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Al Griffin  |  Dec 21, 2017  |  2 comments
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Q I am looking to buy an AV receiver that can play music (mainly FLAC files) and movies streamed from a media server hosted on a NAS. Are there any new receivers that provide that feature? I was looking at a Pioneer VSX-832 Network receiver based on a recommendation from a local dealer, but discovered a note on Pioneer’s website saying that it’s not supported.—Gigi Mathew

Al Griffin  |  Dec 14, 2017  |  1 comments
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Q I was planning to replace my 225Wpc Anthem Statement A2 amplifier with a 300Wpc McIntosh MC302 amp to improve my system. It was suggested that I would get more bang-for-the-buck by instead replacing my Integra DHC 80.3 surround preamp/processor with a new McIntosh MX122 surround preamp/processor. The reason given was that upgrading to a marginally more powerful amp wouldn’t result in a significant difference in my system, but a state-of-the-art processor would. Do you agree with that viewpoint? The speakers I am using are Definitive Technology Mythos STS Super Towers with a Mythos center channel and surrounds. — KJ King

Al Griffin  |  Dec 12, 2017  |  6 comments
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Q I am building a dedicated 15 x 10 x 28-foot (WxHxD) home theater with two rows of seating and a bar for the third row. I plan to buy new speakers and am interested in the advantages, if any, of line-source over regular point-source designs. I’ve heard that line-source speakers create a larger stereo sweet spot. Is that the case? —Lorne Charles / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  Dec 07, 2017  |  2 comments
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Q I just bought an Apple TV 4K streaming box and was wondering if I can use it with my surround sound system. If so, how do I connect it? —Mario Caballero

Al Griffin  |  Nov 30, 2017  |  7 comments
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Q Apple regularly gets flack for not offering Hi-res versions of its iTunes music catalog. I also hear that the quality of the DACs in the latest iPhones (Android phones, too) is not the greatest. Is there any device I can add to my iPhone that will coax the last bit of sound quality out of it?—Scott Oakley, Pine, AZ

Al Griffin  |  Nov 27, 2017  |  4 comments
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A I’m interested in buying a new Ultra HD Blu-ray player but don’t yet own a 4K TV due to budget constraints. Can an Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc be played on a regular HDTV? What quality issues would I run into? —Billy Keener / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  Nov 16, 2017  |  0 comments
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A Can I link my Sony STR-DN1060 AV receiver with a Sony soundbar using its Zone 2 output? What I want is for the receiver to drive speakers in my main listening room and for the soundbar to play the same audio in a second room. —Lewis Starman / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  Nov 13, 2017  |  2 comments
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Q I currently use dipole speakers as the side surrounds in a 7.1-channel configuration. My plan is to upgrade to an Atmos setup and replace the side surround speakers with direct-radiating models. Here’s my question: Could I use my existing dipole surrounds as Atmos height speakers? —Nick Ward / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  Nov 09, 2017  |  4 comments
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Q TV reviews in Sound & Vision routinely discuss support for the HDR10 and Dolby Vision high dynamic range formats. I don't always see comments about HDR support in AV receiver reviews, however. Does an AVR need to support a specific HDR format, or does HDMI take care of that? —James Hardaway

Al Griffin  |  Nov 06, 2017  |  4 comments
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Q After a lull of many years, I’m now in the market for a new audio system and plan to buy high-quality tower speakers and a good amplifier. Here’s my question: How do I deliver an audio signal to passive speakers using just an amp and no preamp or receiver? I’ve become accustomed to the convenience of music-streaming apps like Pandora and don’t want my new system to be unnecessarily complicated. —Gary Barnett / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  Nov 02, 2017  |  4 comments
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Q I'm a proud new owner of a Marantz AV7703 preamp/processor, which I use with a 7.0 speaker configuration (full-range fronts and no subwoofer).

Here’s my question: When I play a Blu-ray disc with a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, the pre-pro’s auto surround mode outputs it as DTS-HD + Neural:X (see above picture). But why would the processor create an upmixed signal instead of passing on discrete channel information to the back surrounds? I’m using an Oppo BDP-103 Blu-ray player with the audio output set to bitstream. —John F. Bartelt

Al Griffin  |  Oct 26, 2017  |  10 comments
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Q I was recently in Best Buy asking about speakers for Dolby Atmos. I was told that to get Atmos I would have to change out my current setup and buy a new set of Atmos Speakers. Is that true? —Wendell Blue

Al Griffin  |  Oct 19, 2017  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q My current setup includes an “older” 7.1-channel receiver that isn’t equipped to decode new sound formats such as Dolby Atmos. I understand that when you play an Atmos disc, older receivers are presented with a standard 5.1- or 7.1-channel version of the soundtrack for decoding. What difference, if any, is there between this default version and something like a Dolby True HD mix? My assumption is that it would be better to select a dedicated lossless mix over a backward-compatible, and presumably compressed, fallback mix. — Jason Acosta

Al Griffin  |  Oct 16, 2017  |  2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

A I own a Panasonic plasma TV and a Denon AV receiver. When I connect my sources directly to the TV, the picture looks great. But when I run my Oppo BDP-105 Blu-ray player, cable TV box, and Amazon Fire TV media player through the Denon using HDMI cables, the picture quality degrades. Is there a way I can work around the picture quality problems caused by my AVR? I want to continue using the AVR for audio switching and prefer to not have to connect sources directly to the TV. —Henry Yeboah / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  Oct 12, 2017  |  1 comments
A Are there any home video releases with 7.1.4-channel sound? I find that most movies have 5.1-channel soundtracks? —J. Kevin Sexton / via e-mail

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