Last month, I was asked by a close friend who owns a company that makes bass traps, to see if I could tweak his new projector and achieve a better black depth. I did, and when I got done, I was astounded at how far the state of the art came. And the price of the projector was well under $250,000. In fact it was under $20,000! In fact, it was under $5,000!
To make a long story short, I went shopping... wanted a bit better blacks than my friend's projector after calibration, but was finding myself in the $40,000-$85,000 range for just a small improvement. Then I found the InFocus IN82, and decided it had both the contrast, color accuracy and brightness I wanted. But it was expensive! That is, until I had an extraordinary stroke of luck on eBay and nailed one for $1425 with only 82 hours on it. I bought and installed it, and the picture blows away my LCD and most every plasma I have seen. 30-bit color just banishes exaggerated grain and banding. Sharp, clean, filmlike images.
So I went to work and made structural modifications to eliminate a column that plagued me for 25 years, and built the screen wall you see below:
Behind it is this:
Interesting note about my Carver C4000: My audiophile friend visited two nights ago to watch some antique auto show footage I had shot on CineAlta cameras with an X-Y stereo mic on board. He commented, "I didn't know your camera was surround sound capable! Because I hear people to the right, left and behind me." I told him it isn't. It's stereo, and what he's hearing is the result of the Sonic Hologram (which works better than ever, now that I've acousticly treated the room as part of the theater upgrade.
Total cost to add this theater? Get ready... a whopping $2,500! My wife and her father sewed the raw velvet materials I purchased and made the curtains. I built the frame with 2x4s, I purchased AT screen material from Seymour AV Products (one of only two truely acoustic-transparent screens on the market) and stretched it over a frame I built of poplar, which slides into the wall with the curtains.
I do have center channel and surrounds now, but I prefer the Sonic Hologram when listening to good stereo material over the point source sounds of surround sound, although with the Hologram engaged, it is improved over normal surround in conventional systems.
Now I just wish electricity weren't so expensive! This month's bill was $544, a ~$50 bump over pre-theater use on weekends bills.