the HiPower after playing with it's sample. But when they saw the material as a full size screen they were amazed what it can do, especially perceived black level.
post #127 of 200
My 8700+ is projecting onto a Draper M2500. I get exceptional blacks with excellent dark detail. I have a completely light controlled room which I feel is required to get the best blacks your projector can produce whether you use a white or gray screen (well, it's not really producing blacks... more like NOT producing blacks).

With my setup, the biggest black improvement occured when the 8700+ was driven by a Momitsu V880 through DVI.
post #128 of 200
Do you suggest I try the $2K sample? The best I can do is the 2ft square samples they are sending me.

I do understand the concept of perceived black levels - where the white is so bright the grey blacks seem black. Maybe the larger sample will do that for me, I don't know.

I have the momitsu too. I'll order some Draper samples - I keep forgetting about them. Thanks for the heads up!
post #129 of 200

Vutec and Da-Lite also offer screen fabrics similar to the Draper M2500. Vutec has one they call "Pearlbrite" while the Da-Lite equivalents are "Pearlescent" and "Video Spectra". The vutec sample that I have is really small so I can only compare the look of the fabric. However, the Da-Lite samples that I have, look almost identical when compared to the Draper using a projected image.
post #130 of 200
Thanks nirvana_av, I contacted Draper. Hope to see it soon!
post #131 of 200
Todd, unless you use an entire screen to test (almost impossible, I know), you can't judge anything, particularly with regards to black level. Instantaneous CR is what the eye sees, unless your PJ has really crappy blacks, and if it does there's no screen that can change that.

Here's an example. In my theater (a black hole- fully black velveteen covered walls and ceilings. There is absolutely NO light reflected from the room back to the screen), a Firehawk looks extremely close to a VideoMatte 200 (1.8 gain). They are almost exactly the same emulsion, therefore give exactly the same gain characteristics. The firehawk adds the gray backing. My projector has perhaps the lowest absolute black level in any watchable mode out there (S3). Can I detect the raised blacks in the VM200? Yes, but only in really dark APL scenes, but when the APL gets high, I almost feel like I need sunglasses. So the gray backing is acting like a ND filter, nothing else. But if a take a 2x2 square of the material, and place it up to the firehawk, I would say YUK.

What is special about the Firehawk is the gain characteristics and its ability to reject ambient and/or reflected light. Any high gain angular reflective surface can do that. But nothing can increase the CR of your PJ (even perceived CR).

To me (and everyone is different here), screen visibility is of paramount importance. A studiotek 130 gives me what I'm looking for in that regard. Even though the Silverstar lit up my room like a plasma, the shimmer of the emulsion could be seen by me and was objectionable. On the other hand, my wife either couldn't see it or didin't care. She loved the brightness. Each to their own in that regard. As Tryg pointed out, taking care of your room will do more for your image (particularly if your PJ is bright) than ANY change in screen. A light colored room for video is equivalent to a glass walled room in audio.

Just be careful using small samples to judge. There are many variables.

post #132 of 200
Originally posted by Dan Miller
Here's an example. In my theater (a black hole- fully black velveteen covered walls and ceilings. There is absolutely NO light reflected from the room back to the screen

Have your measured the ANSI CR from the projector and then from the screen? I have black velvet (or something like it) over most of the room and still get much lower ANSI from the screen than from my 11k. I would be curious how high your ANSI would be off your screen as mine hasn't been as high as I would expect. I need to measure from my projector (Sharp 11k) again just to make sure the lens didn't get dirty or something though.

If you can get the same ANSI off the screen as directly from the S3 then I need to go back to work making my room darker.

post #133 of 200
My present equipment doesn't allow direct CR measurements from the PJ. Every one I have taken is from the screen and then I move the PJ as close to it as I possibly can whil still being able to focus. This way I can get a black reading that is more toward the portion of the light meter (Minolta LS-100) that is linear. I also haven't done ANSI, because, well to put it simply it's a pain in the butt.
post #134 of 200
Originally posted by Dan Miller
My present equipment doesn't allow direct CR measurements from the PJ. Every one I have taken is from the screen and then I move the PJ as close to it as I possibly can whil still being able to focus. This way I can get a black reading that is more toward the portion of the light meter (Minolta LS-100) that is linear. I also haven't done ANSI, because, well to put it simply it's a pain in the butt.

You're right, it can be a pain. I would bet that you would be surprised at how much reflection you are getting even with the black stuff on your walls though.

If you ever do get time I would be curious at a clue to what kind of ANSI you would have though. For that you can just put up an ANSI checkerboard and just measure 2 or 4 squares. That should give a range at least. I was at 200:1 last I checked with close to a real ANSI (I think I just did all squares with one checkerboard instead of swapping the checkerboard and doing 2 sets of measurements).

post #135 of 200

I've tried all the dalite, carada, vutec, harkness hall samples.

My setup - front room - magnolia walls white ceiling (no hope in hell of repainting unless someone makes a light coloured paint that doesn't reflect light ) , 8700+ ceiling mounted, and currently blackout cloth screen.

Silverstar blows all other screens away in my setup - particularly has made me realise how grey my whites are on white screen (probably because of so much reflected light from walls - in pitch dark room pj lights whole room up to comfortable reading level).

Hi power to me when stood up is even a little brighter than silverstar imho allthough don't think blacks are quite as good looks a little washed out but not much in it.

All the other high gain screens have a nasty pearlescent sheen which may not be to bad if you've never seen silverstar or hi power but now I wouldn't buy one.

So after all that rambling my question is this - I love the silverstar but I am a very poor man and I have no hope in hell of ever owning one. Buying the hi-power material and making my own frame just within buget but I have ceiling mount and gain seated I guesstimate to be about 1.3 not much better than my blackout cloth so not worth the expense. Is there any screen with out pearlescent sheen, angular refelctive, about 3ish gain that is similar to dalite in price.

I doubt it, but would be nice....
post #136 of 200
did you look at the dalite video spectra.... i am one the fence with the video spectra and the hipower...
post #137 of 200
You can always put curtains on your white walls
post #138 of 200
i believe the draper m2500 would be a good solution for wanting high gain and ceiling mounted. it will have a wider viewing angle than the high power without quite as much gain.
post #139 of 200
I bought the video spectra instead of the Hi Power and although I like the picture, it did develop waves shortly after purchase, just like people on the forums claimed.

I probably should have bought the Hi Power, and likely will, if the Sony Black isn't out in a larger size
post #140 of 200
i ended up going with the 92" dalite high power after reading about waves... its great, if set up properly the high power is bright and punchy, blacks are not affected, i used to have a pioneer elite 710 64" rear projection and the infocus 4805 and dalite high power combo looks just as good to me, and i love it...
post #141 of 200
good job tryg, to bad you didn't get the drapper 2500 material, i think it is highly under rated. I am using a drapper 2500 for my HD2K while i wait for my silverstar to arrive, i also have a firehawk but it just does not look good with my HD2K.
post #142 of 200

When I tested the M2500 along with the M1300, SilverStar, Carada Brilliant White, Vutec Brite White, Da-Lite HCCV, I forget who's Pearlescent, and Blackout Cloth....

I found that the M2500 altered the colors quite noticeably.
post #143 of 200
Originally posted by indygreg
first, this is a great post and like others i want to thank you for taking the time to share all this work.

after looking at your post i got interested again in the silverstar. i have a sample from them that i got a while back. i just went and looked at it again. i opened a small picture up and started dragging it around the screen so that parts of it were on the silverstar sample. it is like a looking glass and as i move the picture around i can see details in the picture that i cannot see on my screen. this is not a subtle thing i have to look for - i have to say this thing is stunning. and as you said, it does not fall off as much as other screens yet it is dramatically brighter. maybe it is just the contrast that it gives but the blacks definitely look blacker to me.

i am sure it is not for everyone but if you like that razer sharp, high contrast, crt tube (not projection) type of image, you have to see this thing. it is expensive and might reveal flaws in the video source but for me it is like buying a 6000 lumen projector.


Thanks to Tryg's earlier reviews I use a Silverstar 6gain with a G70 pj.

With a CRT projector, it does indeed give the image that razor sharp, high contrast look of a crt tube display.

A nice bright image, outstanding color, and no annoying artifacts.
post #144 of 200
hi and thanks for the reply to my post..and your review rocks!
have you tiredthe goo syystems?? i just got my paint and i guess we will see soon..i ll keep you all posted!
Thanks anyhow

post #145 of 200
Thread Starter 
All are good products. Thanks for the Kudos
post #146 of 200
Incidentally, I pointed the folks at Goo Systems to Tryg's screen reviews and they said they'll develop a paint that mimics the silver screen.
post #147 of 200
Thread Starter 
I cant wait! I'm not sure this is possible. 95% possible...Yes. 100% possible...not likely. That last 5% is a very sensative area!
post #148 of 200
Will the Da-Lite High Power and a ceiling mounted Panasonic AE900 work alright together. I like a very bright picture. With my set up the Panasonic would hit the screen in the upper third of the screen.

post #149 of 200
Thread Starter 
yes as long as your ceiling is not too high. This combo is the best value I know of in Home theater
post #150 of 200
Originally Posted by Tryg View Post

yes as long as your ceiling is not too high. This combo is the best value I know of in Home theater


Great job on the reviews - unfortunately now I'm more unsure than ever on what screen to get. Hopefully you can help me. I'm also doing the Panny PT-AE900U. It will be mounted at the ceiling, probably located at the top of the screen. I have vaulted ceilings, but fortunately a lower arch that I can mount it to. It will be located about 3'-4' behind the main seating position. The room is entirely beige - floor, walls, ceiling. Yes, not ideal. Here is a link to my plans so far:


I plan on watching movies at night, but also some sporting events during the day (and I'm guessing the kid's movies will be during the day/early evening primarily). There is a fair amount of ambient light in the day, even with our plantation shutters.

I was going to go with the Da-lite High Contrast Matte - but now am wondering if I should go with the high power version instead. Projector is about 20' from the screen.

Your input is greatly appreciated!!!


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