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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Nov 23, 2011 0 comments
I have a $15,000 budget (display, speakers, components) for a home theater in a 11x14 section of a 16x25 game room. However, I am limited to ceiling-mounted surround speakers. Does anyone make in-ceiling rear speakers that tonally match a killer set of front towers and center channel? I read all the in-ceiling reviews and the Top Picks, but I can't figure out how to blend a system. Also, I've read your reviews of the Marantz components; the AV7005 looks awesome, but maybe it's overpowered for my dual-use game room and home theater? I love the Ask Home Theater column; please send some help this way!

Joe Boyle

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Al Griffin Posted: Nov 11, 2013 2 comments
Q How big a subwoofer would I need to produce good home theater-quality bass in a 3,100-cubic-foot room? Would the Hsu VTF-15H be up to the job, or is there a better choice in my target price range (around $1,000)? —Steven Winter / via e-mail
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Al Griffin Posted: Apr 30, 2014 3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I have an old Harman Kardon receiver that has served me well for several years and would like to continue using it. Do you have any suggestions for a way I could stream audio from my computer (primarily from iTunes and Spotify) to my receiver over Wi-Fi? —Doug Burton / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 17, 2014 6 comments
The effects of dynamic volume control are illustrated in this diagram from Audyssey.

Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q When watching a movie, I often have to turn the volume up to hear the dialogue but then find that the action scenes are too loud and have to turn it down again. My speakers are all from the same product line, so I know they are meant to play well together. I also use the automatic room correction on my Pioneer VSX-914-K AV receiver to adjust levels and distances for the speakers. Is the volume issue due to the way movies are mixed these days? —Ricky Meadows / via e-mail Ricky Meadows / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Jul 17, 2014 4 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Can you recommend an affordable device to connect an iPhone or iPod to an old AV receiver and still get good sound? — Stan Reed 

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Al Griffin Posted: Jul 03, 2014 5 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Are there any inexpensive options for converting LPs and cassette tapes to digital files on a laptop via USB? I know of several software programs (such as Audacity) that can capture and edit the audio files, but what about the hardware? I own quite a number of LPs and cassette tapes that I would like to archive, and I don’t want to have to buy a USB-equipped tape deck (provided there is such a thing) and turntable. Instead, I would prefer to connect my components directly to the converter or use my AV receiver’s record loop ouput. —Eric Tang / via email

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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 26, 2013 4 comments
Q My Onkyo HTS-S5400 home theater system has a front USB input where I plug in my iPhone to play music. I recently bought a new Sony Xperia L Android smartphone, however, and would like to use that for music playback instead. The Onkyo’s manual says the USB input is for iPhone/iPod playback only. Is there any special cable or app that I can use to play music through the system with my Android phone? —Mila Arasu via email
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Al Griffin Posted: Aug 28, 2014 1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I want to amplify just the dialogue on my TV. Is it possible to do that? —Glenn Goudeau

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Al Griffin Posted: Jun 16, 2014 0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Is it possible to convert S-video signals to component video? If so, where can I find a conversion device? —Richard S. Hubina / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 10, 2013 0 comments
Q My friend uses an iPod touch to stream Pandora Internet Radio over a speaker system at his outdoor tiki bar but is having a problem with some songs playing louder than others. I have gone into his iPod’s General Settings menu and activated the Sound Check button, but that feature only seems to work for tracks played in iTunes. Is there an in-line device with 3.5mm connectors that can hook up to the iPod’s headphone jack to level the audio output?—J. Glemming / Calabash, NC
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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 20, 2014 4 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I would like to get my feet wet with high-res audio, but don’t want to make a huge hardware investment. I’ve found some 192/24 tracks I’d like to buy from HDTracks.com. What would be the next step after I download these in ALAC format to my MacBook Air? Can I play them via my Mac’s optical output to the optical input on my preamp-processor (Emotiva UMC-1)? Can I stream them to said pre-pro via Apple TV or Airplay? Since the UMC-1 doesn’t have a USB input, do I need to buy a Dragonfly DAC or something like that? How about a USB headphone amp?  I obviously want a hardware setup that preserves the highest resolution. —Steve Burbidge / Minneapolis, MN

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Al Griffin Posted: Feb 20, 2014 4 comments
Q I recently learned that my television’s 120 Hz feature is global—when I turn it on, it remains on for all sources. I'm not a fan of this because I don't like seeing the “Soap Opera Effect” on TV and movie sources, though I do like it when playing videogames because the higher frame rate gives them a silky-smooth look. Here’s my question: Do you know of any TVs with a 120 Hz feature that can be turned on or off for specific inputs? —Ricky Meadows / via email
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Al Griffin Posted: May 26, 2014 7 comments
How Important Is a Receiver’s Power Output in 7-Channel Mode? Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I love Sound & Vision’s reviews for the objective bench tests, though the results often don’t seem to sync up with the reviewer’s opinions. I’m looking to replace my damaged but terrific sounding Pioneer A/V receiver with a Yamaha RX-V773. The RX-V773 and its siblings get stellar reviews, but they exhibit a huge power drop-off when driving five or seven channels compared with their two-channel measurements. Pioneer’s VSX-52 receiver delivers around three times the power as the Yamahas into seven channels, though this doesn’t seem to make a difference in the subjective part of the review. Here’s my question: Is a receiver’s power output in seven-channel mode not an important factor when it comes to sound quality? Just looking at test results, I would have expected the Yamahas to get a poor rating for sound, but their reviews are consistently excellent on that point. &mash;Jonty Rees / Austin, TX

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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 17, 2013 3 comments
Q How much amplifier power is too much power? My speakers have a 75-to-100-watt RMS power rating and are connected to an entry-level Yamaha receiver, so it’s safe to say they aren’t being pushed anywhere near their potential. I plan to upgrade to separates in the near future, however, and need to know how powerful an amp I should buy. Should I go with too much amp (200 watts RMS per channel), or just enough (125 watts RMS per channel)? —Audiophile Noob via e-mail
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Nov 18, 2010 0 comments
We're in the Money
My wife and I have gone into business for ourselves, and we plan to be making 6 or 7 figures in a few years. So, I'll finally get my own home theater. Where do I start? I like Martin Logan electrostatic speakers, which I saw and heard at Fry's. I also saw an 82-inch Mitsubishi DLP rear-projection TV, but the LED TVs looked so much better. As far as projection is concerned, is it too soon for 4K?

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