AV Rant #474: Extra Ranty

February 26th, 2016 No comments

This week, we thank Andrew, Tyler, Mark, Ben, Justin, and Richard! Thanks so much for your donations, gentlemen! In the news, Tom found awesome NASA poster images that would make excellent printed acoustic panels. HTC’s Vive Virtual Reality system will cost $799 and ship in April. Scott Wilkinson posted an HDR-capable TV chart on AVS Forum. And Yamaha’s DTS:X firmware is coming in early March.

Tom K. commented on Disney World’s villas that include surround sound, but all the speakers are in the ceiling. And if you check the Visitor Posts on the AV Rant Facebook Page, you can see part of Joseph P.’s conversation with Synergistic Research who really don’t seem to like having their ridiculous marketing claims questioned.

Andrew S. is building a basement theater. We weigh in on seating distance, Atmos speaker placement, Surround speaker height and alignment, matching subwoofers, Silver Ticket’s 120-inch screen, projector options such as the BenQ HT4050, Epson HC 3500, and Epson HC 5030UB, and soundproofing concerns. Dan B. has a large, non-rectangular basement theater and entertainment room, and he’s looking for advice on dual subwoofer choices and placement, as well as putting up drapes. Dan B. also wants to know how to prevent his TV from controlling his AV Receiver because of HDMI-CEC. We suggest an optical cable.

Robert F. has some more DVD-Audio player settings issues. Byron S. wants to know if we agree with Audioholics’ DTS:X evaluation results. And Tyler H. convinced his wife that a cylinder sub is more attractive than cutting open their ceiling!

Tim K. has a long basement room and wants our thoughts on speaker and subwoofer choices. He’d also like to know how Andrew Jones’ ELAC speakers stack up to his Pioneer speakers. Kris I. wants to know if it’s worth spending $2,000 right now on a projector or if it would be better to wait for new 4K models. And Toby H. shared a video by Brian Dunning on Vinyl vs. CD audio.

Dev B. has crossover and Y-splitter questions. Brad L. needs a very short throw projector and some clarification about lens offset and lens shift range. And Justin C. really wants in-wall Surround speakers, but he’d like them to match his Ascend Acoustics Sierra-2 Front speakers as best as possible. We suggest Ascend Acoustics’ Sierra Sat on-wall, RBH’s MC-6, Focal’s Chorus IW 706, Revel’s in-wall models, and possibly KEF’s in-wall speakers, none of which are cheap, which leaves Aperion Audio’s Intimus L6-IW as the “affordable” choice.

James B. shared details on the Spherovox Corner Folded Horn subwoofer. Justin B. wants to know when Emotiva’s new Passive Airmotiv speakers will start shipping and whether he’ll need to match his Surrounds if he gets them. He’s also interested in “different”-sounding speakers, so we suggest: Magnepan, Klipsch, KEF, GoldenEar Technology, B&W, Bang & Olufsen, Martin Logan and Polk’s LSi Series. Infinite Gary shared details on Harman and ARUP’s $15-million Virginia Tech audio test lab called “The Cube”. Gary also asks if soft dome tweeters inherently break up below 20 kHz. And lastly, Leighton is interested in the Sennheiser Urbanite XL headphones, but we’d lean towards the Sennheiser Momentum, PSB M4U, or V-Moda headphones.

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AV Rant #473: Freedom

February 18th, 2016 No comments

This week, we thank Richard, Lee V., Tyler, Mark, and Nathan for their donations, and thanks to Ian for letting RBH know he bought their EMP Tek Impression Series speakers because of our recommendation. In the news, Tom is eager to get his Leeloo Dallas Multipass, Ultra HD Blu-ray discs can play on 1080p TVs according to the BDA, and our friend @SteveTheGeek is keeping us up to the minute on Ultra HD Blu-ray functionality on his Next Gen Home Theater Blog. James has redesigned his Rainy Lake Audio printed acoustic panel covers. Vince and Jason both love their AV Rant-recommended speaker, subwoofer, and AV Receiver purchases. Tony C. found the laughably marketed Astell & Kern AK380 “Copper” portable music player. And David F. wanted to give some credit to Bose…for a car suspension that never came to market.

Bill has an electrical hum throughout his house that’s getting worse, and we strongly urge anyone in a similar situation to call an electrician rather than looking for a band-aid cover-up. Steve has upgraditis and wants some more amplifiers. Toby H. shared a video about the “24-bit Audio Myth” that we liked quite a bit – especially the helpful links in its description. Ken M. got some strange auto-setup results with no subwoofer present, so we try to sort through some bass management and bi-amp settings. Jack needs to diagnose his subwoofer problem and possibly replace it. And Joseph P. is seeing Dayton Ultimax Subwoofer drivers everywhere he looks and wants to know if they’re really all that.

Jason H. is getting pops and distortion when he clicks through Xbox One and Apple TV menus. Dipan P. is considering a rather expensive 16-channel DataSat RS20i Processor with some Crown XLS Drivecore 2 amplifiers to take him beyond 11 speakers. But we try to make a case for sticking with an 11 speaker Receiver with an Outlaw Audio 7700, Monoprice Monolith 7, or an ATI brand amplifier from Classic Audio Parts for a lower noise floor and a way lower price. Ian E. has a puzzling buzz that’s either a Processor problem or just a case of not having a source plugged in. Kris I. has questions about extension cords, 11 amps built into Receivers, and input lag on front projectors. Christopher V. wants to make sure he’s setting his crossover frequencies correctly. Tom K. wants a list of forums other than AVS, so we suggest Ascend Acoustics, Audioholics, AV Forums, Home Theater Shack, Tech Talk at Parts-Express, and Big Screen Forum at Projector Central. Tom K. also wants some motorized curtains, and wonders if Automatic Curtain is a good retailer. We honestly don’t know, but we can recommend HT Market Theater Drapes. Matt V. has Polk’s unusual “SDA” (Stereo Dimensional Array) speakers and some questions about connecting them and measuring their output. Leighton wants to know if it’s ok to stop at three Audyssey measurements. Steve O. wonders if he can simply disconnect a blown woofer. And Infinite Gary wants some clarification on “Soap Opera Effect” and our thoughts on “The Great Audiophile Debate” of subjective vs. objective reviewing.

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AV Rant #472: Importance of Screen Size

February 11th, 2016 No comments

Our Listener of the Week is Gaylen for his generous donation. We also thank David for getting Tom so hyped for Season 13 of So You Think You Can Dance over on Facebook! In the News, Philips’ 8600 Series UHD TVs with Dolby Vision and HDR10 will launch in July at affordable prices. Let’s hope the picture quality matches their impressive feature set. Dolby’s website might have let it slip that LG’s Super UHD LCDs and TVs from Sony will be getting Dolby Vision. Samsung’s UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player went on sale a month early. And people have discovered several issues with the DTS:X firmware update for Denon & Marantz Receivers. Cliff Heyne heard Tyler’s pleas for in-wall subwoofer recommendations and helped out big time with an installation video for the RBH SI-1010 in-ceiling/in-floor subwoofer. Karl R. has fond memories of THX, Dolby, and DTS logo trailers that play before movies at the theater, and he found the mythical “DTS Water Drop“. And we readdress why setting speakers to “Large” is never a good idea.

Chris T. has updated his theater build plans, but wants to double check how far apart all of his speakers should be and whether bi-pole/di-pole Surrounds are a good idea. Michael R. replaced his Android TV box with an NVidia Shield TV, and has a couple of questions about Kodi and Google Play content. Zach R. found that solidifying his choice of a 150-inch 16:9 acoustically transparent screen from Silver Ticket allowed the rest of his plans to fall into place with just a few last soundproofing concerns in his down-to-the-studs theater build. James B. wants to know our current top TV brand recommendations. And Jonathan F. read an article calling “expanded movie universes” a “bubble”, and he also wants to know why we say to “go out and listen to something” when we’re all about home theater!

Robert F. wants to know the best way to set up his DVD-Audio player. Mark A. bought an inexpensive Lux meter and wants to know how to use it to figure out his foot-lamberts and screen gain. Scott B. wants to know if recording studio-style sliding glass doors are the real deal. And Infinite Gary gets our recommendations for a mic stand with a boom plus a camera adapter to hold his setup microphone. We also rant big time about a HiFi+ Guide to Cables that will give us nightmares for weeks to come. And we talk a bit about Center speaker tilt and what to listen for.

HDAudioNut left us a comment here on AVRant.com to decry the lack of lossless and immersive audio options for streaming and downloadable UHD content. Andy has a very nice 5.1 speaker setup and a case of upgraditis. He’s considering Klipsch RP-140SA Atmos Modules, but notice how his system is 5.1? You get one guess as to what we suggest more highly. And Lastly, Jason P. has a great question about setting speaker trim levels and why we’re looking for 75dB on an SPL meter.

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AV Rant #471: Bad Math

February 4th, 2016 No comments

This week, we thank Justin, Andrew, Zach, Lance, and Christian for their generous donations! We also thank Robert W. for mentioning us to SVS when they fixed an LED on his subwoofer in person at their new headquarters. In the news, Denon’s AVR-X7200W/WA DTS:X firmware actually came out when they said it would! Circuit City is coming back from the dead with a new focus on “Millennials”. And Control4’s new “EA” Series aims to lower the barrier to entry for home automation. Ash mentions Mark Waldrep taking on AudioQuest in an alleged case of fraudulent advertising. Sammy C. bi-amped his Mordaunt-Short MS-906 speakers and liked the results. Jordan B. has tried a lot of headphones and weighs in on all of them. And Will T. just wanted to thank Tom for recommending the Nexus 6. Jim T. has $1500 to upgrade his subs and asks if he should buy one with huge output or two with slightly less, and where he should position them. Bill’s Receiver is still humming, and the Dayton APA100 amplifier might be a solution. We also suggest getting ANY disc player to play CDs. Mark is looking to get new speakers along with his new TV. We think KEF at Accessories4Less or from KEF Direct is one good option, but far from the only one. And a 3-in-1 TV stand might be what he’s looking for to hold his new TV and Center speaker. Jackson wonders if it’s worth repairing a Rythmik subwoofer kit for the third time. Tyler likes his sound, but he wants to love it, and we think a rug and acoustic panels with art printed on them will improve things more than buying new gear. Steven R. wants headphones for nighttime TV viewing: we suggest Shure SE-215, Sennheiser Momentum on-ears, Audio Technica ATH-M50x, and Sennheiser HD598. Infinite Gary has auto-setup and EQ concerns, worries that audio might have hit a plateau, and asks about the very best SoundBar, which we think is the Paradigm SoundScape. Rusty is forcing his parents to include a dedicated home theater, and he asks about subwoofer and speaker options. Ian wants to know if a tensioned roll-down screen is really worth the price premium. Mark M. has UltraHD Blu-ray player questions regarding backwards compatibility. And Toby found a Home Theater Junky video about bass settings that strongly disagree with.

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AV Rant #470: Totem Love

January 28th, 2016 No comments

Tom’s back! This week, we thank McMansion Kris, Ian, Brent, Jason, Clarence, and Tyler as our Listeners of the Week! Bumper crop. Thanks, gentlemen! In the news: Star Wars – Episode 8 gets a 7 month delay, which is fine, since Avatar 2 is also delayed. Bragi actually delivered on their Kickstarter with their truly wireless $300 Bragi Dash In-ear monitors. And Foxconn is looking to buy Sharp for $5.4 billion. Brent says we’ve cost him a lot of money, but he donated anyway. James has some handy theater planning tools and some AV planning software. Tom K. recommends Wilsonart Designer White counter laminate as a great DIY screen material. Todd B. lets us know that the Chromecast Audio has dynamic range compression on by default. Kyle G. did NOT get a lemon of an AVR-X5200W from Rob H. after all. And Scott S.’ DIY absorption panels are mounted, and they look and perform great! Michael R. wants to reduce his cable + internet bill, but moving recordings back and forth on two DVRs might present some challenges. An alternative is an OTA Mohu Antenna with a HD HomeRun network tuner. Jonathan F. took some more measurements, and the results got him a little depressed. He also wants to know exactly why Reference Volume is SO darn loud. Nathan W. wants an Atmos Receiver, but he also wants manual EQ. Hemant N. wants to make sure wiring Surround speakers in series won’t be a problem. And Zach R. is building a room-within-a-room and wants to know: what subwoofer to buy, what speakers to consider, where his Atmos speakers should go, and how to handle HVAC with a Dead Vent. Justin (Not Bieber) has $1,000 burning a hole in his pocket and wants to know what speakers to buy to get “crazy good imaging”. Jimmy G. has seen some folks using two Atmos Receivers to go beyond 11 speakers. Chris T. wonders if there’s any real difference between rack-mounted power conditioners and stand-alone “Power Centers”. Miguel M. has rearranged his room and vastly increased his speaker budget, so some new advice is needed. And Chris S. read an article about USB Type-C and wants to know how it can handle dual 4K displays.

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