Originally Posted by SimpleTheater
I never trusted Rubin. He started a thread
in 2006 with the seeming intent to build a do-it-yourself acoustically transparent screen. He used a few people for free "testing", including Alan Gouger. Members like Tryg were tricked into thinking this was an altruistic "do-it-yourself" thread and defended Rubin when others questioned his motives.
Mark P. defended Rubin in a response to one of my posts, saying "Rubens going through alot of grief just for you so he can justify what he saw and others are seeing. I call that a nice guy, no a nice DIY guy."
It was Mr. Poindexter who called Rubin out for what he was really doing - making this a business startup thread.
I still followed the thread with interest, but I was (and am) extremely skeptical by nature. Once the SMX color tests came back poorly, that was the last time Rubin used any external companies to certify/test his screens. He kept saying he would do it, but it never happened - to this day (nearly 7 years later!).
He flew high for a short period of time because of his followers on this site. People who honestly believed his do-it-yourself thread had turned into an altruistic, low cost small business, simply to provide AVS'rs with his amazing material and a little extra money on the side for his hard work and effort, went ahead and started purchasing SMX screens. They were a little shocked as to the price WITH A FRAME, wasn't signficantly cheaper than a major manufacturer. I'm speculating that that first couple of years in business, Rubin did quite well and expanded...right into the Great Recession. He probably took out some loans and when the sales dried up he ran into serious financial difficulty. Again, I'm speculating on his financial condition today, but the lack of someone getting a major order for five months makes me think the SMX is either taking the money and filing for bankruptcy, or at best, is having difficulty getting product from his distributors.
Well since you mentioned my name I suppose I feel obligated to respond and clear up at least what I know.
Rubin and I started corresponding as he was finishing his Theater and I was mid stream of my build. I had already been talked into a Stewart Studiotek screen but really wanted to move my speakers behind the screen for obvious reasons. Rubin contacted me via PM and I called him and we talked for hours on what we wanted out of our theaters and there wasn't a solution that didn't cost 10's of thousands of dollars. The was one front runner but their screen was expensive and quite dull, I can't even recall their name it was so long ago. And so began the DIY acoustic screen journey, at the beginning it was just him and I, he had found some Phifer sheerweave ……..I can’t for the life of me remember what it was at the time but something like 4000 series. I found some locally and bought a chunk and got Moire, he continually kept buying different products from all over the world and then thought he had good luck with a certain sheerweave so he sent me a large sample to test . It did much better but I had to tilt the material to prevent Moire but it was pretty good and nearly as bright and vivid as the Stewart screen. Because of the weave it even appeared sharper almost like it was improving blacks. I gave a thumbs up after sending off to a friend that had test equipment and no dog in the fight as to if it was good/great/fantastic and he told me it was great for home theater go ahead and use it.
I spent hundreds of hours on the phone with Rubin, we were doing home automation and a ton of different things with everything from swimming pools to cars to Mac vs PC , video, photography, Salt water aquariums, he was a city boy, I was a country hick and the amount of DIY stuff we were trying was huge and we felt two people troubleshooting things was better than one. Rubin didn’t want to open a screen business at all, for those of you that will be honest with yourselves the AVS community pushed him to doing this. Everybody wanted a cheap acoustic screen and Rubin spent thousands on special runs of fabric plus unlimited time and money for the betterment of the DIY crowd. He even called me one night and asked if I could over night the latest screen he had sent me free to Ohio or somewhere because they were having a huge Hometheater meet and they wanted to see what all the hype was about, I even put this on his FedEx account as to not pay, Rubin never charged me one penny for anything and I have an amazing SMX screen/frame he sent me just for being a friend. I needed it for a guest house. I called him, said I wanted the best he had, gave the dimensions and expected him to somehow bill me and a week later I get a call from a trucking company to come pick up my item and it was a complete SMX screen free of charge.
The only reason he ever started the SMX screen business is because people wanted screens, not Hometheater but places like Regal Cinema, and ultra high end theaters on Yachts and such where the screens were wider than the actual material was so I think he was persuaded by those types to figure out how to produce IMAX sized screens. Not sure if that was ever announced but I thought it was that SMX was going to put all their efforts into that and not smaller screens. I thought this was around 3 years ago maybe?
Regardless of this I got a call last September and it was Rubin, he asked if it would be alright to stop by and say hi and maybe I could show him around the area as he was thinking about relocating. I was more than happy to meet someone I had enjoyed dealing with so many times before but never actually met. When he got here we did the usual thing and a couple days in he told me what was going on and I have no doubts as to he was telling the truth. He told me that he had put SMX into his wifes name several years before or at least enough to give her access to the company SMX. He was somewhere looking at a project or something and came home to an empty house basically and his wife and his friend who was actually running SMX had gutted everything and it was bigtime. He brought a girlfriend so I figured it was so. The reason they were looking at relocating is it seems his whole circle of people he trusted basically hosed him via the wife/best friend. My dealings with Rubin and there were many were always on the up and up and he never tried to scam me in anyway shape or form and there were many opportunities to do so. I’m sure this doesn’t help anyone out of cash but if they were taken around last summerish time it may not have been Rubin at all, the way it was described to me the wife and partner/friend pretty much cleaned house at the appropriate time while he was elsewhere