A/V VETERAN

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 18, 2017 4 comments
In two-channel stereo playback, you invariably get the best results with the speakers set up properly—in the same plane and generally between 6- and 10-feet apart. The listening seat is normally at least as far back as the speakers are apart, or somewhat more. They’re set up to fire either straight ahead or toed in—sometimes just a little, sometimes more.

These flexible parameters allow for a wide variation in setups, depending on the speakers themselves, their radiation patterns, the room, the positions of the speakers and the listening seat in the room and, of course, the listener’s preferences. But for a solitary listener there is one fixed goal: the seating position should be dead center between the left and right speakers. This is often referred to as the “money seat,” (ostensibly in honor of the assumed founder of the audio feast). That seat invariably offers the best stereo perspective.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 04, 2017 0 comments
In olden times, folks dressed up when they went to the movies. They often did so twice a week since there were no screens in their houses (television or computer) to keep them home. Radio was ubiquitous, but its pictures were hard to see. Those movie visits were almost invariably double features—two for the price of one. Usually, of course, it was a pairing such as an “A” picture like The Fountainhead and a throw-away “B” movie like Ma and Pa Kettle on the Farm.

Ma and Pa Kettle are now on the farm’s back 40, and few B pictures are made today (though some might argue that superhero films are B pictures with A budgets). Today, a visit to the multiplex is a one-shot affair. If two movies are playing that you want to see on the same day, you have to plan carefully to fit them in (and, of course, pay double). You also have to decide which to see first. That’s not a trivial consideration. Recently I was unable combine, on the same day, two movies I wanted to see. But perhaps that was for the best. For those like me, with a wide taste in movies, would you want to view Life (an obvious Alien knock off) before or after Beauty and the Beast?!

But with our home theaters and the selection of discs available we can now create our own double features. They can be related in some way, as in the photo—sometimes they’re sequels, or perhaps they have a common theme, like sports. But it’s more fun to link them up in less obvious or even bizarre ways…

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 21, 2017 3 comments
I was midway through a long delayed reorganization, riffling through piles of as yet to be filed home- and work-related stuff. As anyone can tell you, when you start to clear out documents and publications you haven’t seen in years you’re constantly tempted to stop and re-read much of it, which inevitably brings the entire process to a screeching halt.

Rather than keep entire audio-video magazines beyond about three years (the growth of the Internet is making even that a dubious practice), I tend to tear out articles that might be of value in the future. That was how I came across an article I hadn’t seen in 22 years. Titled “Subwoofer Secrets” (the inspiration for the name of this blog) and penned by the late Tom Nousaine, it had been published in the January 1995 issue of Stereo Review, the latter a distant godfather of Sound & Vision.

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Tom Norton Posted: Mar 08, 2017 0 comments
The glory days of the battleship USS Missouri (the actual ship is shown above) began in World War II, peaking on her deck in Tokyo Bay as the Japanese signed the surrender documents. It’s now a museum piece, but (according to this film, but far from reality) still fueled, armed, and ready to go with a skeleton crew at a moment’s notice.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 21, 2017 2 comments
Before the era of sound movies the frame rates for silent films varied considerably due to the hand-cranked cameras of the time. When picture and sound became the future of movies in the late 1920s, however, the industry settled on 24Hz (24 frames per second) for both production and display standards. But 24fps alone would have produced significant jitter. For acceptably smooth motion, each film frame was flashed on the screen twice, using a two-bladed shutter in the projector (or, more rarely, three times with a triple blade shutter). This rate was also chosen, rather than an even higher one, to keep film costs manageable.

Even though the digital bits that now convey our films from the studio to the screen are far cheaper than celluloid, 24fps still dominates the films we see in both the multiplex and at home. But occasional efforts have tried to break the mold...

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 07, 2017 2 comments
HDMI is about to get a major upgrade. Here's why you should care.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 24, 2017 5 comments
Surge protectors, and even UPSs (Uninterupptible Power Supplies), are a good idea, but they’re no panacea. Here's why...
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2017 0 comments
Now that I have your attention…CES 2017 is in the history books. While I haven't yet heard the final attendance, I'm certain that somewhere north of 150,000 people were jockeying for position when I visited the Las Vegas Convention Center, the heart of the event. It's also supplemented by several other venues, including the Venetian Hotel, traditionally the site of the specialty (i.e., high-end) audio exhibits.

The video high point of the big show for me was Sony's CLETIS (Crystal LED Integrated System)...

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2017 0 comments
Snuggled into a corner of a THX hospitality suite was this jumbo subwoofer, soon to be available as Outlaw Audio's flagship. The ported design employs a newly developed 13-inch driver and is said to extend to below 20Hz and meet all THX specifications. With a shipping weight of around 130 lbs, it's projected to sell for around $1,500, give or take.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2017 0 comments
Classé introduced its new two-channel Delta preamp ($9,000), Delta stereo amplifier ($10,000), and Delta monoblock amp ($9,000 each). The amps are rated at 250wpc/8 ohms for the stereo version and 300wpc/8 ohms for the monoblocks and said to remain in class A up to 25W. The preamp includes both analog and digital capabilities, together with available parametric equalization and tone/tilt controls.

On the home theater front, the new Rotel RAP-1580...

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2017 0 comments
Pro-ject is a big name in turntables, particularly turntables that are relatively affordable (as high-end turntables go). The VT-E BT ($499), however, just might be more of a conversation piece than a statement product. The photo here isn't misleading; the record actually sits vertically, with a clamp in place...
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2017 1 comments
If your taste runs to vinyl but even budget audiophile-grade turntables are priced beyond your means, Victrola has your number. For $200 this model can be yours. It's also available in other styles, but this one does the best visual imitation of a $1,000 audiophile design.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2017 1 comments
If your taste runs more to the all-in-one music system with a 30's vibe. This Victrola should do the trick, while leaving your friends slack-jawed at your "new" stereo.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 06, 2017 0 comments
When Sony showed something they called Crystal LED at a CES few years ago, we all thought it looked intriguing. But then it disappeared. Apparently, however, Sony has continued work on this technology...
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 06, 2017 0 comments
Chinese HDTV manufacturer Hisense showed a range of new UHD HDTVs. The company claims that it can offer performance that equals or exceeds what you can get from more well-established brands, and at much more competitive prices. But their most interesting demos were of a pair of their “Laser Cast” short-throw projectors...

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