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 Post subject: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 8:52 pm 


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A few months ago I bought a Sony BVM-D32E1WE. Right from the beginning I had planned to review it. I've now reached a point where I understand this monitor well enough and I've tried all the things I wanted to try. Plus I had some free time.

So here is my review.

I don't just use this monitor for gaming, but also for watching movies and TV. I compare this monitor to a couple of other devices, so it's a review of those as well.

It's not only a review, it's also somewhat of a guide. Should you buy a monitor from the BVM D series, you might find it useful. That convergence stuff is exclusive to the 32 inch version, but everything else should also apply to the smaller versions.

If you search the web or this forum long enough, you can find most of the information that's in there. But I know of nothing else where you can find everything concentrated in one place.

If you're planning to get one of these monitors and plan to spend lots of money, I certainly recommend reading it first. And even if you have no ways of aquiring one, it still might be worth checking out to see what you are missing, or not missing.


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 9:06 pm 


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very nice! Thanks for the work. For the moment I've just flown through the pages, but I'll read it completely as time allows.


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 10:53 pm 


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Absolutely, thanks a lot for this! Certainly among the most complete reviews/coverages of a professional CRT monitor I've ever read. I wanted to go to bed early but I couldn't resist delving into your detailed analysis :D

Among all the juicy details and impressions on your write-up, I found particularly interesting the part where you pitted a relatively unassuming Samtron against the mighty BVM (I do use a PC CRT monitor as main gaming display after all). There doesn't seem to be a match at all for high resolution video material (which is natural given that the Samtron was displaying the source at less than its original resolution), but for graphics (Metal Slug pics) I wouldn't disregard its performance to the same extent as you did. Yeah, the image is a bit dim and dull but you can probably get around that by adjusting the scanlines intesity and/or the display brightness/contrast. Btw, about the Sub-Contrast setting on the BVM (that you used to make scanlines less pronounced while also adding a certain punch to the image), I am no expert, granted, but I would say that that's just your standard Constrat setting (which doesn't really adjust contrast i.e. brightness ratios but more like peak brightness - more here), I'm reading that it's called like that because it probably sets the centre value in the range of the main Contrast setting.

I think your interpretation on the BVM's less-than-stellar performance on shadow details may be right - the tube has probably been through a lot already (I think I read somewhere that it has ~50k hours?) and has lost just a touch of brightness/light output capability at any given setting value. Nonetheless, the picture that it is able to display is still nothing short of amazing. :) Those screenshots are among the best I've ever seen (which also speaks volumes as to your photography skills).


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 12:38 am 


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Reading now - very cool.... You had me at IRacing (I purchased an 80/20 rig for this, spent an arm and a leg)

"I became obsessed" I know the feeling:)

Thanks for posting the review and there is a lot of good information for newbies:) I wish something like this was available when I got my BVM32:)

I had the opportunity to play with different CRTs and now started experimenting with the OSSC and LCD. Something strange with LCD and OSSC, at first, I was like this is different but then I kind of started liking the new look of LCD retrogaming in comparison to CRTs.. I guess that most people on this forum had this journey, where they start with CRTs and end up with one LCD and upscale because it might be or look good enough and do not have to deal with how heavy and how much space CRTs take, etc.

here is how I use my CRTs -
D32 - I only used it for 720p Content.. Wii U, Switch, Steam PC fighting games and consoles.
NEC 29 Plus and NEC 3PG - Retro console exclusive NES, SNES, Playstation, HAS (arcade games, Naomi, Taito TypeX2) and GroovyMame
PVM L5 - GAMEcube-GBA.

This setup takes a lot of space, at some point, I would just like to end up with an OLED + OSSC and call it a day. The 2017 LG 65" looks very impressive (21ms input lag) and might do the trick once the price goes down:)..

thanks for posting the review.. I enjoyed reading it:)
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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 2:30 am 



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Hey there, thank you for the review. Like Fudoh, I'll also be reading it in full once time allows. :)

As a BVM-D32 owner, I wanted to point something out about the brightness "issue" you mentioned. This monitor was designed to color grade in a completely dark room. It was not designed to be used in a bright living room for afternoon film viewing.

This photo caught my attention – D32 on the top and the Phillips TV on the bottom:

Image

I've been working as an art director in publishing for years and handle color correction as well. The Phillips' image looks completely blown out and there is so much detail lost in the character's face. I've never seen the film, but it appears that the director keyed the color to be darker during these scenes and the D32 is doing a better job of representing that.

Also, I don't know if you color calibrated the display the way Sony intended. Ideally, you'd use the BKM-14L probe, but those are hard to come by.

By the way, how many hours are recorded?


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 10:49 am 


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Xer Xian wrote:
I found particularly interesting the part where you pitted a relatively unassuming Samtron against the mighty BVM (I do use a PC CRT monitor as main gaming display after all). There doesn't seem to be a match at all for high resolution video material (which is natural given that the Samtron was displaying the source at less than its original resolution), but for graphics (Metal Slug pics) I wouldn't disregard its performance to the same extent as you did.

I'm sure you can get more out of it and enjoy it a lot. But certainly I'm not interested in using it for gaming. But if anyone is looking for a good PC CRT monitor, I can give it a big recommendation. Those were the last brand name PC CRT monitors they sold here. It should not be too hard to find one and they are not that old, there should be a good chance to find them in good shape. The same monitor also exists under the Samsung brand, it has some more settings, I don't know the model number though.

Xer Xian wrote:
Those screenshots are among the best I've ever seen (which also speaks volumes as to your photography skills).

That made me smile. I don't use my camera much. I learned a couple of things when I made this review. In the past I used the JPGs the camera produces. For this review I set the camera to only safe raw files. I developed every raw file in Photoshop with custom settings. It makes a big difference.


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 10:59 am 


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SNK-NEO-GEO wrote:
Reading now - very cool.... You had me at IRacing (I purchased an 80/20 rig for this, spent an arm and a leg)

Hehe, a fellow iRacer. Okay, I'm currently not signed up. My motivation dropped after I won a championship. And then they changed the tire model and I didn't like the feeling anymore.

SNK-NEO-GEO wrote:
here is how I use my CRTs -
D32 - I only used it for 720p Content.. Wii U, Switch, Steam PC fighting games and consoles.
NEC 29 Plus and NEC 3PG - Retro console exclusive NES, SNES, Playstation, HAS (arcade games, Naomi, Taito TypeX2) and GroovyMame
PVM L5 - GAMEcube-GBA.


I've been wondering about these professional presention displays. Since you own a D32 and also a NEC 29 Plus and NEC 3PG, how do they compare in brightness?

SNK-NEO-GEO wrote:
This setup takes a lot of space, at some point, I would just like to end up with an OLED + OSSC and call it a day. The 2017 LG 65" looks very impressive (21ms input lag) and might do the trick once the price goes down:)..


I'm also curious about OLEDs. I don't understand why this technology hasn't taken off a bit more. Here in Europe there are only LGs available last time I checked. And they start at what, 55 inches? That's too big for me. A 42 inch OLED with low lag could convince me.


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 11:16 am 


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philexile wrote:
This photo caught my attention – D32 on the top and the Phillips TV on the bottom:

I've been working as an art director in publishing for years and handle color correction as well. The Phillips' image looks completely blown out and there is so much detail lost in the character's face. I've never seen the film, but it appears that the director keyed the color to be darker during these scenes and the D32 is doing a better job of representing that.

Believe me, if you see it in person, it looks fine. I tried to explain it. These two displays are so very different. I've photographed them both in one picture. There is no setting that will do these two justice at the same time. The settings for the first comparison does the BVM a bit more justice, so the Philips will look blown out. And for the second comparison, the settings do the Philips TV more justice and the BVM will look darker than what your eye would perceive.

philexile wrote:
Also, I don't know if you color calibrated the display the way Sony intended. Ideally, you'd use the BKM-14L probe, but those are hard to come by.

By the way, how many hours are recorded?


Yeah, it's calibrated by hand. I realize it can look a bit better if you'd use a probe.

The BVM has over 43000 hours.


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 6:38 pm 


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Great write up. It would be interesting to find a bit more detail on the process you used for calibration of convergence.
Regarding the defocus issue on hd content whites, this is the same for my d24.


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 11:48 am 


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LDigital wrote:
It would be interesting to find a bit more detail on the process you used for calibration of convergence.


More detail? Hmmm. What parts are unclear or what kind of info do you miss?

LDigital wrote:
Regarding the defocus issue on hd content whites, this is the same for my d24.


Interesting. I find it a bit weird that this is so rarely discussed, when people write about these monitors it is too often rave comments. These BVMs go for a lot of money. I think it's important to know what you might get into if you're buying one. That's one of the reasons I wrote the review.


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 1:44 pm 



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Quote:
More detail? Hmmm. What parts are unclear or what kind of info do you miss?


That part wasn't clear and you jumped directly to the FINE ADJUST SETTINGS rather than start with H STATIC CONV, V STATIC CONV, V CONV TOP, etc. as the manual calls for. The FINE adjustments are supposed to be for final tweaks.

There is also a test patten channel that shows dots. It is more helpful to adjust for convergence with that then the grid in some cases. Ideally, you'd use a test pattern generator that includes both dots and a grid.

Quote:
Interesting. I find it a bit weird that this is so rarely discussed, when people write about these monitors it is too often rave comments.


The defocus issue you both are having is likely due to miscalibration and the age/hours on the tube. If you have 40,000 or more hours clocked on your BVM you should also recap some of the boards. I would start with the deflection module and move on from there.

And just to point out again: both the D24 and D32 were designed to be used in a completely dark room for color grading. You can't expect it to perform like a consumer television in a brightly lit environment. The 20" monitors were more standard in this regard.

One other thing, I can see a new tube was installed from your pictures, but unless this came from Sony you can't be sure this was really a new tube. New 32" tubes from Sony costs over $10,000 and that didn't include the installation fee. I'm assuming this was done by a reseller because the white sealant visible on the spacers isn't the type that Sony used. You also mentioned that a new deflection board was installed, but the service person didn't bother to adjust the convergence. I thought that was sort of odd.

Quote:
These BVMs go for a lot of money. I think it's important to know what you might get into if you're buying one. That's one of the reasons I wrote the review.


I completely agree. This is also why its important to buy a monitor from a reputable seller who actually knows how to setup these monitors properly – or be willing to dive into this material yourself and really learn the ins and outs of it.

Best Regards


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 4:12 pm 


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Good review and excellent read.

That brightness issue sounds like a deal breaker. I am surprised how such an expensive monitor from the time would have such a low contrast ratio.

I there any option to turn your sync channel from 75 ohm to "high" or something along those lines?

Final baton taught me a trick to turn the sync switch over the bnc terminal to "high" and it makes a huge difference in darker movies and games.
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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 4:21 pm 



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There isn't a contrast issue with this monitor, there is an issue with his monitor. Don't know how many different ways I can say that.

The review looks nice and appears thorough, but I'm sorry to say it wasn't written from someone with experience and a number of mistakes were made throughout. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but it can't be considered a vetted source.


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 4:36 pm 


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"I've been wondering about these professional presention displays. Since you own a D32 and also a NEC 29 Plus and NEC 3PG, how do they compare in brightness"

I have never had a problem with brightness on those monitors but I rarely play games during the day time since I am at work and do not get home until 7pm..They are "normal" I guess.. I had an issue with two Sony FW wide screen with brightness where it would be too bright, a member here described it as crashing the blacks.. It would take about 40ms for the monitors to have a perfect picture.
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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 5:35 pm 


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philexile wrote:
There isn't a contrast issue with this monitor, there is an issue with his monitor. Don't know how many different ways I can say that.


Welcome to the retro gaming hobby club where one occurrence = gospel.

philexile wrote:

Yeah, it's calibrated by hand. I realize it can look a bit better if you'd use a probe.

The BVM has over 43000 hours.


As someone who has cocked up his monitors' and TVs' calibrations before, this invalidates most of the findings.


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 6:43 pm 


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philexile wrote:
That part wasn't clear and you jumped directly to the FINE ADJUST SETTINGS rather than start with H STATIC CONV, V STATIC CONV, V CONV TOP, etc. as the manual calls for. The FINE adjustments are supposed to be for final tweaks.


You are correct, I didn't even mention the static convergence part. Adjusting that was pretty pointless anyway in my case. The fine adjustment was needed.

V CONV TOP and V CONV BOT do not exist on the D32. They only exist only the smaller versions who do not have the feature to fine adjust the convergence.

The static convergence part is so simple I don't think it needs to be shown. The fine adjustment screen is unique to this monitor and definitely worth showing. I found it a bit difficult to understand at first, so explaining how you can work with it can be useful to others.

philexile wrote:
There is also a test patten channel that shows dots. It is more helpful to adjust for convergence with that then the grid in some cases. Ideally, you'd use a test pattern generator that includes both dots and a grid.


You cannot change the pattern on the fine adjustment screen. Unless there is some secret method. You said you own a D32. If there is a way, please share it.


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 7:20 pm 


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philexile wrote:
There isn't a contrast issue with this monitor, there is an issue with his monitor. Don't know how many different ways I can say that.

The review looks nice and appears thorough, but I'm sorry to say it wasn't written from someone with experience and a number of mistakes were made throughout. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but it can't be considered a vetted source.


You're sorry to say it wasn't written by someone with experience? Of course I'm not very experienced, I never claimed I was, I'm not hiding that in the review either.

I have written about my experiences. These monitors are old and have been used a lot. Not all of them will be in the same state. I have written about the one I have and show what it can be like to have one. There's not much else I can do.


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 7:55 pm 


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Hoagtech wrote:
That brightness issue sounds like a deal breaker. I am surprised how such an expensive monitor from the time would have such a low contrast ratio.


Like the others have indicated, the situation was probably better when the monitor was new. But I doubt it ever was as extreme as that Philips TV I'm comparing it too. Like I have mentioned, the BVM looks almost the same as my VGA monitor. And that one has not aged much. It has some slight burn in since it was mainly used to display a static Windows desktop. Other than that it looks almost new. I would find it weird if the BVM would change its character so much over time that it incidently matches this VGA monitor I have.

Hoagtech wrote:
I there any option to turn your sync channel from 75 ohm to "high" or something along those lines?

Final baton taught me a trick to turn the sync switch over the bnc terminal to "high" and it makes a huge difference in darker movies and games.


Not that I know of. On what kind of monitor is that possible?


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 8:09 pm 



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Hello, I'll check this week and get back to you. It's been a while since I calibrated the D32, but I could have sworn it had the standard convergence adjustments, in addition to FINE adjustments.

What version of the system software is installed?

Also, there are some other adjustments that you can make in the MAINTENIANCE menu in regards to your contrast issue. I want to check and confirm first though. In the meantime, can you check to see what the DRIVE REF (I think that's the name) value is? I think it's under the E board.


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 7:45 pm 


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Alright, I've managed to access the maintenance menu.

DRIVE REF is set to 130.

The maintenance menus have V CONV TOP and V CONV BOT settings by the way, so you kind of remembered correctly. But these settings really do not exist on the regular convergence page.

Software version is 1.21.


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 11:07 pm 



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Hello again,

Quote:
DRIVE REF is set to 130.


You may be able to lower this a bit to improve the brightness. The default is 128. On my D32 it is set to 129, but every tube is different though. There are also additional contrast settings that you can tweak, but do so with caution.

Quote:
The maintenance menus have V CONV TOP and V CONV BOT settings by the way, so you kind of remembered correctly. But these settings really do not exist on the regular convergence page.


Thanks for confirming. I must have went into MAINTENANCE to make the first adjustments. There are some other convergence adjustments there as well.

One of the things that caught my eye in your photos was that the horizontal convergence seemed uniformly off:

Image

Maybe this is a small area of the screen, but if its not then the standard H CONV settings should fix it. I was sort of surprised you said they were pointless. One other thing: there is a small dial inside the monitor on the C board which is attached to the back of the picture tube. Turning this dial will realign the horizontal. Be careful not to zap yourself if you do this – always keep one hand in your pocket. :)

Quote:
You cannot change the pattern on the fine adjustment screen. Unless there is some secret method. You said you own a D32. If there is a way, please share it.


I don't think you can change the pattern of the fine adjustment screen. I meant that you should use another pattern when you are using the regular convergence controls. Its been years since I fine tuned my D32 and I'm wondering if I even did use the settings in MAINTENANCE – or if they are even usable.

Each of the BVM family's are a little different from one another and I could be confusing one for another. For instance, the "original" SD only 20" BVMs had LOADS of convergence adjustment options, while the digital 20" models were more limited. That said: the digital family seemed to need less tweaks.

There is a way to adjust the grid or dot patterns generated by the D series. Under the BC Board, select PLD and scroll to page 3/8. From there you can change the HATCH INTERVAL from the default of 45 to something more frequent like 15. Then on page 4/8 you can change RASTER from the default of 20. You change the pattern from hatch to dots or vice versa. This change doesn't save and when you change the channel it gets reset.

Good luck


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:55 am 



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I got a D24, and found an XGA or SXGA signal (computer standard) will cause "overload" problem.
No idea if it is a normal phenomenon or not.
Also I want to uninstall the BKM-41HD card as its noisy fan.
Is component input through BKM-41HD have a better performance than others?
If not, I will uninstall it. Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:29 pm 


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The issue you have here looks very similar to a problem I was having with my D20:

Image

In the end I was able to fix it by tweaking the CLP P DLY setting in the maintenance menu.


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:38 pm 



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It was pretty much the first thing I noticed that my BVM performed massively better in very dark conditions to the degree that I don't use it during the daytime. And the one I got only had about 5,000 hours on it and actually still gets decently bright although not at all near as close to as bright as the consumer CRT TVs I have. It bums me out but BVM's image is profoundly affected by any other source of light and since I got the BVM to play modern games which do feature many more dark areas like you mentioned this BVM I have most likely will be sold and then replaced with something else more flexible. It kind of boggles my mind when I think about it but I would rather play my Melee games on a TV that probably had sold for 200$ when it was new than one that probably had sold for 5,000$ or 10,000$. Its kind of crazy...


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:57 pm 



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That's an amazing review. Personally I prefer my crt's to not look so close to an emulator with scanlines (which is why I moved back to consumer crt's), so based off the screenshots (which don't show motion) I probably prefer the Philips, but if an emulator accurate image with vibrant scanlines is the desired look then the D32E1WE is an incredible monitor.


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:01 pm 



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Roboplodicus wrote:
It was pretty much the first thing I noticed that my BVM performed massively better in very dark conditions to the degree that I don't use it during the daytime.


That's how they're designed to be viewed – in a darkened room. When you have a larger CRT, with such a small dot pitch (or aperture grille pitch) as these do they can be pretty dim (they can get bright, but you'll get blooming which is kinda against the point of these having a near-perfect picture).

If you wanted to be able to use it in your living room with all the lights on and no window shades...it's going to be washed out a bit. regular PVM's are better in this regard, and regular consumer TV's are a LOT better to use in a bright room.


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:08 pm 


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For the bottom picture on page 12, the BVM is the screen that shows the most detail out of the 4
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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:13 pm 



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Dochartaigh wrote:
That's how they're designed to be viewed – in a darkened room. When you have a larger CRT, with such a small dot pitch (or aperture grille pitch) as these do they can be pretty dim (they can get bright, but you'll get blooming which is kinda against the point of these having a near-perfect picture).

If you wanted to be able to use it in your living room with all the lights on and no window shades...it's going to be washed out a bit. regular PVM's are better in this regard, and regular consumer TV's are a LOT better to use in a bright room.


Ya, its a trade off like many things are. I think for me it is a combination of the screen I have just being a really small HDM 14E5U 14 incher and the fact that in room I use it in I'm not able to control ambient light very well and probably biggest that the screen gets washed out if I turn up the brightness to where I'd like, because that is one of my favorite things about CRTs vs LCDs is that they do get brilliantly bright(though in the past couple years have been seeing LCDs actually advertising how bright they can get because some of the latest ones will actual get really really bright). Its sort of a weird thing I have where it makes me start feeling a little sad to be staring at a small dim screen for a long time. Though like I said also halo 3 is stunning on the HDM-14E5U I have, the other issue with it is that playing it in 1080i means bars on the top and bottom so the 14" becomes more like an 11". Anyway its some combination of all those factors that has me using my big bright Sony KV-34XBR910 for 1080i content though I'd definitely take a long hard look at one of those big widescreen PVMs like the a/d24s or 32s or the HDM 2830 or HDM 3830 if one were available near me.


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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:40 pm 


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KV-34XBR910 is better than the BVM32 because you can find it for free on Craigslist and if you are seating seven feet away from the TV, the picture is comparable to the BVM. If your face is right in front of the TV, that is a different story.
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 Post subject: Re: A review of the Sony BVM-D32E1WE
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:12 pm 


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Don't you find that 7ft is a touch far away when using a 32-34"?


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