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AV Rant #500.1: Part 2: The Second Barrel

August 25th, 2016 No comments

AV Rant 500th_1000pxWe return with a 2nd part to our 500th Episode Celebration!

We have even more Listeners of the Week: Kris I., Efrain M., and Lee V. – thank you all so much for donating to support AV Rant Podcast!

More news: Valens Semiconductor responded to CE Pro 18 Gbps HDBaseT inquiries. And Jonathan F. confirmed that the Denon AVR-X220W and AVR-S910W received their DTS:X firmware updates! Furthermore, cross-brand upmixing is present, indicating that other models should be receiving similar updates soon.

Infinite Gary bought a Lexicon MC-8 Pre-Pro, and he asks about speaker options, XLR vs. RCA connections, the Outlaw Audio Model 5000 amplifier, and Center speakers with boundary compensation, such as the: Revel C208, Focal Pro Twin 6 Be, and Aperion Audio Verus Grand Center. Nick B. gets some clarification on Reference Volume and what’s going on with Audyssey Dynamic EQ. And Luke gets our honest advice about where we think his money is best spent. DIY Movie Poster Acoustic Panels top our list, followed closely by auditioning Center speakers from brands offering free 2-way shipping, such as: SVS Prime, Aperion Audio Intimus 5C, and Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1.

Chris wants to know if it’s worth upgrading a piece at a time in his wide open living space. We think it is, and we think affordable speakers like the: Pioneer Andrew Jones, EMP Tek E3 Series, NHT Super Series, or Focal Bird would be a great place to start. Jonathan F. read the Audioholics Towers of Power article and wants to know if the comments about massive headroom allowing for great linearity at moderate SPLs hold water. Dave M. wants to know if Dolby Surround Upmixer and DTS Neural:X Upmixer will do a better job with 7.1 soundtracks vs. 5.1 soundtracks. And Scott H. is hearing nasty sounds from Dolby Digital Plus soundtracks streamed by Netflix that we think might be solved by a Denon AVR-X1000 firmware update.

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AV Rant #500: SVS Announcement

August 25th, 2016 No comments

AV Rant 500th_1000pxIt’s our 500th Episode Celebration! An event so big, we spread it across two nights. So welcome to Part 1!

Our Listeners of the Week are Shawn, William, Jeff, Jay, Luke, and Christian for their generous donations, and also Justin B. for letting Emotiva know his Airmotiv B1 speaker purchase was because of AV Rant, as well as a huge thank you to Ash for creating our custom 500th Episode artwork! We love it.

To celebrate this landmark event, AV Rant Podcast is partnering up with SVS for our first big giveaway! Entry for the giveaway will begin in September, 2016. So don’t worry, you haven’t missed anything yet. We will be giving out full details in the coming weeks. And for those of you who enjoy the YouTube version of AV Rant Podcast, Google moving Hangouts to YouTube Live will mean some format changes in the weeks ahead. Read more…

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AV Rant #499: Buying Advice

August 18th, 2016 No comments

PrintOur Listeners of the Week are Steve and Niels for their generous donations. Thank you!

In the news, sadly, Kenny Baker, the actor who played R2-D2, passed away at the age or 81. Back in home theater-land, Antoine sent us JVC’s “Blu-Escient” 4K laser projector teaser video. Vizio P-Series and M-Series monitors got new firmware that adds HDR10 support. Home Theater Geeks interviewed Stacey Spears from SpectraCal about the state of HDR. The Panasonic DMP-UB90 is much less expensive than Panasonic’s first Ultra HD Blu-ray player. And Dolby and AMC will build 100 Dolby Cinemas seven years ahead of schedule!  Read more…

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AV Rant #498: Absorptive Cats

August 11th, 2016 No comments

PrintOur Listeners of the Week are Thomas, Brandon, Ted, Simon, and Jay. Thank you all for your generous donations! Rob H. saw Suicide Squad and liked it. And judging by its box office haul so far, maybe he wasn’t alone after all (Lots of terrible movies did well at the box office. That doesn’t make them not terrible – Tom).

In the news, Andy from NoAudiophile.com noted the Kickstarter campaign for the new $1,600 Smyth Realiser A16 model that can decode immersive audio formats. Yoeri Geutskens posted a terrific Dolby Vision FAQ. And thEndUsr Podcast has concluded with episode 204. Our congratulations to Chris and Taylor on over six years of weekly podcasting!

Mike B. explains why the Nura headphone system is potentially even less useful than we first thought. Rob G. inverted his ceiling-mounted speakers and heard a big improvement. Antoine and Steve O. both showed us a clip from the TV show “Hometime” where they show you how NOT to position speakers. Ted M. shared a video about IMAX audio. And Infinite Gary found some light-absorbing material measurements.

Jay C. loves his dual HSU VTF-3 Mk5 subwoofers, so he asks for our advice about: Ascend Acoustics Sierra Towers RAAL to replace his Polk speakers, getting white Ascend Acoustics Surround speakers or other white speakers such as the Focal SuperBird on-walls, using GiK Acoustics FreeStand Acoustic Panels or GiK Acoustics Screen Panels, and what he should look for in an area rug. Moanis wants to put his Ascend Sierra-2 speakers in his theater, so we recommend a Sierra-2 Center to match, and potentially the forthcoming Sierra Sat for Surrounds. And Jason S. wants to know if it matter which way subwoofer drivers are facing.

Heath B. gets our thoughts on where to build his theater room in his basement along with our recommendations for dual SVS PC-2000 cylinder subwoofers and the upcoming Epson 5040UB HDR projector. Jason P. wants to know if it’s really necessary to remove speaker grills for the best possible sound. And Rafael S. gets our thoughts on whether he should buy a new subwoofer or AV Receiver (or acoustic treatments) first, which Marantz Receiver model he should aim for, and whether he should add Surround Back speakers to his system. 

Johnny D. asks if the EMP Tek E3b satellite speakers are a good choice for overhead and Surround positions. And we think the SVS SoundPath Pivoting Wall/Ceiling Bracket or Pinpoint Mounts AB100 are great options for mounting them. Cody B. asks us to compare the Marantz SR7010 vs. Denon AVR-X6200W, and gets our thoughts on where to mount them for Atmos. And Michael M. asks some questions about SoundBars for his parents, so we recommend the Pioneer Andrew Jones SP-SB23W or one of the Vizio SoundBar options. 

Bill R. wants to nail down his projection screen choice. We discuss size options, aspect ratio, screen gain, and magnetic masking using a SeymourAV Premier Frame. We also suggest Sanus Racks or Peerless AV Racks for holding all of his gear. Will T. wants to know how the ports on his speakers are configured and for us to clarify exactly how close ported speakers can be to the wall. And Matt H. gets a mini-rant from us regarding DIY subwoofers. 

Matt G. wants to know if there are some simple, unobtrusive ways to improve his room’s acoustics, whether he should agonize over Center speaker placement, and our thoughts on speaker wire. Antoine would like an easy online calculator for subwoofers vs. room size, but the best we can offer is a combination of Josh Ricci’s data-bass.com measurements combined with Audioholics room size guide. And Brandon wonders whether he should buy a Yamaha RX-A3060 Receiver right now, or wait for the Denon AVR-X4300H to be released.

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AV Rant #497: Speaker Burqa

August 4th, 2016 1 comment

PrintOur Listeners of the Week are donors Kyle, Richard, George M., and Jay C. who also let HSU Research know his dual VTF-3 Mk5 subwoofer purchase was because of AV Rant! Rob starts the podcast with a gut-wrenching Kuro TV update. Prepare yourselves.

In the news, Antoine shared CEDIA’s “Best New Products” finalists list, and we speculate as to why the only AV Receiver on the list is a Sony. China’s leading internet content distribution company LeEco bought Vizio for $2 billion. Nintendo NX is portable. Ultra HD Blu-ray player prices drop thanks to Xbox One S. And Philips 8600 Dolby Vision TVs are delayed until 2017.

Wesley M.’s volume jumping mystery has finally been fixed by a firmware update. Josh Pollard from The Digital Media Zone asks about using a 2-channel HDMI Audio Extractor, while we mention 4×2 HDMI Matrix, and 7.1 HDMI Audio Extractor alternatives. Randy gets our recommendation for the Denon AVR-X1200W from Accessories4Less, which slightly exceeds his budget, but delivers the features he’s looking for. And Infinite Gary asks about manufacturing moving back to the USA, and the most light-absorbent fabrics, which include Fidelio and Baritone black velvet (halfway down page), or Royalty 3 Velvet from Jo-Ann Fabric (thanks, Ray Coronado!)

Bobby K. gets Tom and Rob to spill their full equipment lists (Rob’s list will be posted as a comment to this article). Will S. wants good, small computer speakers without a bass module, so we suggest the Audio Engine A2+. And Nathan D. asks about long RCA cables vs. long speaker wire, requests a deep dive on determining if he needs an external amplifier, asks about Slew Rate, Class A vs. Class AB vs. Class D, and balanced vs. unbalanced, and finishes by asking about subjective opinions vs. objective measurements.

Christopher V. gets some clarification about inverting speakers mounted up high. Ryan T. explains his seating riser plans and asks about Outlaw vs. Emotiva amplifiers. And Bill R. asks if we think Focal SuperBirds and Focal Birds are good choices for on-wall and on-ceiling speakers. Bill also gets our opinions on HDR-capable projectors and “true” 4K vs. “wobble-K”, as well as dual subwoofer choices and where we think he should place them and his equipment rack.

Andrew N. could use a MiniDSP 2×4 to add independent subwoofer controls to his system. Lucas M. asks about the “+6dB Dynamic Headroom” IHF amplifier specification, and whether unused speaker binding post outputs are still drawing power when nothing is connected. P.J. has a tough choice between a new AV Receiver and a new subwoofer, and also wants to know what Audyssey’s various “level” mean. Ed wants to know if it’s worth keeping his old subwoofer, and how likely it is that lossless audio and immersive audio will be supported by streaming services. And John W. asks about minimum listening distances from larger speakers and whether or not we think he should upgrade.

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