LATEST ADDITIONS

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David Vaughn Posted: Feb 20, 2014 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Interactivity
It’s the summer of 1964 and Guy Patterson is back from the Army and working in his parents’ appliance store in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania. When the shop closes down for the night, Guy puts on his favorite jazz album and plays the drums to his heart’s content. Some old friends have started a band, and when their regular drummer breaks his arm, they come looking to Guy to fill in for a college talent show—which they win thanks to Guy’s decision to pick up the tempo in their breakout song. They end up getting a gig at a local pizza parlor and eventually catch the eye of a roving talent scout. Before they know it, their song is on the radio, they’re signed by Play-Tone records, and they’re off to California.

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Al Griffin Posted: Feb 20, 2014 4 comments
Q I recently learned that my television’s 120 Hz feature is global—when I turn it on, it remains on for all sources. I'm not a fan of this because I don't like seeing the “Soap Opera Effect” on TV and movie sources, though I do like it when playing videogames because the higher frame rate gives them a silky-smooth look. Here’s my question: Do you know of any TVs with a 120 Hz feature that can be turned on or off for specific inputs? —Ricky Meadows / via email
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Mike Mettler Posted: Feb 19, 2014 0 comments
Jack Robinson / Universal Music Archives

Performance
Sound

Pete Townshend was on a spiritual mission, determined to produce a rock opera that would reflect his own path to enlightenment. His band mates in The Who were initially wary, but once they understood the multifaceted story of a deaf, dumb, and blind kid who sure played a mean pinball, there was no turning back from climbing the mountain. The epic sprawl of 1969’s Tommy catapulted The Who forever into the rock ’n’ roll stratosphere. And now Tommy gets a fuller archival due on this four-disc 45th anniversary Super Deluxe box set, achieving yet another new-vibration milestone on Blu-ray. (More on that disc’s groundbreaking surround mix in a moment.)

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Feb 19, 2014 18 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Efficient D3 amplification
AirPlay and iOS savvy
Dynamic, smooth, clean sound
Minus
Labyrinthine ergonomics
No multichannel ins or outs

THE VERDICT
Pioneer is the only AVR maker replacing Class AB amps with Class D on a large scale, and the results are excellent.

Add a feature, drop a feature—usually, that’s how the story goes for a new AV receiver. But features aren’t the whole story, or even the part of the story most readers want to hear. We found that out when we ran a poll at our website SoundandVision.com asking, “What’s your AVR deal-breaker?” The top two complaints were “not enough power” at 35 percent and “ineffective room correction” at 21 percent. “Too few features” and “too many features” got just seven points each, and trendy features like AirPlay, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi scored in even lower single digits.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Feb 18, 2014 0 comments
I’m on a quest to find the best of the affordable smart home automation systems that are available (or will be shortly). The first couple of review samples have come in, and one of the primary aspects these two systems have in common is the impressive amount of engineering and design effort put into making installation and set up as easy as possible. That’s vitally important because for home automation to really get its foot in the door (so to speak) and appeal to more than just gadget-freaks like me, the system controllers need to be smart enough that the end user doesn’t have to commit an overwhelming amount of brainpower to the process of setting them up and getting them running. If the initial installation of a smart home automation controller is anything close to the pain involved in creating a bunch of macros in a programmable universal remote control, there’s going to be a lot of product returns from unhappy customers.

The first system to arrive was...

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Feb 18, 2014 2 comments
Is it just me, or is there something really weird about this video? I’ll invite you to watch it after the break, but meanwhile, at least IMHO, someone has gone off the rails here. Maybe it was a marketing big-wig at Sony’s HQ. Maybe it was just some regional manager. Or maybe the whole thing is a put-on, a spoof specifically designed to encourage suckers like me to recommend that you watch it. In any case, the video might go viral, but I’m pretty sure this marketing concept never will.

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John Sciacca Posted: Feb 18, 2014 1 comments
As a custom installer, I’m routinely asked, “What should I do with my old stuff?” It’s a great question, because with all the recent advancements and price drops in technology, lots of people are upgrading and ending up with older gear still in working order but with no idea what to do with it. If you find yourself in this predicament, here are some suggestions that I give to my clients.

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SV Staff Posted: Feb 16, 2014 0 comments
The results of last week’s survey are in. We asked how you are watching the 2014 Winter Olympics and just over half of you chose cable/satellite TV. Off-air antenna was the next closest choice with 19 percent of the vote, followed by DVR recordings and “other,” which netted 12 and 11 percent, respectively. We interpret “other” as meaning you are watching two or more ways—say, streaming and cable/satellite—which in hindsight probably should have been a choice. Remarkably, streaming via a smart TV got no votes. Here’s the complete breakdown…
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 14, 2014 5 comments
2D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $40,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Accurate color
Superb resolution
Near state-of-the-art black level and shadow detail
Huge, bright picture
Minus
Price

THE VERDICT
The UN85S9AF is a hyper-expensive flagship for Samsung, and more of a technology demonstration than a product for the masses. But the money, as they say in Hollywood, is up there on the screen to see.

I once joked about the humongous 100-inch-plus HDTVs many manufacturers trot out at trade shows, suggesting that the best way to get them into your house was to place the TV where you thought it should go on the slab of your house under construction, then build the house around it. Samsung’s new 85-inch (diagonal) Ultra HD isn’t that big, but it’s close.

Al Griffin Posted: Feb 14, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $249

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive sound quality for Bluetooth
Audiophile-friendly look
Pain-free setup
Minus
Pricey

THE VERDICT
It might not be high-rez or high end, but Mass Fidelity’s Bluetooth receiver is a great option for casual listening.

Bluetooth gets a bad rap in the hi-fi world, and for good reason: In contrast to other wireless audio technologies that let you stream uncompressed CD-quality audio from a PC or portable device, Bluetooth subjects the signal to lossy compression. If you’re an audiophile with a reputation to uphold, the story pretty much ends there.

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