When I said ‘absolute precision’ back there, I meant it. For during a two-hour process, the SIM2 representative who installed my test C3X 1080 was able to tweak the tones of the primary and secondary colours to a point so close to perfection – as defined by the independent, ‘objective’ colour meter and PC software – that any differences were negligible.
It really is very important that I convey fully what this means. For what many people fail to realise is that although a projector of the C3X 1080’s stature naturally ships with its colours pre-calibrated to be as accurate as possible, the actual final tone of the colours you see at home is affected by the environment you’re using your projector in. Factors like the type of screen fabric you’ve got and the amount and type of reflections cast around your room when the projector is working can have a really quite profound impact on the final colour tones you see.
As a result, the only way to ensure that you ultimately get accurate colour tones from even the most expensive projector is to tweak the settings via a colour management system once the projector is installed in its final position in your home. And from having looked on in awe for the full two hours of the C3X 1080 colour calibration process, I can assure you that I’ve never seen another colour calibration system as effective and subtle as that supported by this SIM2 model. Its attention to detail is almost obsessive compulsive in its precision, in fact – and in a high-end home cinema context, that’s about as high a compliment as I can pay!
Obviously colour management at this level goes rather beyond the likely domain of a simple owner installation. But it’s meat and drink to a high-end custom installer, and so should make the C3X 1080 a real favourite among the installation fraternity.
We’re nowhere near the end of the C3X 1080’s charms yet, either. For instance, it can deliver a strikingly high typical contrast ratio of 10,000:1 or more, given extra snap by the projector’s exceptional brightness – a brightness that owes much of its quality to SIM2’s AlphaPath Light Engine technology.
Also impressive is the projector’s 10-bit video processing, complete with high-definition scaling and de-interlacing capabilities, and the ability to deliver more than one billion colours on-screen. Allegedly. I have to admit that I didn’t actually count all the potential shades myself!
The C3X 1080’s extreme attention to detail is evident in other aspects of its setup procedure, too. For instance, there are no less than three different lens options: the T1 short throw (1.3-1.7:1), the T2 long-throw standard (1.7-2.6:1), and the T3 long-throw (2.6-3.5:1).
Vertical image shifting is possible, meanwhile, via a simple twisting knob on the projector’s top; the projector ships with a variety of test signals onboard; there’s extensive keystone correction; and you can even choose between five different lamp power settings – a substantial improvement over the simple ‘high’ or ‘low’ settings found on most projectors that offer any lamp adjustment flexibility.
For the record, we generally used the lowest brightness setting during our tests, partly because this seemed to suit the picture best, and partly because switching to higher brightness levels considerably ups the amount of fan noise the C3X 1080 emits.