Filed under
Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 02, 2014 0 comments
Hi-Res Audio and Headphones Go Hand in Hand

Only the eldest among Sound & Vision readers would know that the use of the term high-performance to define a better class of headphones is a relatively new development. Back in the day, high performance headphones were the only kind you could buy. Classics like the Koss Pro4AA (born in 1970 and still available in a slightly revised form for $99) and the Sennheiser HD414 (pictured here) were the first crossover ’phones that found popularity with both engineers and consumers. They brought a new kind of private and intimate listening experience to ’70s and ’80s audiophiles.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jul 01, 2014 32 comments

PRICE $5,635

Quietest PC I’ve ever used
Impeccable build quality
High-end A/V gear gorgeous looks
Incredibly expensive
Still a PC, which scares some people

A stunningly silent, built-like-a-tank, ultimate HTPC.

I am a vocal supporter of the home theater PC, a computer that lives in your home theater or media room. While not for everyone, HTPCs offer an incredible access to content for your enjoyment. This includes games, of course, but also media streaming, Web pages, and personal video/audio libraries. Sure, you can get most of that through other devices, but often not as easily or well.

Filed under
Anthony Chiarella Posted: Jul 01, 2014 0 comments
Perhaps America’s greatest working filmmaker, Martin Scorsese continues to refine his stream-of-consciousness directorial style, a motif that reached its zenith in 1990’s Goodfellas. His latest film, which chronicles the rise and fall of stock shark Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), might lack the depth and poignancy of Scorsese’s gangster classic, but it takes his staccato storytelling techniques to an even higher level of commercial appeal. Starring in his fifth Scorsese film, DiCaprio interprets the larger-than-life Belfort with essential hubris, though his portrayal sometimes strays into heavy-handedness. Not so Jonah Hill, who, as DiCaprio’s lieutenant, delivers the best performance of his meteoric career, not to mention this movie. (Both DiCaprio and Hill were nominated for Oscars.) Matthew McConaughey and Rob Reiner conjure delightful caricatures in their supporting roles, endowing Wolf with the dimensionality that has become a Scorsese trademark.
Filed under
Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jul 01, 2014 6 comments
As you probably know, the Supreme Court took a dim view of Aereo, and ruled that its activities were illegal because Aereo violated broadcasters’ copyrights. In response, Aereo pulled the plug. Literally. Within hours, it notified its subscribers that the jig was up, and that it was shutting down. Signals went dark, and remaining subscriptions will be refunded. R.I.P. Aereo. But wait a minute.....

Filed under
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jun 30, 2014 1 comments
The future of home automation, the so-called “smart home”, is so bright, you’re going to have to wear shades—you’re BS shades, that is. If you believe the seriously over-heated hype, the new smart home hubs and home automation systems will save you money, keep you safe, make your life more convenient, improve your love life, grow hair where you want it (and keep it from growing where you don’t), and promote peace and harmony (the noun, not the remote control company) around the world. The enthusiasm is genuinely infectious, and I have to remind myself every now and then that the promised techno-utopia and the eventual techno-reality are often quite disparate. But dreams of a better smart home future give us something to strive for, and that Jetsons-like journey begins with small steps. Buying one of the new smart home hubs and installing a couple of sensors and devices, however, may be a bigger step than you’re ready for. What happens if you’re interested in home automation, but all you’re comfortable with now is sticking your big toe over the starting line...
Filed under
SV Staff Posted: Jun 30, 2014 6 comments
Last week’s announcements from Onkyo, Pioneer, and others that the Dolby Atmos surround-sound format used in a growing number of movie theaters is making its way to home gear has created quite a buzz. While it’s still early days, the format appears to hold great promise for taking the home theater experience to new heights. Editor Rob Sabin referred to Atmos as “probably the most discernable advance in home theater sound since the introduction of lossless digital audio in the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats on Blu-ray.” (See his first impressions and our news coverage here.)

Are you ready for the next generation of technology and, if so, would you upgrade your home theater to Dolby Atmos? Cast your vote and leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Would You Upgrade to Dolby Atmos Surround?
Yes, with the new Atmos-enabled speakers that reflect sound off the ceiling
6% (57 votes)
Yes, but only with properly installed ceiling speakers
20% (185 votes)
Maybe, but I’ll wait to hear a demo and read the expert and user reviews
30% (281 votes)
I’d spend the money if there was enough Atmos-encoded software to make it worthwhile
12% (110 votes)
No, it costs too much to add the extra speakers and amp channels
12% (110 votes)
No, installing new/extra speakers and amp channels is too much of a hassle
20% (184 votes)
Total votes: 927
Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 27, 2014 Published: Jun 28, 2014 13 comments
The Dolby Atmos surround-sound format for home theaters made its debut this week with product announcements from several manufacturers and live demos in New York City at the Consumer Electronics Association's CE Week trade show. The technology that Dolby first introduced to theaters in 2012 offers the potential for a far more immersive audio experience than the traditional 5.1- and 7.1-channel systems that are still mostly employed today, and having experienced Atmos in the cinema, I admit I was pretty pumped heading into the demos.

And I wasn't let down. Atmos in the home environment seems to work—surprisingly well, in fact. Caveats? Yeah, there are a few worth watching out for that I'll get to later. But overall, I'll go on record that this is probably the most discernable advance in home theater sound since the introduction of lossless digital audio in the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats on Blu-ray. And it's one that leaves all the pre-existing height- and width-channel surround formats— including Dolby Pro Logic IIz and DTS Neo:X—in the dust. Finally, this may be one that will truly make it worth the trouble of adding those extra speakers. Maybe...

Filed under
Steve Guttenberg Posted: Jun 27, 2014 1 comments
Your ears have never had it so good. From entry-level ‘buds to the state of the art, the sound quality of headphones has radically improved in recent years. Choices abound: in-, on-, or over-the-ear ’phones; open- or closed-back; noise-canceling or noise-isolating. And they all sound and feel very different from each other. Which one’s right for you? Unlike other types of audio gear, headphones are worn, so their comfort and build quality and durability are major considerations. Faced with so many options, picking the right model can be a little daunting, but I’m here to help clarify which one will best titillate your eardrums. Let’s get to it.
Filed under
SV Staff Posted: Jun 27, 2014 0 comments
Pioneer showthcased Dolby Atmos-enabled Elite Series receivers and speakers at the CE Week trade show held in New York City.
Filed under
Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jun 27, 2014 1 comments
Instead of paying for a movie based on its resolution or picture quality, how would you like to pay based on your screen size?

This is what Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg wants you to do.

Of all the bone headed…


Enter your Sound & Vision username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.