Advice/Opinion needed for next upgrade: New PJ or Lumagen Pro or both?

8abel8

Active Member
Hi all,

In about one month's time I will be starting a dedicated outbuilding for Home Cinema use and considering an upgrade....

Currently have a JVC X7900, 2.7M wide Seymour XD screen 2.40 aspect ratio, HD Fury Vertex 2 (for LLDV from Apple TV, Zidoo Z1000 Pro) and PC with Madvr for movie watching. Although I'm impressed with the "tone mapping " of the Vertex 2 for streaming content and getting Dolby Vision(tbh I think it looks punchier than Madvr but that may be because I'm doing something wrong) I like what Madvr does tonemapping wise and especially with a 3dlut, but cannot tonemap streaming content, so:

OPTION 1:

I've been considering maybe a Lumagen Radiance Pro, abandoning the PC(can be frustrating to use sometimes and get the occasional crashes) and therefore get tone mapping for everything...

OPTION 2:

Upgrading projector to JVC N5 or N7 and get tone mapping for streaming content and probably keep the pc and madvr(heard that JVC is ok with tone mapping but not the best). Although initially i demoed the N5 against a epson 9400 before buying the x7900 and thought (contrast aside) couldn't tell too much difference between native 4k and Faux 4K on moving content(paused images there was a difference), I like what a read about the features and customization of the N series projectors.

OPTION 3:

Buy both a new PJ and Lumagen...but tbh probably don't have the budget for that (well not at least until I've finished the build and I'll know then what I have left over.

Bear in mind as I'll be looking to go to a larger screen size, probably 3.2m wide or thereabouts and will be looking also to upgrade the screen, thinking of Stewart Studiotek 130 G3 Micro perf for additional gain, so that'll already chew into my budget.

Any thoughts anyone?

Cheers
 

alebonau

Well-known Member
Any thoughts anyone?
if coming from a 7900... id go the n7 without a doubt... I very much enjoyed the move myself x7000 to n7... DTM on the n7 is set forget across all sources i have from disc, to streaming to gaming and the native 4k does bring clarity with clean clear pictures and even more analog smooth look to the picture... the newer panel has even finer inter pixel gap :)

you can always get the lumagen down the track if want... mad VR is something could explore... but the LLDV appleTV source is something i think you can leave well behind with moving to something with DTM :) and worry about lumagen if feel the need...
 

Superhans

Active Member
You sound like me two years ago choosing between upgrading from X7000 to N5 or else adding Lumagen. I lumped for the Lumagen as I hadn’t been blown away by an N7 demo.

Pro there is a distinct HDR and shadow detail improvement adding Lumagen to an X7000 (although probably not so much for an X7900).

Con apart from cost its another box in the loop so input and switching lag is a bit worse. Also you really need an expert like Gordon to set it up properly; I am on a very old firmware as the recent stuff seems to affect calibration.

I don’t regret my choice though if I had known how long it would take for an N series successor for simplicities sake I’d probably have plumped for the 5 instead.
 
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Stridsvognen

Well-known Member
You sound like me two years ago choosing between upgrading from X7000 to N5 or else adding Lumagen. I lumped for the Lumagen as I hadn’t been blown away by an N7 demo.

Pro there is a distinct HDR and shadow detail improvement adding Lumagen to an X7000 (although probably not so much for an X7900).

Con apart from cost its another box in the loop so input and switching lag is a bit worse. Also you really need an expert like Gordon to set it up properly; I am on a very old firmware as the recent stuff seems to affect calibration.

I don’t regret my choice though if I had known how long it would take for an N series successor for simplicities sake I’d probably have plumped for the 5 instead.
The X7000 and X7900 have the same basic capabilities, they will calibrate equally, most differences you see between JVC projectors is calibration related, so a older JVC with a gamma drop will look washed out compared to a new.
To properly compare 2 projectors you calibrate them equally, and then you can compare contrast, contrast uniformity, color uniformity, resolution and so on.

So not blow away by a N7 demo, question is why not, did you demo a poorly setup sample, with bad color and contrast uniformity, or are you just used to something different all together? Maybe to big screen?

A lumagen is not the answer to make your projector perfect, and calibrating a JVC N series with and without lumagen should not be possible to detect, as long as the JVC is properly calibrated, they rarely are, and the calibration system is a bit funky to say it mildly.

The lumagen makes sense for HDR tonemapping and upscaling SD sources, but if your source is not a reference source the lumagen will not make it perfect.

As i see it HDR tonemapping is in a constant flux, and there is constant updates, and not everybody agree whats right or wrong, a OPPO 203 and a good sample (hard to find) JVC N series should not need a external video processor unless you like to have the latest tonemapping changes, and your willing to pay someone to calibrate it every time something new comes up that will call for a recalibration, or you are a skilled calibrator yourself wh want to keep up with development.

My choice is to spin the perfect projector tonemapped disc located on the left side of every UHD cover, and if you want to save a bit extra just buy the projector tonemapped movie without the HDR edition in the box.
 

Superhans

Active Member
The X7000 and X7900 have the same basic capabilities, they will calibrate equally, most differences you see between JVC projectors is calibration related, so a older JVC with a gamma drop will look washed out compared to a new.
To properly compare 2 projectors you calibrate them equally, and then you can compare contrast, contrast uniformity, color uniformity, resolution and so on.

So not blow away by a N7 demo, question is why not, did you demo a poorly setup sample, with bad color and contrast uniformity, or are you just used to something different all together? Maybe to big screen?

A lumagen is not the answer to make your projector perfect, and calibrating a JVC N series with and without lumagen should not be possible to detect, as long as the JVC is properly calibrated, they rarely are, and the calibration system is a bit funky to say it mildly.

The lumagen makes sense for HDR tonemapping and upscaling SD sources, but if your source is not a reference source the lumagen will not make it perfect.

As i see it HDR tonemapping is in a constant flux, and there is constant updates, and not everybody agree whats right or wrong, a OPPO 203 and a good sample (hard to find) JVC N series should not need a external video processor unless you like to have the latest tonemapping changes, and your willing to pay someone to calibrate it every time something new comes up that will call for a recalibration, or you are a skilled calibrator yourself wh want to keep up with development.

My choice is to spin the perfect projector tonemapped disc located on the left side of every UHD cover, and if you want to save a bit extra just buy the projector tonemapped movie without the HDR edition in the box.
Yes that was probably the better way to go in hindsight. The X7000 remains my first projector and I wanted to see how far I could push HDR material with the Lumagen. At the same time there were various reported issues with N series that reduced my confidence. The N7 model demoed had out of box settings I believe so it didn’t seem to represent much of an upgrade to my hyper calibrated X7000.

At this point I’m hanging on to see what shakes out this or next year before upgrading and thereafter decide whether to keep the Lumagen in the loop.

Not sure about your final paragraph, are you recommending going with non UHD blu rays?
 

Stridsvognen

Well-known Member
Yes that was probably the better way to go in hindsight. The X7000 remains my first projector and I wanted to see how far I could push HDR material with the Lumagen. At the same time there were various reported issues with N series that reduced my confidence. The N7 model demoed had out of box settings I believe so it didn’t seem to represent much of an upgrade to my hyper calibrated X7000.

At this point I’m hanging on to see what shakes out this or next year before upgrading and thereafter decide whether to keep the Lumagen in the loop.

Not sure about your final paragraph, are you recommending going with non UHD blu rays?
For the X series the OPPO 83 is the ultimate player, for the JVC N series the OPPO 203 is the best in my opinion, if you dont have a OPPO 83, the OPPO 103D is the next best thing for pure unmolested source playback, and forgetting about HDR.
 

8abel8

Active Member
i'll let others comment but i'd just say that now is a good time to pick up a s/h Radiance as i have a few more coming in as folk upgrade to the nutter 5348 unit.
Hi Gordon, funny I was thinking that recently:D. I actually tried to contact you via your website's contact page but haven't heard back. Anyway, please PM as I'm interested but I have no idea on price.
 

8abel8

Active Member
Thanks for all your replies guys. Thankfully I have some time to digest this all and maybe even get some demoes.
 
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alebonau

Well-known Member
Yes that was probably the better way to go in hindsight. The X7000 remains my first projector and I wanted to see how far I could push HDR material with the Lumagen. At the same time there were various reported issues with N series that reduced my confidence. The N7 model demoed had out of box settings I believe so it didn’t seem to represent much of an upgrade to my hyper calibrated X7000.
the n7 are pretty good out of box... with some basic setup still needed to dial into setup and surrounds and projection parameters to suit. but id still recommend a pro calibration with either. things like autocal's are not a full calibration some think. so unless capable and willing to go the full deal, id get someone in :) well worth it. certainly the lumagen if going that way id bundle in with the calibration for a pro to integrate and here at least thats how they are sold. ie the calibration is part and parcel of the deal.
 

Superhans

Active Member
the n7 are pretty good out of box... with some basic setup still needed to dial into setup and surrounds and projection parameters to suit. but id still recommend a pro calibration with either. things like autocal's are not a full calibration some think. so unless capable and willing to go the full deal, id get someone in :) well worth it. certainly the lumagen if going that way id bundle in with the calibration for a pro to integrate and here at least thats how they are sold. ie the calibration is part and parcel of the deal.
I’d certainly pro calibrate any N7 I bought. I just wasn’t terribly inspired to buy one. I’ll try to find a better demo model.
 

Stridsvognen

Well-known Member
I’d certainly pro calibrate any N7 I bought. I just wasn’t terribly inspired to buy one. I’ll try to find a better demo model.
The JVC projectors are very different from factory, they have huge tolerances, both on the specs, but also factory calibration, some have heavy color shift when operating the auto iris, others dont, most units will have from 50-75% contrast drop in the corners, so a 2.35 screen can be a advantage on a JVC N series to hide some of the very bright corners, and try not to hang a N series, put it on a shelf instead, then its less likely to develop dust blobs from dirt on the panels.
Also keep in mind the N7/ nx9 performs best on a 90-110" screen, bigger will reduce image quality, the N5 goes from something like 120" and up due to the lack of lamp iris, its not capable to close down the lights as much as the other 2, for big screen like 150" you will likely not have much difference between the 3 different N series, +- sample differences. These are all parameters that can not be compensated by adding a Lumagen to the loop.

So if the budget will stretch for a new JVC N7 and a lumagen pro, i would likely drop the Lumagen pro and go for a NX9, and hope for better contrast uniformity and contrast, that will add more to image quality than any external processor, if you than have money left in the bank, you can go for a Lumagen Pro to see if you prefer the tonemapping with that one.
 
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8abel8

Active Member
So if the budget will stretch for a new JVC N7 and a lumagen pro, i would likely drop the Lumagen pro and go for a NX9, and hope for better contrast uniformity and contrast, that will add more to image quality than any external processor, if you than have money left in the bank, you can go for a Lumagen Pro to see if you prefer the tonemapping with that one.
Budget will definitely NOT stretch to a NX9, that's almost like another 6k on top of everything(i wish it did!!). Decided to get a Lumagen at a excellent price for now (can make use of it at the moment while the new outbuilding is built) and IF i have funds left, may then consider another projector, the new Sony laser has me intrigued.....
 

linnasak

Active Member
Have the studiotec 130 fixed frame screen, I think major improvement and would not revert back to economy screen. Also fixed frame halves the cost!
 

8abel8

Active Member
Studiotek definitely on my list, I've already tried a sample and certainly brighter and sharper than the Seymour. Cost still quite high because I'm getting it microperfed but worth it as I had a Stewart screen before and the quality is superb.
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Budget will definitely NOT stretch to a NX9, that's almost like another 6k on top of everything(i wish it did!!). Decided to get a Lumagen at a excellent price for now (can make use of it at the moment while the new outbuilding is built) and IF i have funds left, may then consider another projector, the new Sony laser has me intrigued.....
FWIW I'm using a Pro with my X7500, which is for all intents and purposes the same set up as you'll be using. I get excellent results, so many extra features in the Lumagen that I can't now live without such as aspect ratio stuff for instant electronic zooming (non critical viewing, but it's instant unlike using the zoom memory). Masking functions, Darbee processing if you want it on some sources, the new sharpening feature, plus of course the zoned dynamic tone mapping (a step up from that built in to projectors and much more than the static mapping in older players too).

I happen to use the automatic calibration function with Chromapure with my Pro; for three displays: The X7500, living room TV and the conservatory TV (not all at once obviously) all calibrated automatically in about 30 minutes, plus a bit of manual tweaking. Though I don't get too carried away these days; I realise now how much lamps drift and how much dE changes across the screen. I stopped obsessing about a 1" spot in the middle of my screen being 'perfect' since a few feet over could be 3dE or more out. ;)

I'm getting the benefit for all three of my main displays, including downscaling 4K/HDR to 1080p/SDR on those 1080p TVs, which I think looks better than certain 1080p sources do directly (less banding and other issues), plus Atmos sound on certain sources that I wouldn't have on 1080p sources.

It helps if your room is really good too: I'd had my X7500 a long time before I really started to see what it can do as I gradually added Devore curtains, etc and I'm still regularly 'wowed' watching films on it. Well I would be if I could something I actually want to watch, but that's another issue and the reason why I don't use my set up so much lately...
 

8abel8

Active Member
I happen to use the automatic calibration function with Chromapure with my Pro; for three displays: The X7500, living room TV and the conservatory TV (not all at once obviously) all calibrated automatically in about 30 minutes, plus a bit of manual tweaking, though I don't get too carried away these days now I realise how much lamps drift and how much dE changes across the screen: I stopped obsessing about a 1" spot in the middle of my screen being 'perfect' since a few feet over could be 3dE or more out. ;)
I'm actually starting to read the Lumagen thread as we speak :). Although I won't be able to get Gordon down until the new HT room is done, I'd still like to try the Lumagen out on my current setup in the meantime, prob is the x7900 has around 1800+ on it so I know it needs recalibrating. I see you mention a autocalibration with the Lumagen. Would this replace using the JVC autocal software? (Which I don't know how to use)
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Yes it could, then but you'd need software (such as Chromapure, or others), a decent meter and you still need to have some idea of how to set it up, so some experience of manual calibration comes in handy.

It's still a bit of a learning curve and a not inconsiderable outlay for the software and meter, so if you don't want to go down that rabbit hole, then might be better spent on a Pro calibration and future 'touch ups'.
 

mb3195

Distinguished Member
may then consider another projector, the new Sony laser has me intrigued.....
From personal experience, the Sony laser/lumagen combo is superb.
 

8abel8

Active Member
From personal experience, the Sony laser/lumagen combo is superb.
No doubt, I know you've raved about it on your thread :smashin: Would love to see it some day:lease:
Coming from owning previously for decades CRT projectors and not having to worry about fading lamps and recalibrating (apart from tweaking convergance) I find it all a little annoying to have to every so often think about recalibrating. This is why a laser based projector is intriguing to me, I suspect some sort of touch up will be needed over time but probably not to the extent of a lamp based projector.

I think initially the combo of Lumagen and a new larger screen and new dedicated room (and probaly will be sitting further back relatively speaking to my current setup which will make the image look better, Oh and a new lamp!) will probably have me in awe for a period of time before I start to think of something else but who knows....
 

mb3195

Distinguished Member
No doubt, I know you've raved about it on your thread :smashin: Would love to see it some day:lease:
Coming from owning previously for decades CRT projectors and not having to worry about fading lamps and recalibrating (apart from tweaking convergance) I find it all a little annoying to have to every so often think about recalibrating. This is why a laser based projector is intriguing to me, I suspect some sort of touch up will be needed over time but probably not to the extent of a lamp based projector.

I think initially the combo of Lumagen and a new larger screen and new dedicated room (and probaly will be sitting further back relatively speaking to my current setup which will make the image look better, Oh and a new lamp!) will probably have me in awe for a period of time before I start to think of something else but who knows....
As soon as lockdown is lifted you’re always free to come over. I will also be holding another open day in august 👍🏻
 

8abel8

Active Member
As soon as lockdown is lifted you’re always free to come over. I will also be holding another open day in august 👍🏻
That would be great but I will probably try and hold off until AFTER i've finished the build because I know if i see it before hand and like what I see, I'll probably just decide to upgrade the projector and use the funds I have set aside for the build...NOT a good idea...:facepalm:
 

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