Recently I became acquainted with the company xyscreen from China. They have a whole army of canvas types in their store that you can buy directly from the factory.
I contacted them because it seemed interesting to me to review these fabrics. The contact via email went very smoothly, I usually had a response after fifteen minutes. It was therefore no problem to get samples for a review, only the shipping costs would be for my account. Unfortunately, these amounted to around 60 dollars. A bit pricey to write a review just out of interest.
So I asked for the cost of a whole sreen. The cheapest screen fabric costs only about 8 dollars per m². For the transparent cloths you pay somewhere between 20 and 30 dollars per m², their most expensive cloth (soundmax 5HG) costs about 86dollar per m². For my situation (2.40: 1 screen of 2.8m x 1.2m) this came at about $ 100 + $ 80 shipping. I then took a leap and ordered a soundmax 4k cloth for my screen. This canvas has a specified gain of 1.1. Because I had noticed in a previous tests that the suppliers were rather generous with the gain values, I asked about this. It was admitted that this could deviate to at least 0.97. In my case this means about 20% more light, quite interesting.
I also asked, if I still paid the shipment, to send different samples. Always interesting to view other types of canvas.
Yesterday the cloths were delivered neatly in a very sturdy cardboard tube. As far as communication with the company and the delivery (term) are concerned, I can only be positive. Always a reassurance when it comes to such distances.
The method of testing is the same as when I compared different types of canvas to a forum companion. The canvases are stuck one by one with some painting tape and the greyscale is calibrated. Then I check which light output is achieved compared to my existing fabric. In my next calculations, I assume that:
A kingpin screen has a gain of 1.0
My screen has a gain of about 0.8 (tested in previous comparison)
In addition to the gain, other aspects such as the sharpness, the presence of sparkle or moire and other things (negative) are also looked at. I also mention whether the canvas can also be used for 8k projection. I do not know how XYscreen determines the latter, but I'll give it anyway.
The measurements are carried out with an Epson TW9300 projecting 2.8 meters wide from 4.5 meters. The current milliskin measures about 16.5 ftl on this.
Tube for shipping
I also ordered this canvas in the format of my screen as this was the most interesting cloth in terms of specifications. It has a specified gain of 1.1 and could also be used for 8k projectors due to the fine weave of the fabric. I find this a not unimportant fact. Since you do not replace your screen or canvas every year (oops, 2nd time this year ...), this has to be very future-proof.
Gain value approximately 1.1
A sturdy, non-stretched cloth that is the only woven fabric. I am very pleased that this is the canvas that I have ordered in large. Since this canvas has a higher gain compared to my current one, I have tried to measure the difference in black value. With my current canvas I measure 0,003ftl at 0% white, with the soundmax 4k I get the same settings at 0,0038ftl. However, if I adjust the manual iris of the projector to 16.5ftl (current cloth, iris -17), I measure 0.0025ftl.
It should also be noted that the greyscale calibrates much more easily than the milliskin. The latter is actually not designed for projection, but sure, given its price, very nice.
Sharpness and other things are very difficult to compare on a small piece of cloth. Further impressions will follow according to the whole canvas.
Soundmax 4k left part of the face, milliskin right
Impressions full canvas
Hanging the cloth tight is quite a task as the canvas is quite heavy and rigid. Have just asked the question if it can be ironed slightly. When projected everything seems super-thight, but when the spotlights go above the screen, you see some wrinkles.
Light output has remained unchanged
Overall very neat image, the extra brightness is really noticeable. Even HDR films are already presentable in cinema mode (color filter on the TW9300 that takes light away, but creates a broader range of colors).
The canvas is still slightly translucent, so that the framework of the frame can be seen in very exceptional cases. Make sure the wall behind the screen is dark.
This canvas has a specified gain of 1.2 and has miniscule perforated openings (0.5mm) in the fabric to let the sound through. In contrast to the soundmax 4K, the manufacturer indicates that this fabric is not suitable for projection higher than 4K.
Gain value approximately 1.15
In terms of gain value negligible with the soundmax 4k. However, the holes are much larger than the woven structure of the 4k. Also make sure that you use the right side with this cloth, the wrong side shines quite a bit. The soundmax 5 is a lot more expensive than the 4k and personally I think the 4k even better.
Black crystal / black crystal HG / black crystal acoustically transparent
The ALR (ambient light rejection) screens from XYscreen. Although I project in a darkened dedicated space and therefore do not benefit from such a screen, it seemed interesting to me to request these frabrics as a sample. The given gain is 0.8 / 2.0 and 0.75 respectively.
I had to get acquainted with the canvases to write something sensible about it. I had started putting up the canvas just like the others and measuring it, but it did not work that well. The results are very much dependent on the angle in which you set up the meter. Putting the meter at right angles to the screen is not so easy because you are in the shade of the meter, or you really have to measure in the corners of your screen. And do you measure such a cloth with or without ambient light? Not easy.
With the other canvases the emphasis was mainly on the gain, or how much light the screen radiates on a test pattern of 100% white. This I also wanted to check with the black crystal, but turned out to be very disappointing. After much thought, this seemed to me to be a wrong approach.
When you project with ambient light, you notice that the colors and the black regions are immediately laundered. The brightest regions generally remain reasonably good. To judge these ALR substances, it seems to me fairer to see how well the darker regions are displayed with ambient light instead of. to focus on the clear regions.
Generally speaking, I can say that the ALR canvases do what they serve: to counteract ambient light. You clearly notice that the contrast stays upright in ambient light, when it collapses like a pudding at the soundmax4k. There is very little difference in projection with or without ambient light. Quite handy if you have a space where you sometimes suffer from ambient light, but sometimes also completely obscured.
Important detail: the cloths will only block the ambient light that is incident at an angle on the screen. In my case there are 9 spots in a cove built around the screen. This can filter out the canvases well. However, if you are in a room where the sun is shining in the same direction as the projector ... Now, no cloth will be able to withstand this.
If you look at the gain value of the cloths (at sight, reasons above), the standard black crystal is clearly a bit darker than the soundmax4k. The absolute black is clearly a lot lower, but the absolute white is that too. In comparison with the soundmax4k, white clouds are rather gray. If there is no comparison, you obviously have less problems with this (just as with black values). If you do not project too large and have a light output "too much", this cloth can be a nice addition to get deeper black.
The acoustically transparent black crystal is identical to the "normal" black crystal, but is perforated and therefore the gain is still a tad lower.
With the high gain black crystal it becomes really interesting. In a darkened room the image is very close to the soundmax4k. Since the latter has a gain of about 1.1, it is a mystery to me how to get 2.0 for the HG black crystal, but ... we focused on the image and not on the numbers.
When the ambient light comes on, the canvas retains its beautiful image, with the only side effect a very slight appearance in higher regions. From the above canvases I would choose the high gain version for a situation with ambient light. However, unlike the acoustic substances, I can not compare with other brands.
Black crystal left, HG version right. (darkened environment)
HG black crystal very similar to soundmax4
Idem, with ambient light
With ambient light.
Look especially at the color of the sky. That washes away on the soundmax4k cloth, stays neatly on the (HG) black crystal
Black crystal: deeper black, less bright white