Thomas J. Norton

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 15, 2019  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $6,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Exceptional flexibility
First-rate build quality
Superb sound
Minus
Complex ergonomics
Inadequate owner's manual

THE VERDICT
This NAD preamp-processor can accommodate nearly every system requirement and then some. While pricey, it's hard to imagine a better-sounding hub for your home theater.

NAD (New Acoustic Dimensions) gained considerable attention soon after its founding in 1972 by offering impressive sound quality at fair prices. Today, most of NAD's more affordable products still proudly bear the unique, workpants cosmetics of its early days. But that definitely doesn't apply to the upscale Masters series, which includes the M17 V2 surround preamp-processor. As with all current NAD products, the M17 V2 is manufactured in China but designed in Canada, where the company is headquartered.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 09, 2019  |  6 comments
I’ve long been a fan of the Titanic saga, well before the 1997 film. I loved that one, but mainly for the stunning effects and James Horner’s magnificent score, not the badly written soap opera that took up over half of its running time. This week it returned to my attention, partly because in a few days the 107th anniversary of the disaster will arrive (April 15, though no one typically commemorates such an odd number) and partly because last week I re-watched a story of the Titanic on Blu-ray as one of the sources I used for a product review.

The latter however, wasn’t James Cameron’s flawed but still compelling epic. Instead, Titanic: Blood & Steel is a 12-part mini-series, released in 2012 (the 100th anniversary of the sinking, about the building of the ship. It doesn’t address the sinking at all. In fact, it ends just as the ship steams out of Belfast, where she was built (A ship is always a she, and as the narrative makes clear, she’s a ship, not a boat!)

But there’s a lot more here as well...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 26, 2019  |  7 comments
Shortly after sending out formal press releases for its 2019 television and audio lineups earlier this month (the products were first shown at the 2019 CES in January), LG held a March 20th press event in New York to expand on the details. LG began by noting that of the 36+ million sets sold in the U.S. market alone in 2018, only 2.4 million were priced above $1,000. Also notable is that 36% of the TVs sold in the U.S. for more than $2,000 were 70-inches or above. Globally, however, large sizes aren’t as popular.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 15, 2019  |  0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Wreck It Ralph and his new BFF Vanellope have settled into a familiar routine—starring in their arcade games by day, playing other games after work, and hanging out later at Tapper's (root) beer joint. But Vanellope's Sugar Rush game breaks, and to find the part needed to fix it they sneak into a new WIFI portal at Game Central Station. It takes them to the totally unfamiliar world of the Internet, where chaos is inevitable given Ralph's natural talent for wrecking things.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 13, 2019  |  2 comments

Speakers
Performance
Build Quality
Value

Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $10,200 (as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Sweet, clean highs
Superb dialogue clarity
Detailed but not aggressive sound
Minus
Slightly limited treble diffusion
R3s make for pricey surrounds

THE VERDICT
With a sweet balance on music and potent, but not aggressive, manner with movies, KEF’s R-series system delivers all-around outstanding performance.

KEF'S R Series speakers have long occupied the middle range of the British manufacturer's offerings. While the previous R Series was starting to get a bit long in the tooth, I found the performance of those speakers to be superb, having reviewed the last generation R700 for Sound & Vision's sister publication Stereophile in 2014.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 12, 2019  |  4 comments
Maybe I’m just in a bad mood from having dental surgery yesterday, or maybe there’s something odd happening at Disney these days. But what, exactly, is going on with some of their Ultra HD Blu-ray soundtracks?
Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 26, 2019  |  13 comments
The recent decision by Samsung to cease selling Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray players (at least in the U.S.), reported elsewhere on this site, has been taken by many as foreshadowing the death of video on physical media. Add in Oppo’s cessation of player manufacturing last year, and the statistically significant falloff in disc sales (confirmed locally by a recent, dramatic reduction in the shelf space devoted to video discs at my nearest Best Buy), and, the news certainly isn’t encouraging.

But the imminent death of the disc isn’t yet in sight. The disc market is still profitable, and the studios haven’t yet slowed down churning out both new and older titles. Check out The Digital Bits website for their weekly lists of releases and then tell me that video discs are on life support. They may be limping, but as a wise man once said, “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.”

Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 12, 2019  |  0 comments
Whether you live in a McMansion, a hovel, or something in between, the most influential component in your audio or home theater system is the room. A look at how it affects performance and what you can do to ensure the best possible sound.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 31, 2019  |  5 comments

Premier 700F Speaker System
Performance
Build Quality
Value

Defiance X-12 subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $4,700 (as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Crisp detail
Big, powerful sound
Minus
Tower unstable on thick carpet
Poorly designed grilles

THE VERDICT
The Premier range is far from the most expensive in Paradigm's speaker lineup, but the performance and build quality that it offers lets it compete with speakers twice the price.

The other day a friend who's neither a videophile nor an audiophile dropped by my home to watch a movie. A pair of loudspeakers I had just finished reviewing for Stereophile, our sister publication, were sitting in a corner, waiting to be packed up. When I told him their price—$6,000/pair—he appeared shocked. Even Paradigm's affordable new 700F speakers, then as now serving as the left/right channels in my system, are pricier than he would like were he to invest in a system of his own (unlikely!).

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 29, 2019  |  0 comments
With apologies to Samsung and a few others who haven’t made the OLED plunge, and show no signs of doing so, OLED remains today’s hottest flat screen technology. But the battle continues as UHDTV manufacturers scramble to take the next big technological leap. That will likely be Micro LED...

Pages

X