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AV Rant #584: Open Rooms

March 30th, 2018

Our Listeners of the Week are Brock and Brandon N. for their donations, along with our 56 Patreon Patrons, including John S., as well as ShoeBoo2 on YouTube for alerting us that our AV Rant Podcast YouTube page is easier to reach than ever, John S. for putting a check mark beside AVRant when he bought an SB12-NSD subwoofer from SVS, and Terry Q. for sending Rob a couple of Ultra HD Blu-rays.

In the news, via Kris P. some devices are now offering VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), which is prompting some online outlets to proclaim that HDMI 2.1 has arrived. But it’s really just a case of new features being added to HDMI 2.0 devices. And speaking of updates, Vizio’s latest beta firmware for their TVs unexpectedly added Dolby Digital Plus support for optical audio connections.

Michael M. from Austria reminded us that Europe’s digital radio system is called DAB+, but it did not replace FM broadcasts. And Henry requested some tips for when his second subwoofer arrives, so Rob typed up A 12 Step Guide to Setting Up Dual Subwoofers.

0:17:22 Brock R. asks if it’s a good time to buy a 2017 OLED, or if the 2018 models are worth a higher price. He also gets our input on improving his current theater room and planning for a future theater in his basement. And we recommend Power Sound Audio 15V or SVS PC12-Plus subwoofers to match his HSU VTF-15H.

0:41:55 Marc N. asks how many Aura Sound Pro Bass Shakers a single Dayton SA70 plate amplifier can drive. And we urge him to use butt splice connectors to extend his speaker wire runs.

0:47:39 James P. wants a subwoofer that can do it all: loud, low, and clean for under $3,000. Our top recommendation is a pair of Power Sound Audio V1801, but if he just wants one huge sub, the JTR Captivator 2400ULF fits the bill.

0:53:03 Michael S. gets the update on when older Denon and Marantz AV Receivers will get the Dolby Vision and HLG pass-through firmware update.

0:54:18 Joe K. gives us a list of home theater designers and asks us to pick whom we’d choose if we had an unlimited budget.

0:58:03 Karl R. wants to hear what we think about the Bose audio augmented reality platform.

1:01:17 Chris M. asks if Focal Super Bird speakers can be mounted on the ceiling.

1:04:07 Dan C. wants our take on a 12-pack of studio foam, and the AfterShokz Trekz bone conduction headphones.

1:08:09 Bob B. wants to try Atmos and possibly upgrade his speakers, so we recommend a refurbished Denon AVR-X4300H Receiver,  HSU horn-loaded, Klipsch Reference, RBH Impression, or RSL speakers, and repositioning his existing speakers to serve as Atmos overheads.

1:19:08 David F. wants sealed, over-the-ear, affordable, durable headphones, so we recommend the Audio Technica ATH-M50x, or Sony MDR-7506.

1:21:12 Justin B. wants a pair of small, high output subwoofers for $1,000 each. Our top performance pick would be a JL Audio E-Sub, but they’re too expensive. So we suggest a Power Sound Audio S1500. Or if that’s too big, a Rythmik L22. We also discuss comparing graphs and CEA-2010 measurements, and Elite Screens.

1:32:27 Nick B. was interested in a comment mentioned in The Wirecutter Best Surround-Sound Speakers article about larger speakers almost always sounding better than compact speakers.

1:37:58 Steve T. has a Marantz SR7009 Receiver with a busted HDMI board, so he asks about either getting it fixed, or using the SR7009 as just an amplifier.

1:42:16 Anthony S. wants to upgrade his speakers and Receiver. We think the Denon AVR-X3300W would be nice, although the AVR-X1400H is likely sufficient. And we recommend HSU horn-loaded, and RBH Impression Series speakers again.

1:48:36 John S. wants to know what to look for in a dedicated theater room when he goes house shopping.

1:54:36 Miguel M. asks what we think about Canton Chrono speakers, and what he should put on top of his subwoofers if he uses them as speaker stands.

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