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Steve Guttenberg Posted: Dec 16, 2014 0 comments

Build Quality
PRICE $499

Professional monitor sound, par excellence!
Extended high-frequency response
User-replaceable cable
No-frills design
Not as open sounding as open-back headphones

Sony’s MDR 7520 is something of an “anti-Beats” headphone that fashionistas will shun, but its real strength is its neutrality.

Just as I started working on this review, I met with Naotaka Tsunoda, one of the designers of the Sony MDR 7520, in NYC. This soft-spoken man is responsible for a number of Sony’s very best headphones including the legendary Qualia 010 ($2,400), a model that dates from 2004. That one had extraordinary high-frequency response, all the way up to 120 kilohertz, making it a good match for high-resolution audio.

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Brandon A. DuHamel Posted: Dec 16, 2014 0 comments
Helmed again by James Bobin, Muppets Most Wanted lets us know from the beginning that it won’t be quite as good as the last Muppets film. Of course, they do it Muppet-style, with a big musical number announcing, “We’re doing a sequel—and everybody knows that the sequel’s never quite as good.” Sure, Muppets Most Wanted is their eighth theatrical film, but who’s counting?
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Dec 16, 2014 2 comments
The plunging, fiery death of plasma TVs, the mind bendingly questionable benefits of curved TVs, the looks-awesome-up-close-and-personal 4K TVs, the ridiculously low prices on ridiculously big TVs, the intriguing new investments in quantum-dot TV manufacturing plants—the wide world of televisions is lively with fast and furious developments. But there is one development in particular that, I think, will overshadow all the others.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Dec 15, 2014 0 comments
A couple weeks ago we asked about your top AV gift pick for 2014 and learned that TV topped the list for four in ten of those polled. 4K/Ultra HD netted the most votes at 22 percent, followed by OLED with 15 percent and plain old 1080p LCD/LED at just 4 percent. AV receivers and headphones were the next most popular.

With Christmas less than 10 days away, we’re wondering if you’ve done the deed or if you’re holding out for “Super Saturday” deals. (Retailers have high hopes for the last Saturday before the holiday, especially given the lighter than expected turnout on Black Friday). So tell us, just how far along are you with your AV shopping? As always, we encourage you to share the good, bad, and the ugly of your shopping experiences in Comments.

Have You Finished Your AV Shopping?
All done. (Aren't you jealous?)
54% (59 votes)
Are you kidding? I’m hoping to get started this week.
19% (21 votes)
Get real. I’m planning to do my shopping this weekend.
9% (10 votes)
What’s the rush? I’m waiting ’til next week.
18% (20 votes)
Total votes: 110
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Lauren Dragan Posted: Dec 12, 2014 0 comments
Tolkien fans, fantasy nerds, and Jackson completists will be out in droves December 17th to witness the final chapter of the Hobbit series: The Battle of the Five Armies. Closing out Bilbo’s story as well as setting up Frodo’s Lord of the Rings is no easy task, and Peter Jackson manages to capture every moment of the battles described in Tolkien’s tome, and then some.
Rob Sabin Posted: Dec 11, 2014 3 comments
Home theater enthusiasts know that when it comes to performance there is no real substitute for an AV receiver connected to discrete speakers spread around the room. But soundbars, those popular standalone TV speaker systems, have been getting better and better with each passing year, and some very respectable options have been turning up in the premium category. Here’s our current list of the best you can buy, with recommendations under $500, from $500 to $1,000, and above $1,000. For the full review (where available), click on the title of each product. —Rob Sabin
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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 10, 2014 6 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I just moved into a new house. Because of the way my home theater room is configured, the distance between the surround sound receiver and HDTV is about 30-40 feet. How would you suggest I make this connection? What about wireless solutions? —Joe Feller

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Mike Mettler Posted: Dec 10, 2014 0 comments
When Mark Rivera isn’t splitting his time being Music Director for Ringo Starr or serving as a versatile multi-instrumentalist with Billy Joel (the latter for 32 years and counting), he’s doing what any good audiophile would — dropping the needle on some fine, fine wax. “The warmth of vinyl is like nothing else,” Rivera reports. “It really is. To me, it feels like it embraces you. It simply surrounds you.” Earlier this year, Rivera also found the time to put out his first solo album, Common Bond (Dynotone/Red River), and he’s patiently been overseeing having 1,000 copies of it pressed onto vinyl. “I couldn’t be more enthusiastic and more pleased about that,” he says. Here, Rivera, 62, and I talk about Common Bond‘s core production values, vintage gear and favorite LPs, and the ways music resonates over one’s lifetime. Ok, fine, we admit it — we just can’t get enough of that vinyl stuff.
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Michael Trei Posted: Dec 10, 2014 0 comments
It’s tough to be an audiophile these days. In the ongoing push by those pesky spouses and decorators to make our audio systems increasingly basic, simple, and invisible, some of us have felt the tug to hang our HDTVs on the wall and step down from a full-blown 5.1 surround sound home theater rig to a nice, slender soundbar. More often than not, that means having a subwoofer, typically supplied with the soundbar, just to fill in the bass, which inevitably goes missing during that slimming process. But, depending on how well the sub is integrated and its position in the room, that can often lead to other issues, including localization of deep male voices at the sub and possibly a gap in upper-bass frequency response that becomes most noticeable when playing music.
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Michael Trei Posted: Dec 10, 2014 0 comments

PRICE $500

Detailed, focused sound with tuneful bass
Excellent connectivity and feature set
Nice display
Can’t disable surround mode
Credit card remote

The SoundBase.670 proved itself a great all-rounder that’s at its best for movies and regular TV watching.

ZVOX created the TV soundbase category over a decade ago, but they’ve not been sitting on their heels for the last ten years. While other companies have only just jumped on the bandwagon with a soundbase of their own, ZVOX has continued to expand its offerings and up its game on sound quality and now has eight different soundbase models available.


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