Thomas J. Norton

Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 26, 2020  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,200

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Solid performance
Flexible 4-,2-, or 3-channel setup
Five-year warranty
Minus
Intrusive rear-panel lighting

THE VERDICT
The Avalon G4 may be designed for upgrading systems to the new immersive audio formats, but it's also a fine performer that's flexible enough to satisfy other configurations.

Four may be an even number, but a four-channel amplifier like AudioControl's Avalon G4 might seem like an odd duck to some. With Dolby Atmos and other immersive audio formats becoming more common in the custom install market (where AudioControl, which manufactures products at its Seattle facility, has a heavy presence), however, upgrade-anxious customers will obviously need four additional amp channels to complement the company's existing 5- and 7-channel designs.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 25, 2020  |  13 comments
When I was a lad I served a turn as a Hi-Fi looker with no bucks to burn…

With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan, I’d venture that more than a few veteran audiophiles began that way. Back in the day every city of medium to large size had at least one hi-fi shop. Big cities had dozens....I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but by the mid ‘90s there were far fewer shops than before...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 12, 2020  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $2,995

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Natural dialogue Detailed without sounding aggressive Great Value
Minus
Limited deep bass

THE VERDICT
This Aperion Audio Novus system delivers great sound with music and, when combined with a good subwoofer or two, enough visceral thrills to keep up with the most sonically ambitious movie soundtracks.

Aperion Audio had a dilemma. Its flagship speaker line, the Aperion Verus III, costs considerably more than its entry level Intimus range, with the $2,500 flagship Verus III Grand tower selling for nearly three times the price of the $800/pair Intimus 5t tower. Both are bargains in high-end audio's accelerating race to the top, but buyers who might spend more than $800 aren't always keen about making a $2,500 commitment, not to mention the added outlay needed for a full home theater speaker setup. Enter the company's new Novus range, which at $1,400/pair for the Novus towers neatly splits the difference between the two existing ranges.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 11, 2020  |  6 comments
I first saw George Pal’s 1953 The War of the Worlds as an 11-year old. It terrified me, but I couldn’t look away. I wasn’t aware at the time that it was based on a book by H.G. Wells, a story that had earlier been adapted by Orson Welles into a 1938 radio drama. The latter had panicked hundreds of adults. Scared as I was in watching the film, I knew it was just a movie. A surprising number of those 1938 listeners thought the broadcast was real.

Both that 1938 broadcast and the 1953 film insured that alien invasions from outer space would become a staple of sci-fi films. Since then the Earth has been attacked from beyond dozens of times in movies, television shows, and even in a 1978 progressive rock album from Jeff Wayne. The results, depending on individual tastes, have ranged from stunning to silly.

But no serious film fan today can deny that the 1953 War of the Worlds is a cult classic...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 29, 2020  |  4 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,200

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Handles all HDR formats, including HDR10+
Exceptional performance
Affordable price
Minus
Limited off-center viewing
Poor remote control
Slow and cluttered Smart TV menu

THE VERDICT
Though saddled with a cluttered onscreen interface and less than ideal remote, the Vizio P-Series Quantum X's outstanding performance, particularly with HDR, more than compensates.

What would you pay for a 75-inch Ultra HDTV that's bright enough to handle virtually all high dynamic range programs without having to perform the tone mapping most 4K/HDR sets require? How about $4,000? If it was 2018, that would be a serious answer, but it's 2020 and we now have Vizio's 75-inch P-Series Quantum X, a model that claims to deliver uncompromised HDR performance for just $2,200. Does Vizio's flagship live up to the company's ambitious specs? Let's take a look.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 28, 2020  |  0 comments
In Choosing the Right Projector for a WOW! Experience, we compared the merits of big-screen TV vs. video projection and covered the ins and outs of selecting the perfect projector. Now it’s time to delve into what it takes to choose the perfect screen to go with your new projector.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 14, 2020  |  0 comments
CES 2020 is history. It might seem odd for me to comment here on an event I didn’t attend. But Sound & Vision editor Al Griffin, along with free-lancers, went and got the job done. Upwards of 185,000 dedicated souls registered for the event, including over 30,000 from points outside of North America. As far as I know it’s the biggest consumer technology show on the planet...
Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 23, 2019  |  0 comments
For those pining for Part 2 of my latest tome on projectors and screens, it will come soon enough. But posting it on Christmas Eve seemed like an invitation for me to plunge into the reindeer-and-chestnuts memory hole. With the biggest holiday of the year fast approaching as I write this (not counting Super Sunday), you'll likely be looking for relief from Uncle Harry's annual Christmas dinner ramblings: "when I was your age..." So fire up the old home theater and settle in for a movie or two — a movie about the holiday, on the holiday.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 20, 2019  |  0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
On her first day at pre-school, Bonnie, the kid who received Andy's toys at the end of Toy Story 3, makes (literally) a new friend out of a discarded spork. She calls him Forky and he soon becomes her favorite toy. But that's just the first act. On a road-trip with Bonnie's family, cowboy-toy Woody reunites with his old flame Bo Peep. Bo, now a "lost toy," has acquired the skills of an action hero—a sort of RamBoPeep.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Dec 10, 2019  |  1 comments
Ready to create a WOW! big-screen experience at home but not sure where to start? No worries, I’ll guide you through the process.

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