Al Griffin

Al Griffin  |  Jan 07, 2020  |  2 comments
Sound & Vision’s earlier post on Hisense’s CES product lineup included detailed info on the company’s 65XD9G 65-inch 4K LCD TV. What’s most notable about that model, shown above, is a dual-cell design that uses a 2K black-and-white panel as a backlight for a 4K full-color LCD panel, effectively giving the display two million local dimming zones.
Al Griffin  |  Jan 03, 2020  |  0 comments
Now that 2019 is done, it's time to take stock of the year by reviewing the list of products that received Sound & Vision Top Pick awards. It's also time to single out some trends.

A key trend is that OLED and LCD TVs have become available in substantially larger screen sizes—the 70-plus-inch category is where the action is at for set makers. Not surprisingly, high-end models in general are also getting less pricey. While at $3,800 our 2019 TV Top Pick of the Year at isn't any cheaper than last year's winner, it's notable that the list includes a full-featured $1,000 LCD Ultra HDTV with a full-array LED backlight. Projectors, too, are part of the downward pricing spiral, with good-quality 4K-capable models now selling for under $1,500, and great ones selling for under $3,000.

Al Griffin  |  Dec 20, 2019  |  0 comments
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Q I just finished listening to the new Giles Martin remaster of The Beatles’ Abbey Road via a 24-bit/96kHz stream from Qobuz. For the first few tracks I felt like I was listening to the original album, but on a much better stereo system. Then the bad news came when I got to the medley on “side two” starting with “You Never Give Me Your Money.” Instead of a seamless flow between songs, I heard distinct gaps between the tracks. It really ruined the experience. Why can’t streams of album tracks that are supposed to segue do so without annoying, and at times jarring, gaps in the sound? There are lots of iconic recordings with the same issue. —Thomas E. Moore, Fairfax, VA

Al Griffin  |  Dec 05, 2019  |  2 comments
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Q I use an Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player and an Apple TV as sources, with the signals fed through a Marantz SR7011 AV receiver to an Epson Home Cinema 5050UB projector. From what I understand, the player, projector and receiver can all upconvert standard- and high-def signals to 4K. Which one should I let do the upconversion? —Michael Antoniello, via email

Al Griffin  |  Nov 29, 2019  |  0 comments
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Extras
Ari Aster's second feature—the first was 2018's thoroughly unnerving Hereditary—continues the director's preoccupation with family as a wellspring of horror. This time around, horrific familial events occur in the film's first fifteen minutes, and the main protagonist, college student Dani, ends up trailing her ambivalent, unsupportive boyfriend to a rural community in Sweden that's in the midst of celebrating Midsommar, a festival occurring only once every ninety years.
Al Griffin  |  Nov 21, 2019  |  2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I am considering replacing an old, dumb 42-inch LCD TV located in a small room. The screen size will be limited to 50 inches and viewing distance will be around 8 feet. Will I see any benefit from the higher resolution given the screen size limitation? —Alan Washington, via email

Al Griffin  |  Nov 20, 2019  |  6 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $6,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Clean, dynamic sound
Tank-like build quality
Ample power
Minus
Pricey
Streaming requires wired network connection
Unintuitive setup menu

THE VERDICT
With its extremely solid build quality, future-proof feature set, and excellent sound, Hegel's H390 could be the last integrated amp you'll ever need.

Hegel Music Systems is a Norwegian audio electronics manufacturer that has been slowly and steadily making a mark on the high-end audio world since it started out in the early 1990s. One thing that distinguishes Hegel from other audio companies is its portfolio of proprietary technologies that were developed in-house by founder and chief designer Bent Holter.

Al Griffin  |  Nov 14, 2019  |  0 comments
Depending on how you look at it, the arrival of Apple TV+, Disney+, and other streaming options — some still on the horizon — is either a glut or an embarrassment of riches.
Al Griffin  |  Oct 25, 2019  |  0 comments
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Sound
Extras
"The avant-garde art of the past becomes the wallpaper of the future." This statement, from a new introduction by Francis Ford Coppola contained on the Apocalypse Now Final Cut Ultra HD Blu-ray release, ultimately explains the acclaimed director's motivation to revisit his Vietnam War epic, ranked number 30 on the American Film Institute's 2007 list of the 100 Greatest American Films, and create yet another cut after already having done so in 2001 for Apocalypse Now: Redux.
Al Griffin  |  Oct 24, 2019  |  17 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

If I subscribe to Tidal Hi-Fi should I bother with 24-bit/192-kHz playback or is 24/96 all I need?

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