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AV Rant #472: Importance of Screen Size

February 11th, 2016 No comments

Our Listener of the Week is Gaylen for his generous donation. We also thank David for getting Tom so hyped for Season 13 of So You Think You Can Dance over on Facebook! In the News, Philips’ 8600 Series UHD TVs with Dolby Vision and HDR10 will launch in July at affordable prices. Let’s hope the picture quality matches their impressive feature set. Dolby’s website might have let it slip that LG’s Super UHD LCDs and TVs from Sony will be getting Dolby Vision. Samsung’s UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player went on sale a month early. And people have discovered several issues with the DTS:X firmware update for Denon & Marantz Receivers. Cliff Heyne heard Tyler’s pleas for in-wall subwoofer recommendations and helped out big time with an installation video for the RBH SI-1010 in-ceiling/in-floor subwoofer. Karl R. has fond memories of THX, Dolby, and DTS logo trailers that play before movies at the theater, and he found the mythical “DTS Water Drop“. And we readdress why setting speakers to “Large” is never a good idea.

Chris T. has updated his theater build plans, but wants to double check how far apart all of his speakers should be and whether bi-pole/di-pole Surrounds are a good idea. Michael R. replaced his Android TV box with an NVidia Shield TV, and has a couple of questions about Kodi and Google Play content. Zach R. found that solidifying his choice of a 150-inch 16:9 acoustically transparent screen from Silver Ticket allowed the rest of his plans to fall into place with just a few last soundproofing concerns in his down-to-the-studs theater build. James B. wants to know our current top TV brand recommendations. And Jonathan F. read an article calling “expanded movie universes” a “bubble”, and he also wants to know why we say to “go out and listen to something” when we’re all about home theater!

Robert F. wants to know the best way to set up his DVD-Audio player. Mark A. bought an inexpensive Lux meter and wants to know how to use it to figure out his foot-lamberts and screen gain. Scott B. wants to know if recording studio-style sliding glass doors are the real deal. And Infinite Gary gets our recommendations for a mic stand with a boom plus a camera adapter to hold his setup microphone. We also rant big time about a HiFi+ Guide to Cables that will give us nightmares for weeks to come. And we talk a bit about Center speaker tilt and what to listen for.

HDAudioNut left us a comment here on AVRant.com to decry the lack of lossless and immersive audio options for streaming and downloadable UHD content. Andy has a very nice 5.1 speaker setup and a case of upgraditis. He’s considering Klipsch RP-140SA Atmos Modules, but notice how his system is 5.1? You get one guess as to what we suggest more highly. And Lastly, Jason P. has a great question about setting speaker trim levels and why we’re looking for 75dB on an SPL meter.

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AV Rant #471: Bad Math

February 4th, 2016 No comments

This week, we thank Justin, Andrew, Zach, Lance, and Christian for their generous donations! We also thank Robert W. for mentioning us to SVS when they fixed an LED on his subwoofer in person at their new headquarters. In the news, Denon’s AVR-X7200W/WA DTS:X firmware actually came out when they said it would! Circuit City is coming back from the dead with a new focus on “Millennials”. And Control4’s new “EA” Series aims to lower the barrier to entry for home automation. Ash mentions Mark Waldrep taking on AudioQuest in an alleged case of fraudulent advertising. Sammy C. bi-amped his Mordaunt-Short MS-906 speakers and liked the results. Jordan B. has tried a lot of headphones and weighs in on all of them. And Will T. just wanted to thank Tom for recommending the Nexus 6. Jim T. has $1500 to upgrade his subs and asks if he should buy one with huge output or two with slightly less, and where he should position them. Bill’s Receiver is still humming, and the Dayton APA100 amplifier might be a solution. We also suggest getting ANY disc player to play CDs. Mark is looking to get new speakers along with his new TV. We think KEF at Accessories4Less or from KEF Direct is one good option, but far from the only one. And a 3-in-1 TV stand might be what he’s looking for to hold his new TV and Center speaker. Jackson wonders if it’s worth repairing a Rythmik subwoofer kit for the third time. Tyler likes his sound, but he wants to love it, and we think a rug and acoustic panels with art printed on them will improve things more than buying new gear. Steven R. wants headphones for nighttime TV viewing: we suggest Shure SE-215, Sennheiser Momentum on-ears, Audio Technica ATH-M50x, and Sennheiser HD598. Infinite Gary has auto-setup and EQ concerns, worries that audio might have hit a plateau, and asks about the very best SoundBar, which we think is the Paradigm SoundScape. Rusty is forcing his parents to include a dedicated home theater, and he asks about subwoofer and speaker options. Ian wants to know if a tensioned roll-down screen is really worth the price premium. Mark M. has UltraHD Blu-ray player questions regarding backwards compatibility. And Toby found a Home Theater Junky video about bass settings that strongly disagree with.

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AV Rant #470: Totem Love

January 28th, 2016 No comments

Tom’s back! This week, we thank McMansion Kris, Ian, Brent, Jason, Clarence, and Tyler as our Listeners of the Week! Bumper crop. Thanks, gentlemen! In the news: Star Wars – Episode 8 gets a 7 month delay, which is fine, since Avatar 2 is also delayed. Bragi actually delivered on their Kickstarter with their truly wireless $300 Bragi Dash In-ear monitors. And Foxconn is looking to buy Sharp for $5.4 billion. Brent says we’ve cost him a lot of money, but he donated anyway. James has some handy theater planning tools and some AV planning software. Tom K. recommends Wilsonart Designer White counter laminate as a great DIY screen material. Todd B. lets us know that the Chromecast Audio has dynamic range compression on by default. Kyle G. did NOT get a lemon of an AVR-X5200W from Rob H. after all. And Scott S.’ DIY absorption panels are mounted, and they look and perform great! Michael R. wants to reduce his cable + internet bill, but moving recordings back and forth on two DVRs might present some challenges. An alternative is an OTA Mohu Antenna with a HD HomeRun network tuner. Jonathan F. took some more measurements, and the results got him a little depressed. He also wants to know exactly why Reference Volume is SO darn loud. Nathan W. wants an Atmos Receiver, but he also wants manual EQ. Hemant N. wants to make sure wiring Surround speakers in series won’t be a problem. And Zach R. is building a room-within-a-room and wants to know: what subwoofer to buy, what speakers to consider, where his Atmos speakers should go, and how to handle HVAC with a Dead Vent. Justin (Not Bieber) has $1,000 burning a hole in his pocket and wants to know what speakers to buy to get “crazy good imaging”. Jimmy G. has seen some folks using two Atmos Receivers to go beyond 11 speakers. Chris T. wonders if there’s any real difference between rack-mounted power conditioners and stand-alone “Power Centers”. Miguel M. has rearranged his room and vastly increased his speaker budget, so some new advice is needed. And Chris S. read an article about USB Type-C and wants to know how it can handle dual 4K displays.

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AV Rant #469: The Night of 65-inch TVs

January 21st, 2016 No comments

Tom was away this week, but thankfully, Producer Austen was available! We thank Michael as our Listener of the Week for his donation. In the news, Monoprice announced their $1500 7 x 200 Watts/channel Monolith 7 amplifier. PSB announced their $500/pair Imagine XA Dolby Atmos-enabled upward-firing Modules. And ELAC unveiled their Uni-Fi Series of speakers, Andrew Jones’ step up designs from the Debut Series. We take a moment for a major correction; Rob screwed up pretty bad last week explaining how sound waves interact, so we do our best to remedy that this week. Srini thanks us for recommending the Shure SE215 IEMs, and Tom K. points us to the REW guide for soundcard drivers and settings. “McMansion” Kris asks for details on bitstream vs. LPCM output for Atmos. Mark H. wants to know if his money is best spent on a new center speaker, a new TV, or if selling some gear to buy different gear is the way to go. Alexandre M.’s wife wants a 65-inch Kuro and Chris T. is yet another listener with a full theater build underway and many questions, including: pre-wiring options, subwoofer placement, projector screen recommendations, riser height, DLP-Link 3D glasses, and Aura Bass Shakers. Jared M. asks if inexpensive foam bass traps are a good buy,  David M. wonders if Netflix and Redbox will offer Ultra HD Blu-ray disc rentals, and John M. plans on getting a Sony projector with an Elite Screens tab-tensioned, motorized screen, and he asks about placement, light output, distractions, and whether he’s making good purchases. Scott S. made DIY acoustic absorption panels and wants placement recommendations. Tom K. tried Spotify Premium using an HDMI Chromecast and a Chromecast Audio and asks if he should be hearing any difference. Bill the Stumper has a mysterious hum in his multi-zone setup. And Infinite Gary questions Onkyo’s “full range” Atmos Modules, JBL’s Synthesis 4367 $15,000/pair speakers, and why his new Power Sound Audio S1500 subwoofers sound SO much louder.

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AV Rant #468: Hang Up!

January 16th, 2016 No comments

This week, we thank Kyle and Steve for their donations, Scott S. for helping Sean with his home theater build, and Bruno for letting SVS know he heard about them from AV Rant all the way over in Belgium. Lots of news out of CES 2016: Oculus Rift VR will cost $599 and ship in March/April. A $1499 bundle gets you the headset along with a PC that can actually run the thing. The UHD Alliance laid out their Ultra HD Premium standard for content and displays. LG had the most impressive lineup of TVs with their Signature OLEDs and Super UHD LCDs that can handle both HDR 10 and Dolby Vision. Funai-Philips surprised us by also announcing a TV that accepts both HDR 10 and Dolby Vision as well as a $400 Ultra HD Blu-ray player. And functioning flexible OLED displays from LG are a real thing now that Rob believes we should call “roll-led”. Klipsch announced their WiSA Reference Premier HD Wireless speaker system. Yahoo Screen is dead. And Infinite Gary shared some AV Forums videos that dive into the details of LG’s OLEDs and Dolby Vision. James B. shared some online guides for soundproofing, ceiling construction, and cable raceways. Tom K. got a Harmony Elite remote for Christmas and loves its features. And a shout out to @SteveTheGeek on Twitter for his Next Gen Home Theater blog. Infinite Gary wonders about Gene’s (from Audioholics) comments on using a Center speaker that’s better than your Front L/R. He also asks about using identical speakers at home and in studios, how having more people in your theater affects the sound, and whether Auralex’ GRAMMA video is on the up-and-up. Gary also asks if Vidity is worth it in a 1080p setup and whether Oppo will play Vidity, why couldn’t LG get the last 1% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, whether 5.1 SACDs might work on Ultra HD Blu-ray players, and how is OTA 4K TV going to work? Bill P. asks about Surround speaker height vs. elevation angle, and which in-ceiling Polk speakers he ought to buy. Ian E. is putting up two Surround speakers on each side wall and wants to confirm how he should aim them, and how he should place the microphone for measurement. Michael R. asks about set top box bitstream audio output. Jason has a $1,000 and wants a Best Bang for Your Buck AV Receiver. And David S. found some more Gene from Audioholics videos that make him question the use of Audyssey and acoustic treatments on the side walls. Jonathan F. followed the REW 101 Guide for taking measurements and he has several questions about it afterwards. Tim A. details the plans for his friend Rami’s theater while questioning some of Rami’s custom installer’s advice. And Ryan T. spotted a preview of Fluance’s new Signature Series speakers. Joseph P. has some minor setup issues with his MiniDSP 2×4. Byron S. asks about Atmos speaker placement using SVS’ new Elevation Speakers. Sean is ready to construct some walls in his theater and asks about DIY home automation options and good places to buy wire. And lastly, Jordan B. wants a career in home theater, so we mention CEDIA as the place to start his training.

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