Q Sony recently announced a firmware update that adds Dolby Vision support for my TV, the XBR-65Z9D. Here’s my question: Will my Pioneer Elite SC-LX901 receiver be able to pass signals from Dolby Vision discs played on Ultra HD Blu-ray players that support Dolby Vision? The SC-LX901 is equipped with HDMI version 2.0a connections, so I’m assuming it should have no problem. —Cesar Sanchez
Dôme Flax 5.1 Speaker System Performance Build Quality Value
Sub Air Subwoofer Performance Features Ergonomics Value
AT A GLANCE Plus
Flax cone woofer
Aluminum-magnesium inverted-dome tweeter
Limited bass from sats
Unique driver materials, overall quality of construction, and adroit voicing make the Focal Dôme Flax 5.1 one of the best-sounding compact sat/sub systems I’ve heard.
As the home theater milieu increasingly divides into Atmos and non-Atmos camps, the satellite/subwoofer category seems destined to remain part of the old guard, usually sold in a set of five little speakers and a sub or two. Is it possible for a satellite speaker to retain its merciful compactness if it’s also to include an Atmos-enabled upfiring driver? I’d love to review such a product, but right now it’s a figment of my imagination and hopes. Focal, the prodigious French speaker manufacturer, does now offer a 5.1.2-channel Atmos-capable sat/sub system that takes a different approach (see below), but you’ll be happy to know that plain ol’ 5.1 is still alive and supported by this and other fine speaker makers. Even now it remains the bedrock configuration of surround sound.
AT A GLANCE Plus
Pristine audio plus 4K passthrough video
Clean, simple, eminently usable design
DTS Play-Fi streaming/multiroom wireless
Lacks Bluetooth, USB playback
No legacy video connections or scaling
The AVM 60 has everything you want in an A/V preamp/processor—and less. The stuff that Anthem has left off their more affordable pre/pro model contributes to simplicity and usability, and most buyers will end up thanking them in the long run.
For much of the home theater epoch, system builders who (for whatever reasons) have favored a separates-based system— built around an A/V preamplifier/processor and a suitable amplifier or amps—and have preferred such a system over the more usual A/V receiver approach have had, in essence, two choices. They could select one of a few very expensive, esoteric, high-end American or European designs, with the knowledge that they would probably lag a generation or two behind in HDMI version and latest-greatest surround and video processing. Or they could select a latest-model Japanese offering—recently, this has meant, effect-ively, Integra/Onkyo, Marantz, or Yamaha—and get more up-tothe-minute tech and more digestible pricing, at a certain cost in audiophile street-cred and (perhaps, depending on your belief system) sonic refinement.
It surprises me how often people come into my showroom looking to improve their TV audio with still no idea how a surround system works or what it entails. Just last week, a 20-something came in saying he wanted a wireless audio system by a specific brand that he’d heard was the best. I talked to him for a few minutes, querying him on what he wanted the wireless audio system for and what his room layout was like, and it turned out that he was looking for a dedicated home theater system in the $15,000-to-
$20,000 range but thought a wireless soundbar was the best place to start. I’ll be honest; I died a little inside.
Soundcast VG1 Waterproof Speaker
If you’re looking for a speaker you can use near water—in the bathroom, by the pool—why mess around? The IP67-rated VG1 is waterproof, not just “water-resistant,” meaning it has withstood testing to ensure it’s impervious to dust and submersible in 3 feet of water.
Take It Anywhere: Described as a perfect travel companion, the speaker teams a pair
of 2-inch aluminum-cone drivers with
a rear-firing bass radiator and is designed to keep an impromptu party going for up to 15 hours when its battery is fully charged. The VG1 supports Bluetooth streaming via aptX and AAC codecs, or you can use its minijack for a hard-wire hookup. It also has a built-in microphone and is compatible with Siri for hands-free control. Two VG1s can be connected for a wireless stereo experience. Price: $150
Soundcast • (619) 591-0126 • gosoundcast.com