Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Feb 01, 2021  |  5 comments
There is much speculation that, thanks to Covid, the era of the Hollywood blockbuster is over. While some may rejoice, I'm not so sure.

Chris Chiarella  |  Jan 29, 2021  |  0 comments
Picture (all)
Sound (all)
The Lord of the Rings was a box office phenomenon, which of course meant demand for more movies. And lo, a prequel book had already been written, so after some wrangling Peter Jackson returned to make another trilogy set within J.R.R. Tolkien's fantastical universe. Taking place 60 years before the start of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey gives us Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), content to go about his safe, humdrum existence, until fate and a tall, pushy friend sweep him up in an incredible adventure.
Mike Mettler  |  Jan 29, 2021  |  6 comments
"I like to upset people, because it means I'm doing the right thing."

And that, my friends, is Steven Wilson for you in a nutshell. The once and future king of surround sound has taken yet another giant creative leap forward with his new solo album, The Future Bites (Arts & Crafts), which, after a pandemically induced half-year deferral, is finally being released on January 29, 2021.

Bob Ankosko  |  Jan 28, 2021  |  0 comments
Home entertainment took center stage in 2020 and will continue to be a mainstay of life at home until we defeat the invisible enemy known as COVID-19. Whether a return to quasi-normal life takes weeks or months (my bet is on the latter), A/V gear of all shapes and sizes will continue to not only make possible but enhance our music and movie experiences. All of which brings us to the latest crop of Sound & Vision Top Picks, encapsulated here for your convenience.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 27, 2021  |  0 comments

PRICE $4,999

Exceptional performance
Exceptional build quality
Dimmable power indicator light

It doesn’t come cheap, but NAD’s Masters M28 is a genuinely unique product designed to compete sonically with some of the highest-end amps on the market, regardless of how many channels they offer.

Whether you fall into the "all well-designed amps sound the same when used within their limits" camp or the "amp selection is critical" army of true believers, it's arguable that prior to the turn of the millennium amps designed for high-performance audio had fallen into a rut. They were so good that the advertising for them had to become increasingly creative. But a parade of skilled designers remained convinced that the new concepts they had come up with were superior, and audiophiles still lined up to buy them. The turf was always familiar: tubes remained tubes with their lovable quirkiness, and solid state was dominated by class-A/B designs as it had been since the transistor was invented.

Al Griffin  |  Jan 27, 2021  |  0 comments
Q I ordered an Epson 5050UB LCD projector with 10 lens-shift memory settings and am looking for a projection screen. Information on one screen manufacturer’s website says you lose 25 percent (over 2,000,000 pixels) and up to and 25-30% of brightness when using a lens-shift memory setting to zoom images to fill a 2.40:1 “scope” screen…and when a projector blacks out pixels during this process, it absorbs the light energy, creating excess heat. Is this information accurate? Also, should I instead consider using an anamorphic lens with the projector? —Douglas Bien, via email
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 26, 2021  |  3 comments
I recently bought a new car. It wasn't planned, though perhaps long overdue. Old Mazda...took it on herself to make a frontal run on a low curb at a high enough speed to rip into the oil pan and take out one of the engine mounts. No injuries to this or any other humans, nor any perceptible damage to the curb, but my insurance company decided that it was time to send my 15-year-old filly to pasture.

But, you ask, how does this apply to A/V gear. For starters, the latter tends to last a long time unless the winds blow, the ground shakes, a fire intrudes, or the crick rises.

SV Staff  |  Jan 26, 2021  |  0 comments
Polk Audio has launched its latest soundbar, the $249 React. The 2.0 model supports Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 virtual surround sound and, according to Polk Audio, is the most advanced Alexa-enabled sound bar available today. It can also be mated with the company’s React Sub ($199) and SR2 surround speakers ($199/pair) to create a full wireless surround system.
Chris Chiarella  |  Jan 22, 2021  |  1 comments
Picture (all)
Sound (all)
What a journey. Originally conceived as a simple sequel to his popular children's book, The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings grew to become the epitome of epic fantasy. Set in the far-off, long-ago realm of Middle-earth, it introduces the good-hearted, vertically-challenged Frodo Baggins (wide-eyed Elijah Wood), tasked with destroying a cursed ring in order to stop a great evil from conquering the world.
Bob Ankosko  |  Jan 21, 2021  |  0 comments
Once upon a time, CES was a huge show for audio but those days are long gone and showed no signs of returning in the virtual world that was CES 2021, with one possible exception: Wireless headphones, a category that has made incredible strides in just the past year or so. A number of companies — some familiar, many not-so-familiar — used the world-class venue as a showcase for new headphones you can buy now and models you can expect to see online and in stores in the coming months. Prominent among the new entries were earbuds and full-size headphones with active noise canceling and features designed to improve wireless performance and the sound quality of music and phone calls. Wired models, as you might expect, were few and far between. Here’s a look at what a few of the more familiar brands are bringing to market.