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SV Staff Posted: Nov 13, 2014 201 comments
Register to win a pair of Vanatoo Transparent One Speakers (MSRP $499.00) we are giving away.

According to the company:

"The Vanatoo Transparent One powered speakers set a new price/performance benchmark in the audiophile world. They produce unexpectedly great sound quality (honest, tight bass down to 48Hz!) from small bookshelf speakers that give you a lot of flexibility in how you use them. They are equally at home as a desktop audio system, a music streaming solution for a room where you want music but not stacks of equipment, or as a compact system you take with you on your weekend getaways."

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post. Click on the picture above for details on how to enter.

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Lauren Dragan Posted: Nov 21, 2014 0 comments
I am not a luddite. I love buttons that make things happen. I love touch screens, I love customization, I love the newest thing. So it would only seem natural that I would love the newest addition to the Parrot family, the Zik 2.0 headphones. They are a tinkerer’s headphone. Touchpad earcups, customizable sound, active noise cancellation, Bluetooth… if there’s a headphone feature available, the Zik 2.0 have it. And yet, despite all of these wonderful features, I can’t recommend them. And it breaks my heart.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Nov 21, 2014 6 comments
This year’s CEDIA Expo in Denver could have been dubbed “Dolby Atmos Expo,” with no fewer than a dozen active demos at the show including Dolby’s own. It makes sense that CEDIA would be the Atmos coming-out party. As compelling as Atmos can be (check out Dan Kumin’s impressions of our first Atmos system), I’m of the mind that the customer shopping for a soundbar isn’t about to toss that idea in favor of a discrete component system just because he’s heard Atmos. On the other hand, custom integrators building media and theater rooms are in good position to bump what would have been a conventional 5.1-channel or 7.1-channel system to a 5.1.4- or 7.1.4-channel Atmos system. They, along with enthusiasts like you and me who map our own upgrade paths, will drive this market.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Nov 19, 2014 0 comments
The Amazon Echo is a voice-controlled bluetooth speaker with Siri-like abilities to answer questions, read the news, give a weather forecast and more. Here's a surprising hands-on account with the Echo.
Daniel Kumin Posted: Nov 19, 2014 1 comments
Dolby Atmos, the latest, “object-oriented” surround sound solution magicked up by the San Francisco technologists, has earned enough ink here and elsewhere that many of us are passingly familiar with it already. Briefly, then, object-oriented means that instead of panning discrete effects or overall mixes to left, center, right, or various surround channels, sound designers and producers can now direct sounds through a virtual listening space, letting the computer work out the details. Ultimately, of course, whether at the theater or at home, sounds still emanate from physical loudspeakers driven by physical amplifier channels, so there’s a certain amount of semantics at play here. But Atmos is scalable: A commercial theater can have as many as 64 discrete, individually addressable loudspeakers, including multiple “height” speakers in the ceiling.
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Chris Chiarella Posted: Nov 19, 2014 1 comments
Greg P. Russell is the sound rerecording mixer of Transformers: Age of Extinction, and all of the Transformers movies actually, representing three of his 16 Oscar nominations… and counting. Since this was not only his first Dolby Atmos mix but the very first Dolby Atmos Blu-ray ever, he graciously sat down to discuss his work with Sound & Vision.
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Daniel Kumin Posted: Nov 19, 2014 3 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Dolby Atmos surround
4K-ready/upscaling with HDMI 2.0
Nine channels of flexible power
Top-tier Audyssey room/speaker correction
Minus
No HDCP 2.2 for future UHD content
Fairly basic supplied remote
Some mode-selection options a bit cumbersome

THE VERDICT
Outstanding audio capabilities and thoughtful ergonomics underpin our first Dolby Atmos–capable A/V receiver.

It’s been several years since I’ve had the opportunity to “do” a big Denon A/V receiver. So when a sample arrived of the company’s behemoth AVR-X5200W, one of the very first receivers ready to decode and distribute Dolby Atmos in a home theater setting, I was ready to begin. Atmos is the San Franciscans’ latest, “object-based,” scalable-multichannel surround format.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Nov 19, 2014 0 comments
Picture
3D-ness
Sound
Extras
I guess people really like to watch robots breaking stuff. Transformers: Age of Extinction was another worldwide hit for the franchise, repeating more of the same paranoid nonsense (and lame dialogue and unfunny jokes) as its three predecessors. This time, a couple of suits decide they can build and control their own Transformers, using technology stolen from the evil Decepticons. How do you think that works out? The human ally this time is an underdog inventor (Mark Wahlberg) with a cutie-patootie daughter, in a mildly disturbing riff on Beauty and the Beast.
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Al Griffin Posted: Nov 19, 2014 5 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Some of my friends argue that spending extra money on Blu-ray Discs is unreasonable since DVDs offer almost equal picture quality for less money. Worldwide, DVDs sell much better than Blu-rays, which many people still consider to be a format for videophiles. Do you think it’s possible that DVDs will ever disappear from the market? —Tomek Ciecwierz, Warsaw, Poland

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Nov 18, 2014 4 comments
You remember Gravity, right? Outer space, pulverized space ships, Sandra Bullock floating weightlessly, heavy breathing—pretty good film from both a technical and narrative standpoint. You might already have a copy on Blu-ray. But I'd like to give you two reasons to consider buying it again. A new "Diamond Luxe Edition" Blu-ray due in February promises to be very interesting for both film aficionados and home-theater enthusiasts. Doubly interesting if you are both.

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