EDITOR'S EYE

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Rob Sabin Posted: Aug 31, 2015 6 comments
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X may not be enough.

We are finally starting to see the new 2015 model year AV receivers trickle in, the first generation to more or less universally include HDMI 2.0 connections along with HDCP 2.2 copyright management.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Aug 05, 2015 6 comments
Hint: It's One You Already Know...

In a recent Signals blog (“Saving Hi-Res Audio”) Ken Pohlmann spotlighted the near-rabid sniping in the audiophile community and the public at large about whether hi-res audio delivers real, discernible benefits. Ken suggested that if the music industry wants hi-res to succeed, they should drop the significant premium now attached to hi-res downloads and charge the same as for any other music file, then reap the benefit of people buying more music because they like engaging with high-quality content.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 08, 2015 0 comments
Shanghai, for me, is literally halfway ‘round the world. Some 20 hours flying time from New York, it is 12 hours ahead in time zones and across the International Dateline: the very definition of “Tomorrowland.” The post-modern, sci-fi landscape of the Pudong section of China’s biggest trade center and most cosmopolitan city does little to deter that notion. Bound on one side by the 128-story Shanghai Tower and on the other by the Oriental Pearl, a futuristic, 1,500 foot broadcast tower, it looks like a bold experiment in animation made concrete, a slice of society that has, to date, only been imagined for amusement parks. On first sight I could only gasp at both the scale and shape of it, then grew silent with respect for not just the accomplishment, but the gutsy vision it must have took to start it.

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Rob Sabin Posted: May 21, 2015 8 comments
I received an e-mail recently from reader Francesco Tenti in Huntington, NY, politely complaining about the speed with which AV technology seems to be progressing...
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Rob Sabin Posted: Apr 29, 2015 2 comments
We’ve recently spent time covering two very different audio/video technologies. One is long-established but in some ways breaking new ground. The other—well, I suppose that’s also long-established and breaking new ground, though with a fresh spin.
Rob Sabin Posted: Apr 09, 2015 2 comments
‘Tis that time of the year when all the big TV makers start shipping their new lines to retail, which means members of the press get to see them up close for what amounts to the second time, the first being January’s CES. No surprise that the star of the show at LG Electronic’s New York press conference this week was the 65EG9600, the company’s new 65-inch Ultra HD-resolution OLED.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Feb 23, 2015 8 comments
UHD Blu-ray and HDR on the Horizon

As I reflect back on our annual pilgrimage to CES last month in LasVegas, the most exciting news for home theater buffs was around Ultra HD (UHD), both the launch of the first HDR (high dynamic range) UHD televisions and the announcement of details on forthcoming UHD Blu-ray Discs.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jan 30, 2015 0 comments
And Some Personal Faves…

We’ve just posted our annual Top Picks of the Year list of the best products from among all those we tested in 2014, culled from all the Top Picks named throughout the year in consultation with our staff of reviewers. Even from among this list, though, there are a few that really stand out for me, not just because of their performance but because of what I think they represent in the evolution of our hobby and the AV marketplace. Here are some of my personal highlights...

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jan 01, 2015 0 comments
The Closer Is a Class Act

Last summer, Sound & Vision was invited to visit retired Yankee relief pitcher Mariano Rivera to profile a renovation that had been done, with JBL’s help, to his private home theater. Baseball fans know Rivera as the Major League’s all-time leader in saves, and undoubtedly a future Hall of Famer. As a New Yorker, I knew him as a fixture in my city for the nearly two decades he played here, when, on any given day from April through September (and frequently, October), he might be the figure gracing the back-cover sports page of the New York Daily News or Post. The very nature of Rivera’s work as a closer—to be trotted out in the late innings to hold a slim lead or demoralize the competition and give his team a chance at the tying or walk-off run—made him an exciting figure.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Nov 21, 2014 6 comments
This year’s CEDIA Expo in Denver could have been dubbed “Dolby Atmos Expo,” with no fewer than a dozen active demos at the show including Dolby’s own. It makes sense that CEDIA would be the Atmos coming-out party. As compelling as Atmos can be (check out Dan Kumin’s impressions of our first Atmos system), I’m of the mind that the customer shopping for a soundbar isn’t about to toss that idea in favor of a discrete component system just because he’s heard Atmos. On the other hand, custom integrators building media and theater rooms are in good position to bump what would have been a conventional 5.1-channel or 7.1-channel system to a 5.1.4- or 7.1.4-channel Atmos system. They, along with enthusiasts like you and me who map our own upgrade paths, will drive this market.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Oct 24, 2014 2 comments
If This Is Hell, Count Me In

I got a good belly laugh as I was proofreading our Perfect Focus section for the November print issue. I’d just finished putting together our Letters section, in which I’d responded to a reader inquiry about Dolby Atmos with one of my usual geeky diatribes. Then I turned to Perfect Focus and saw...

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 08, 2014 1 comments
Tom Nousaine Loved Audio, the Bass Most of All

As we went to press for the upcoming September print issue, word began circulating about the passing of Tom Nousaine, long-time former contributor to Sound & Vision, its predecessor Stereo Review, and several other home and car audio magazines. He was 69 years old.

Tom was a one-of-a-kind character, a business manager by day for Ameritech (one of the Baby Bells) prior to his retirement, and a tireless audio enthusiast and writer in the rest of his waking hours. He was a contrarian...

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 02, 2014 0 comments
Hi-Res Audio and Headphones Go Hand in Hand

Only the eldest among Sound & Vision readers would know that the use of the term high-performance to define a better class of headphones is a relatively new development. Back in the day, high performance headphones were the only kind you could buy. Classics like the Koss Pro4AA (born in 1970 and still available in a slightly revised form for $99) and the Sennheiser HD414 (pictured here) were the first crossover ’phones that found popularity with both engineers and consumers. They brought a new kind of private and intimate listening experience to ’70s and ’80s audiophiles.

Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 27, 2014 Published: Jun 28, 2014 13 comments
The Dolby Atmos surround-sound format for home theaters made its debut this week with product announcements from several manufacturers and live demos in New York City at the Consumer Electronics Association's CE Week trade show. The technology that Dolby first introduced to theaters in 2012 offers the potential for a far more immersive audio experience than the traditional 5.1- and 7.1-channel systems that are still mostly employed today, and having experienced Atmos in the cinema, I admit I was pretty pumped heading into the demos.

And I wasn't let down. Atmos in the home environment seems to work—surprisingly well, in fact. Caveats? Yeah, there are a few worth watching out for that I'll get to later. But overall, I'll go on record that this is probably the most discernable advance in home theater sound since the introduction of lossless digital audio in the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats on Blu-ray. And it's one that leaves all the pre-existing height- and width-channel surround formats— including Dolby Pro Logic IIz and DTS Neo:X—in the dust. Finally, this may be one that will truly make it worth the trouble of adding those extra speakers. Maybe...

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 03, 2014 0 comments
As a longtime observer of the audio/video scene, I can state with confidence that things have changed more in the last five years than they did in the prior 25. I say that with full acknowledgement of the breakthroughs I’ve been lucky enough to report on during my career, including the introductions of the VCR, camcorders, Laserdiscs, Compact Discs, DVDs, high-definition television and its HD disc formats, surround sound in its various incarnations, flat panels, digital music downloads, and others.

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