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AV Rant #551: Exclusively for Horses

August 18th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Jay for his donation, and Fred R. for letting Accessories4Less know that his recent Denon AVR-X4300H purchase is the second AV Receiver he’s bought from them because of our recommendations.

In the news, Tom K. let us know about the $843 million Elbphilharmonie in Germany with its algorithm-designed central auditorium for perfectly balanced reverberation. The Internet Archive is digitizing a large collection of 78’s. And Disney is leaving Netflix in 2019 just as Shonda Rhimes leaves ABC for Netflix.

Bobby M. asks how far apart his Atmos speakers should be, which Klipsch speakers he ought to use as his Surrounds, and how high his 92-inch projection screen should be mounted. Matt H. raises an eyebrow at Engadget’s “best home theater gear for back to school” video, and gets our alternative suggestions of a TCL P-Series Roku TV, and Fluance AB40 SoundBase or Vizio SoundBar, plus what we think college students will really find useful, which are Audio Technica ATH-M50x or Sony MDR-7506 headphones, AudioEngine A2+ Powered Speakers, and maybe a Pico Projector.

Andrew asks if it’s ok to use satellite speakers for Atmos, whether bi-pole Surround speakers are worthwhile, and how important timbre matching is for the Surround and Surround Back positions. TJ likes his B&W speakers, but has a new room with aesthetic concerns, so we suggest B&W in-walls, KEF in-walls or a KEF Passive SoundBar, or RBH in-walls or the RBH Ultra Series on-walls. And lazboy74 wants to improve his dialogue intelligibility and asks about seating distance from his back wall, using high-backed, leather seats, and what he can do to make voices easier to understand.

Geoff R. is planning to use a portion of his family room as a theater area, so he asks about a dual screen solution, what his Atmos configuration should be, whether it’s better to use wide or narrow dispersion speakers, plus we offer thoughts on subwoofers in his irregularly-shaped room, seating placement, and acoustic treatments. Son D. wants to add a subwoofer to his 2-channel system, and he wants to know if a REL subwoofer is better than the offerings from SVS or JL Audio. And David B. is having lip sync issues when using his Xbox One S, and he also wants to know what audible difference higher or lower output subwoofers would actually make, as well as when AVRant will go HDR and Immersive Audio.

Rob W. made some construction upgrades that ate up some of his soundproofing budget. We go over insulation options, ceiling construction, and plans for mounting a projector in the future. Infinite Gary wants to know if the “digital blanking” feature offered by some projectors and video processors would be useful to him. And Ken W. wants to know how to make certain an AV Receiver offers a full set of pre-outs, what happens if his speakers are something other than 8 ohms, and what features to look for other than Atmos.

Marc N. wonders if it would heighten the movie-watching experience to include senses other than vision and hearing. Justin B. wants to know what the multiple filters options included with the Trinity Phantom Sabre in-ear monitors actually do. And Mitch R. has applied a lot of our advice, but he was disappointed by the results when he tried our suggestion of placing auto-setup microphone measurement position #1 equidistant from his Front Left/Right speakers rather than in his actual primary seat. We go over why that hurts the imaging when listening to 2-channel stereo, and also talk about Atmos speaker positioning, suggest the Focal Bird or SVS Prime Elevation speakers, describe assigning amplifiers in his AV Receiver, give our thoughts on painting the room and using an ambient light rejecting screen, and make a suggestion to add drapes.

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AV Rant #550: Just for the LUFS

August 11th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Craig, Ron, Sandor, and Jeremy for their donations, as well as Marc for letting SVS know he purchased a PB-2000 subwoofer thanks to our recommendation.

In the news, the next version of the Apple TV will likely support 4K and HDR, including HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG. And Vizio has started updating their displays so that you can use streaming services without being forced to Cast them from a tablet.

Karl informs us about the Shepard Tone that creates the illusion of an ever-rising pitch. And Joseph is (sarcastically) shocked that we have never recommended the Marigo Audio Labs Tuning Dots.

Infinite Gary asks about: Atmos being a mandatory part of the Ultra HD Blu-ray specification, selecting the best value when upgrading a display device, comparing the JVC e-shift projector models, what constitutes a “quiet” projector, and whether an 8K disc format will ever really be necessary. And Teemu gets our input on where we think he should mount his Atmos speakers, and using KEF E301 Satellite speakers to match the rest of his KEF setup.

Ilango has limited space and aesthetic concerns, so he’s considering a Speaker Bar that houses all three Front channels in one, slim enclosure. We recommend the RBH Ultra Series or the KEF HTF8003 most highly, along with suggestions for Surround and Atmos speaker placement, subwoofer pre-wiring locations, and using printed acoustic panels to make room treatments more visually appealing. Nick B. gets some clarification about using a bias light behind a projection screen, as well as concerns about Dolby Digital Plus bitstreams from streaming services causing distortion with some AV Receivers. And Kevin S. had three different discs of the movie “Trolls” all stutter on him, so he asks about making 1:1 disc backups that can be played back using CyberLink PowerDVD, or using Local Media Assets in Plex so that he can keep the special features.

Jonathan F. wants our input on LUFS and why Spotify lowered their LUFS levels. Craig L. wants to know whether he should repair his 30 year-old speakers or put the money towards SVS Ultra Towers or Aperion Verus 2 Grand Towers, along with what Center he should buy, and which dual subwoofers he should trade up for. And John J. is putting together a 2-channel bedroom system where we think the Emotiva TA-100 Integrated Amp and Dali Zensor 3 speakers would be excellent choices.

Ron W. gets our recommendations for an Elite Screens Starling Tab-Tension 2 CineGrey 5D screen with L Brackets for wall-mounting, along with an Epson 5040UB projector, a Marantz SR6011 AV Receiver, and Aperion Intimus 5B speakers with VideoSecu Side Clamping Speaker Mounts to complete his theater. Robert S. heard us discourage someone else from buying Polk bookshelf speakers, and he wants to know if Polk is really all that bad. And Sandor is pre-wiring for indoor and outdoor whole house audio, so we recommend Yamaha All-Weather Speakers (the NS-AW592 in particular), and the Dayton Audio DAX66 Matrix Distribution System.

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AV Rant #549: SVS Prime Elevation Review

August 4th, 2017 2 comments

FYI – the SVS Prime Elevation Speaker review is at the end of the podcast. Our Listeners of the Week are John, David, Teemu, and Earle for their donations, as well as Adam for sending positive feedback to Elite Screens that mentions our recommendation, Todd for telling RBH and GiK Acoustics that we sent him their way, and Marc for letting GiK Acoustics know that he bought some 242 panels because of us.

In the news, Karl R. alerted us to IMAX CEO Greg Foster’s announcements that IMAX will show fewer 3D versions of movies and shorten theatrical runs for converted movies while extending theatrical runs for movies shot with actual IMAX cameras. And you’ll want to check out this week’s AVRant Complete 2 Hour Video on YouTube to see Fred R.’s artwork of Tom and Rob as “Beacons of Rationality”.

Bill C. wants to adjust his video settings, but he doesn’t have a disc player in his system to use one of the Setup Discs, so we recommend using the AVS HD 709 Test Patterns on a USB stick, or the similar Lagom LCD Monitor Test Images in JPG form. David B. used our advice to achieve “AMAZING” results in his theater, so naturally, he wants to know what to upgrade next! We discuss his in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, dual subwoofers vs. a single, higher output model, increasing his Atmos configuration, and adding a projector and screen to his setup. And Justin B. bought an Onkyo DP-X1A Portable Audio Player, but he isn’t completely happy with its interface. We mention some other Music Player Apps for Android, including Phonograph Music Player. We also delve into why MQA doesn’t work with the Android Tidal App, how the Onkyo player handles DSD, and suggest checking Head-Fi and Inner Fidelity to find out if the 1More Triple Drive Earphones are the real deal.

Anonymous gets some more reassurance and suggestions regarding his blown planar tweeters, including: Mike B.’s reminder to double check how Audyssey MultEQ might have boosted the treble, using a little bit of dynamic range compression as a precaution, and reasoning out whether a power conditioner might have caused amplifier clipping. Nick B. has good equipment at home, but he finds movie theaters less fatiguing for long listening sessions. We discuss potential reasons why, and also go over how to calculate boundary reinforcement for corner-loaded subwoofers. And Bobby M. gets our recommendation for the Outdoor Speaker Depot MK650 in-ceiling speakers, some calculations for how many absorption panels he should buy, and our suggestion to use printed art panels, dyed art panels, or DIY art panels to add decoration and acoustic treatment to his room at the same time.

Todd J. prompts a rant about how much influence a single forum member can have…at least for a little while. Mitch R. asks about Audyssey microphone positioning and recliner seating. And Jack R.’s parents need improved sound for a TV in a wooden cabinet, so we suggest a Fluance AB40 SoundBase, Vizio SB2820n-E0 SoundBar, or M-Audio AV32 Self-Powered Monitors.

Aidan C.’s theater is hotter than the rest of his house, so we talk about why we think that might be, and what he’d need to do to cool the room down. Marc N. wants to know when GiK Acoustics’ Scatter Plates would be beneficial and worth the extra cost. And Karl R. has us double check his user menu settings on his Denon AVR-X7200WA to make sure video is being passed through untouched.

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AV Rant #548: Clockwork Dolby

July 28th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Marc and Anand for their donations. Thank you!

In the news, Paramount announced plans to support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos across their Ultra HD Blu-ray and streaming releases. And Scott Wilkinson from AVS Forum contacted many manufacturers to compile a comprehensive list of Dolby Vision compatible productsthat includes some hopeful news for AV Receiver owners.

Josh A. shared some photos of his theater that was heavily influenced by our recommendations. He says we saved him a lot of money.

Fred R. has a new layout for his theater room, so he asks about: screen size, position, and type, for which we recommend an Elite Saker Tab-Tensioned AcousticPro UHD; Atmos configuration and also powering Zone2, for which we recommend a 5-channel Outlaw Audio Model 5000 amplifier; and in-ceiling speakers to match his EMP Tek Towers, for which we recommend the RBH A-600. Brandon G. wants satellite speakers to match his Ascend Sierra-1 Fronts, and he’s considering the Aperion Audio 4B, so we add Ascend HTM-200SENHT SuperZero 2.1, and Focal Little Birds as contenders. And Neil F. wants us to compare the Polk Monitor 60 Towers against the KEF Q300 bookshelf speakers and give them each a number value, so we attempt to oblige.

Wesley M. has a non-functioning Denon AVR-X4200W that we try to troubleshoot, think is worth repairing, but would replace with a Denon AVR-X3300W if it comes to that. Jason P. gets our thoughts on using a car subwoofer drive in a DIY cabinet for home theater use. And Marc N. wants to know if there’s a reasonably affordable product that can process more than 11 or 13 speaker channels just as Emotiva prepares to demonstrate their $5,000 16-channel RMC-1.

Anonymous managed to blow some tweeters, even though he sits fairly close to his speakers, so we discuss what could cause such damage and dig into some of the numbers that were provided by a manufacturer. Robert G. is curious about scenarios where it would make sense to set speakers to Large or Full Range. And Anand gets some clarification about which settings need to be applied when using upward-firing Dolby Atmos-enabled Modules.

Jonathan F. asks for our opinions on Dolby’s experiments to gather biometric data from movie-watching volunteers. Bobby M. wants a pair of subwoofers, but he doesn’t want to overspend, so he asks if dual SVS PB-1000 are his best option. And Aric S. wants us to rank and describe the sound quality of his top three speaker candidates from HSU, Ascend, and Aperion.

Ted M. bought a Sony UBP-X800 Ultra HD Blu-ray player, but it’s image is blurry no matter what he tries, and its streaming service support seems lacking. We discuss, but are at a bit of a loss to explain. And we also tackle Ted’s subwoofer isolation platform experiments. Nick B. wants more details about how to handle a Center channel speaker setup with the new, modular “Micro-LED” Cinema Displays. We also discuss drop tile ceilings in regard to soundproofing. And Tony K. wants a large display in a 12 foot long room for a low price, so we suggest the BenQ HT2050BenQ HT2150ST, or BenQ HT1070 while explaining their capabilities and limitations.

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AV Rant #547: Subwoofer Anti-Vaxxer

July 21st, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Luke for his donation, and Nathan for placing his order with Rythmik and letting them know we recommended their subwoofers.

In the news, we’re hoping to put together a subwoofer setup video series with Producer Austen and some help from SVS. Aiming for dual subs like the ones being showcased by HiFi Sales in New Jersey. And Power Sound Audio has introduced the S7201 quadruple 18-inch driver subwoofer for $3,500 pre-orders.

Infinite Gary noted some price drops on 2016 Denon AV Receiver models. And Nathan W. decided to keep his pair of Rythmik F15HP subs while adding a pair of L22 to bring him up to four subwoofers total, rather than going with our advice of four smaller L12 units.

Morgan wants a white Center speaker to go with his KEF Q100 bookshelf speakers. The KEF Q200c has been discontinued and is only available online in black, but the larger KEF Q600c can still be found in white. An alternative could be the ELAC Uni-fi UC5. And Adam K. wants a projector, pull-down screen, and ceiling mount all for $1,000. We recommend the BenQ HT2050Elite Screens Manual B, and a Monoprice projector ceiling mount.

Byron S. wants a 40 degree field of view with a 9 foot viewing distance, so even though he’d love an LG OLED, we suggest a 75-inch Vizio P Series with a full motion TV wall mount to extend from the wall. Bobby M. gets our thoughts on using his theater as an occasional guest room and pairing Outdoor Speaker Depot in-ceiling speakers with compact Klipsch front speakers. And Fred V. enjoyed an AMC Theater with ButtKicker Tactile Transducers in the seats, so we discuss whether he should add a second sub, or use that money for ButtKickers.

Aric S. wants to upgrade his Pioneer Center speaker and has some candidates in mind. Our top recommendations for his budget include Ascend Acoustics CMT-340SEAperion Intimus 5CHSU HC-1 Mk.2NHT SuperCenterSVS Prime CenterKEF Q200c, or NHT C LCR. Don G. gets some help with planning the layout and Atmos speaker configuration for his dedicated theater room. And Will T. has four subwoofers in an L-shaped room that he wants to optimize, similar to the Audioholics Bass Optimization example. We recommend Room EQ Wizard, a calibrated UMIK-1 from Cross-Spectrum Labs, a MiniDSP 2×4, and Andy’s Multiple Subwoofer Optimization software as the tools to get it done.

Jonathan F. asked for our thoughts on the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America article that concludes there is no correlation between price and sound quality in headphones. Rob F. needs to send one video output to two displays, one of which is 4K HDR, so we suggest a Sewell SplitDeck with HDCP 2.2. And Leighton wants computer speakers that can handle playing music during a party in his living room, so we recommend the Creative IRoar, or a combo of AudioEngine A2+ monitors with an Onkyo SKW-204 subwoofer.

Infinite Gary asks about connecting his analogue pre-amp to self-powered speakers, and questions why his latest professional calibration of his projector has left the colors looking less vibrant. Francis A. wants to know if his Receiver’s auto-setup has set the crossover frequencies of his speakers too high. And we run through how to adjust the manual speaker settings using a basic C-weighted SPL Meter and bass sweeps from AudioCheck.

Martin D. has his sofa against the back wall, so he asks about Atmos configurations, we suggest the XTZ Cinema S2 wall-mountable speaker to match his XTZ Front speakers, and take a guess as to why his subwoofer seems too quiet. Nick B. gets some clarification about cross-room subwoofer placement, Audyssey Dynamic EQ, and the effects of changing the Audyssey target curve using the Audyssey Editor App. And Tate L. gets a declarative answer as to our opinion of how audibly different various Receiver brands are from one another.

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