LATEST ADDITIONS

Bob Ankosko Posted: Aug 14, 2015 2 comments
Viewed dead-on, the Phantom looks like a huge eyeball. Catch it from the side and it resembles a dinosaur egg. Either way, this self-contained, powered speaker—small enough to be cradled like a baby (albeit a heavy baby at 24 pounds)—embodies an unmistakably unique form factor and technical design. We spoke with Quentin Sannié, co-founder and CEO of Paris-based Devialet, to get the story behind this most unusual speaker.
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Al Griffin Posted: Aug 13, 2015 4 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I have 6 pairs of speakers spread throughout my house that are powered by a Rotel RB-1080 stereo amp. I use a Rotel RSS-900 speaker selector box to feed each speaker pair, and there’s a wall-mounted volume control in each room. The setup works good overall, but doesn’t sound that great.

I’d like to upgrade my system with a multichannel amp, but can’t find one that A) has at least 100 watts per channel, and B) has banana plug connections. I’m willing to spend a few thousand on the upgrade, so price isn’t an issue. Do you have a few amps you can suggest that meet my requirements? —Rob Green via email

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Mike Mettler Posted: Aug 13, 2015 0 comments
In a band of equals, some can appear to be more equal than others. “I always like to have the first word and the last word on albums,” laughs keyboardist Tony Banks, one of the main songwriters in Genesis. Banks has always felt making an impression right as a song commences to be paramount. “You make an impact with those first few bars. It sets you up for the next 5 minutes, so you ought to try and get it right,” he says. Just cue up the majestic “Watcher of the Skies” from 1972’s Foxtrot for prime evidence of that thesis being put into action. Besides his storied career in Genesis, Banks also tried his hand at a solo career, the highlights of which have been compiled in the four-disc box set A Chord Too Far (Cherry Red/Esoteric Recordings). While Banks puts the future of his longtime band to rest — “the chance of Genesis getting back together again is pretty slim, I have to say”— we have plenty of Chord music to sink our collective ears into. Banks, 65, called from across the Pond to discuss the, er, genesis of his signature keyboard style, his deep love for surround sound, and the importance of sequencing. As Bankstatements go, this one is rich in high-fidelity rewards.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 13, 2015 0 comments
If you thought President Francis Underwood was scary in Netflix 4K streaming, you may be perturbed to learn that the third season of House of Cards was actually shot in 6K. When Kevin Spacey directed his laser-like gaze at the camera to address the audience, he was burning a hole in a 6K lens. Even the visual effects—often executed in 2K even for 4K productions—were pure 6K, which has nine times the resolution of standard HD. That doesn’t mean you’ll be seeing the show in 6K anytime soon, with TVs and program pipelines still grappling with the 4K transition. But the 6K House of Cards lurks in an archive, waiting to unnerve future generations.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 13, 2015 1 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $600

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Dolby Atmos 5.2.2
Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Bluetooth on board
HDCP 2.2 rights management
Minus
Tight, crowded remote control

THE VERDICT
With Atmos added and both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth newly baked in, this receiver is a better value than its immediate $600 predecessor.

Less than a year has passed since I called the Pioneer VSX-1124 both “a top-performing receiver at a competitive price point” and, just in case that seemed too dispassionate, “a miracle.” So much has happened since then. For starters, Dolby Atmos happened, adding object-oriented surround with dedicated height channels to the basic surround footprint. Yet it’s almost a shock to see Atmos in a $600 receiver, the new VSX-1130. If you’re still on the fence about Atmos, Pioneer hasn’t stopped there. Bluetooth, formerly a $99 accessory, is now baked in.

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SV Staff Posted: Aug 13, 2015 0 comments
LG announced plans to introduce a curved soundbar this fall to match its curved OLED TVs.
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SV Staff Posted: Aug 12, 2015 0 comments
Ever feel overwhelmed by the number of choices when you sit down to watch TV? At a recent Television Critics Association press gathering, FX CEO John Landgraf validated those feelings when he proclaimed there is “simply too much television,” according to a report on mashable.com.

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Michael Antonoff Posted: Aug 12, 2015 1 comments
When the IMDb turns 25 in October, both its database and popularity will have multiplied exponentially. The IMDb consumer site (imdb.com) currently lists more than 3 million movies and TV shows and more than 6 million cast and crew members. It has a combined Web and mobile audience exceeding 200 million unique monthly visitors.
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Guido Henkel Posted: Aug 11, 2015 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
When it comes to dystopian movies of the 1980s, John Carpenter’s Escape from New York clearly stands out as one of the hallmarks of the period and genre, creating a futuristic vision of a society that has deteriorated to the point where the prison system has become a world entirely of its own. In fact, crime in America has gotten so out of hand the entire island of Manhattan is converted into a maximum-security prison from which there is no parole, and where the inmates—a merciless yet colorful lot—are left to govern themselves. But after terrorists strike Air Force One, tough-as-nails convicted bank robber Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) cuts a deal to rescue the president, who has survived a crash-landing within the walls of New York City only to be held hostage on the eve of a critical global summit.
Daniel Kumin Posted: Aug 11, 2015 3 comments

Zensor 5 Speaker System
Performance
Build Quality
Value

VTF-1 MK2 Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $2,244 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Neutral balance
Excellent center-L/R tonal match
Superb “small”-sub output and extension
Minus
Zensor 5 mini-towers are rather short

THE VERDICT
Combining DALI’s fine-performing, high-value two-way line with one of the best inexpensive 10-inch subwoofers available creates an affordable system that competes well with the many contenders in its price class.

DALI is a company that has nothing to do with surrealist art or Tibetan Buddhism. The acronym is for Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries, which over some 30 years has grown from a home-market specialist to a respected international brand. Despite this success, I had never gotten up close and personal with any DALI designs (trade-show demos excepted) until they shipped us a representative selection of their new Zensor entry-level series. Since the Zensor-ship currently lacks a subwoofer, we tapped one of the best size- and price-appropriate designs we know, Hsu Research’s affordable VTF-1 MK2.

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