A Eulogy for Columbia House
This week Columbia House announced it was ceasing operations, causing many to exclaim “Wait, Columbia House was still around?”
My second thought (that being my first as well), was “good riddance, those bastards.”
But as the annoyance faded of how our tumultuous relationship ended, I became nostalgic.
Because quite honestly, Columbia House introduced me to music.
Jay Leno’s Garage Heads to TV This Fall
Jay Leno’s garage, the weekly hour-long program Jay Leno has produced online since 2006, will debut on CNBC in October. The show, which features many cars from Leno’s personal collection, will air October 7 at 10 p.m. ET.
For more information, see this report on TVNewser.
The Phantom Exposed: Devialet Implosive Sound Center
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.
How Can I Get Great-Sounding Multiroom Music?
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
Tony Banks Reveals the Genesis of His Love for 5.1
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.
Pioneer VSX-1130 A/V Receiver Review Test Bench
Pioneer VSX-1130 A/V Receiver Review Specs
Evil Frank Shot in 6K
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.
Pioneer VSX-1130 A/V Receiver Review Page 2
Pioneer VSX-1130 A/V Receiver Review
AT A GLANCE
Dolby Atmos 5.2.2
Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Bluetooth on board
HDCP 2.2 rights management
Tight, crowded remote control
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.