"Is a Perforated Screen Worth it?"
A "perforated screen" probably not.
A "weaved audio transparent screen" definitely Yes.
I want to point out a few things about the current audio transparent screens on the market.
First off, there are 2 types of audio transparent screens on the market.
First type is perforated/micro perforated screen, they start off with a solid screen and send it through a large machine to punch small holes in it to make it audio transparent. Companies that manufacture perforated screens are Harkness Hall, Hurley Screens, Technicote, MDI, Stewart, Draper, Da-Lite, Vutec, etc.
Second type is a weaved screen which is a woven screen that is made with fiberglass or pvc strands that are either basket weaved or have another type of weave. Companies that carry weaved screens are Screen Research, Vutec, Dazian and Draper.First lets talk about Perforated/Microperf Screens
First off, Perforated/microperf screens have really bad audio transparency issues. They comb filter really bad even at the recommended 8" speaker placement distance from the back of the movie screen (which most people don't have space to do). Combfiltering is caused by the audio bouncing back and forth between the speaker and the back of the movie screen then coming through the movie screen. This creates an unwanted hollow effect to audio know as comb-filtering.
Besides comb-filtering, perforated screens also destroy the audio by creating huge dips and peaks thoughout the natural trend of the speaker. Companies like Stewart include 1 proprietary EQ to help reduce these peaks and dips on your center channel. Even though this EQ helps the audio to some degree, it doesn't help with comb-filtering. Plus if you want to have all 3 of your speakers behind the screen to have a consistent front sound-stage, you would need 2 more EQs to balance it out.
Next problem with perforated screens is the highly unwanted moiré effect on video. This is caused by the fixed pixels (screen door) on digital projectors lining up with the perforated pattern on the movie screen. The two clash and create bright moiré streaks across the screen during bright scenes. It is a horrible effect on video. The only company I know that is working with customers to help eliminate moiré with perforated screens is Stewart. They do this by rotating the screen material on the frame based on the projector, screen size and throw distance you are using.
With perforated and microperf screens, every digital projector type, screen size and throw distance requires a different rotation to avoid moiré. Although this is a great effort by Stewart to help fight moiré with their screens, what happens when it's time to upgrade your projector? Better yet, what happens if you move and your throw distance changes? If the moiré comes back, your stuck with it.
Right now, even commercial cinema's are trying to fight the moiré issues as they are converting over to digital projectors. The existing perforated screens for film are not working with the new digital 720 DLP projectors they are installing across the globe. So they have to defocus the projector to reduce the moiré.
Another factor with perforated/microperf screens is the perforation size. Perfs and microperfs can be very noticeable from seating distances up to 30 feet (depends on your eye sight). This drove me crazy with a past microperf screen I had as it made bright clouds look muddy and HD look grainy.
There is also a certain loss of light with perforated and microperf screens that must be accounted for. Every manufacture is going to vary with that.Now lets talk about Weaved Screens.
First off, the audio transparency of weaved screens are much, much better than perforated/microperf screens and in most cases, don't require any EQ (many reviews and tests show & prove this). There are no huge dips and peaks thoughout the natural trend of the speaker like with a perforated and microperf screen. This means you can put all 3 of your front speakers behind a weaved screen to maintain a consistent sound-stage without worrying about buying multiple EQs.
With weave screens, comb-filtering is to a minimum and is usually undetectable by the human ear. Everything you put in front of a speaker is going to comb-filter to some degree, even the speaker grill cloth on speaker grills comb-filter, it's just not noticeable by the human ear (unless you have super-ears
As far as moiré with weaved screens, some companies guaranty no moiré and others don't. All the major screen companies that offer weaved screens right now all have a negative gain white matte material (.80 - .85 negative gain) which means you either need to use a smaller screen or buy a bright projector to get the recommended FL.
As far as perf size on a weaved screen, it is usually very small and undetectable from 10 feet or closer.
With all this being said, to me, there is nothing in the world like having your speakers behind the screen.
Movies are mixed in hollywood with the speakers behind the screen to replicate how the movie is going to sound in the theaters. All the commercial theaters I've ever been to have the front sound-stage all behind the movie screen. When a person is talking, you want the dialogue to come out of the mouth like it was intended to be, not above or below the screen.
If you're building a dedicated theater, I would imagine anyone would want to replicate a commercial theater environment plus better video and audio.
So my vote is for the speakers behind the screen.