Just another satisfied DES Dark Energy Abyss owner...
Hey, gang. I have been an on and off lurker for a very long time, but decided to finally join to do my part to help out a small business. After all, it is because of this forum that I heard of the screen solution. But before I begin describing my thoughts on, and overall opinion of, the DES’s Dark Energy Abyss .9 screen offering along with the customer service provided, I feel I should provide somewhat of a background story on how I got here.
In fall of 2016, I began watching the construction of my new home while planning my new home theater for the man cave. Initially, I had completely written off the thought of doing front
projection due to the fact I wanted a satisfyingly watchable picture (solid blacks and colors) with the lights on while entertaining football game parties and such, but didn’t want to pay thousands of dollars just for a light-rejecting screen. I’m a very picky audio/video guy with a keen eye and ear. I grew up listening to a lot of live music (dad was in a band), eventually getting into the car audio field, which then spilled over into home theater as I got older. That’s when I found out my eyes were as detail-oriented as my ears. I’m the guy who paid over a grand to have my Mitsu rear projection TV professionally reprogrammed and calibrated by the best Mitsu calibrator in the nation (at the time) for the absolute best picture it could produce. I’m also the guy who used to walk up to the screen in the middle of a movie and clean off a speck I noticed. My wife hated when I did that. I need to teach myself to focus on enjoying the picture and quit watching the screen. :-)
After much research, I had settled on an 80” television, even finalizing the electrical and video lines into the house plans. I thought I was done. Then I made the “mistake” of being bored one day and researching the latest projector technology and stumbled onto rumblings of this new light-rejecting screen solution that made a lot of promises for a fraction of the cost of the big boys. Naturally, I was skeptical. But the more I researched, the more I liked what I saw. I continued to watch more people rant and rave about the performance and eventually decided to reach out to DES. That is when I began discussing with Stephen what my expectations were. Stephen patiently answered all of my questions and eventually assured me his screen reflecting an image from the projector I started considering (Epson 5040UB) would definitely meet my expectations. Not once did I get the sense he was overselling. And with a money-back guarantee, how can I go wrong? With much internal conflict, I decided to bite the bullet and committed to the pursuit of a ten foot screen and projector. Even had to pay my builder for a change order to add electrical and video runs to projector location. And here I thought I had things already finalized.
I pulled the trigger on the purchase in March 2017 after I was moved in. Fast forward to now after months of viewing… wow. The DES Abyss .9 delivers, and it delivers well. Even with all ceiling cans fully lit and billiards light turned on directly behind the theater seating, I can be proud of the picture displayed on the screen. It isn’t just watchable. It is beautifully engaging. And I don’t even have to set the 5040UB to its brightest output. It truly is an amazing picture in a fully lit room. Granted, I’m not fighting sunlight, but based on my buddies who also have projectors in their basements, this screen truly is the real deal. And, yes, they are envious. Like other Abyss owners, I have also had folks wondering where I got a 120” TV; it is that vivid. I was skeptical, yes, but no more. And to this day, I have yet to see a projector/screen combo look this good in a lit room. Period. I can comfortably watch anything with the lights on and actually enjoy it. Colors, white levels, black levels… it’s all there. And when the lights are off for movie time, I simply kick the projector into Cinema mode and continue with the enjoyment. Lights on, lights off… it doesn’t matter.
A little about my theater area. And I call it an area as it is not a dedicated theater room. In the immediate area, there are eight canned lights and a billiards table triple lamp. No windows, but I do have a sliding glass door with curtains. I have two rows of theater seating in a stadium seating arrangement. First row is four seats across with a viewing distance of about seven feet. Middle two seats are straight, ends are angled inward a bit. I realize that is really close to the screen, but I was tight on space overall and designed the setup around my second row since that is where my family sits. Who cares about the visitors anyway, right? :-) Funny thing is, even at a seven foot viewing distance, the picture is still great! Second row is six seats across and twelve inches higher than the first row, with about a fifteen foot viewing distance. Middle four are straight, and the two end seats are angled inward. All four end seats do see a SLIGHT drop in picture brightness, but they are at the extremes of the viewing cone, so I expected it. But once you are seated, you don’t notice it anyway. It’s only when you move across the room do you really see it. Perfectly acceptable in my book. Have yet to hear anyone mention it, and I have friends who aren’t afraid of picking my stuff apart simply because I invite and encourage it. Always looking to improve my entertainment experience for everyone.
Remember when I mentioned that I need to teach myself to focus on the picture and quit watching the screen? That is where my only real “MINOR” callout is with this material. If I focus on it, I do see a bit of a “sparkling effect” with this screen. It is not overwhelming, and if I just relax my eyes and focus on the picture, I don’t notice it. But, again, I tend to notice things others don’t. In fact, I have only had one other person notice it, but only because I pointed it out to them. If that is the only pitfall of this material, then one could argue it isn’t even worth mentioning. But I believe my review would be dismissed as phony if I didn’t point out SOMETHING, regardless of how picky it is. And it is being rather picky given the amount of positives the material provides at the price it comes in at.
So, does the material meet the expectation? Absolutely! Does it knock the socks off of every single person who views it? Yep! But what about customer service? Well, I don’t know if there are enough positive adjectives in the dictionary that could accurately depict the level of customer service provided by Stephen. He truly does care about not only delivering a top-notch product, but a top-notch experience overall. He goes out of his way to ensure you are COMPLETELY happy throughout the entire process; from pre-purchase questions through post-purchase installation. He is there to help and happy to do it. It has been a long time since I have worked with someone so passionate about the customer experience. It is extremely refreshing considering the world we live in now.
In conclusion, you are looking at the review from an audio/video snob who was convinced a television was the only way get the lit-room performance desired. I have been convinced otherwise… this screen really was made for people like me. Outstanding product, outstanding price, and outstanding customer service. Outstanding job, Stephen!
The attached pic is one I snagged from my phone while watching my Huskers getting destroyed by Oregon. All cans are on and actually much brighter than they appear, but the camera was auto-adjusting its brightness due to the screen brightness.