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Stewart Filmscreen offers a variety of masking systems designed to define a specific image ratio (4:3, 16:9, 2.35:1, etc.) by covering all areas outside this image with a very dark material that negates any unwanted light spill and creates a sharply contrasted edge.
Yet the masking system itself can have a significant effect on the overall acoustical transparency of the screen and the audio quality of the entire system. Many homeowners opt to have screens that are nearly as wide as their theater – thus, along with the center channel speaker that is commonly placed behind the screen, it results in the need to also place the left and right speakers behind the it as well.
In consulting with Steve Haas, world-renowned acoustician, it was learned that not only is the acoustical transparency of the masking material just as important as that of the screen itself, but the combination of the two materials with the typical separation distance must also be considered. If not, then the quality of sound will change dramatically depending on what image format your movie or TV program is played back in – hardly an acceptable situation!
Certain aspect ratio masking formats can and will result in the leading edge frame of the masking system covering a critical part of the loudspeakers. Therefore, Stewart has designed a leading edge frame that is stiff enough to support the masking system and maintain a sharp edge, yet shaped and configured to have as little acoustic effect on the sound – even if situated very close to the smallest drivers of the left and right front loudspeakers.
Stewart Filmscreen commissioned Mr. Haas to help refine their existing motorized masking systems to ensure that they were the most acoustically transparent and effective on the market. Testing was conducted for months to optimize the frame/batten configuration, the masking fabric selection and the manufacturing itself until the AcoustiMask was perfected.
“The AcoustiMask utilizes new round profile leading edges on masking panels to reduce parallel sonic reflections and achieve optimal separation of screen material to masking system. When combined with a Stewart designed masking fabric that transmits more sound yet blocks more light, the AcoustiMask now brings the next reference level to electronic masking systems,” as stated by Steve Haas - President, SH Acoustics.
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