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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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Al Griffin Posted: Aug 14, 2014 3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q: I have a Yamaha 7.1-channel AV receiver in my system that’s set up to power a 5.1 speaker system. Very seldom do I hear sound coming out of my surround speakers when watching movies on Blu-ray, though I do occasionally hear sounds like thunder. I have even boosted the output of the surround channels relative to the fronts, and it doesn’t make a difference. What’s going on?—Chuck Schumm / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Aug 07, 2014 6 comments
Q I’ve heard that sealed subwoofers sound better than ported ones with music, but that ported subs handle LFE in movie soundtracks better. I want a sub that will sound good in my large, open living room with both music and movies. Do people only use sealed subs in smaller rooms? How will a ported model sound different when playing music?—Matt Carlton
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Al Griffin Posted: Jul 31, 2014 1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I recently went to my local electronics store to check out the TVs. Every set, whether 4K or 1080p, was displaying 4K programming, and I have to say that even the 1080p sets looked great when showing 4K. Here’s my question: Do 1080p TVs downscale 4K video, or does the 4K server perform that function before passing the signal on to the TV? —Bill Carman / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Jul 24, 2014 2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I need to replace an old receiver that has a phono input for my turntable. Do I need to get another receiver with a phono input, or can I just use the receiver’s Tape or Aux inputs instead?—David L. Waller 

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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 10, 2014 17 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q If I have a budget of $1500 to buy a subwoofer, should I buy one great sub or two good $750 subs? They would be used equally for both movies and music. Also, how do you connect more than one subwoofer to receiver? —Raphaël Rainville, Montréal QC, Canada 

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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: Jun 26, 2014 0 comments
Q I own a Panasonic TC-P60ZT60 plasma TV. I also have a Pioneer SC-1323-K A/V receiver, the first I’ve owned with HDMI connections.

Here’s my question. Having dialed in the Panasonic’s internal settings to my satisfaction, am I losing picture quality by routing video sources through the receiver instead of connecting directly to the TV? Some receivers are praised based on the video processing chips they use, but do these actually do anything to improve picture quality when the source is HDMI? I’m using a Comcast cable box and a 1080P Roku to stream home movies from a PC located in another room. I also watch DVDs on rare occasion through a standard DVD player.—Rich Wegrzyn   

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Al Griffin Posted: Jun 23, 2014 1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Most movies on DVD and Blu-ray default to 5.1 surround sound, but most concert videos default to 2.0 stereo, and the viewer has to manually select 5.1 surround when playing the disc. What’s the reason for this? —John Kellam / Tucson, AZ

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Al Griffin Posted: Jun 19, 2014 0 comments
Q I have a Denon AVR-4310CI A/V receiver. Although I have speakers connected for all seven main channels, I have never heard a movie with 7.1-channel sound. My sources are Blu-ray and Verizon Fios HD. What do you think is going on? —Mister Phillip
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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: Jun 12, 2014 3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Ever since I heard that 4K could become a mainstream reality, I’ve held off on making Blu-ray purchases thinking that a new, better format is just around the corner. I’ve also read that certain TV shows going forward will be shot in 4K, which makes me wonder about the long-term fate of content that wasn’t recorded at that resolution.

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Al Griffin Posted: Jun 04, 2014 0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I want to get better sound when watching movies on my new Panasonic ZT60 plasma TV. (I stream a lot of Netflix and Vudu via the Panasonic’s built-in apps.) To that end, I recently bought a small stereo setup: an NAD C326BEE integrated amp, a Musical Fidelity V90 DAC, and a pair of Monitor Audio Apex 10 speakers. The only way to connect the TV to my audio system is by using an optical digital output from the Panasonic to the DAC, which then connects to one of the NAD’s stereo RCA inputs. Here’s the problem I’ve been having: When I watch Netflix or Vudu, I hear nothing but static noise coming from the speakers, though the sound is fine when I watch DirecTV (I have my satellite receiver connected directly to the TV via HDMI). This noise went away when I switched from 5.1 to 2.0 audio in Netflix, but I don’t get the same option for Vudu. I’m kinda stumped at this point. Shouldn’t the Musical Fidelity DAC automatically dumb down 5.1 signals to stereo? Is there another possible configuration that can solve my problem? —Gilbert Solis / via e-mail

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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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