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SV Staff Posted: Sep 30, 2014 0 comments
Pioneer has announced that a free firmware update enabling Dolby Atmos surround sound on three Elite SC receivers is now available for download at pioneerelectronics.com. The update applies to the SC-85 ($1,600), SC-87 ($2,000), and SC-89 ($3,000) 9.2-channel AV receivers.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 29, 2014 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Serious drivers and power
AirPlay, Bluetooth, DLNA
Cool retro styling
Minus
Some connectors inconveniently located
Bright tonal balance, though adjustable

THE VERDICT
JBL’s Authentics L16 is a powerful-sounding triple-threat wireless speaker system—oh, and it’s got a phono input.

If you’re the type who likes to order the biggest hero (hoagie, grinder, po’ boy, or submarine depending on where you live) sandwich you can find with everything on it, JBL’s Authentics L16 may be just the wireless speaker for you. At more than 2 feet wide, it’s a big mama jama. And its wireless connectivity is all-embracing. In addition to a direct device-to-device Bluetooth connection, the L16 supports both Apple AirPlay and DLNA via Wi-Fi, for streaming from just about any smartphone, tablet, or computer. It’s also got the retro angle covered, with cubed sculpted-foam grille cosmetics.

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SV Staff Posted: Sep 29, 2014 0 comments
Onkyo today announced that the firmware update enabling Dolby Atmos sound on three of its network AV receivers is now available. The free update is available via a network connection or USB download for the TX-NR636 ($699), TX-NR737 ($899), and TX-NR838 ($1,199) receivers. The NR636 and NR838 models are Sound & Vision 2014 Top Picks.
Daniel Kumin Posted: Sep 26, 2014 1 comments

Mini T Speaker System
Performance
Build Quality
Value

Mini T Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $8,881 (as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Outstanding sonics and dynamic ability
Impressive bass extension from Mini-T alone
Made in Canada, not overseas
Minus
Requires substantial
amplifier power for best performance
Classic boxy designs won’t thrill everyone

THE VERDICT
They’re big, boxy, and expensive, but these speakers are world-class performers, top to bottom.

Bryston’s new Mini T loudspeakers spoke to me early, even before I’d fully wrestled them out of their imposing, oversized packaging. And what they said was, “We were designed by guys who don’t give a hamster’s hindquarters for new-age cosmetics, ‘breakthrough’ transducers, or 21st-century styling: We’re old school!”

For the record, Bryston Ltd.—based in the small Canadian city of Peterborough, an hour or so east of Toronto—has for decades produced some of the world’s preeminent power amplifiers (also preamps, surround processors, and even the odd integrated amp), impeccable performers built to a standard of brick-house quality seldom bettered, and warrantied accordingly. If you wanted vast reserves of current, bulletproof design, road-ready ruggedness, and genuine craftsmanship, Bryston fit the bill.

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Lauren Dragan Posted: Sep 25, 2014 0 comments
After attending the phenomenal David Bowie exhibit at the Chicago MCA last week, I’m finding myself acutely aware of how much I miss regular access to art. As a college student studying music, and even as a high schooler fortunate enough to attend fantastic humanities classes, every day had some form of exposure to artistic endeavors. But once out of school, if we want to experience art, we have to seek it out. While we have plenty of access to media, one could argue that art is a bit tougher to come by. Of course, there are galleries to visit, which is wonderful and needs to be preserved, but unlike school, art no longer comes to you.

A few artists have come together to try to change all that. They took two things New Yorkers have encounters with daily: technology and advertisements, and created an innovative augmented reality art space...the NY subway station.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Sep 25, 2014 3 comments
UltraFlix is quickly adding to their library of 4K streaming titles and has announced that their app will be included on some 2014 UHD TVs. Could the UltraFlix and Amazon Instant Video 4K streams start a flood of new titles?
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 25, 2014 1 comments
Consider the humble headphone jack. Whether it welcomes a big quarter-inch plug or a mini-plug, it is the nearly universal analog interface for headphones great and small. Apple is trying to change that with an addition to its Made for iPhone spec. Apple-friendly headphones will use the company’s new Lightning connector to receive 48-kilohertz digital stereo input, or 48-kHz mono for headphones with integrated mikes. Lightning headphones dubbed Standard will include a DAC, while those dubbed Advanced will add DSP and features such as active noise cancellation.
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 25, 2014 0 comments
Performance
Setup
Value
PRICE $2,049 (as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Superb color and contrast with room lights out
Lights-on viewing can be more satisfying than with a conventional screen
Minus
Don’t expect miracles: Lights-out viewing still offers a superior picture

THE VERDICT
No screen can provide a projector’s best performance in normal room lighting, but the Screen Innovations Slate takes aim at this goal and, though not scoring a bull’s-eye, comes closer than most.

The surest route to realizing a knockout, big-picture home theater is to install a separate projector and screen. Once you’ve experienced it, you’ll wonder how you were ever satisfied with a “tiny” flat-screen HDTV.

Up until a few years ago, the biggest obstacle to realizing that ideal was the price of a good projector. Today, however, you can buy an excellent projector for under $3,000, and although that’s not chicken feed, it’s within the reach of many serious home theater enthusiasts. But what was once a secondary stumbling block is now front and center: the need for a fully darkened room to wring the best performance out of that projector. With most projection screens, there’s little choice, and this has kept home projection a niche market.

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Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 25, 2014 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
In true comic book (excuse me, graphic novel ) fashion, Rise of an Empire presents the “origin” of the evil god-king of Persia and his hatred of all things Greek. Set ten years before the Battle of Thermopylae, this wild prologue is very much in the wheelhouse of writer/artist Frank Miller, whose as-yet-unreleased Xerxes comic provides the basis for this follow-up to the epic 300. A great Athenian warrior named Themistokles sets this dark destiny in motion, and we leap forward a decade to the resulting Persian invasion of Greece. An older Themistokles takes to the seas to stand against Xerxes’ overwhelming naval forces, as led by the savage, mysterious Artemisia, their deadly clashes concurrent with the legendary sacrifice of King Leonidas and his brave fifteen-score Spartans.

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SV Staff Posted: Sep 25, 2014 0 comments
Acoustic Sounds has announced plans to record the 17th Annual Blues Masters at the Crossroads festival in high-resolution Direct Stream Digital (DSD) and make the recordings available on the company’s Super HiRez digital download platform in time for the holidays.

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