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AV Rant #573: Furnaces

January 15th, 2018 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Jack for his donation, and our 51 Patreon Patrons, including Byron, as well as Robert G. for letting ButtKicker know he heard about them from us, and Michael D. for letting Accessories4Less know he ordered his Denon AVR-S920W Receiver from them thanks to our recommendation.

In the news, LG announced their 2018 OLED and SuperUHD TV lineup. The 2018 LG OLEDs include a full 3D LUT with auto-calibration using CalMAN software. And LG showed a prototype 65-inch rollable OLED. Warner Bros. joined the HDR10+ Alliance. Panasonic says HDR10+ is part of the Ultra HD Blu-ray specification now, and they announced the first HDR10+ OLED TVs. They also announced the Panasonic UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray player that is compatible with both Dolby Vision and HDR10+. And Samsung unveiled The Wall: a modular, micro-LED display.

James Bujold shared a fun project; his brother and nephew replaced the innards of a vintage TEAC tape deck with a Raspberry Pi and a touchscreen. Robert G. reported back that a single ButtKicker LFE Mini is plenty for his loveseat. Chris A. discovered loose speaker wires inside his Paradigm speakers were the culprit creating crackling and audio drop outs. David F. took advantage of getting RBH A-600 in-ceiling speakers at wholesale cost by installing six of them. Michael M. listens to us during his commute in Austria, which happens to line up perfectly with our Live on Air recording sessions. And Rob M. recommends the price alert/price tracking website PriceOwlert.com, especially in Canada where there are far fewer online price tracking options.

Ted M. is getting “blurry” stereo imaging at his primary seat, but it sounds much better if he moves either forward or backward. He wants to know if it’s all down to the angle at which he’s hearing his speakers, or if it’s something more complicated, especially since he can’t easily see why this is happening by looking at Room EQ Wizard measurements. Ryan L. asks if he should go for the larger Ascend Acoustics CMT-340SE speakers across his Front Left, Center, and Right in his small room, and he gets some thoughts on room treatments and Atmos speaker placement. And Mike gets our recommendation for the Aperion Audio Intimus L6-IC in-ceiling speakers and talking to Soundproofing Company to determine his construction needs. We also discuss the importance of adhering to code when it comes to utility room doors. And we tackle some design ideas for his custom entertainment unit, acoustic treatment placement, and subwoofer placement.

Lance H. was told by Best Buy that the Sony X900E TVs would get a Dolby Vision update. Best Buy was wrong, so he’s wondering if he should upgrade to the X930E, or simply wait for the new 2018 models. Lance also asks about image quality from streaming services on 4K TVs, and whether he should upgrade his CPU, GPU, or both so that he can play 4K content on an HTPC. Andrew gets some product advice for his dedicated theater room in Canada, including our recommendation for the AudioSource Amp100, Epson HC 4000 projector, and sitting closer to his screen. We also tackle his speaker placement, soundproofing, and, once again, staying within code for his utility room door. And Byron S. asks about using Zone 2, Zone 3, and HEOS to play different, or the same, sources in four different rooms. And he gets our thoughts on how to orient his new room, and whether he should try to add Front Wide speakers.

Mark O. wants to upgrade the NHT Super Zero speakers in his 2-channel setup. With the budget he proposed, we suggest the Aperion Verus II Grand Tower, Ascend Acoustics Sierra-2, Philharmonic Audio BMR Philharmonitor, KEF LS50, or Power Sound Audio MT-110 speakers, along with Sanus speaker standsif he needs them, the Denon AVR-X3300W from Accessories4Less, and the Sony UBP-X800 Ultra HD Blu-ray player. Michael D. and his wife bought a slew of 4K gear, so we go over some settings to make sure he’s getting the best signals possible, including setup tips for his Vizio M Series from RTings, Apple TV 4K from CNET, and Xbox One X from Windows Central. Boshko gets our opinions of the Onkyo TX-ZR810 Receiver, and we talk about its bi-amping feature. We also suggest the APC J35B for battery backup power protection and the APC G Type 20 amp power protectors. As well as the NVidia Shield TV for playing video files off of USB storage with full lossless audio bitstreams. And Earle B. finds out what we think of the chances of seeing HDR10+ added to older TVs.

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AV Rant #572: Hello, Daisy

January 5th, 2018 1 comment

Tom gets a new co-host: Everyone meet Daisy! Our Listeners of the Week are Steve, Mike, Andrew, Lance, and Yuri for their donations, as well as our 48 Patreon Patrons, including Grant, Benjamin, Ted, and Christian. We also thank Travis for letting SVS know his PB12-NSD subwoofer purchase was thanks to us, and Larry for offering to help out fellow AVRant Listener Mike. We send a huge shout out and thank you to James for sending Tom a stack of AVRant-branded mouse pads, and another stack of totally different “loudspeaker decoupling risers”.

You’ll want to check out our AV Rant Podcast YouTube video this week to meet our new AVRant mascot, Daisy.

In the news, Netflix now supports HDR10 playback on Kaby Lake-powered Windows 10 PCsSony TVs with the X1 Extreme video chip should get Dolby Vision support by the end of January. And LG will show an 88-inch, 8K resolution OLED prototype at CES 2018.

Greg L. thanked us for our repair advice after he discovered a leak in his theater. Benjamin thanks AVRant commenter RAID5 for suggesting the use of Zone 2 to allow an older Receiver to act as an amplifier with more than two channels. Matt shared an image of the Power Sound Audio subwoofer package that had been taunting him until Christmas. T.L. received great customer service from Martin Logan on his Descent 1 subwoofer. And George was displeased with the non-optional “upgraded” power supply sent to him by Schiit Audio that wound up costing George return shipping and restocking fees.

Jason S. wants to know if it’s a good idea to repurpose his Denon 4810CI Receiver as a 3 Zone amplifier for whole house audio. Brandon N. used our advice to settle on a pair of GoldenEar Triton 2 Towers and dual subwoofers, but he wants to know if it’d be worth trying to enclose part of his room, and he has some questions about how bass gets rerouted depending on the subwoofer output and LFE settings. And D. gets clarification on how the PS4 and PS4 Pro handle audio, and which settings are best.

Chris T. has Atmos content on his Plex server, and he wants to know if an Xbox One or a Raspberry Pi 3 can play it. Greg C. wants a 7.2.4 Processor and 11 channels of amplification, so we highly recommend using an AV Receiver and only three or five channels of external amplification. And Biv wonders if Tidal sent from an iPhone to an AV Receiver via AirPlay remains lossless.

David F. found a wholesale supplier for RBH in-ceiling speakers, so he wants to confirm their value. He also asks if he needs more absorption in an alcove at the front of his room, and we point him to DIY Movie Rooms and Audioholics for advice on building a seating riser. Jason A. wants a fully analogue crossover, which we really don’t think is necessary, but is available in the Emotiva XSP-1 Pre-amp. And Andy read about the big budget release of the movie Bright on Netflix, so we share what we think about how it might impact theatrical releases.

Bari W. updates us on his basement theater that has an awkward soffit covering a pipe, so we discuss speaker placement options and ways to finish his ceiling if he tears down the existing soffit. Travis D. ran some bass sweeps and found some big dips in his bass that he asks if EQ can fix, and he isn’t hearing the expected roll-off in his speakers when he tries to apply bass management. And Jonathan F. gets our opinions on a study sighted by Floyd Toole in which people were better at picking the winners of music competitions when they could see the contestants but not hear them.

Earle B. wants to know if his Sony X940C TV will get Dolby Vision, and why some Netflix content is labelled as Dolby Vision on his Apple TV 4K, but that same content is labelled only as HDR in his Sony Netflix app. Infinite Gary found Display Wars helpful for comparing screen sizes, but he wants to know viewing angles and field of view, too, so we suggest using the Viewing Distance Calculator. Gary also asks why so much effort went into the production of Dunkirk only to have it filtered and cropped out of shots, and how we’d suggest viewing 4:3 content on a 2.35:1 aspect ratio screen. And Donald wants to share his dual subwoofers with both a surround sound setup and a separate 2-channel setup, so we suggest adding a miniDSP 2×4 to his Receiver’s Zone 2 outputs, and using an Outlaw Audio OAW4Dayton Audio Wave Link, or Outdoor Speaker Depot WSK-100 wireless adapter to get the signal to his subwoofer at the back of his room.

Kris B. wants to know the best settings to use when connecting an Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player to his Epson 6040UB projector. Mark H. has a JVC X500 projector and Denon AVR-4520 Receiver that can handle 4K resolution signals, but not HDR, 10-bit color, or HDCP 2.2, so he wants to know if a Monoprice HDCP 2.2 to 1.4 Converter will let him see any benefit from Ultra HD Blu-rays. And Dave asks what the large capacitors that were installed in car audio systems back in the 90’s were doing for the amplifiers and power supplies.

Brandon N. heard a big improvement when he went from one subwoofer to two, but now he wants to know if his bass can sound even better. We highly recommend getting a calibrated USB microphone from Cross-Spectrum Labs, and we talk about looking for uniformity across multiple seats to figure out what needs adjustment. And Nick B.’s dad is looking for an affordable 65-inch TV with a SoundBar, so we recommend a Vizio display along with either a Vizio 3.1 SoundBar or the Yamaha YAS-207.

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AV Rant #571: Stuffy and Pretentious

December 22nd, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Brian and James (twice) for their donations, along with our 42 Patreon Patrons, including Clarence K. and Steven T. We’d also like to thank James C., who sent both of us Christmas presents, Steven T. for writing to SVS CEO Gary Yacoubian when he bought a pair of PB12-NSD subwoofers, Jason S. for mentioning us to Accessories4Less when he bought a Marantz SR7011, and Chris T. who got a pair of SVS SB12-NSD subs and let SVS know it was because of us.

Tom finally has his new sofa and four Atmos speakers in action, so he gives some quick initial impressions, including some thoughts on the Focal Bird speakers.

In the news, after last week’s announcement that they’d be changing and increasing service fees, and the resulting backlash, Patreon apologized and is keeping their current fee structurefor the time being. Disney bought Fox Studios for $54 billion, although the sale still needs to pass regulation. And Amazon Prime Video released about 100 HDR10+ titles that only work on select 2017 Samsung TVs for now.

David F. got rid of the spider web inside his projector, but he still had dust blobs. BenQ came through for him in a big way with a free cleaning service, so he’d like to applaud their customer support. Steven T. found SVS PB12-NSD subwoofers on Amazon that were still at the Black Friday sale price, so he snagged two of them. And Ryan T. won a pair of Focal Shape 65 Studio Monitors, and he’s astounded by their sound quality.

Infinite Gary is finding HDR unpleasantly bright sometimes, so he gets our opinions, asks why two calibrated displays can still look so different from one another, and asks if the type of backlight in an LCD TV can affect its motion blur. Travis D. replaced his subwoofer, but he was expecting there to be a 10dB boost from the dedicated LFE channel, so we clarify. And Ted M. sends us on a rant about budgeting for a home theater.

Greg L. was set to install a false wall when he discovered a leaking pipe. With the wall and floor opened for repairs, we tackle floor construction, wall construction, false wall construction, riser construction, speaker placement, subwoofer placement, and HVAC upgrades. Weldon B. wants to know what benefits he’d glean from larger, more expensive subwoofer models when pressurization of his large, open space is never going to happen no matter what. And Bobby M. built shelves above his seats, so he wants to know if he can install speakers firing down through the bottoms of those shelves, and we also recommend ButtKicker Isolator Feet for separating any seat from the floor.

Tyson W. used Rob’s crazy ideas about acoustic treatments to convince his wife to let him use a smaller, enclosed room as a dedicated theater in their house, but he wants to know whether the high ceilings in that room will be a problem. Scott B. is considering lenses for his glasses that filter some blue light from computer screens, but he wants to know how they might affect his TV viewing. And Yanick D. asks why iTunes Canada has so many fewer 4K HDR titles than iTunes USA, and he gets our thoughts on using two screens with constant image area rather than constant image height or constant image width, while providing a link to Display Wars to help visualize the differences.

Robert G. is deciding between the ButtKicker LFE and the ButtKicker Mini LFE, and he wants to know if his existing Dayton APA100 amplifier could drive either of them. Karl R. knows to use the JVC projector HDR and wide color settings for HDR content, but now that the AppleTV 4K can switch between HDR and SDR, he’s wondering which settings he should use. Karl also gets some info about “Atmos-ready” headphones. And Jason B. made some DIY speakers for his family room, but he’s still unsatisfied with his dialogue intelligibility, so we share some thoughts, and recommend the Denon AVR-S720W or Yamaha RX-V383 or RX-V483 from Accessories4Less for a low cost, but nicely featured AV Receiver.

Clarence K. asks if the ELAC Uni-Fi speakers are a big upgrade over the KEF Q Series, and also about using a bookshelf speaker with concentric drivers as a Center speaker, and what advantages Towers plus a sub have over bookshelf speakers plus a sub. Mike M. gets our thoughts on his mix of speaker brands in Canada where we suggest sticking with SVS all around for his five floor-level speakers and using OSD ICE650 in-ceiling speakers. And Joe K. wants to know if he should opt for a pair of enormous Power Sound Audio subwoofers or just get a single SVS PB16-Ultra.

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AV Rant #570: Freeflowing Bass

December 15th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Tyson for his donation, as well as our 39 Patreon Patrons, including Bari, Karl, and Weldon. We also want to thank Greg for mentioning us to Accessories4Less when he bought a pair of Focal Super Bird speakers, and Tyson for letting HSU know we recommended them.

In the news, Patreon announced major changes to their fees, but UPDATE: after we had recorded this episode, Patreon decided not to implement those changes after the backlash they received. Playstation VR bundles are $100 off until Dec. 24. AppleTV 4K uses a new Match Content setting for HDR and frame rate, but getting everything to look right is highly unintuitive. And Disney might buy 21st Century Fox.

Terry G. recommends the movie Lucy for testing whether you’re able to pressurize your theater with deep bass. And Karl R.’s wife corrects us about architectural planning for ducts, pipes, and wires, and she explains why modifications to original plans are the reason for unwanted exposures or bulkheads.

Brian B. is building a dedicated theater, so he asks us to confirm his speaker placement and projector placement. We recommend an APC J25B battery backup UPS. We talk about acoustic panel placement, and suggest Focal Super Bird on-wall, or Aperion Audio or RBH in-wall speakers, along with dual SVS PC-2000 or HSU VTF-2 MK5 subwoofers. And we touch upon his subwoofer wiring, AV Receiver choices, screen size options, and the difference between a standard distribution amplifier and a matrix distribution amplifier. And Nick B. saw measurements of Emotiva’s Gen3 amplifiers in Stereophile that indicated high distortion at the highest frequencies. Those measurements don’t line up with the ones found in Secrets of Home Theater’s Emotiva Gen3 review, nor Emotiva’s own measurements, and the whole thing sparks a rant from Rob.

Chris T. is finalizing plans for his friend’s theater. We’d normally recommend an Elite Screens Saker Tab-Tensioned motorized screen for acoustically transparent material and screen size options, but to save money, the Elite Spectrum Series makes sense. We recommend HSU HIW-1 Horn in-wall speakers and describe making rear enclosures or using RBH retrofit or Dynamat En-Wall and DynaBox options. Andy M. gets some clarification about what display we think he should use for casual viewing, and how to construct his basement ceiling for soundproofing. And Tyson H. gets our thoughts on how he should utilize four KEF Q100 bookshelf speakers in his room.

RAID5 from our AVRant.com comments section rightly suggests using an AV Receiver’s Zone 2 capabilities when it doesn’t have 7.1 analogue inputs, but you want to use it to power more than two speakers just as a dumb amplifier. Bill W. asks about Atmos speaker orientation, turning a box subwoofer sideways, having a “window” from his theater into his equipment room to access disc players, and we stress the installation of conduit for future proofing. And Bari W. has an L-shaped basement with an unfortunate soffit covering a pipe that gets us talking about his Atmos speaker placement options, our thoughts on his desire for a false wall, and our suggestion to possibly reorient his entire basement layout.

Steven T. isn’t satisfied with his current KEF subwoofers in his dedicated theater, and we think a pair of SVS PB12-NSD are the perfect balance of output and price for his room size. Bobby K. in Canada gets our thoughts on EluneVision’s Reference screens vs. their much less expensive Titan Tab-Tensioned screens. And Daniel M. wants to improve his Atmos effects, and we make several suggestions for repositioning his existing speakers before purchasing anything new.

Shane T. wants some advice regarding what brand of insulation to use when building DIY absorption panels and bass traps. John M. gets an oversimplified explanation of how multiple subwoofers work to make bass response more uniform throughout a room from us, and a far more detailed explanation from Harman. And Keith M. is deciding between a 65-inch OLED and a 75-inch LCD, but we still end up talking about projectors.

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AV Rant #569: Subwoofer As A Coffee Table

December 8th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Tyson and Laurence for their donations, along with our 36 Patreon Patrons, including Andy M. We also want to thank Tim and Mark for alerting us to a problem with our podcast feed last week, Rob Z. for talking us up to SVS and Accessories4Less, Ryan L. for letting Accessories4Less know he heard about them from us, and Larry W. for emailing SVS CEO Gary Yacoubian directly to let him know his dual SB12-NSD purchase was thanks to us.

Tom has some comments about the fit and finish and mounting procedure of the Focal Bird speakers. He still hasn’t heard their sound quality though. So hopefully a review next week.

In the news, SVS launched their new 4000 Series subwoofers, which replace the 13-Ultra Series while adopting the newest features from the 16-Ultra Series. And the final HDMI 2.1 specification was released, although Blue Jeans Cable details the present lack of new “Category 3” compliance testing.

Jeb B. weighed our comments about a 55-inch OLED vs. a 65-inch LCD, and settled on a 70-inch Vizio M Series. Joe K. got a door for under $100 after hearing our constant nagging. Marc N. had good customer service experiences from Elite Screens, Logitech Harmony, and SVS. Ian E. still wants three screen sizes (HDTV, CinemaScope, and IMAX). But Steve M. doesn’t care if HDTV is larger than CinemaScope, although he went to the trouble of installing a 2.35:1 setup for constant image height, so he mentions adjusting subtitle placement using an Oppo player, and comments that motorized lens memory does drift in its movement, but only by a small, easily fixed amount.

Lee V. gets our thoughts on Real or Fake 4K. Dan S. asks whether he should adjust the speaker impedance setting on his AV Receiver when using nominal 6 ohm rated speakers. And Bill W. got a recommendation to use Cotytech speaker ceiling mounts for Ascend HTM-200 SE speakers while Rob suggests PinPoint speaker flush mounts for wall mounting. Bill also gets precise Front speaker and overhead speaker placement suggestions, an explanation of why speakers wired in parallel are a more difficult load for an amplifier than speakers wired in series, recommendations for HSU, RBH, or KEF in-wall speakers along with a Power Sound Audio S3000i subwoofer to use as an end table, and a plea from Rob to run conduit rather than trying to predict what cables and wires might be needed in the future.

Kris P. got unexpectedly great results adding a third 10-inch subwoofer to his open concept space, and he wants an explanation of how it happened. He also suggests a cheap subwoofer damping solution, dolls out his findings as an Xbox One X tester on the media playback front, and asks us what we think about the Harman Kardon Invoke, a smart speaker that uses Cortana. Dan C. wants to make some DIY absorption panels, so we point him to Rob W.’s Movie Poster Panels, Tom’s DIY Absorbers, and DIY kits from GiK Acoustics and Acoustimac. And Josh S. asks about genuine Atmos soundtrack sources, using a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player with a 1080p plasma, and the value of Audyssey MultEQ XT32 with SubEQ HT over MultEQ XT.

Ryan L. gets an explanation of how many Watts is typically needed from an AV Receiver, why not all Atmos Receivers can be expanded to 5.1.4 or 7.1.4, why we think it’s fine to start with just a pair of bookshelf speakers, which speaker brands we think he should audition first, why trying to enclose a space and block sound with a curtain is difficult, and why a fully enclosed room, even if it’s small, might deliver a great experience. Scott gets Rob’s list of home theater-related podcasts, including: Home Theater GeeksHDTV & Home Theater Podcast (HT Guys), Entertainment 2.0 & Home:On – both from The Digital Media Zone, AVForums, AVexcel, Smart Home Showl, CEDIA Tech Council, AV Week, CNET, and DigiGods (aka CineGods). And Robert E. gets our run down of why we recommend using multiple subwoofers, and our recommendation for an SVS SB12-NSD to match his Sunfire True Subwoofer Mk 4.

Infinite Gary gets an explanation of what causes motion blur on various types of displays. David F. managed to get the spider web out of his projector, but now he has dust blobs, so we tell him to inquire about lens replacement to find a shop that can help him. We also tell him to use a ceiling tile bridge to support in-ceiling speakers installed in a suspended ceiling. And Tyson W. has an open-concept space with a built-in entertainment cabinet. We make suggestions for a Power Sound Audio subwoofer and HSU speakers along with Focal Super Bird on-wall speakers, although a smaller, dedicated room would be much better, in our opinion.

We tell Heath B. to contact AV Science to buy the JVC projector that he wants. And we think the Power Sound Audio 15V is the loudest subwoofer for under $1,000 for Matt’s 6,500 cubic foot space.

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