Instead of getting you a Christmas podcast this year, we decided to get you this… ah… Christmas post to let you know how much we love you and wish you a Merry Christmas.
OK, ok… My PC decided to corrupt the raid drives and that takes about 1-2 hours to remedy… This completely obliterated the window Dina and I had for doing the podcast this week… so instead, we’ll do some…
In any rate I thought I would answer some questions that came in to us via email. First, Jonathan from New York asked us the following:
Just read your Klipsch review, and it reminded me of a question: You disassemble the speakers. Aren’t a lot of speakers made so that is a fundamentally destructive act? How do the companies like your sending back reconstructed speakers? What do you think they do with them when they get them back? Why do they even want them back under those circumstances? (I guess they could sell them as refurbished, I suppose, but that means they have to waste a set of speakers on every review net of the refurbished price. Ouch. No wonder it’s tough to get speakers for review.)
Jonathan – it’s not as bad as you think. Those Klipsch speakers were the first set I’ve heard of in a long time that we couldn’t really disassemble. For the most part we’re able to remove drivers and examine crossovers without any damage to the speakers. As one audioholic I know once put it: “What, are you afraid removing the driver will let out all the magic gremlins that make the speaker sound good?” It’s no big deal and we’re careful to always keep the speaker in tip-top shape. As far as refurbished – that’s typically referring to a product that got returned due to a problem that required repairs. In our case the speakers go back and the manufacturer can either send them out for another review or sell them as b-stock. Either way it is WELL worth it for a manufacturer to run a speaker through our review process. Even with a so-so review they’ll likely sell far more than enough to make up for one set of speakers.
Our next question was from David of “the Internet” (and abbreviated to reduce reader fatigue):
Of all the things I’ve learned about AV in the past few years, none have continued to puzzle me more than electricity. There is so much conflicting information out there. I know that some level of surge protection is required, especially for people living in lightning prone areas; but what about line conditioning and voltage regulation? Is it really needed?
I just helped my parents upgrade… I was looking at the APC BE550R for surge protection and protection against sagging voltage… I do believe there are occasional sags in voltage, as I’ve noticed the lights briefly dimming from time to time. Forgive me if this has been covered before, I know you guys like to slam all those esoteric ’empty box’ power conditioners and that Audioholics often sings the praises of APC, but what is really necessary?
Hi David. In general electronics are very forgiving of voltage surges and sags… within reason. These days electronics are made to handle anywhere from just under 100V to over 130V – all without really encountering any difficulties. Where voltage regulation really helps is with projectors. If you run a projector in a place that constantly has voltage spikes and sags, then your bulb life will probably be reduced significantly. The other problem is that many projectors don’t “play well” with battery backup systems and regulators made for PCs. I can’t exactly explain why (I need to sic Gene on that) but I’ve heard several stories of backup systems failing with projectors (including some first-hand knowledge). In your case I think you’re fine without anything, but if you absolutely want something I’d spring for an APC H-series. I can’t think of anything better that that for the price. We don’t tout APC cause they give us any money (they don’t advertise or anything that I know of). It’s because they publicly embarrassed the industry in terms of what they offer for the money compared to the competition.
Our last question was from Mitch in Sarasota, Florida:
When is it appropriate to use a curved screen? Should you only use one with an anamorphic lens? Are projectors without the extra lens made for a flat surface? Will a curve screw up the picture?
I am going to build a 12ft wide screen and project on it from 17-21ft away with a Sony VPL 50. I realize that the brightness will not be ideal, but size is more important to me. I was satisfied with the brightness on my test screen. I’m just not sure if I should put a curve in it or not. I will not be using an anamorphic lens.
Yo, Mitch. It’s really all about light transmission. Curved screens bounce light back to the viewers, instead of letting is scatter. And a result you get more gain and often higher contrast should there be ambient light in the room (windows, doorways, etc.) The reason curved screens are particularly good with an anamorphic lens system is because it slightly reduces the chance of getting some distortion at the edges of the picture.
Stewart has curved offerings for screens as small as 103″ diagonal. If I were you and was going to build something anyway I’d probably try a slightly curved screen just for kicks. You are definitely sitting back far enough and your screen size is no slouch. Your main problem, in fact, is having enough light output for the screen size… In that case a curved screen is only going to help you.
Well that was it for question… Keep calling and emailing and we’ll pop out more after the new year.
World’s Worst Christmas Present, or World’s Worst Parents?
I did notice a funny YouTube video this week (LINK). Seems this kid was given an Xbox 360 for Christmas. Of course when he opened it there were clothes inside. He cries. End of video.
It turns out the kid had peeked early at his Christmas presents and so the parents taught him a lesson… he got the Xbox 360 a week later. What’s odd, however is the fact that this kid doesn’t really seem like a spoiled brat and the joke seems to go on at the kid’s expense for faaaaaaaar too long. I can’t place whether this is a good example of how consumerist we are, or the level to which bad parenting and inappropriate punishment can take. In a related story, an inner city boy was arrested for setting his entire family on fire this Christmas… just kidding.
Favorite Christmas Movie
Your question of the week is: What is your favorite Christmas movie? It can be a classic, or any movie with an embedded Christmas theme. Post a comment and let us know.