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Daniel Kumin Posted: Aug 14, 2014 7 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
PRICE $1,199

Ready for UHD with HDMI 2.0
Refined amplifiers headline strong sonics
Outstanding multiroom abilities, including dual HD-on-HDMI programs
Dolby Atmos capability
Proprietary auto-EQ had much subtler effect than previous-gen’s Audyssey

Onkyo’s usual benchmark audio and video get incremental upgrades, plus new features that include future-proofing HDMI 2.0 and Dolby Atmos.

Onkyo may or may not be the actual market leader in audio/video receivers, measured by unit sales, dollars, or any other B-school metric you care to name. But I’m fairly certain that, year in, year out, they produce more new AVR models combining performance, value, and innovation than anyone else. The TX-NR838 is a suitable example. On the face of things, the receiver seems identical to last year’s TX-NR828, which it replaces: unchanged power ratings, same basic specs, nearly identical quantities of inputs and outputs (this year’s version drops the composite count by one and kicks S-video to the curb altogether), and largely untouched cosmetics and user interface. But look a bit closer, and distinctions begin to come to light.

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Al Griffin Posted: Aug 14, 2014 2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q: I have a Yamaha 7.1-channel AV receiver in my system that’s set up to power a 5.1 speaker system. Very seldom do I hear sound coming out of my surround speakers when watching movies on Blu-ray, though I do occasionally hear sounds like thunder. I have even boosted the output of the surround channels relative to the fronts, and it doesn’t make a difference. What’s going on?—Chuck Schumm / via e-mail

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 13, 2014 5 comments
Pioneer's speaker guru Andrew Jones conducting one of the first Dolby Atmos demos in Los Angeles.

Things are moving fast on the Dolby Atmos front. Here's an in-depth look at Dolby Atmos—what it is and how it works—as well as my first impressions of recent demos conducted by Pioneer and Dolby Labs.

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SV Staff Posted: Aug 13, 2014 8 comments
LG announced plans to launch its next-generation 55-inch OLED TV in late August.
Mike Mettler Posted: Aug 13, 2014 1 comments
“The best way to listen to Led Zeppelin is off of the analog tapes, but unfortunately, I can’t invite you around to listen to them.” That’s Jimmy Page, answering my question about whether vinyl is still the benchmark for experiencing Led Zeppelin music at a press conference following a listening event he hosted in New York City back in May. But now that Page has personally remastered all nine of Zep’s formidable studio albums in 96-kHz/24-bit, high-resolution digital audio appears to be the ideal format for hearing every detail and nuance put forth from the collective hammer of the gods.
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Anthony Chiarella Posted: Aug 13, 2014 0 comments
Increasingly depressed and agoraphobic since her divorce, Adele (Kate Winslet) relies upon her doting son, Henry (Gattlin Griffith). At the start of the 1987 Labor Day weekend, mother and son are confronted by escaped convict Frank (Josh Brolin), who demands their assistance in eluding the authorities. Over the next few days, Frank’s kindness and innocence are manifest, and the trio has become a family—almost. Confused by conflicting emotions and threatened with the prospect of a competitor for his mother’s love, the awkward adolescent facilitates Frank’s capture. Adele has loved and lost again. Or has she?
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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Aug 12, 2014 2 comments
You probably read about it in the news. Some filmmakers were making a documentary on the history of Atari, and they became intrigued by an urban legend of lost video games. To solve the mystery, they brought in heavy equipment and dug into a concrete-covered grave.
Bob Ankosko Posted: Aug 11, 2014 3 comments
In preparation for the launch of the first wave of Dolby Atmos-enabled products, Dolby is conducting press demos in New York and Los Angeles this week. Stay tuned for our reports later in the week. In the meantime, we touched base with Brett Crockett, director of sound research at Dolby Labs, to learn more about Atmos and its promise of taking home theater to new heights.

S&V: Why does the world need another surround format? What does Atmos bring to the home theater experience?
Brett Crockett: Dolby Atmos moves beyond the paradigm of channel-based audio, which has gone as far as it can in the home. Captivating sound surrounds you from all directions, including overhead, filling the room with astonishing clarity, richness, detail, and depth. The specific sounds of people, music, and things move all around you in multidimensional space, so you feel like you are inside the action.

S&V: How does the “object-based” Atmos system compare with the familiar channel-based system?
BC: Until now, cinema sound designers have had to mix independent sounds together into channels for soundtrack creation. A discrete sound, such as a helicopter, has been assigned to an individual channel rather than precisely to where it would occur naturally in the scene. While a sound can move across channels, there’s no height dimension. For example, you might hear the helicopter from a side channel (and speaker array) but not above you. This approach limits your audio experience because it can’t come close to matching the way you hear in real life, with sounds coming from every direction.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Aug 11, 2014 0 comments
Just when I thought the wireless Bluetooth speaker market had finally run out of new ideas, bēm wireless announces the Speaker Mojo, a 2.5” speaker cube with a nifty charging base. Sure, there are tons of other portable speakers, but the Speaker Mojo features a wireless conductive charging base that houses a 1800-mAh power bank to charge not only the speaker, but also whatever else might need a boost via its USB power port. Neato. Gotta love a device that can multi-task.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Aug 08, 2014 1 comments
A few weeks ago I told you about Star Citizen, and mentioned this, the other huge, open-universe, space sim that was crowd funded and looking to take all of your time and monies.

While both games have some impressive (and ancient) pedigree, and cover similar topics… and genres… and play mechanics…

OK, on paper they’re the same game. But so far they’re shaping up to be rather different. Also, Elite’s current beta form actually has a fair amount of playable game in it, a good year (decade?) before Star Citizen does.

Let’s have a look.


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