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AV Rant #487: Oh Gabe

May 26th, 2016 1 comment

Thank you to our Listeners of the Week: James C. for his donation and for putting our logo on the PVP iSound induction speaker; and Ash for updating our artwork!

In the News, Tom suggests trying Netflix’ Fast.com to gauge your download speeds. Karl R. sent the headline that Philips will launch their BDP-7301/7501 Ultra HD Blu-ray player in June for $399. Andy provided a heads up on Andrew Jones’ ELAC Uni-Fi self-powered speaker. And the announcement of the Yamaha RX-A60 Aventage Receiver lineup.

Herb from Cross-Spectrum Labs let us know that auto-setup microphones respond poorly in heat and humidity, so cooling and drying them can improve their performance. Mark M. suggests Anti-Fatigue Foam Mats make better subwoofer/speaker dampers than mousepads. And Infinite Gary found a retailer claiming to have “The World’s Best Home Cinema”.

Tyler H. wants to use an Amazon Echo Dot and some in-ceiling speakers without an always-on amp wasting power. We suggest a power-saving outlet, the Lepai LP7498E Class D amplifier, or the Dayton Audio APA100 with auto-sensing. Gabe M. clarified that lossy audio codecs use “perceptual coding” so that we hear as little difference as possible. And SteveTheGeek gets our recommendations for sealed headphones: the Audio Technica ATH-M50x, Sony MDR-7506, and Oppo PM-3.

Nick B. wants to change aspect ratios and screen sizes with 4-way masking. Carada Masquerade offers motorized 2-way masking, while Seymour AV Manual Masking and Electric Roll-down Masking is our top recommendation. Nick also asks about projector lens ratios, and we highly recommend using Projector Central’s Projection Calculator. We also discuss Nick’s plans for the layout of his basement.

Infinite Gary asks about separate horizontal and vertical sharpness controls. A CNET Sharpness article explains why you should deactivate any sharpness or edge enhancement. We also discuss deinterlacing, upconversion, and upscaling, the evolution of Blu-ray players, and whether to import European products.

John M. gets our thoughts on “ambience extraction”. Tim R. gets our suggestions for the BenQ HT2050 projector, Silver Ticket Screen, Marantz SR6010, Denon AVR-X4200W, or Yamaha RX-A2050 5.2.4 Receiver, and Ascend Acoustics HTM-200SE, NHT SuperZero, EMP Tek, SVS Prime, ELAC Debut, or Focal Bird speakers, And Jonathan F. shared his thoughts on Audio Test Tracks.

Ash asks about Knauf EarthWool insulation. John B. found a story about electrical shocks from Cable TV coax. And Bill R. wants to compare the Ascend Acoustics Sierra-2 and Focal Electra 1008 Be speakers.

Tyler F. asks about JVC projectors and their 4K and HDR capabilities. And Steven R. wants to add online capabilities to his 2-channel audio system. We recommend the Sonos Connect most highly, but also mention Google’s Chromecast Audio, NVidia Shield TV, and the JRiver Id as possible alternatives.

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AV Rant #486: Wobble K

May 19th, 2016 No comments

PrintOur Listeners of the Week are James D. Gary, Jonathan, Nathan, Edward, and Trent. Thank you all so much for supporting AV Rant Podcast with your generous donations!

In the news, AV Rant Listener Antoine sent the link to Definitive Technology’s new BP9000 Series of bi-pole, Atmos-ready speakers.

Infinite Gary shared an article in which Paramount describes the “Laborious Process Behind Ultra HD Blu-rays“. And Nelson W. shared a superb example of why you should always double check your speaker wire connection at both ends!

Nathan D. asks about the lack of fanfare for the new Aperion Verus II Grand Series of speakers and whether Tom will review them. He also asks about network-controllable battery backup power supplies such as the APC S20 or its clone, the Crestron CEN-UPS1250, which offer more advanced controls than our go-to recommendation: the APC J35B. TiVo customer service confirmed that the new TiVo OTA 1TB can accept IR remote commands as well as RF, and we talk a bit about using a Harmony Hub with rack-mounted gear. And we touch upon genuine 4K panel projectors vs. models that “wobble” a 1080p panel.

Johnny D.’s brother-in-law has a simple request: he wants to play one HDMI source in his living room in 5.1 while playing a second HDMI source in Zone 2 in stereo. Sadly, it’s much more complicated than it should be! A Yamaha Zone B Receiver can only play one source at a time. Denon’s AVR-X3100W requires 2.0 PCM output from the source, as does the Monoprice Blackbird 4×2 Matrix Switch. Tom K. wants to make sure his Marantz SR7010 purchase was the right move. He also asks about overhead speaker orientation, and gets some clarification on bitstream vs. PCM audio signals. And Jonathan F. gets us to dive further into full-array local-dimming and static vs. dynamic HDR metadata, as well as our suggestions for “tiny” speakers such as Orb Audio or our top recommendation, the Focal Little Bird.

Bill R. asks for $5,000/pair Tower speaker recommendations on behalf of a friend. In addition to the Ascend Acoustics Sierra Tower w/ RAAL, and Salk SongTower Supercharged already being considered, we mention the Legacy Audio Classic HD and GoldenEar Triton Series. Justin B. almost certainly has a defective Audyssey microphone. He also gets our comments on DTS Headphone X and the Out of Your Head Software, or recommendations of GIK Acoustics Bass Traps and Acoustimac Bass Traps, our complete lack of knowledge of when Emotiva’s new speakers are arriving, our confirmation that Ascend Sierra-1 speakers can be upgraded to Sierra-2s, and our thoughts on the Dayton Wireless Subwoofer System.

Infinite Gary is getting an LG B6 OLED TV and asks about resolution, using its Smart TV services without an Audio Return Channel connection, and future Ultra HD connection paths. And we finish with Trent G. who asks about speaker positioning below a projection screen, speaker efficiency concerns, elevating Surround Back speakers, acoustic panel priority, bass trapping, and his own experience with “Wobble K”!

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AV Rant #485: Stack of Mousepads

May 12th, 2016 No comments

PrintIt’s AV Rant Podcast’s 9th Anniversary! Thank you to ALL the AV Rant Listeners for supporting us all these years! A stack of mousepads to all! Wait, no, we don’t have that. Plus, what possible AV problem could mousepads solve? You’ll have to listen to find out!

A special thank you to our Listeners of the Week: Jeff for his generous donation, and Tom K. for letting Accessories4Less know he bought his Marantz SR7010 from them because of AV Rant, and for letting us know that A4L is starting to notice all the referrals!

In the news, Tom K. gave us the heads up that Warner Music Group has signed a deal with Meridian to use their MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) system on future releases. Infinite Gary sent us a report that Star Trek Beyond will be released in Barco Escape, a 3-screen format similar to the old Cinerama experience. And Tyler F. noted the reports that Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) has been purchased by EVA Automation.

Nathan D. got word directly from Oppo that their Ultra HD Blu-ray players should release in late 2016 and early 2017. Jeb B. thinks the reason curved TVs exist is so they can be mounted in old CRT cubby holes. And James B. like our AV Rant-sponsored racing car so much, he sponsored one of his own with his installation company Dynamic Technologies!

Nathan W. wonders if Audyssey is doing a good job of EQ’ing his Triad speakers. Jonathan F. is getting choppy video when upscaling to 4K/60 and wants to know the best connection path, as well as a the best options for adding two more speakers to his setup. And Jefferson G. is finalizing his quad subwoofer setup, and he also wants to know the best way to integrate a Nintendo 64 console into his system.

Simran S. asks about some lesser known audio companies: Bossobass, and Arendal Sound. Infinite Gary asks about Home Theater Geeks’ Darbee Vision interview. And Rusty wants to know what microphones we use and our recommendations, which include the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB, ATR2500, and Blue Yeti.

Leighton asks about lossy vs. lossless audio, analog vs. digital output, and Ascend Acoustics Sierra RAAL vs. Aperion Audio Verus Grand speakers. Ted M. also asks about Ascend’s RAAL tweeters. And Adriano M. got his in-wall subwoofer cable situation fixed, and asks about SVS products in Australia, as well as using mismatched subwoofers together as a pair.

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AV Rant #484: 25 Percent of Nothing

May 5th, 2016 No comments

PrintThank you to our Listeners of the Week: Dipan and Brandon for their donations, and Nelson W. for letting Accessories4Less and SVS know he bought his Marantz SR7010 and Prime Series speakers because of recommendations from AV Rant!

Lots of News Headlines: The CTA has defined the term Wide Color Gamut Display, Sony adds HDR10 compatibility to their VPL-VW365ES 4K projector, and Antoine alerted us to the new $400 subscription-free TiVo Roamio OTA 1TB DVR. Speaking of TiVo, Rovi is buying TiVo for $1.1 billion. Pioneer Japan is partnering with Dirac, Tyler F. & Chris Heinonen remarked on The Martian: Extended Edition as the first Ultra HD Blu-ray double dip, and The Punisher is getting his own series on Netflix.

Efrain finally received his crowd-funded LH Labs Pulse Infinity Headphone DAC and Amp, Bob G. installed a sliding glass door to help him pressurize his theater with bass, Bill S. is impressed with the Chromecast Audio, and Cliff Heyne gives a big thumbs up to the RBH Sound SI-760 in-wall speakers.

Jonathan F. asks whether dynamic metadata is really necessary for the best High Dynamic Range video when we already have dynamic backlighting systems. Tom K. is interested in the forthcoming Emotiva XMC-1 Pre-Pro Immersive Audio upgrade. He asks about 9 speaker vs. 11 speaker setups and positioning. And we suggest the Focal Bird or Ascend Acoustics HTM-200SE as ceiling-mounted speakers.

Srini wants to replace his Squeezebox Radios, and we recommend the Fluance Fi50, Creative Sound Blaster Roar Series, AudioEngine Powered Speakers, or Bluetooth speakers from Accessories4Less. Brock R. gets into the nitty-gritty details of Yamaha vs. Denon Receivers. And Jim W. gets our thoughts on Height speakers and troubleshooting a popping sound in some of his speaker channels.

Jeb. B. & Jeff G. both had some additional thoughts on setting up four subwoofers. Infinite Gary asks about cable vs. disc video quality, older headphone models vs. newer replacements, LG’s newest OLED TVs, and Joe Kane’s appearance on Home Theater Geeks where he dug into HDR signals on front projectors, Dolby’s new “I Ct Cp” color subsampling system, and bias lighting.

Adriano M. found the Polk Audio PWSK1 Wireless Subwoofer Kit, which is probably fine, although we know for sure the AudioEngine W3 Wireless Adapter works well. Dipan is very impressed with his Calibrated UMIK-1 from Cross-Spectrum Labs. He’s still on the lookout for a 13 speaker Processor, but in the meantime, he wants amplifiers with a low noise floor, so we recommend the Monoprice Monolith 7, Outlaw Audio Model 7700, and checking out Classic Audio Parts.

Brandon G. asks about horizontal vs. vertical Center speaker design. James M. asks for ideal room dimensions. And Allen G. gets some further clarification on Reference Volume and how to get the readings on his Radio Shack SPL meter to match Room EQ Wizard.

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AV Rant #483: 3 is Illuminati

April 28th, 2016 2 comments

This week, we thank Heath, Rohan, and Charles for supporting the podcast with their donations! And thanks to Tony K. for letting Accessories4Less know that he bought his Onkyo TX-NR646 from them because of AV Rant!

In the news, Emotiva announced their BasX Series of low cost, Class A/B products, ELAC’s Debut B4 is a $180/pair Satellite speaker, and Universal’s Ultra HD Blu-rays will include Dolby Vision.

Karl R. shared a How to Make a Stereo System article from BoingBoing that we think is misleading, John M. adjusted some settings on his Rythmik LV12R subwoofer to get it sounding better, Wesley has done about as much as he can with his volume jumping mystery, and Jonathan F. found a Study that says 48% of Vinyl buyers don’t listen to vinyl.

Mark J. wants a new Pre-Pro, so naturally, we point him towards an AV Receiver instead. We also tackle the best way to connect tri-ampable speakers with self-powered woofers. Adriano M. is looking for acoustic absorption material in Australia, and he was sadly screwed over by an electrician who refused to install a simple coax cable! Adriano also has some questions about HULU audio settings and getting 2-channel sources to play in surround sound.

Ted M. has a ton of questions about where we think Virtual Reality is headed, and he “went out and listened” to some speaker store demos that made him question our previous recommendations. Justin B. loves his new EMP Tek Impression Series speakers, but asks about their 6 ohm rating. He also gets advice on acoustic panel placement, soundproofing, subwoofer setup using Audyssey, and our suggestions for “pretty” speaker wire, which include: SVS SoundPath Ultra, RAM Electronics, and Sewell.

Josh A. has an Oppo BDP-105, a Marantz AV8801, two displays, and HDMI handshake issues. We run through many suggestions, but the ultimate fix might just be an HD Fury. Brian R. has some upgraditis, but in the interest of value and performance, we tell him to pump the brakes. Tony K. wants to know if he should wait for the GoldenEar SuperSub X. And Bill wants $100 travel headphones that reduce noise, so we suggest Monoprice Active Noise Cancelling models, the Shure SE215 in-ears, and the Sony MDR-7506 plus a list of other candidates.

Sean is another AV Rant Listener with dual display HDMI handshake issues. We also have some ideas why one of his HDMI inputs isn’t getting audio, why his TV antenna might be dropping channels, and how to mount his outdoor speakers. James L. wants JBL Studio speakers, but his best option is just to wait. David M., John M., and Joseph P. all have questions about Reference Volume and measurement settings. And we try to save Bret R.’s company some money by suggesting a cheaper Vizio than the one he was considering.

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