Whether you’re installing a home theater system or AV in a corporate or commercial environment, the proper setup for the sound system ensures the highest quality results. The ideal position for the main speaker is behind the screen on the same level as the right and left speakers. This maintains:

  • quality sound localization for the dialogue and overall sound effects;
  • movie theatre quality that is true to the original sound mixing engineering; and
  • the ability to use identical speakers due to space restrictions and avoid interference with other objects on the floor or ceiling.

Placing the center speaker directly behind a standard projection screen does mean there will be some sound loss. The solution is an acoustically transparent screen, a projection screen with a weave or with tiny holes to allow the sound to pass through. These acoustically transparent screen surfaces allow audio and video to interact seamlessly, creating the ultimate experience.

Acoustically Transparent Options
Draper provides a range of acoustically transparent solutions in our ClearSound viewing surface family, including:

ClearSound White Weave XT900E/Grey Weave XH600E
Draper was the first manufacturer to introduce woven acoustically transparent screens. Until then, only perf materials were available. ClearSound White Weave XT900E and ClearSound Grey Weave XH600E continue to be the most innovative and versatile acoustically transparent front projection screen materials available. With over 76,000 microscopic openings per square foot, both the White Weave XT900E and Grey Weave XH600E have the sound transmission characteristics of high-quality speaker grille cloth. There is also little impact on the image, with less than 6% light loss. Woven surfaces are not recommended for viewing less than 10’ from the screen.

ClearSound NanoPerf XT900V
Microscopic perforations in the fabric create an acoustically transparent surface that does not compromise audio quality when speakers are placed behind the screen, while providing a beautiful image. The projected image is gorgeous, with a full 180° viewing cone and accurate color reproduction. Ideal for home theatre, commercial, and rental/staging. Openings in this type of surface are smaller and more numerous than standard perforated surfaces, allowing viewing distances of 10 feet or more and improved acoustics.

NanoPerf is also available with all ISF-certified, 8K-ready TecVision formulations.

ClearSound Perf XT900V
Flexible black-backed matt white perforated surface. Reasonable control of ambient light is recommended.  This surface is well suited for larger screens and larger spaces. Due to the size of openings in this surface type it is not recommended for viewing less than 20’ from the screen.

ClearSound White Weave XT900E
With an average screen insertion loss (IL) of only. 0.7 db, and a maximum loss of only 2.0 db found at 20,000 Hz., White Weave XT900E has the best acoustic performance.

ClearSound Grey Weave XH600E
With an average IL of only. 0.8 db, and a maximum loss of only 2.8 db noted at 20,000 Hz., the performance of Grey Weave XH600E is only a fraction below that of White Weave XT900E.

ClearSound NanoPerf XT900V
This is a perforated vinyl surface. NanoPerf XT800V (and NanoPerf TecVision) averages 1.7 db IL. The perforation diameter is 0.381mm (0.015”). There are 203 holes per square inch.

ClearSound Perf XT900V
This perforated vinyl surface averages a 2.2 db IL. The perforation diameter is 1.2192mm (0.048”), and there are 25 holes per square inch.

Minimum Sizes
Draper does not recommend using any of our acoustically transparent surfaces in sizes smaller than 80 inches wide. This is due to moiré patterns. If the projector is too close to the screen, pixels won’t line up properly.

Test Procedure
A review measurement of the acoustically transparent materials was performed by engineers at Auralex Acoustics in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Two things are worth noting from the testing. First, sound loss through an acoustically transparent screen is negligible. Using the comparative sound levels above, the decibel loss is in most cases a fraction of the sound level of breathing. The other point concerns specifically the frequency of human speech. The frequency of a typical adult male’s speech is 85-180 Hz, and that of a typical adult female is 165-255 Hz. In that area, 85-255 Hz., the sound loss is less than a decibel for all Draper acoustically transparent surfaces, so an acoustically transparent screen will have a minimal impact on dialogue.

For more information, including charts and testing details, click here for a free white paper (registration is not required).