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New Video Brands - SIM2, Seymour Screen Excellence & Seymour AV

by Nyal Mellor January 04, 2013

Acoustic Frontiers LLC is proud to announce that we are now authorized dealers for SIM2, Seymour Screen Excellence and Seymour AV!

With the build out of our new demo room and the expansion of our business from pureplay consulting to design / build we needed to bring on some new manufacturers on the video side.

How we chose SIM2

From our perspective there are five variables that affect image quality: source, projector, screen, calibration and room. Of these only three are pieces of equipment. You can get a reference quality source (blu-ray player) for a couple of hundred dollars. So that leaves the projector and screen. Of these two I would say the projector accounts for probably 75% of final image quality and the screen 25%. Maybe the ratios are different but most people would agree the projector dominates. So what does all this mean? Well, it means that the projector and screen choices are critical to your overall home theater experience. Movies are visually driven, with the sound providing a supporting role: the projector might be the single most important component in your home theater.

SIM2 CrystalSIM2 Crystal

In recent years the quality of the projectors available at the lower end of the market (<5k) has improved massively. This has given consumers a lot more choice but it doesn't mean that you get the same performance from a 5K projector as a high end projector. Projector specifications such as lumens output and contrast ratio don't tell you everything and many could argue are not the main determinants of the quality of the image you see. You can take a 5K and a high end projector, with the same brightness, calibrate them both so they meet ISF standards and they will still look different from one another.

There are things that are not commonly measured, or are impossible to measure, that contribute significantly to image quality. Much like with speakers we can measure things like frequency response and disortion but they don't tell us the whole picture. With speakers we also need to look carefully at their off axis performance, and virtually no manufacturer publishes that data. With projectors we also need to look carefully at areas where there is no agreed or published specification such as edge-to-edge focus, luminance and color consistency. Many <5K projectors have issues in these areas due to optical aberrations introduced by lower quality lenses. Photographers are intensely aware of the image issues lenses can introduce, yet the subject gets little press on the projector side despite it's importance.

I am telling you this because SIM2 are probably not the projector company you would first think of when asking what brand Acoustic Frontiers would bring on. Their products are generally regarded as being high priced goods for the luxury segment, not the enthusiasts who we deal with on a day to day basis. Despite this they have very good resonance with so called 'videophiles', the type who are fanatic about the quality of the projected image. We chose SIM2 because:

  • All of their projectors that we have seen at client's houses and shows have looked fabulous. We can't say that about any other projector company.
  • They are one of very few companies who make projectors bright enough that they can be used with the large (100"+ wide) low / negative gain acoustically transparent projection screens. The use of large, low gain screens pretty much rules out most of the Japanese manufacturers, with the exception of Epson and BenQ. And whilst the image quality from these projectors is good, it is not spectacular, and that is what we are about. Other high end companies such as Runco and Digital Projection make bright projectors but we have reservations at this time about both companies.
  • Whilst they have obviously have a very slick marketing team their company is still engineering led - they invest 20% of human resources and 10% of turnover into R&D. This fits with the Acoustic Frontiers mentality. We like engineering led companies.

A SIM2 Nero 3D-1 is on display in our demo room.

 /></span><span class=SIM2 Nero 3D-1

How we chose Seymour Screen Excellence & Seymour AV

Seymour Screen Excellence and Seymour AV are basically the same company, catering to two slightly different markets and customer bases.

In our world view the projection screen absolutely has to be acoustically transparent (AT) for best audio performance so that the center speaker can go behind the screen.

There are two types of AT screen: perforated and woven.

  • A perf screen is basically a standard solid screen that has had a ton of little holes punched into it. Obviously when sound hits a solid surface it reflects back, which causes comb filtering. These types of screens require special EQ to re-correct the frequency response anomalies they introduce and this EQ only really works as designed directly on axis with the screen, not off axis as the reflected path lengths (and hence comb filter frequencies) are different. These screens also need 12" or greater of space between them and the speaker and ideally heavy treatment of the wall behind the screen to damp these reflections.
  • A woven screen is made from individual fibers woven together. These screens may cause some attenuation of the audio signal, but it is almost consistent over the frequency spectrum. No EQ is required and the speaker can be put inches away from the screen.

 /></span><span class=Key statistics about microperf, common woven AT screens and Seymour AV's Center Stage XD material


As you have probably guessed by reading the above we at Acoustic Frontiers don't think perf is the way to go. So that leaves woven. There aren't that many manufacturers of woven screens out there: SMX, Screen Research and our selection - Seymour AV / Seymour Screen Excellence:

  • Their Enlightor 4K material is unique and simply superb - sit as close as you want to the screen, it has no visible holes, yet the audio gets through!
  • The vast majority of their products are US made
  • They have a great range of products, from fixed framed to motorized retractable to fixed removable masking to motorized masking, so we can cover nearly every situation

We are using an electrically retractable Seymour Screen Excellence 4K screen in our demo room.

 /></span><span class=Seymour Screen Excellence 4K Motorized Retractable

The importance of projection system engineering

Projection systems (screens / projector combination) requires solid engineering - ambient light, aspect ratios, viewing angles, projector placement vs. screen width, lens shift requirements, projector mounting, use of anamorphic lens solutions, etc to prevent post installation issues. They aren't things you can (or would want to, given the money involved) throw up and hope for the best!

For more information on either SIM2 or Seymour AV / Seymour Screen Excellence products and how they might be used in your theater or media room please contact us.

Nyal Mellor
Nyal Mellor


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Nyal Mellor, Founder, Acoustic Frontiers

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  • Fairfax, Northern California, USA

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