December 30th, 2007
The Ampro has left the building.
The last movie we watched was the Bourne Ultimatum and it looked great. It was with some reluctance that I sold the CRT, as my next projector will be a digital and I know the black levels and contrast won’t compare. I simply don’t have time to tinker with it like I used to, and even the required maintenance was starting to be a chore - so it was time to move on.
December 22nd, 2007
What is for sale
Ampro 4000G with wired setup remote
FE Quadscan rackmount version
VGA breakout cable (~15 feet)
Price: $350.00 SOLD
Contact: click for email
Ampro 4000G - modified and tweaked as documented on this website - my best guess is this unit was built in 1992. I would consider this a good setup for someone into the home theater hobby, and not someone who wants to set it up and forget it. That said, when I have folks over to watch a movie - turning it on and watching a movie is exactly what we do - only on occassion will I mess with the convergence with guests over.
Quadscan - this is the original TView Quadscan, version 2.05b. I’m the original owner, and I believe I still have the original box. The manual is stlil available online from Focus Enhancements. This is used to deinterlace & scale 480i (standard definition) material. In my setup I use this for DVD playback.
Transcoder - I documented this unit when I got it in early 2006. It take HDTV over component and converts to a VGA signal, which I then pass through the Quadscan to the projector. This lets me view HDTV from my satellite receiver.
The VGA breakout cable was DIY, but I’ve been very pleased with the results. It is included in the sale in order to provide a complete solution for the buyer.
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May 27th, 2007
The black level crush issue, while Scott (TSE) had some great advice - seems to have ended up being a problem with the signal I’m sending the Ampro from my quadscan. The quadscan seems to be having problems with near black video levels - I brought my Dell 20″ widescreen ultrasharp LCD monitor downstairs and found that I was seeing exactly the same thing I was seeing on the Ampro.
The Sony DVD player seems to also have some issues with crushing the blacks. Doing an A/B vs. the Toshiba and using the LCD as a display - it was obvious that the black level coming out of the Sony was lower. I was only able to get equivalent black levels with the “custom” display setting on the DVD player and maxing the brightness to +5. Raising the brightness on the quadscan from the default 16 to 20 allowed me to see one of the two black bars in the AVIA black bars pattern. Even with these brightness increases - there is still clearly a problem with the quadscan as the crossed stepped scale pattern shows the top part of the 10IRE bar on the left, but the right (bottom) 10IRE bar is the same as the black next to it.
Despite the issues with the quadscan, I figured that I’d run the DVD player with the custom display setting (brightness +5) and the increased brightness on the quadscan (20) and see how things looked after calibrated.
Comparing my calibration efforts to previous attempts shows that I’m getting better at this. Watching the 5th Element looks as good as it ever has on any system. Checking out the Bourne Identity which I remember not looking all that great - things seem much more balanced. I’m certainly hooked on calibrated displays - and there is still more for me to learn.
May 25th, 2007
I’ve been struggling with getting my black level detail correct. The black bars pattern from AVIA is showing me a completely black screen - even on the tube face I couldn’t see the moving black bars.
I was certain that I had in the past had done the brightness and contrast setup, but since then I’ve changed cables, DVD player, and other factors. So I’ve spent some time going back to verify that cables didn’t make a difference, and checked the setup on my DVD player. Nothing seemed to make a difference.
I looked for help on Curt Palme’s CRT forums with this posting. The users there are very helpful, and TSE (scott - an Ampro expert) pitched in with exactly the advice I needed.
The sub-brite controls can put the darker video levels out of range of the video amplifiers. If too low the dark information is gone. Turn contrast to a low level like 20 or 30. Set brite to 70. Turn up G-2 so tube screen is totally lit up. Adjust sub-brite so lowest video levels are visible. Look in lens to see. Then set G-2 properly. The SB50 pics have sub-brite set so darkest video information is just visible. SB11 pics have sub-brite set toward low end of range. With sub-brite too low the lower levels of the stairstep pattern are not there. The tube is lit up but there is no information. Don’t turn the sub brites too high as it makes the amplifiers run hotter than they need to. Just enough for the dark information to show.
He even provided screen shots and scope shots! I’m sure I can fix this black level problem now. More when I get a chance to poke at the projector.