SIM2 C3X Projector Saint John NB
Saint John, NB
SIM2 C3X Projector
July 1, 2006 By Brent Butterworth
The very best performers sometimes need the right setting to shine. Imagine operatic mezzo-soprano Ceclia Bartoli trying to sing a Metallica song—or Metallica’s James Hetfield trying to croon a Mozart aria. You get the idea.
After reviewing the SIM2 C3X projector in the May/June 2006 issue of Home Entertainment, we wondered if we might have a similar mismatch. The C3X is the most compact three-chip DLP video projector available, and at $19,990, one of the most affordable. Unlike a single-chip DLP projector, a three-chip projector does not have a color wheel with alternating red, green, and blue elements. Each chip is dedicated to a specific color. The main advantages of the three-chip projector are that it does not produce rainbow-colored fringing on moving objects as a single-chip projector does; it can have more accurate color and a wider color range, or gamut; and it can produce greater light output because there are three chips reflecting light from the bulb instead of just one.
Sound Solutions’ Steve Morsch lends a sense of scale to the 16-foot image, while our Photo Research PR-650 photospectrometer patiently awaits the appearance of test patterns. (Click image to enlarge)
When we tried the C3X on the 72-inch-wide, 16:9 Stewart screen we use for our projector tests, we were a bit underwhelmed. The picture was good, but not dramatically better than what we have seen from recent single-chip projectors. Yet the C3X is practically flying off the store shelves: It is currently the best-selling video projector priced over $10,000. Obviously, many custom installers were finding something to love about this projector—but what?
After considering the C3X’s measured output—an incredible 82 footlamberts, far more brightness than needed for a 6-foot picture—Mike Wood, then editor-in-chief of sister publication Curtco’s Digital TV & Sound, and I decided to find out what it looked like on a much larger screen. Stewart Filmscreen was kind enough to loan us a 16-foot-diagonal 16:9 screen for our experiment. And Culver City, Calif., custom installation firm Sound Solutions was generous enough to provide a space large enough to accommodate the screen: the warehouse where the company’s installers load and test equipment racks for installations. (Our thanks to Sound Solutions’ David Epstein, Steve Morsch, and Mark Elson for providing the space, helping us set up the screen and equipment, and covering the warehouse’s rooftop ventilators to keep the light out.)
With the huge screen assembled, we placed the C3X atop a wheeled cart and powered it up. We zoomed the lens to fill the screen, focused the image, and let the projector warm up for a while.
When we cued up The Fifth Element DVD, we were rewarded with a picture that looked every bit as good as what we saw on our small screen—except this picture was almost as large as what you’d see at some art-house commercial theaters. To our surprise, the p...