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Anthony Chiarella Posted: Feb 26, 2015 0 comments
Post-war Belleville, New Jersey—an impoverished suburb of the impoverished city of Newark—offered few opportunities for upward mobility. The hottest tickets to the middle class were joining the army or joining the mob—either of which could get one killed—or becoming an entertainer. Francis Castelluccio (John Lloyd Young) and his friends were fortunate and talented enough to choose the latter. Adapted from the wildly successful Broadway play, Jersey Boys is the mildly embellished story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the most popular rock group until The Beatles, who thrived despite the personal tragedies, prison sentences, and personal excesses that attended stardom. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t translate well to the big screen. The carefully calculated dramatic scale that works so well as a stage play is disproportionate here, as both dialogue (especially the jokes) and acting seem bloated and forced.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 26, 2015 1 comments
I lived in the Los Angeles area on two occasions prior to the most recent 14.5 years, each time long enough for me to recognize the superiority of its best movie houses. When I moved from Los Angeles to Santa Fe in 1990 to work for Stereophile, I often vacationed back in LA just to see movies there. Santa Fe’s theaters at the time were depressing at best, and nearby Albuquerque wasn’t much better. In a week in LA I might see 7-8 movies (on one occasion I recall seeing 10!), enough to satisfy my appetite for at least a few months.

These trips continued, and even escalated to twice a year after I began supplementing my writing for Stereophile with major work on the Stereophile Guide to Home Theater...

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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Feb 25, 2015 0 comments
In the last 15 months since Comcast launched its Xfinity TV Go app, the cable company has doubled its initial offering of streaming live TV channels.
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Mike Mettler Posted: Feb 25, 2015 0 comments
Being appointed one of the queens of the alternative music scene was never one of Juliana Hatfield’s goals. But there she was, right in the thick of the then-burgeoning movement — first in the alt-rock trio Blake Babies, then as a titular solo artist known for meshing expressive vocals with intrinsically catchy melodies fueled by a combo punk-and-pop sensibility. “I was very moved by melody and harmony from a very early age,” Hatfield says. “It affected me very powerfully.” She recently reunited with her Juliana Hatfield Three compatriots, bassist Dean Fisher and drummer Todd Phillips, for the uber-catchy Whatever, My Love (American Laundromat Records), a 40-minute ride through Hatfield’s world of melodic, introspective angst, from the acoustic lament of being “Invisible” to the moth/flame dance of “Push Pin” to the odd-meter frustration of “Wood” (the latter of which features a cool, feedback-laden outro guitar loop). Hatfield, 47, and I got on the horn to discuss her vocal techniques and recording goals, her natural sense of melody, and her ongoing struggles with communication. Whatever and ever, amen.
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Fred Manteghian Posted: Feb 25, 2015 0 comments

Build Quality
PRICE $499

Very musical
Great resolution
Tank build quality
Needs more than an iPhone to drive good volume

The non-fatiguing sound of the HiFiMan HE-400i will have you falling in love with your music all over again.

Every time I visit my buddy Lou and listen to my old 6-foot-tall Magnepan MG IIIa speakers, I ask myself why I ever sold them to him. How excited am I that similar planar magnetic technology is now available in headphone form? Granted, higher-end Magnepans like my, I mean his, IIIa speakers use dedicated ribbon tweeters to help achieve their magical sound. And with dipole planar speakers like the Magnepans, proper positioning in the room can make the difference between no bass and some of the best bass you’ve ever heard. There’s only so much you can do when the room is effectively strapped to your head!

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Feb 24, 2015 5 comments
"I think we should just be friends."
"You're going to make someone really happy someday."
"We should start seeing other people."
"It's not you, it's me."

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Feb 24, 2015 2 comments
GoldenEar's latest speaker, a wireless video transmission system, Panasonic's THX-certified 65-inch Ultra HDTV with full array LED backlighting, and more.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Feb 23, 2015 8 comments
UHD Blu-ray and HDR on the Horizon

As I reflect back on our annual pilgrimage to CES last month in LasVegas, the most exciting news for home theater buffs was around Ultra HD (UHD), both the launch of the first HDR (high dynamic range) UHD televisions and the announcement of details on forthcoming UHD Blu-ray Discs.

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Lauren Dragan Posted: Feb 20, 2015 0 comments
Brand new to the US market, the Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 are closed-backed, over ear monitors that are designed to be high-resolution headphones for listening on the go. With 45mm True Motion drivers and a claimed frequency response of 5-40,000 Hz, the MSR7 want to pack all the detail and depth of professional headphones into wearable cans that even offer a removable cable with a single-button remote and mic. They sounded pretty good (from what I could tell, anyway) on the CES show floor, but how did they hold up under scrutiny in a decidedly better listening environment?
Al Griffin Posted: Feb 20, 2015 0 comments
PRICE $2,000

Accurate color
Crisp, noise-free images
Eco-friendly Wallpaper mode
Below average contrast
Poor picture uniformity
Unimpressive Smart GUI and streaming options

Sharp’s 4K THX Certified UHDTV gets many things right but some key things wrong.

The only TV-tech buzzword with any legs to it in 2014 was 4K, aka Ultra HDTV. So a TV manufacturer without new 4K-resolution product had better start thinking about packing it in. Sharp previewed a pair of UD27 series Ultra HDTVs last June, and the company finally squeezed out those models just in time for the holiday shopping season. What do the new 60- and 70-inch Sharps have to recommend them over other, similarly priced offerings? Let’s check things out.


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