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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 26, 2009 5 comments
Goo for God
Have you ever reviewed any paint-on projection screens? If so, how do they generally compare to an actual screen? Also, is there a brand you recommend? I'm thinking about going this route for my church, not a home-theater setup.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 09, 2012 12 comments
I'm upgrading my home-theater system with a Panasonic TC-P65VT30 plasma TV and Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player. I also want to replace my Yamaha RX-V793 A/V receiver, but I'm not sure what make and model would be best. I plan to keep my Paradigm Cinema Phantom tower speakers (front left and right), CC-170 center speaker, Atoms (left and right surrounds), and PDR-12 subwoofer.

I'm willing to pay for an AVR that will provide video performance to take full advantage of the TV and Blu-ray player. Likewise with sound performance; I see no point in paying for a higher performing AVR than my existing speakers can handle.

BTW, my room is 18x12 feet, and the TV will be located on one long wall with the sofa along the opposite wall. Also, I have carte blanche from my wife to get what I want in designing the media room.

Darren Benjamin

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Al Griffin Posted: Feb 18, 2016 4 comments
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Q I’m on a vinyl kick. I recently purchased an Audio-Technica LP120 USB turntable and am converting a few of my old LPs. I have it connected to a Sony AVR and am listening through my Klipsch Reference RB-5II bookshelf speakers. Now I’m thinking about searching for a vintage amp or receiver. I’ve read good things about the Marantz 1060 integrated amp (circa 1975), which is rated at 30 watts per channel. I also hear good things about some of the old Pioneer gear. I want to crank old classic rock, and I know the RB-5IIs can handle it. Any suggestions on what I should set my sights on? — Lew Collins/Via e-mail

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 19, 2012 3 comments
I have a couple of questions:

1. Should a home-theater speaker system have separate subwoofers instead of subwoofers in the main front towers?

2. Should an amplifier's power-output rating match the power-handing rating of a speaker system?

Bob Spencer

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 16, 2009 5 comments
The Perennial Question
Would it be better with a thin budget to buy an AVR rather than separates? I was thinking about getting Denon's flagship AVR-5308CI receiver, but there are separates from Integra, Anthem, Marantz, and Denon that all seem to have similar features but are somewhat lower in price. What would be a good solution?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: May 02, 2012 26 comments
I have an Onkyo TX-SR805 A/V receiver driving Paradigm Monitor 11s (front L/R), CC-390 (center), Mini monitors (surround L/R), and PW-2100 powered sub. I found a page on the Audyssey website that recommends setting the speakers to "small" after running the auto setup and letting the sub do the so-called heavy lifting. But the Paradigm dealer and everyone I have ever talked to about this says you should always set the speakers to "large" regardless of their actual size/low-frequency response.

What do you think about setting full-range speakers to small as Audyssey recommends? The SR805 does not have a "Large/Small" setting; it lets you specify each speaker as "full-range" or set a crossover frequency between 40 and 200Hz. Where should I set the crossover for the speakers? If the speaker cutoff is (for example) 80Hz, should the sub lowpass be set to the same frequency? If I set the Monitor 11s to 80Hz, does that mean information below 80 Hz will be sent to the sub? Does the amp still send full power to the speaker even though it is set to small?

Kevin Hoeft

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jul 09, 2012 2 comments
Is there a test disc with content that helps you dial in audio delay so the video and audio are in sync? My receiver and my Blu-ray player both have this adjustment, but it's very difficult to get it right just watching people talk. My old TV never had this issue, but my new Vizio TV seems to have an inherent delay. What do you advise as a solution?

Craig Weinheimer

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Oct 03, 2011 0 comments
What is the proper way to set an LCD TV's backlight? I have two calibration discs, and neither of them address this issue.

Jim Painter

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 10, 2016 2 comments
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Q I own a Sony BDP-BX57 Blu-ray player that can play SACDs. I also own a Pioneer VSX-820-K AV receiver that can only decode two-channel DSD signals from SACDs via its HDMI inputs. To get the best performance when playing multichannel SACDs, should I set the HDMI output on the Blu-ray player to bitstream? Also, which of the following listening modes on the AVR should I choose: Auto Surround, Direct, or Pure Direct? —Chris Murphy / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Aug 10, 2015 4 comments
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Q How would I go about setting up multiple surround speakers in the same channel—two side left and two side right speakers, for example—as in a commercial movie theater? One more question: If I used a Y splitter and additional amplifiers to power the speakers, could I still employ Audyssey processing to calibrate the speakers? I am planning to build a home theater with two to three rows of seating. —William Lee / via e-mail

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Aug 11, 2010 13 comments
Oh My!
I was listening to Leo Laporte's recent "Tech Guy" podcast on which you discussed Sharp televisions and their new Quattron technology, which uses four colors (red, green, blue, and yellow). I agree with your comments that the goal should be to accurately reproduce the original colors. Is this technology akin to inkjet printers using more than three inks to more accurately reproduce colors? Do you know if Sharp is trying to create "extra" color or using a new technique to reproduce color content that isn't being properly generated?
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Mar 16, 2012 10 comments
I've recently installed some built-in cabinets in my family room, leaving me enough space to fit a 70-inch TV. Currently, I have a 50-inch Pioneer Kuro (non-Elite) that I've been extremely happy with. But now that I've got the space for a 70-incher, I'm strongly considering upgrading. The problem is that I've been pretty disappointed with what's currently available in the way of 70-inch TVs. I realize that I'm limited to the Sharp 70-inch models or the larger Elite (which is out of my price range). I could increase my options if I considered a 65-inch set from Samsung or Panasonic, but hate the thought of giving up those extra five inches.

Also, I'm pretty spoiled by the picture quality of the Kuro. I love the shadow detail and lack of motion artifacts on the plasma, and I'm worried that I'll be disappointed with the performance of some of the larger LED TVs. I was excited that Sharp announced the LE945U line at CES this year, which is supposedly going to include full-array local dimming, but I've seen recent reports that Sharp may not include local dimming on their 2012 sets. Have you heard anything about this? Is this feature really worth waiting for over the full-array LC-70LE735U (with no local dimming) that can currently be obtained at a substantial discount?

Jim Remus

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Al Griffin Posted: May 21, 2015 12 comments
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Q I went to Best Buy looking for a TV with the highest possible refresh rate. (I like to watch sports.)

The salesperson there explained to me that buying a 240Hz TV would be a waste of money since there are no broadcasts with that frame rate—TV networks, cable, and satellite providers all transmit either 60Hz or 120Hz signals. He also said that if a set receives a signal that doesn’t match from its native refresh rate (240 Hz, for example), it can’t convert it. Was the salesman right, or I should follow through with my initial plan to buy a 240Hz set? —Nelson Aleman

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Al Griffin Posted: Aug 04, 2016 16 comments
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Q I am looking to replace the 65-inch Panasonic plasma TV in my man cave/theater room with a larger, high dynamic range-compatible Ultra HD model that would be used for watching sports and movies. I was considering a Samsung 85-inch LCD, but am also looking into a projector like the JVC DLA-X550R, a Sound & Vision top pick. When all is said and done, I believe that the cost would be the same: roughly $8-10,000. My room is 30 feet long by 20 feet wide, so I have plenty of wall space for the new screen. What display should I buy? —Chris Amaral

A Since your room is a man cave, I’d say get a projector. To me, man cave implies an utter absence of aesthetic or lifestyle considerations that might interfere with the quest to get the biggest, best picture possible. It also means stuff like dartboards and mirrors embossed with the Jack Daniel’s logo, but that’s not our concern here.

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Al Griffin Posted: Aug 27, 2015 4 comments
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Q Most multichannel speaker configurations I see advertised have large L/R tower speakers combined with smaller center and surround speakers. It seems to me, however, that money invested in large (mostly full-range) L/R towers would be wasted if you care more about multichannel movie soundtracks than two-channel stereo music. Given the conventional wisdom that movie soundtracks rely heavily on the center channel for dialogue reproduction, shouldn’t you buy a higher-performing center speaker instead of big front towers? —Rick James Boettger / via e-mail