AV Rant #563: Interview with Charlie Jones from SurgeX

November 6th, 2017 No comments

On this special episode of AV Rant, we interview Charlie Jones from SurgeX. If you would like to see us live and in person, we’ve posted our interview on YouTube. If you would like to contact Charlie with any follow up questions about SurgeX, power protection products, or anything else, contact him at Charlie.Jo[email protected].com or www.espsurgex.com.

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AV Rant #562: This Podcast Needs a Name

November 3rd, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Nate, Daniel, and David for their donations, our 30 Patreon Patrons, including Kyle G. who let us know he’s one of them, and James C., Josh A., and David F. for mentioning us to SVS, Accessories4Less, and HTMarket, respectively.

We’ve posted our interview with Charlie Jones from SurgeX in which we discuss all things power protection. And we have scheduled our interview with Brent Butterworth for Thursday, Nov. 9, so send any questions you have for Brent to [email protected].

In the news, we’ve made the decision to no longer make individual YouTube videos for each question. With our limited time, we want Producer Austen to prioritize helping Rob with the Topic List each week instead. Hisense is launching their 100 L8D 100-inch “Laser TV” that’s actually an ultra short-throw DLP projector with built-in speakers and an ambient light rejecting screen for $10,000. And Dunkirk releases on disc on Dec. 19 with switching aspect ratios and no immersive audio, just as Christopher Nolan wanted.

Jaremy P. is selling his Marantz AV7702 MK2, three Emotiva Gen1 amps, and the Denon AVR-X6400H he found at a discount at Best Buy, all in favor of an AV7704 and a new Emotiva XPA-11 Gen3. Nick B. suggests trying Roku’s “universal search” feature to find movies across a multitude of streaming services. Jeff G. moved his Top Middle speakers and achieved the convincing sense of sounds coming from directly overhead that he desired. Joseph H. recommends FreeNAS open source software to convert and PC into network storage. And regarding Patrick P.’s search for wireless, Bluetooth, open back headphones, Jim W. gives the Sennheiser RS120 a thumbs up, even though they lack Bluetooth, and Nathan W. suggests the Apple AirPods.

Bobby M. is saving up for dual SVS PB-1000 subwoofers, and he asks if temporarily using dual Onkyo SKW-204 subs is a reasonable stop gap. Matt S. picked up a used Aperion Center speaker to replace his Pioneer Andrew Jones Center, and now he wonders if the matching Aperion Towers would be worth buying. And Bill W. continues his questions about the house he’s building from scratch, so we discuss: acoustic ceiling tiles, Harmony Hub and Harmony Home Hub Extender, recommendations for dual HSU VTF-3 MK5 HP subwoofers, Ascend Acoustics CMT-340SE and HTM-200SE speakers, and a SeymourAV Center Stage XDscreen.

Ken M. needs to replace some Belkin surge protectors that sacrificed themselves, so we suggest a combo of an APC J35B and a Back-UPS BE850. Justin B. wants something new in his 2-channel and headphone rig, so we suggest the new Sennheiser HD 660 S or RBH Beryllium HP-2 headphones with the Monoprice Monolith Desktop Headphone Amp, and using the Tidal website to find Tidal-compatible products. Kyle G. wants to make sure it’s ok to run a long extension cable for an Audyssey microphone. Dave gets our thoughts on connecting two pre-pros together to allow him to connect more sources. And Greg B. gets our list of recommended TV models (Vizio M Series, Vizio P Series, Sony X930E or an LG OLED if Dolby Vision support is desired; Sony X900E if HDR10-only is ok) to look out for on Black Friday.

Karl R. wants to know why Blade Runner 2049 literally shook both a Dolby Cinema and an IMAX theater, and according to Scott Wilkinson’s measurements, it’s because the bass is unusually loud. Dan C. wants to upgrade his sound system a little at a time, and we like the ELAC Debut Series speakers he’s eyeing, so we give our recommended order of upgrades, and discuss the Atmos configuration and placement he could aim for. And Bill could experiment with two subwoofers, but he has limited time, so he asks if his current gear is up to the task of testing, and we suggest an SVS PC-2000, HSU ULS-15 MK2, Rythmik E15, or Power Sound Audio S1500 as physically smaller subs with enough output for his room size.

Byron S. would like to understand why a couple of specific frequencies result in ringing or reverberation in his room, even though the room is acoustically treated, so we talk about tuned membrane bass traps. David F. gets clarification about setting Tower speakers with built-in powered woofers to “small” and still setting an 80 Hz crossover frequency, although a wrinkle is thrown our way when there’s only room for one subwoofer in the rear corner. And Josh S. tried to explain the ins and outs of dual subwoofers on Reddit, but wound up doubting himself, so we go over output, power, and perception levels when using multiple subs.

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AV Rant #561: Canadian Dolby Vision Rant

October 27th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Bill for his PayPal donation, our 28 Patreon Patrons, and Steve from NextGenHomeTheater.com for telling SVS that we are the reason be bought two new SB-2000 subwoofers.

In the news, Rob begins the podcast with a rant about HDR video. And LG’s 2017 OLED TVs support lossless Atmos after a firmware update that provides Dolby TrueHD decoding capability.

Lee Overstreet, our AVRant Co-host Pinch Hitter, realized that its his 5th anniversary of appearing on AVRant. And Nathan D. heard Gary Yacoubian, President of SVS, talking about some upcoming products on the Beginner Audiophile Podcast, including: bringing 16-Ultra Series tech down to lower price points, introducing DTS Play-Fi products, and showing a prototype Prime Wireless speaker at CES 2018.

Jonathan F. wants to understand the meaning and purpose of Mark Henninger’s AVS Forum article, “How To: Converting Passive Speakers to Active Speakers“. And he also gets our thoughts on TickBox being sued by…well…everybody for copyright infringement. And Daniel A. wants to expand his whole house audio system to his outdoor hot tub, so we recommend the RBH R8 Outdoor Rock Speaker or Yamaha All-Weather Speakers, connected with Direct Burial Outdoor Speaker Wire to a Dayton Audio APA102 amplifier if the rest of his whole house speakers are already self-amplified, or to a Dayton Distribution Amplifier.

Brandon M. wants a Kodi or Plex Server that’s easy to maintain and can handle some light transcoding for accessing his content library remotely over the internet, so we recommend an NVidia Shield TV as his server and playback device, and suggest a Synology J Series NAS device for his storage needs. And Ronnie S. lives in Alaska, and he plans to move to a larger house next year. He wants an amplifier for 11 speaker Atmos now and with the headroom for any future setup while considering shipping costs and potential repairs in the future. Tom thinks he should spend as little as possible on an Audio Source AMP100 and only add more amps later if necessary, while Rob thinks an Emotiva BasX A-5175 strikes the right balance of power, price, and size.

Antonio T. found a used SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer and wants to know if he can pair it with his SVS PB10-NSD. Patrick P. understands our previous recommendation to get open-back headphones, but he wants them to be wireless and support Bluetooth. We urge him to still consider the Sennheiser HD 559, but we mention the Sennheiser RS 120, which are wireless, but not Bluetooth, and the Sennheiser PXC 550, which are wireless, Bluetooth, and offer a Talk Through feature with a double-tap of the ear-cup, but they’re expensive. And Rob G. is struggling to get his dual subwoofer bass to integrate well with all 11 of his speakers, so we talk about phase settings, and our suspicions that his Front Towers are set to Large or a low crossover frequency.

Adam K. double checks the way he goosed his subwoofer output level, and he’s noticed a noise floor hiss for the first time, and he wants to know if connecting more speakers will only make it worse. Robert F. wants to know if his 2016 LG OLED can provide better audio via HDMI-ARC vs. TOSLink, and also whether his Marantz SR6010 requires HDMI-CEC to be active in order for HDMI-ARC to function. And David B. elicits our thoughts on the latest Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer.

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AV Rant #560: Indignity of Relaxing

October 21st, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Robert, who donated twice, and our awesome Patreon Patrons, as well as Byron S. for talking us up to SVS, and Tony K. for mentioning us to Accessories4Less and SVS.

And shout outs to Mark over at Accessories4Less, and Mike, once again, for supplying Tom with his new Denon AVR-X4300H AV Receiver, and the fine folks over at Oppo Digital, and Nathan D., for supplying Rob with an Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player. We share our early impressions of both pieces of gear, and in both cases, we have some thoughts and experiences that you might not expect.

We will be interviewing a rep from SurgeX on Oct. 26, so please send in any questions you might have about power protection to [email protected]

In the news, Disney greatly expanded their Movies Anywhere service to include movies from most other studios across four major download services. rent4K.com is a new place to rent Ultra HD Blu-rays by mail, although unlike 3D Blu-ray Rental, they only send one disc at a time on a pay-per-rental basis for now. And to experience the pinnacle of video game design, you can check out Ennuigi, in which you can “spend some time with a depressed, laconic Luigi as he chain smokes and wanders through a crumbling Mushroom Kingdom”.

Dave B. recommends the Blade Runner 2049 soundtrack for some “spine-crushing bass”. Karl R. shared some articles covering: HDMI 2.1 features, connecting the new Apple TV 4K, and whether 4K DLP projectors are genuinely 4K. Byron S. sorted out his 12V trigger situation and loves his extendable TV mount. And Mitch R. shared his completed home theater setup.

Infinite Gary prods us to describe scenarios in which we’d approve of ButtKickers or bass shakers, he asks why most home theater recliners have high seat backs, he asks why the Dolby Audio logo appears on movies that use a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, and he’d like to know why his Denon DVD-A1 Blu-ray player cannot play many Blu-ray bonus features. Michael L. wants to know if using the TT Dynamic Range Meterand the Dynamic Range Database are good ways to find new audition tracks, why some unlikely-sounding tracks have the highest dynamic range, and what movies and songs Tom and Rob use for auditions. And Ryan L. wants to gradually build an immersive audio system, so we discuss starting with 2.1 vs. 3.1, Towers vs. bookshelf speakers, and some internet-direct speaker brands to audition and compare, including: Aperion Audio, SVS, and Ascend Acoustics.

Jim B. wants to adjust the subwoofer output level from his Denon AVR-X3300W, but there are multiple settings menus, so he wants to know which one to use. Biv asks how to connect his headphone amplifier to his AV Receiver, and how to connect his iPhone to his analogue integrated amplifier, which we say can be done in simple fashion with a 3.5mm to RCA adapter cable. And Gavin W. wants an affordable 55-inch TV with all the bells and whistles, so we suggest either the TCL 55P607 or a Vizio M-Series.

Bill W. has already built two previous dedicated home theaters, but now he’s building an entire house, and his theater plans are a blank slate. We discuss ideal room dimensions, acoustically transparent screens, screens sizes and seating distances, Atmos speaker configurations, soundproofing, airlock-style doors, including a lobby outside the theater, and several other planning and construction details. Kris I. gets us to go over his audio output settings for his gaming PC. And Kevin A. found some previous flagship Yamaha Towers at a thrift shop, but he can’t understand the 4-way crossover design choices, and wants to know what we think of his modifications.

Ted M. gets our thoughts on the AluminyzeSound SoundWall. Tony K. has us list a bunch of older amplifier brands that he could keep an eye out for when searching for good, used gear. And Dave asks, what is the best type of connection for a subwoofer.

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AV Rant #559: Canadian Conversion

October 13th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Donald and Micah for their PayPal donations, our Patreon subscribers, including Kris I., Michael I. for telling Ascend Acoustics that his Sierra-2 speaker purchase was thanks to our recommendation, James C. for letting SVS know his PC-2000 subwoofer purchase was because of us, and Oppo for sending Rob one of their UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray players to make sure we’re always up to date with its latest abilities.

We are still working on scheduling interviews with RBH Sound, SurgeX power protection, and Brent Butterworth. So if you have any questions you’d like us to ask them, please email them to us at [email protected]

In the news, David B. made some awesome fan art for our Producer Austen’s podcast, We Watch Movies, which you can see in the YouTube Video for this episode. Efrain, who lives in Puerto Rico, let us know that he’s alive and ok, but communication is still very limited. The Home Theater Geeks Podcast was cancelled by the TWiT Network. The mini SNES Classic Edition has already been cracked to run side loaded game ROMs. And the TCL 75C807 brings a 75-inch screen size with Dolby Vision and Roku 4K down to just $2,000.

Tim K. updates us on his rattling fireplace and using an Oppo Ultra HD Blu-ray player as an HDR10 and lossless audio splitter. Jonathan shared Paul and Storm’s “Thanksgiving (George Lucas)” song (with some NSFW language). Michael I. compared a pair of KEF LS50 speakers to a pair of Ascend Sierra-2 and quickly decided which pair he’s keeping. Marc N. tried one of the Marseille mCables, but had some issues with it. And Justin B. says he has a cat who really did use his speakers as scratching posts, so he suggests the older Pioneer Andrew Jones FS-51 Towers or Martin Logan Motion Series Tower as options with metal grills, while Tom recommends the Catscram Electronic Cat Repellent.

Jaremy P. resisted the temptation to open a brand new Denon AVR-X6400H and will use an AVR-X4300H instead. He wants to know which external amplifier he should buy now, and while we think he should just keep one of the amps he already owns, if he’s going to buy a new one, we suggest a Monoprice Monolithmodel. And Don G. gets more of our thoughts on seating distance, we recommend Focal Bird speakers mounted on his ceiling for Atmos, we remind him of the Outdoor Speaker Depot MK650 in-ceiling speaker model, talk about potential projection screen and projector placement, suggest installing 20 amp electrical circuits, and offer HT Market HT Design Seating as an affordable option for recliners.

Daniel A. wants to check whether any of his speakers are wired out of phase, so we suggest the Spears and Munsil HD Benchmark 2nd Edition setup disc or using the THX Tune-up App, although that will require manually moving some wires around. Bobby M. has finalized his seating, which might mean a different choice of Surround speaker model is in order. And if he decides to build DIY subwoofers, we think a Behringer NU3000 amplifier would power it nicely. And Patrick P. wants an inexpensive desktop speaker so directional, it won’t be heard by anyone but him. We couldn’t think of anything that meets all of his criteria, so we suggest a pair of open back headphones like the Sennheiser HD 559.

Karl R. wants to know what picture mode and settings he ought to use with his JVC X750R projector when watching the slightly unusual 1080p HDR signal being used for Star Trek: Discovery, and he also asks what BT.2020 content is all about. Marc N. wants to know all about the miniDSP nanoAVR-DL with Dirac Live room correction and how it compares to Audyssey MultEQ XT32. Lemuel G. has a large room and five Focal Electra speakers, so we once again recommend the Focal Bird speakers for his Atmos positions, and discuss which configuration would be best. And Byron S. is using 12 Volt triggers, but he’s getting a hum, so we troubleshoot his connection paths.

Jonathan F. shares a laugh at the idea of using virtual and mixed reality to simulate mundane tasks and office work. Mike F. wants to stream 4K Vudu content to his 1080p projector so that he can retain the Dolby Atmos audio, but he’d need a $180 HD Fury Linker to ensure that works properly. Kris I. has us go over his computer’s output settings to make sure they’re all correct for his Epson 5040UB projector. And Dave M. gets our thoughts on figuring out the optimum height for mounting a display.

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