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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The bottom line is if you have the Marantz VP12s1 go get the Firehawk. I am very conservative in just about everything I post. Most of the time I would say about any component is that one should demo for themselves and don't go by anyones recommendation blindly. Not this time. This one is a no-brainer. This screen is simply amazing. To tell you the truth I was skeptical from the very begining particularly when I unrolled the sucker and saw how gray it was. I was thinking " there is no way this is going to work", but it came with the recommendation of a dealer I really trust.


Let me start off by saying that I was using a Stewark Videomatte 200 which has a gain of 1.8 and ran the PJ in low lamp mode to partially compensate for the high gain. I have complete light control in my room, but the ceiling is off white and the rear wall is natural wood so I am prone to re-reflections. I really didn't think that re-reflection was a problem in my room. WRONG! The impact of this screen is stunning. Not only are the backs blacker, the colors are clearly more vivid and the resolution is superior. The improvement in resolution is obvious because I can see edge enhancement much easier (bad) and textures are more three dimensional and clearly defined (good).


This screen lives up to all the hype. Kudos to Stewart.


John Moschella
 

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Could not agree with you more John. I had been using a GrayHawk with my Sharp 9000 for about 5 months and recently upgraded to a FireHawk. I feel like I got a new projector. Not only is the image brighter with more punch, black levels looks awesome, colors look more vibrant, and the whole picture is just more pleasing. Best move I made.
 

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John:


I never would have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. You have crossed over to the dark side and joined the "trust my opinion and just buy it camp". But I can tell from your post that you are experiencing some pangs of guilt. It is not too late. Abandon your evil ways and reject the dark forces. The longer you embrace the dark force the easier it will become to recommend products without hesitation. Save yourself before it is too late.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Q-man,


Believe me, go buy the Marantz and forget about everything else. Don't bother to demo anything as this PJ is the best out there, take my word for it, it is way better than all the other machines I have never demoed.


Seriously, I have seen the Marantz/Sharp on four different screens and the Firehawk just lives up to all the hype and is truely stunning. See for yourself.


John
 

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John's right - the firehawk is amazing. For a firehawk/marantz demo in NYC contact me :) (psychos need not apply)

TM
 

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wow.


John, have you had the opportunity to view other projectors on the firehawk? Do you think that the marantz hits a magical firehawk sweet spot or will results on this scale translate to other projectors as well?


-jeff
 

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I'm using the Firehawk with a modded LT150 and the results are amazing. Switched from a unity gain Dalite.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Jeff J
wow.


John, have you had the opportunity to view other projectors on the firehawk? Do you think that the marantz hits a magical firehawk sweet spot or will results on this scale translate to other projectors as well?


-jeff
No, but I don't see why it wouldn't work the same magic for a PJ with a similar output level like the Sharp.


John
 

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Agree ...


The combination is devistatingly good. I never A/B'd the Sharp vs Marantz but took the recommendations of this forum (especially the Minnesota shootout). I am thrilled.


Tim
 

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You need to be very diligent in your choice of Firehawk. You should definately try VERY HARD to see one before committing. I saw one last week with Amirbd and we came to some conclusions.


A very generous member of this forum took about a three hour lunch to accomodate us, and let us paw his precious screen with our filthy hands, holding up large swatches of Greyhawk and matte white material and running around the room checking angles.


Before I get into this, let me say that I have never liked grey and silver screens. I can always 'see through' the image to the screen color and even if it just psychological, it bugs me. Only a low gain white screen can disappear for me, anything else is like an equalizer in an audiophile system.


The Firehawk has less of this effect than any other screen of its type I have ever seen. At the same time, it does more for the blacks and contrast to a direct-on viewer than anything I have ever seen.


(The owner has a Sharp 9000 that is hooked primarily to HTPC. His setup is the most functional of this type I've ever seen, too. He did ALL the switching from the Windows desktop--to Web, HD, DVD, OTA. It was very integrated and impressive. That projector works flawlessly with a computer.)


We browsed to www.aim-dtp.net and brought up the dither-gamma pattern. We may not have had the correct gamma selected, but a patch of greyhawk material held over the black matched the 18.8% grey patch on the Firehawk. Since the Firehawk smoothly transitioned DOWN from there to almost NO perceptable light at 0%, I'd estimate a 15% improvement in contrast towards the black. Amazingly, the Firehawk at 0 degrees was maybe 5% brighter on 100% white. This means a 800:1 contrast projector becomes a 1000:1 projector!


However, the gains in white were lost by only 5-10 degrees off axis. Meaning the white looked the same on both Greyhawk, matte white, and Firehawk. The black contrast advantage did not fall off--a different mechanism is at work there. By 15 degrees, the white on the Firehawk was as much less relative to other materials as it was brighter at 0 degrees. The devil of physics had been paid his due. By 30 degrees off axis, the loss to white was objectionable.


The rejection of ambient light followed a similar pattern. An incandescent sconce right NEXT to the screen didn't tint it at all; on a white screen, the same light would have produced an overwhelming fan of gold over any image. But a faulty shade on the rear wall the owner pointed out did leave a daylight tint over the whole screen--how could it not?


All of this testifies to the brilliance of the design and a deep understanding of HT application by Stewart. Given the accepted standard of 30 degree horizontal viewing angle for 16:9 this screen is perfect. Within the central two-thirds of this area, the white level is at least equal to the matte white screen, and over the whole width, the AVERAGE is the same as a white screen. For the entire height of the screen, the white is equal or above a white screen.


Now, on an all white image, the gradiation is obvious, but on a film it is hardly there at all. Why? The fall off is about what you see in a wide angle photographic lens or at an IMAX theater. It is familiar and therefore you ignore it. Also, most of the action is in that central area. When you know the color should be uniform, as in web browsing, you can see it.


It becomes problematic for off-center seating, though. The screen follows the same drop off, which means that if you are sitting even with the edge of the screen, directly in front of you is bright and by the far edge it has fallen off to the 'objectionable' 30 degrees. It is compounded because you cannot dismiss it as lens effect--it clearly becomes screen effect.


At what angle this becomes noticeable/objectionable will vary with every person that watches this screen, which is why I started by urging people to observe critically and analyze their setup carefully before choosing this screen.


For me, this angle is minimal. I could not sit more than 15% off center without being annoyed. But I ride motorcycles and do photography and rely on my peripheral vision to survive and compose images. For the typical HT enthusiast, you could probably sit out to about halfway between the centerline and edge of the screen and not notice it enough to be happy. But even an unobservant person setting at the edge will notice something is going on.


Since it seems to be so tough to see one of these babies in action, here are my thoughts on who should and should not pursue a Firehawk:


YOU SHOULD BUY IF YOU...


...do not like the black level of your setup.


...prefer a less than 30 degree viewing angle. (2x screen width)


...have prime seating three centered or four centered and a 90" or wider screen.


...have significant ambient light from the sides.


YOU SHOULD NOT BUY IF YOU:


...are happy with the black level you have due to screen size or projector technology.


...have seriously controlled your ambient light and room albedo to the point of darkened ceiling and fabric walls, etc.


...have seating that is regularly used extending beyond the 50% line between screen center and edge.


...prefer >30 degree viewing angle. (say, 1.5 screen width)


...notice the edge light falloff in IMAX theaters


...need to have the screen 'vanish' under the image.


In my case, with a 110" diagonal screen making good blacks with the sweet colored Marantz, serious peripheral vision concerns, and a room like a coal mine, I do not think I will get one.


In Amirbd's case, with a small room and a large (almost 100") screen, and commonly used seating that extends the width of the screen, it is probably not for him either, although he is debating hard on the blacks and ambient issue given his gorgeous light wood panelling and rope-light.


Two final things:


One, keep in mind that the initial WOW factor will fade and the other issues gradually become noticeable. Just like romance. Make sure you are ready to live with everything that this kind of screen implies.


Two, and Amir mentioned this to me right away--you CAN still see though to the grey, and this has a slight effect of deadening flesh tones. It is so minor that I don't want to make an issue of it, but we both noticed it.


This last makes me realize the ultimate application: The flesh tone *enhancing* SIM2 HT300 on an lightly curved 80" diagonal Firehawk viewed from 12 feet away. This would be as delectable as human liver and fava beans with a nice chianti....ahh-h-h-h-h.


-Cart (noticing he has skipped lunch posting)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Wireless
I'm using the Firehawk with a modded LT150 and the results are amazing. Switched from a unity gain Dalite.


Wireless,


Would that be the Da-lite High Contrast screen? (off-white or silver colored?)
 

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Joel, it was the Matte White unity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by FlatusM



YOU SHOULD NOT BUY IF YOU:


...are happy with the black level you have due to screen size or projector technology.


...have seriously controlled your ambient light and room albedo to the point of darkened ceiling and fabric walls, etc.


...have seating that is regularly used extending beyond the 50% line between screen center and edge.


...prefer >30 degree viewing angle. (say, 1.5 screen width)


...notice the edge light falloff in IMAX theaters


...need to have the screen 'vanish' under the image.

a 110" diagonal screen making good blacks with the sweet colored Marantz, serious peripheral vision concerns, and a room like a coal mine, I do not think I will get one.


In my case, with

In Amirbd's case, with a small room and a large (almost 100") screen, and commonly used seating that extends the width of the screen, it is probably not for him either, although he is debating hard on the blacks and ambient issue given his gorgeous light wood panelling and rope-light.


Two final things:


One, keep in mind that the initial WOW factor will fade and the other issues gradually become noticeable. Just like romance. Make sure you are ready to live with everything that this kind of screen implies.


Two, and Amir mentioned this to me right away--you CAN still see though to the grey, and this has a slight effect of deadening flesh tones. It is so minor that I don't want to make an issue of it, but we both noticed it.


This last makes me realize the ultimate application: The flesh tone *enhancing* SIM2 HT300 on an lightly curved 80" diagonal Firehawk viewed from 12 feet away. This would be as delectable as human liver and fava beans with a nice chianti....ahh-h-h-h-h.


-Cart (noticing he has skipped lunch posting)


Flatus,

I have to disagree. If I used your criteria then I would probably not buy this screen. The truth is that I have absolutely no ambient light and I was perfectly happy with the blacks. You not only need light control but your HT room needs to be a black hole to eliminate re-reflections. My guess is that very few of us have a black hole room. So what I am saying is that even with total outside light control the Firehawk still makes a big difference. Its not only blacks and better color but the resolution is improved.


The statement about being happy with the blacks is also relative. You can only make that decision until after you've seen the Firehawk.


As far as your comment about the wow factor wearing off. Its that way with everything isn't it? So I don't understand the point of that comment.


John
 

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Flatus,

can you go over why a greater than 30 degree viewing angle is bad? I think that I followed the part about off-axis, but don't really understand the viewing angle part. (great comments, btw).


John,

glad to see you comments about a dark room - I hope to have a coal mine at some point and am glad that my future firehawk will still work in it.


-jeff
 

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FlatusM, your do's and don'ts generally work for me except for the > 30 degree criteria. I prefer a greater than 30 degree angle (I sit at 1.5x for my Marantz/Firehawk combo) and see no *objectionable* dimming on the far side of the screen when I sit slightly off-axis (halfway between centerline and screen edge). If I look really hard when sitting off angle I can detect the falloff effect, but would not have noticed the difference otherwise.


I also disagree with your statement that even an unobservant person sitting in line with the edge of the screen will notice something is going on. I have had many unobservant and even a few semi-observant people sitting there and they have never noticed anything. While I never plan to sit outside the screen area, many others seem to still love it.


Other than those minor quibbles, I agree wholeheartedly with your post. I appreciate your critical eye but in many ways pity you for your ultra-sensitivity. :)


Cheers,

Gord
 

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DARN! Ok, have an L-shaped sofa group. The lower right tip of the L is in the center of my screen (that's my spot). The corner and the left "upright" of the L places viewers' heads 3 feet outside the left edge of the screen. I have a 1.3 gain Da-Lite and I nor anyone else have ever noticed fall off to the right. The prime seats are 2 x screen width. Should I get a Firehawk?



Screen _____________







XXX

XXX

XXX

XXX

XXX

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX Sofa



I Hope this drawing works.
 

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Thanks again FM.


I am now much more comfortable eschewing the Firehawk. My DIY screen of formica gives a superb 10' presentation, with the only issue being ambient light rejection. But I can live with that, given that I have total light control.


I have a 140 degree viewing angle! And the whitest whites & (believe it or not) blackest blacks.
 

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Attention owners of the FireHawk screen,

How long did it take to get the factory-wrapped wrinkles out of your FireHawk material after you put it up?


I just got my screen in on Monday (92" diagonal Luxus Deluxe ScreenWall) and put it up that night because I wanted the wrinkles to disappear while I was out of town on business. I figured they would be completely gone by the time I got back. I came back very late Thursday night, walked into the HT room and all the wrinkles were still there! It's Saturday morning and there's no change.


Will this process take a lot longer? Is my FireHawk material flawed? Should I warm the room up?(air conditioning is very cold in the HT room)


Any suggestions or personal experiences would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks!


Victor
 
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