Which screen should I buy? Acoustic transparent or not? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 24 Old 02-22-2019, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Which screen should I buy? Acoustic transparent or not?

Hi everyone,

I have a question about choosing a projection screen.
My question is not about which brand I should buy, but what model.
Because I don't live in the US, my options in choosing a manufacturer are quite limited.
And especially when I choose to go for a 2.35:1 screen ratio, that will be custom made.

Now here is the problem.
In my current setup, I have a 5.1 surround sound system. The speakers in the front are mounted to the wall with special brackets.
Now, my center speaker is located above my television. Because I don't have a dedicated room (the setup is in my living room, and I don't have the space to put up a fixed screen) I have chosen to go for an electric tab-tensioned projection screen, that comes in front of my television and in front of my center speaker.
The front speakers on the left and on the right are not covered by the screen what so ever. So that won't be an issue.
The only problem is my center speaker.

I currently have the option between 2 projection screens:
- an electric 4K tab-tensioned screen (gain 1.0)
or
- an electric acoustic transparent tab-tensioned screen (no gain mentioned)

Both screens are about 250 cm wide, which is approx. 100 inches.
I have space between the center speaker and projection screen round about 30 cm, is almost 12 inches. Will this be enough?
Also the screen will hang around 50 cm, is almost 20 inches, from the wall. So there is some space between the wall and screen. I don't know if this is important.
I asked the manufacturer if there is any loss in picture quality regarding the TA screen. He says it's about 20-30% less sharper then the 4K model.
Maybe also interesting to know, my current projector is an Epson TW-7300 (4040 US model), Full-HD projector with 4K-Enhancer. I don't have any intention to change this anytime soon. Not right now.
Preferably I would not like to put the center speaker below my TV. Currently I don't have the room for it, and also it would unbalance my sound-setup with the front speakers, which are currently hanging on the same height as my center speaker.

My question is now, which one should I choose regarding my setup?
Do I go for the 4K screen, which has a better picture quality, and risk it to put the center speaker behind the screen, but, might get a bad sound quality from the center speaker? (I don't know if that will be the case)
Or, do I go for the AT screen, that is more suitable for putting speakers behind it, but accordingly loosing picture quality?
I find it very important that my home cinema setup is well balanced. So keep that in my mind.

I'm very curious to hear your reactions on this matter.
Many thanks.
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post #2 of 24 Old 02-22-2019, 07:44 PM
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Unless you can move the center channel speaker you want the AT screen. No one would recommend putting a center channel behind a non-AT screen.
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post #3 of 24 Old 02-22-2019, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mattztt View Post
Unless you can move the center channel speaker you want the AT screen. No one would recommend putting a center channel behind a non-AT screen.
I thought it wouldn't matter because it's just the center speaker. Apparently I'm thinking wrong.
I know the center speaker is very important, because all of the dialogues in the movies are send by the center speaker.

So if I understand you correctly:
Move the center speaker below the television and go for the 4K screen, or, if I choose to keep the center speaker on the place where it is right now than I must go for the AT screen?

What would you use?

Last edited by Movie Stars; 03-01-2019 at 08:42 AM.
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post #4 of 24 Old 02-22-2019, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Movie Stars View Post
I thought it wouldn't matter because it's just the center speaker. Apparently I'm thinking wrong.
I know the center speaker is very important, because all of the dialogues in the movies are send by the center speaker.

So if I understand you correctly:
Move the center speaker below the television and go for the 4K screen, or, if I choose to keep the center speaker on the place where it is right now than I must go for the TA screen?

What would you use?
In 5.1 content the center channel carrys most content and nearly all dialog. If you unplug it you won't hear any voices.

Whether you go with AT or move the speaker is going to be up to personal preference and how much light you need. AT screens have less gain (around .8 to .9) to if your projector isn't bright or your room doesn't have good light control the non-AT may be a better choice.
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post #5 of 24 Old 02-22-2019, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mattztt View Post
In 5.1 content the center channel carrys most content and nearly all dialog. If you unplug it you won't hear any voices.

Whether you go with AT or move the speaker is going to be up to personal preference and how much light you need. AT screens have less gain (around .8 to .9) to if your projector isn't bright or your room doesn't have good light control the non-AT may be a better choice.
Thanks again, for your fast and clear answer.

Because the projector is going to be hanging in my living room, my walls aren't dark. The ceiling is white and the walls are eggshell color (very light brown), if you understand me.
I don't know very much about my projector. I'm still learning as it goes All I know is that it's a very good projector for the price. Further I do know the projector is bright enough. Also I have no problem of darkening the room. I have special curtains that makes the room completely dark, even on a hot summer day when the sun is out.
I do know that the black levels aren't as good as the TW-9300 (is that 5050 model in the US? I don't know).
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post #6 of 24 Old 02-22-2019, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
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If anybody else has an opinion, I'm happy to hear it. I'm still not sure which route I should take.
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post #7 of 24 Old 02-22-2019, 08:58 PM
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Which screen should I buy? Acoustic transparent or not?

An acoustically transparent projector screen is best suited in a scenario when speakers need to be placed behind the projection screen and you do not want to sound waves to interact with the screen, moving the projection surface and causing distortions to the image or diminishing the quality of the audio by blocking the sound waves.

Acoustically transparent screens work by utilizing negative space in the surface, which allows for the sound waves to travel through without interference from the surface.

These screens are particularly useful when there is not enough space in the screening room to have the speakers placed on the side of the screen and one does not want to get a smaller screen in order to leave room for the speakers on the side.

http://www.wallpaperish.com/how-to-cite-an-image-in-apa-style-with-examples
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post #8 of 24 Old 02-23-2019, 08:49 AM
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Try setting your AVR up for a phantom center channel. It is easy to try and you may like the results. I ran a phantom center for many years in my old home for similar reasons. As long as your R/L fronts are full range it might even sound better than the smaller center.

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post #9 of 24 Old 02-23-2019, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by html12345 View Post
An acoustically transparent projector screen is best suited in a scenario when speakers need to be placed behind the projection screen and you do not want to sound waves to interact with the screen, moving the projection surface and causing distortions to the image or diminishing the quality of the audio by blocking the sound waves.

Acoustically transparent screens work by utilizing negative space in the surface, which allows for the sound waves to travel through without interference from the surface.

These screens are particularly useful when there is not enough space in the screening room to have the speakers placed on the side of the screen and one does not want to get a smaller screen in order to leave room for the speakers on the side.
Thank you for your input!
I will take it in consideration.
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post #10 of 24 Old 02-23-2019, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
Try setting your AVR up for a phantom center channel. It is easy to try and you may like the results. I ran a phantom center for many years in my old home for similar reasons. As long as your R/L fronts are full range it might even sound better than the smaller center.
Can you please explain me how this works? I've never heard about this.

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post #11 of 24 Old 02-23-2019, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Movie Stars View Post
Can you please explain me how this works? I never heard about this.
Phantom center is a setting in most AVR’s that takes the center channel information and spreads it across the RL front mains. If you hear a person walking across your screen the stereo effect plays on you having two ears and the time it takes you to hear something slightly different in each ear because the distance is different.

When someone calls your name you know where to look because of this.

When the information is split and sent in some proportion to the two front speakers you hear it as if it was coming out of the screen where the person is.

The problem some will tell you correctly is that this works best in the prime perfect center seat in your theater. That is true but it is also true for all methods of placing all these speakers around the room.

The reason I said try it rather tan do it is you can then make up your mind by sitting in your different seats and seeing what you think.

I see a lot of times people have two really good RL full range speakers up front and then just a smaller center for voices maybe or maybe not well matched to the RL. Sometimes putting the voices out to the RL speakers of a better quality even improves the sound stage.

I like a phantom setup myself even though I don’t have one now.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_center

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/86-ul...r-channel.html

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...om-center.html

Do a search there are many more reads.

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post #12 of 24 Old 02-23-2019, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for your help.
I will look into it.
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post #13 of 24 Old 04-15-2020, 11:15 AM
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Phantom centers are fine if you always sit in the same chair and don't have any family or friends.

Otherwise, it's useless. The person in the prime seat enjoys the movie while everyone else hears dialog from the speaker they're sitting closest to.

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post #14 of 24 Old 04-16-2020, 11:11 AM
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Phantom centers are fine if you always sit in the same chair and don't have any family or friends.

Otherwise, it's useless. The person in the prime seat enjoys the movie while everyone else hears dialog from the speaker they're sitting closest to.
Side seats are always going to be closer to some speakers than others fronts and rears and all the others you may have. If you really get down into the weeds no matter what you do there is only one perfect seat.

What is more important to me is what we can perceive. 99% of the time there is one or two of us sitting in the two most centered seats and I have it set to phantom center. I have a center channel wired in and it sits below the screen angled up. IMO for the 99% of the time the phantom sounds better. if we have company and have the other 2 seats filled I push a button and turn the center on. Sure it should be a couple feet higher and IMO is only slightly better for the folks in the end seats.

What I see more often is the center people use is not a match for the RL in those cases switching to a phantom helps even more.

As a kid I remember having my stereo wired up for a Hafler circuit center channel. I wonder if anyone has thought about that in the last 50 years.

That’s just my opinion for what its worth and we all only have two ears.
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post #15 of 24 Old 04-16-2020, 11:16 AM
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The phantom center is probably worth a try as it doesn't cost you anything. Otherwise I'd say go with an acoustically transparent screen unless you have a good place to move the center to. It will have lower gain than that non AT screen. Even though some advertise higher gain, most end up being between 0.7-0.9, but that OK as long as your projector has enough lumens.
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post #16 of 24 Old 04-16-2020, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
Side seats are always going to be closer to some speakers than others fronts and rears and all the others you may have. If you really get down into the weeds no matter what you do there is only one perfect seat.

What is more important to me is what we can perceive. 99% of the time there is one or two of us sitting in the two most centered seats and I have it set to phantom center. I have a center channel wired in and it sits below the screen angled up. IMO for the 99% of the time the phantom sounds better. if we have company and have the other 2 seats filled I push a button and turn the center on. Sure it should be a couple feet higher and IMO is only slightly better for the folks in the end seats.

What I see more often is the center people use is not a match for the RL in those cases switching to a phantom helps even more.

As a kid I remember having my stereo wired up for a Hafler circuit center channel. I wonder if anyone has thought about that in the last 50 years.

That’s just my opinion for what its worth and we all only have two ears.
Hi Bud, similar positive experience as you with using phantom center. I have a dedicated center under my screen but I rarely turn it on, because the phantom center coming from my Chane A5.4 speakers is simply fantastic, not just for my center seat but also for the seats on either side. I aggressively toe in the speakers which widens the center sweet spot for those not in the dead center seat. In any case it does not matter because 99% of the time it is only me and my wife in the theater and she is not discerning about the nuances of the sound.

I actually tested three identical speakers ideally placed across the front stage for several weeks, identical HSU's and Emotiva towers, along with dedicated centers I have on hand from previous use including the famous "Bigfoot" Rocket and a well-regarded RBH, and in every case the Chanes as phantom produce the better central image - bigger, broader, more effortless, more dynamic, more transparent, clearer dialogue. It's 8 high excursion woofers and 2 great tweeters producing the center channel info so low distortion and loudness capability is top notch (aided by good external amplifier), and pans across the stage are truly seamless.

Phantom center does not work for every person and every setup, but it's free to try it in one's own home, and in my case it produces the superior sound, plus it allowed me to choose the highest picture quality available rather than compromise (if you test AT screen samples alongside Stewart ST130 G4 you will easily see the unavoidable compromise).

Ross
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post #17 of 24 Old 04-17-2020, 06:29 AM
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@rossandwendy & @Mocs123 Thanks for chiming in. I’m always surprised when a year old thread pops back up and I start reading thru it and find I had forgot I posted. We never did here what @Movie Stars ended up with?

As mentioned I can’t think of anything cheaper to try than a phantom center if you are having an issue with your center speaker and it isn’t like you can’t try it and not go back. I’m sure like most things it works for some and not others
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post #18 of 24 Old 04-17-2020, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erod View Post
Phantom centers are fine if you always sit in the same chair and don't have any family or friends.

Otherwise, it's useless. The person in the prime seat enjoys the movie while everyone else hears dialog from the speaker they're sitting closest to.
I have a 6 seat, two row theater. I run a phantom center (with a non-AT screen) and the enjoyment in the other 5 seats is no-where close to "useless." Even from the right/left front row seats, the dialog images on the screen like normal.

I have found that toeing in the speakers (basically pointed at the MLP) helps as the closer speaker is not pointed straight at the closer seat, whereas the further speaker is almost pointed right at the far seat.
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post #19 of 24 Old 04-17-2020, 01:58 PM
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I have a 6 seat, two row theater. I run a phantom center (with a non-AT screen) and the enjoyment in the other 5 seats is no-where close to "useless." Even from the right/left front row seats, the dialog images on the screen like normal.

I have found that toeing in the speakers (basically pointed at the MLP) helps as the closer speaker is not pointed straight at the closer seat, whereas the further speaker is almost pointed right at the far seat.
That’s exactly how mine are angled also. Going all the way back to the 1960 I had always angled them that way for stereo.

I have a simple 5 channel if I use the center and 4 with the phantom and then I have two 12” ported subs DIY in the front. I sized them such that my mains sit on top of them and that puts them right at ear level.

Like I said I have the center off most of the time and the two subs are driven off an old carver amp. I leave the subs off a good deal of the time also. Turning them on for the action movies.

I also watch a lot of music related TV and the AVR has modes for mixing that but I like 2 channel stereo best and leave it set there a lot. when people comment on how good it sounds I point out I’m getting all that from stereo just think if I had 11 more channels.
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post #20 of 24 Old 05-27-2020, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
That’s exactly how mine are angled also. Going all the way back to the 1960 I had always angled them that way for stereo.

I have a simple 5 channel if I use the center and 4 with the phantom and then I have two 12” ported subs DIY in the front. I sized them such that my mains sit on top of them and that puts them right at ear level.

Like I said I have the center off most of the time and the two subs are driven off an old carver amp. I leave the subs off a good deal of the time also. Turning them on for the action movies.

I also watch a lot of music related TV and the AVR has modes for mixing that but I like 2 channel stereo best and leave it set there a lot. when people comment on how good it sounds I point out I’m getting all that from stereo just think if I had 11 more channels.
Hi, I just noticed this thread while searching for a phantom center solution.

I am in a similar questioning, having a 110" width 16/9 AT screen and a center speaker hanging above the TV set, but now I'd like to go non AT to get a better image and also would not like moving the center below the screen/TV combo, thus with a 110" width non AT screen plus the side tensioning stuff this means putting the L/R towers about 120 inches apart (speaker centers), as our viewing distance is also about 130" this means a speaker angle to the center sitting place of about 50°

How would you rate such a phantom center setup ?
It is not easy now to test it as is, as it is difficult to move the L/R speakers without also moving other furniture, plus doing also another Audissey setup.

My front speakers are : L/R = JBL Studio L Series L890 and the center = JBL LC2

Thanks

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post #21 of 24 Old 05-27-2020, 07:46 AM
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Hi, I just noticed this thread while searching for a phantom center solution.

I am in a similar questioning, having a 110" width 16/9 AT screen and a center speaker hanging above the TV set, but now I'd like to go non AT to get a better image and also would not like moving the center below the screen/TV combo, thus with a 110" width non AT screen plus the side tensioning stuff this means putting the L/R towers about 120 inches apart (speaker centers), as our viewing distance is also about 130" this means a speaker angle to the center sitting place of about 50°

How would you rate such a phantom center setup ?
It is not easy now to test it as is, as it is difficult to move the L/R speakers without also moving other furniture, plus doing also another Audissey setup.

My front speakers are : L/R = JBL Studio L Series L890 and the center = JBL LC2

Thanks
I think you can get a good idea trying it anyway without moving anything around or rerunning any room correction (which mostly corrects bass anyway). Is your main seat, the one you sit in yourself, basically in the center? If so it'll probably be fine. Most other guests aren't enthusiasts enough to know or care and will be super impressed no matter how good or bad the room really is. So I think I'd try it now. Just go into your AVR and turn off your center / tell it you have no center and see how things sound.

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Originally Posted by markmon1 View Post
I think you can get a good idea trying it anyway without moving anything around or rerunning any room correction (which mostly corrects bass anyway). Is your main seat, the one you sit in yourself, basically in the center? If so it'll probably be fine. Most other guests aren't enthusiasts enough to know or care and will be super impressed no matter how good or bad the room really is. So I think I'd try it now. Just go into your AVR and turn off your center / tell it you have no center and see how things sound.
Indeed I can try that, our couch is a three seater, and my wife and myself we like to have some spare room and use the outmost places, so the center is always empty ...
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post #23 of 24 Old 05-27-2020, 08:35 AM
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Hi, I just noticed this thread while searching for a phantom center solution.

I am in a similar questioning, having a 110" width 16/9 AT screen and a center speaker hanging above the TV set, but now I'd like to go non AT to get a better image and also would not like moving the center below the screen/TV combo, thus with a 110" width non AT screen plus the side tensioning stuff this means putting the L/R towers about 120 inches apart (speaker centers), as our viewing distance is also about 130" this means a speaker angle to the center sitting place of about 50°

How would you rate such a phantom center setup ?
It is not easy now to test it as is, as it is difficult to move the L/R speakers without also moving other furniture, plus doing also another Audissey setup.

My front speakers are : L/R = JBL Studio L Series L890 and the center = JBL LC2

Thanks
I also have 110” and RL are just outside it. We sit at 8’ or 96” away as that is our 16:9 IMAX/Scope distance and other lesser media we play a little smaller. My LR are not toed in to the extent they ate facing the center seat more like 20-30 degrees per side. The center is just below the screen and angled up for when we use it.

To be honest we are not that picky and all my family and guests as mentioned above wouldn’t notice one way or the other. I do it mostly for myself. Guest do seem to ether like the subs or hate them and some family members I save the power and leave them off.

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post #24 of 24 Old 05-27-2020, 09:18 AM
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Location: Montpellier, France
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
I also have 110” and RL are just outside it. We sit at 8’ or 96” away as that is our 16:9 IMAX/Scope distance and other lesser media we play a little smaller. My LR are not toed in to the extent they ate facing the center seat more like 20-30 degrees per side. The center is just below the screen and angled up for when we use it.

To be honest we are not that picky and all my family and guests as mentioned above wouldn’t notice one way or the other. I do it mostly for myself. Guest do seem to ether like the subs or hate them and some family members I save the power and leave them off.
Well, that's another one to try : unhanging the center and moving it below the screen, from what I have measured that would put the tweeter at about 14 inches above the floor carpet, angled toward our ears' level of course.

Maybe that could be the best non AT compromise after all, better than phantom center ?

This should be the new layout if we go for an "hybrid" 2.35 non AT screen, hybrid cos it should be a slightly higher screen then a real 2.35 screen to cope for a bigger 16/9 image ( 108" diagonal ), with a top foldable black mask, my screens are "home made" too ...
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Last edited by jj-34; 05-28-2020 at 08:12 AM.
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