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EDITOR'S EYE

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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 12 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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Rob Sabin Posted: Mar 26, 2014 0 comments
Why a Projector—in a Pitch-Black Room‐Is Still the Home Theater to Aspire To

I’ve gone on record, more than once, saying that you need not have a screen of a particular size, nor a minimum number of speakers, to have a home theater. Indeed, here’s a definition I developed a while back for an article in our sister publication, Geek...

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Rob Sabin Posted: Mar 12, 2014 4 comments
It’s been said that the sound associated with watching video is “half” of the experience. But is it really? Or is it actually more than half? Or less?

Answering this question was the goal of a clever study recently commissioned by DTS, with an eye toward promoting its new DTS Headphone:X technology. For those unfamiliar, Headphone:X has been at the heart of one of the more impressive CES show demos for the last two years running.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jan 29, 2014 8 comments
Panasonic’s Departure from the Plasma Market is Heartbreaking, and Inevitable

There is both irony and tragedy in the fact that this year’s much-deserved prize for our Top Pick product for all of 2013 goes to TC-P65ZT60, whose short life and lineage will begin and end with the 2013 model year...

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Rob Sabin Posted: Dec 16, 2013 16 comments
I had the unexpected and unexpectedly pleasant experience recently of viewing the 3D version of the theatrical blockbuster Gravity in what proved to be a perfectly competent RealD (i.e., not IMAX) presentation. I say unexpected because I’d actually recommended that our group that day skip the 3D entirely and just watch the (undoubtedly brighter) 2D version—such has my need for theatrical and at-home 3D dropped off the cliff. I only walked into the theater reservedly after a mishap in which the wrong tickets got purchased online in advance of our arrival.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Dec 05, 2013 0 comments
The annual CEDIA Expo, held this past September in Denver, was a great show. The mood was more upbeat than many of us remember from recent years’ Expos. Traffic was brisk for most of all three days, and the manufacturers we visited seemed excited that the worst of the recession had finally passed, and that the custom install biz—which is notably affected by housing activity—had a vibrance not seen for a long while.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Nov 01, 2013 4 comments
The accompanying OLED stories mark our first up-close look at a display technology that goes by an acronym best pronounced as “Oh-lead,” and one that stands for the future of television. That’s a bold statement, and the time line should perhaps be qualified as “near-future” inasmuch as anything can happen in the developing world of display technology, and taken in its entirety, the future is known to be a very, very long time. But I dare say we’ve waited a long time to this point just to see OLED’s promise, and having now witnessed it firsthand, I’m having a hard time guessing what could better it short of a holographic display with equal image quality or something that does just what OLED does for a whole lot cheaper.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Sep 18, 2013 5 comments
Welcome to SoundandVision.com! If you’ve been a regular visitor to HomeTheater.com, you may be surprised to find yourself here, but rest assured you’re in the right place. As a byproduct of the recent merger of Home Theater and Sound & Vision magazines, this new enhanced Website combines the deep archives and expertise of both publications and their former sites HomeTheater.com and SoundandVisionmag.com. Along with a new, shorter URL, former readers of both sites will enjoy simplified, faster navigation thanks to direct-access drop-down menus for Reviews and Top Picks by category.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Aug 29, 2013 0 comments
I recently enjoyed an early press tour of Panasonic’s soon-to-open Innovation Center in Newark, NJ, an open-windowed retail-like space off the lobby of the company’s new headquarters building. I’m not usually much for these types of dog-and-pony shows, and little of what the company shared that day was directly related to the consumer electronics audio/video segment that’s of prime interest to our readers. But I’ve covered the firm’s CE technology for decades now, and this move from their old Secaucus, NJ campus...
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Rob Sabin Posted: Aug 12, 2013 0 comments
At any given moment, we’re usually working on six to eight test reports among various staffers. Of those, perhaps two or three products might be the “latest and greatest” while the rest falls more into the bread-and-butter category—another $600 or $1,000 receiver, maybe another bookshelf speaker system. As I looked over our recent slate of reviews, I was indeed struck by how conventional the mix appears to be. And yet, as I dug a bit deeper, I came to see how well it represents technology trends that have come to define the audio/video space, circa 2013.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 24, 2013 Published: Jul 25, 2013 31 comments
Readers who follow developments in audio/video electronics might have heard back in May that Home Theater's parent company, Source Interlink Media, acquired its chief competitor Sound & Vision. These were the two biggest print magazines serving the A/V enthusiast.

It was announced on Monday that, beginning with the October issue, Home Theater and Sound & Vision will be merged, and only one magazine will go forward under the Sound & Vision brand.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 16, 2013 7 comments
For the last several years, our annual January pilgrimage to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show has been all about someone else’s toys. Handheld smartphones and tablets, wearable technology (now, what is that about?), fashion earphones, smart appliances, electric car-charging stations, streaming pocket-sized speakers, you name it. It’s been awfully quiet on the A/V front…until now.

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