Al Griffin

Al Griffin  |  Jan 07, 2021  |  7 comments
Sony today dropped news of its new 2021 Bravia XR TV lineup, with the announcements arriving days in advance of the company’s scheduled January 11 all-digital CES press conference. The new TVs comprise two series of 4K OLED models, along with 8K and 4K LCD sets.
Al Griffin  |  Jan 06, 2021  |  2 comments
The best thing I can say about 2020 is that it's over. You'd think a year that was challenging on so many fronts might result in a drought of interesting A/V gear, but that was not the case for 2020. Logistical issues slowed shipment of certain products, but most eventually arrived. When they did, Sound & Vision's reviewing team eagerly went to work.
Al Griffin  |  Dec 31, 2020  |  0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
"It's the getting started that's the puzzle—no way for a poor man to start. You need capital. Or you need some kind of miracle. Or a crime." These words, uttered by King-Lu, a Chinese immigrant seeking fortune in the mid-19th century Oregon Territory, set forth a series of events leading to a business selling baked goods to the hardscrabble inhabitants of Fort Tillicum. King-Lu's partner in the venture—which originates from a crime, as opposed to capital or a miracle—is Otis Figowitz, a mild-mannered cook also trying to carve out a future among the fort's traders and trappers.
Al Griffin  |  Dec 17, 2020  |  2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I have over 9,000 songs on a hard drive hooked to my computer. When I listen, I stream it over my home network to a Samsung TV connected to a Denon receiver. The audio is fine but the visual effect of browsing through folders on a 70-inch screen leaves much to be desired. Is there an inexpensive way to browse and play your stored digital music library in a home theater using a visual interface like Microsoft Groove Music? —Jay Sklaroff, via email

Al Griffin  |  Dec 08, 2020  |  0 comments
It’s hard to believe 40 years have passed since John Lennon was fatally shot outside his home on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on this very day. We’re marking the anniversary of Lennon’s untimely passing with a review of the new Gimme Some Truth: The Ultimate Mixes box set and Matt Hurwitz’s story on the production of tracks remixed in stereo, 5.1, and Dolby Atmos.
Al Griffin  |  Nov 25, 2020  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $4,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Bright, living room-friendly image
Packaged with easy to assemble screen
Plentiful picture adjustment options
Minus
Limited contrast and color space coverage
High fan noise in Normal Light Output mode
Basic remote control

THE VERDICT
With its powerful brightness and impressive overall picture, Epson's LS500 offers a compelling alternative to pricey oversize flat-panel TVs.

Remember the rear-projection TV (RPTV)? RPTVs were big, boxy contraptions housing a projector that beamed an image at the rear of a screen mounted on the set's front surface. While necessarily inelegant compared with the sleek flat-panel TVs that eventually replaced them, the RPTV in its heyday solved the problem of getting a big image—screen sizes topped out around 80-inches—without having to resort to a room-dominating two-piece system with a ceiling-mounted projector and separate screen.

Al Griffin  |  Nov 18, 2020  |  0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $3,800

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive looks and build quality
Plays loud effortlessly
Wide imaging capability
Minus
Requires careful amp-matching
Fussy about setup and placement

THE VERDICT
JBL's upscale-looking HDI-3600 tower speaker delivers effortless, fatigue-free sound.

When I first ran across JBL's HDI series loudspeakers at the 2019 CEDIA Expo, I was struck by the line's upscale looks and substantial build quality. The brand's new speakers seemed more akin to the Revel models also being shown in parent-company Harman's sprawling booth than the budget-priced JBL Stage series towers Sound & Vision had reviewed earlier that year.

Al Griffin  |  Nov 05, 2020  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I’ve always been interested in streaming high-resolution audio through my Denon AVR-4300H receiver, but don’t know if that’s possible. Although I mainly listen to music on Spotify and Pandora, I tried Tidal and Amazon Music HD but couldn’t figure out how to stream the tracks in high resolution. What options do I have, if any? —Mark Levesque, via email

Al Griffin  |  Oct 28, 2020  |  0 comments

Speakers
Performance
Build Quality
Value
Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $8,360 (as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Great overall sound with movies and music
Integrated Atmos Elevation speakers
Impressive clarity from center speaker
Minus
Pricey sub with limited features
Boxy design for Focal speakers

THE VERDICT
Focal's 5.1.4 Chora system delivers impressive performance for the price and is equally adept at movies and music.

Some may see France's Focal as a maker of $100,000-plus speakers and $4,000 headphones. But while the company does maintain a high profile in the high-end through products like its Utopia towers, the reality is that Focal makes speakers—and headphones—that cover a wide range of price points. It's been nearly ten years since Sound & Vision reviewed a full-scale Focal home theater speaker system—a $25,000 rig with beryllium tweeters. This time out we're looking at the company's affordable new Chora series, a lineup that notably includes speakers with upfiring drivers to handle Dolby Atmos and other immersive audio formats.

Al Griffin  |  Oct 22, 2020  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q My new Denon A/V receiver has an eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) HDMI connection, and my TV has a regular HDMI ARC connection. Here’s my question: Will the Denon A/V receiver be able to decode both Dolby Atmos/Dolby True HD and DTS:X/DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks that are routed to it from the TV’s HDMI ARC port, or do I need to connect sources such as an Ultra HD Blu-ray player and streaming box directly to the AVR to make that happen? —Andrew Last, via email

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