JVC DLA-RS20 Projector Calibration and Settings
We calibrate each home theater that is reviewed. Normally we just do a basic grayscale calibration, but the JVC DLA-RS20 also needs to have individual colors calibrated in its Color Management System.
The JVC RS20 is not a toy! If you are seriously considering the RS20, keep in mind that potentially, this projector is about as good as it's going to get of the under $10,000 projectors. To get the full potential out of an RS20, plan to have it properly calibrated. The end result is stunning!
1/26/2009 - Art Feierman
JVC DLA-RS20 Color Temperature
First, here are the color temperature measurements for the Cinema 2 mode, as well as the THX mode, below it.
These are the measurements, taken "right out of the box."
Cinema 2 mode:
30 IRE (dark gray): 6306K
50 IRE (medium gray): 6301K
80 IRE (light gray): 6134K
100 IRE (white): 6005K
Those numbers are well below the ideal 6500K, however, adjusting the color temp setting to -2 improves that somewhat, but that's not a solution.
30 IRE (dark gray): 6410K
50 IRE (medium gray): 6487K
80 IRE (light gray): 6305K
100 IRE (white): 6299K
Much Better! In fact, the THX mode is by far the best looking of the five presets. Still we believe it can be definitely improved on. The downside is that improving on it is very complicated, including tricky work with the JVC's CMS (color management system), as I will discuss below.
For those interested, here are the color temperature measurement for white (100 IRE), for each of the five preset modes
Cinema 1 (for B/W movies): 5273K
Cinema 2: 6005K
It's almost shocking that none of the modes is really close to 6500K at measured white, although the THX mode as seen above, overall, doesn't track that far below 6500K over its range.
Ok, time to see what we can do with the projector to improve the image.
JVC DLA-RS20 Basic Settings
In addition to calibrating Red Green and Blue for a correct grayscale balance (6500K), there are a number of other settings that come into play. Typically Contrast and Brightness (white balance and black balance), need to be done first. Color saturation and gamma also need adjustment.
Our final settings (the default settings for Brightness, Contrast, Saturation and Tint are all 0, in all modes). Mike made adjustments to these, and the Color Temp settings for each of the seven modes:
Cinema1 Cinema2 Natural Stage Dynamic THX
Contrast = (0) -2 -4 0 -2 -3 -1
Brightness = (0) 1 2 2 4 1 1
Color Sat. = (0) 0 -5 0 0 10 0
Tint = (0) 0 -3 0 0 0 0
Color Temp = 5800 6500 6500 7500 High Bright 6500
Gamma = Normal B Normal C C Normal
Lamp Mode=High (unless noted otherwise)
Iris fully open
All other settings at default (untouched)
Zoom set at mid-point for all measurements
Note, the JVC does not have User savable settings (you can customize all modes with the exception of THX), which are minimally customizable. (Note for THX mode, only Brightness, Contrast, Color Saturation Tint and Lens Aperture, but not Color Temp, Gamma or CMS).
You can put in the settings you want, but there is no "Save function" that can be recalled, after changed. Thus, if you have customized, Cinema 2, for example, then decide to change its color temp, it will remember the new setting but it will forget the old settings you had put in. Be sure to jot down all of your settings as you customize a mode, or use a User mode. Otherwise, you might try adjusting something, not like the result, and not be able to remember what the old setting was.
To get the Most out of the DLA-RS20, a calibration is necessary. Only the THX setting is technically very good. Oh the brighter modes are watchable for sports, etc. (very cool - blue shift).
The thing is this. The JVC's Color Temp settings alone, do not get you to where you want to be. In addition is the JVC's CMS. In the Color Management System you can individually adjust each primary and secondary color for Hue, Saturation, and Brightness. This is important for this JVC, as the the colors are in general oversaturated. We normally don't even use a CMS for this level of calibration in our reviews. This is one of the few projectors with excellent potential that requires calibrating individual colors to get the most out of the projector. Without working in the CMS, you might as well just set the projector for THX, and enjoy (not a bad thing!) As I said, THX is pretty good, but the RS20 can do better. (Though, I suspect the THX folks might argue differently.)
Adjusting CMS to get desired results can be difficult on some projectors and that is the case with the JVC for reasons I won't bore you with.
Mike, as usual, picked up the projector for calibration. He did the CMS, and all the other goodies. Unfortunately, when he returned it, this time, the projector did not look anywhere as good as expected, due to the tricky nature of JVC's CMS settings, affecting each other.
The best image he came up with was in many ways not as good as THX, and the most annoying aspect was a slight greenish cast to skin tones.
So, off to the various forums for me, to see what is going on. For those of you who haven't visited AVSforum.com, AVforum.com, etc., this is where the hardcore enthusiasts hang out, as well as some "newbies". Some of these folks are on their 3rd, 4th, 5th home theater projector, and many are fanatical. I hooked up with a couple who have the RS20 already, and as one put it, he already put in something like 60 hours calibrating his. DON'T PANIC.
Realize there is always slightly different performance from one unit to the next, due to the slight variation in lamps, but generally, we have found that the settings we publish from our calibrations, seem to work well for most.
I've been communicating with a guy who goes by "lovingDVD" on the AVSforum. I had tried settings for CMS that he published, combined them with our Color Temp settings made a minor adjustment to our Color Temp, and ended up with a spectacular end result. 30 minutes of viewing several things later, and I decided I must have an RS20 of my own.
I checked with him for permission to publish his CMS settings here, with the rest of our settings, and he gave me the OK. So, thanks "lovingDVD"! On that note, for those of you technically inclined, or even those of you who like to get overwhelmed, here's a link the Calibration thread for the JVC RS20/HD750 on the AVSforum.
Warning, it gets technical, (I suspect most folks active in the calibration threads on the forums have engineering degrees, or are professional calibrators, and they have the gear to measure everything) Those threads overwhelm me at times, and as I write this, this JVC thread already has 90 pages of content. For most of you, I think you'll find that plugging in all of these settings listed below, based on our work as well as "lovingDVD" and others, will more than please you. If you hire a professional calibrator, I recommend one who knows this projector, or at least point him to this thread.
JVC DLA-RS20 Post Calibration Grayscale
Here's what we ended up with in measuring the grayscale. All the Color Temp and CMS settings are listed further down. Since then I have made minor changes to the color temp settings. I have not remeasured, but these should be close to our most recent best settings.
20 IRE: 6418K (very dark gray)
30 IRE: 6540K (dark gray)
40 IRE: 6716K
50 IRE: 6792K (medium gray)
60 IRE: 6659K
70 IRE: 6623K
80 IRE: 6557K (light gray)
90 IRE: 6453K
100 IRE: 6423K (white)
That's not by any means exceptional tracking of the color temp, but it is a very reasonable one. More importantly oversaturation of individual colors has been dealt with, and the bottom line is a much better image than you will see on other projectors that track a little closer to 6500K.
The gamma controls on the RS20 allow for detailed customization, including different gamma curves for each primary color! So far I've only tinkered there. I have found the provided gamma presets B and C to do a very good job, although I definitely prefer B for most content, C seems to work well for the rest. My personal favorite overall, is the B gamma setting. It provides a little extra pop to the image in most scenes, and looks great, doing it, while still maintaining a very film-like image.
Overall, Mike reports that the B gamma is very close to the ideal 2.2 over most of the IRE range. C averaged a bit high at 2.32 gamma, which gives you a bit darker image in the mid-range IREs.
JVC DLA-RS20 RGB Settings
These are the adjustments we made to Red, Green and Blue for the grayscale balance of Cinema 2 mode. This is accomplished by placing these adjustments into one of the three Custom settings (1, 2, or 3)
Color Temp settings:
CMS Settings: H=Hue, S=Saturation, B=Brightness
Red: H= -2, S= -23, B= 9
Yellow: H= 3, S= -25, B= 15
Green: H= -10, S= -25, B= 18
Cyan: H= -1, S= -30, B=12
Blue: H= 0, S= -10, B= 15
Magenta: H= -1, S= -12, B= 10
That's it folks. If these combined settings work as well in your JVC DLA-RS20, as they do in this one, you should be most pleased! A most impressive picture!
Once again though, please consider that, with a projector in this price range, the cost of a good calibration is not a significant additional expense. More to the point, proper calibration will really deliver improved performance!