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post #1 of 10 Old 11-07-2019, 08:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Dark Energy Review (Pulsar 1.4)

Hey all,

before I even start, I'll admit I have been a LONG time lurker (low post count) and just now ventured into the world of projection. bringing the mystique of immersive theater into the home has always been an amazing concept to me. my affinity for picture quality over image size has since past stopped me dead in my tracks from getting into projection though as I have never had the luxury of a dedicated theater room, nor had the wherewithal to spend $5k+ on SI type ALR screens to do a decent projector justice. My benchmark is my fully calibrated Sony X900F and LG C8.

alas, a wild hair in my *ahem* (read: drunken impulse) this past summer had me pulling the trigger on an Epson projector and the rest as they say, is history. now began my long journey of trial and error to find the happy medium between cost and picture quality. my biggest issue being the dreaded white room environment. I learned quickly that light bounces off damn near everything and consequently destroys any hope of a truly vivid, high contrast picture. then came more research on how to mitigate this effect which led to many failed attempts at convincing the boss of the house to allow any kind of black out treatment in the designated space.

taking another look at ALR options netted exactly as I imagined.. extremely expensive value propositions. until I came across Stephen with Dark Energy screens.

The claim: the best ALR picture one could imagine at a bargain price.

The process: thorough and incredibly easy. I must have spoke w Stephen over 15 times (ad nauseum) over the course of 10 days until my every concern was addressed. He actually downselled (120 in to 110 in) me due to some limiting factors within my setup. Stephen has been an incredibly patient individual and really believes in his product, as you can tell from talking w him, and for very good reason. To top it all off, he offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee so the risk is literally ZERO if you don’t end up liking what you see. I’d like to think he offers that bc I find it very hard to imagine anyone actually returning this screen (w realistic expectations). Shipping was a breeze as well – took about 2 weeks to get to my house once the screen was built. Smooth operation, setup a delivery time convenient for me and a giant package arrived as scheduled. The box was a beaten up on the surface, but Stephen literally builds a solid wood frame around the screen (along with Styrofoam packing) so there was absolutely no damage to the screen itself.

The result: my goodness, my wife keeps telling me to wipe the sh*t eating grin off my face.

Although pictures can never really do anything justice, see below for some. These were taken with my Samsung S9, no messing around with settings or anything. Only edit I made was whiting out some family pictures we have on our media console. I have 6 canned lights on from up top, and a side window open that isn't pictured. Believe me when I say, it's mind boggling the image you get with the amount of ambient light beating this screen can take. I have the Solid Surface Pulsar 1.4.

Hotspotting: there is none so long as you properly follow the throw ratios Stephen provides on his website.

Sparkles: there are some in extremely bright scenes but you have to REALLY look for them. I have had probably 30+ people come over to watch sports and/or movies and not a single one has mentioned it, moreso they can’t get over the picture quality and how incredible it is. End of the day, on scale of 1-5 (5 being the worst), sparkles are at a 1. They do not interfere with the experience whatsoever, but I am just being completely upfront.

Viewing Angle: I have sat in every conceivable spot on our couch which spans the entire screen and have had zero issues with uniformity or drop off in brightness. Either there is none, or it is SO gradual that it is very hard to perceive with the human eye. Either way, non issue.

Color Fidelity: I have noticed a slight bias towards blue, but will have it calibrated out in the future. Nothing so egregious that the picture isn’t viewable, in fact its rather pleasing to the eye. To be honest, if it weren’t for my calibrated TVs, I don’t think I would have even noticed it.

All in all, I’d highly recommend this ALR screen if you are in the market. I have seen the BD 1.4/.8, Parallax and XY Screen in person and there is really no comparison when it comes to value.

Hit me w any questions if ya want. Also, get out of here with the “credibility” vs low post count rubbish. I could care less whether you post count Nazis get your panties in a bunch over a honest review, I’m just trying to do my part paying it forward by letting other newbs/enthusiasts out there know that there are more options than spending $5k+ on an great quality ALR screen.

V
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Last edited by vnshah; 11-07-2019 at 08:29 AM.
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-07-2019, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by vnshah View Post

All in all, I’️d highly recommend this ALR screen if you are in the market. I have seen the BD 1.4/.8, Parallax and XY Screen in person and there is really no comparison when it comes to value.

Forget about value. Performance wise, how do those materials compare to the DEA?

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post #3 of 10 Old 11-08-2019, 08:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Forget about value. Performance wise, how do those materials compare to the DEA?
in regards to color fidelity, every ALR screen imo is going to have some issue. I am big preacher of properly calibrating so I never give this category much weight.

BD 1.4 - horizontal cone is not as expansive as the pulsar, but still very usable. this screen is honestly really awesome, the picture quality is right there with the Pulsar. sparkles are on par with the pulsar as well but the price is just insanity.

BD .8 - all around great ALR properties both horizantal/vertical. contrast is also seemingly better (perception wise at least) than the BD 1.4, but again, the price..

Parallax - I actually have only very briefly seen this screen so didn't have much time to get a full feel for it. but for the price, I just don't remember it being a superior ALR picture relative to the Pulsar for that hike in price. Diminishing returns if you will. but again, I really didn't have much time with this screen so I'd take my opinion with a grain of salt.

XY - horizontal cone ALR properties are actually really amazing, vertical cone ALR performance leaves a lot to be desired. The picture is also a lot less vibrant but if budget is your only concern, you can't go wrong with this screen.
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-09-2019, 07:12 AM
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Thanks for the review. My 120" Pulsar just shipped and I will give an honest review when I get it set up. It will be my first projector setup. It has been a pretty painful experience so far on my end, so much different than your experience dealing with DES. I will be using a JVC NX7. I was hesitant to buy a Dark Energy product due to lack of reviews or perceived fake reviews but a well respected forum member told me to give it a try and will be helping me set it up and calibrate it when I get it. I hope it ends up being awesome, but what I have had to go through just to get it shipped to me has left a bad taste with me. However, if it ends up being a great screen, I will be happy to report as such.

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post #5 of 10 Old 11-11-2019, 07:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by flyinrazrback View Post
Thanks for the review. My 120" Pulsar just shipped and I will give an honest review when I get it set up. It will be my first projector setup. It has been a pretty painful experience so far on my end, so much different than your experience dealing with DES. I will be using a JVC NX7. I was hesitant to buy a Dark Energy product due to lack of reviews or perceived fake reviews but a well respected forum member told me to give it a try and will be helping me set it up and calibrate it when I get it. I hope it ends up being awesome, but what I have had to go through just to get it shipped to me has left a bad taste with me. However, if it ends up being a great screen, I will be happy to report as such.
First off, congrats on a seriously amazing projector. I am green with envy. I'm using the Epson 4010, and I'm already looking to upgrade to something with better contrast *palm to head*. You're in for a treat man, enjoy!

Sorry to hear your experience with DES has been painful; I'm not sure why that it is in comparison to my journey with DES but I can at least venture to say once you get the product, you will be happy. Hopefully that will erase the bad taste from the process.

Definitely shoot me a PM if you have any other questions and good luck!
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-12-2019, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by flyinrazrback View Post
Thanks for the review. My 120" Pulsar just shipped and I will give an honest review when I get it set up. It will be my first projector setup. It has been a pretty painful experience so far on my end, so much different than your experience dealing with DES. I will be using a JVC NX7. I was hesitant to buy a Dark Energy product due to lack of reviews or perceived fake reviews but a well respected forum member told me to give it a try and will be helping me set it up and calibrate it when I get it. I hope it ends up being awesome, but what I have had to go through just to get it shipped to me has left a bad taste with me. However, if it ends up being a great screen, I will be happy to report as such.
Hey, I am very curious on how you go with this screen and PJ combo. I have spoken to Stephen over the last few years around the DEA screens, and I am sad to say that I went the SI screens. At this stage I have been through a Slate 0.8 (The material was warped - not their fault, it sat in a boxed for a few years) so they warranty upgraded me (with cost - not free) to a Zero Edge Black Diamond 1.4. Whilst it looks amazing on Dark Scenes, there is quite a lot of sparkle and a terrible hot spot right in the centre of your vision, so any bright scene it sits right in the centre of your vision. To at least turn down the hotspot (note - it never goes away), I have to reduce the brightness of the projector down so far that I have eroded all the value the projector has. My PJ is the RS1000 (NX5), and at this stage SI are ignoring my emails around the issue (they said that this is 'strange'). The way that everyone can recreate how this hot spot looks is to simply rub your nose with your finger or thumb (this doesn't work if you use a face moisturiser), and then wipe your finger on your cell phone screen, the swirly multi-coloured pattern that get left on the screen is identical to how the hot spot looks (multicoloured dark reflection in like a fingerprint pattern - not a ball of light) - except it distractingly follows your eye, and I was able to capture the hot spot with camera. Now I'm not trying to rubbish SI screens, but the claims from which I bought my screen are definitely not being met. The second thing to the hot spotting is the fact you can clearly see the material on the projected image - so it isn't sharp at all (this was both Slate + BD) to the point where my textured wall has a smoother picture, and its so distracting that I have started to question the quality of UHD Blu-ray, especially on bright scenes like sky/snow/ice. I'm that disappointed in this right now, that i'm pretty close to boxing everything up and selling it all and going to an oled A9G - not as big, but a crisp, sharp, clear picture.

Cheers,
Dave

Last edited by dlambe; 11-12-2019 at 02:08 PM.
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-12-2019, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by dlambe View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyinrazrback View Post
Thanks for the review. My 120" Pulsar just shipped and I will give an honest review when I get it set up. It will be my first projector setup. It has been a pretty painful experience so far on my end, so much different than your experience dealing with DES. I will be using a JVC NX7. I was hesitant to buy a Dark Energy product due to lack of reviews or perceived fake reviews but a well respected forum member told me to give it a try and will be helping me set it up and calibrate it when I get it. I hope it ends up being awesome, but what I have had to go through just to get it shipped to me has left a bad taste with me. However, if it ends up being a great screen, I will be happy to report as such.
Hey, I am very curious on how you go with this screen and PJ combo. I have spoken to Stephen over the last few years around the DEA screens, and I am sad to say that I went the SI screens. At this stage I have been through a Slate 0.8 (The material was warped - not their fault, it sat in a boxed for a few years) so they warranty upgraded me (with cost - not free) to a Zero Edge Black Diamond 1.4. Whilst it looks amazing on Dark Scenes, there is quite a lot of sparkle and a terrible hot spot right in the centre of your vision, so any bright scene it sits right in the centre of your vision. To at least turn down the hotspot (note - it never goes away), I have to reduce the brightness of the projector down so far that I have eroded all the value the projector has. My PJ is the RS1000 (NX5), and at this stage SI are ignoring my emails around the issue (they said that this is 'strange'). The way that everyone can recreate how this hot spot looks is to simply rub your nose with your finger or thumb (this doesn't work if you use a face moisturiser), and then wipe your finger on your cell phone screen, the swirly multi-coloured pattern that get left on the screen is identical to how the hot spot looks (multicoloured dark reflection in like a fingerprint pattern - not a ball of light) - except it distractingly follows your eye, and I was able to capture the hot spot with camera. Now I'm not trying to rubbish SI screens, but the claims from which I bought my screen are definitely not being met. The second thing to the hot spotting is the fact you can clearly see the material on the projected image - so it isn't sharp at all (this was both Slate + BD) to the point where my textured wall has a smoother picture, and its so distracting that I have started to question the quality of UHD Blu-ray, especially on bright scenes like sky/snow/ice. I'm that disappointed in this right now, that i'm pretty close to boxing everything up and selling it all and going to an oled A9G - not as big, but a crisp, sharp, clear picture.

Cheers,
Dave
I will definitely let you know once I get it up and running, and calibrated. Will get pictures and video.
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-13-2019, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by dlambe View Post
Hey, I am very curious on how you go with this screen and PJ combo. I have spoken to Stephen over the last few years around the DEA screens, and I am sad to say that I went the SI screens. At this stage I have been through a Slate 0.8 (The material was warped - not their fault, it sat in a boxed for a few years) so they warranty upgraded me (with cost - not free) to a Zero Edge Black Diamond 1.4. Whilst it looks amazing on Dark Scenes, there is quite a lot of sparkle and a terrible hot spot right in the centre of your vision, so any bright scene it sits right in the centre of your vision. To at least turn down the hotspot (note - it never goes away), I have to reduce the brightness of the projector down so far that I have eroded all the value the projector has. My PJ is the RS1000 (NX5), and at this stage SI are ignoring my emails around the issue (they said that this is 'strange'). The way that everyone can recreate how this hot spot looks is to simply rub your nose with your finger or thumb (this doesn't work if you use a face moisturiser), and then wipe your finger on your cell phone screen, the swirly multi-coloured pattern that get left on the screen is identical to how the hot spot looks (multicoloured dark reflection in like a fingerprint pattern - not a ball of light) - except it distractingly follows your eye, and I was able to capture the hot spot with camera. Now I'm not trying to rubbish SI screens, but the claims from which I bought my screen are definitely not being met. The second thing to the hot spotting is the fact you can clearly see the material on the projected image - so it isn't sharp at all (this was both Slate + BD) to the point where my textured wall has a smoother picture, and its so distracting that I have started to question the quality of UHD Blu-ray, especially on bright scenes like sky/snow/ice. I'm that disappointed in this right now, that i'm pretty close to boxing everything up and selling it all and going to an oled A9G - not as big, but a crisp, sharp, clear picture.

Cheers,
Dave
I might've missed if you already mentioned it, but how wide is your screen (left-to-right) and how far back is your projector-lens from the screen?

I mostly ask because when I compared the Slate 0.8 material to the DE-Abyss 0.9 material I found them to have a lot of similarities including their prone (or lack) to hotspot visibly. So there's a decent chance that any hotspotting or surface visibility issues you saw on the Slate0.8 could be very similar on the Abyss. I'm worried it might be a throw-ratio issue.
That all said, I do feel like the BD1.4 uniformity/hotspot-likelyhood and surface visibility/"texture" is generally worse than the DEA or Slate screens.

Easy $25 DIY black (or any color) ALR paint +$40-$50sprayer screen mix smooth/clean and very easy to learn spraying with little/no mess.
Simple $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.
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post #9 of 10 Old 11-15-2019, 07:30 AM
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I deleted the misinformed post and all responses to it or referring to the post, so we have a clean thread. Let's move on....
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post #10 of 10 Old 11-17-2019, 11:08 AM
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I have a dark energy Abyss 0.9 screen and it's fantastic. I initially tried the Pulsar, but in my setup, although meeting the recommended throw ratio (barely), I found the hotspotting and viewing angle gradient too severe for my taste. The Abyss is perfect under the same conditions and I think has better blacks in the presence of ambient light. The Pulsar also had a little bit of a sparkle which is definitely absent on the Abyss.

I had some issues initially with the Pulsar material on the traditional fixed frame (extremely difficult to stretch), and swapped to the solid surface aluminum screen while also swapping to Abyss material. I had some issues with shipping/freight damage but finally have a pristine screen and am extremely happy with it. The journey hasn't been easy, but this is truly an amazing screen now that it's up and running!
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