Great discussion over here and I would like to share my opinions on both the XY Soundmax Screen and the Dreamscreen V6.
Recently I visited Niel in Belgium and saw his Soundmax screen in action with both his Epson 9300 and my own JVC X7900 that I brought along. Together we reviewed te screen and compared it with samples of other screenfabrics.
We also did some simple acoustical tests with my Umik mic and REW. Those acoustical transparency tests were very unscientific but I think the results were not too far off the tests that Lygren made and documented (Kudos for that!).
At home I have a 104” AT from Screen Excellence, with the Enlightor 4K fabric. I am very happy with the quality and characteristics of that screen but I would like to move tot a slightly bigger screen, say 115”-120”. The problem is that with my current screen I have barely enough light for a decent HDR output. In didn’t care much for HDR before but that is changing rapidly as more and more good content gets available these days.
I have seen several Dreamscreen V6 screens in combination with Sony, JVC and Barco projectors. I was always pleased with the results, I really like the fabric, the image quality and the fact that the black backing is integrated. I am also convinced by it’s acoustical properties. The only downside for me is the even lower gain (0.82) than my current Enlightor 4K (0.9) screen. When I put an A3 product sample of the Dreamscreen V6 fabric over my Enlightor 4 screen, the image shows clearly darker on the Dreamscreen. The difference is at least one step up/down on the JVC manual iris.
So, the biggest reason for me to visit Niel and his Soundmax screen was to see how much light it could reflect, if it was able to give enough pop to HDR content on a bigger screen than my own.
My overall impression on the image of the Soundmax screen was very positive, especially when you consider the retail price. From the seating position it gave a very nice picture without any obvious downsides. Up close to the screen you can definitly see some sparkling but from my seating position I did not notice it.
This screen however has two negatives that need carefull consideration.
First off, when we measured the acoustical transparency we noticed some differences between de Soundmax and Dreamscreen fabric, but they seemed not too discerning at that time. If I remember correctly the Soundmax was about 1-1.5 dB less transparent at around 1k Hz and even a bit more than that above 10k Hz. But looking at the total curve that didn’t seemed a problem at all, in Niel’s room. What I didn’t realise then was that the Dreamscreen is with black backing applied and the measurement of the Soundmax was without any black backing material. So it’s fair to say that, acoustically, the Soundmax has a real disadvantage here. Niel has applied black backing around his center speaker and that works really well. Also his centerspeaker is not too insensitive and his sytem can easily compensate for the remaining loss in acoustical transparency. However, for others like myself, who need/want a conventional black backing direct behind the screen, this could be an issue. I own a rather insensitive centerspeaker (Dynaudio Contour) that needs lots of power to shine. An AT-screen + black backing that would hold it back 4-5 dB would be painfull. Buying a more expensive screen could well be cheaper than buying a more expensive poweramp to compensate for the cheaper screen...
Second, the soundmax screenmaterial is very hard and not easy to stretch. Niel’s screen is not 100% flat. That’s only visible with the room lights on but still. For me this would not be acceptable. For Niel it’s ok and therefore not an issue. The perfectionist DIY’s among us should be aware that streching this material will be a challange.
All things considered, this XY Soundmax screen is a nice product for a bargain price. In Niel’s home theater it fits perfecly and I fully understand that he is happy with it.
For me, the search continues...