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AVRant #53: Monster Podcast

Tom and Clint have a ton of email to sort through so they get right to it. They start off touching on watts briefly and then move on to soundproofing. Clint brings up Acoustiblok which he saw at EHX. Why does Clint hate DLP? What should you look for when shopping for a front projector? What are the advantages to buying locally versus online? What’s the deal with the PS3 and TrueHD, bitstream, DTS HD, and all that? Tom loves fan boys. Jim interrupted the Podcast – talk about bad timing! What’s the deal with Hsu’s Mid-bass Module? How much should you spend on speakers in a system? Thanks for listening and don’t forget to vote for us at Podcast Alley.

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  1. March 25th, 2008 at 12:48 | #1

    With regard to seeing what your PS3 is decoding to PCM, just press the ‘select’ key, and it will display all the info. If the disc is coded with DTS HD it will tell you, it is decoding DTS @ 1.5 Mbit as it only supports the core-thingy (which is still twice the bitrate of normal DTS). Dolby TrueHD however decodes fine, and the PS3 even tells you the current bitrate of both the audio and video, and what video codec the disc is encoded with!

    I personally like this feature more than having a front panel saying what is being decoded… It’s there if I want to see it.

    But it does not, however, tell you what sample rate and bit rate the encoded audio is… And THAT annoys me… :)

  2. March 25th, 2008 at 15:52 | #2

    Correction: In the last paragraph I wrote “bit rate”, where I meant “bit depth” :)

  3. March 25th, 2008 at 16:02 | #3

    Cool! Thanks for the info on the PS3 stuff. I’ll download the new system update tonight and give it a try. Also, I have the moview “War” on order which should take advantage of the new BD 2.0 stuff. Maybe I can write up a mini article on the new features in action and post it on Audioholics.com for the people who are obviously not my employers. *grin*

  4. Tim B
    March 25th, 2008 at 21:23 | #4

    Considering how inflamed the issue of HDMI cables is, I think the only valid ‘scientific testing’ would use the double-blind method. Of course in practice, I’m not sure now such tests could be done by pros such as the Audoholics folks who could possibly recognize various manufacturers’ products by feel let alone sight. Also from a point of practicality, I understand the need to use another parties’ exotic test equipment, but if any of these tests done AT Monster Cable ON Monster Cable equipment come back with Monster Cable at the head of the list, those results could only be viewed with deep skepticism or rejected outright. Maybe I misunderstood; if you are going to test the cables of multiple companies and exclude any Monster Cables, then that might be okay. But if Monster Cable products are included in the testing, I don’t see how the tests can be viewed as being fair. Let me be clear: I trust Clint’s fairness and integety; it is Monster Cable I would never trust – especially testing in their own house on their own (black box) equipment.

  5. March 25th, 2008 at 21:42 | #5

    This is not a subjective test. This is not two or three or a hundred people in a room looking at a screen and giving their opinion on whether or not there is a difference. This is an objective measure. A signal is sent through a cable, if the signal that comes out the other side is the same, it passes. If it isn’t, it fails. They could put a blindfold over the test equipment but I don’t think that’s really going to make a difference.

  6. avaserfi
    March 25th, 2008 at 22:38 | #6

    Tom, I think you missed the point….The bits at the Monster factory are biased. You need to blindfold each one for a valid experiment. If the bits can see they are inside a Monster cable all is lost and they will get excited and rush to the other side thus skewing the tests results.

  7. March 26th, 2008 at 02:06 | #7

    I agree with the concerns here. I am not thrilled that Monster got all of the cable samples prior to Clint arriving. I’d really like to be there and observe the cables as well as the test gear to make sure nobody is screwing with the Analyzers while the cables are being swapped out. I have alot of experience with this type of test gear and its very easy to change an impedance setting or something else in a blink of an eye which could really throw off the results. I prepped Clint as best as possible and I am hoping for the best but mindful that we need to really pay attention to the end results.

  8. March 26th, 2008 at 14:15 | #8

    We used about $700,000 worth of independent (aka non-Monster Cable) products to test the cables. The results are surprising, but not for the reasons you may think.

    None of these measurements were done on “black boxes” or anything that cannot be purchased in the open market, albeit for the price of a very large home. Rest assured, we weren’t subject to a guy with a ‘kill’ switch standing behind a curtain, lol.

    The tests were directly supervised by myself, and were done in such a way that it was highly improbable that any cheating was occurring. In addition, the gentleman doing the tests was about our age, absolutely not involved in marketing and was admittedly pleased any time we found any cable to excel beyond what was expected. Also, his name was Einstein. I’m not sure that’s significant but it made for cool conversation.

    It was a great experience and I hope the article will enlighten many who are either ignorant of the importance of quality HDMI cables. Monster Cables are freaking expensive – but that’s about the only negative I can say about them after the testing we went through.

    If you want to know what I walked away with – I’d say that Monster won’t sell a cable that doesn’t pass its spec, while we found tons of manufacturers who would simply sell cables without designating ANY spec or limits for them.

    One cable, in particular was 50 feet long and wouldn’t even pass 720p/1080i at 8-bit color. What good is that? It’s nearly useless without an active cable EQ. While in the real world it MIGHT pass 720p/1080i to a display (failing a test doesn’t necessarily mean it fails real-world) it almost certainly will be unusable at 1080p without an active EQ.

    The article and measurements will come out shortly. Stay tuned.

  9. March 26th, 2008 at 14:38 | #9

    For those interested, Acoustiblok is sold in 135 sq. ft. rolls at a cost of around $2.88/sq ft or $389/roll.

    So if you take an average listening room size of 12 x 20 x 8, you get 512 square feet (walls only). To get enough to cover that room you’re looking at $1,556 (4 rolls, each which are 30′ x 4.5′).

    Each roll weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 lbs each, so getting help during installation is probably wise.

  10. lesser evil
    March 27th, 2008 at 20:46 | #10

    For the rest of us, another layer of drywall will cost about $15 per 4 x 8 sheet (use 5/8″) or $0.15/SF (totals $76.80). If you can find a couple of local commercial drywall installers who do this kind of work they can probably hang the additional layer of drywall in a room of this size on resillient channels in about 4 hours (call it $40/Hr x 8 = $320. You should probably caulk the joints of the concealed layer but you are allready paying for the taping and texturing of the drywall so that’s it. STC of about 55 for 1/3rd the price of Acoustiblock. Go figure.

  11. March 27th, 2008 at 20:54 | #11

    Not a bad idea. So you’re saying actually hang drywall, and then do another resilient channel on top. Typically I’ve seen the channels mounted right to the studs, but another layer of drywall is probably a very good thing. If I ever do a room, I’d likely do a double insulated wall, plus some kind of resilient channel system.

  12. March 28th, 2008 at 13:54 | #12

    I plan to do a layer of drywall, a resilient channel system, another layer of drywall, then a layer of Acoustiblock, then a second resilient channel system, then a final layer of drywall. I will then use some green glue stuff to put some foam insulation panels, then cover it all in fabric. I think this will work well….

  13. lesser evil
    March 28th, 2008 at 15:33 | #13

    Dude – build an isolation tank “Altered states” coming soon to a home theater near you.

    Acoustical engineers cite that the physics of acoustical isolation as requires physical mass, de-coupled wall (or ceiling) assemblies and continuity or lack of openings (however small). A mass loaded membrane such as “Acoustiblock” addresses one of these needs (albeit in a costly way).
    Refer to a copy of The “Gypsum Wallboard Assoc. fire resistance design manual” for STC comparison of isolation systems. http://www.gypsum.org/purchase.html

  14. March 31st, 2008 at 10:15 | #14

    I think J should build his home theater in outer space. That way he’d have total isolation – except for those pesky asteroids.

  15. Raul in HD
    February 6th, 2009 at 18:20 | #15

    Miss Dina, but Clint is a good Podcaster. Thaks again Tom for making me feel better about my future AMP purshase. !lol!

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