Author Archive

AV Rant #556: Don’t Over Splay

September 22nd, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Barry, Todd, Timothy, and Luke for their donations.

Tom is back! We hear all about how Tom and his family dealt with Hurricane Irma. And we’re super grateful to Clint DeBoer and his family, once again, for helping out Tom. And we’d like to thank Austen and Lee again for filling in as co-hosts in Tom’s absence.

In the news, Yoeri Geutskens wrote a comprehensive article explaining The State of HDR Video for FlatpanelsHD. And that same website is maintaining a helpful list of every 4K, HDR10, and Dolby Vision movie available on iTunes.

Nathan W. found Netflix’ Display Calibration Best Practices for video content providers interesting and applicable for home theaters, as well.

Nathan D. wants to know if there are any “present proof” TV, player, and AV Receiver models that are likely to support all of the HDR standards, including HDR10, Dolby Vision, and now HDR10+. Ed wants to further improve his room’s acoustics with absorption panels and reduce the sound that’s “leaking” from his basement theater into the rooms above. He also wants to switch between two amplifiers powering one pair of speakers, so we suggest a simple Monoprice Speaker Selector that can be wired in reverse. And Infinite Gary gets some real world examples of wide color and HDR to help him evaluate his new projector, and also gets our thoughts on whether Dolby Vision and HDR10+ are in a format war or not.

Mark O. wants to know if the RBH Impression Series I-12e subwoofer will pair nicely with his SVS PB-2000. Michael L. upgraded some of his speakers and reran YPAO automatic setup, so he gets us to double check all of his Receiver’s settings. And Dillon S. found an attractive price on a 2016 Vizio M-Series TV, but he wants to make sure it’s a good HDR display and a good deal.

Mark H. has moved to a new house, and he asks about Surround speaker placement, whether he should add Surround Back speakers or not, leaving a closet door open to make a perfectly square room less square, adding more absorption panels, and what he should look for in his Room EQ Wizard measurements to help him improve his acoustics. Tim K. is having problems with rattles in his room, so we discuss what will help and what won’t, and we also talk about using an Oppo Ultra HD Blu-ray player to split HDR10 video and lossless audio for an older Receiver. What we say is old information and no longer correct! So we shall correct ourselves next week. And Brian R. needs a pair of subwoofers that can recreate the tactile experience of a Dolby Cinema that impressed his wife and mother-in-law, so we try to correctly set his expectations, and recommend the SVS PC-2000Outlaw Audio Ultra-X12, or HSU VTF-2 MK5 dual sub options for his room size.

Richard gets our thoughts on The Wirecutter’s pick for best banana plugs, while we still recommend the Sewell Strikeand GLS Locking banana plugs, neither of which were tested. Jim B. asks why the Audyssey “results” menu on Denon and Marantz AV Receivers doesn’t include a graph for the subwoofer output. And Mitch R. questions our recommendation to aim Atmos ceiling speakers straight down, since Dolby mentions angling them towards the primary listening position if your speakers have narrow dispersion.

Jason wants to know if he should purchase di-pole, bi-pole, or monopole Surround speakers for his small room size. Luke asks if he can expand his 7.2.2 Atmos configuration to 7.2.4 using his Yamaha RX-A2050 AV Receiver. And Dan S. asks how to tell if your AV Receiver supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 pass-through, and what looks better: 1080p Blu-ray or streaming 4K?


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AV Rant #553: Won’t Let You into the Country Club

September 1st, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Martin, Greg, Brad, and Jeff for their donations, as well as Casey P. for telling SVS we “pushed him over the edge” into buying a PC-2000 subwoofer. We’re happy, SVS is happy, Casey is happy, but Casey’s wife is mad. Best of luck, Casey!

In the news, Samsung, Panasonic, and 20th Century Fox have formed the HDR10+ Partnership to promote the royalty-free alternative to Dolby Vision. And Monoprice announced their Monolith THX-certified subwoofers.

Michael I. noted that 2016 Vizio TVs are receiving the firmware update that lets you use streaming apps without being forced to Cast them, while also giving users a code for a free remote control. Nathan W. found out how Blade Runner is being brought to Ultra HD Blu-ray with HDR. Chris A. took our advice to replace his speaker wire and banana plugs, and everything is sounding great. And Producer Austen took delivery of a pair of SVS PB16-Ultra subwoofers and some SVS Prime Series speakers for our forthcoming review and tutorial.

Brandon W. wants to improve his open concept, acoustically reflective, non-light controlled setup. We discuss room treatments, adding more speakers and subwoofers, and potentially upgrading his projector. And Fred R. drew up detailed theater plans, but he has concerns about how close together his Front speakers are, how high his Surround Back speakers will be, and whether his Atmos positions will sound redundant with any other speakers. We also discuss his choices for a projection screen with Elite Saker, Seymour AV, and EluneVision all offering acoustically transparent, motorized options.

Greg has KEF Q-Series speakers, but he also has an itch to upgrade. He’s intrigued by ribbon tweeters, but also has a budget, so we discuss various tweeter types, and offer some suggestions for how he should proceed. Neil S. is trying to decide between the 3-way Philharmonic BMR Philharmonitors and the 2-way Ascend Acoustics Sierra-2 speakers. And Martin B. wants to make sure he can put his Epson 5030UB projector on a high, rear shelf given where his screen is positioned.

Greg L. bought a house that already has a dedicated theater with existing equipment. We discuss swapping out speakers, adding more subwoofers, building a partial false wall, acoustically treating the room, putting up a projector screen, repositioning the projector and speakers, and planning for future upgrades. Andrew wants to know if his speakers are too close together and whether a couch will muffle his bass drivers. And Steve M. is somehow still alive – we’ve no idea how – even though he “only” has a Full HD, 5.2 setup, and little desire to upgrade.

Karl R. wanted us to dissect a recent interview on another podcast, but other than some clarifications, we didn’t have much in the way of disagreement. And Rob W. asks if the Monoprice in-ceiling back enclosures are enough for soundproofing, or whether he should build his own backer boxes.


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AV Rant #552: Wait For CEDIA

August 26th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Ilango, Brandon, and Fred for their donations, as well as Jason for letting Accessories4Less know our recommendation led to his Yamaha RX-A760 Receiver purchase from them, Byron for letting Herb from Cross-Spectrum Labs know that he heard about their calibrated UMIK-1 measurement microphones from us, and a huge thank you to Herb from Cross-Spectrum Labs for donating a calibrated UMIK-1 to our Producer Austen for use in our upcoming dual subwoofer setup video.

In the news, the very well reviewed TCL P-Series will only be available in its 55-inch size; the planned 50 and 65-inch models have been scuttled. And Apple has budgeted $1 billion for its own original TV shows.

Lee V. suggests using window tint to darken home theater windows. Kris P. shared a link to the $129 LoFelt Basslet tactile transducer for your wrist. Michael I. found a useful ABX listening test for lossy vs. lossless audio. And Byron S. shares the story of his latest upgrades to 5.4.4 Atmos and his plans to make use of Andy C.’s Multi-Sub Optimizer Software.

Craig L. double checks his plan to audition SVS Ultra and Aperion Audio Verus II Grand speakers along with dual SVS PC-2000 cylinder subwoofers. Then he asks about acoustic treatments, sealed vs. ported subwoofers, reducing the rattling of a picture frame, and upward-firing vs. rear-firing ports. Jay has speakers with powered bass woofers in them, and he wants to know if he can use them in conjunction with one external subwoofer while still getting the benefits of multiple subs. And Jay C. asks about using SVS Prime Elevation speakers for Atmos, where to position them, what to label them, and also gets our recommendation for Sanus SF34 speaker stands to hold his Surround speakers.

Brad P. has a very tall and open theater area, but a limit of $800 to spend on a subwoofer, so we suggest the SVS PC-2000, or an HSU VTF-3 MK5 HP. Dave noticed that Blade Runner is getting an Ultra HD Blu-ray release, and he wants to know how a film that old can deliver HDR. And Ron W. gets our recommendations for Belden speaker wire, GLS Audio Locking Banana Plugs or Sewell Strike Banana Plugs, Monoprice Cabernet in-wall rated HDMI Cable, Visual Apex All-in-one Projector Ceiling Mount, using a white projector screen no larger than 150 inches, projector zoom range settings, and output settings for his Samsung Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

Chris A. has recurring noise and signal loss that we think warrants the purchase of some new speaker wire. Infinite Gary gets us to discuss a new feature proposed for Oppo’s Ultra HD Blu-ray players that would place black bars on all four sides of 16:9 content for use with 2.35:1 constant image height setups. And Ryan F. wants to know if it’s ok for his Top Rear Atmos speakers to be farther behind his seats than his Surround speakers.

Luke H. gets some advice about dual subwoofer placement and setup, along with a DIY subwoofer combination suggestion that includes a Dayton 12-inch Ultimax driver, DIY Sound Group sealed cabinet, and Dayton SPA500 Plate Amplifier. Terry G. wants to use HDMI ARC, but it isn’t nearly as easy to setup as it ought to be, and he wants to know why, as well as why it’s necessary for HDMI-CEC to be active in order for ARC to work. And Monty wants some inexpensive headphones for his kids, preferably wireless and with volume limiting. We mention the WireCutter’s top recommendation of the Puro BT2200, although they cost $100, so we also mention the Koss Porta Pro for their good sound quality, low price, and lifetime warranty.

Andrew asks if it’s worth upgrading from a 55-inch to a 65-inch TV given his 12 foot seating distance. Tom K. wonders whether he should wait a bit or buy a 4K-compatible, HDR projector right now. And Jeremy P. wants to know if his dad should buy NAD separates to power his Magnepan speakers, to which we respond that a Denon AVR-X3300W paired with a Monoprice Monolith amplifier will perform extremely well and cost far less.


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AV Rant #551: Exclusively for Horses

August 18th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Jay for his donation, and Fred R. for letting Accessories4Less know that his recent Denon AVR-X4300H purchase is the second AV Receiver he’s bought from them because of our recommendations.

In the news, Tom K. let us know about the $843 million Elbphilharmonie in Germany with its algorithm-designed central auditorium for perfectly balanced reverberation. The Internet Archive is digitizing a large collection of 78’s. And Disney is leaving Netflix in 2019 just as Shonda Rhimes leaves ABC for Netflix.

Bobby M. asks how far apart his Atmos speakers should be, which Klipsch speakers he ought to use as his Surrounds, and how high his 92-inch projection screen should be mounted. Matt H. raises an eyebrow at Engadget’s “best home theater gear for back to school” video, and gets our alternative suggestions of a TCL P-Series Roku TV, and Fluance AB40 SoundBase or Vizio SoundBar, plus what we think college students will really find useful, which are Audio Technica ATH-M50x or Sony MDR-7506 headphones, AudioEngine A2+ Powered Speakers, and maybe a Pico Projector.

Andrew asks if it’s ok to use satellite speakers for Atmos, whether bi-pole Surround speakers are worthwhile, and how important timbre matching is for the Surround and Surround Back positions. TJ likes his B&W speakers, but has a new room with aesthetic concerns, so we suggest B&W in-walls, KEF in-walls or a KEF Passive SoundBar, or RBH in-walls or the RBH Ultra Series on-walls. And lazboy74 wants to improve his dialogue intelligibility and asks about seating distance from his back wall, using high-backed, leather seats, and what he can do to make voices easier to understand.

Geoff R. is planning to use a portion of his family room as a theater area, so he asks about a dual screen solution, what his Atmos configuration should be, whether it’s better to use wide or narrow dispersion speakers, plus we offer thoughts on subwoofers in his irregularly-shaped room, seating placement, and acoustic treatments. Son D. wants to add a subwoofer to his 2-channel system, and he wants to know if a REL subwoofer is better than the offerings from SVS or JL Audio. And David B. is having lip sync issues when using his Xbox One S, and he also wants to know what audible difference higher or lower output subwoofers would actually make, as well as when AVRant will go HDR and Immersive Audio.

Rob W. made some construction upgrades that ate up some of his soundproofing budget. We go over insulation options, ceiling construction, and plans for mounting a projector in the future. Infinite Gary wants to know if the “digital blanking” feature offered by some projectors and video processors would be useful to him. And Ken W. wants to know how to make certain an AV Receiver offers a full set of pre-outs, what happens if his speakers are something other than 8 ohms, and what features to look for other than Atmos.

Marc N. wonders if it would heighten the movie-watching experience to include senses other than vision and hearing. Justin B. wants to know what the multiple filters options included with the Trinity Phantom Sabre in-ear monitors actually do. And Mitch R. has applied a lot of our advice, but he was disappointed by the results when he tried our suggestion of placing auto-setup microphone measurement position #1 equidistant from his Front Left/Right speakers rather than in his actual primary seat. We go over why that hurts the imaging when listening to 2-channel stereo, and also talk about Atmos speaker positioning, suggest the Focal Bird or SVS Prime Elevation speakers, describe assigning amplifiers in his AV Receiver, give our thoughts on painting the room and using an ambient light rejecting screen, and make a suggestion to add drapes.


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AV Rant #550: Just for the LUFS

August 11th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Craig, Ron, Sandor, and Jeremy for their donations, as well as Marc for letting SVS know he purchased a PB-2000 subwoofer thanks to our recommendation.

In the news, the next version of the Apple TV will likely support 4K and HDR, including HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG. And Vizio has started updating their displays so that you can use streaming services without being forced to Cast them from a tablet.

Karl informs us about the Shepard Tone that creates the illusion of an ever-rising pitch. And Joseph is (sarcastically) shocked that we have never recommended the Marigo Audio Labs Tuning Dots.

Infinite Gary asks about: Atmos being a mandatory part of the Ultra HD Blu-ray specification, selecting the best value when upgrading a display device, comparing the JVC e-shift projector models, what constitutes a “quiet” projector, and whether an 8K disc format will ever really be necessary. And Teemu gets our input on where we think he should mount his Atmos speakers, and using KEF E301 Satellite speakers to match the rest of his KEF setup.

Ilango has limited space and aesthetic concerns, so he’s considering a Speaker Bar that houses all three Front channels in one, slim enclosure. We recommend the RBH Ultra Series or the KEF HTF8003 most highly, along with suggestions for Surround and Atmos speaker placement, subwoofer pre-wiring locations, and using printed acoustic panels to make room treatments more visually appealing. Nick B. gets some clarification about using a bias light behind a projection screen, as well as concerns about Dolby Digital Plus bitstreams from streaming services causing distortion with some AV Receivers. And Kevin S. had three different discs of the movie “Trolls” all stutter on him, so he asks about making 1:1 disc backups that can be played back using CyberLink PowerDVD, or using Local Media Assets in Plex so that he can keep the special features.

Jonathan F. wants our input on LUFS and why Spotify lowered their LUFS levels. Craig L. wants to know whether he should repair his 30 year-old speakers or put the money towards SVS Ultra Towers or Aperion Verus 2 Grand Towers, along with what Center he should buy, and which dual subwoofers he should trade up for. And John J. is putting together a 2-channel bedroom system where we think the Emotiva TA-100 Integrated Amp and Dali Zensor 3 speakers would be excellent choices.

Ron W. gets our recommendations for an Elite Screens Starling Tab-Tension 2 CineGrey 5D screen with L Brackets for wall-mounting, along with an Epson 5040UB projector, a Marantz SR6011 AV Receiver, and Aperion Intimus 5B speakers with VideoSecu Side Clamping Speaker Mounts to complete his theater. Robert S. heard us discourage someone else from buying Polk bookshelf speakers, and he wants to know if Polk is really all that bad. And Sandor is pre-wiring for indoor and outdoor whole house audio, so we recommend Yamaha All-Weather Speakers (the NS-AW592 in particular), and the Dayton Audio DAX66 Matrix Distribution System.


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