Al Griffin

Al Griffin  |  May 05, 2021  |  0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $3,195 (as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Crisp, near full-range performance
R900 module delivers immersive sound
Impressive build quality for price
Excellent value
Minus
Revealing sound can be slightly bright with some sources

THE VERDICT
Packed with tech developed for Polk Audio’s flagship Legend series, this Reserve series speaker package delivers dynamic and immersive sound at a budget-friendly price.

Back in 2019, Polk Audio rolled out its Legend series speakers. For a brand known to maintain a laser-like focus on value, the Legends, with their finely constructed cabinets (featuring real wood veneer) and fully redesigned driver complement, not to mention an enhanced version of the company's SDA (Stereo Dimensional Array) technology in the line's flagship L800 tower, seemed an atypically cost-no- object offering.

Al Griffin  |  Apr 22, 2021  |  0 comments
In a recent letter to the editor, reader Paul Brians makes the case that current home theater systems, including ones that use a 65-inch TV, offer a superior viewing experience in comparison with a typical movie theater. I’ll confess to having had that same thought many times, even as I continue to be a fan of theatrical venues such as the Cinerama in Seattle that Mr. Brians mentions.
Al Griffin  |  Apr 14, 2021  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $179

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Inexpensive
Compact form factor
Good extension and output
Minus
Limited features
No wireless option

THE VERDICT
There’s nothing fancy about OSD Audio’s Nero TubeBass 10, but if you’re looking to get decent bass performance in smaller-size room without a paying a premium, it’s well worth a listen.

As someone who appreciates the benefit deep bass brings to music and movie soundtracks, I've come to accept that having a box the size of a small refrigerator in my living room is a reality of life I need to contend with. That box, of course, is a subwoofer, and welcoming one into your space is the deal you must strike in order to get deep bass. Some cleverly engineered models use innovative DSP-driven solutions, along with serious amplifier power, to coax extended bass from compact boxes— certain subs we've reviewed from JL Audio and KEF come to mind. And while such models definitely make a better fit with non-mancave-like interior spaces, you'll pay handsomely for the tech wizardry that brings about the bass miniaturization.

Al Griffin  |  Apr 08, 2021  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I am planning an upgrade to Panasonic DP-UB9000 Ultra HD Blu-ray player. Can I can connect the player’s 7.1 analog output to my Yamaha AVR’s multichannel input (like I currently do with my Oppo player) and hear Atmos/DTS:X? —Rick Poage, Fairfax, VA

Al Griffin  |  Mar 25, 2021  |  2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Do the preamp outputs on A/V receivers work as well as those on a standalone preamp-processor? What functionality does one lose when using pre-outs on a receiver? —Ravinder Dhawan, Watchung, NJ

Al Griffin  |  Mar 11, 2021  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q How do you measure the brightness of a TV and convert that number to nits? —Gary Eickmeier, Lakeland, FL

Al Griffin  |  Mar 08, 2021  |  1 comments
Epson wants to protect you, the consumer, from misleading brightness claims in projector advertising. To that end, the company has reached an agreement with Philips and Screeneo Innovation that all future Philips NeoPix projectors designed, manufactured, and sold by Screeneo will use industry standard specifications (ISO 21118:2020) for brightness claims. The agreement is the latest chapter in Epson’s ongoing effort to cast light on deceptive advertising—a particular problem with cheap models sold on Amazon’s e-commerce site.
Al Griffin  |  Mar 03, 2021  |  5 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X processing
Dirac Live Full room correction
Fully backlit remote control
Minus
No Dolby Vision pass-through
Music streaming options limited to Bluetooth
Lacks setup and control app

THE VERDICT
Rotel's RSP-1576MKII lacks some features you'd expect to see on a surround sound preamp/processor circa-2021, but audiophile-grade sound quality and Dirac Live Full room correction help make up for any deficits.

Any new surround sound processor circa-2021 is bound to have a heap of demands placed upon it. Along with support for the latest immersive audio formats—Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, etc.—there's music streaming, Auto EQ/room correction, and HDMI video switching of the latest 4K/high dynamic range video formats. And because a surround sound processor serves as the main user interface in an A/V system, ergonomic considerations are paramount—how easy is it to switch between sources and tweak audio settings like surround, subwoofer, and center-channel levels on the fly?

Al Griffin  |  Feb 18, 2021  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q My LG V30 smartphone has a high-performance Quad-DAC audio system capable of decoding hi-res files encoded with MQA. I want to use the LG phone as a source to stream Masters-quality music from Tidal via Bluetooth (aptX HD) to my new NAD integrated amplifier. Will this work for MQA, or do I need an external digital-to-analog converter to “unfold” the MQA-encoded files? —Joel Johnson, via email

Al Griffin  |  Feb 10, 2021  |  0 comments
Home video streaming received a boost in 2020 for obvious reasons, while movie theater attendance took a dive for equally obvious reasons. But even with a massive paradigm shift in the way people experience movies and other forms of entertainment clearly taking place in real time, it still came as a shock when WarnerMedia announced in early December that its full slate of theatrical releases for 2021 would drop day and date on the company’s HBO Max streaming service.

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