AV Rant #530: Be Like Rob

March 17th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Ed, Michael, Russell, and Alvin for their donations, as well as Kris I. and Bill C. for letting SVS, Parts-Express, and Accessories4Less know they bought products thanks to our recommendations.

In the news, Denon released their HEOS AVR. And via Kris P., Onkyo explicitly mentions Dolby Vision compatibility with their new TX-NR474 and TX-NR575 Receivers.

J. noticed the Dayton Audio APA100 amplifier has been replaced with the Class D APA102. Ed’s high pitch squeal problem on his Vizio P-Series TV got a very specific firmware patch. And James Bujold shared links to Spotify vs. Pandora, and a SnapAV Episode Wirless Subwoofer Kit for up to four subwoofers.

Adam K. has a large room, a large subwoofer, and some additional DJ subs that he wonders whether he should utilize or not. Paco wants a better projection screen, so we recommend Seymour AV, Elite Screens Saker Tab-Tension, EluneVision, and SnapAV Dragonfly. And Informal Gadget asks if the SVS PC-2000 and PB-2000 subwoofers have matching output, and requests same-priced alternatives like the HSU ULS-15 Mk2 or HSU VTF-3 Mk5 HP.

Christian S. purchased dual subwoofers and needs some help optimizing their placement and setup, as well as tracking down the source of some resonance and ringing. Brad W. asks about the balanced vs. unbalanced connections offered by the miniDSP DDRC-88A Dirac unit. And John M. has a large room and good speakers, but he wants to upgrade. We discuss his AV Receiver, his choice of a $1,000 high output subwoofer such as the Rythmik FVX15, HSU VTF-15H Mk2, or Power Sound Audio 15V, his options for auditioning speakers, Towers vs. bookshelves, and Spotify Premium’s streaming quality.

Dave K. asks about converting his open dining room into a theater, so we go over screen size options, flat panels vs. projectors, speaker and subwoofer options, on-ceiling Atmos speakers like the Focal Bird, and acoustic treatments. Karl R. prompts some rants about high frame rate movies. And Scott R. has a somewhat complex 3.2.4 speaker setup that he wants to enhance with room correction and acoustic treatments, although we suggest simplifying with a single Receiver rather than complicating with an external Room EQ.

Nick B. wonders about symmetrical vs. asymmetrical absorption and diffusion panel placement, as well as Anthem Receiver features. Scott H. wants a low-cost outdoor theater and confirms his screen and projector choices while getting our suggestion for a Landscape Burial Subwoofer. Ed needs some assistance finding Dolby Vision content on Netflix. And Brian R. really wants to try separates, but we still strongly suggest using a Denon AVR-X3300W Receiver as a Pre-Pro and simply adding external amps.

Mitch wants prettier acoustic panels, so we recommend SpoonFlower Printed Fabrics or Acoustimac DIY Fabric. Rusty R. is tempted to buy an Ultra HD Blu-ray player. Future models from LG and Philips will have Dolby Vision, and the Oppo UDP-203 is the top choice available right now. Ryan T. wants every source in his theater available through a second set of speakers, so we recommend a Yamaha Receiver with MusicCast. And Josh A. wants maximum image quality without any concern for aesthetics, so we suggest Baritone Velvet from SeymourAV and the Gray Screen paint series from Sherwin-Williams to go along with a 2.35:1 Silver Ticket screen while we explain the limitations of his projector’s “blanking function”.


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AV Rant #529: Shiny Parts, Dull Parts

March 11th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Michael (Mitch), Spotlight (Andy), Rob, and Paco for their donations.

Lee Overstreet is our guest co-host this week.

In the News, Dolby AC-4 is officially a standard audio format for ATSC 3.0. Tony K. noticed Spotify testing lossless CD-quality streaming. The UHD Alliance has a Mobile HDR Premium logo. New Vizio E-Series adds HDR10 a larger screen sizes. Wesley M. and Nathan D. mentioned some acquisitions: Sound United bought D+M Group, and Control4 bought Triad Speakers. And our own Lee Overstreet has high hopes for YouTube TV.

Nathan W. shared some very helpful info for setting up your 4K HDR projector: Ryan Masciola offers 4K and HDR10 test pattern files for $25, Sony Ultra HD Blu-ray movies have “hidden” test patterns you can access by typing “7669” (SONY), and JVC has manual settings instructions for HDR10 on their projectors.

Daniel W. has no subwoofer output, so we recommend a Line Output Converter. We also go over level matching dual subwoofers. Anand wants to make sure he has the speaker impedance setting in his AV Receiver set correctly. And Jason P. gets our $200 headphone recommendations: Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, Sennheiser HD 598, and Sony MDR7506.

Infinite Gary asks if HDR will be used for live TV broadcasts, and why his Oppo Ultra HD Blu-ray player was able to play a scratched disc that other players couldn’t. Luke wonders if RBH is sacrificing performance or profits to make their Impression Series speakers beautiful. And Bobby K. wants to know if mismatched Surround Back speakers are a reasonable compromise, and we suggest Focal Little Bird on-walls for good sound in a small package.

Justin B. has a perfectly square room, but could open and insulate a closet. He also asks about the LeEco uMax85 status, non-Dolby Vision TV options, dedicated midrange drivers, on-wall speakers, and Philharmonic Audio’s Mini Monitors with RAAL ribbon tweeters. Alvin C. wants our thoughts on using two AV Receivers to expand from 5.1 to 7.2. Nick B. asks how projectors handle HDR tone mapping and how dynamic metadata might be implemented. And Mark O. saw the rave reviews of ELAC Uni-Fi speakers and wants to know if he should bust his budget to buy them.

Bill C. gets our confirmation on his projector choice, our recommendation for a Denon AVR-X3300W AV Receiver, and Crown XLS DriveCore or Behringer iNUKE amplifier suggestions to power his passive subwoofers. Ian E. suggested a Klipsch SoundBar to his friend, and we suggest the Yamaha YAS-203 as an alternative. And Ed needs some help sorting through some annoying issues using HDMI-CEC and ARC with his Vizio P-Series TV and Vizio SoundBar.

Manuel T. measured a dip in the upper bass region of his sound system using a Velodyne SMS-1 external subwoofer EQ. We suggest some culprits and methods to address it. Brian R. wants open-back headphone clarity, but with stronger bass. We suggest Sennheiser HD 598 CS, HiFi Man HE400S, and Sony MDR-1A. And Mitch R. wants to know if he should keep his acoustic panels on his front wall, and if so, whether he should put an acoustically transparent or a regular projection screen in front of them.


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AV Rant #528: Vastly Improved

March 4th, 2017 1 comment

Our Listeners of the Week are Daniel for his donation, Mark M. for alerting us to a problem on our website, and Heath for mentioning us to Aperion Audio when he ordered his Verus II Grand speakers and netted himself a 20% discount!

In the news, Dolby Vision is now possible using software only, and the LG G6 Android Smartphone is the first to add Dolby Vision support.

Rob was wrong, Marantz SR6010 and SR6011 AV Receivers only have their small “porthole” displays, no larger displays hidden behind their front panels. Infinite Gary found a good article explaining HDR video. Nathan D. got a kick out of the press release for the $22,000 Esoteric Grandioso G1 Master Clock Generator. Buddy L. says we were wrong and he really did need an external amp for his ESS Heil speakers. Jay P. took our advice and broke open his piggy bank to get a bigger subwoofer. And Josh A. mentions Draper manual roll-down screens with tab-tensioning for a taut screen without electricity.

Karl R. asks about an Ultra HD setup disc, and sending UHD signals through his AV Receiver. He also gets our recommendations for Peerless PRG or Chief RPAU projector mounts, plus a Ceiling Plate and Adjustable Extension Pipe, as well as an Elite Saker Tab-Tension Electric screen. Heath B. will have a shorter room than he thought. We go over seating placement, screen size, speaker placement, and subwoofer concerns. And Brian R. asks why Ultra Short Throw Projectors don’t get more coverage.

Shannon H. got worried over claims that the subwoofer crawl does not work. Ian E. is temporarily running a phantom center and wants to know why it sounds so different, as well as what’s causing a bad noise in his Surround speakers. And Russell K. is preparing to add infinite baffle subwoofers to his loft and has some placement concerns about those as well as his in-ceiling Atmos speakers.

Ted M. is upgrading to dual subwoofers and wants to read more about multiple subwoofer setup and bass optimization. He also asks for an explanation of minimum phase, and whether he should add additional side Surround speakers. Jonathan F. bought earphones at a store without doing online research and wonders if the shopping experience is actually more pleasant that way. Will T. asks about lowering his Surround speakers, whether he should add two or four Atmos speakers, and gets our suggestions for either a Marantz SR6011 or Denon AVR-X4300H 7.2.4 AV Receiver. And Mitch R. is debating Receiver and amplifier choices, projection screen choices, and whether he needs to remove his ceiling fan or not.


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AV Rant #527: Hands and Balls and Amps

February 24th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Weldon for his donation, and Bret R. for letting Accessories4Less and SVS know he bought a Marantz SR7009 AV Receiver and dual PB13-Ultra subwoofers from them, respectively.

In the news, Caavo is a $400, voice-controlled HDMI switch and universal remote replacement that “watches” your content using AI.

Nathan D. notes the rapid pace of Oppo UDP-203 firmware updates. Karl R. exceeded his 4K HDR projector budget, but snagged a near-flagship model. And John M. shared a link to AcousticModelling.com where you can graph a prediction of how your acoustic panels will perform.

Mark H. asks if we have a rule of thumb for allocating percentages of a home theater budget to various components. Bill C. wants to know if Klipsch RF-10 Towers are junk and why they’re being sold at such a low price. And Infinite Gary gets some clarification about HDR and Dolby Vision signals vs. display capabilities, some speculation about 12-bit flat panel displays and future OLED TVs, an explanation of what “pants-flapping bass” really means, and a discussion of why we don’t recommend changing your subwoofer configuration based on content and why EQ can’t make everything sound the same.

Jim W. saw “Atmos” appear on his AV Receiver’s display while watching Netflix and wants an explanation. Nick B. is deciding between two or four subwoofers, the best way to calibrate and level match them for two rows of seating, and how to tackle his HVAC and soundproofing concerns. And Bob N. requests a refresher on different amplifier Classes and why some people claim a certain Class sounds better than others.

Justin B. gets our comments on Ascend Acoustics Sierra-2, Ascend Sierra Luna Satellite, Polk LSiM703, RBH SV-61R, RBH SV-661R, Axiom Audio M5HP, and Axiom QS10HP speakers. Corey M. wants to add in-ceiling Atmos speakers, and we feel comfortable recommending RBH A-600. And Ian E. managed to make his RBH Impression Series Center speaker audibly distort, which we suspect is a cabinet defect, and RBH seems to agree.

John B. requests a list of 4K content services and playback devices. Jay P. has an enormous volume of air, but a set budget for a subwoofer. We discuss some of his options, as well as his shortlist of speaker candidates. Everett L. needs a replacement tricolor filter for Digital Video Essentials. And Allen G. wants a simple, RCA input headphone amplifier, so we suggest the Topping TP21, SMSL SAP II Pro, or SMSL SAP VI.

Adriano M. has a friend who needs an HDMI Matrix switch with optical audio extraction. Weldon B. noticed his NVidia Shield TV offers settings for 60 frames per second and 59.94 fps output, and wants to know which one to use and why. And Mitch needs to buy a new AV Receiver, so we go over the feature differences that might influence his decision.


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AV Rant #526: Wascally Wabbits

February 20th, 2017 3 comments

Our Listeners of the Week are: Justin for his donation, Karl R. for letting Oppo know he heard about their UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player from us, and John S. for mentioning us to RBH Sound when he ordered a pair of R5Bi bookshelf speakers.

Tom is away this week, so we welcome back Lee Overstreet and James Bujold as our guest co-hosts.

In the news, a new reference design specification for HDBaseT now supports HDMI 2.0 with 18 GBps bandwidth. And Nathan D. and Nathan W. both pointed us to a Marantz UK FAQ response regarding Dolby Vision and HLG HDR signal pass-through that says a firmware update will be necessary, and only the latest Receiver and Pre-Pro models will get it.

Mark O. wants three new Front speakers for under $1,000. Ascend Acoustics CMT-340SE, RBH Impression Series, and Paradigm Monitor Series top our recommendations. We also discuss NHT Media Series upward-firing Atmos-enabled speakers, and speculate about Emotiva Airmotiv speakers based on their design. Abby S. is helping her workplace find a woven acoustically transparent screen. Since they can build their own DIY screen frame, we highly recommend SeymourAV DIY Center Stage UF or SnapAV Dragonfly Ultra AcoustiWeave screen fabric. And Will T. wants a 5.1.4 Receiver with a large front display for under $800. The Denon AVR-X4200W from Accessories4Less fits the bill.

Jonathan F. asks us why we still go out to movie theaters when we have nice home theaters. Jason P. wants the settings for getting the best quality audio out of an AppleTV 4. Mitch R. asks if he should rearrange his acoustic panels to accommodate the size of screen he wants, and he also asks if the JVC DLA-X770R is really worth the large price increase over the DLA-X570R. And Charlie H. listened to AVRant with his wife, and it killed his dreams! Now he wants to know how to convince her he still needs new speakers, so we point out Aperion Audio and SVS free 2-way shipping.

Hector has a Dayton Audio DTA-120 amplifier but wants higher output capability. We mention the Lepai LP7498E, and Crown XLi 800 amps for higher wattage, or the Topping VX1 with USB. We also discuss phantom Center channels and three identical Front speakers, coaxial and concentric drivers, and AVRant’s release schedule. Ted M. wonders if he should buy a projector or a Receiver first, we suggest a SeymourAV Center Stage UF screen for his close seating distance, and we talk a bit about Dirac Unison. And Damian D. is recalibrating his projector, so we mention optimized PS3 settings, Receiver pass-through settings, and suggest the THX Tune-up App.

Karl R. asks about less expensive 4K HDR-compatible projectors, so we mention the Epson HC 5040UB and JVC DLA-X550R. We compare those to some other models, and also explain DLP-Link 3D glasses. Informal Gadget on Twitter asks about a Receiver upgrade. And Nick B. asks about optimizing his Atmos speaker placement and bass management and potentially having two different room correction configurations.


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