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WHAT DOES AN ANAMORPHIC LENS DO AND DO YOU NEED IT?

WHAT DOES AN ANAMORPHIC LENS DO AND DO YOU NEED IT?

The Paladin DCR Anamorphic Lens

Sounds like a cool name, right? So, you just shelled out big bucks to get your new native 4K projector and the complimenting 2.35:1/ 2.40:1 aspect ratio screen. What if I were to tell you that you aren’t getting all 8.8 million pixels of the 4K resolution on that new screen? With most projectors that have lens memory you can have multiple formats to choose from. In the case of the cinemascope 2.35:1 or the anamorphic 2.40:1 you probably chose this format screen because you are a movie lover and don’t care to have black bars at the top and bottom like with a 16X9 format screen.  Even with the image filling up the ultra-wide format screen, you are still projecting those black bars top and bottom of the screen. It’s very dim, but if you hold a mirror to the over-scanned area, you will see clearly. What if I were to tell you that you can get all 8.8 million pixels on the screen, improve your overall image brightness, and therefore increase your total contrast? It’s really easy to do, the answer is an anamorphic lens. 

Ok so if you have spiraled down the rabbit hole, you know that you are serious about performance. Most people are content with enjoying a native 4K projector zoomed out to fill an ultra-wide screen, but then again you’re not most people. You are here to get the best possible out of your system. There are several lenses to choose from, but the most common and widely available are the anamorphic lenses from Panamorph. There are different kinds of lenses for different types and models of projectors. Different lens models are specific to certain models or have a certain anamorphic de-squeeze ratio. I have the Paladin DCR lens. This is their flagship lens and is universal. I use this with the JVC RS3000 also known as the NX9. The projector/ lens configurator is available on their website, but if you need to, we can help you match whichever lens will work best with your projector.

Setup is easy, but takes a little time to play with to make everything line up perfectly. Once installed, make sure you go into your projector settings and enable whichever anamorphic setting needed to make the image fill up your screen. In my case, I used the anamorphic C setting in the JVC RS3000 / NX9. This setting is the same throughout the Current D-ILA lineup except the RS-4500 which is used in conjunction with the Lumagen Radiance Pro processor. Once set up you are ready to go. The full height of the reflective devices are being used and the lens physically does the desqueeze to fill up the screen left and right. This gives you back the pixels once lost on the top and bottom of the image. This increases your brightness because the pixel density has increased as well as improves your contrast because ¼ of the image isn’t physically casting black anymore. Sounds like a win win right?

I have used this setup for some time now and I feel like my experience with the projector/ lens combination has some teeth now. I love the color pop. I thought it was incredible before on my 144-inch Screen Innovations Zero Edge Pro Black Diamond screen. I’m using a 2.35:1 cinemascope screen for now and the image quality is outstanding. You really notice the increased sharpness when watching movies as well as the immersion is just that much better using the projector to its full potential. You can notice quite the difference in sharpness with or without the 8K enhancement feature.

The only real downside I see to using anamorphic lenses is that they are pricey. If the barrier to entry isn’t a concern for you then you are reaping all the benefits your projector is capable of. Setup can be time consuming, so be patient if you are setting this up yourself or be prepared to pay a little extra if you have a company come out and install this for you. This is all reflective of my experience with the Paladin DCR universal lens. There are model specific versions that just slip right into place saving you install time. These are usually less expensive as compared to the Flagship DCR lens, but the model specific ones are only available for that specific model at the time of purchase. So if you bought the NEW paladin DCR-J1 then it will slip right onto an RS1000/RS2000 or NX5/NX7 specifically. If you ever replace that projector, there are no guarantees that the lens could be used on the next series. That’s the trade off in price break for the model specific version. Again, a lot of this may be confusing so reach out to us and we can walk you through which lens is good for you now and possibly in the future as well. We have a few videos for you all to check out that we did on this topic and we plan on adding several more because we find this is a frequently misunderstood area of home theater.

-Chris Mata

EPSON PC6050UB THE JACK OF ALL TRADES

EPSON PC6050UB THE JACK OF ALL TRADES

Welcome back to the Blog section. Today we will discuss a quick overview of my experiences with the Epson Pro Cinema 6050UB. Epson projectors are special to me because that was the first one I ever owned. Like most people new to home theater, price and performance are at the top of the list. I started with the Epson HC5040UB. This model was current when I bought it and paired it with a nice ambient rejecting screen. I loved this combination until I upgraded to the new and improved PC6050UB.

The 6050UB was sharper, had more features for HDR and had amazing color pop when compared to the 5040UB.  The 5050UB would be a more apt comparison but I chose to go with the 6050 for its included mount, spare lamp and extra year of warranty. The Epson 6050 is a 1080P resolution that does pixel shifting to recreate 4K resolution. I thought it did an incredible job and was always very crisp and sharp no matter the content. I used the projector in our living room as a TV replacement. If you have the space and an understanding wife, I highly recommend the same setup. We used the space for movies, TV watching and the occasional video game night whenever friends came to visit. I really enjoyed how the 6050 did a great job with any content we threw at it. It was excellent for fast paced sports because it had a one button toggle in between prioritizing fine or fast material.

Another key feature that ultimately led me to choose the 5040 and then the 6050 is that I love the ultra-wide formats like 2.35:1 cinemascope and 2.40:1 anamorphic. The Epson can store up to 10 format or shape specific settings. Most people order a 16×9 format screen because that is what our TVs are shaped like these days. In this instance the whole picture would be filled up when watching Most streaming or TV content. On the other hand, when you watch 2.35/ 2.40 format content on a TV or 16×9 formatted screen, the image will show black bars at the top and bottom.  If seeing black bars when watching movies is not your cup of tea, you can order a 2.35 or 2.40 screen and zoom out so that when a movie is playing, the picture will fill up the entire screen and be just like you saw in the theater. The only trade off is when the format changes back to 16×9 you would have to press a lens memory setting to have the image shrink down at a fixed height to be on the ultra-wide screen. This results in a smaller image when playing 16X9 content and having black bars on the sides. Toggling between the two formats is quick and easy but if you have a 16X9 screen this feature is not needed.

I can talk about the specs of this unit all day long but that can be found anywhere. I will instead talk about my everyday use with this projector. The unit runs cool and creates low noise when on normal and low lamp mode. You can run it on high like I did and not significantly heat up your room. The projector is plenty bright as compared to other projectors in the price range. This unit is not native 4K but delivers a very crispy sharp image. You would never miss the difference in sharpness unless you saw a comparably priced Native 4K projector next to it (which there aren’t any). All in all, the Epson 6050UB is a great projector that has a long list of pros without many to tick in the cons column. I have owned two in the lineup and would gladly own another one down the road. I highly recommend this projector for the person getting into home theater or the person that has already loved 2-piece projection but wants an upgrade from the standard 1080p variety but doesn’t have the budget for a full on native 4K projector. That’s all I have for now. Thanks for checking out these blogs!

-Chris Mata 

Welcome to the Premiere! Samsung LSP9T Triple laser 4K ust Projector

Welcome to the Premiere! Samsung LSP9T Triple laser 4K ust Projector

As 2020 was a slower year for some manufacturers, Samsung took to market their vastly popular Ultra Short Throw Projector. The Premiere LSP7T (MSRP $3,499) and LSP9T (MSRP $6,499) are two new models that bring the BIG television experience to any home, bringing that next level projection technology into the living room.

For this review, I will be referring to the Premiere LSP9T for comments, pros and cons. At first glance, when unboxing you can quickly see Samsung’s design features that make this a piece that can be easily accepted into any accommodating space. It is a relatively slim, gloss white box. 

Setting up any ultra short throw for the first time can be a daunting task, but Samsung’s directions are pretty simple. With their documentation, it gives you the precise measurements to fill whichever size screen you have (in millimeters). I would have liked to have seen some type of jig, to make it even more simpler. This Ultra Short Throw projector can project 130” from only 9” off the wall! 

Powering up, you are greeted with the setup process that showcases Samsung’s Tizen UI and software that will feel very familiar to anyone that currently owns their products. It has Android built-in with Samsungs’ touch and navigation. Getting into the tech specs, The Premiere is powered by a triple laser system, capable of performing over 20,000 hours of home theater experience at 2,800 ANSI lumens. It is the first projector capable of HDR10+, and has Acoustic Beam technology firing out of the front of the projector, which sounds great! More on that in a second.

Picture Quality – 8/10 

Initially the Premiere is heavily weighted red which slightly sides more to the magenta side of things. The “Youtube” logo on the app inside of the builtin menu software looks hideous, but watching actual content the reds are more accurate especially in Filmmaker Mode (The Premiere can do 4K, HDR, HDR10+ and HLG) Filmmaker Mode turns off any enhancing features, and allows them to achieve full BT.2020 and DCI-P3 color gamuts for SDR and HDR viewing. When paired with an external player such as a dedicated 4K Bluray Player or the Zappiti Pro 4K HDR, it really comes to life. Be warned at close distances, you may notice some slight laser sparkle in bright scenes. But this can be avoided by sitting at proper seating distances. I never noticed any banding, or rainbow effect that some others have experienced. 

Sound 9/10 

As you do not often rate audio from a projector, the technology built-in to the Premiere is easily noticed and sounds incredible. Far better than most TV speakers you find in homes today. Their Acoustic Beam technology can throw sound to create a convincing immersive effect and is why I had to give this a high rating. With that being said, to any home theater enthusiast, you will look to pair this with a dedicated Dolby Atmos setup. But for the average living room, this is a solid all-in-one option that will give you a good experience and get the wifes’ approval in the living room without having to have multiple speakers scattered throughout the room.

In closing, the Samsung Premiere is the best all-in-one solution we have seen to date. There are certainly cheaper options but Samsung has done a fantastic job with this piece. 

The good: 

  • Vibrant accurate colors
  • Great dark room performance
  • Fully integrated Smart TV feel with Android and Tizen
  • Amazing and convincing sound

Not so good:

  • Can be a bit pricey, although any TV with similar performance at 130” will still cost tens of thousands more
  • Could be brighter
  • Better dedicated projectors out there

So is it worth your money?

In short, if you are looking for a big TV feel from an ultra short throw projector, this is it. If you’re wanting to dip your toes into the UST world this is a phenomenal option. It is certainly a little pricey but packs the performance and quality that you would expect from Samsung.

-Kellen

JVC RS1000 AKA JVC NX5 Quick Review: The Native 4k Starting point

JVC RS1000 AKA JVC NX5 Quick Review: The Native 4k Starting point

This is it. This is the Native 4K starting point for most people. Traditional 2-piece projection systems with a screen and a projector are a great way to really bring the theater experience home. JVC is a leader in the field and their D-ILA projectors have taken over since they were introduced. Today I will review the JVC RS1000, also known as the NX5 and the N5 internationally.

Lets start by clearing the air. You have probably seen the NX5 available at your favorite box store and you have heard of the RS1000 available only through custom integration companies like home theater installers. These are the same projector and the differences you may be able to pick out side by side are just normal variances that come out in production. In a blind test there is no way to discern one over the other. Neither is better than the other in performance. Now that we have that sorted lets talk about the RS1000

This is a monster of a projector. It weights 44 pounds and requires a sturdy mount to suspend this from the ceiling. You get the full 4K resolution supporting all 8.8 million pixels. This translates into an ultra-sharp image. You get 40,000:1 native contrast and 400,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio with gives you the blackest blacks and a stark transition from light and dark. What this projector can do does not match just whats on the spec sheet. You get crisp 4K resolution, vibrant colors that jump off the screen and an ultra-realistic HDR recreation. It does all of this with just 1800 ANSI lumens too. This is all made possible by using the D-ILA engine utilizing 3 of the 0.69 reflective devices paired with a 65mm all glass lens. This projector is a convertible too. I mean to say you can use this in different aspect ratios with a click of a button. This is known as lens memory. You can have one setting saved as 16×9 format and the next as 2.35/2.40. You set these manually and have the ability to choose the zoom and lens shift to make this possible. This can be a little confusing so I will dive deeper into this a little later. The RS1000 has 2 full bandwidth 18gb HDMI ports, an ethernet port for control, a USB port for updates and a power port to make it all work. This does have the ability to 3d, but you need to purchase the JVC 3d emitter sold separately.

The biggest claim to fame that sets this projector above other native 4K variants is the Dynamic Tone Mapping or DTM. Dynamic tone mapping helps optimize your image no matter what the source or what the content is. That means your copy of Avengers will look as good on your 4K UHD player as well as on your 4K Apple TV. The magic that goes into recreating a perfect image every time is very technical, but the ease at which it does this is amazing. This dynamic tone mapping is available in the JVC firmware starting at 3.10. If you have the newest firmware (3.50) this enhances the projector even more. This update includes the theater optimizer feature that allows you to really pair the projector to your system perfectly. There are considerations for the screen size and screen material used as well as compensations for picture based on the projectors lamp life. All of this leads to an image that anyone would be proud to enjoy.

There are a few things you want your projector to do and the D-ILA series does them very well. You want a projector that recreates a stunning image without any of the drawbacks. Im referring to heat and noise. I have noticed the JVC to be very tame in terms of heat and noise. You will notice some fan noise on lamp high mode, but that is to be expected. The heat this projector gives off is very minimal in comparison to Sony projectors. This could be a consideration for hotter climates or rooms with cooling issues.

The JVC RS1000 is an incredible projector and the amount of performance you get with this unit is even more impressive. I have said a lot of nice things about this projector so far and I would venture to say the only downside is the initial price and the lower lumen output of the projector. Price is highly subjective, but a lot of times with electronics, the performance you want usually comes with a price tag. Knowing what I know now, I would save for the items I want versus compromising with products and have to rebuy later on. The brightness issue isn’t much of a concern when used in a proper light-controlled room. With the lights off and projected onto a well paired screen, this will rival some TVs in terms of performance.

To sum it all up I would recommend this JVC RS1000 to anyone that has a medium sized to smaller sized screen. To make this even better, I would say pair this with a higher gain white screen to maximize the picture quality. This projector should be used in light-controlled rooms only unless you have a really good ambient light rejecting (ALR) screen.  The picture quality is incredible with its wonderful color recreation as well as the well-known JVC inky black levels. It is more expensive than the 4K e-shift peers, but the performance is noticeably better than the lesser expensive models. This unit kicks out low noise and heat and very livable whether you use this daily or solely for the purpose of movie or game night. The RS1000 is the starting point for native 4K. Sony makes a projector similar to this on in price but not in performance. Not to mention the similar Sony model does not have the Dynamic tone mapping feature. You would be hard pressed to find a better projector for the price. So like I said in the beginning, for native 4K projection, this is it.

AudioControl Savoy G4

AudioControl Savoy G4

At first glance the AudioControl lineup of amplifiers is too good to be true. It’s 230 watts per channel at 8ohms and 300 at 4 ohms. All this without any of the heat and made here in the USA!? Even from a quick unboxing you can realize the fantastic build quality and attention to detail that went into this unit. I’mgoing to give you guys the quick and dirty on the AudioControlSavoy G4 Power amplifier.

Let’s start with the unboxing experience. First, even getting this into your house, you’ll notice the raw weight of this amp. As in old school electronics, usually the heavier the unit is translatesinto better-quality components. Once you start cutting the tape and getting into the box, you’ll notice little quirky sayings or jokes on the box. This is refreshing because usually you do notsee anything like this from other companies. I think AudioControls made in Washington, USA spirit shines through. The unit is double boxed to protect your investment. In the box you get a thick power cable, a tank of an amplifier, two empty boxes for your kids to make racecars out of and the owner’s manual. The jokes and spirit of AudioControl don’t stop at the box. The owner’s manual has little jokes, references and dance moves tutorials that brightens up your amplifier experience. Now that its unboxed let’s talk about this unit.

The AudioControl Savoy is a 7 channel beast of an amplifier. This is a 3U sized amplifier that weighs in at 43 pounds. You get 7 channels by 230 at 8 ohms and 300 by 7 at 4 ohms. You can bridge this amp Mono into a 600 watts at 8 ohms too. Do it, I dare you. All of this power and accomplished at a very low total Harmonic distortion (THD). It has all that horsepower without the unwanted heat. This is a Class H amplifier and unlike the class A A/B amps this is a much cooler operating solution if you have limited ventilation to the amp. The amp also has anti-clipping technology built in. If you are not familiar with clipping, its bad news for speakers and amplifiers. Your signal is a sine wave. Once the signal starts flattening the peaks of that sine wave you are into clipping. This causes audible distortion in your speakers and can cause irreversible damage to the tweeters first and then to the drivers with time. Clipping isn’t ideal for amps either, so It stands to reason to have a safety measures in place when you want to blast the tunes through your system. The AudioControl amplifiers have LightDrive anti-clipping circuitry. This makes sure your Speakers and amplifier are protected and will perform perfectly and distortion free every time you fire it up. You have triggers ins and outs to turn the amp on when your processor or AVR comes on. Another cool feature is that you have a ground isolation switch. This helps if you have pesky ground loop problems like a hum coming from your speakers. This Switch has 3 positions that will help get rid of unwanted hum or grounding noises. The only other thing that is specifically unique to this amp are the 7 individual level controls to boost or cut your speaker gain. Unless you are advanced in-home audio calibration, I would leave these in the standard 3 to 9 position or east and west. Things can get dicey quick if you don’t know what you are doing. All of these quick points round how the AudioControl power amplifiers are different from the rest.

Build quality is amplifier is top notch. The tolerances on the chassis are tight and fit as they should. All faces are coated in a nice black finish. The rear is the opposite with a white panel and black print. All of the lighting on the amplifier are a stunning blue LEDs from the indicator lights to the thin blue line on the front panel. The unbalanced connections are sturdy and have no wiggle room like I have seen from other amplifiers. You also have passthrough on each channel on the unbalanced connection allowing flexibility on how you connect your system. The balanced connections fit my Amphenol connectors nice and tight with a positive stopping point and solid connection. The 5-way binding posts are very satisfying visually as well as its strong seat to banana plugs. These binding posts don’t have the usual wiggle you see in other amplifiers too.

The amp performs flawlessly. I have heard Class A, Class A/B,Class D, Class G, and Class H amplifiers. I am a big fan of a neutral tone instead of inherent voicing that certain class amplifiers induce on the sounds amplified. The AudioControlSavoy is no different. Its very close to neutral in its sound recreation allowing the music and sound effects to be heard as the audio engineer intended. Personally, I am using this in my home theater for a heights amplifier. As you know a 6 channelamplifier with a decent amount of umpf is a tall order. There are not many choices out here in the 6-7 channel arena. This AudioControl Savoy G4 fits the position perfectly. You would be just as well using this for your 7.0 non atmos speakers and it can do so without the strained effort. Going “separates” as most people call it, is an easy way to boost the performance of your home theater system. I went to separates for the front stage when I had a polular AVR for the front stage. This takes the heavy lifting off your AVR and gives the bulk of the dialogue and effects delivering a clearer and more detailed sound stage. If you haven’t tried this yet, then I highly recommend it. If you are a madman, you can repurpose the Savoy G4 for monoblock use.You can grab two for a serious critical listening Hifi system. If 7 channels are too much then I would look into the 5 Channel Pantages or even the 4/3/2 channel Avalon from AudioControl. These amps serve to give you all the benefits of the savoy like I discussed today but in smaller amplification packages that will help best fit your system.

I was introduced to AudioControl about a year ago at CEDIA and as I get my hands on these, the more I have a respect and admiration for the brand. The made in America vibe is strong with this amplifier from the quirks in the owner’s manual to the “Yes, Mr. Wayne, it does comes in black” chassis. I’m excited to start reviewing the Pantages and Avalon like I previously mentioned. I’m sure you will see all of AudioControls lineup reviewed here in print sooner than later. Buy with confidence guys. These are the real deal.