AV Rant #539: Bro Fist Bump

May 19th, 2017 1 comment

Our Listeners of the Week are Daniel, William, and Marc for their donations.

In the news, TCL announced their P-Series LCD TVs with Roku, FALD, Dolby Vision, and low prices.

Bill C. and Daniel M. both jumped on our advice from last week and bought themselves Harmony Hub-based remotes.

Dan S. wants excellent 2.0 desktop sound from small, affordable, USB speakers, so we suggest the AudioEngine A2+. He’s also looking for a 1080p Ultra Short Throw projector, so we recommend the NEC U312H (or ceiling mounting a regular home theater projector). Wesley M. likes BrickWall surge protectors and wants to know why we don’t talk about them. And Henry asks about SPL Meter readings and subwoofer trim level settings.

Luke has a small room, and he wonders how important it is to have a subwoofer that can play down to 20Hz strictly for music. He wants smaller, more affordable subwoofer options, so we suggest the HSU VTF-1 Mk3, RSL Speedwoofer 10S, and Emotiva BasX S12. Ty W. has his basement room stripped down to the studs and wants our recommendation for which Atmos speaker layout will be best for him. And Infinite Gary asks about upmixing content when you have an Atmos setup, as well as our thoughts on IsoAcoustics isolation stands.

Topher H. has a row house and wants speaker and subwoofer suggestions. We suggest Ascend Acoustics HTM-200SE or NHT Super Series speakers with either an SVS PC-2000 cylinder subwoofer or Dual SVS SB-2000. Christopher M. wants to upgrade to Ascend Acoustics speakers. Tom thinks he should start with a Front pair, while Rob thinks he should get L/C/R Sierra-1 with the option to get Sierra-2 Upgrade Kits later. And Tara B. is replacing a small speaker package in stages at a time. For under $500/pair speaker we suggest: RBH Impression R5Bi, Focal Bird, KEF Q300, Ascend CBM-170SE, SVS Prime, Aperion Audio Intimus, or NHT SuperOne 2.1. And we also discuss layout and acoustic treatments for her room.

Justin B. wonders why his vinyl isn’t sounding as good as he remembers in his new setup. He asks about closed-back planar headphones, where we agree the Audeze EL-8 Closed- Back are a top choice. We mention Tom’s favorite company name for headphone amps like the Schiit Audio Magni 2 or Schiit Lyr 2. And we give out a ton of under $1,000/pair speaker suggestions, including: SVS Ultra, Aperion Verus II Grand, KEF R100, Focal Aria 905, Emotiva Airmotiv T1, Paradigm Monitor, PSB Imagine, Energy Veritas, Salk Song, Mission, Dali, Linn, and Monitor Audio. Jonathan F. asks about the Legacy Audio Wavelet and some of the exotic speaker designs at AXPONA. And Earle B. wants a flagship Receiver with a “7 channel stereo” listening mode, so we suggest the Yamaha RX-A3070.

Cesar D. has a question about pronouncing “timbre”. Jefferson G. is getting noise and interference in his audio and video that seems to be coming from his motorized projector screen. And Ted M. gets our thoughts on the SUBPAC wearable tactile transducer.

Marc N. is going from maximum lumens to maximum performance in a 1080p projector, so we recommend the Epson 5030UB. Mahi has an acoustically transparent screen and wants to know if he should use three Tower speakers or two Towers and a horizontal Center. And Neil F. has an LG plasma TV and wants to know how to deactivate its overscan.

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AV Rant #538: A Coat for Every Seat

May 12th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Brandon and Tyrone for their donations, as well as James C. and Tara B. for telling Outdoor Speaker Depot and Accessories4Less that their purchases were thanks to our recommendations.

In the news, Nick B. let us know that the Rythmik FV18 subwoofer and Outlaw Audio Ultra-X13 THX Ultra Certified subwoofer have both started shipping. And two more Dolby Vision Ultra HD Blu-ray titles were announced.

Karl R. and Joshua M. shared articles about the growing use of IMAX cameras and formatting for blockbuster films and THX certifying Cinemark XD theaters. Josh S. details his friend’s insanely loud theater, including a short video demo. And Josh Z. pointed out that Dolby Atmos test tones up to 9.1.6 can now be downloaded from their website.

Earle B. asks if there’s an industry standard for grading Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, and wonders if he should adjust his Oppo UDP-205 player on a disc by disc basis. David B. has a basement theater with a permanent opening, and he asks about subwoofer options. And Roberto C. discovered a tweeter pushed in by one of his kids, so he asks if it’s worth repairing, and we mention Emotiva, SVS, NHT, and KEF as options with at least partially covered tweeters.

Russell L. gets some clarification about the pre-out settings on his AV Receiver. Jonathan F. asks about some confusing descriptions of the HSU CCB-8 speakers and how they ought to be positioned in a room. And he also asks about etiquette when overhearing a sales pitch.

Jonathan S. is building a theater with a six foot opening, so we discuss door options and bass pressurization. Mark O. is warming up to his RBH Impression Series Towers, but still wants to know why they produced some distortion when sent a full range signal. And P.J. asks about laying subwoofers on their sides, and what would pair nicely with his SVS PB-1000.

John M. shared a SMPTE presentation on Cinema Audio Standards, and he asks if the guidelines are applicable to home theater. Alvin C. upgraded his AV Receiver, and he asks about Surround and Surround Back speaker placement, Front Height speakers, subwoofer phase setup, and acoustic treatment ideas. And Bob S. wonders if there’s a way to make the various services and apps on his NVidia Shield all output audio at the same volume.

Bill C. gets our recommendation for a Logitech Harmony Hub based remote, and we also mention Control4as a more advanced and expensive option. Tate L. has ambient light and seats off axis to the left and right of his display, so an older LG 65EF9500 OLED TV might be a slightly more affordable option. And Nick B. gets some clarification and offers some suggestions for adjusting the phase of dual subwoofers, which reminds us to mention AudioCheck.net for bass sweeps with Markers.

Daniel M. gets our suggestion for an NVidia Shield Pro to make sure he has an IR receiver for use with a Harmony Remote. John B. needs a powerful subwoofer for under $1,000, so we suggest the Power Sound Audio 15V. And Tom K. gets our speculation on why some of his HDMI inputs on his AV Receiver worked with HD audio bitstreams while others did not.

John W. asks if he should buy a bigger TV, and if so, how big. Monty N. asks whether he should be concerned about the upcoming HDMI 2.1 specification. And Scott R. gets our advice to take advantage of the free two-way shipping offered by SVS and Aperion Audio, as well as auditioning as many speakers from local stores as possible.

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AV Rant #537: Fold Your Home Theater

May 5th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Christian and Michael for their donations, and also David B. and Justin B. for letting Accessories4Less and Emotiva know their purchases were thanks to AV Rant.

In the news, James Gunn wants Disney to start supporting Ultra HD Blu-ray. Samsung, Hisense, and TCL form the QLED Alliance. And Vizio demonstrated their 2017 XLED displays.

Stephen B. no longer desires a THX baffle wall for his theater after improving his frequency response measurements with the Audyssey MultEQ Editor App. Robert G. is amazed by his new Vizio P-Series display. Michael I. suggests using FakeSpot.com to suss out fake user reviews. And Joseph H. shared a drawing by his 9-year-old daughter of “Brony Rob” that we absolutely love!

Will T. has 11 speakers, but his Denon AVR-X4200W can only process 9, so he wants to know if he should use a speaker selector and external amp to optionally run his Surround and Surround Back speakers together as one channel. Karl R. asks about using a bias light with a projection setup. And Justin C. gets our speculation about why Audyssey boosted the high frequency output of his Ascend Acoustics Sierra-2 speakers.

Wesley M. definitely seems to have a broken ethernet adapter in his Denon AVR-X4200W that we believe will either require a repair or a workaround. Dave K. asks if the Denon AVR-X3300W can run a 5.1.4 Atmos setup. And Matthew H. wants a very large display, so we recommend the LeEco uMax85 TV if he has ambient light, or the JVC DLA-X570R projector if he has excellent light control.

Jonathan F. read an account of AXPONA 2017 with some confusing comments about reverberation and decay. Bobby M. wants a headphone amplifier that can power more than one pair, so we suggest the Emotiva Stealth DC-1, ART HeadAmp 4, or Samson QH4. He also wants either in-wall or satellite speakers for a low price, so we recommend the Outdoor Speaker Depot MK Series, and Fluance AV Series. And Jim B. gets further clarification on using the Zone2 HDMI outputs of his AV Receiver to either pass audio through or play the same source at the same time as the Main Zone, as well as some differences between mirrored HDMI outputs and independent Zone HDMI outputs.

David B. asks about the new 70 inch 2017 Vizio models, as well as wondering why one Atmos Blu-ray played fine for him while another did not. Steve M. specifies the make of his 35-foot in-wall HDMI cable to help us speculate about its bandwidth limitations. And Timothy B. needs a pair of high output subwoofers for under $3000, so we suggest SVS PC13-Ultra, Rythmik FV15HP, HSU VTF-15H Mk2, or a ported model from Power Sound Audio, along with trying the Audyssey MultEQ Editor App before spending more on a separate DSP.

Brian A. would like power protection for his electrostatic speakers and the rest of his gear, so we recommend the APC P8V surge protector and APC J35B battery backup UPS. Infinite Gary asks about adding Surround Back speakers to his 5.1.4 Atmos setup, how distinct the Surround and Surround Back channels are from one another, and what benefits he’d get from perfectly matching speakers all around. And Jason P. wants to know if he should take his friend’s advice to buy the Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless, active noise cancelling headphones.

Tom K. asks for a better method of connecting his subwoofer and amplifier for his desktop system. dreamer252002 wants 3D glasses that will work with his JVC projector, but that either means buying the official JVC glasses or potentially a special order from XpanD Vision. And Man Utd Trooper found a Time Magazine list of 5 waterproof speakers, and he wanted our thoughts. We like the portable outdoor speaker models from Braven, the G-Project G-Boom, JBL Charge for the pool, or checking out Pro Tool Reviews.

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AV Rant #536: Over Your Head

April 28th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Nate and Matt for their donations.

In the news, the Oppo UDP-205 Ultra HD Blu-ray player focuses on analogue audio for $1,300. 2016 & 2017 Yamaha Receivers get Dolby Vision, HLG, and Tidal updates. Samsung and Amazon support HDR10+, but external HDR10+ sources will need HDMI 2.1 and updates. And Emotiva now offers free shipping to Canada.

Antoine says Reddit has made Micca speakers their “darling” for some reason. Bill R. persisted in getting his buzzing Denon AVR-X6300H Receiver repaired, and it paid off. And Tom K. received his Ascend Acoustics Sierra Luna Satellite speakers, and he offers his (very positive) first impressions.

Steve M. has a 35-foot-long HDMI cable inside his walls, and he asks for ideas as to how to test its bandwidth limits. Greg F. asks about  affordable Outdoor Speaker Depot in-ceiling speakers and angled in-ceiling speakers. Mark O. isn’t entirely satisfied after replacing his NHT SuperZero speakers with RBH Impression Series, so we discuss his setup and expectations. And Aidan C. has concerns about positioning his projector directly beneath an A/C vent.

Nelson A. replaced his pair of Vandersteen V2W subwoofers with dual SVS PB16-Ultras, but he feels a lack of mid-bass, so we offer a solution. Moanis wants to know if he should worry about JVC’s “real color imaging” DCI-P3 color filter that’s only offered on their more expensive projectors. And Karl R. needs a 50-foot HDMI cable that can handle 4K, so we suggest a Monoprice fiber optic HDMI cable.

Michael M. gets confirmation about his living room theater plans, and we discuss dual subwoofer setup and absorption panel placement. Jim C. gets advice on which Vizio SoundBar to buy. And Infinite Gary gets our speculation on matte and semi-gloss TV screens in the future, as well as our choice of screen size for a short viewing distance.

Justin B. gets our recommendation for an Emotiva TA-100 integrated amp. We also discuss some specs, subwoofer connection options, speaker crossover settings, and recommend Audio Engine Wireless solutions. Jonathan F. gets us to rant about a Stereophile editorial titled “R.I.P., Audiophilia. It Was Nice Knowing You.” And Jim B. upgraded to a Receiver with HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2, but he needs some clarification on using its Zone2 HDMI output and feeding two displays: one 1080p, and one 4K.

Bob L. asks us to compare the Oppo UDP-203 vs. UDP-205, and we have a suggestion for a Region Free Oppo Ultra HD Blu-ray player. Brian gets some additional info about Monoprice Monolith amps and Emotiva XPA Gen3 amps, as well as the two sizes of Martin Logan ElectroMotion ESL Towers. Abhue F. asks how Ultra HD Blu-rays physically differ from Blu-rays, and whether any Receivers allow for 9.1.4 Atmos. And Kerry A. gets our thoughts on a filmmaker’s rant On HDR Displays and Grading.

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AV Rant #535: AV Addictive

April 21st, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Jim W. and Josh L. for their donations, as well as Nelson A. for contacting SVS to let them know we played a big part in his dual PB16-Ultra subwoofers purchase.

In the news, the LG UP970 Ultra HD Blu-ray player is available now for $300, with Dolby Vision on the way. And CyberLink PowerDVD 17 software brings Ultra HD Blu-ray to PCs, and also makes it clear you’ll need very specific hardware.

Infinite Gary finally found a TV he likes, and that means no more OLEDs in his house. And Josh L. used our advice to convince his wife that a new Denon AVR-X4300H AV Receiver purchase would be worthwhile, and he loves the results.

Muzammil directly compared two external sound cards and heard a big difference, so he wants to know why we downplay the importance of DACs, and he wants to know what other parts of the devices – such as pre-outs or line-outs – are making an audible difference. Bobby M. is deciding on a new AV Receiver and Atmos layout. We also suggest Outdoor Speaker Depot for low cost in-wall speakers, and we mention using Zone 2 pre-outs to send a signal to a Buttkicker amplifier for use with headphones. And Karl R. gets our thoughts on JVC 3D glasses, keystone correction, many Ultra HD Blu-rays lacking immersive audio, and IMAX 12 Track sound.

Jackson L. is trying to use the lossless bitstream output option on his Xbox One, but it refuses to play. Stephen B. asks if a full THX Baffle Wall is necessary to improve his mid-bass measurements. Josh A. wants a large, acoustically transparent screen with high price performance, so we recommend either the Silver Ticket Woven screen, or Seymour AV DIY material. And Michael R. asks why his internet streaming sources aren’t in surround sound, whether any more streaming services are planned in Canada, and why “audiophile” Receiver brands are seemingly avoiding Atmos.

Mark H. is considering a used JVC projector, so we go over some previous model year features, things to look out for and ask sellers of used gear, and we suggest Audiogon for listings. Jim B. wants a reasonably priced HDMI 2.0a with HDCP 2.2 HDMI splitter, although an HD Fury might be necessary for handling two different resolution displays. We also go over Jim’s connection path and whether a new Receiver could solve all of his issues. And Ed gets our thoughts on replacing his older JBL Towers with speakers that use smaller drivers, share a designer, and are less efficient.

Ryan T. gets our input on his projector screen and AV Receiver choices. Matt V. asks about using an SPL Meter as his measurement microphone with Room EQ Wizard. And Robert G. gets our recommendation for either a Vizio P-Series or Vizio M-Series if he’s in a dim room, or the Samsung KS8000 Series if he’s in a bright room for an HDR display, and we touch upon inexpensive HDR projectors.

Roberto C. has an AV Receiver that tripped into protection mode, so we try to track down the cause. Brian and his wife demoed some Martin Logan electrostatic speakers that convinced her they’re worth it over in-walls or in-ceilings. We recommend keeping all five of his speakers within the Martin Logan ElectroMotion ESL Series and matching ElectroMotion in-ceilings, and our guts say a Monoprice Monolith Amplifier should be on tap, too. And Larry L. has decided to spend as little as possible on a 1080p projector for now. We fully agree with his choice of an Epson HC 8350, which also improves his placement options.

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