Video Processors

Lumagen Radiance XS-3D Video Processor

ARTICLE INDEX

The Lumagen Radiance XS-3D In Use

I tested the Radiance XS with a wide variety of displays. It was tested on a Sony VPL-VW95ES projector, JVC X30 projector, Samsung PN50B650 plasma, and an Epson 6500UB projector.

The JVC X30 projector is a fantastic projector and comes highly recommended by me. One area that certainly is lacking was the CMS system. There is only a 2-point grayscale control, and the gamma control works with presets, but adjusting those causes bad posterization. With the Radiance connected, I could get a perfect grayscale and gamma, and bring in those color errors that had been present. One thing to keep in mind that is if your display has too large a colorspace, the Radiance can bring that in by pulling those points back, but it can't add luminance or saturation to a color that is too low in them.

Using the CMS and 21-point grayscale with the JVC took an already outstanding projector for the price to new highs. The grayscale, gamma and CMS were more accurate than with an X70 or X90 model and their internal CMS, and the additional features on the Radiance enabled the Lens Memory feature to be even more valuable. Paired with the Radiance the JVC goes from a fantastic projector for the price to one that can outperform anything for the same price as the pair.

The Sony VPL-VW95ES already has a full CMS built in, but it doesn't provide for 10-point or 21-point control over the grayscale, and the gamma had a bas bump at 90. Sony provides software to control the gamma, but it won't run on 64-bit versions of Windows so many people can't take advantage of it. While the CMS on the Sony is very good at improving the color dE, when individual saturations and intensities are measured they are not as good as when using the Radiance. With the Radiance the grayscale is dialed in perfectly, and almost no any adjustments to the primary or secondary colors are required to correct them. This doesn't use the full power of the Radiance, but the tint at the low end of the grayscale is gone and the image on the Sony is undeniably improved.

These intermediate saturations and intensities are often overlooked when evaluating a display or projector. Most reviews only cover the main primary and secondary points, which are 100% saturation and 75% or 100% intensity. Together with white, these make up seven out of millions of different colors. In theory every display should be able to get the other colors correct if these are, but practice is much different than theory. Here is where the Lumagen excels as it manages to perform these calculations perfectly, so intermediate saturations and intensities are displayed correctly and your color gamut is as good as your calibration report seems to indicate. Unfortunately many vendors seem to cut corners with their internal CMS systems so that the numbers in a review look great, but the overall performance leaves much to be desired.

Very few grayscale controls have the ability to get the grayscale perfectly flat along the whole spectrum. With 2-points or 10-points, they are often too coarse at any individual point to be everywhere, or the points interact with each other so you have to make a sacrifice somewhere in the spectrum. With very fine control at up to 21-points, and by having the points interact with each other far less than on a display, you can really dial in the grayscale and gamma to a level that usually isn't possible on a display CMS. As the basis of all images from Blu-ray to HDTV is a grayscale with color laid on top of it, having a totally neutral, accurate grayscale is often the single most important factor to having a quality image.

The simple fact is that the Radiance does one thing: It takes every other video component and pulls the absolute best performance out of it. DVDs upscale better, anamorphic systems work correctly, and the projector or display suddenly has an image that wasn't possible before. A fellow Secrets writer bought a Mini3D after I told him about using it and hooked it up to his Epson 6500UB, then had me calibrate it for him. The graphs of the grayscale and color improvements show you what the Radiance can do.

The green tint in the dark shadows of his projector is now gone, shadow detail was more apparent, colors are more accurate and flesh tones correct, and everything looks far better than before. Now he isn't worried about upgrading his projector, as the image looks as good or better than if he had upgraded

The scaling and processing of the Radiance was tested by using our standard Blu-ray Benchmark, using an Oppo BDP-93 in Source Direct mode as the source. Doing this the Radiance not only flew through the tests, but also provided the clearest, most noise-free scaling on the DVD sections of the testing that I have seen. Many people watch very little, if any, DVD content anymore but likely still watch SDTV or streaming content. The Radiance handles this content better than anything else I've tested and provides a sharp, detailed image but doesn't add halos or other artifacts that other processing can.