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Mini Austin meet at the Miniplex

Discussion in 'Home Theater Forum Meets' started by Jonathan DA, May 21, 2003.

  1. Mark J

    Mark J Extra

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    Dave writes:

    "Have you seen the Immersive? I can't wait to see either the Optoma 76 (which lists at $6K) or the Immersive Virtuoso (which was $5995 on pre-buy). I'm debating whether to upgrade now to an LT240 (maybe out of pocket $1500 if I sell my LT150) or get one of these two HD2s."

    I got in on the powerbuy. When I get everything setup (I'm building the theater right now), I'll invite you all over for a viewing.

    --Mark
     
  2. Dave Elliott

    Dave Elliott Stunt Coordinator

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    Nils and Mark,

    I'm definitely intrigued about the Immersive. I have a feeling that after I see one in person I'll be a bit lighter in the wallet. I might get a new projector in time for football season since we'll finally have ABC MNF, ESPN, and NFL Sunday Ticket....along with some collect games and NHL -- in glorious HDTV. About time.

    I'm with you on Runco... now that this is becoming less of a niche market, their markups are no longer justifiable. With big name mass producers in the game now, I think we'll see a big drop in HD2 projectors in the next 6-9 months.

    Jonathan,

    There is an HP engineer that posts on AVS. If you search the
     
  3. Jonathan DA

    Jonathan DA Screenwriter

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    The more I look into FPD the more I remember why I went CRT in the first place!

    There must be some differences between the Benq DX660 and the HP vp6120 as the former uses a 210W bulb and gets a 600:1 CR while the later uses a 250W bulb and gets 1000:1 contrast. Unless HP is fibbing on both specs. Maybe HP put an SHP bulb in? The PB8220 is out of my price range at $2900 street.

    I realized last night that a drawback to the Sharp, which I hadn't noticed earlier, is that it only accepts component via its DVI input. That means I can't have a dvd player and pc hooked up at the same. Grrrr.

    I'm not sure how important DVI is to me (as opposed to VGA and Component). I plan to keep this next projector for 3 years, then upgrade. How much HD content will really be available in Austin in the next three years OTA, and how much will I care considering how little television I watch? I guess there's always the new DVI dvd players, but then would a 480p image upscaled to a 720p image down scaled to 576p for an XGA projector look any better than a 480p image up scaled straight to 576p? Inquiring minds want to know.
     
  4. Jeff Meininger

    Jeff Meininger Second Unit

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    The L300U probably isn't going to be any better if you want HDTV over DVI. It has DVI in, but it is not HDCP compatible. Who knows how all of that will unfold. If you went L300, you'd have to do Bravo D1 DVD player into DVI, your PC into VGA, and HDTV over component. That's a lot of cables.

    For the Sharp, I bet you could get a high-quality, high-bandwidth "dumb" DVI switchbox somewhere for like $100. Then you could switch between the various sources all going into the same DVI cable to your PJ. This would actually be kinda cool... just one cable to run.

    I watched VERY little TV before getting HDTV, and I had positively no interest in watching primetime sitcoms. HDTV looks so freakin' great that it makes me want to watch. I still watch less than 4 hours a week, but I'm glad I have it. I'm still not super excited about the available programming. CSI is fun to watch in HD a few times because it's so pretty. Everybody Loves Raymond can be funny. The only thing I want to watch on a regular basis is Bernie Mac (EDTV), though. I also enjoy the occasional "special" that airs. They ran one about Hitler's rise to power a while back that was interesting. Primetime movies look positively OUTSTANDING (better than DVD) but it sucks that they edit them for content and runtime.

    Once Time Warner picks up an eyecandy channel (Discovery HD I think), I'll be watching more. Can't get that OTA, though.

    One other HDTV observation: not sure if it's time warner or the source stations... but where commercials are usually a little bit louder than the program itself on SDTV, I find that they're WAY louder on HDTV. If you don't have that remote control in-hand when the show goes to commercial, prepare for an earbleed.


    I think a significant and worthwhile amount of programming will be available OTA within the next 3 years.
     
  5. Jeff Meininger

    Jeff Meininger Second Unit

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    Jonathan: I think the key to the Bravo's success isn't the scaling.. it's the lack of D/A A/D conversion. ProjectorCentral said they got the best picture out of their Optoma H56 by outputting 480p over DVI and letting the PJ do the scaling.
     
  6. Frederick_Falk

    Frederick_Falk Second Unit

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    Hey Jeff,

    You know why they turn up the volume during commercials, don't ya. It is because they know that the majority of the viewers get up and go to either the bathroom or kitchen, so as a courtsey to you, they turn up the volume so you will still be able to hear the commerical while you are not in the room where the TV is![​IMG] Ain't that nice of them to be so thoughtful! [​IMG]
     
  7. Jonathan DA

    Jonathan DA Screenwriter

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    For anyone interested, I did gather a bit more info on the HP vp6120. According to BenQ the color wheel on the DX660 is a 3x RGBW, so I'm assuming the same is true for the HP. Also, the HP uses a 250W UHP bulb instead of the 210W NSH bulb in the BenQ. That should give the HP better grayscale tracking abilities, and increases its CR to 1000:1 instead of 600:1.
     
  8. Jonathan DA

    Jonathan DA Screenwriter

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    Hey Nils, what's your opinion of the DaLite High Contrast Cinema Vision screen for use with something like an L300U or HS-10? Have you seen this one in action? I know you're not a big fan of grey screens in general.
     
  9. Jonathan DA

    Jonathan DA Screenwriter

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    Hmm, after reading this thread I'm thinking of rescinding my question. I know screen shots aren't a very good way to evaluate a screen, but the shots of the gray screen demonstrate a fair amount of loss in shadow detail. That sucks. Maybe a high-power is the way to go and just live with the black levels?

    Compromise sucks.
     
  10. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    To this day I still can't understand why folks on forums gets so worked up over wanting to see screen shots. Every time a new projector gets reviewed there is always a cry out for screen shots. Screen shots can look horrible to fantastic depending on sooo many different factors that it makes them meaningless - IMO. There are a few exceptions, but not enough to make me even consider evaluating image quality based on a screen shot.

    That said, I would not recommend high contrast screens as they not only have a negative impact on shadow detail, but they can also effect color acuity. The one exception might be FireHawk, but I have only seen it on a couple projectors and neither of those times was I allowed to use test patterns to judge how the screen effected the quality of the image. From what I saw though, it looked better than the effect that you get using GrayHawk or Hi-Contrast screens.

    Hi-Power is an excellent screen material, but would be unnecessary for your installation. Both the L300 & HS10 are certainly not ever going to be mistaken for lighthouses, but they both provide more than enough lumens to produce an ideal image on a medium to small sized screen. Unless you were thinking of building a larger screen I'd recommend that you stick with a 1.3 gain material.
     
  11. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Cinematographer

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    We're evaluating screen material for our DWD, so I have Da-Lite's binder of screen material samples, but they're probably too small to be of use for you...
     
  12. Jonathan DA

    Jonathan DA Screenwriter

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    Well, it looks like someone over on AVS has a contact at HP and found out that the color wheel on the vp6120 only spins at 7200rpm, which is 2x. That sucks, I would never buy a 2x DLP. So now I'm back to thinking HS10 with a Bravo D1 on the DVI input. Of course that means I'll need a pre-pro, which I was hoping to avoid by getting a DVD player with built-in decoders.
     
  13. Jonathan DA

    Jonathan DA Screenwriter

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    Miniplex 2.0

    Well, I still haven't decided on a projector, but it seems that the options remain the same, Sony HS-10, Panny L300U, or Sharp M20X. The projector that has everything I want is the HT1000, but I'm not going to pay $4000 for a projector now when I could spend $2K now and another $2k in two years and end up with a better projector at the end of 4 years than if I bought an HT1000 now. Anyway...

    The rest of the system I do have planned out, so I thought I'd throw it out here for critique.

    The plan is to dispense with the HTPC in most instances. Instead I'm thinking of getting an SACD/DVD/CD player with DD and DTS decoders built in.

    The Philips 963SA is catching my eye. There seem to be a number of reported problems, but most of them appear to be worked out with the new firmware. DCDi processing, SACD playback, built in DD and DTS processing as well as pretty good bass management for an integrated decoder.

    [​IMG]

    I'd also like DVD-Audio playback capability. Rather buying a universal player, I decided that I could get equal performace for the same money in two seperate pieces. So, for the DVD-A player I'm looking to the Denon 1600, which by all accounts also an excellent DVD player. With two players I can move them between the Miniplex and my bedroom system. This way I'll be prepared for any format a prospective client may wish to audition.

    [​IMG]

    For the amp, I'll stick with the Adcom GFA-7400 in the Miniplex.

    [​IMG]

    In the bedroom system I'll most likely be building a smaller version of new solid-state amplifier Scott Hinson is designing. This won't be available as a Mirus product, but we might sell a few circuit boards and make the plans available for anyone interested. You might be asking, what about the tube amp?! I'd still like to get one some time, but right now the budget is a little thin for high quality tube gear.

    For preamps I'll be rolling my own. Since I won't be using a pre/pro in the Miniplex, I'm going to build a minimalist 6 channel active preamp with stepped attenuators. As an homage, I'm thinking of styling it after the Marantz model 7 of old.

    [​IMG]

    In the bedroom system, I'll stick with the affordable, yet excellent sounding, Cambridge Audio C500 until I get enough channels of amplification downstairs to go multi-channel. At which time I'll probably build a second 6-channel preamp.

    [​IMG]

    Speakers are up in the air. We're working on a number of new Mirus models so there could be a steady rotation over the next few months.
     
  14. Dave Elliott

    Dave Elliott Stunt Coordinator

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    Jonathan,

    I currently have a DVD-Audio player and would love to add an SACD player also.

    Only problem is that no receiver that I know of has two sets of 5.1 inputs. SACD and DVD-Audio multichannel don't use optical cables.

    So, I can either get a 6 RCA A/B switcher or wait for a decent universal player at a reasonable price ($250?). I'll probably just wait.

    How will you be handling multiple 5.1 inputs? Will your home built preamp handle the switching?

    -Dave
     
  15. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    It will be 6 channel analog preamp not a processor or receiver with digital inputs an all that.

    Bel Canto makes one called the Pre6.
    McCormack also makes one called the Map6.
    Both of those have like 2 or 3 inputs that can attenuate a full 6 channels as well as some additional two channel inputs.
     
  16. Jonathan DA

    Jonathan DA Screenwriter

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    Dave, yes, my preamp will have source switching built in. The main difference between what I'm designing vs. the Bel Canto or McCormack is that each channel of my preamp will be completely independant of the others. Each channel will have its own volume control and there is no master. Normally this would create a problem matching the levels of all the channels, but with stepped attentuators I can get within 0.1 dB accross all channels. This also gives me the ability to add channels any time I want. So if I want to go to 7.1 or 10.2 I just build more channels. The biggest drawback to this design is that I won't have remote volume control. [​IMG] I'm thinking of placing it within reach of my listening chair for the sake of laziness. [​IMG]

    If you're handy with a soldering iron you could build a passive RCA switch box for much less than $250 and not have to wait for the prices of universal players to fall. What preamp are you currently using?
     
  17. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    Boy that will be fun to change the volume on. I was worried about the how big of a pain a left and right channel attenuator would be if I had gone that route with my preamp. Good luck.
     
  18. Jonathan DA

    Jonathan DA Screenwriter

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    It'll take about four seconds longer than changing the volume on a "normal" preamp. Once you have the levels calibrated, the first time you set up the system, then as long as you move each attentuator an equal number of steps your volume will always be correct across all channels. I played with a VTL prototype preamp a couple of years ago that used the same principle. At the time I thought it was sort of odd, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense to me. It's not the most convenient design, but it's the closest thing I've come up with yet to a "straight wire with gain".
     
  19. Jonathan DA

    Jonathan DA Screenwriter

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    I received a link in my inbox this morning to an interesting article on "lightburn" in LCD projectors. I haven't heard this study mentioned anywhere previously. Not sure I'd believe it since it was funded by TI, but's it's an interesting read nonetheless.

    http://www.extremetech.com/article2/...1050696,00.asp
     
  20. Dave Elliott

    Dave Elliott Stunt Coordinator

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    Jonathan,

    Sounds cool. Wish I had enough time to get into the DIY stuff. At some point I may create a music listening room in one of our unused bedrooms, at which point I'll start picking your brain I'm sure. My HT room is really my family room and its acoustics, while fine for 7.1 theater, aren't enclosed enough for music.

    I'm currently using a Denon 3803 receiver. It has, by all accounts, an excellent pre-amp (for the money). All of the processing is straight from Denon's 5803. Someday I may get a 2ch amp for the mains, but for right now it has plenty of power.

    As for SACD, I think I'll wait. Universal players are coming out fast so I know there will be one in my price range soon -- probably by the holidays.

    -Dave

    PS-Anyone want to buy a Philips Pronto TS2000 like new?
     

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