Q&A

Please post your home theater questions or comments here….

89 Comments
Mark

Multi-use room, with light colored walls
Projector: RS-25
Used only in the evening – what type of screen material would you recommend?

Mark

Forgot to mention – screen size ~100″ diagonal. Projector against back wall, ~12 feet from screen.

Mark

Hi –
Ceiling mounted projector – screen will be a tensioned drop down (over a plasma) -so top or slightly above with a little lens shift.

W. Jeff Meier

I would get samples of Stewart Grayhawk, Stewart Firehawk and Black Diamond II 1.4. Screens are very personal and you should compare before buying. 

Mark

I was under the impression that these surfaces excelled in situations were there was actual ambient light. We plan to watch with lights off. Is there a reason that the Studiotec 130 is not recommended?

W. Jeff Meier

The StudioTek 130 is not as effective at reducing reflections. Those other materials are actually higher gain material than the ST 130 with a coating to reduce the effective gain, but they retain the narrow viewind angle of the higher gain material. The BD 1.4 for example is actually a gain of 6.0 with a coating.

The ST 130 will be much better than a low gain screen. A Solar HD 1.3 is very similar to the ST130 if you want to go that route. It would be better to paint the walls a darker color and use the ST 130 or Solar HD, but it sounded like that was not an option. Light colored walls in a front projection system are not the best combination.

The impact of the walls will depend on their distance from the screen. Since your rear wall is only 12′ from the screen that sounds like a very challenging room which should be painted instead of trying to solve a room problem with a screen.

Chris

Hi Jeff,

I have an MJ Acoustics sub that uses a speakon connector like the REL’s. The sub has 2 xovers. One for the left and right or LFE lo inputs and one for the speakon hi input. It’s connected to my receiver using the LFE lo input and the speakon hi input together. If I disconnect the speakon connector as you suggest how will I incorporate bass into my system when the source does not have a dedicated low frequency channel?

Chris

Jeff,

I have a Pioneer VSX-59txi. Do you know if it has that capability? If the source does not have a dedicated low frequency channel like blu ray/sacd/dvd-a do will it still engage the subwoofer connected via the LFE only? I’ve already implemented the auto setup. Thanks.

W. Jeff Meier

Chris,

All home theater receivers have this capability. Auto setup in the Pioneer is not a good way to get quality sound. These auto setup systems work very poorly. It must be done manually. Look at my audio setup guide for how to do this.

The LFE channel does not contain all low frequency information. It is an effects channel that is primarily used for bumps and thumps. You must use bass management on all sources to get extended frequency response for your speakers.

Chris

Jeff,

You had favorable impressions of both the Marantz AV7005 and the Emotive UMC-1. Can you tell me which of the two you would prefer and why? Thanks.

W. Jeff Meier

Chris,

The Emotiva UMC-1 is a very good unit, but it has had many annoying bugs that make it more of a hassle to use than other products. I would go with the Marantz if it was my money to have a more trouble free product.

William Elfarr

I am building a new house and finishing out my media room. My room is 24×16 ft. The 2 rows of seats will be 15 and 20 ft from the 144 inch screen. The walls are painted flat dark blue and the room will be completely dark for viewing. What do you think about the stewart studiotech 130 screen? curved or flat? And which type of masking? Should I spend the extra $ for the lateral masking with the anamorphic lens?

W. Jeff Meier

William I do not believe the StudioTek 130 is available in that size. They call it UltraMatte 130 when you get that big.

Stewart screens are some of the best materials in the business. Lateral masking with an anamorphic lens is a great way to go. A curved screen with gain will also improve contrast by reducing reflections to side walls. The screen material should also match the projector. You need enough light to work with that size screen. Note that most projectors overstate the actual lumens and lamps dim up to 50 percent in about 500 to 1000 hours of operation.

Be sure the projector is mounted such that keystone correction will not be needed. That type of correction will reduce image resolution.

Also be sure you use a high quality anamorphic lens like an ISCO III or a Panamorph UH480 or your image quality may suffer. A CineSlide is a good thing to use with these.

I do offer calibration services in a large part of the country. You can check out my services at http://www.accucalhd.com. This will bring the quality of your home theater experience to the best it can be. All systems are way off without my service. I can also help you with selection of your equipment to get the most value for your money.

Chris

Jeff,

I have a Marantz AV7005. I know your not impressed with the Audyssey auto calibration. Would it be more effective using a better microphone than the stock one? If so, can you recommend a good one? Thanks.

W. Jeff Meier

No. They use the wrong target and corrupt the data with their tens of thousands of parameters per channel. Even Audyssey Pro which uses a better microphone and allows customization is not very good.

Don Bush

Hi Jeff-
I Had the pleasure of watching this film on my system that you calibrated last year (video and audio) and WOW, the experience was AWESOME:

http://bluray.highdefdigest.com/6114/art_of_flight.html

Incredible PQ and the AQ is top notch!

And turn up the volume before the film starts, the Dolby TrueHD intro is really cool. I think it’s as good as the THX trailer at the end of Avatar.

Don

Mike

Hi Jeff,

I need some advice / help please. My PS 3 Fat died the other night so I purchased a Slim model. What setting should I be using Slim PS 3?

Thanks for your time and help.

Mike

W. Jeff Meier

Hi Mike,

Which settings are you talking about?

RGB should be set to limited.

Audio Dynamic Range should be off.

Scaling should be normal.

Super White should be on.

Ryan

Jeff,

Could you recommend me a good parametric eq unit to use in my ht? It’s a 5.1(might be 5.2 soon) setup and I do not envision adding heights or sides anytime soon.

Thanks,
Ryan

Ryan

Well, I actually meant a 4-8 channel unit separate unit. 4 channels in order to calibrate my lcr and a single sub, and an 8 channel unit to potentially calibrate lcr, 2 subs and surrounds. I would like the option of 4K in the next year and I’m not optimistic on emotiva meeting a deadline with their processors.

W. Jeff Meier

I would look at a Classe SSP-800 if you want the best unit I have encountered. They are likely to upgrade to 4K. They have upgraded that unit several times.

W. Jeff Meier

They have had some serious lip sync problems with these new units that are pretty frustrating. I would get a Sony unless you need some of the features Oppo offers because you are likely to have some issues with these products. Sony owns Blu-Ray and tends to offer the most up to date firmware for playing movies.

David Bigelow

1.I have PSB speakers, Alpha series T1 for fronts, C1 center and B1 for surround sides with Onkyo high front and rear surround. My question is for a 7.2 would it be best to purchase another set of B1 for rear surrounds to match or buy some bipole or dipole speakers? if the latter which do you suggest?(I only have the front wides since my receiver will support it in a function but run rear 7.2 all the time)
2. Subs are PSB subsonic 5i and a Onkyo sub should I look for a different sub? when set with audyssey XT32 it has sub set so low not much effect

W. Jeff Meier

David,

1. I would use the B1 for the rear surrounds. I prefer bipole speakrs for the side surrounds like the Klipsch RS-42. You should read these blog posts on surrounds.

https://www.homecinemaguru.com/an-examination-of-side-surround-speaker-designs/

https://www.homecinemaguru.com/how-many-surround-speakers-should-you-install-in-your-theater/

https://www.homecinemaguru.com/what-surround-sound-modes-should-i-use-on-my-receiver/

2. Subwoofers are an area where extra dollars can deliver good value. I would consider replacing the Onkyo subwoofer with a 12″-15″ PSB, Klipsch or Rythmik unit. I am no fan of Audyssey and offer services to deliver much improved results over that method. More information on that is available here https://www.accucalav.com/thx-audio-calibration/ and https://www.accucalav.com/reviews/. You should also read these blog posts.

https://www.homecinemaguru.com/audyssey-multeq-comparison-to-manual-audio-calibration/

https://www.homecinemaguru.com/will-automatic-audio-calibration-lead-to-great-sound-or-even-optimal-sound/

https://www.homecinemaguru.com/selecting-the-right-subwoofer-for-you/

David

What surge protector do you recommend and should I run the coax cable and Ethernet thru it?

W. Jeff Meier

This blog post contains recommendations on surge protection. To meet IEEE recommendations surge protection should be present at the entrance to the building and at the device supply for sensitive equipment. Brands are less important than where they are located relative to the grounding system. All communications and electrical equipment should be tied to the service ground where they penetrate the building.

https://www.homecinemaguru.com/surge-protection/

Mixmastered Acoustics


Hi –

Just stumbled on to the site and saw that you have a list of acoustic treatment companies. Mixmastered Acoustics would be happy to offer our assistance as well to anyone with acoustical treatment questions and advice.

Cheers,
Dan

Mixmastered Acoustics

I can appreciate that and respect your authenticity and high standards. We can live up to them. That is why we are confident that it would make sense to explore working together in the future in the event that have a need for our products.

Warm Regards,

Dan

Amanda

Hi,

My name is Amanda Alcott and I am a recent college graduate working and writing for Home Theater Solutions. I’m contacting you today because I came across your website and would like to contribute content to your blog.

In addition to being a writer and blogger, I have a design background, and have been at the helm of the HTSFL Blog for the last 8 months.
If you are currently accepting guest articles and this is a collaboration that interests you, please send me an email.

Thanks so much,
I hope to hear from you soon.

Best,
Amanda Alcott

Nate

Fascinated by your tweets about the JVC autocal software undermining overall projector output. How do you reverse that?

W Meier

You have to manually calibrate the projector. Auto calibration for video and audio generally comes far short of what the product is capable of.

Roman

Hello Jeff
I own my own small home cinema, and due to the fact that I had an apprenticeship as television and radio electrician, as well as in electronics, people often ask me for advice e.g. when it comes to calibration of their home cinema system(s).
Question: Am I right when I say, that one aspect of a calibration (among others aspects like frequency response or propagation delay) is, that all speakers should have the when ever possible the same volume in a defined listening area? For example, if a main front speaker reproduces a predefined pink noise with a volume level of 75db(C), all other speakers should reproduce the same predefined pink noise with the same volume level of 75db(C)? (Exception: if someone uses two subwoofers, they sum up its level, so they have to be quieter for approx. 6db).
Is this assumption correct?
Kind regards
Roman

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