Al Griffin

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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  |  2 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.
Al Griffin  |  Jan 11, 2019  |  0 comments
Elac’s new Carina series speakers are the first Andrew Jones-designed models from the company to incorporate an air-motion transformer (AMT) tweeter module—the same type seen in speakers from GoldenEar Technology, MartinLogan, and others.
Al Griffin  |  Jan 11, 2019  |  0 comments
Speaker and subwoofer-maker SVS took advantage of the low-intensity scene at the Venetian to make a low-key introduction of its new Prime Pinnacle tower speaker (shown at left).
Al Griffin  |  Jan 10, 2019  |  0 comments
NAD’s big CES 2019 news was the introduction of its new M10 Masters Series streaming amplifier.
Al Griffin  |  Jan 10, 2019  |  1 comments
Harman set up shop at CES in sprawling suite of ballrooms at the Hard Rock Hotel. Once I wandered past exhibits dedicated to connected automotive tech, cybersecurity, and a host of other things I had no idea the company was involved in, I landed in a cozy corner where JBL’s vintage-inspired speakers were on display. Ahhhh….
Al Griffin  |  Jan 10, 2019  |  0 comments
Dirac Research is at CES demonstrating its new Dirac Live Bass Management Module. The technology is sourced from the company’s Dirac Live room correction, which is currently available in select NAD A/V receivers and integrated amps.

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