In home theater systems, audio and video are equally important and must work in concert.

Acoustically Transparent Screens

Screen Research | Screen Research

Acoustically Transparent Screens:
Bringing Cinema Sound to Home Theater

Author: Screen Research

In home theater systems, audio and video are equally important and must work in concert. Screen manufacturers like Screen Research are further pushing the envelope with acoustically transparent screen technologies in order to provide even greater flexibility for installers, plus those outstanding cinematic experiences for homeowners.

Home theater speaker placement can be challenging, especially when trying to create an environment that is both aesthetically pleasing and acoustically accurate. As home theaters continue to be integrated into multi-purpose living spaces, projection screen manufacturers have become one of the unlikeliest of candidates to help address this issue. The advancement of acoustically transparent screen materials, as well as the innovative manufacturing techniques  created using those materials, has opened up endless possibilities for home theater designers. Acoustically transparent screen materials can mitigate speaker (and screen) placement concerns while delivering some of the highest levels of cinematic-quality audio and video.

From the Cinema to the Home

Acoustically transparent (AT) screens first appeared in commercial cinemas. Moviegoers at cinemas enjoy sound as it passes through the screen; this “sonic window” effect, along with proper speaker setup and calibration, makes actors’ voices and special effects appear to come directly from their specific locations on screen. The process is achieved by perforating  tiny holes in the screen fabric, enabling sound to pass through to the audience, creating a lifelike front soundstage that, in combination with powerful surround sound effects, completely engulfs the viewing audience.

As the home cinema phenomenon emerged, many commercial cinema screen manufacturers followed suit by modifying the designs of their solid screen surfaces to include tiny perforations. This solution also enabled custom installers to place speakers directly behind a screen to deliver a more realistic cinematic experience in the home.

Superior Sound and Image Quality

Over the last three years, European-based Screen Research has upped the ante in the design and manufacture of home cinema acoustically transparent screens. Here’s how:

Screen Research’s unique screen material, ClearPix2™, is made from specially woven material comprised of coated fiberglass fibers in a diagonal weave structure. This patent-pending material passes full-bandwidth audio through its natural gaps, eliminating the need for vinyl fabrics with micro perforations.

  • The natural gaps created in the structure of ClearPix2 material comprise between one and three percent of the screen’s total surface area; the holes in perforated screens can account for up to 10 percent of total surface area. As a result, ClearPix2 often provides significantly more screen surface area for greater image fidelity.
  • Perforated vinyl screens can often cause a highly problematic phenomenom (known as comb filtering), whereby unwanted reflections are caused by the sound bouncing off of the screen, back to the speaker face and through the screen again.  This effect is well documented and causes significant changes in the acoustic integrity of the cinema sound.  ClearPix2’s unique woven surface allows full spectrum audio to pass through without distortion and without combing artifacts.
  • Today’s high-definition video projectors, such as those employing DLP™ engines, use fixed pixels to create an image; this process results in a visual pattern, or pixel matrix, when viewed close up. Likewise, the patterns in which the holes in perforated vinyl screens are placed create a similar matrix. When viewed together, the two matrices often do not align and can create visual distortions known as moiré. ClearPix2 eliminates this visual disturbance.

A Remarkable Marriage of Sight and Sound

ClearPix2 material is offered in a broad array of screen applications ranging in size, features and customization options - including Screen Research’s fixed and motorized models, TheaterCurve™, X-Mask™, and the new LeWing™ system. LeWing uniquely pairs a ClearPix2 projection screen with high-performance JBL left-center-right cinema speakers for a high performance all-in-one solution. LeWing allows custom installation professionals to solve unique home theater screen and speaker installation challenges, such as designing a completely retractable screen/audio combination in front of a fireplace -  and is only possible through the cutting-edge ClearPix2 application of acoustically transparent screen material.

In home theater systems, audio and video are equally important and must work in concert. Screen manufacturers like Screen Research are further pushing the envelope with acoustically transparent screen technologies in order to provide even greater flexibility for installers, plus those outstanding cinematic experiences for homeowners.

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