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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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AV Rant #546: Not Literally

July 14th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are John, Jason, Kenny, Adam, and Bob for their donations. We also want to thank Bob for mentioning us to Accessories4Less when he made his Denon AVR-X1200W AV Receiver purchase, as well as Nathan W. for letting Rythmik know we recommended their subwoofers to him.

In the news, the Denon UK and Marantz UK websites have posted clear and detailed information about which AV Receiver models will be receiving Dolby Vision and HLG pass-through updates. And Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 will be the first Disney Ultra HD Blu-ray release thanks to director James Gunn’s efforts.

Infinite Gary gave our advice a try and found a direct connection from his turntable to his Marantz AV Receiver’s phono input delivered lower distortion than using his tube pre-amp. Gary and Karl both wondered what we think about the various Dunkirk release formats including 70mm IMAX and how it will be translated for the home release. Bob wanted to share his love of his Marshall Woburn speaker/amplifier. And Larry L. noticed that SVS has updated their “Why Go Dual?” article with advice that’s more similar to our own.

Ted M. gets our recommendation for a Marantz SR6011 or Denon AVR-X4300H AV Receiver to handle his 5.2.4 setup, as well as a Monoprice Monolith amplifier if he wants maximum headroom and minimum noise floor, plus assurances that SVS Prime Elevation speakers will sound great for Atmos. Mark O. could use the GiK Acoustics Room EQ Wizard Tutorial and REW Help Contents to quickly learn how to take accurate measurements, although he might also opt for a Dayton iMM-6 portable device microphone and AudioTools software. And Earle B. wants to know if he can switch between two different sets of crossover settings for movies and music, and we also delve into his subwoofer-for-each-speaker-channel setup and suggest making some changes.

Jason E. installed a 25-foot active HDMI cable, and he wants to know if he’ll need to replace it when he upgrades to 4K and HDR. Ryan M. has a room with no side walls, so he asks if sticking with five speakers makes sense, and gets our recommendation to use Focal Bird wall-mountable speakers as his Surrounds. We also suggest opting to start with one high output subwoofer for his open floorplan, such as the: HSU VTF-3 Mk.5 HP, Power Sound Audio 15V, SVS PC-2000 if he needs a smaller footprint, or Outlaw Audio Ultra-X12 if he needs the lowest price possible. We recommend the Outlaw OAW4 Wireless Connection Kit, although the less expensive Dayton Audio Wave-Link is probably fine. And we recommend a Denon AVR-X3300W AV Receiver most highly, although the AVR-X2300W would be good if money is tight, as well as a Vizio M-Series TV or the forthcoming TCL P-Series.

Karl R. needs the JVC Recommended Settings for HDR, and he gets some tips for changing a few Oppo UDP-203 Settings, as well as Audyssey Microphone Placement instructions to optimize his audio setup. Nathan W. explains his need for four subwoofers and gets our assurances that four Rythmik L12 will hit full Reference Volume in his small room, and almost certainly don’t need to all be at the exact same height. And Kenny C. gets our thoughts on what to buy to power his 2.1 mostly music setup, and whether we think there’s a big difference between AV Receivers and analogue separates.

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AV Rant #545: Big Fan of Strippers

July 11th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Russell C. and Ian E. for their donations, as well as David B. for mentioning us to SVS when he bought his PC-2000 subwoofer, and Scott B. for mentioning us to HSU when he bought his uncle a VTF-2 Mk.5 subwoofer.

Tom is away this week, so Lee Overstreet joins Rob H. as our guest co-host, and Lee starts us off by asking about SVS’ placement recommendations for dual subwoofers.

In the news, Nintendo announced the $80 SNES Classic, coming Sept. 29 with 21 games, including the never-before-released Star Fox 2. And Netflix has added Dolby Atmos support, although current hardware and content support is very limited.

Jim B. shared a short video clip of his Technics spectrum analyzer’s pretty bouncing lights.

Grant A. wants to know what the “Digital Safety” setting on his Pioneer AV Receiver actually does, and what setting he ought to use. Kevin H. is projecting onto a coffee-colored wall, so we suggest Wilsonart Designer White laminate or Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Interior Acrylic Enamel Extra White Satin paint for a DIY screen, as suggested by Projector Central’s Painting the Perfect Screen article. And Charles is getting picture, but no sound from his Amazon Fire Stick, so we attempt to find the cause.

Marc N. added a Polk PSW505 subwoofer to his existing speaker setup and Onkyo subwoofer. Using a Y-splitter to feed both subs resulted in a hum that a Subwoofer Ground Loop Isolator can likely fix. We also recommend GLS Locking Banana Plugs, Sewell Strike Banana Plugs, and Neiko Self-Adjusting Wire Strippers with a demo video from Rob. David B. has finished his basement home theater, and he gets some advice on speaker connections and labels, as well as what to do when you want a little more bass output than your auto-setup program is providing. And Infinite Gary double checks the settings and inputs for his turntable setup, and gets our suggestion for KEF LS50 Mini Monitors for his tabletop keyboard setup.

Bobby M. gets some more clarification regarding his maximum screen size options with a constant-image-height setup and a limited projector throw distance. Russell C. gets some reassurance about his Denon AVR-X4300H AV Receiver purchase. Tate L. gets a detailed breakdown of the different versions of Audyssey, as well as some comments on other room correction programs from Audioholics. And Byron S. wants to know if the future flagship Receiver models from Denon and Marantz that will supposedly process 13 channels of audio will bring back Front Wide speaker support.

John S. is surprised that 4K HDR projectors are already hitting sub-$2,000 price points, but he wants to know if they are sacrificing performance to lower prices. Justin C. took his own near field measurements of his Ascend Acoustics Sierra-2 speakers, and he’d like some help analyzing the results. And Ian E. takes one more crack at justifying an enormous screen purchase for his backyard outdoor theater setup, and we also weigh in on ideas for speaker positioning and labelling for his indoor Atmos setup.

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AV Rant #544: Projector Placement and You

July 1st, 2017 No comments

If you would like to be a Listener of the Week, visit AVRant.com and click on the “Support AV Rant” link to donate to the podcast.

In the news, SVS Prime Elevation Ceiling Mount Inserts provide a more secure overhead installation. Tate L. mentioned the new lineup of Pioneer and Pioneer Elite AV Receivers with Dolby Vision pass through out of the box, including the VSX-832. which, despite being 5.1 only, supports Atmos and DTS:X using a 3.1.2 configuration. Rebeat has filed a patent for high definition vinyl. And Antoine gave us a heads up about the Epson Home Cinema 4000 projector that offers Wobble-K, HDR, and a fully motorized lens for $2,200.

Jackson L. recommended an audio editing program called Reaper that Tom is evaluating. And Earle B. informed us that McIntosh hasn’t been a part of D+M Group since 2012, and they’re now a member of McIntosh Group.

Tate L. asks for some clarification about different AV Receiver models’ pricing, as well as how important the Watts per channel rating is when it comes time to purchase. Ted M. wants to know which Atmos speaker configuration he should use, how difficult it is to run speaker wires behind walls and a ceiling, and what product he can use to decouple his large, down-firing subwoofer from the floor, which used to be the Auralex GRAMMA, but now we suggest the Pyle Sound Isolation Platform due to price. And Kris P. asks about using the manual EQ settings in his Onkyo AV Receiver, whether to use the THX Cinema and user menu Filter settings, whether his Height speaker settings and placement make sense, and what subwoofers he ought to use in his great room.

Infinite Gary wants to know if there’s a particular speaker design that works well for speakers placed close to one another on a table, and he also wants to know what we think of the phrase, “good for the price”. Bobby M. gets our recommendation for the Sony UBP-X800 Ultra HD Blu-ray player for use with his projector, as we also attempt to explain screen size and aspect ratio options based on a given throw distance. And Steve M. kindly asks if watching the ads on the AV Rant Podcast YouTube Page helps our podcast in any way.

Gibbs wonders if the Ascend Acoustics Sierra-2 bookshelf speakers outperform the Sierra Towers with RAAL tweeter upgrade in any performance metric. Ilango asks for Canadian projector and screen recommendations on behalf of a friend whose room has no light control, so we suggest the Epson HC 3500, and EluneVision High Definition Grey screen. And Nathan W. wants small subwoofers that extend as low as possible, so we suggest the Rythmik L12, and also touch upon how to wire four of them to his AV Receiver’s two subwoofer outputs.

Jason replaced his subwoofer with a new model that plays much deeper, and he wants to know if he needs to do another subwoofer crawl to find the best location in his room for the new sub. Jeremy K. gets a reminder of how we suggest figuring what screen size he’d like best given his viewing distance. And Ian E. wants to host outdoor movie nights in his backyard, so we discuss screen options from Carl’s Place, projector options and foot-lambert calculations, audio options using his existing equipment, and our general thoughts on seating and layout. Then we deal with the inside of Ian’s house where we discuss Atmos configurations and speaker positioning.

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AV Rant #543: Trainwreck Pickle Slap

June 23rd, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are David, Kris, and Tate for their donations, as well as Monty for letting Oppo know we “nudged” him into buying a UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player, and Mark for mentioning us in his SVS Featured Home Theater write up.

Check out our video version on the AV Rant Podcast YouTube Page. This episode’s video includes a comedy of errors at the beginning that you won’t find anywhere else!

In the news, Moanis and Antoine both sent a link to an announcement of the Optoma UHZ65 and 4K500 projectors that continue Optoma’s recent trend on aggressive prices, this time for a laser light engine and extremely high light output, respectively. Denon and Marantz announced their 2017 AV Receiver lineup in Europe, and it’s worth checking out AVCesar coverage (in French) since there was confusion regarding future 2018 models with 13-channel processing. And Klipsch Reference Premiere Architectural speakers expand that series with in-wall and in-ceiling models that feature their new SecureFit mounting system.

Jason P. helped clarify that the Tivo Roamio OTA does not have any monthly fee. Kris I. says the Spotify app for Amazon Fire TV is the best out of the various streaming boxes available. And Kris P. has suggestions for making sure lossless bitstream audio works on your Xbox One, reminds us that an Xbox One controller can make for a pretty good wireless headphone adapter, and wants us to consider more than just features when recommending AV Receivers.

Casey P. wants to hear our opinions on DIY speakers and the DIY Sound Group Fusion-8 Alchemy in particular. Earle B. bought some new McIntosh gear, and the amplifier includes an impedance switch that seems different from the usual speaker impedance setting found in many AV Receivers. He also asks which XLR cables to buy, so Tom recommends Monoprice Premier Series, and Rob recommends Emotiva XLR Snake, or Blue Jeans Cable if you want broadcast grade. And Justin B. is looking into “audiophile” smartphones, such as the LG V20 or upcoming LG G6+, but he also wants to know more about MQA, Tidal, and which device in his signal chain needs to handle the digital to analogue conversion. He also asks about hi-res network audio players that can be controlled directly on the player itself, such as the HiFiBerry project using a Raspberry Pi 3.

Marc N. gets some clarification on a few audio terms so he can avoid a repeat of referring to “slap echo” as “pickle slap”. Nick B. has a new basement plan that he really likes, but he has concerns about HVAC, as well as what he should use for Atmos speakers, where we recommend either the Focal Little Bird or RBH in-ceiling speakers. And Rob W. asks about soundproofing, HVAC, and distribution amplifiers, and also gets our recommendation for Monoprice Optical HDMI Cable for a distance greater than 35 feet.

Nathan W. wants to know if the dual subwoofer outputs on Marantz SlimLine AV Receivers are independent. Damon P. has a new, dedicated theater room, so we make some suggestions for a new JVC HDR DLA-X570R projector, Marantz Pre-Pro or Receiver, Sony UBP-X800 Ultra HD Blu-ray player, and dual subwoofers rather than a single SVS sub. And Infinite Gary has noticed some differences between DTS Neural:X upmixing and Dolby Surround upmixing, and he’d like to know if our experience has been the same.

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