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Al Griffin Posted: Apr 28, 2016 0 comments
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Q Are there any soundbars that I can use with a powered receiver and a TV? —Phil Beloma

A Yes. While new soundbars provide everything from HDMI switching to up to 9 amplified speaker channels for Dolby Atmos 7.1.2 configurations, there are still passive soundbars available from speaker manufacturers including companies such as Paradigm, GoldenEar Technology, Monitor Audio, Def Tech/Polk Audio, and PSB. Click here to see a list of S&V’s Top Picks for the category.

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Al Griffin Posted: Apr 25, 2016 7 comments
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Q I am coordinating the install of my new home theater system with a floating entertainment unit and a 75-inch Sony TV. The system will use three MartinLogan SLM XL speakers for the front channels. My dilemma is whether to position the center-channel speaker above or below the TV. The bottom location is closer to ear level but will require mounting the TV 6 inches higher than I’d like (because of the floating entertainment unit). My idea is to locate the center channel above the TV instead, which also isn’t ideal, but I feel that my ears will be able to adjust better to the configuration than my eyes. What do you think? —Fred Bredemeyer / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Apr 20, 2016 1 comments
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Q Help! Perhaps it's the case that I don't understand the Dolby Atmos specifications, but I get the impression that if I build an Atmos system with four height channels, I will also need to purchase an expensive receiver.

I want the unit I buy to handle both two-channel analog music and big-budget films with multichannel soundtracks. Is there such thing as a receiver that can process Dolby Atmos soundtracks for a 5.1.4-channel speaker layout but also let me use a high-end stereo amp to power the front channels? —Joshua Gonzalez, Houston, TX

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Al Griffin Posted: Apr 14, 2016 6 comments
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Q I own about 300 DVDs, but only 20 Blu-ray discs. Should I stop buying regular Blu-rays and move on to 4K Blu-ray now that the new format is out? I’m worried that 4K Blu-ray will just be for new movies and they won’t put out older titles as they did with regular Blu-ray. —Don Fowler

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Al Griffin Posted: Apr 11, 2016 4 comments
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Q Can I use a soundbar like the Yamaha YSP-5600 as a center channel in a traditional 5.1/7.1 or Atmos setup? Would it sound better than a standard center-channel speaker? Also, does it have to be set up on its own first or last to blend in with the rest of the system? —Oliver Johnson / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Apr 07, 2016 3 comments
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Q I’m wondering if my center speaker is damaged. When I watch movies with 5.1 soundtracks, voices sometimes sound strange, as if the actor is speaking with a lisp. I seem to hear it most with movies streamed from Netflix, and occasionally on cable movie channels like HBO. Do you know of any test DVDs or other material I can use to evaluate my system and speaker set up? —Craig A. Childress / Lake Charles, LA

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 30, 2016 3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I recently built a pool house next to my backyard pool.  I used to listen to music poolside by spooling Ethernet cable to a wireless access point located in the bushes outside, streaming tracks from my iPad to a portable Bluetooth speaker. With the new construction, however, I plan to connect outdoor speakers to an AV receiver located inside the pool house. For the receiver, I’m looking at Onkyo’s TX-NR545, which has built-in Airplay and Wi-Fi along with Bluetooth. Here’s my problem: I don’t think the Bluetooth range from my iPad will be sufficient to reach the AV receiver inside the pool house. Can I tap the Onkyo AVR’s other wireless capabilities to stream music using the iPad? —John Reebel

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 28, 2016 2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I am in the market to buy an AV receiver with Dolby Atmos for my basement home theater. I have short-listed the Yamaha RX-A3050, Denon AVR-X5200W, and Marantz SR7010, but it appears that with each of these receivers I will need to buy an additional amplifier to run a Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 configuration. Is this the case? Are there any receivers that support 7.1.4 right out of the box without requiring an external amp? —Bhaskar Vooradi / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 24, 2016 14 comments
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Q I am looking to buy a Pioneer Elite AV receiver, but I hear that they have problems with 4K/Ultra HD video passthrough. Is this correct? —Charlie F. / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 16, 2016 22 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q What new features are coming to AV receivers in 2016? I guess my question is more about what features might be missing from 2015 models, which already have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth aptX, Airplay, High-res FLAC and DSD support, 4K pass-through, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X processing. I am interested in the latest Marantz receivers, specifically the NR-1506 and SR-5010, but noticed that those models were announced back in June 2015. Should I wait for new 2016 models? —Jason York

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 10, 2016 3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

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: Mar 02, 2016 9 comments
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Q I don't have room for a surround setup in my home theater, so I’ve decided to buy a pair of floorstanding tower speakers.  My TV has a super-wide viewing angle.  Are there any speakers with a super-wide listening angle?  I don't want to be the only person in my family sitting in the "sweet spot.” —Edward G. Jones

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SV Staff Posted: Feb 29, 2016 1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I am finally upgrading my Pioneer Elite receiver and plan to replace it with a new model that has HDMI 2.2 inputs. Unfortunately, the new receiver that I have in mind lacks a phono input. To get that feature, I’d have to fork over $500 more for a step-up model. Is there any way to use the phono preamp in my old receiver and hook it up to the new one? Also, how good are the built-in phono preamps in receivers compared to standalone models? —Kevin Olds /Via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Feb 24, 2016 10 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I recently purchased a 5.1 Klipsch Reference Premiere speaker system and a Pioneer Elite VSX-90 receiver. The Klipsch front towers are capable of being bi-amped, and the Pioneer receiver has a bi-amp output setting. Is there a sonic benefit to bi-amping speakers? —Michael Holly

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Al Griffin Posted: Feb 18, 2016 5 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

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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