(NOTE: The current picture above is outdated and does not show Component Engineering's current basement reader which is reverse scan LED based.)
I just couldn't resist reviewing the Simplex Millenium projector for my "millenium" edition of my product reviews. Aren't I so clever? Is it a good projector? You bet? Best thing ever to happen to mankind? Almost---well maybe not.
Like you would expect from a Simplex, it's built "Ford Tough" and it's a tank. You could probably splice your tie into the film and it would run through the projector and still come up in frame after the film was back onscreen. The Simplex will keep on runnin', provided you keep it oiled and clean. Did you thread it out of frame? Better call in steroid master Arnold Schwarzenegger to adjust the framing knob for you. After that, have him give you a serious ass-kickin' for threading out of frame in the first place! On the newer models the framing knob is EXTREMELY tough to turn. That is just horrible, don't ya think? They should be IMPOSSIBLE to turn! That way you must thread in frame each and every time. The newer design is also a bit more like a Century (another in the STRONG line of projectors). Instead of the combined gate and intermittent shoe of the XL, this one has them as individual components, just like the good old Century! Whatever could this mean? Perhaps it means that people copy the Century projector for a reason. But that's another review down the road. However the new gate and trap do not perform quite like a Century, or even like the older Simplexes. Constant tweaking is needed in order to get proper operation from them in most cases. You can get this projector with a basement Dolby Digital reader from Component Engineering (which is better than the Christie basement reader, by the way), but I still recommend the CAT 701 penthouse reader from Dolby themselves. It was stupid of Dolby to allow others to make basement readers. It gives Dolby Digital an unfair bad name. But that's another review down the road.
What's good? Well, aside from being a tough projector, it holds up really well. It is very solid. If you keep up with the maintenence, it will run just as well 60 years down the road. Simplexes are like that. And while others may consider the following a flaw, I consider it a plus: Strong shaved down the dual bladed shutter to allow more light output. It works. But when you adjust the framing, you will start to see very noticable shutter ghosting as a result. Why is this good? All the more reason to lock those framing knobs down and FORCE people to thread in frame each and every time. Strong still offers the normal sized shutters if you can't thread in frame to save your life. If you need those, you are truly pathetic.
What's bad? I hate the sound head design. I hate that rubber contact on the sound drum closure. It leaves a visible mark on the film. It attracts dirt. The lens turret is sloooooooooow. There have been some image steadiness concerns with some of the most recent models,. And of course the gate and trap woes mentioned above.
All in all a decent projector.
Bottom Line: You could do worse, but you can still do better.