Acoustical Imager Listening Tests & Conclusion
The first DVD I selected was Disney's Dinosaur . This is a near reference video quality DVD with excellent audio sound effects and music score. As I began to play the opening chapters of this DVD in my light-controlled room, it was readily apparent that the Da-Lite High Contrast Cinema Vision screen material was a great choice. The colors were very saturated and vibrant. It was as though I was looking at a box of brand new Crayola Crayons. The blacks were inky black and the whites looked natural. Walking around the room I noted that the viewing angles were very wide at about 35 degrees. This indicates that this screen material would also be a great choice for rooms that have multiple seating positions that are off axis to the center of the screen (or viewing positions that are above or below desired screen heights). This also makes this screen very desirable for those needing placement flexibility in the event you need to mount the screen up high or down low.
Starting up chapter 6, "Meteor Strike", and turning the volume up on the Yamaha RX-V1500 to about -18dB, I began to listen as the chapter started. The sound of the system totally shocked me. The sound quality was right up there with any of the higher-end micro satellite systems on the market. Dialogue from the center speaker was clear, concise, and natural sounding. The music score sounded a touch dry from the right and left speakers but still very good. Surround sound information was easy to hear and sounded very spacious in the rear surround satellite speakers. The little 10" woofer filled my room with generous amounts of LFE as the meteors began to hit the island. The subwoofer did sound a little less composed and compressed compared to my reference subwoofers; but it still did a Yeoman's job of handling the LFE effects. What really surprised me was the amount of sound that this small system was able to generate in my room. It was more than enough to satisfy my listening level needs. As I sat there evaluating the speakers, it was hard to believe that I was listening to a small micro system and the thought occurred to me that this is definitely a cube speaker killer. The sonic performance of the Acoustical Imager thoroughly surpassed my expectations.
DVD: Sin City
Next, I wanted to try the near perfect reference quality DVD Sin City. Many can debate the quality of the storyline, and I am not a movie critic, but what is not debatable is the near flawless quality of the video and soundtrack of this DVD.
Viewing this DVD on the Da-Lite Acoustical Imager was an addicting, hypnotic experience. The more I watched; the more I wanted. The opening scene: black and white with only the woman's lips and dress colorized was eye candy for the videophile. The DTS soundtrack sounded absolutely wonderful. As the DVD played I found myself really getting involved in the movie, not really paying close attention to the video or sonic characteristics of the system. That is a good sign that the Da-Lite Acoustical Imager did its job of faithfully conveying what was on the DVD.
DVD-Audio: Blue Man Group: Audio
Wanting to get an idea of how the Da-Lite Acoustical Imager did with music, I loaded up the DVD-Audio disc Blue Man Group Audio . Selecting track two "PVC IV" the Acoustical Imager screen did a pretty respectful job of reproducing the music. On that track the drum hits had definition and the pipes sounded balanced. The music was a little bit dry and shallow; but I am used to hearing this track on reference speakers that cost three times more than the whole Da-Lite system. Overall I would rate the sound with multi-channel music as respectable.
CD: Patricia Barber: Café Blue
Replacing the DVD-A disc with the Redbook 2 channel CD Patricia Barber, Café Blue and selecting Pure Direct on the RX-V1500, I began listening to only the front right and left speakers. I am going to come right out and say if you are a die-hard 2-channel audiophile this is not the system for you. It's not meant to be. The simple fact is that none of the micro satellite speaker systems are going to satisfy the 2-channel aficionado. Selecting analogue two-channel on the Yamaha RX-V1500 reactivates the subwoofer. In this configuration the Da-Lite did a respectful job of reproducing Patricia Barber's voice.
Concluding the review of the Da-Lite Acoustical Imager screen, I think of words like innovative , highly engineered , ingenious , quality , flexible and value . This is the perfect product for anyone that was thinking of a large flat monitor and small satellite system.
Or, this system is for someone that lives in an apartment or condominium. The unobtrusive, minimalist design should please even the hard-core designers. The build quality of the components surpassed my expectations by a very wide margin. For less than the price of a large TV and cube speakers, you can be enjoying a true cinematic home theater in your living room. The engineers at Da-Lite deserve an " atta boy " for their forward-thinking and the inclusion of everything necessary to make this an easy installation process. The Da-Lite Acoustical Imager will be on my list for a'Product of the Year' Award for innovation.
Post Office Box 137
Warsaw, IN 46581-0137
Fax: (574) 267-7804
The Score Card
The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:
Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating
Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.
Audioholics Rating Scale
- — Excellent
- — Very Good
- — Good
- — Fair
- — Poor