Week 47, 2018: Using a projector without a screen, Emotiva CD players and year-end deals

Sound Advice
By Don Lindich

Week 47, 2018

Q. The room layout of the furnished apartment we are renting does not have a good place to put a flatscreen television that is big enough to satisfy us. However, there is a table where the cable box and our Blu-ray player would go, and if I put a projector there it could project on a plain, smooth white wall across the room about 10 feet away. There is room for quite a big projected image and with projectors becoming so affordable it got me thinking, especially since we watch a lot of movies. Do you think this is a viable option, even if we can’t completely darken the room in the daytime? What projector would you recommend?

-S.B., Charlotte, NC

A. It is definitely a viable option. Without a dedicated screen and a fully dark room, a projector will not be able to reproduce the colors and sharpness of a flat-panel TV. However, a picture that is 10 feet diagonal makes up for a lot of shortcomings in other places. I know, because I have tried it myself.

During my testing I was surprised at how well the image from broadcast television held up in the daytime when projecting on a wall. Of course, at night playing Blu-ray movies the experience was worlds better, and quite cinematic. The projector I used was an Optoma HD142x 1080p DLP projector. The HD142x has since been replaced by the HD143x. The HD143x retails for $489 and it is my top projector recommendation in its class.

You will connect the cable box and Blu-ray player to the projector with HDMI cables. The speaker in the projector is very weak and you should plan on using a separate speaker with it. There is an audio output on the back of the projector you can use with the auxiliary input of a powered speaker to yield better sound.

Q. I read your column recommending the $299 Emotiva CD100 CD player, but it may have been discontinued as I did not see it on the Emotiva website. When I was on the website I saw their top-of-the-line CD player, the ERC-3, on closeout and discounted from $599.00 down to $499. At that price it looks to be a good value for the money, and I like the idea of having the best.

My system has an 80-watt NAD integrated amplifier and Ruark Epilog bookshelf speakers. Do you think the ERC-3 would be a good fit for my system?

-B.Z., Milwaukee, WI

A. The Emotiva CD100 has not been discontinued. According to the Emotiva website it is available for ordering and will shop on or after November 30th.

The Emotiva ERC-3 is an excellent player and Emotiva’s year-end promotions may make it even more attractive to audiophiles. Until December 31, 2018, if you spend $500 you get a $100 credit on Emotiva’s online store, to be applied to your next purchase. If you spend $1,000, you get a $200 credit, $1,500 yields a $300 credit, and $2,000 delivers a $400 credit. So, if you buy the ERC-3 for $499 and add a $3.50 connecting cable you will be over the $500 mark and get the $100 credit. The credit must be used within 6 months of the issue date.

In your case I would use it towards Emotiva’s $299 Airmotiv B1 bookshelf speakers. Your Ruark speakers were good for the time, but the Airmotiv’s are noticeably better and more of a match to the quality of the Emotiva CD player and NAD amplifier.