LATEST ADDITIONS

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SV Staff Posted: May 06, 2015 0 comments
D-Link DIR-890L/R Ultra Wi-Fi Router
No this is not a colorized, computer-enhanced photo of a suspected UFO flying near Roswell in the 1940s. The DIR-890L/R is one of four new Ultra Performance Series (IEEE 802.11ac) routers designed to support the “most bandwidth-demanding applications.” 4K streaming, anyone?
Rob Sabin Posted: May 06, 2015 0 comments
2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $7,199

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Stunning color
Gorgeously detailed 4K playback
A boatload of picture tweaks
Minus
Not quite plasma-like blacks and shadow detail
3D ghosting
The price

THE VERDICT
Panasonic’s statement Ultra HDTV sucks you in with its alluring image and doesn’t let go, but its high price is a deterrent.

When Panasonic left the plasma market in late 2013 to the whimpers of videophiles worldwide, the company committed to delivering an LED-backlit LCD that would rival the image of their best-ever TV—the ZT60 that was their plasma swan song. The first Panny Ultra HD LCD to follow, the edge-lit TC-65AX800U (reviewed January 2015, available at soundandvision.com), was a fine TV, though hardly a breakout set. But in late 2014, Panasonic rolled out their flagship AX900U series at 55 and 65 inches, the latter of which we now review here.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: May 05, 2015 2 comments
The history of audio and video, both in the movie theater and at home, has been a back and forth tug of war for decades. Stereo, for example, started in the theater and was only adapted to the home much later (a couple of decades later if you count Disney’s Fantasia as the multichannel theatrical milestone. But a small bump in the road they called World War II delayed the widespread theatrical adoption of multichannel audio, and therefore the impetus for home stereo, for years).

Digital projection also appeared first in the movie theater, followed soon afterword by affordable digital displays for the home. But as each trickle down from theater to home enhanced the home experience and therefore threatened the viability of movie houses, theaters and studios moved to counteract the threat. That gave us today’s enhanced (or at least louder!) multichannel surround theater sound, vibrating seats, widescreen films, high resolution digital projection, and last but least, 3D.

The best movie theaters are now equipped with every trick in the AV book...

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Al Griffin Posted: May 05, 2015 2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I’m considering buying a home where the builder has options for structured wiring. The markup on this option seems a little high (a few hundred dollars to go from 16-gauge to 12-gauge speaker wire, etc.). I know the best time to run wire is during the construction process, but what is the best way to accomplish it: builder, custom installer, or DIY? One major concern is that the exterior walls will have spray-foam insulation, so once that’s in, I’m thinking those walls are hands-off.—Mike Sellers / Tomball, TX

Leslie Shapiro Posted: May 04, 2015 0 comments
Travel companions really have to stand out if they’re going to make the final cut on my packing list. They have to be small, pack a punch, and be fun to have along. The Soen Audio Transit XS (MSRP $180) Bluetooth-enabled portable speaker was begging to come on my next trip—a weekend at the beach. Was this small Bluetooth speaker up for the challenge?

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: May 04, 2015 0 comments
Sonos is one hell of a system. I’ve tested a lot of the wireless, multi-room, streaming audio systems over the years—including some of the latest “high performance” systems—and Sonos has remained my go-to system. It’s not because Sonos is the best sounding wireless streaming system, although it certainly does sound good. I use Sonos speakers in rooms where music is secondary (or tertiary) to the main activity, such as in the bathroom or kitchen. In these rooms, ease-of-use, convenient form-factor, and reliability trump ultimate sound quality—and Sonos is tops in each of those categories. But that doesn’t mean Sonos can’t be improved upon. And that’s where Flexson comes in.
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Lauren Dragan Posted: May 01, 2015 0 comments
The weather is warmer, and you can’t wait to pull your trusty 2-wheeler out of the garage. Or maybe you’re a dedicated bike commuter, saving the planet and burning off your morning donut on the way to work. The thing is, unless you live the country life, it can be a real (urban) jungle out there. Dodging traffic, animals, and other cyclists can be a bit nerve wracking. And, sadly, hit and runs happen. More and more motorcyclists have started wearing rear-facing cameras on their bikes or helmets, so why shouldn’t the pedal pushers of the world have their own solution? Enter Fly6, a rear facing HD camera and bike light that not only sees, but helps you be seen. I took one for a spin, and came back convinced. Read on to find out why.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 01, 2015 0 comments
Doing its part to make sure you never have to be without object-based audio, Dolby is dropping its newest format, Dolby Atmos Mobile. Like Dolby Atmos for the home and for the cinema, this portable version aims to render a more detailed, more lifelike soundfield from specially mixed/encoded software. Unlike the previous versions, Dolby Atmos Mobile does not require a specially wired theater, or newfangled or additional loudspeakers. Instead, it’s designed to work with any headphones. The technology relies on Head-Related Transfer Functions, taking advantage of the fixed positions of the stereo drivers left and right as they expand the soundtrack’s spatial information. For this reason, a wired or Bluetooth speaker cannot reproduce the Atmos Mobile effect.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 01, 2015 1 comments
I recently spent a few weeks exhaustively reviewing five headphone DAC-amps. They included the Schiit Fulla ($79), AudioQuest DragonFly v1.2 ($149), Oppo HA-2 ($299), Celsus Companion One ($595), and Sony PHA-3 ($1,000). Of course anyone who buys one of these products will find that the listening experience depends heavily on the headphones used with it, and there's no predicting which headphones an individual buyer may use, so I chose a varied selection: the Oppo PM-2 ($699), Sennheiser HD600 ($400), and Sony MDR-V6 ($110). Then I had to choose the demo music. That was fun—anyone who says a job like mine isn't fun should find another job—but it took some care and forethought. Just as associated gear affects perception of an audio product, so too does the music.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: May 01, 2015 0 comments
Screen Innovation says its new Slate .8 projection screen features the company’s most versatile ambient-light-rejecting technology to date.

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