LATEST ADDITIONS

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Mike Mettler Posted: Dec 10, 2014 0 comments
When Mark Rivera isn’t splitting his time being Music Director for Ringo Starr or serving as a versatile multi-instrumentalist with Billy Joel (the latter for 32 years and counting), he’s doing what any good audiophile would — dropping the needle on some fine, fine wax. “The warmth of vinyl is like nothing else,” Rivera reports. “It really is. To me, it feels like it embraces you. It simply surrounds you.” Earlier this year, Rivera also found the time to put out his first solo album, Common Bond (Dynotone/Red River), and he’s patiently been overseeing having 1,000 copies of it pressed onto vinyl. “I couldn’t be more enthusiastic and more pleased about that,” he says. Here, Rivera, 62, and I talk about Common Bond‘s core production values, vintage gear and favorite LPs, and the ways music resonates over one’s lifetime. Ok, fine, we admit it — we just can’t get enough of that vinyl stuff.
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Michael Trei Posted: Dec 10, 2014 0 comments
It’s tough to be an audiophile these days. In the ongoing push by those pesky spouses and decorators to make our audio systems increasingly basic, simple, and invisible, some of us have felt the tug to hang our HDTVs on the wall and step down from a full-blown 5.1 surround sound home theater rig to a nice, slender soundbar. More often than not, that means having a subwoofer, typically supplied with the soundbar, just to fill in the bass, which inevitably goes missing during that slimming process. But, depending on how well the sub is integrated and its position in the room, that can often lead to other issues, including localization of deep male voices at the sub and possibly a gap in upper-bass frequency response that becomes most noticeable when playing music.
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Michael Trei Posted: Dec 10, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Detailed, focused sound with tuneful bass
Excellent connectivity and feature set
Nice display
Minus
Can’t disable surround mode
Credit card remote

THE VERDICT
The SoundBase.670 proved itself a great all-rounder that’s at its best for movies and regular TV watching.

ZVOX created the TV soundbase category over a decade ago, but they’ve not been sitting on their heels for the last ten years. While other companies have only just jumped on the bandwagon with a soundbase of their own, ZVOX has continued to expand its offerings and up its game on sound quality and now has eight different soundbase models available.

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Michael Trei Posted: Dec 10, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $350

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Clear, transparent sound
Well-thought-out feature set
Minus
Minimal display information
Credit-card membrane remote

THE VERDICT
Pioneer delivers a soundbase that puts good sound ahead of bells and whistles or sheer volume.

Over the last few years, Pioneer’s chief speaker designer Andrew Jones has become kind of a rock star in budget audio circles. Unlike some other companies that simply get a design committee to slap something together for their low-cost gear, Pioneer with Jones at the helm spends months tweaking and refining even the most modest speakers. At the other end of the scale, Jones also designs state-of-the-art speakers for Pioneer’s high-end TAD division, including the $80,000 Reference One, so the man clearly knows his way around a woofer cone.

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Michael Trei Posted: Dec 10, 2014 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $250

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Plays very loud
Lots of hookup options
Good remote
Minus
Sounds congested when pushed hard
Cryptic display
Minimal stereo separation

THE VERDICT
Vizio’s Sound Stand plays remarkably loud for such a small and affordable soundbase, but its sound lacks the finesse of even the company’s own budget soundbars.

With just a pair of 2.75-inch full-range drivers supplemented by a single 5.25-inch “subwoofer,” the Vizio Sound Stand has the most basic driver complement of the three soundbases under review. No amplifier power rating is specified, although, as you’ll read, it’s clear that the Sound Stand has been carefully tweaked to deliver the maximum possible volume.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 10, 2014 0 comments
If you rip CDs to your hard-drive-based car media system, does that violate the rights of artists? The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies says yes, claiming that your system qualifies as a digital audio recording device, and therefore that manufacturers should pay royalties to the music labels. The group filed suit in the D.C. federal district court, alleging violation of the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA).
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 10, 2014 0 comments
The judicial murder of Aereo—just in case you had any doubt about where our sympathies lie—leaves a cloud over cloud computing...
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Josef Krebs Posted: Dec 10, 2014 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
This powerful and moving story (screenplay by Larry Kramer, based on his own play), starts in 1981 with shy screenwriter Ned Weeks (Mark Ruffalo) only able to watch the summer bacchanal at Fire Island, New York—gay-male heaven—too unconfident to join in the revelries. It ends with a gay prom at Yale in 1984 where he’s found his confidence but is now too sad to dance. In between, what starts with the first warning cough from a buff-bodied, seemingly healthy man announcing the arrival of AIDS in the community leads to the spreading of a plague that fills the newly liberated gay men with fear. The mysterious disease is a complete unknown, with no one able to say how it spreads, how to treat it, or how to protect yourself beyond completely abstaining from sex.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Dec 09, 2014 0 comments
Somewhere in the dim past I wrote a blog on whether or not you might want to work with a custom installer in designing and building setting up your home theater or media room. In a random search through my computer files (as messy as any physical file system on the planet!) on a different subject I came across it again. It appears to have been written for one of the newsletter in the now defunct Stereophile Guide to Home Theater/Ultimate AV. In the hope that it might be as pertinent now as it was then (given a significant update), here it is again...
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Bob Ankosko Posted: Dec 08, 2014 0 comments
TV—specifically 4K/Ultra HD and OLED—top the holiday shopping lists of Sound & Vision readers who responded to last week’s poll question: “What’s Your Top AV Gift Pick for 2014?” Ultra HD netted 22 percent of the votes, followed by OLED TV (15 percent), AV receiver (14 percent), and headphones (9 percent). Regular old HDTV was a distant second to OLED, gaining only 4 percent of the votes, proving once again that the S&V crowd is all about the latest and greatest technology. Here are the full results:

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