Home Theater Forum and Systems banner

1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Open for Discussion

Member chriscmore has been kind enough to send me a sample of their Center Stage AT screen. An upcoming press release for CEDIA Expo 2007:

Ames, IA (September 8, 2007) – Seymour AV is now shipping the Center Stage acoustically transparent projection screen. This electrically retractable projection screen offers audiophiles the benefits of placing at least the center speaker behind the image without experiencing the acoustical distortions from the large pieces of glass, plastic, or vinyl that traditional displays use. Now, a full size center channel identical to the main speakers can be used without compromises. In addition, an existing center can be mounted vertically behind the screen for improved horizontal frequency response. Indeed, all three speakers can be located behind the screen for a true theater experience.

The woven Center Stage screen fabric has the highest gain (1.16) on the market, offering a sharp, bright image from edge to edge. It does not require any EQ, will not audibly comb filter, and attenuates the sound on average two decibels above 8 kHz. The holes in the woven Center Stage material are only about 0.007” square and are over 2.4 times as dense as the common 0.020” diameter micro-perforated vinyl screens.

The Center Stage screen uses all premium components including extruded aluminum cases, quiet motors, deep black velvet trim, standard tab tensioning, one-piece plug and use installation and two included wall-mountable RF remotes.

Seymour AV is not only offering Center Stage screens at factory-direct prices with guaranteed satisfaction, but is also selling Center Stage fabric for other DIY projects.


Seymour AV was founded to bring audiophile-first audio and video products at factory-direct prices. Their mission is to prove that better solutions can be made available for lower prices, and that more can be exported from Iowa than corn and people. They can be reached at www.seymourav.com , or by calling 515-708-5279.
As this is an Acoustically Transparent screen and my setup does not have speakers placed behind the screen area, I'm going to concentrate mainly on the screen itself. You can read more about the acoustic characteristics here. The Center Stage touts a gain of 1.16 which, when laying next to the Brilliant White sample I have is rather modest. Looking at the two I would have guessed at least 1.2 or maybe even a 1.3. If you followed the link above to the acoustic characteristics and ventured further down the page you'll note this:

Color

No matter how bad a movie this guy makes, you'll see it exactly as he intended it. Phifer's Chalk color has been tested to have nearly undetectable color shift. It's performance of x=0, y=.005 with a PhotoResearch PR-650 using a PhotoResearch Calibrated White Reflectance Standard as the reference means that Phifer's chalk color fabrics make for reference quality projection materials. Their SheerWeave 4500 is currently the finest weave offered in chalk and the basis for a fantastic AT screen.

Moiré or Less

When two patterns are superimposed on one another, a moiré patterning effect can be created depending on the relationship of the two patterns. Generally speaking, the goal for a screen with texture is to either behave randomly, or have a high enough ratio of holes per pixel for interference not to occur. Woven fabric screens with randomized weaving should not moiré at any image size (e.g. Screen Research). Woven fabric screens with symmetrical weaving, including all of the fabrics listed in the nearby chart, require a bit more thought in their application, although they are all superior to perforated vinyl screens.

To have the best chance of avoiding moiré with these symmetrical weave fabrics, only order your screen from companies that offer a satisfaction guarantee without restocking charges (hint). The next thing to do is to not crank your pixel densities up too high. If your projector has a 720p image, then all of the available screen sizes will be safe from moiré. If your projector has a 1080p image, then you will be safe from moiré with the Center Stage material if you keep your image 100" wide or larger. If you are either pushing this limit, preparing for the future, or are generally neurotic, then a standard option is for us to tilt the fabric 15 degrees for you. This typically randomizes the interference pattern well enough to save your image. The fabric is not directional, meaning it typically doesn't help you avoid moiré to run the slightly differing (x) or (y) either horizontally or vertically. But once you have moiré, rotating the fabric up to 90 degrees can help minimize how visible it is.
For those of you scratching your head regarding the moiré pattern, look here. Impressive stuff so far, let's see how it holds up with my theater.

mech
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The Test Platform

As always, the first shots are of the viewing environment. We have medium ambient light and no ambient light. I will not take pictures with full ambient lighting for white screens any longer unless requested. Under full ambient light creates a condition in which I would not even watch any content. I wouldn't imagine anyone else would either.



To give you an idea about full ambient light, and whether an image could be viewable, I'd submit this shot of my Fashion Gray screen:



As is the case for my reviews, a WhiBal card was used for accurate color balancing of the photographs. Here's the reference shot:



All photos were taken using an Olympus E-500 with a Zuiko 14-45mm lens. The pictures were taken in RAW format and then color balanced and converted to jpeg in Adobe Bridge. ISO was set at 100. Aperture and shutter speed were set to auto (this data is available if anyone wants to know what the camera used for specific shots - just ask :bigsmile:).

The Projector is a Mitsubishi HC3000U. It boasts a 4000:1 contrast ratio and a brightness of 1000 lumens ANSI. I however run it in eco mode. I'd guess it's around 6-700 lumens in that mode, but don't quote me on that. It has not been professionally calibrated. It has only been calibrated with my eyes using both the AVIA and the DVE disks.

The DVD player is the Oppo OPDV971H. It has the latest firmware. The Satellite receiver is a DirecTV HR20. Both of these are connected to a Monoprice 5X1 HDMI switch that feeds the signal to the projector.

The screen was hung in front of my FG. It was stapled to a sheet of cardboard that had white foam glued to it. To this I stapled black velvet - behind the Center Stage. Why the black velvet? After discussions with Chris, he thought it would be best to put something dark behind the screen material to absorb any light that goes through the holes. So for a basic home setup, you'd want your gap between the wall and the screen to be dark. I think Chris will comment on this, especially if anyone has questions.

The setup:



A close up:




Pictures - all pictures will be clickable thumbnails. Be advised that the pictures are 1024X768. I use the thumbnails to help the load times for the thread. And I use a larger image so that more detail can be seen. If anyone would like a RAW file of one of the images (the best detail), pm me. There will be two shots of each image. One with medium ambient light and one with no ambient light.


mech
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring

I use this movie mainly for flesh tones and blacks.






As you can tell from the above shots, the Center Stage does an excellent job with skin tones in both medium and no ambient light. With regards to blacks, it fared slightly better in medium ambient light than a normal white screen. This is probably due to the fact that there is black velvet behind the material. If you're going to use this with ambient light you'd do best with a black space behind the screen.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Happy Feet

This film is my gauge for whites.





I really hate looking at white screens compared to my FG. They generally have much brighter whites and colors seem to have more 'pop'. The Center Stage is no exception.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Pixar's Finding Nemo

This film is my baseline for color.







In case you missed it above:

No matter how bad a movie this guy makes, you'll see it exactly as he intended it. Phifer's Chalk color has been tested to have nearly undetectable color shift. It's performance of x=0, y=.005 with a PhotoResearch PR-650 using a PhotoResearch Calibrated White Reflectance Standard as the reference means that Phifer's chalk color fabrics make for reference quality projection materials. Their SheerWeave 4500 is currently the finest weave offered in chalk and the basis for a fantastic AT screen.
Stringent specs = Excellent color!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
DiscoveryHD's Bugs! A Rainforest Adventure

This is one of the best HDTV productions I've seen. While Planet Earth got a lot of fanfare, this one snuck under the radar with it's exceptional detail and color.



 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Pricing

This is direct from chriscmore for a 103.3" diagonal screen:

There are a few different pricing tiers for different customers:

1. The DIY who wants to make their own fixed or (egad - they exist) retractable screen. They could get by with 5 linear feet of the 98" wide material for $198 shipped (within cont. US - we do ship anywhere, though).

2. The installer-type who wants a powered electric screen, but is handy enough to either install it into a joist space, or trim around it with a soffet or molding. They then don't really need our fancy aluminum case and appreciate the savings for a caseless screen. Their cost would be $761 shipped.

3. Those who will have the case exposed and will benefit from the easier mounting and look of the finished product - what we sometimes call "The Full Monty." This would go for $1061 shipped.

Many options are available. We'll entertain most requests as long as they use our standard materials and processes, unlike imported screens.
That's not a lot of greenbacks for the goods!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Conclusions

While I've had very little exposure to AT screens, the Center Stage performed exceptionally. If you look at the Bugs! photos, the detail is sharp, the colors are vibrant, and the blacks are above average for a - medium ambient light - white screen. The colors were pretty much vibrant across the board. Which is something I didn't expect from an AT screen. As for the possibility of moire, I never noticed it.

For you folks who are planning on an Acoustically Transparent Screen, I'd give the Center Stage top marks. Now when are you Seymour AV folks going to work on an ambient light version? :bigsmile:

mech
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
22,577 Posts
Those screen shots look pretty impressive to me... excellent review on what appears to be an excellent screen, albeit it rather expensive.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,914 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
560 Posts
Conclusions

While I've had very little exposure to AT screens, the Center Stage performed exceptionally. If you look at the Bugs! photos, the detail is sharp, the colors are vibrant, and the blacks are above average for a - medium ambient light - white screen. The colors were pretty much vibrant across the board. Which is something I didn't expect from an AT screen. As for the possibility of moire, I never noticed it.

For you folks who are planning on an Acoustically Transparent Screen, I'd give the Center Stage top marks. Now when are you Seymour AV folks going to work on an ambient light version? :bigsmile:

mech
Great review, mech! Thanks!

Looking at the first couple of posts of screenies, it appeared to me that the whites were clearly whiter than FG, and the blacks took a bit of a hit compared to FG. That is, until I saw this pic:


The black on the face of the penguin appears to be BLACK. That made me think that perhaps the blacks that appear to be lighter than FG in the other pics are actually supposed to be that color, and that the screen is capable of displaying a very deep black when the image projects it.

What are your thoughts on the black level when compared to FG? Does it actually take it hit, being a white screen, or did that penguin's face look as black in person as it looks to my eyes?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
Another very well orchestrated and presented review mech. Good job.

I have to say that these commercial screen reviews have been quite informative from many points of view.

The first thing I notice is that our DIY screens do have quite respectable performance compared to the commercial screens being presented.

The next thing that struck me is that commercial screen manufacturers providing these larger samples is a tribute to the credibility that this forum is developing within the HT community.

I am also impressed to see that some manufactures are taking advantage of the manufacturing and scientific resources that they have access to in order to develop screens that can go to the next levels of performance.

Maybe mech can find a manufacturer of one of those new backlit screens to review.:innocent:
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Maybe mech can find a manufacturer of one of those new backlit screens to review.:innocent:
Todd,

Thanks for the kind words! I'll do a review of the backlit screen if they'll send me one! I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for it though. :whistling: It may show up after my flux capacitor!

mech
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The black on the face of the penguin appears to be BLACK. That made me think that perhaps the blacks that appear to be lighter than FG in the other pics are actually supposed to be that color, and that the screen is capable of displaying a very deep black when the image projects it.

What are your thoughts on the black level when compared to FG? Does it actually take it hit, being a white screen, or did that penguin's face look as black in person as it looks to my eyes?
When compared to FG? I have yet to see a white screen do as well as a gray screen with regards to blacks. As to the penguins head, it looks great on the Center Stage. If you want a direct comparison, zoom in on the feet:



That zoom is so close you can see the fabric! Hope that helps!

mech
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
560 Posts
When compared to FG? I have yet to see a white screen do as well as a gray screen with regards to blacks. As to the penguins head, it looks great on the Center Stage. If you want a direct comparison, zoom in on the feet:



That zoom is so close you can see the fabric! Hope that helps!

mech
mech, I may not be communicating my question well (and bear with me, as this is all new to me, and I am learning). I understand that there are plenty of areas (like the penguins feet), where the dark part of the image is darker on the FG than it is on the AVCS.

But, my question is this. If, on the penguins head, the AVCS is able to display a black very near an RGB of (0,0,0), then wouldn't that mean that it can display blacks at the level that is intended by the source material, and maybe do so more accurately than the FG?

Here's a hypothetical...let's say in the penguins feet, that the source material is an RGB level of (50,50,50). It would be possible that the AVCS displays it at (50,50,50), and the FG displays it darker, perhaps at (30,30,30). So, we look at the screenie and draw the conclusion that the blacks are "better" on the FG. When, in fact, the FG is darker, but the AVCS is more accurate...

When I saw the very very deep black in the penguins head, it made me think about it from that point of view. The black is just as dark as the velvet/felt stripe on the sample board. It seems like if the screen can produce that deep of black on the penguin head, then we could draw the conclusion that the AVCS can display blacks at any level that's thrown at it...and that FG vs AVCS side-by-sides of other dark areas of the screen could be darker on the FG, but may actually be in intended darkness on the AVCS.

I hope this question makes sense...the whole bunch of it could be complete **** as I don't really know what I'm talking about. But, if by some miracle you can follow my logic, please let me know your thoughts...
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,914 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Jim,

But, my question is this. If, on the penguins head, the AVCS is able to display a black very near an RGB of (0,0,0), then wouldn't that mean that it can display blacks at the level that is intended by the source material, and maybe do so more accurately than the FG?
If it's 0 0 0 on the Center Stage, it would undoubtably be 0 0 0 on the FG.

Here's a hypothetical...let's say in the penguins feet, that the source material is an RGB level of (50,50,50). It would be possible that the AVCS displays it at (50,50,50), and the FG displays it darker, perhaps at (30,30,30). So, we look at the screenie and draw the conclusion that the blacks are "better" on the FG. When, in fact, the FG is darker, but the AVCS is more accurate...
While in this image it does show up as 0 0 0 on the Center Stage, obviously it'll show up as 0 0 0 on the FG. And to me it's rather odd - as LCD and DLP pj's suffer from light spill/leaks, to the point were normally they're really just showing the viewer a really dark gray.

When I saw the very very deep black in the penguins head, it made me think about it from that point of view. The black is just as dark as the velvet/felt stripe on the sample board. It seems like if the screen can produce that deep of black on the penguin head, then we could draw the conclusion that the AVCS can display blacks at any level that's thrown at it...and that FG vs AVCS side-by-sides of other dark areas of the screen could be darker on the FG, but may actually be in intended darkness on the AVCS.

I hope this question makes sense...the whole bunch of it could be complete **** as I don't really know what I'm talking about. But, if by some miracle you can follow my logic, please let me know your thoughts...
It actually does make sense. And that's a good question! One thing I will do, is look at the actual RAW file and see if something was lost in the conversion to jpeg. Especially because when doing the shots, the blacks had not really stood out to me in the medium ambient light shots. Do you want a copy of the RAW file? It's probably around 20mbs or so.

One other thing that I will note. I'm not doing these reviews to compare my FG to the reviewed screen. I'm actually trying to avoid it out of respect to these companies that submitted samples. I think in the future I may crop the photos down.

mech
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
560 Posts
Jim,


If it's 0 0 0 on the Center Stage, it would undoubtably be 0 0 0 on the FG.
Agree 100%

While in this image it does show up as 0 0 0 on the Center Stage, obviously it'll show up as 0 0 0 on the FG. And to me it's rather odd - as LCD and DLP pj's suffer from light spill/leaks, to the point were normally they're really just showing the viewer a really dark gray.



It actually does make sense. And that's a good question! One thing I will do, is look at the actual RAW file and see if something was lost in the conversion to jpeg. Especially because when doing the shots, the blacks had not really stood out to me in the medium ambient light shots. Do you want a copy of the RAW file? It's probably around 20mbs or so.
That's a good point regarding ambient light...it could be that the scenario I'm presenting is only valid (if valid at all) in a dark room.

One other thing that I will note. I'm not doing these reviews to compare my FG to the reviewed screen. I'm actually trying to avoid it out of respect to these companies that submitted samples. I think in the future I may crop the photos down.

mech
mech, I think having the FG in the photo is a good thing. It is difficult enough to assess performance through photographs, and almost impossible without a reference (as you know, some others in cyberland NEVER post any reference materials against their great, new, DIY inventions...and then declare victory over all other screens).

If the intent is for you (and only you) to review the materials and share what you see with us, then the baseline material isn't needed in the photos. And, to be clear, that approach will provide us with lots of good information. But, if the intent is for others on the forum to also "review from afar and comment" on the material you're testing, then I think the reference material is important. In my case, I trust you and your judgments much more than my own...as this is all new to me...but I'm sure alot of folks could add some good info to your review if the reference material is left intact.
 
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
Top