Al Griffin

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Al Griffin  |  Apr 04, 2019  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q If I use an Apple TV 4K with an AV receiver, is it possible to route the surround sound to headphones? I ask because I’m viewing using a computer monitor and the only way I can get sound is through headphones. —H.G. Fernand, via email

Al Griffin  |  Apr 01, 2019  |  0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
It was a bold move for Luca Guadagnino, director of the 2018 Academy Award-nominated, Call Me by Your Name, to undertake a remake of Suspiria, the 1977 film from Italian horror auteur Dario Argento, as his next project. Buoyed no doubt by the critical acclaim Call Me by Your Name had received, Guadagnino, an avowed Argento fan, likely felt he could do Argento's cult classic justice.
Al Griffin  |  Mar 27, 2019  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,747 (as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Rich, dynamic sound
Easy setup and reliable wireless performance
Uses BluOS app for streaming
Minus
Utilitarian looks
Kinda pricey

THE VERDICT
DALI’s Callisto 6 C towers provide a reliable option for high-performance wireless hi-fi, as well as high-res multiroom streaming when paired with the BluOS NPM-1 module.

Active speakers that deliver sound via wireless connections have become a hot category in the hi-fi world. Sound & Vision has reviewed a wide range of them—everything from cheap, compact cylinders that sit on your kitchen counter and respond to voice commands, to more advanced systems designed to deliver stereo or 5.1 sound in a living room or home theater environment. The new Callisto line from Denmark's DALI (Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries) belongs to the latter category. You'll find no tiny drivers or molded plastic cabinets here, let alone a built-in intelligent assistant of the Google, Alexa, or Siri stripe. Instead, the Callistos merge the convenience of wireless audio with a traditional approach to high-end speaker design.

Al Griffin  |  Mar 21, 2019  |  3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Would audio upmixing solutions like Dolby Surround or Dolby Pro Logic IIz be able to convert stereo sound for a 5.1.2 speaker setup? —Osama Ashoor, via email

Al Griffin  |  Mar 06, 2019  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,300

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent sound quality
Strong feature set
Good ergonomics and control app
Minus
Pricey

THE VERDICT
Simaudio's Moon 390 is a high-res stream machine that combines high-end sound with an extensive feature set and solid ergonomics.

Canada's Simaudio has been designing and manufacturing audio electronic components from its home base in Quebec for almost four decades. While the company's product lineup clearly skews toward the high end—a pair of its flagship Moon 888 monoblock amplifiers will run you around $120,000—the company also makes a wide range of other components with more approachable price tags. A number of these, such as the Moon 390 preamplifier ($5,300) we have under review here, feature the MiND 2 streaming module, a built-in network player that lets you stream audio from services like Tidal, Qobuz, and Deezer, along with files stored on a NAS or USB drive or computer.

Al Griffin  |  Feb 01, 2019  |  0 comments
Need something to watch on that new 8K TV? (You have one of those, of course, don’t you?) Florian Friedrich, a developer who creates HDR mastering software and who has worked with video expert Joe Kane to develop UHDTV test content, has created a reformatted 8K version of the 8K footage NASA recently made available for download on its website.

It apparently was necessary for Friedrich to reformat the original NASA 8K footage because it wouldn’t play on the Samsung 8K TV that he initially tried it with. Why not? According to Friedrich, “The whole encoding was not optimized for playback with CE-devices: wrong video levels, incompatible MPEG profile, critical bitrate.”

Al Griffin  |  Jan 29, 2019  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Potent sound for the price
5.1.4 Atmos playback
Chromecast built-in for music streaming
Minus
No wireless surround speaker option
No DTS:X decoding

THE VERDICT
Vizio's 5.1.4 soundbar system delivers powerful, immersive sound plus Chromecast built-in streaming at a reasonable price.

Vizio's top-of-the-line Atmos soundbar comes with a cumbersome model number: SB46514-F6. Outside of that, this $1,000 Atmos system is a sleek, well-designed package that delivers surprisingly potent sound for the money. The addition of Chromecast built-in and Bluetooth streaming, along with Google Assistant compatibility, make it a compelling option for anyone seeking an all-in-one immersive audio solution to pair with their new TV.

Al Griffin  |  Jan 24, 2019  |  3 comments
Q I bought a Panasonic DP-UB820 Blu-ray player and a Sony XBR-X900F TV thanks in part to the reviews of both in Sound & Vision. Here’s my question: Should I use both of the DP-UB820’s HDMI outputs, one connected directly to the TV for video, and the second to my Anthem AVM 60 preamp/processor for audio? I’d think it would be best for the Panasonic to handle video processing before sending the signal to the TV, and that the Anthem simply decode the audio, but I’m wondering if there are disadvantages to this setup. —Greg Strzalka
Al Griffin  |  Jan 15, 2019  |  9 comments
Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $1,850/pair

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive dynamics
Extended bass for a compact speaker
Solid build quality
Minus
Finicky about setup and placement

THE VERDICT
The Totem Acoustic Sky delivers dynamic, exciting sound for a compact speaker, though it requires careful placement and equipment-matching for best results.

Compact “bookshelf” speakers have their advocates, but I'll admit up front that they've never been my bag. I guess you could say there's something about the stateliness of floorstanding towers that appeals to my personal taste. And then there's the problem of the shelf itself: every time I've tried to listen to compact speakers installed in a place where books would typically sit, I've been thoroughly unimpressed with the sound. Flat imaging, indistinct bass—to me, those are the hallmarks of shelved speakers. Not a problem for background music, but for critical listening, stands are a must.

Al Griffin  |  Jan 12, 2019  |  0 comments
GoldenEar Technology opted out of an active demo at CES 2019. Instead, company founder Sandy Gross could be found chilling in his suite on the 29th floor of the Venetian alongside his most recent creation, the Triton One.R.

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