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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AV Rant #542: HDMI Port Serial Killer

June 16th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Jose S. for writing to SVS to let them know his Prime Bookshelf and Ultra Center speaker purchase was largely due to our advice, and Will T. for writing to Accessories4Less to let them know his Marantz SR6011 AV Receiver purchase as an AVRant recommendation.

In the news, Apple announced AirPlay2 and the HomePod Siri speaker. Tyler F. sent us word that Samsung will introduce 82-inch and 88-inch QLED TVs that they claim will be less expensive than rival OLED displays.AtGames announced Atari 2600 and Sega Genesis Flashback consoles. And Microsoft announced Xbox One X is coming Nov. 7 for $500.

Nathan D. says to double check the bottom of your mic clip for a threaded adapter, and he also got a reply from Marantz USA saying they still don’t have any official news about Dolby Vision pass-through. Michael S. shared news of Aperion Audio’s Father’s Day Sale. Samuel P. wants to give a shout out to Marantz for standing behind the warranty of refurbished products purchased from Accessories4Less. And Alan S. has some really good reasons for loving vinyl, and some very reasonable advice for getting and preserving the best sound quality when playing records.

Nick B. is leaning towards completing his 7.2.4 speaker setup before buying an HDR projector. He asks about the availability of Atmos soundtracks via streaming services, as well as a list of Blu-ray and UHD Blu-ray discs with immersive audio. We also discuss whether it’s worth waiting for HDMI 2.1 in AV Receivers, and which speakers would be a good choice for the overhead positions based on their dispersion. And Bill C. has had a large number of HDMI ports die on him recently, and we’re fairly certain it’s due to an energized Cable TV coax cable.

Justin B. wants a Hi-Res Audio Player with streaming that can power a wide range of headphones, so we discuss his candidates of the Pioneer XDP-100R, Pioneer XDP-300R, Onkyo DP-S1, and Teac’s selection of headphone amps and players. Infinite Gary wants to know how we evaluate which amplifiers will perform best with certain speakers, and gets our speculation on when we’ll see laser-driven, genuine 4K resolution projectors for less than $10,000. And Brian A. wonders if he should opt for an older model of Martin Logan electrostatic speakers with a slightly larger panel vs. the current ESL X model.

Will T. has four smaller subwoofers, and he isn’t sure if Audyssey MultEQ XT32 with SubEQ HT is getting him to set the correct volume knob positions on each of them. We go through the process, as well as how to set the volume readout on his Marantz SR6011 so that 0dB will indicate Reference Volume. And we suggest SVS PC-2000 subwoofers as an appropriate choice for his room size. Jason P. asks whether the video quality from Netflix streaming is different depending on the hardware you’re using. And Bill C. gets our opinions on single-driver, full range speaker designs.

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AV Rant #541: Surprise Guest

June 9th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Mark, Vincent, Nathan, and David for their donations. Mark and Nathan also let SVS and Cross-Spectrum Labs know their recent purchases were thanks to our recommendations.

In celebration of AVRant’s 10th Anniversary, we welcome former co-host Liz back to the show! We get to catch up on what she’s been up to, and chat about her current home theater situation. Wonderful to talk with her again.

In the news, LeEco laid of 70% of its USA workers as they retreat from the American market. Early reviews of the inexpensive TCL P-Series with Dolby Vision and Roku are encouraging. Oppo UDP-203 & 205 Ultra HD Blu-ray players are the first to support Dolby Vision with their latest firmware update. And Optoma UHD60 and UHD65 4K HDR10 DLP projectors are priced at $2,000 and $2,500, respectively.

Earle B. felt we gave Justin some bad advice regarding vinyl record playback, so he shares his setup and experiences for our discussion. David B. compared for himself, and settled on a new Vizio E-Series display. It doesn’t have a TV tuner, so we recommend a Mohu Antenna and HDHomeRun network tuner, with the TiVo Roamio OTA, Tablo, Hauppauge TV Tuner for Xbox One, and Channel Master as alternatives. He also wants to make one of his subwoofers wireless, so we suggest the Outlaw Audio OAW4 Wireless Audio Kit. And John W. has a Denon DBT-1713UD Universal Disc Player that no longer supports YouTube, and he wants to know who’s to blame.

Nick B. is agonizing over the layout of his basement home theater, so we discuss dealing with a support pole, seating arrangements, door placement, soundproofing, and HVAC. Vince H. has dual SVS PB-2000 subwoofers, but a large enough room that he’s not getting full pressurization. We talk about walls and doors in terms of air pressure vs. soundproofing, as well as simply getting higher output subwoofers. And Dan N. asks for our opinions on Proficient Audio speakers.

Robert G. wants further clarification about any potential dangers with plugging an amplifier into a voltage regulator. Devon G. wants two pairs of better headphones and would prefer wireless, so we suggest the Sennheiser RS 175, or Sony MDR7506 with a Samson QH4 Headphone Amp and the Outlaw Audio OAW4. And Dave has an indoor pool with a 5.0 moisture resistant surround sound system. He’d like stronger bass, so we suggest marine subwoofer drivers.

Michael M. would like the ability to use Bluetooth headphones as well as HEOS with his Denon AV Receiver, so we go over why he’ll need to send a stereo audio signal from any sources he’d like to use. We also comment on how many speakers to use for an Auro-3D “Voice of God” channel. Kevin A. wants an extremely high output Center speaker, and we think the Power Sound Audio MTM-210C would be an excellent choice. And Damon P. wants a good projector with a quiet fan for gaming, and for his $2,000 budget, we think the Sony VPL-HW45ES is the top choice.

Troy T. upgraded his Living Room speakers to Ascend Acoustics Sierra-2, and now he wants better speakers for his theater, though not quite as expensive. He’s already considering RBH Impression and ELAC Debut, so we add suggestions for Ascend SE Series, Aperion Intimus, NHT Super Series, and KEF Q Series. We also reveal why we’re using Tower or very large stand-mount speakers ourselves. John B. is concerned about future discs or streaming services exclusively using Dolby Vision for HDR and abandoning HDR10. And Jim B. wants greater convenience using some vintage Technics gear with old school bouncing lights. We think a cheap headphone amp and a power strip with master and slave outlets are just what he needs.

Lance H. had an Xbox One audio problem that mysteriously solved itself, but he still has a question about his Marantz SR6010 front display, as well as wanting to know some of our favorite demo discs. Mike wants to add subwoofers to his sound system for the first time, but he wants to use external EQ, so we go over a couple of different connection paths. And Nathan D. has been disappointed by the experience of visiting several high end audio shops. We speculate about why they don’t want to move equipment around, why A-B comparisons are made difficult, and some potential tactics he could use to hopefully improve his next visit.

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