Home > Podcast > AVRant #117: Politically Tom

AVRant #117: Politically Tom

February 26th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Dina feels powerless – which we all know is a lie. Tom’s been playing with PlayOn… and loves it. Hulu succumbs to pressure. Comcast lies and even if they don’t it won’t be the same as Hulu. AV123 is in dire straights. Ziv is for real. Many Alex’s (Alexi? Rob can I get a ruling here?) asked questions this week – at least one is wrong according to Tom. The shootout is nigh, Tom’s uber busy. Darth Tom Tom makes Dina laugh. MCM Custom Audio speakers – the no-brainer entry level speaker. What would it take for Tom to buy a Wii – probably an act of God. Thanks for listening and don’t forget to vote for us at Podcast Alley.

Don't tell Steve Jobs!

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  1. February 26th, 2009 at 15:55 | #1

    There are so many variables in audio for TV and film. Consider, in order of importance in my opinion:

    – Does the director care? Is he going to push for better sound, and better surround sound to boot? Will he allocate the required funds? Or is he simply going to throw back music and ambiance as a matter of procedure, knowing that it will ultimately be broadcast in surround sound…

    – Does the sound designer know or have a desire to pick out special elements to place and shift into the surrounds?

    – Does the backgrounds editor (in the case of film, where it is a separate person) find creative ambient tracks for the surrounds and take every opportunity to spice up the rear tracks.

    – Does the re-recording mixer (the mix engineer for film) have a good grasp on surround sound mixing? Or does he only know to throw a few token tracks into surround… Is he creative? Is he motivated by a director who cares? (see the first item)

    Realize that there are many different people involved to get it there. Sound effects editor, Sound designer, Backgrounds editor, Re-recording (mix) engineer, and most importantly the Director/Producer.

    For the most part I perceive that in film, surround is more important and more taken into budgetary consideration.

    For television, I think that surround is relegated to the realm of “who cares, most people are listening to this on 2-inch speakers”. In TV, it takes a passionate Director to bring out good audio.

  2. February 26th, 2009 at 16:41 | #2

    Pet peeve: You know what? EVERYONE says Wii is cheaper… but it hasn’t been forever. It’s about ~$250. You can now get the Xbox 360 arcade (no hard drive) for $159 and the Pro (60GB) for like $239 on sale (and it’s always on sale now). Wii was never cheap in my opinion, but for some reason everyone compared it to PS3 and gave it slack. IIRC it was like $400+ at one point after its release because nobody could find it unbundled – so they had to buy it with all the extras.

    Right now the Xbox 360 Arcade is the cheapest new-gen console as far as I can tell.

    Wii: http://audioholics.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=27737371
    Xbox 360: http://audioholics.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=93558441

    Check out Dell’s price (before their frequent 20% off instant coupon):

  3. mperfct
    February 26th, 2009 at 18:01 | #3

    Hey Tom/Dina/world…

    I’m listening to the podcast and heard you talking about av123.com and their apparent demise. As a MFW-15 owner, I was a little concerned, especially given Mark Schifter’s terrific customer service and his deep passion for speaker building. I had to dig around a little bit, but I found this: http://www.av123forum.com/showthread.php?p=732097

    From the above link:

    “Dear Friends:

    Our President, Mark L. Schifter will not be available for a short two to three week period of time due to a cardiac related medical condition he is being treated for. Join with me please in wishing Mark a speedy recovery so that he can once again be here and lead our company as he has done for the last 10 years.

    It is business as usual at av123, and while all of us have heard rumors of our demise, nothing could be further from the truth. Our business, our suppliers, our sub-contractors have all been here or in direct contact with us in order to improve in the areas where we have needed help and change. Every one of these people are behind us 100%, and have joined in wishing Mark a speedy recovery and back to the office as soon as possible.

    Mark will not be allowed any “technology” for a short period of time, so that he may rest, but he has indicated a need in contacting a few of you which given his condition may take a few days. Please be patient with him.

    Thank You Very Much

    Your av123 Family

    end quote

    I sure hope you are wrong, because as you said, av123 customers tend to be rather fervent, which I take as having had a great experience with the company.

    Best regards~


  4. jnmfox
    February 26th, 2009 at 18:04 | #4

    Lost consistently has great sound, plus this season has been one of the best. It seems to be one of the few ABC shows I get in HD in my area, or it is one of the few ABC shows I watch…not sure which, maybe they make sure it is a good broadcast.


    When they skip in time with the white flashes, the associated sound is awesome. The sounds the smoke monster makes whenever it comes around or the gooey sound of a guy’s arm being ripped-off, fabulous.

  5. AndrewR
    February 26th, 2009 at 18:06 | #5

    After listening to a few podcasts I had to register and voice my opinion on something that’s been bothering me. It’s the friggin song at the end…..It’s horrible. How about some nice Journey in there? You have this excellent podcast and instead of finishing it off with a “cherry”, you’re topping it with a prune.

  6. mperfct
    February 26th, 2009 at 18:25 | #6

    If you want to finish it off with a cherry, how about Warrant, Cherry Pie, for the AVRant song? I don’t think they are doing anything so we could probably get it for cheap. I’ll pitch in $5 and a suitcase of Natty Light.

  7. February 26th, 2009 at 19:34 | #7

    mperfect – I hope that is the case and everything is all wine and roses at AV123 but personally, if I was on the market, I wouldn’t send them anything without a way of getting it back. Even then, I’d probably hold off until I heard some more positive reports from people that are waiting on their speakers.

    Andrew – We’ve had this discussion before around here and I’m always open to suggestions. Free suggestions. Suggestions that don’t require us to blow our entire operating budget (which consists of some stale starbursts I took from my kids at Halloween and a few HDMI cables that it seems I literally cannot GIVE away) on royalties. Suggest away. I personally like that song or I wouldn’t have picked it. (want to hear the whole thing – it’s here)

  8. Rob
    February 26th, 2009 at 22:45 | #8

    lol !

    I’ve not had a chance to listen to the podcast yet, but how can I resist answering when I’m mentioned right in the show description!

    “Many people named Alex”

    would be the grammatically correct way of pluralizing the name, Alex.

    The informal slang would be, “Alexes” 😉

    “Alex’s” definitely isn’t right unless you are describing something that belongs to Alex 😀

    And as I said, I have not yet listened to the podcast, but I am dismayed to read that av123.com may be in trouble. I do wonder about the financial health of many of our favorite internet-direct companies these days. Most are still relatively small companies and I would imagine that several of them may be having difficulty in obtaining credit in the current economic climate.

  9. Rob
    February 27th, 2009 at 04:01 | #9

    Had a chance to listen now. 🙂

    For the fellow who likes jazz and was looking for speaker suggestions: I would highly recommend that he at least find a Magnepan dealer and have a listen to see if he likes the magneplanar sound. The major caveat is that Magnepan’s speakers interact a great deal with the room, so placement of the speakers and the seating position are critical as are room treatments and acoustics. But there are extremely few other speakers that can match the almost holographic imaging and truly lifelike sound created by Magnepan speakers. What made me think of Magnepan speakers for jazz in particular is a specific experience I had when auditioning some a while back. The music to which I was listening contained a sax solo and played through the Magnepan speakers, I was literally startled by the realism of the sound. It was that intangible experience of hearing what sounded like a genuine, live saxophone being played right in front of me, only, of course, there was no real saxophone – just the speakers perfectly recreating the sound.

    If you can afford one of the higher end models that uses a true ribbon tweeter, that is something I would highly recommend. High hats and cymbal brushes take on that same, absolutely lifelike sound quality with the true ribbon tweeter Magnepan models.

    You’ll only get this sound quality with a meticulously setup room, as I mentioned. Magnepan speakers are also difficult to drive, so a high quality amplifier is a must as well. And to really fill out the low notes of a plucked double bass, mating the Magnepan speakers with a great subwoofer is also highly recommended.

    I agree with Tom that speakers are either accurate (also meaning linear in frequency response and simply good overall) or they are not. But there can still be differences between several good speakers. The Magnepan speakers simply offer a nearly unique sound quality that sounds more like genuine, live instruments being played right in front of you and for that reason, they always jump to mind when someone says that they want great speakers for jazz.

  10. February 28th, 2009 at 08:25 | #10

    iWife is my favorite one yet!!!

    PS My bad. The movie Coraline has absolutely NOTHING to do with Tim Burton. (Thanks, Ted.)

  11. March 1st, 2009 at 22:01 | #11

    I still can’t believe there are so many crazy people buying wii’s. The ps3 and 360 are so much better consoles it hurts. The Wii should not even be compared to the 360 and ps3, it is like a fisher price toy compared to them. Lets see mario kart vs. gran turismo 5……Killzone 2 vs. metroid prime 2…………Metal Gear Solid 4 vs. anything

  12. March 1st, 2009 at 22:15 | #12

    I can’t believe that tom still hasn’t got himself a ps3 yet. Tom if you read this get a ps3 and Get uncharted,killzone 2,Metal gear solid 4,motorstorm 2, Resistance 2,Heavenly Sword,Warhawk,socom for ps3,littlebigplanet and burnout paradise

  13. Rob
    March 2nd, 2009 at 01:49 | #13

    sharpened sense, I don’t think people are comparing the Wii to the PS3 or the 360 and I think that’s exactly why it’s doing so well! There are millions and millions of people who have never been interested in first person shooters, realistic racers or almost any of the other “traditional” videogames that populate both the PS3’s and Xbox360’s libraries. The Wii offers all of that heretofore untapped market a new controller and games that appeal to them. I’d agree that the Wii is a toy. But what’s wrong with that? For the many gamers who prefer traditional gaming, it’s not as though traditional or hardcore gaming is disappearing. A huge chunk of the people buying Wii would never have bought a hardcore gaming system anyway. And then there are people like me who enjoy both! I’ve said it before, the Wii doesn’t threaten the hardcore market and only serves to expand the videogame market as a whole. The only thing crazy is thinking that the whole world ought to hate the Wii! That just smacks of insecurity and some sort of adolescent rebellious hangup :p

    I also agree that Tom really really needs to get a PS3! If the rumors are true, there may be a price cut coming fairly soon. I’d have to think that if the PS3 hits $300 that Tom will be all over it in a hurry! I even emailed Tom with a similar list of recommended titles.

    Speaking of which, Tom, I tried to email you with a question, but I received an auto reply saying that your email server is refusing to connect to receive messages! I’m not sure if it’s just an anomoly, but you may want to double check.

    Anyways, I just wanted to know the status of HDMI without wires. I just bought a new apartment and it has all concrete walls. Great for soundproofing, but I need a way to get my signal from the living room gear to my bedroom display. I’m not at all keen on snaking wires all around and no way am I boring through the concrete walls! So I really need a wireless HDMI solution! Just wondering if you’ve heard any encouraging news. So far, solutions that need line of sight are obviously no good and anything else seems unreliable or very expensive.

    Any ideas?

  14. March 2nd, 2009 at 10:35 | #14

    The funny thing is, I agree with both Rob and Sharp about the Wii.

    Rob – The last time I looked into it, wireless HDMI was available but expensive. I’ll look into it for this weeks podcast.

  15. Raul in HD
    March 17th, 2009 at 13:03 | #15

    Use your Powers Tom.

  16. kinge
    March 24th, 2009 at 00:45 | #16

    I am all about you hiding your powers to learn how a real person may be treated by customer service at these companies. I just thought it was funny after your tirade against Hero’s for you to then go underground on the very next subject.


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