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Al Griffin  |  Jan 04, 2018  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I have my Pioneer Elite SC-LX901 AV receiver connected to a 7.1 speaker system. When I press the SURR button on the remote, the receiver’s front-panel display shows all 7.1 speakers lit up and ready for action, but no sound comes out of the two Surround Back speakers. Do you have to watch a disc with a 7.1-channel soundtrack to get 7.1-channel sound, or can my receiver upscale a 5.1 soundtrack to a 7.1 format? The SC-LX901 is a Dolby Atmos-capable receiver, so I’d expect it to upscale 5.1 soundtracks for 7.1 output.—B. Hinson

Al Griffin  |  Dec 28, 2017  |  10 comments
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Q I currently use a receiver for watching movies in 5.1 surround and for listening to stereo music. I’d like to expand my system with a dedicated stereo preamplifier and amplifier for music playback but have realized that I would need to switch the cables of my main left/right speakers from the receiver to the amplifier every time I changed over from movies to music. Is there some type of switchbox that would enable such a setup? If so, is there an audiophile-grade version that wouldn’t negatively affect the sound? One more question: Would I be able use my subwoofer with both configurations? —Raphaël Rainville / via e-mail

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  |  3 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  |  2 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  |  9 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

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