Since the VP-11S1 is exactly the
same in form as my previous S4, I was able to use the same mount. The S1 does
not have horizontal lens shift, so mounting the projector in line with the
screen correctly can be a bit of a pain. The lens is not quite centerline with
the chassis, so if you are not using Marantz's mount you have to compensate for
do get the projector mounted correctly, there is a built-in test pattern that
can be used for alignment, focus, and lens shift. This is the same
crosshatch pattern the S4 used and is an interactive pattern in that it
changes color if you are outside of the recommended range of the zoom and lens
shift. If the S1 is in its intended operating range, the crosshatch lines are
uniformly white. Once you start exceeding the limits the lines turn
green. This was never a problem in my experience with the projector.
than do a full calibration right out of the box, I broke the projector in for
a few weeks. I wanted to get at least 50 hours on the bulb before starting in
on grayscale just to make sure the bulb had settled in a bit. The S1 is
shipped with the bulb already at 15 hours so it didn't take too long if I left
it on for a while even when not in use.
I did do
some cursory adjustments such as brightness and contrast using a variety of
high definition test discs. It was here that I ran into my first problems with
tested the S4, I noticed that the projector clips head and toe room when it's
fed a 4:2:2 YCbCr input signal. This is odd since this is the most common
color space associated with DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-ray. Well, the S1 turned out to
have the same issue, only worse. It clipped head and toe room with a 4:4:4
signal as well. That means that all video being fed to the projector needs to
be converted to RGB before it's sent to the projector to ensure that the projector retains the
full dynamic range.
This is a problem for two reasons. First, very few players
on the market allow you to change the output color space. Second, RGB is
limited to 8-bits, so you've just negated the value of those high-end DVD
players and video processors with 10-bit processing. This is a limitation of
the HDMI receiver chip the S1 uses and we've seen the same problem with a lot
of other projectors on the market, but at this price point, such things
should be worked out.
I've yet to use an LCD projector that had this problem.
The Sony VPL-HS51 ($1999) that I had in my office would accept any form of YCbCr via HDMI with no issues at all. (I am not sure if this has been
addressed with the newer 11S1 with 1.3a compliance, but I was sent a firmware
update that at least allowed for YCbCr 4:4:4 support with no clipping.)
toe room are important for video calibration as they set the boundaries for the
upper and lower end of contrast and brightness. These controls are not
arbitrary, and you nned a defined point where you should stop adjusting
either. With brightness you want the mirrors to stop dithering at digital 16.
If you have a SMPTE color bar pattern, there is a strip at the bottom of the
image that represents the image just below that point. By setting the
brightness so that the mirrors are off in the black area surrounding this
strip (and not one level lower!) you are setting the off point of the mirrors
to 16. Since the Marantz clips this information with a 4:2:2 input, you may
not ever see this strip. You can compensate for this by just evaluating when
the mirrors stop moving though (dithering) in the black area and just stopping
there. This should give you the same result.
is a bit trickier though. Knowing the proper clip point for white is extremely
important. Not only does it ensure that you are not overdriving white, it
prevents color distortion as a result of having your contrast too high. This
is very common in my experience. I can't tell you how many people set
their contrast wrong and clip their whites. This is exaggerated by the fact
that there aren't very many test patterns out there that are good for setting
contrast. Currently we recommend using a Reverse XX ramp like the one found on
AVIA Pro (Main Menu -> Grayscale -> Ramps -> Reverse XX Ramp). The new HD
version of Digital Video Essentials also has a ramp pattern that is good for
setting contrast at the appropriate level, but the AVIA Pro version is a bit
more user friendly.
overcame these issues by using my Anthem D2 A/V processor. It allows me to
change the output color space to anything I want. The video processors I've
evaluated from DVDO, Lumagen, and Crystallio offer this feature as well, but
again, I don't think you should even need to invest in a video processor with
a projector at this price point, especially one that already has an extremely
capable video processing chip inside it.
had put some hours on the projector, I hired David Abrams from Avical (www.avical.com)
to perform a full ISF calibration on the projector. Dave is one of the most
highly regarded calibrators in the industry and uses some of the best calibration
equipment money can buy. As always, regardless of what you spend on a display,
you should always budget in for a good calibration to make the most of your
investment. Typical ISF certified calibrators charge between about $300-500
for a full calibration, and it is money well spent the majority of the time.
biggest gripe I have with the 11S1 is its rather limited adjustability when it
comes to calibration. I understand everyone has their taste in image quality,
but there are some of us who really want to see the image the
way it is supposed to be. This means conforming to the SMPTE standards and
allowing the projector to be adjusted to meet these standards. The Marantz
does give you a lot of flexibility when it comes to grayscale, scaling, and
standard brightness and contrast adjustments, but it lacks controls to dial in
the color primaries and gamma. These are just as important as grayscale in my
measured the 11S1 color primaries and secondaries, we found them to be a bit
off from the reference. Thankfully, the deviation wasn't near as large as what
we've seen from some 1080p LCoS projectors on the market, but we still like to
see at least the option for accuracy if the end user wants it. There are a few
DLP projectors offering primary color adjustment (some even
offer secondary adjustments), and I would expect a projector at this price
point and level of performance to offer no less. The 11S1's color decoder was
dead on though, which is also very important, and it's an issue we've found with
some other DLP projectors out there.
the 11S1 was far more satisfying than the 12S4. We measured a gamma level of
2.2 with the 11S1 but could not achieve a gamma level any higher than 1.85
with the S4. We would still like to see adjustments allowing for a higher
gamma (closer to 2.4 would be preferred), but we are happy to see Marantz at
least moving in the right direction.
scale out of the box was already quite good. Using the Photoresearch spectra
radiometer, it was nearly perfect. In all reality, due to the excellent
grayscale out of the box and lack of calibration options for color and gamma,
the expense of having a full calibration may be unnecessary. Ultimately, that
is up to the end user, but with the limited options for calibration and
outstanding grayscale out of the box, your money may be better spent
Go to Part III.