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Al Griffin Posted: Aug 21, 2014 6 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I recently bought new Magnepan speakers. I’m using them with a Pioneer SC-07 reciever. I am amazed by the sound, I but have been told that my Magnepans would really come alive with more power. Am I missing out? The sound is great compared with what I heard from my previous system. I've also been told that a tube amp would really make my Magnepans sing. Is that the case? And what kind of budget would I need to get something better than what I currently have? —Terry T.

A I’m going to dispense with my usual AV advisor role for this question and instead act as your therapist. Do you find it difficult to appreciate good things in life? To live in the moment? Because what I’m detecting here are distinct signs of Audiophilia Nervosa.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jul 15, 2011 0 comments
I am really new to A/V but quickly becoming addicted! What are your thoughts about NAD? I have a moderate budget and expensive tastes, so I was considering the NAD T 785 A/V receiver and the GoldenEar TritonCinema Two speaker system. I have read great things about GoldenEar, and I like the sound of these speakers. I don't see as much press on NAD, but they come highly recommended from the staff at Listen Up Denver.

Chris Ferguson

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 19, 2011 4 comments
I am looking for a new A/V receiver, and I am seriously considering the NAD T 747 and the Onkyo TX-NR709. It will be used about 75 percent for movies and 25 percent for music. The features I'm looking for include at least 5.1 (if not 7.1), auto room calibration/set-up (such as Audyssey), the ability to decode all the new lossless formats found on Blu-rays, the ability to make movie dialog easier to hear when listening at low volume levels, and pre-out jacks so that I have the option of hooking up a separate amplifier to it in the future.

John Dixon

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Nov 11, 2011 5 comments
Thanks for your amazing podcast; I've been an avid listener since episode 1. I was wondering if you could spend some time on the topic of ultra-widescreen projectors and 21:9 TVs. There are very few products of the sort, and many people spend a small fortune on anamorphic lenses, stretching processors, and such. Why are there no native 21:9 projectors out there? Ninety percent of my viewing is in 2.35 and above, and I always have black bars on the top and bottom. In my mind, 16:9 is the new full screen. What's coming down the road ahead?

Atli Davidsson

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 10, 2011 1 comments
I just got the new Onkyo TX-NR809 receiver, and I'm wondering how inadequate my speaker setup is. I have a pair of DCM KX-12 Series Twos for the front left and right, DCM KX Center, DCM SW10 sub, and a pair of DCM KX-6 Series Two for the surround channels. I know these speakers were primarily built for loud "party" music, and they are about 12 years old. Am I going to miss out on the quality and features of the Onkyo with this setup? If I were to upgrade the speakers, what do you recommend in the $2000-ish range?

Jason

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Sep 23, 2011 8 comments
I read HT's review of the Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player, which was very helpful. I have an older AVR (Pioneer Elite VSX-43TX, 96/24 capable, but no HDMI or DTS/Dolby HD decoders), so if I get the BDP-93, the review suggests that I connect HDMI from the Oppo to my new Panasonic TC-P65VT30 plasma and use analog outputs to the AVR. But what about using either coax or optical out from the BDP-93 to the AVR? At least that would cut down on the cabling and clutter. Also, will I hear the benefits of Dolby or DTS HD audio via analog or digital audio from the Oppo, since the Elite is 96/24 capable?

Peter Kukiel

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Feb 23, 2011 0 comments
What speakers do you recommend to replace my old ones? Will one company's active 3D glasses work with another company's 3D TV? What's the best audio connection for watching TV with or without the AVR?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Feb 01, 2012 18 comments
I need a new big-screen TV for the big game. I can afford between $2000 and $2500. I was told that plasma is way better than LCD, so I have spent about three weeks researching my options. I finally narrowed it down to either the Samsung PN64D7000 or Panasonic TC-P65ST30.

I promptly went to BrandsMart just to look at the two and finally decide which one. Of course, BrandsMart had neither model, but then the salesman tried to sell me on LED, which I had not researched before. He said plasma technology is on its way out and LED was the wave of the future, and that the Sharp LC-70LE735U was what I needed. What's your take on this?

Also, does it make sense to buy the same brand of TV, sound system, and Blu-ray player? Lastly, not being a techie, is it really hard to connect all three?

Rich Mickiewicz

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Al Griffin Posted: Oct 24, 2013 1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com.

Q I am looking to buy an amplifier and speakers manufactured someplace other than China. Can you recommend some options? My budget is $2,000 total for both amp and speakers (tower or bookshelf). —Gopal Venkat / via email

I cut the political content from your question because I don’t feel that this column is the best forum to discuss those issues. That said, I’m happy to help you find gear in your price range that’s made someplace other than China.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 03, 2011 0 comments
I'm looking for a 50-to-55-inch non-3D plasma TV. My son actually gets headaches from the 3D experience, and I think it's a fad that will die off with 4K if not sooner. Which plasma do you prefer?

Mark Davis

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 07, 2009 15 comments
How Old is Too Old?
I have been considering buying a pair of B&W Matrix 801 Series 3 speakers. Sonically, I am impressed, but the speakers were produced in 1990, and I am not sure if $2000/pair is a good investment, age-wise. I just don't know how much life is left in them. The current owner says he mostly plays music at a low level. Is anything I could check on my own, apart from auditioning, that can give me a clue in terms of how the speakers have aged and what's to come?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Feb 17, 2010 10 comments
HDMI-less
My father-in-law had a home-theater system installed a couple of years ago and would like to add a Blu-ray player. He asked me to hook it up, but I'm running into a problem with his system. The receiver is a Yamaha RX-V659, which only has component-video switching. I want to avoid running a separate HDMI cable to the TV and having him switch sources on the TV and receiver separately. Will connecting a Blu-ray player via component video cause the player to downconvert copy-protected disks to 480i? Do the majority of Blu-ray titles have HDCP?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 31, 2011 1 comments
I have an LG 55LW5600 TV and an LG 3D Blu-ray player in a 13.5-by-16 room. The TV is on the long side of the room, so the placement is not optimal, but it allows me to maintain the peace with my better half.

Now, I need a sound system. I think the Onkyo HT-S9400THX system offers good value. Do you like how that system sounds? On the other hand, a large retailer is selling the Polk RTi A5 and RTi A7 at $519 and $629 per pair, respectively. That seems like a good deal, but I would still need a receiver (I'm considering the Pioneer VSX-1121) and a center channel; I do not have a lot of space for surrounds in the back of the room as the couch is against the wall. Would the Polk setup sound just as good with two speakers (say the A7s) versus the Onkyo 7.1 system, considering that it might just be 5.1 or 3.1)? In two or three years, I will develop the basement and move the home theater downstairs to a larger room. Would the Polks be a better long-term investment?

Luis Victoria

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 25, 2011 6 comments
I recently bought an Oppo BDP-95 Blu-ray player, and I already have a Pioneer PRO-110FD Kuro plasma TV. Which video setting should I use in the player, Auto or Source Direct? I've tried both, and the picture looks great either way. I've also tried 1080p, and that looked great as well, though I understand this is far from an ideal setting for 1080i sources. Is there anything I should be looking for to see which setting is better? I have a Denon AVR-4308CI receiver, but I set it to pass the video signal through without any processing.

I use the AVR's HDMI 1 input for movies, but I also hooked up the player's 5.1 analog outs to the receiver's Ext. In. This is for listening to music (CD, SACD, DVD-Audio). For Blu-ray music, should I use the analog out when the signal is PCM? Is the HDMI out better for the lossless forms of Dolby and DTS? As an aside, the player's manual hints that it is better to output SACDs from the analog outs as PCM rather than DSD. Is this because the player likely does a better job at decoding the DSD signals?

Stephen Beney

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 24, 2011 23 comments
Four years ago, I purchased a high-end Arcam AVR350 A/V receiver without a good understanding of the future. Now I want to take advantage of the new lossless audio formats offered on Blu-ray from my new Oppo BDP-95 player. I can connect the multichannel analog output of the Oppo to the Arcam's multichannel input, but I am concerned about bass management, equalization, and lip sync. Can an amateur do the adjustments recommended or is a professional needed? Also, I am questioning my recent decision to repair my AVR350, which had a power-supply issue (it cost $400 to repair). Should I have bitten the bullet and scrapped this $2700 clunker for a newer receiver? It's a hypothetical question because now I don't have the funds to buy both a high-end receiver and high-end Blu-ray player. Any thoughts?

Lisa Kaye

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