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AV Rant #599: Just Joshin’

July 13th, 2018 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Chad for his donation, along with our 60 Patreon Patrons.

Congratulations to the winner of our Insteon Hub giveaway, Joshua A.! And our thanks once again to Kris P. for providing the Insteon Hub.

In the news, Karl R. forwarded the announcement that Sonos is going public with the aim of raising $100 million with their IPO. And Netflix is testing a more expensive Ultra tier that is actually just a price increase to the existing Premium tier, while removing either HDR or two of the current four streams from the Premium tier price point.

Rob Z. corrected Rob H. for getting some numbers wrong, and reminds us that sound travels roughly one foot per millisecond. And Herb from Cross-Spectrum Labs weighs in on the AudioTools App for iOS, the Dayton iMM-6 measurement microphone for phones and tablets, and Fletcher-Munson equal loudness curves.

0:19:20 Damien D. gets our comparison of all the major streaming boxes and whether Atmos is always tied to only 4K streams. Then we discuss Harmony remote options, and recommend either the TCL 6-Series or Vizio 2018 P-Series for an affordable 65-inch Ultra HD TV.

0:31:17 Josh Z. wants to know just how many Joshes out there write in to us. And Audyssey is telling him his Front Left and Right speakers are wired out of phase, so we recommend using an old DVD with the THX Optimizer, or the THX Tune-Up App to make sure his Front Left speaker is in phase with his Center speaker, and then if the Left and Right are in phase with each other.

0:36:08 Bob tried a popular VPN, but his bandwidth dropped by 95%, so he asks why that happened, and lets us know that USTVnow works well for watching American TV overseas.

0:41:13 Mark F. heard us talking about the NAD T 777 v3 AV Receiver that supports 7.2.4 Atmos processing and comes with Dirac Live LE, but we neglected to mention the much less expensive NAD T 758 v3 that has all the same features, just with lower Wattage amplifiers and fewer HDMI ports. He wants to know if that changes the value proposition.

0:44:52 Rick F. asks if he should use his available budget to either add a second subwoofer or expand to Atmos. If he goes the Atmos route, we mention the low price (and low stock) on the Marantz SR6011 from Accessories4Less right now, as well as the Marantz SR6012 as alternatives to the Denon AVR-X4400H. And we recommend Outdoor Speaker Depot MK650 in-ceiling speakers to go overhead.

0:51:11 Carlos P. asks about the TCL 6-Series deinterlacing quality, and reports a USB port error that has us urging him to exchange the unit he bought.

0:54:36 Adriano M. has us weigh in on LG’s B7 OLED vs. Panasonic’s EZ950 OLED, and then OLED in general vs. LCD TVs for a large, well-lit room. Then we recommend wall-mounting the Avantree Audikast Bluetooth Transmitter for easy access and a rock solid wireless headphone connection.

1:05:29 Dave F. had to put both of his subs on his front wall, and he was very disappointed at first. Flipping both polarity switches on the subs improved things, but not all the way. So Dave asks about phase knobs vs. distance settings vs. polarity switches. And then we recommend adding a miniDSP 2×4 and using the Multi-Sub Optimizer Software to fix his issues.

1:12:19 Sushmit wants to know Tom’s and Rob’s level of experience with building DIY speakers.

1:14:42 Boshko wants to know if it’s ok to keep his AV Receiver plugged into his APC G5 rack-mounted power filter, while getting a reminder of our recommendation for the APC P8V surge protector.

1:18:04 Lee Overstreet gets some clarification about Dolby Vision pass-through capabilities of AV Receivers.

1:19:59 Chad B. wants a 75-inch Ultra HD TV for under $2,000, so we suggest either stretching the budget a bit for a Vizio 2018 P-Series, or getting a Vizio 2017 M-Series, or possibly considering an Epson Home Cinema 4000 projector. Then we talk about getting Atmos audio from streaming services while outputting video from those streams at 1080p resolution.

1:24:56 Ryan L. gets our thoughts on the layout for his brother’s basement home theater. Then we go to work to put together all the gear for between $5,000 and $7,500. Our options include: BenQ HT2050A or Epson Home Cinema 4000 projector; 120-inch Silver Ticket screen; Sony UBP-X800 Ultra HD Blu-ray player and/or Apple TV 4K; Marantz SR6011, SR6012, or Denon AVR-X4400H Receiver; HSU VTF-2 MK5 or SVS PC-2000 subwoofer(s), Dayton APA102 or Emotiva BasX A-500 amplifier; Outdoor Speaker Depot MK650 in-ceiling or Focal Little Bird on-ceiling overhead speakers; RBH Impression Series, HSU Horn MK2, or Ascend Acoustics SE Series speakers; Acoustimac DIY 4″ absorption panel kits or raw insulation with SeymourAV speaker grill cloth or Millibel black fabric over it; Monoprice projector ceiling mount, DynamicView Active HDMI Cable, and bulk speaker wire; Sanus speaker stands; and a Harmony Companion remote.

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AV Rant #598: Olé, Olé Olé OLED

July 10th, 2018 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Justin B. and Nathan D. for their donations, along with our 62 Patreon Patrons, and Kris P. for providing the Insteon Hub that we will give away next week!

Tom is away on vacation in Puerto Rico, so Lee Overstreet joins Rob H. as our guest co-host this week.

Justin B. is hoping someone might be interested in purchasing the 10 foot wide stage and proscenium he is selling along with  a 2.35:1 acoustically transparent screen for $999. Andrew T. suggested searching US Audio Mart for Paradigm speakers, since they often cross-list items with Canuck Audio Mart. And Roger J. recalls how wool used to be a better choice than synthetic materials for acoustic batting, but things have changed over the years.

0:13:23 Martin D. wants video to work on both his 4K HDR-capable projector and his 1080p TV. We recommend some potential settings for his Yamaha Receiver and sources. And we also suggest an HD Fury Linker if those don’t pan out.

0:22:32 Rob W. tried to do everything right when installing a long HDMI cable. But an inaccurate 18 Gbps label and some 90 degree turns in his in-wall conduit have foiled his best intentions. We discuss what might have been done differently, while recommending Blue Jeans Cable.

0:29:59 Earle B. wants the same tactile transducer experience as what’s offered in a Dolby Cinema, so we recommend ButtKicker mini LFE units for each seat, powered by a Dayton SA1000 amplifier, as well as a miniDSP 2×4 for external subwoofer signal control, and a Dayton Wave-Link to make it wireless.

0:41:33 Bobby K. shared two cases of good customer service, one with Elite Screens, and one with Marantz, so we’re happy to hear that. Then he gets clarification on what Audyssey EQ does below the automatically set speaker crossover frequency, and our opinions on manually changing the crossover.

0:48:36 Eli M. wants to know if Dolby Atmos-Enabled upward-firing Modules can be used as regular direct-firing speakers, and what crossover they should be given.

0:53:10 Josh S. gets us to weigh in on the TechHive article asking, Will HDR Kill Your OLED TV?

0:58:10 Nick B. wants to try using multiple tablet microphones to measure multiple seating positions simultaneously, so we recommend using the AudioTools app for iPhone or the AudioTool app for Android and using the instructions for loading correction files into those apps provided by Parts-Express. We also point to a 3.5mm TRRS extension cable for those mics. And then we discuss different auto-EQ programs and whether they apply EQ to all speakers, and offer dynamic equal loudness processing.

1:10:20 Nathan D. might be getting an Oppo UDP-205, and he wants to know if he can EQ a signal and then use the 205’s DACs, which we suggest could be done using a miniDSP nanoAVR for any HDMI sources.

1:16:39 Infinite Gary asks if he should re-run Audyssey every time he changes a speaker in his setup. Then he asks about light meter placement for video calibration, how snug a CD should fit into a CD player’s disc tray, and how to get Dolby Vision working with his Oppo Ultra HD Blu-ray player and Sony OLED TV.

1:20:41 Justin B. asks, all else being equal, what differences will an 8-inch driver have vs. a 6-inch driver. Then we recommend AudioEngine A2+, Vanatoo Transparent Zero, or Kanto self-powered speakers for his desktop setup.

1:29:38 Lee Overstreet shares his tale of his recent LG OLED TV purchase, including the many annoyances he discovered, particularly with how its built-in YouTube app handles 60 fps content.

2:01:16 Terry G. asks how bright a JVC X790 projector will look compared to his Sony HW55ES, and he wants to know how much the projection distance impacts the image.

2:08:18 Andrew T. had a whining sound coming from his subwoofer that he tracked down to his in-wall subwoofer cable. We suggest a potential reason why the noise occurred, and talk a bit about ground loops. And then we explain why his Denon says it’s getting 720p video when he’s using HDMI-ARC.

2:17:26 Alex P. wants Atmos and DTS:X on discs, so we recommend Rent4K.com, but also talk about why he might want to just wait a while given his particular setup.

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AV Rant #597: Tom Sandwich

June 28th, 2018 No comments

Insteon Hub Giveaway – This is your last chance to send an email directly to Tom and let him know why you’d like a free Insteon Hub. June 30, 2018 is the cutoff date. Our thanks to Kris P. for providing an Insteon Hub for this giveaway!



Our Listeners of the Week are our 61 Patreon Patrons, including Niels.

In the news, AMC Stubs A-List is a subscription to AMC theaters in the USA that appears to be quite flexible and reasonably priced. And Blue Jeans Cable has added Series-3 Active HDMI Cables with 18 Gbps bandwidth in lengths from 20 to 50 feet.

Sushmit surprised us by letting us know his wife is the one pushing to add a wall and a door to close in their new basement home theater. Robert G. shared a link explaining the Audyssey Midrange Compensation dip. Tom K. thinks Surround Back speakers are very worthwhile, particularly for upmixing. And Don G. shared a short article about the original Marantz products from 1952 – 1963.

0:17:26 Aidan achieved pretty good bass uniformity across his two main seats strictly by experimenting with dual subwoofer placement in his small room. But one seat still has a null, so we suggest a GiK Scopus Tuned Membrane Bass Trap to potentially help.

0:26:01 Marlon E. double checks his sound system upgrade plans with us, and other than thinking he could save a bit of money and space by opting for RBH R-5E Bookshelf Fronts and RBH R-5 Surrounds, we’re very much on board with his choices of a Denon AVR-X3400H Receiver and dual SVS SB-1000 subwoofers.

0:34:15 Infinite Gary asks about carpet thickness and density options, and wonders if the statements in a video by music producer Bobby Owsinski about the floor covering being of little to no consequence in a studio render any concerns about carpet and rugs moot.

0:43:08 Earle B. had a failure in the amp of one of his SVS SB16-Ultra subwoofers, and he wants to know if using an APC P8V surge protector means he can eliminate his electrical circuit as a culprit. We encourage him to get in touch with Charlie Jones from SurgeX to enquire about diagnostics solutions.

0:50:51 Bob wants to know if using a VPN to access US Netflix from the Philippines is legal.

0:55:10 SuperOhioBros wants to run a 2.1.2 or 3.1.2 Atmos setup, also known as Dolby Atmos for Compact Entertainment Systems, and while we aren’t sure if the Sony Receiver he’s eyeing can do it, we know that Denon Receivers can.

1:03:11 Damien D. gets us to repeat our refrain to him that he should wait to find the house he intends to buy before spending any money on new home theater gear, although we mostly agree that Focal Little Birds are likely to work well as Atmos overhead speakers in almost any setup. Then we suggest a Rode SC6 dual microphone adapter and Rode smartLav+ Lavalier Microphones for recording two people on a smartphone.

1:15:18 Kris P. gets us to talk about the interesting effect of shining colored light onto a colored wall to make the wall appear gray or white to our eyes.

1:18:58 Dave gets our recommendation for an NVidia GeForce GTX 10-Series GPU with at least 3GB of RAM for upgrading his HTPC for cutting edge video and audio output.

1:20:47 Nick B. asks for our thoughts on the NAD T 777 v3 AV Receiver, which seems to have mostly drawn Nick’s attention by including Dirac Live LE room correction. We suggest adding Dirac externally with a miniDSP DDRC-88A.

1:29:00 Richard G. gets a split decision on a 55-inch HDR TV with Tom favoring the less expensive TCL 6-Series, and Rob willing to spend a bit more on a 2018 Vizio P-Series.

1:33:34 Niels B. asks for our take on Sonarworks True-Fi headphone equalization for Windows or Mac.

1:37:40 Brent W. confirms the differences between Denon’s X4300H and X4400H Receivers, and we give him our go-to suggestion for speaker stands: Sanus.

1:39:36 Will T. has a multiple subwoofer setup where we think his best approach for upgrading is replacement with dual SVS PC-2000 subwoofers rather than trying to augment what he already has.

1:44:05 Everything is Awesome gets our votes for the standard FlexiWhite Projection Screen Material from Carl’s Place as opposed to any gray screen material options.

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AV Rant #596: Jurassic Park DTS:X Review

June 23rd, 2018 No comments

Insteon Hub Giveaway – email Tom directly by June 30, 2018, and let him know why you’d like to have an Insteon Hub. One lucky person will be selected. Our thanks to Kris P. for providing the Insteon Hub for this giveaway!


Our Listeners of the Week are Zachary for his donations, our 61 Patreon Patrons, Nathan W. for telling Power Sound Audio that he heard about them from us, and Jason D. for mentioning us in his SVS PC-2000 user review.

Tom kicks things off with his impressions of the DTS:X immersive audio soundtrack present on the Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Jurassic Park.

In the news, miniDSP introduced their EARS headphone measurement rig. And Odeon Cinemas in the UK have announced their plans to open seven Dolby Cinemas, joining the small group of countries outside of the USA and China to now have Dolby Cinemas.

Joseph H. let us know about a small, affordable 12 Volt timer delay circuit. Karl R. shared a podcast episode from Twenty Thousand Hertz that’s all about the THX Deep Note. David F. opened up his external USB Asus Blu-ray drive and found something very different from what he thought he had purchased. Kris B. was disappointed with an imperfection and the customer service of his Screen Innovations Black Diamond projection screen. And Heath B. wrote back with some more details about his dual SVS SB-4000 subwoofer setup that keeps blowing amplifiers.

0:25:47 Nick B. asks what to do to keep Front Wide speakers active if Dolby’s mandate to only ever use the Dolby Surround Upmixer with any Dolby signals goes into effect, and why Dolby treats Front Wides the way they do. Then he asks about using multiple measurement microphones all at the same time to potentially adjust for uniform bass in real time. That gets us to mention the discontinued Velodyne MIC-5 Kit, or the possibility of using several smartphones or tablets with their own measurement microphones, like the Dayton iMM-6, miniDSP PMIK-1, or MicW i436. Nick asks if the Oppo 203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player will live on in the form of the Cambridge Audio CXUHD. And we talk about how loud bass needs to be for pressurization.

0:46:26 Kris I. gets our recommendation for the Sony UBP-X800 Ultra HD Blu-ray player to use with his projector.

0:49:28 Christian S. saw the ultra-wide display that Bethesda used at their E3 press conference, and he wants to know how that’s done and how much it costs, so we mention Matrox multi-projector edge blending graphics cards.

0:53:03 David shared an example of the unwatchable level of macroblocking he’s seeing on his OLED TV, so we delve into possible culprits.

0:58:38 Infinite Gary asks us to clarify our acoustic treatment placement advice. And he isn’t enjoying the 4K HDR displays that he owns, and he wants to know if we feel the same way.

1:04:39 Joe K. wants to show two Xbox One feeds on a single 2.35:1 projection setup, so we talk a bit about video multiviewers and tilers, but our real advice is to buy a second projector, such as the BenQ HT2050A if 1080p is enough, or the ViewSonic PX727-4K if an affordable 4K unit is desired.

1:09:50 Sushmit G. just bought a house, and he’d like our advice on which section of his basement to use as his home theater and how to orient and position everything. And for his $1,500 budget, we recommend he buy blackout curtains, a BenQ HT2050A projector, a 92-inch Monoprice manual pull-down screen, acoustic ceiling tiles, some Acoustimac DIY Panel Kits, and Ascend Acoustics HTM-200SE or Focal Little Birds for his Surrounds.

1:23:59 Jim B. wants to know why some of his DVD backups are 480i resolution, while others are 480p.

1:26:05 Patrick P. is trying to track down the first 231 episodes of AVRant.

1:31:36 Greg wants to know if we think a $2,000 B-Stock JVC DLA-X570R projector would be a worthwhile upgrade over his older 1080p JVC model.

1:34:05 Lee gets our reassurance that he will love the new OLED TV he ordered, and we suggest either the 2018 Vizio E-Series or TCL S5 Series for his den, along with a Denon AVR-X3400H Receiver.

1:42:29 Joseph S. updates us on getting his HTPC to play 4K content smoothly on his OLED TV. Jim B. offers another settings suggestion. And we try to sort out why HDMI-ARC isn’t working with Joseph’s Yamaha Receiver.

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AV Rant #595: Computers Be Dumb

June 15th, 2018 No comments

Insteon Hub Give Away: Listener Kris P. sent us an Insteon Hub to give away. If you would like it, email Tom directly (if you don’t already know his email address, we say it during the podcast intro every week. And if you email a different address about this giveaway, we’ll know you weren’t listening! 😉 ) by June 30.


Our Listeners of the Week are Josh L. for his donation, our 61 Patreon Patrons, Josh S. for talking us up on Reddit, Kris P. for the Insteon Hub giveaway, and everyone who alerted us about our website getting hacked!

In the news, Oppo released beta firmware for their 203 and 205 Ultra HD Blu-ray players that adds support for sending Dolby Vision to Sony TVs. And Amazon released the Fire TV Cube.

Axiom isn’t selling their extremely flat speaker wire anymore, but Sewell Ghost Wire is just as flat, and a whole lot less expensive. Lee V. warns that PC-2000 cylinder subs make for terrible speaker stands, since they vibrate on their isolation feet so much. Michael M. says a Sound United rep insists that Dolby’s new upmixing mandate won’t be retroactively applied to older products. Roger J. provided an excellent link to comprehensive information about oversampling. And Nathan & J. spotted new Monoprice Monolith 9 and 11-channel amplifier models in a recent coupon exclusion list.

0:20:28 Chad B. is figuring out how many overhead speakers to wire for in advance, and we say he should spend a minimum on new amplifiers by either getting an AudioSource AMP100, or skipping straight to getting a new Receiver right away.

0:29:13 Joseph S. is trying to sort through his HTPC settings to get 4K playing smoothly on his B7 OLED. We suggest using an NVidia Shield. And we point to the Asus BW-16D1HT as the best “UHD-friendly” disc drive.

0:36:07 Mark H. wants to know how to determine if his bass could be further improved, and whether a miniDSP would be necessary.

0:43:22 J. wants to know if buying used M&K speakers is a good idea, and we suggest Ascend Acoustics SE Series instead if they’re cheaper. We also discuss Audyssey Dynamic EQ not boosting overhead speakers. And we suggest either a complex DIY 12 Volt trigger box, or the Emotiva ET-3 plus a remote control wall outlet for gaining manual control over sending 12 Volt trigger signals.

0:53:11 Terry G. has a Dolby Vision TV, but an older Receiver, so we recommend an HDMI audio extractor with HDCP 2.2, or an HDMI switch with audio extractor.

0:56:27 Heath B. has had four SVS SB-4000 subwoofer amplifiers die on him. SVS support has been excellent, but nobody can figure out what keeps killing his amps. We offer our speculation, but we’re just as stumped.

1:01:43 Travis D. is considering a Receiver upgrade in order to get better room correction, but since he likes his existing sound, we think he’d benefit more from manual EQ using a miniDSP 2×4, or stepping up to a miniDSP with Dirac.

1:08:04 Monty’s brother would like “budget” picks for a Dolby Vision TV under $600, and the least expensive Dolby Vision Ultra HD Blu-ray player, so we point him to the TCL 55R615 and LG UBK90.

1:10:25 Infinite Gary gets us talking about using a miniDSP to create a crossover for adding subwoofers to self-powered speakers. We recommend the Sony UBP-X800 for universal disc playback. And we discuss where to put acoustic spot treatments and what we do with all of our shipping boxes.

1:18:39 Mark T. is speculating about a new Receiver. We’d understand pouncing on a Denon X3300W or X4300H if he finds one at a great price. But otherwise, we think he should wait until he’s moved into his new place.

1:22:22 Tim T. gets our advice about how to layout his bonus room, and we suggest where he should put absorption panels, and recommend going with an SVS 2000 Series subwoofer.

1:33:26 Josh L. gets our take on the “perfect” shape and size for a dedicated home theater room. And we mention using the Room Mode Calculator.

1:37:49 Earle B. gets our suggestion to try using the Multi-Sub Optimization Software with his existing gear before considering the addition of a miniDSP or Dirac to his subwoofer setup.

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