LATEST ADDITIONS

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Al Griffin Posted: Jul 03, 2014 5 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Are there any inexpensive options for converting LPs and cassette tapes to digital files on a laptop via USB? I know of several software programs (such as Audacity) that can capture and edit the audio files, but what about the hardware? I own quite a number of LPs and cassette tapes that I would like to archive, and I don’t want to have to buy a USB-equipped tape deck (provided there is such a thing) and turntable. Instead, I would prefer to connect my components directly to the converter or use my AV receiver’s record loop ouput. —Eric Tang / via email

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Daniel Kumin Posted: Jul 03, 2014 Published: Jul 02, 2014 5 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2-compliant
Solid amplifier performance
Fine Qdeo video processing on tap
Upgradeable for Dolby Atmos
Minus
Some menu layouts a bit unintuitive
Cramped, non-illuminated remote

THE VERDICT
Onkyo’s latest high-value offering arrives in an up-to-the-minute HDMI 2.0 flavor.

Want to know what next year’s $700 AV receivers will offer? Just take a look at this year’s $1,000 models. With every spring season, a whole new crop of receivers sprouts up, offering more for less. Competitive pressures and the relentless march of HDMI standards are the likely catalysts, but whatever the reasons, all the major brands roll out whole phalanxes of new AVRs. And with each iteration, last year’s step-up features seem to move one place lower on the price grid.

Mike Mettler Posted: Jul 03, 2014 0 comments
Performance
Sound
If you break down the elements of the word kaleidoscope, you find it’s derived from three Ancient Greek roots: kalos, which means beauty; eidos, the shape of what’s being seen; and skopeō, to look or examine. Put those branches together, and you get the 75 exultant minutes comprising Transatlantic’s fourth studio album, Kaleidoscope, a powerful collection of beautiful music that reflects the ever-evolving shape of the fused muse of its four creators. Transatlantic asserts a supreme progressive pedigree: keyboardist/vocalist Neal Morse, a solo artist formerly of Spock’s Beard who’s also now in Flying Colors; guitarist/vocalist Roine Stolt, leader of Swedish symphonic proggers The Flower Kings; bassist Peter Trewavas of British prog giants Marillion; and drummer/vocalist Mike Portnoy, formerly of Dream Theater and currently a member of a number of bands, including upstart classic rock trio The Winery Dogs and the aforementioned Flying Colors. No compositional slouches, they.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 03, 2014 5 comments
We now have an official definition of what is high-resolution audio. That's the good news. The bad news is that we don't have a clear enough definition of what is not high-resolution audio.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 02, 2014 0 comments
Headphones aren’t just about mobile audio. They’re also a cost-effective way to get good sound into your ears even when you’re not on the go. If you have $400 to spend on a set of speakers, your options are of limited fidelity, but the same money will buy you the Sennheiser HD600, one of the most popular high-end headphone models of all time. Try getting a comparably great-sounding set of surround speakers for that price.
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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

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,635

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

THE VERDICT
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.

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Anthony Chiarella Posted: Jul 01, 2014 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
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.
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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.....

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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...

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