I attended the Audioholics event in Clearwater, FL last weekend. I was fortunate enough to spend a fair amount of time with David checking out the Masking System, (so much so that I missed the Dolby talk
but my time with David was well spent). He actually open up the Masquerade and showed me the inner workings. It's an ingeniously designed and engineered piece, slick and quiet in operation.
The benefits of masking are impressive. I initially stuck my head into the Emotiva room to check out their speakers, saw they had a 2.35:1 screen, and immediately went looking for my friend, Jeff, to show him. When we got back to the room, the image was 16:9. I was like... WTF??? I knew I had seen a 2.35:1 widescreen with no visible gray/black bars. I thought I was going crazy. I asked the Emotiva guys what was up and they pointed to David Giles. David stepped forward and demo'ed the masking system.
It's really impressive to see the widescreen image with no distracting black bars. It makes the image much more immersive. It also seemed to improve the in-scene contrast. In my HT at home, I have a PJ with a DI. The intensity of the gray/black bars is constantly changing with the scene brightness. Being able to mask them off would improve my enjoyment of the movie significantly. Also, having a remote to adjust the position of the masking is really cool!
The Carada system was also impressive with the lights on. I have seen a Stewart masking system a few years ago in a showroom. The Carada system is a more elegant solution than that Stewart system. On the Stewart, you could see a lot of the mechanical bits sticking out here and there, and it made lots of mechanical noises when it "shifted". With the Carada, it's all hidden behind the beautifully finished framework, and it's virtually silent in operation. Very nice! Also, David demo'ed how easy the system is to install. Basically, you mount the overhead piece, hang the side peices, which slip into close tolerance guides and attach the bottom piece. (I remember something about the sides folding out, but the details escape me. David could you fill in, please?)
David is as nice and as knowledgeable and as helpful in person as he comes across on the internet. Congratulations on a beautifully executed product, David. I'm sure you'll sell a bunch of them. You'll need a bigger marketing department!
PS. For those who think the price is too high, especially relative to the cost of a Carada screen, I can say that this product is "worth" it's price. Look at the cost of a motorized screen, or any other masking system. This one is a bargain, especially when you look at the overall quality of the piece, the level of engineering and the precision of the manufacturing.