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AV Rant #499: Buying Advice

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In the news, sadly, Kenny Baker, the actor who played R2-D2, passed away at the age or 81. Back in home theater-land, Antoine sent us JVC’s “Blu-Escient” 4K laser projector teaser video. Vizio P-Series and M-Series monitors got new firmware that adds HDR10 support. Home Theater Geeks interviewed Stacey Spears from SpectraCal about the state of HDR. The Panasonic DMP-UB90 is much less expensive than Panasonic’s first Ultra HD Blu-ray player. And Dolby and AMC will build 100 Dolby Cinemas seven years ahead of schedule! 

This week, we get a lot of questions about buying advice. Bill C. shared a DIY Perks video about acoustic panels made from old towels, and a Housecalls Blog tip on gluing wallboard for better soundproofing. Tyler H. shared his ceiling-mounted Amazon Echo Dot project. Infinite Gary recommends Light Dims. And Tom K. has a quick correction about his ceiling, and asks why timbre is pronounced like “tamber”.

Ted M. likes a particular on-wall speaker from a company that he doesn’t like. We let him know what we think he should do, and explain a bit about how our perception of soundstage works. Terry G. has plans for a low ceiling an a tall riser. We discuss layout issues, speaker placement, series wiring, matching an Outlaw Audio Ultra X12 subwoofer to his HSU subwoofer, speaker and screen distances, GoldenEar Invisa in-ceiling speakers, and selling used gear on AudioGon and US Audio Mart. And Justin B. asks about mid-bass modules such as the Rythmik FM8, and also audio shows such as: T.H.E Show, Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, Axpona, and Capital Audio Fest.

Karl R. saw that IMAX with Laser is coming to Texas, and asks about IMAX with Laser vs. Dolby Cinema, while Ted M. asks what’s so great about lasers anyway? Jim B. wants to know how to get the right amount of light and the sharpest image from his BenQ HT2050 projector, as well as why playback devices have both YCbCr and RGB output modes, and whether to output 60Hz or 24Hz. And Joseph wants to know if SVS speakers will be an upgrade over his KEF speakers.

Steve W. moved to a new house. He asks about screen size and projector options, and we think the Epson Home Cinema 3500 might be his best choice. Michael R. wanted step-by-step instructions for using MakeMKV and PLEX, which led to Rob H. making a PLEX HTPC HD Audio Tutorial. And Luke wants a new Center speaker and subwoofers to match his Pioneer Andrew Jones Towers, so we suggest the EMP Tek R5Ci, Aperion Audio Intimus 5C, or SVS Prime Center, as well as the HSU STF-2, SVS SB-1000, or SVS PC-2000 if he might be moving to a larger room in the future.

Sean F. wants ideas for a complete equipment list for about $12,000. Dual HSU VTF-3 Mk5 subwoofers, Silver Ticket Woven Acoustic Screen, Epson 5040UB projector, Marantz SR6011 AV Receiver, Emotiva A-500 amplifier, Harmony Elite Remote, MyCableMart Optical HDMI Cable or Monoprice Blackbird HDBaseT kit, with GoldenEar Aon 3 L/C/R, SuperSat 3 on-wall, and Invisa 650 in-ceiling speakers would fit the bill! Jack R. wants to know if he should build Constant Directivity DIY speakers from DIY Sound Group. Since what he wants is closer to ribbon speakers, we suggest contacting Salk Sound Custom Designs instead, or checking out James’ Rainy Lake Audio options. And Bill R. wants to nail down his screen size, aspect ratio, and positioning.

Jay C. asks about acoustic panel positioning, felt carpet pad to go under a rug, and how much space AV Receivers need for ventilation. David T. gets some speculation from us about why his Samsung TV has trouble playing mp4 videos, and how a Roku might be the easiest fix. And Terry Q. wants small speakers and is considering the Focal Bird 5 Pack. They’re great, but possibly not as small as Terry might think, so we also mention the NHT SuperZero 2.1 and EMP Tek E3b, plus a Marantz NR1506 Slimline Receiver to power them.

Thanks for listening. Check out our Facebook Page. Click here for our YouTube channel where you can see the recordings of our show videos. Download Tom’s FREE superhero-themed ebook Bob Moore: No Hero wherever ebooks are sold (or given away in this case). Visit Tom's website for download links as well as links for the two full-length followups - Bob Moore: Desperate Times and Bob Moore: Hostile Territory. Lastly, if you live in the Tampa Bay area and are interested in a mobile climbing wall, check out Fearless Mobile Climbing and meet Tom in person!

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