Next on our ‘love list’ are the X9’s colours. For provided you avoid some of the rather eccentric colour presets - especially the ones reckoned to approximate to a Xenon lamp! - the projector produces the most vibrant, rich, yet above all subtle and natural colour palette yet seen from a JVC projector. Having the colours calibrated for your room conditions is something we’d always recommend with a projector at the X9’s level, but if you just can’t be bothered, then the provided THX preset is a great ‘out of the box’ option.
As well as speaking volumes about JVC’s growing understanding of home cinema colour tuning, the extra potency to the X9’s colours inevitably owes a debt to the new level of brightness JVC has introduced with the X series. Previous models have hovered around the 1000 Lumens or below level, but by getting up to 1300 Lumens for the X series, the whole image looks punchier and richer to a quite delicious degree.
The X9 also delivers emphatically on DLA’s ability to reproduce outstanding detail levels and sharpness without needing to look forced, and noise of any sort is non-existent unless it’s there in your source material. Motion looks superbly clean and well-judged too - and that’s without the CMD in play.
There’s really nothing bad that can be said about the X9’s 2D pictures. It’s possible to get even more solidity and punch if you spend substantially more on a really high-brightness projector like Sim2’s Lumis models, we guess. But for its price, the X9 is without rival.
So we turn to the X9’s 3D performance. And there’s no denying that this is not quite as imperious as its 2D efforts, chiefly because there are subtle but definite traces of crosstalk noise during all the usual scenes that show up this ghosting issue. It also has to be said that JVC’s active shutter glasses knock out a touch more brightness and colour vibrancy than we’d ideally like. With this in mind we’d strongly recommend that you always double check you’ve got the projector running with its 3D preset in play when watching 3D, since this really has been calibrated well by JVC to deliver the maximum punch its projectors can offer.
On the upside, though, the crosstalk is much less overt than it is with the Sony VW90ES 3D projector, and is seldom potent enough to really distract you from the main image content. There’s loads of detail in 3D Blu-ray playback too, reminding you of why the active shutter 3D format was invented, and motion and depth both look natural and involving.
The last thing to discuss about the X9 is its running noise. In Normal lamp mode it runs impressively quietly, but the volume level ratchets up markedly if you set the lamp to high.
Thankfully you normally achieve the best picture quality with the lamp set to Normal. But you do need to put the lamp to high for 3D, so if you’re going to be doing a lot of 3D viewing, you will likely need to position the projector some distance from your seating area, or box it in. Luckily the former solution is helped by the projector’s impressive amount of optical zoom.
The X9 is a stunning tour de force from JVC that delivers the closest match yet - for under 10 grand, anyway - to the experience of actually going out to the cinema. Enough said.