In keeping with its custom install-friendly status, the X9 is well equipped with calibration tools. These include full colour management and gamma management; various colour temp settings; separate dark and bright level adjustments; 16 manual aperture settings; high and normal lamp modes; sharpness adjustments; extremely flexible block, mosquito and ‘random’ noise reduction tools; and last and, probably, least, JVC’s Clear Motion Drive.
CMD is one of those processing systems pretty much every AV brand likes to have up its sleeve for reducing judder. But our experience is that such systems are seldom necessary, since while they can pretty much eliminate judder - as the CMD does - this isn’t generally something you’d want to do, as it can make Hollywood blockbusters look like TV movies. The CMD doesn’t make too many unwanted side effects, at least, so long as you keep it set to its lowest level. But we still didn’t really ever feel the need to use it.
The only word that can be used to describe the X9’s 2D performance is ‘wow’. There’s so much impressive stuff going on here, in fact, that it’s hard to know where to start. But perhaps, given that it’s arguably the X9’s headline news, we’ll go for its contrast.
The combination of deep rich blacks it delivers right alongside punchy, brilliant whites and vibrant colours is really pretty incredible, giving contrast-rich movies a greater sense of depth and shadow detail than we’ve seen before on any sub-£10k projector. For instance, in the early Casino Royale sequence where LeChiffre talks to an African leader as he lounges back behind his desk we noticed two bodyguards in the dark background that we hadn’t ever really taken in before, despite using this film as a test disc for years now.
We’re not saying we hadn’t actually seen them at all before, but it’s certainly true that they’ve never taken on the same level of presence that they do on the X9 for the simple reason that they’d never been resolved with so much detail and accuracy against the blackness of the picture around them. In this respect the X9 really does outgun the X7 we tested, showing just what a difference hand selecting only the best optical components can make.
The way the extreme contrast performance adds depth and detail to the image makes your eyes hungrily devour every inch of the screen in a way few other projectors can outside of a commercial cinema environment. Needless to say, this proves very handy when it comes to getting you thoroughly immersed in what you’re watching.
It should be stressed here, too, that this terrific contrast range is delivered with total stability, since unlike most projectors, the X9 doesn’t need to use a dynamic iris to try and deliver the best contrast/brightness balance.