AV Rant #591: Pledge Drive Success!

May 18th, 2018 No comments

Thank you! Our donation match pledge drive was a success! We have a lot of Listeners of the Week to thank, so here…we…go…

First, big thanks to Anonymous, James C., and Dipan for matching $100 each and getting this whole pledge drive going!

Paul, Earle, Nate, James D., Clarence, Shane, Daniel C., Terry G., James F., Tom D., David P., Tom T., Weldon B., Larry L., Daniel M., Christian S., Jason D., Jayson W., Roger H., Keith S., Grant A., Amar S., Jonathan F., Steve T., Brandon W., Peter S., Ian E., Kris I., Douglas J., Ben M., Fred R., Greg L., Richard R., Bret R., Matthew L., Vincent H., Jack R., David F., Paul B., Robert B., Brent R., Joe K., and Chad – thank you all so much for your donations!

We also want to thank our 59 Patreon Patrons, including Jeff K.

And thanks to Tom D. for ordering seven Elite Home Theater Seating recliners and letting them know he decided to buy from them because of us.

In the news, THX launched their THX Standard website where they claim to list objective measurements and unbiased comparisons. However, an Audioholics analysis and our own perusal reveal some puzzling and questionable inconsistencies and methods regarding their scores.

Infinite Gary let us know that manatees hear higher frequencies than humans, but not as high as dolphins, and he also shared his impressions of newer Atmos releases vs. earlier discs. Keith S. just wanted to wish us luck during our (successful!) pledge drive and say he appreciates our commitment. Curt G. warns that even though Walmart Blackweb HDMI cables claim to be “premium certified”, he still had signal dropouts, while a generic cable worked fine. And Travis D. shared his listening impressions going from GoldenEar Aon 3 speakers to Martin Logan Motion 35XT speakers.

0:24:22 Damien D. gets our thoughts on a YouTube video titled, “Why SDR is Greater than HDR“. We talk about Sony’s “active” HDR processing for projectors. And we make recommendations for how high to mount Surround speakers.

0:34:43 Michael I. gets our recommendation for Spoonflower and My Fabric Designs for printing custom artwork on fabric to wrap around acoustic panels.

0:41:23 Paul T. asks if he should change his 7.2 setup to a 5.2.2 configuration.

0:46:36 Christian S. has questions about Audyssey Dynamic EQ, gets confirmation about his bass measurements, gets our recommendation for APC Back-UPS BE600 or BE850 power protection, and speculates about what’s next for his theater.

1:00:47 Bret R. asks for our help figuring out which OLED TV model to purchase.

1:05:58 Jeff K. gets our input about which projector(s) to buy.

1:10:33 Jon wants a subwoofer upgrade, and we suggest an HSU VTF-3 MK5 HP or SVS PC12-Plus for his room.  We mention the RBH AO-520 Outdoor Speakers as an alternative to Yamaha. And we say an inexpensive 50-foot HDMI cable from Monoprice should be fine for 1080p.

1:18:20 Infinite Gary shares a laugh at the marketing claims for the Parasound Halo CD 1, as well as Scott McGowan’s 20-amp circuit in a reverberant room. And he asks for more thoughts on Samsung Cinema LEDscreens.

1:25:24 Bobby M. asks for help with manual subwoofer and AV Receiver settings, whether his subs need damping, and whether he might be buying subs that are “too much” for his room.

1:30:56 Nick B. requests a comparison of current streaming boxes where HDR video and bitstream audio output are concerned.

1:35:41 Nathan D. wants to know if Panasonic Ultra HD Blu-ray players will be good alternatives to Oppo.

1:37:26 Aidan C. clarifies his closet and subwoofer placement, and asks how much having his closet door open will affect the bass measurements in his room.

1:41:34 Travis D. wants to know more about the hosts, Tom and Rob.

1:48:05 Chris T. finds out which 4K TVs still do 3D, and we recommend the Audio Source AMP100 or an Emotiva BasX amplifier for expanding from 9 speakers to 11.

1:52:32 David F. gets our recommendation for an HD Fury Linker to help with the very long HDMI signal switching times of his JVC projector.

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AV Rant #590: Negotiate For Bass

May 9th, 2018 No comments

Special Announcement: This week, May 7 – 14, is our Pledge Drive!

If you would like to Support AV Rant, May 7 – 14 is the time to do it! If we receive $100 in donations, Anonymous will match that, dollar for dollar. If we receive $200 in donations, James C. will kick in another $100. And if we get $300 in donations, Dipan will be our third $100 match donor! Thank you!


Our Listeners of the Week are Miguel and Chris for their donations, our 59 Patreon Patrons, Aidan for letting Rythmik know his second FV15HP subwoofer purchase was because of us, and Miguel for talking us up to Accessories4Less and Oppo.

In the news, the Onkyo TX-NR787 AV Receiver packs 9 amplifiers and DTS Play-Fi support into a $799 price point, but there are no speaker pre-outs, so 5.2.4 or 7.2.2 is the maximum configuration.

Nathan D. wrote to Dolby directly to ask if the Dolby Surround Upmixer might ever use Front Wide speakers. Lee V. suggests checking the RunPee app since there’s no pause button at movie theaters. And Robert L. approves of the Vanatoo Transparent One $500/pair self-powered speakers.

0:17:26 Earle B. asks which surge protector we recommend for subwoofers, so we mention the APC P8V, and we talk a bit about subwoofer “break in”.

0:21:05 Nick B. gets us to weigh in on his choice between having an equipment closet at the back of the room, or putting his gear in shelves at the front of his room below his screen.

0:24:04 Mark H. gets an explanation about HDR to SDR conversion and why 100 nits in SDR isn’t necessarily exactly the same thing as 100 nits in HDR. Plus we discuss HDR shadow detail.

0:33:25 Infinite Gary wants to know the ideal speaker placement for 6.1 soundtracks, and he also wants to know what tweeter breakup modes are and whether that spec is important.

0:41:56 Alvin C. achieved nearly uniform bass across his couch, but his wife would prefer her seat to have quieter bass, so we discuss the idea of intentionally creating non-uniform volume from seat to seat.

0:50:37 David S. is finding that he can localize one of his subwoofers in his new, smaller room, so we talk about what might be causing that and suggest a potential way to fix it.

0:56:37 Stefan V. recommended SVS to a colleague, but the SB-1000 subwoofer he bought rumbles faintly, even when nothing but power is plugged in. SVS customer support said it’s considered to be a normal noise floor, but we disagree.

1:01:33 Aidan C. wants to know if “ideal” mid-wall placement of his subwoofers is worth covering his equipment closet door. He also asks about putting subwoofers right up against walls. And we suggest SVS PC12-Plus, HSU VTF-3 MK5 HP, Rythmik FVX15, or Power Sound Audio 15V subwoofers for his larger Living Room.

1:07:57 Jeff K. didn’t wire his projector for battery backup, so we suggest the APC Back-UPS Pro 500 Lithium Ion as a compact unit he could mount to his ceiling. We warn him never to run a power extension cord inside wall conduit, as that is against code. And we let him know to look for HDMI High Speed Premium and 18 Gbps.

1:14:20 Shane T. asks if it would be better to install lights and HVAC in a soffit rather than putting any holes in his double drywall ceiling. We discuss full motion TV wall mounts and their impact on audio. And we make amplifier recommendations for his 11 speaker setup.

1:24:36 Dave B. is getting video drop outs, and we highly suspect it’s just a loose plug.

1:28:00 Tim D. gets a quick description of where passive radiator subs fall within the ported vs. sealed spectrum. Then we recommend the HSU ULS-15 MK2 or Power Sound Audio S1500, since he wants fairly compact cabinet dimensions, but if he can afford them, we like the cylinder SVS PC12-Plus even more.

1:34:15 Karl R. gives us a great laugh as we stroll down memory lane to learn about Leonard Nimoy’s Magnavision.

1:38:05 AJ gets us to weigh in on the TCL 6 Series vs. the Vizio P Series vs. the Sony X900E Series TVs, particularly for gaming.

1:40:41 Jonathan F. asks for our speculation about what sort of playback system Blu-ray audio mixing and mastering is anticipating. And we talk about the $180 Aftermaster Pro dynamic range compression and EQ device.

1:47:15 Chris T. completed installing his friend’s theater system. She’s very happy with the end results, but he found the AcousticPro UHD screen from Elite Screens to be a real pain to assemble and install. And back in his own theater, we make Atmos speaker placement suggestions, and tell him to get grey paint from the Sherwin Williams Gray Screen palette.

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AV Rant #589: James Damien Unicorn

May 4th, 2018 No comments

Special Announcement: Pledge Drive Update!

If you donate to Support AV Rant during the week of May 7 – 14, an anonymous donor has agreed to match all donations, dollar for dollar, up to $100. And now, James C. has said he would like to match an additional $100! So if we receive a total of $200 (or more) in donations, anonymous will give us $100, and James C. will give us $100, bringing the total to $400 (or more). Thank you!


Our Listeners of the Week are Joshua for his donation, our 58 Patreon Patrons, Damien for selecting the AVRant chechmark box when he registered his dual SVS SB12-NSD subwoofers, Karl M. and John S. for helping Tom’s son with his PC build, and Felipe for letting Monoprice know we recommended them when he pounced on a B stock Monolith 7 amplifier purchase.

In the news, via James Bujold, the first North American installation of a Samsung Cinema LED screen has been completed, bringing with it new mastering and planning considerations. SVS introduced their $90 SoundPath Wireless Audio Adapter. And via Jay C., Emotiva is closing out their BasX Series speakers at half price.

0:16:00 Justin B. wants to complete his dedicated theater gear list in his spare bedroom, so we recommend the RBH Impression R-515 Center speaker, a Denon AVR-S530BT or Yamaha RX-V383 AV Receiver, aBenQ HT2050 projector, a Silver Ticket screen, and removing the door of his closet.

0:30:28 Bill L. is installing 5.1.2 Atmos, so we discuss the best placement for his overhead speakers.

0:33:37 Adriano M. asks about the best way to goose his bass output a bit, and why his subwoofer doesn’t seem to make any sound when he uses Stereo listening mode.

0:41:43 Jonathan F. heard a particularly convincing panning effect in The Shape of Water that not only moved side to side, but also down, so he asks how we think that was achieved.

0:47:36 Jeremy W. wants to do a subwoofer crawl, so we point him to Audiocheck.net to get bass sweeps, and let him know that Audyssey should be off while doing the subwoofer crawl.

0:48:38 Brandon N. wants to know if his TV will be limited to HDR10 and 4K at 30 fps if he connects his Epson HC 4000 projector to the same Receiver, and how important 60 fps is for 4K anyway. He also asks if room correction will remove a speaker’s intentional coloration, and whether Seymour AV’s screens are worth the money over Elite Screens.

0:57:43 Robert F. asks about using an NVidia Shield in Australia, as well as how well it works with NAS storage, and whether it will get Atmos output from Netflix, and Dolby Vision support.

1:03:48 Alvin C. asks what we think about Paul McGowan’s take on internal speaker wire.

1:09:08 Chris T. wants to know how to fix a very small misalignment of his projector and screen, and whether his APC J25B battery backup should ever be turned off.

1:12:38 Damien D. gets some ideas on how to raise the height of his Tower speakers, we mention some demo material for panning and circling effects, and we suggest a way to reattach the cardboard port tube inside his Pioneer subwoofer.

1:18:53 Josh L. wants a recessed, in-ceiling, acoustically transparent screen, so our top advice is to build a soffit over a regular screen case if his joists aren’t running the correct direction, or to consider EluneVision AudioWeave 4K In-ceiling. We recommend the JVC DLA-X590R projector mounted close to his back wall. And we assure him that using different external amp channels for two different systems is fine.

1:26:02 Nathan D. found information indicating that some Atmos soundtracks treat all sounds as if they were channels, meaning no speakers beyond 7.1.4 ever make sound, even if you have them installed, so he gets our thoughts on that.

1:31:24 Will A. has an open theater area, but we still think an SVS PC-2000 subwoofer makes sense. We suggest starting with one and possibly adding a second later. And we recommend adding Front Heights to his Top Middle speakers and avoiding a costly in-ceiling speaker upgrade.

1:41:04 Jaremy P. wants to know if we think he should completely replace his all in-wall and in-ceiling 7.2.4 setup with just one pair of full range Towers.

1:53:24 Rob W. gets some demo material suggestions for experiencing full pressurization of a room with bass.

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AV Rant #588: Fran Drescher Speaker

April 28th, 2018 No comments

Special Announcement: Pledge Drive!

An anonymous donor has agreed to match all PayPal donations that we receive during the week of May 7 – 14, 2018 dollar-for-dollar up to $100. If you donate during that week, it’s like you gave us twice as much! Thank you!


Our Listeners of the Week are Steve and Thomas for their donations, our 58 Patreon Patrons, Christian for telling Accessories4Less he bought a refurbished Denon X3300W because of our recommendation, Jeff for letting SVS know he heard about them from us when he registered his dual PB12-NSD subwoofers, Mark for telling Oppo his UDP-203 purchase was thanks to our advice, and Mike for helping Tom’s son by suggesting PC Part Picker builds for his gaming PC research.

Daniel W. contacted KEF directly, and they replaced all the drivers in his LS50 speakers for a lower price than expected. And James came around to our Harmony Hub remote recommendation, plus he discovered there are frequent unadvertised “in store only” discounts that make it worth your while to check your local stores.

0:15:46 Tony S. gets our advice on how to budget and configure his open basement, including our recommendations for an SVS PC12-Plus subwoofer and Prime Elevation or NHT Super Series speakers.

0:29:18 Miguel M. gets us to narrow down our $1,500 L/C/R speaker picks, and we discuss the Monoprice Monolith subwoofers.

0:37:35 Shane T. gets a heap of advice about the layout of his room and the placement of his seating, display, speakers, acoustic treatments, and door; plus, we recommend the KEF E301 on-wall speakersSoundproofing Company Backer Boxes, and Fiber Optic HDMI cable run inside conduit.

1:00:08 Cesar asks about recessing regular speakers in a ceiling, and what “high end roll-off” in speakers really means.

1:04:05 Jeremy W. wonders how much difference he’d hear going from Audyssey MultEQ XT to MultEQ XT32, as well as how much he should worry about loud playback for his daughter’s hearing.

1:10:06 Ryan T. asks about CeilingMAX flush mount drop ceiling, and we mention Acoustical Solutions ceiling tiles.

1:12:21 Byron S. wants to know if he got a taste of what it’s like to be us when he tried to share some subwoofer advice on an SVS Facebook fan page.

1:15:18 Nathan D. wants our comments on the Emotiva RMC-1 9.1.6 Atmos demo and StormAudio 9.1.6 firmware update, as well as who’s to blame for Front Wide speakers not playing anything when using the Dolby Surround Upmixer.

1:19:34 Christian S. gets some settings tips for his Denon AVR-X3300W AV Receiver.

1:24:36 Jeff K. gets our thoughts on keeping his projector budget under $4,000.

1:28:16 Damien D. wants to purchase and download full quality movies with lossless audio, so we point to Kaleidescape; and we also discuss crossover settings.

1:31:18 Infinite Gary asks about some specific high wattage amplifier benefit claims, and whether there are any down sides to suspending some of his speaker wires.

1:35:06 Mark H. gets clarification on HDR to SDR conversion settings for his HDCP 1.4 eShift projector.

1:40:31 Nick B. asks when the flagship Denon and Marantz Processors will be available at a discount, and we discuss whether he can justify an Oppo UDP-203 purchase.

1:47:23 Steve H. gets advice about Epson 5040UB settings, using the DoctorScreen Frozen Pixel Fix, remeasuring when you don’t like Audyssey results, the Dayton APA102 and Audio Source AMP100 amplifiers, and whether his results were within “normal” expectations when he auditioned some different speakers.

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AV Rant #587: Cursing Canadian

April 21st, 2018 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Miguel for his donation, our 58 Patreon Patrons, as well as Curt G. for letting Accessories4Less know he heard about them from us, and Bobby K. and John S. for sending links to help Tom’s son build a gaming PC, including a pre-built AMD-based PC for under $700.

In the news, Vizio announced their 2018 TV lineup with the new P-Series looking like the highest value, and the all new P-Series Quantum delivering 98.5% of DCI-P3 color and 192 zones of local-dimming. And the Emotiva HDBaseT Extender offers 18 Gbps over a single Cat6 cable up to 130 feet.

Chris T. shared a photo of all the AVRant-recommended gear he’s purchased and is now ready to install. Ted M. discovered that his new Denon AVR-X4400H Receiver fixed a problem with blurry video he was having before. And Marc N. wanted to share his excitement about finding a lightly used Epson 5030UB projector for $700 on Craigslist.

0:17:25 Chris M. asks if it’s beneficial to use a Y-splitter to feed both the Left and Right inputs on a subwoofer.

0:19:22 Josh F. wants us to “grade” his setup, and we think the most worthwhile upgrades he could make would be a new subwoofer, and some Ascend HTM-200SE, Focal Bird, or NHT Super Series speakers.

0:31:18 Infinite Gary wonders if listening for a phantom Center between Surround Back speakers might be the best way to determine their toe-in.

0:33:42 Jay C. asks if the Focal Sib speakers would be a good alternative to the Focal Birds.

0:35:26 Nathan D. feels like this is an evolution, not revolution product year, so he wants to know if we’re excited for anything that’s launching soon.

0:40:46 Jack H. wants to buy an Oppo player, but he’s trying to decide between an Ultra HD Blu-ray model, or an older 1080p Blu-ray unit.

0:47:02 Allen G. wants to know if a Sony Ultra HD Blu-ray player will play SACDs and provide good upconversion, and he also asks why Dolby Vision isn’t a concern for projectors, and what label he needs to look for on HDMI cables to ensure 4K HDR capability.

0:52:57 Lance H. asks about the 4:4:4 chroma input on LG OLED TVs when you designate an HDMI input as being a PC input, and he asks why images of fire in HDR felt more impressive when viewed on a Sony Z9D TV.

1:02:55 Rob W. shares a ton of experience from his home theater build, then he asks why not all speakers sound very similar to one another, and why a speaker manufacturer would purposely design an inaccurate response curve.

1:22:49 Damien D. can’t connect an external amp to his current AV Receiver, and he doesn’t know what his future speakers will be, but he’s still itching to buy an amp, so we mention the limited stock of refurbished Monoprice Monolith amps, and recommend pairing one with a refurbished Denon AVR-X4300H.

1:31:18 David S. recommends using cinder blocks as speaker stands. Then he asks where we think he should place his absorption panels, how to mount them so that they’ll have an air gap, and which speakers in his collection we think he should mount as his Surrounds.

1:38:57 Justin B. is moving to a new house and is trying to decide if his theater should go in a loft or a spare bedroom.

1:44:41 Don G. gets some advice about how to connect the overwhelming number of wires in a 7.2.4 setup that includes a separate 3-channel amp.

1:50:55 Nick B. asks, what is the highest crossover frequency we would ever consider using?

1:55:32 Jack R. gets our recommendation for an Audio-Technica LP-60 turntable.

1:57:45 Shane T. gets some quick, incomplete advice about his theater build in case some of it is time sensitive.

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