LATEST ADDITIONS

Mike Mettler  |  Oct 02, 2020  |  2 comments
Performances
Sound
The Grateful Dead couldn't catch a break. Sure, they were the head-trip belles of San Francisco's 1960s psychedelic ball, but they were unable to get their recording act together enough to cut an album that best captured their true spirit—that is, until they struck prospector's gold with their fourth studio album, June 1970's Workingman's Dead. By dialing back on the overtly psychedelic-cum-outré experimental modes that dominated June 1968's Anthem of the Sun and June 1969's Aoxomoxoa and instead zeroing in on their folk-bred songcraft for Workingman's, the Dead had finally found their recording niche at last.
Bob Ankosko  |  Oct 01, 2020  |  0 comments
Basements are usually dank, dreary spaces reserved for storage but when the owners of a majestic home in the Milwaukee suburb of River Hills hired Deep River Partners to bring a cleaner transitional aesthetic to the traditional décor, they decided to extend the design magic below grade and transform a boring space into a comfy media room.
Al Griffin  |  Oct 01, 2020  |  7 comments
It seemed like a miracle when Christopher Nolan’s new film Tenet was released in theaters a few weeks ago. But there was a dilemma. I live in New York State, and the governor hadn’t yet cleared movie theaters for reopening. And that’s still the case.
Barb Gonzalez  |  Sep 30, 2020  |  0 comments
This year’s Roku fall lineup is a bit more interesting than in the past as the company has added new products and OS features aimed at A/V enthusiasts. The Roku Ultra streamer has been redesigned for better sound, video, and overall performance. The new Streambar is a hybrid Roku player and TV soundbar in a compact form. And updates to Roku OS 9.4 add some useful features. 
Leslie Shapiro  |  Sep 30, 2020  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Rechargeable, fully wireless surrounds
Upfiring speakers for overhead effects
Easy to use auto-calibration
HDMI with eARC and Dolby Vision pass-through
Minus
Smart Mode processing difficult to switch on/off

THE VERDICT
The JBL Bar 9.1 system combines soundbar convenience with a level of immersive performance only achievable through dedicated surround and overhead effects speakers.

The JBL Bar 9.1 soundbar system provides one of the easiest ways to get a realistic Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive audio experience. JBL's secret? The Bar 9.1 uses a pair of detachable wireless, battery-operated surround speakers that can be situated anyplace in the room that's convenient. In addition, the Bar 9.1 has an auto-calibration feature that will adjust the sound to compensate for speaker placement.

Al Griffin  |  Sep 29, 2020  |  1 comments
Canada’s Bluesound, maker of multiroom wireless streamers, amps, speakers, and soundbars, has added a new subwoofer to its product lineup. With a larger 8-inch driver and 150-watt Smart DSP amplifier, The Pulse Sub+ ($749) appears to be a significant improvement over the company’s previous offering, the Pulse Sub. The new model can also be set up and adjusted via the company’s BluOS Controller app—a feature the earlier Pulse Sub lacked.
Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Sep 28, 2020  |  10 comments
Alert readers will recall that I recently chatted up the idea of building your own computer. Unlike most of my words, these were not idle. I needed a new computer for work on book projects, and I was also intent on finding a solid-state home for all my Compact Discs. So, following my own advice, I built a PC.

Josef Krebs  |  Sep 25, 2020  |  0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
At first glance, Marriage Story seems like six (or so) characters in search of a Woody Allen film. But it soon settles into writer-director Noah Baumbach's own rhythm and whine as two self-absorbed, narcissistic artistic personalities move toward a break-up and into the clutches of divorce lawyers.
Bob Ankosko  |  Sep 24, 2020  |  0 comments
Pandemic and all that ails 2020 be damned. The cool, crisp air of autumn has arrived and A/V makers are upping the frequency of new product releases in anticipation of what we all hope will be a joyous (and financially rewarding) holiday season. Here's a look at some of the new tech goodies headed your way.
Kris Deering  |  Sep 23, 2020  |  1 comments

Harmony Elite
Performance
Ergonomics
Value

Harmony Pro 2400
Performance
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $350 (Harmony Elite), $550 (Harmony Pro 2400)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Easy setup and system integration
Cloud-based control and backup
Controls via IR, TCP/IP, and Bluetooth
Minus
Lacks Apple Siri support
Pro 2400 limited to custom installation channel

THE VERDICT
Harmony remotes offer the convenience and customization options of high-priced control systems, but without the intensive support requirements that come with them.

The biggest complaint I hear from clients when I'm out in the field doing video display calibration work involves problems with remote control systems. You'd think this would be because they have a stack of them to shuffle through, or they had bought some cheap off-the-rack universal remote at Walmart. On the contrary, the complaints are always about some high-end home automation system. As a happy Logitech Harmony remote control user, I've managed to avoid that direction. For the last few years, my remote of choice has been the Harmony Elite, which this review will focus on alongside its new cohort in the custom installation market, the Harmony Pro 2400.

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