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Sharp 9000, ColorFacts, and CC30R Filter review

6598 Views 101 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  translog

Sharp 9000 (j)

Stewart 110' Firehawk

Denon DVD 3800 (via comp)

Room 100% light controlled (dark red walls and ceiling)

I have had this combo setup in my home theater for a while now; About 3 months. When I first got it all setup, I was a little disappointed in the color I was able to obtain with only Avia. I have a HD RPTV's that has been ISF calibrated in the past and I was hoping that with that D65 reference and Avia, I wouldn’t have to pay for an ISF tech to come out again.

Well after about a month of being frustrated with what I was able to obtain by eye, I decided that I still wouldn’t pay an ISF tech and I would just buy the hardware and software and do it myself. Luckily, I was able to take advantage of the ColorFacts power buy. (Very nice package by the way).

For a week I performed multiple calibration runs with ColorFacts, I was able to get a very good D65 calibration on the Sharp. Thanks to Russ (aka Benny) for documenting a great description of how to calibrate the Sharp 9000 with the service menu controls, I was really able to really dial in the projector with ColorFacts. ( http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...s&pagenumber=3 ) The ability to calibrate my display devices myself is a great relief to me especially since I like to change my source hardware often and with a DLP system, there is bulb ware and replacements which would cause the necessity of a recalibration much sooner than a CRT based RPTV. My HT setup was now beautiful... Almost.

Although my HT would now best any theater I know of in my area (commercial or consumer), I still wasn’t happy. It just wasn’t as pleasing to me as my RPTV. The color still seemed just the small amount off and the black levels and contrast were a little disappointing. I have been on a horror film kick lately watching lots of movies where the black level and contrast is very important to the immersive experience. (Just try watching Friday the 13th on a low contrast, low black level projector)

I spent another week tweaking the Sharp just that little bit more with the Sharp Vision Manager which allows you to adjust the gamma curves for RGB. I didn’t get very far with that. I was never able to really improve on the picture quality and in most cases, adjusting the custom gamma created really bad artifacts, banding, or weird pixilation dithering effects.

I was at the point where I was seriously considering taking a loss on the Sharp 9000 and buying a new Sharp 10000, Infocus 7200, or Marantz vp12s2 and hope that the improved blacks and contrast ratios cured my aliment.

But I tried one more thing, calibrating the projector with a color correction filter. Many AVS members have tried it; many more have talked about it. The most descriptive report I have read on using CC filters with the Sharp was from Matt Augustine. ( http://www.teamzim.com/augie/ht/smart/ ) But, Matt’s end comments of the experience were that although he saw a dramatic improvement in black level and contrast, the loss of brightness was not worth the improvements of adding a filter. Not a very promising article for my situation. So I read his article over and over for weeks. I also read about contrast and CC filter theory of the SMART calibration system from Steve Smallcombe ( http://www.smartavtweaks.com/ ) over and over again. Eventually I decided to take the $33 plunge (I know, I know… tens of thousands on HT equipment and I spend a week debating whether I wanted to try a $33 filter.) Steve Shubick’s at EnhancedHT ( http://www.enhancedht.com/ ) served up an Optiflex Color Correcting 4x4 CC30R filter for me and I was about to make my last attempt at salvaging my projector choice.

Well let me tell you….

Oh My Gawd! What a difference a filter makes. With Colorfacts I was able to calibrate the projector to flat d65 from 20 to 100 and obtain a 750:1 contrast ratio. If I wanted my bright whites a little blue, I could get a 905:1 contrast ratio using AVIA after the calibration. That’s right, I said 905:1. And that’s with a flat d65 from 20 to 90 IRE. Freaking amazing! It's just unbelievable that everyone doesn’t do this. This one $33 filter (and proper calibration tools) made my $10,000 (MSRP) projector look and perform at a level that is just a hair below my RPTV. Any light loss (or decrease in brightness) by using a filter was not perceivable to me over the light loss with d65 calibration without the filter.

Now, finally, after 3 months, my projector and HT is at a level of quality that allows me to enjoy my films, get immersed in the experience, and never be distracted by the limitations of mediocre black levels, low contrast, or improper color calibration. For all you other Sharp 9000 owners out there, I implore you to go out and try a CC20R or CC30R filter in your home theater. If a filter it works for you, great, if it doesn’t, its only $33; the lowly price of two DVDs. It’s a small cost to lose on the chance that it will improve your setup. If you don’t have access to a ColorFacts system, have an ISF tech calibrate your sharp with a filter. I think your will be happy.

The one thing I can’t do is explain why Matt’s experience wasn’t the same as mine. Could it be that his room isn’t 100% light controlled? Maybe his projector was properly calibrated before he tried the SMART calibration. Maybe it’s because the SMART system isn’t designed for Sharp’s. Maybe his inability to properly measure bias with the photocell was the problem. ( http://www.teamzim.com/augie/ht/smart/step-06.htm ) I don’t know. I only hope that he will try again.

I want to thank Matt Augustine, Steve Smallcombe, Steve Shubick’s, and all the other AVS members out there who have experimented and documented using a CC filter with these types of projectors. I also want to thank Mark Hunter for ColorFacts and Russ for helping me apply ColorFacts.

Amazing I say, visually amazing.
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From my Sharp 9000 SMART Calibration web site:

With the CC20R filter, Green became my limiting color, not Red. Should I try a CC10R filter that allows more Green through? Would it provide a compromise between increased contrast and loss of brightness? Steve Smallcombe's response: "The light loss with a 10R would be similar to the 20R as much of the loss is from reflections and that would be the same with both filters..."
In other words, the loss of brightness was due to light being reflected away from the projector-to-screen light path by the filter.

The big difference between our calibrations is your use of ColorFacts and the greater flexibility in adjustment it provides. I'd love to try my filter again with ColorFacts, but I just can't afford it. (First it was a projetor. Now it's the kitchen. Always something. ;)) Anyone willing to lend/rent it to me for a couple weeks?
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Thanks for a great post bdavidson. I have been using my 9000 with a Hoya FL-D filter with great results. I have ordered Colorfacts and I am waiting for the meter to arrive. Can't wait to tinker with Colorfacts and the filter and get everything properly calibrated. Have you thought about trying the FL-D filter, or did you rule out this filter for one reason or another?

P.S.- You want to take your 9000 up another level?- Add a PSI PD-1100 DVD player outputting 720P into input 5 on the 9000.

I bought the CC30R filter because of its cost and to prove the theory. I will look into a Hoya FL-D filter as a (what I would assume be) higher quality alternative to gel. Any recommendations on a place to pick one up and what size fits the sharp well?

Yes, I am aware of the problems with ghosting on the component inputs. I didn't address them in the review because I didn't think it was relevant to color, contrast, or black level. I currently have money stashed away for a Immersive aSimulator or Key Digital HD Leeza to clear up those problems and provide a digital link to an outboard scalar into the projector via input 5.


I would agree. I think the inability for you to measure the dark patterns with the photocell to adjust bias was the limiting factor in your testing. I found that the loss of brightness was negligible compared to the same setup calibrated to d65 without the filter.

If I remember correctly, red was still the limiting color for me with the filter.

Originally posted by Gladiator
Thanks for a great post bdavidson. I have been using my 9000 with a Hoya FL-D filter with great results. I have ordered Colorfacts and I am waiting for the meter to arrive. Can't wait to tinker with Colorfacts and the filter and get everything properly calibrated. Have you thought about trying the FL-D filter, or did you rule out this filter for one reason or another?

P.S.- You want to take your 9000 up another level?- Add a PSI PD-1100 DVD player outputting 720P into input 5 on the 9000.
Hi Gladiator,

I have the same combo (9000, PD-1000, FL-D & firehawk). In fact, I took your advise on the PD-1000 and it make a hell of difference. I would really appreciate if you can share the result on the colorfacts calibration result with me. I can't really afford to make another purchase after getting the Pioneer AX-10 lately. :)

Also, on the PSI software upgrade, have you receive it yet?

Thanks, Yat
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bdavidson- The Hoya filter is the Hoya HMC FL-Day in size 77.0s. This is their multi-coated filter. You then order a 82mm-77mm adapter ring and screw the Hoya filter into this ring. The complete assembly just fits inside the 9000 lens for a great look and fit. I use two very small pieces of clear tape just to make sure the filter doesn't fall out. I'll try to post a picture for you.

yatlee- I just received the updated software the other day. It is awesome. Great new graphics and aspect ratio control to allow non-anamorphic discs to be played. Upgrade took about 2 minutes. Put in the disc and popped out 2 minutes later and got the upgrade without a glitch. I cannot wait for Colorfacts to do a final tweak of this combo, it truly puts out a wonderful image. Give Eric a call, I'm sure he will be glad to send you the new software if he didn't send it out already. I'll be glad to share the Colorfacts results with you.
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Congratulations! Firstly on becoming a member of the ColorFacts owners club, but perhaps more importantly, on seeing the realisation of your projector showing it's potential :)

When I calibrated the 9000, time was against me trying a corrective filter to improve the contrast ratio etc, but my experiences with my LT150 suggests that the CC30R is technically a better choice than the FL-D. However, the optical quality of filters available in the CC30R range was not as good, hense my ultimate choice of the multicoated FL-D. I'd be interested in your findings after using a better quality FL-D, particularly in relation to contrast perception.

Cheers :)

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Did you happen to measure CR before adding the filter?


I have the exact same setup and eqiupment as you, I have not purchased my screen yet and it will only be 96". I have only owned the Sharp for a week but I am in the same boat you were in. I am a newbie to FP so I am wondering how difficult it is to use colorfacts and the filter you are describing without much experience?

Is the Firehawk worth the extra bucks over the Da-lite HC?


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Thanks Brad for a great post,

I never had the time to calibrate the Sharp +CC30R or CC20R filter at my dealer. The results are fine, color-balance seems OK now but the contrast has fallen to 378:1.The picture is too dim!!

Seeing that I could double the contrast ratio and keep all IRE levels in the D65 range get's me all nervous again. Maybe this could save me some $$ skip the HD2 projectors and wait for a release of the HD2+ (no dimple problem)........

Anyway...thank you for sharing these new results. Looks like anybody wanting to get the best out of the Sharp will have to put a lot of time into tweaking. I have had my Sharp 9000 for 1 year now and still haven't managed to get a pleasing result.


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Hey Anthony,

I was under the impression that you guys tried colorfacts WITH the filter, but ended up going with out it, as it wasn't such an improvement.

Anyway, as to your quote:

"I have had my Sharp 9000 for 1 year now and still haven't managed to get a pleasing result".

I must say that you, like many others on this forum, including my self, will never have this "pleasing result" effect, as we will always look for something better, while trying to find flaws in what we have.

I suggest you look back at your posts on the 9000, just to realise, that once, not long ago, you were thrilled with the 9000 picture, but then you got attacked by that "upgrade" bug. :)


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long live the upgrade bug :D

Although I have got "used" to the image of my Sharp and probably know now where to look for flaws, I still think the image is "nice".

(BTW did anybody of you see the chroma bug let's say 2 years ago ?)

If this new tweak will give my Sharp another quality push, I'm more than happy to try so. I won't have to upgrade to a HD2 device and can wait for the dimple-fix to be implemented (HD2+??)


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I have also fiddled around with the Sharp 9000, a CC20R filter and ColorFacts for a couple of weeks now, and I quickly came to the same conclusion as Brad regarding the use of SharpVision Manager for gamma tweaking.

Although I was able to force the projector to do a perfectly flat D65 (almost) from 0 IRE and up, I ended up with a horrible looking picture. The projector (or rather, the bulb) exhibits a rather strong blue component in the lower blacks, and it is obviously better left that way.

My conclusion is that you can't really reduce the blue by a significant amount by tweaking the gamma, and increasing the other colors to obtain D65 will naturally destroy the black level completely. Blue tinted blacks do after all look a lot better than light gray...

Using Avia on a Denon A1 as a source for the test patterns, I started out with Augie's settings (using the filter), and discovered that my color temperature was way off (in the 11000 K range, in fact). As we have discovered that all Sharp 9000s are not created alike, this is not necessarily the case with your projector, Augie, but I'm afraid you're in for a bit of a suprise if you get to try ColorFacts :)

Calibrating the projector using Benny's method of determining the clipping point for red, I too reached the conclusion that there is no more red output above a gain setting of about 105. Increasing the gain above this setting will result in a higher color temperature above 90 IRE.

Adjusting the other colors relative to the red settings, I was able to obtain a good D65 tracking from 20 to 100 IRE, just like Brad.

The downside of all my calibration efforts is that although the images are much more 3D, and the colors are obviosly better, the picture is now significantly dimmer than before.

Displaying on a Grayhawk does not help much either, but I guess I'm stuck with it. I bought the Grayhawk a month before the Firewhawk was announced, and the norwegian distributor tells me that it will be cheaper to buy a complete new ScreenWall than to just replace the screen material.

I am currently using the Gamma 1 setting on the projector, and the picture is just barely bright enough in a 100% light controlled room (and I do not have more than 130 hours on the bulb).

I must confess I'm rather surprised that you were able to obtain a contrast ratio in the 700:1 range, Brad! My latest measurement is 425:1....

I guess I will try sacrificing some color accuracy in the 90-100 IRE range and see where that gets me. After all, I used to watch a 11000 Kelvin picture for a while :)

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Hello Henning

Is the 425:1 measurement with or without the filter ?

I have about 450 hours on my Sharp and calibrating to have all the IRE levels within D65 resulted in a 378:1 contrast (without filter)

The colors are fine but the picture is too dim on my 110'' diag. Firehawk.

I am using Gamma 2.
Calibrating the projector using Benny's method of determining the clipping point for red, I too reached the conclusion that there is no more red output above a gain setting of about 105. Increasing the gain above this setting will result in a higher color temperature above 90 IRE.

Adjusting the other colors relative to the red settings, I was able to obtain a good D65 tracking from 20 to 100 IRE, just like Brad.
Without a filter you have to lower blue and green as stated. Adding a filter CC30R blue and green is cut by 30% while red stays almost the same.You the can increase green and blue in the service-menu thus resulting in more contrast. The filter will absorb around 10% of light but if you can increase blue and green enough, it should compensate more than enough for the loss in lumen.

Is this right ??


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Hello Anthony!

The 425:1 contrast ratio is measured WITH the CC20R filter.

I know that the purpose of the filter is to cut blue and green, but as it does (next to) nothing to the red, the maximum setting for red gain will be about the same with or without the filter. If I increase it above approx. 105, the color temperature does not change at all according to ColorFacts, indicating that the red clips at this level.

I am just sitting down for another session with ColorFacts. This time I will see just how much I can increase blue and green without visibly tinting the whites. I will do a contrast measurement without the filter just for fun before I start tweaking, but the contrast will probably be much lower if I can trust my eyes at all at this stage.

Horrible thought: What if my sensor is broken? :)

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Thanks for that info. 77.0s FL-Day MCF with an 82-77 adapter. Got it. Can you recommend an online dealer?


Thanks, I couldn’t have done it without your calibration description. It looks like the Hoya filter is cheaper than I thought so I will try and pick up one.

noah katz:

Yes I did. If I remember correctly it was ~525.

Mark Norman:

Colorfacts turned out to be easier than I expected, but again, it was really benny’s description that got me going. I can’t comment on a Da-lite HC screen, I have never seen one. My Firehawk rocks though. Make sure you get a screen that works well with you seating position too.


My measurements are with a CC30R filter. I’m not sure if that is the only reason for the difference in CR. I think your red max gain of 105 is relative to the value of red bias (bright). I know that my red gain value is over 110 after doing the clipping tests that benny suggested. Wow, you are using a Grayhawk? The brightness with the FireHawk is just tolerable. Isn’t the Grayhawk a

For all others, (just so everyone can stop asking in PM’s) I will post a bunch of data, charts, and settings tonight.
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Yeah, I know, the Grayhayk is a 0.95 gain screen. I bought it before I knew better, and upgrading to a Firehawk is not an option, as I said earlier..

I was really joking about the sensor, but the thought stayed with me when I just did some additional tests, looking closesly at the raw data from the sensor for the first time. To my amazement, it seems that my sensor is indeed somewhat color blind!

Here are the raw RGB data captured when displaying the color test screens from Avia:

Color: R G B


Yellow: 0 0 0

Cyan: 0 255 241

Green: 0 255 35

Red: 255 0 0

Magenta: 255 0 0

Blue: 24 17 255

The data seems to indicate that the sensor is completely ignoring yellow, as it does not provide any reading at all for the yellow screen, nor does it see the blue component in the magenta screen.

The results are repeatable and do not seem to depend on the distance from the projector to the sensor. I have tried several positions between 10 inches and several feet from the projector.

I will try upgrading to the latest versjon of ColorFacts (2.17) before reporting this problem to Mark. As I live in Norway, upgrading the software would be much easier than shipping the sensor back.

And of course, there is always a possibility that I am doing something amazingly stupid...

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