My First Projector & Screen

1_sufferin_mind

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Hello to everyone! If you're here to offer advice, the more the merrier! If you're hear to browse, I hope you pick up something useful.

I'm in the process of building a new home. One of the upstairs bedrooms will serve as the dedicated theater (#3 in the attached image). Assuming the gear will play into the conventional long dimension, how do I plan the screen size / seating distance ratio so that main speaker positions are taken into account? Looking at the drawing and paying particular attention to the window and closet obstructions, where would you place your screen and why? What are the distance considerations for the projector? I have absolutely no idea where to start because the alphabet soup of screen/display ratio's boggles my mind.

EDIT: Sorry for the oversight... Would you buy or paint your screen on the wall? Why or why not?
 

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JStewart

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Hey Sufferin, do you have any speakers now that you'll be using or have anything in mind?

What are your plans for seating, i.e. how many?

Looking at a projector that will do HDR, either 4k or faux k (pixel shifter) or sticking with 1080p?
 

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I had a painted screen for a couple years before I bought a fixed screen and I can say that paint just does not cut it in my opinion. the "proper" screen paint is costly and is still not as effective as a real screen. I still have a nice Jamestown screen that I bought 12 years ago and its held up really well.
 

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Interesting..I ALMOST went the painted wall route before deciding on a manual pull-down. Thanks, Tony, for informing us that the wall paint doesn't perform as well as a real screen : )
 

1_sufferin_mind

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I had a painted screen for a couple years before I bought a fixed screen and I can say that paint just does not cut it in my opinion. the "proper" screen paint is costly and is still not as effective as a real screen. I still have a nice Jamestown screen that I bought 12 years ago and its held up really well.
From questions asked by other enthusiasts, it does seem like wall prep, paint selection/mixing and application can be involved. Please explain what you mean by “not as effective.” Are you referring to brightness, tint, or color issues?
 

1_sufferin_mind

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Hey Sufferin, do you have any speakers now that you'll be using or have anything in mind?

What are your plans for seating, i.e. how many?

Looking at a projector that will do HDR, either 4k or faux k (pixel shifter) or sticking with 1080p?
Yes, JStewart, I’m locked-in to using my existing Revel Ultima Salon & Voice for L/C/R duties. The screen would not need to be acoustically transparent, because the center channel is too large to hide behind a false wall.

I’m thinking of swapping out the PSB Image B5 rear surrounds for a pair of SVS Prime Elevations, and adding a pair of same for side surround duties.

There will probably be two rows of seating: traditional theater seats in front with a couch behind. And as far as resolution goes, I’m locked into 1080p for the time being. Unless big-screen (90+ inch) viewing at proper distance would prove to be too grainy, I don’t relish spending he money to upgrade my player and AVR at this time.
 

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From questions asked by other enthusiasts, it does seem like wall prep, paint selection/mixing and application can be involved. Please explain what you mean by “not as effective.” Are you referring to brightness, tint, or color issues?
Yes, a perfectly flat smooth surface is important but for me the "gain" that you get from screen material is just simply not effective in even the professional screen paint that you can buy. the reflective properties of a proper screen make the image pop for lack of a better word, good contrast suffers as well on a painted wall.
 

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When you put your LCRs behind a painted wall, it tends to alter the sound a little too much for my taste.

Never considered a painted wall. Never will.
 

1_sufferin_mind

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Not expecting anyone or everyone to do my homework for me, I found out that this new 11x17 room may not be large enough for projection. I also determined I prefer. 2.4/2.35 aspect ratio screen primarily for movie viewing.

Generally accepted viewing distance is often quoted as 1.5xdiagonal, though personal preference plays a role. Left to my own devices in a formal theater, I tend to sit about 1/3 back from the screen. Assuming a conventional 1.5x design, my first row at home would need to be about 12ft back. That doesn’t really allow for a second row of seating or optimal positioning of the rear surrounds.

So it seems my new room is a bit smallish for projection. What do you think—is it really an “upgrade” to replace my 60” plasma flatscreen with a marginally larger projection system at much greater cost?
 

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My room is like 9.5'x17.5' and I have 3 rows, a 115" diagonal 16x9 screen that I have semi-permanently masked for 2x1. And that's with a false wall and acoustically transparent screen. Granted, I was able to use a couple blocked out window-wells and cut another hole in the wall for speaker depth, so I only really lost about 6" with the false wall, but still.

It's tight, but it's not crowded. I've had 10 theater enthusiasts in there watching a movie before and heard zero complaints.
 

1_sufferin_mind

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Now that I’ve visited your showcase, Kudos to you and your Diamond Street Cinema! That didn’t happen by accident. I imagine the soundfield from your front stage is quite impressive with a matched, vertical center channel.

Crunching numbers for your screen size confuses me. More research on my part is needed! I can understand how some people
like to sit close for an immersive experience, and I may become one. I’ve always imagined the thrill of having your field of vision filled with action on a big screen. How far away is your first row?

Maybe a false wall would work for me by concealing a mount to raise my center channel (currently under screen) to be more in-line with the mains. That way the drivers which carry similar frequencies are roughly arranged in the same horizontal plane relative to the LP. In this case, the mains’ tweeters are 4ft off the ground—incidentally, that’s the distance recommended by some for minimum height of screen off the floor for good line-of-sight to back rows. In any case, I need to look into how a false wall is built. Tear-down needs to inflict minimal damage to the original structure.

So even though I’d still be “saddled” with an admittedly not-ideal-horizontal-dispersion-pattern-center-channel, at least images wouldn’t tend to nose dive to the level of its current shelf, right? I wouldn’t have a nicely matched L/C/R set with “aligned” baffles, but removing the center from between my mains tremendously improves stereo performance.

My mains will pull off the holographic audiophile thing, but only if they’re well away from room boundaries. If excellent SS&I can be achieved in that room, I’m not sure I’m willing to give it up. But maybe I won’t have to as I move along this learning curve...
 

JStewart

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My mains will pull off the holographic audiophile thing, but only if they’re well away from room boundaries. If excellent SS&I can be achieved in that room, I’m not sure I’m willing to give it up. But maybe I won’t have to as I move along this learning curve...
A ceiling mount drop down acoustically transparent screen might be a choice then.
Every choice will come with a compromise and this one might be 1 row of seating vs 2. But hey, who needs friends when you’ve got us?
 

thrillcat

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My front row is approximately 9-9 1/2 feet from the screen. I can't remember right off hand.

The screen is 100" wide by 50" tall in the 2:1 aspect ratio I've been using.

The sound is awesome. I have all the materials to swap out my surrounds to match the LCRs, I just have to find the time to build the crossovers. They will basically be identical, in a slated cabinet, with only a single midrange. Same drivers, same horns, and same crossovers.

For building the false wall, I basically used the "goal post" technique. I put a 2x4 across the floor, and one across the ceiling, from wall to wall. Then I added two vertical 2x4s between them, placed between the L-C and C-R. The screen is hung on them using a french cleat that stretches across. Then I added a few more 2x4 pieces to mount the cedar on. Most people, instead of the cedar, will use a deep black fabric or velvet and make frames to place around the screen. I had the cedar and liked the look, so I used it in short pieces that only go about an inch behind the frame. Then I stuffed behind it with leftover carpet and padding.

14470


As for fitting 3 rows, I wouldn't have done it if I wanted 3 rows of recliners. It wouldn't have worked. But because my 2nd row is a couch, and my 3rd row is a row of movie theater seats, I didn't have to allow for recline space. My front row of recliners don't recline back more than a couple inches, they move down and out, so it doesn't really encroach into the row 2 legroom.

14472


Honestly, I probably left too much space between row 2 and 3. Row 3 is rarely used, and there's a ton of space back there. There's enough room behind that my sub is back there, extra blanket and pillow storage. The front edge of my equipment rack is even with the backs of the chairs in row 3.

14471


The only real tight squeeze is going past row 2 to get to row 3 and the equipment rack. I could put a more normal sized couch in row 2 and eliminate that problem if I really wanted to, but I'm more interested in moving west than renovating the theater again. That way I can start over! :)
 

Tony V.

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I dont see any reason why you cant do a projection with screen in your room. You could easily get a 100" AT screen on that wall but just remember that cutting into that wall for placing speakers would mean either building it out or loosing any soundproofing that that wall would offer into the bathroom thats behind it.as well you may have some plumbing that gets in the way.
 

1_sufferin_mind

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...Every choice will come with a compromise and this one might be 1 row of seating vs 2. But hey, who needs friends when you’ve got us?
You jest, yet are not far from the truth! I/we don’t entertain much, and prefer to partake without the interruptions and chatter which inevitably accompany such gatherings. Not accommodating a larger audience Is definitely an option.
 

1_sufferin_mind

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...remember that cutting into that wall for placing speakers would mean either building it out or loosing any soundproofing that that wall would offer into the bathroom thats behind it.as well you may have some plumbing that gets in the way.
More out of ignorance than anything else, I’m assuming structural mods are cans-of-worms that would only cause headaches come time to prep the house for resale. I’m referring to modifications of existing construction, because redesigning the structure requires engineering time we can’t afford.

But I like your idea of building out the front wall. Others have mentioned that might be the way to go as well. A few calcs might be in order to determine if such a front “stage” is feasible. I have a gut feeling it definitely would be without a third or second row, especially if they don’t recline as in thrillcat’s space.
 

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If the wall is prepped well you can do well with a painted screen. The problem with painted screens (and I consider myself an expert on them) is that manufactured screens of very good quality are fairly cheap nowadays. When I was testing paints and painting screens, manufactured screens were expensive. Not so anymore. My 100" screen Elite screen was less than $500. The aggravation and time spent painting the wall would have been much more than that. And if you can't get the wall perfect then you're looking at building a frame and finding a substrate to paint, etc. Yuck! I'm glad those days are long gone!

If you do decide to go that route I can help you out. But I'd advise not.
 

1_sufferin_mind

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Thinking out loud, I first had trouble wrapping my brain around how to sandwich a 100” screen along with my very large mains across the front wall without sacrificing SS&I. But then I realized I erroneously used the diagonal in my calcs. Not hard to imagine how I got the idea most installations in smallish rooms prioritize movies over music. DOH, and apologies!

On an 11ft (132inch) wide front wall, I’d be able to fit my mains on either side of a projection screen with room to spare. Needing at least 2ft (preferably 3ft) from the sidewalls for convincing holographic performance, the mains would be spaced a maximum of 5.5ft apart (on centers). Allowing for 1ft per side between each speaker and the screen yields a screen width of only 3.5ft (48” diag). Unacceptable.

Crowding the mains a foot closer to the screen edges still yields only 76” diag. Better, but still not big screen territory. It’s beginning to look like the best option for prioritizing SS&I while still accommodating HT is to place the L/C/R set behind a transparent screen.

While that may have been obvious to some of you, I had to convince myself the hard way! I now realize a false front wall maximizes both screen size and L/R separation. Recalculating for 3ft from speaker to wall sets centerline distance at 5ft. The screen size then just depends on its frame width and the associated clearance to the wall: roughly 9ft wide or 127” diagonal.

Do you think that’s a reasonable set up?
 

Tony V.

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I would look at getting an Acoustically Transparent screen (AT) this way you put your front 3 speakers behind the screen and the sound goes through tinny holes in the screen material its self.
 

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They still have those?
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ProJect Debut Carbon Turntable (2-channel system), Hana EL cart
I would look at getting an Acoustically Transparent screen (AT) this way you put your front 3 speakers behind the screen and the sound goes through tinny holes in the screen material its self.
Actually, at most home theater sizes, a weave screen will be better suited than a perforated screen. The weave allow for a minimal distance between speakers and screen. Perf would require a deeper cavity behind the screen.

But yes, acoustically transparent is, in my opinion, the way to go whenever possible.
 

1_sufferin_mind

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Oppo BDP-95
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Revel Ultima Salon
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....you put your front 3 speakers behind the screen and the sound goes through tinny holes in the screen material its self.
Just like in a cinema! You have my attention and I’d like to know more. Maybe I should ask my questions here for the benefit of others. Maybe I should try to answer them myself instead: due diligence and all. Maybe I’ll try a little of both. Back in a few!
 

1_sufferin_mind

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Emotiva XMC-2
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Emotiva XPA-5
Additional Amp
McCormack DNA-1 Custom Monoblocks (On Standby)
Other Amp
Woo Audio WA6se w/ Audeze LCD-2
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Oppo BDP-95
Front Speakers
Revel Ultima Salon
Center Channel Speaker
Revel Voice
Surround Speakers
PSB Image B5
Subwoofers
Seaton Sound Submersive F2+/- pair
Other Speakers or Equipment
Cary SLP98P / VPI SuperScout with JMW9 & Hana MH
Video Display Device
LG 65" OLED 65CX
Screen
TBD
Streaming Subscriptions
JVC X70R Proj ; PS Audio PWD w/ Streaming Bridge
Actually, at most home theater sizes, a weave screen will be better suited than a perforated screen. The weave allow for a minimal distance between speakers and screen. Perf would require a deeper cavity behind the screen.

But yes, acoustically transparent is, in my opinion, the way to go whenever possible.
Okay, thrillcat, I’ve got some more of Sufferin’s apologetic ink for you. I’m really not ignoring your earlier post. My OAIADDs (Old Age-Induced Attention Deficit Disorder) got the better of me. I was on my way to get my smartphone to logon AV NIRVANA when I saw my car keys and remembered I had left my windows open. So I picked them up to go outside and thought I might as well take out the garbage while I’m at it. As I was taking the bag out of the can, it broke open, etc., etc., etc.

Where was I going with all this? Oh yeah—I’ll be sure to reply to that post (and this one) after I do a little digging for AT basics. :)
 

mechman

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Someone someplace has probably had a good experience with a retractable screen. Not sure where though. They always seem to end up curling on the edges and for their price, they shouldn’t. If you go with a pj, I’d skip the flat panel behind the screen and just used a fixed screen.
 

Tony V.

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Im not a fan of pull down screens either but that was my thoughts to get you more size.

@1_sufferin_mind How tall are your speakers?
 

Todd Anderson

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Denon X8500H
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OPPO UDP-203, Panasonic UB9000
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GoldenEar Technology Triton One.R
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SVS Ultra Surround
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SVS Ultra Bookshelf
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SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Front, Top Mid-Front)
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SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Middle, Top Rear)
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dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
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JVC NX7
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Carada Cine-White 0 gain
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LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, Sony 65-inch X900F
Quality tension screens cost serious coin... just be aware!

My issue with fixed (sans masking system) is just that: one aspect ratio will have masking... another won’t.
 
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