Out with the old and in with the new: Theo Kalomirakis updates the Roxy 2.0 with a new screen, new projector, and a new pre/pro.
Thanks to the steady march of technological progress, there is no such thing as the perfect home theater. Instead, much like a garden, you need to tend to it to enjoy the fruits of your labor. The fruit, of course, is the sense of immersion you get from watching a movie in a calibrated, dedicated theater.
It took six years for Theo Kalomirakis to build out his Roxy 2.0 Theater, a process I wrote about here
. At the time, I mentioned that Theo planned to update the theater with a 3D-capable projector. As it turns out, he went even further, replacing the screen and adding a high-end pre/pro to elevate the performance of the entire system.
Here's Theo's new screen—a Vutec Vision X DynaCurve FT multi-aspect—which barely fit into the Roxy 2.0
Rather than merely adding 3D capability, Theo sought to maximize the immersive viewing potential of the 13' x 17' theater. That meant squeezing in the widest screen that would fit into the room—an 11-foot-wide, native 2.4:1 Vutec Vision X DynaCurve FT
multi-aspect with SoundScreen acoustically transparent woven material.
The 11' Vutec DynaCurve screen is one foot wider and reflects less light (0.8 gain) than Theo's previous screen, a 10' Stewart Filmscreen StudioTek 130 (1.3 gain). I calculated that the new screen requires a projector with twice the light output to match the brightness of Theo's previous projection system, which used a Digital Projection M-Vision Cine LED 1000.
Vutec's SoundScreen features a black acoustically-transparent fabric layer behind the white screen.
SoundScreen woven material offers superior sound transmission versus perforated screens, but like other woven acoustically transparent screens, its gain is a rather low 0.8. Initially, Theo tried a SIM2 Lumis Uno 3D with the new screen. The Lumis did a great job with 2D content, but its light output (rated at 2600 lumens) was still not enough for engaging 3D viewing.
Swapping the Lumis Uno 3D with the Superlumis
solved the limited 3D brightness problem. The Superlumis came equipped with an EC (extended contrast) lens, which gives up a bit of maximum brightness for deeper blacks. With the EC lens, the Superlumis outputs 3800 ANSI lumens—more than enough for 3D.
Installing a ceiling-mounted projector like the Superlumis is not a one-person task.
Theo didn't just update his screen and projector. On the audio side of the system, he installed a Krell Foundation
4K/UHD-compatible surround pre/pro, which feeds decoded digital audio to his California Audio Technologies (CAT) amplifiers and speaker system. Thanks to the superior acoustical properties of the woven screen fabric, combined with the fidelity of Krell's pre/pro, Theo's theater sounds better than ever.
I was present for the Foundation installation—in fact, I helped Krell President Bill McKiegan install the unit into Theo's rack. Plugging it in took mere minutes, and dialing in the sound took only a few more minutes. The primary reason for choosing the Krell was the quality of its preamps—in Theo's theater, I heard the same quality and precision that I experienced in my first Foundation demo
Theo (on the right) poses with Bill McKiegan next to the newly-installed Krell Foundation pre/pro.
The irony of this system update is that it won't last long. The near future promises cinematic spectacles with 4K/UHD video and 3D immersive audio. Eventually, that will necessitate another audio and video equipment update—but not yet. In 2015, Blu-ray remains the king of quality.
In its current form, the Roxy 2.0 makes the most of the cornucopia of content already available in 1080p. Theo has over 3200 Blu-rays in his collection, including 152 3D titles.
Theo's impressively large and well-organized collection of DVDs and Blu-rays.
The Superlumis projector contributes greatly to the cinematic experience of watching movies in the Roxy 2.0. It's a 3-chip DLP design, which avoids the rainbow artifacts that some viewers experience with single-chip DLP projectors that use a color wheel. The result is a projected image that looks solid and seamless. Movies shot on film look like real film on his screen—restored Technicolor productions look particularly lush.
I have not had a chance to watch a complete movie from beginning to end in Theo's theater. But I've watched dozens of scenes from different movies, from black-and-white and color classics to the very latest 3D Hollywood blockbusters, such as Transformers: Age of Extinction and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In its latest iteration, the Roxy 2.0 offers a truly compelling viewing experience.
Chicago looked great playing on Theo's updated system.
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