Marantz VP-12S2 DLP video front projector Calibration


The Marantz VP-12S2 tracked a neutral gray very well after calibration, although the factory default values are within a couple hundred kelvins from black to white. You'll need a color analyzer with corrected look-up tables for Super High Pressure (SHP) lamps, which are spectrally deficient in reds and yellows but overflow with greenish-blue light.

Set the VP-12S2's black reference to match your DVD player's (7.5 IRE for 480i video) and display a PLUGE pattern to adjust the brightness and contrast as you normally would. As with any fixed-matrix imaging device, always adjust for the widest possible gray scale—not the brightest image. The resulting light output will usually be lower than the manufacturer's specifications, but the image quality will be at its best.

Next, select the gamma you want for the desired input. I chose Theater, but Standard also worked well. Stay away from Dynamic, which is better used for PC displays. With the gray-scale ramp, I adjusted the red, green, and blue Contrast and Brightness controls to get as close to D6500 as possible. (I used both Video Essentials and the AccuPel HDG-2000 for gray-scale patterns.)

Once the gray scale and brightness and contrast were tweaked, I took the following measurements with the zoom lens set to its midpoint. In all cases, the average brightness uniformity measured 93% to the average corner, which is outstanding.

Video contrast was measured at 556:1 ANSI with a checkerboard pattern and 647:1 peak in Low brightness mode, while in High brightness those numbers improved to 609:1 ANSI and an amazing 800:1 peak. After calibration, the VP-12S2's gray-scale tracking was excellent, varying only 160K total between 6430K and 6590K from 20 to 100 IRE.

The manual-adjust varifocal lens has a slight flare (most lenses do), but I saw no distortion during zooming. Text sharpness across the screen was very good, although I needed to focus carefully to get the sharpest image. The image sharpness was hardly degraded even with a severe vertical image offset. The lens's moderately small aperture of f3.0 provides a deeper zone of focus, if you need to project off-axis slightly.—PP