LATEST ADDITIONS

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Mike Mettler Posted: May 28, 2015 0 comments
For musicians of a certain era, it was either The Beatles, Elvis, or the blues that inspired them to start making their own music. For singer/songwriter Joan Armatrading, all it took was the furniture in her house. “This is what I was born to do,” says Armatrading, who’s originally from Antigua. “My mother bought a piano and put it in the front room. She didn’t buy it because she thought somebody was going to play it; she bought it because it was a great piece of furniture. Literally on the day it arrived, I started writing songs.” To get a further, purer taste of her songwriting prowess, it’s worth checking out the two-disc Love and Affection: Joan Armatrading Classics (1975-1983) collection, mastered in 96/24 by Erick Labson, which showcases a key segment of her decade-plus run on A&M Records. The lost-in-scat-and-strings vibe of “Love and Affection,” the raw-nerve toucher “Down to Zero” (complete with wafty-cool pedal-steel support), and the ’80s-fueled fury of “(I Love It When You) Call Me Names” are all prime evidence that Armatrading has always been at the forefront of matching a songwriter’s emotional intent with a particular sound-quality standard, without compromise. During a recent tour stop in Chicago, I called Armatrading, 60, to discuss the nuances of her live show, her in-studio sound-quality inclinations, and her initial music-making inspirations. Everybody gotta know this feeling inside.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: May 28, 2015 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Here’s a truth-pill for all of you single folk out there: Sometimes marriage can really suck. Don’t take my word for it, though; instead, spend some time with the Dunnes, Nick and Amy (Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike). After a nigh-fairytale meeting and courtship, their seemingly idyllic life together develops cracks. The deterioration is expedited over the years by family troubles that lead to money troubles, and contempt and infidelity follow. For Amy, marriage is a daily humiliation. For Nick, it’s a trap, one from which he yearns to escape.
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Bob Ankosko Posted: May 28, 2015 3 comments
2015 is shaping up to be the Year of the Ultra HD as the balance begins to shift from everyday HDTVs to 4K/Ultra HDTVs with their higher-than-HD 3840x2160 pixel count. The latest projections from the Consumer Electronics Association show UHD shipments growing exponentially over the next few years, jumping from 1.3 million sets in 2014 to 4 million this year and tripling again to 13 million in 2017. Before long, UHD will become as commonplace as HD.
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Al Griffin Posted: May 28, 2015 4 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I want a great-sounding home theater system (preferably wireless) that won’t break the bank. I’m interested in the Sonos system (PLAYBAR, PLAY:1 rear speakers, and SUB). The only downside is that Sonos doesn’t support AirPlay—a deal-breaker for me since much of my music is on Apple devices (MacBook, iPad, and iPhone). Someone told me I don’t really need AirPlay to play my iTunes library through Sonos. Is that true?—Paul Fox

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John Sciacca Posted: May 27, 2015 4 comments
Telling time appears to an ancillary function of the Apple Watch but you'll be able to control your home.
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: May 26, 2015 2 comments
James Atkinson invented the "Little Nipper" mousetrap in 1897. Its familiar spring trap snaps shut in 1/38,000 of a second and is still the go-to method for addressing your rodent issues. Still, the trap's simple and efficient operation hasn't stopped other inventors from trying to build better mousetraps and patenting over 4,000 of them. All of which raises the question: can you invent a better Bluetooth speaker? Meet the Vamp.

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Al Griffin Posted: May 25, 2015 3 comments
Q I have a 7.1 setup and am interested in upgrading my receiver/processor to one that supports Dolby Atmos. My situation won’t allow me to easily run new wires. Is there a good wireless speaker option for adding channels from a receiver/processor? Or would I be better off trying to retrofit/hide new wire runs? —Mason Guy / via e-mail
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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: May 22, 2015 2 comments
I have seen Tomorrowland and I have some thoughts.

But, like I’ve mentioned before, I don’t want to spoil anything if you want to see it but don’t want to know anything about it beforehand (I’m like that too).

So, after the jump, a brief, spoiler-free overview of what I thought. Then the trailer. Then the more meaty review/discussion stuff.

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Al Griffin Posted: May 21, 2015 12 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I went to Best Buy looking for a TV with the highest possible refresh rate. (I like to watch sports.)

The salesperson there explained to me that buying a 240Hz TV would be a waste of money since there are no broadcasts with that frame rate—TV networks, cable, and satellite providers all transmit either 60Hz or 120Hz signals. He also said that if a set receives a signal that doesn’t match from its native refresh rate (240 Hz, for example), it can’t convert it. Was the salesman right, or I should follow through with my initial plan to buy a 240Hz set? —Nelson Aleman

David Vaughn Posted: May 21, 2015 33 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
11.1 channels with Audyssey MultEQ XT processing
Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D, and DTS:X surround
Full 4K video processing upgradable to HDCP 2.2
Minus
Limited range for remote sensor

THE VERDICT
Noticeably improved sound quality over its predecessor plus Atmos, Auro-3D, and DTS:X surround processing make the Marantz AV8802 a top-notch upgrade.

It’s been a little more than two years since I reviewed the Marantz AV8801 surround processor, and I liked that model so much, it never left my system. At the time, I thought it was the best-sounding pre/pro I had ever owned, and I had no real desire to upgrade anytime soon. That all changed last fall when Dolby announced that Atmos for the home was on its way. I started thinking how I could finagle four extra speakers into my room—because for some reason, I have this overwhelming desire to stay on the cutting edge of home theater technology, regardless of the personal expense.

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