Marantz VP-11S1H DLP Projector Review - Marantz VP-11S1H Review


The star of the 11S1H’s specifications has got to be its GF9351 video processing system by acclaimed image gurus, Gennum. This includes no less than four key processing elements: TruMotionHD and FineEdge technologies to improve the smoothness and sharpness of progressive images; Reality Expansion to enhance colour tones, delivering more than 1 billion gradation levels; and finally a Fidelity Engine to enhance detailing and clarity.

Another potentially key thing about the 11S1H is the fact that its DLP chipset and lens are both hand-picked for each projector, rather than being just taken at random from stock piles as happens with the cheaper 15S1.

However, anyone who read the review of the 15S1 might be thinking that aside from this latter point, the 11S1H doesn’t so far sound very different to its cheaper sibling, perhaps making you wonder why it feels able to charge £1,000 more. In fact, the 15S1 arguably has an on-paper advantage in the form of a dual-iris array for greater brightness and contrast control.

But actually the 11S1H does have one potentially massive ace up its sleeve: a six-speed, 7-segment colour wheel, complete with a so-called ‘neutral density (ND) filter’ element that sort of works like a second iris. The 15S1’s colour wheel, by comparison, is ‘only’ a five-speed, 6-segment affair, meaning that the 11S1H should suffer less with that bane of DLP’s life, the rainbow effect, where stripes of red, blue and green flit around in your peripheral vision and over very bright parts of the image.

And so it proves. For during my image testing phase with the 11S1H, I scarcely noticed the rainbow effect at all. Even during ”Casino Royale’s” opening black and white sequence, which always tends to emphasise any striping noise, the only time I saw even a hint of the problem was when I unfairly sat too near my screen, so that I had to rove my eyes over the picture more than would be the case under any ‘sensible’ viewing conditions. For me the absence of the rainbow effect really is a crucial advantage of the 11S1H that could well be enough in itself to persuade its money’s-no-object target buyer to part with the £1,000 it costs over the 15S1.

The next ”Casino Royale” sequence, the opening credits, is also extremely revealing of just how mightily impressive the 11S1H’s pictures are. For starters, even when outputting the sequence in 1080p/24 from a PS3 there’s not the slightest hint of any judder, in either the vertical or horizontal domains.

Colours also look sumptuous. Not, perhaps, quite as vivid as we’ve seen with some other high-spec projectors, but totally natural and stuffed with the sort of subtle shades that only the finest image processors can deliver. This is especially apparent with skin tones as we enter the film proper, with close-ups on faces looking as natural and noiseless as I’ve ever seen them on a single-chip DLP projector. In fact, the startling accuracy and subtlety of the 11S1H’s colours makes me wonder if the greater vibrancy of some rivals is actually hiding a lack of finesse.

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