Mark Fleischmann

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 05, 2013 3 comments
In every review I write of a surround receiver or speaker system, I tap out a graf on associated equipment used to audition the product. You can always find it between the product description and the listening notes. Whenever I read an audio review, I feel cast adrift if the reviewer doesn't disclose what's in his reference system. After all, the receiver I use to review a set of speakers, or the speakers I use to review a receiver, may exert a significant effect on the product's performance and how I perceive it. So does the room, for that matter, and maybe I'll tackle that subject someday. I use asymmetrical long-wall placement in a room with six sides where no two sides are the same length. That should make for an interesting blog. In the meantime, here's a more detailed description of what's in my rack, moving from top to bottom.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 08, 2009 0 comments
The Obama transition team has asked that the DTV transition be postponed beyond its previously scheduled February 17, 2009 deadline. We'll cover this story in our News section next week when we have time to breathe.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 12, 2014 0 comments
You might suspect the top-firing driver in Sonus Faber's Lilium tower ($70,000/pair) makes it a Dolby Atmos enabled speaker. But you'd be wrong. That's a bass driver, not a height driver, and it's complemented by a bottom-firing passive radiator. The 3.5-way system is triwired and, as you'd expect from the luxury-minded Italian manufacturer, dressed to kill. Price: $70,000/pair.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 17, 2007 0 comments
What your money buys in budget, moderate, and high-end surround receivers.

At the heart of a typical home theater system is the surround receiver. True, the video display might be the emotional heart of your system—but only if you're willing to settle for tinny sound. You might also go bleeding-edge and ditch the surround receiver for high-end separates, namely a preamp/processor and multichannel amp. In that case, I salute you. But I aim today's homily at the average Joe or Jack or Jill who wants the best surround sound available from a one-box receiver.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 16, 2009 0 comments
A three-month delay of the DTV transition is in the works at Congress. Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV) has introduced a bill that would delay the switchover from analog to digital broadcasting from the currently scheduled February 17th to June 12th.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 07, 2008 2 comments
Formerly known under the informal project name of Blackbird, the THX Media Director has emerged from R&D and we got a sneak peak. Metadata are authored into Blu-ray (or whatever) discs. The player might handle the metadata with a firmware upgrade or you might need a new player. Your surround processor, possibly the Lyndorf pre-pro certified for this purpose, then uses the metadata to adjust aspect ratio, color temp, picture mode, surround processing, and all those other settings that are either a bear to deal with or you (well, other people) might not be knowledgable to fool with. If this thing flies, it'll bring high-end home theater performance out of the tweaker ghetto. (Pictured, two early THX Media Director certified products, top: Anchor Bay DVDO VP50 video processor. Bottom: Lyngdorf D-1 surround pre-pro.)
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 09, 2009 0 comments
Room Caster is the name of a high-end wireless technology that connects devices within a room. THX is working on it with San Francisco-based Radiient Group. It works with high-bandwidth signals in the 5GHz band, with as many as eight channels and resolution of up to 24 bit, 192kHz. The only compression used is whatever's inherent in the source signal. The demo showed it working smoothly. Likely uses will be in surround receivers, source components, and docking devices. Prototype transmitter pictured.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 13, 2007 0 comments
THX has a new trick up its sleeve. In addition to Blackbird, that is.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 10, 2012 0 comments
THX's long-promised Media Director technology has finally found its way into products including two Sharp Elite LCD TV models and the Acurus ACT4 preamp-processor. Media Director automates the selection of video parameters for Blu-ray and DVD titles, saving the less tech-savvy consumer a giant pounding headache. This can be something as basic as selecting 2D or 3D mode or something more subtle. In the example somewhat fuzzily shown, under "Video Processing Flags," are two entries reading: "Video content is intentionally noisy." And: "Video content contains film grains" [sic]. It works not only with Media Director encoded content but also with regular content when the disc is played in a BD-Live enabled Blu-ray player which will go online to grab the data from the THX database. If you're not ready to ante up for a top-line TV for the kitchen, you might still get limited Media Director functionality in a non-Media Director product. It's great that this newbie-empowering technology is finally seeing implementation.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 07, 2008 0 comments
At CES 2008, THX began talking about Media Director, a program that would get hardware and software to talk to one another via metadata, automatically running movies with the right audio and video parameters. THX is now assembling a database of 1000 popular movie titles, codenamed Aardvark, to assemble the metadata needed for each piece of content. And it's now using the HDMI Infoframe Analyzer, shown here, to test audio and video devices to ensure that they shake hands and exchange metadata with one another, sort of like digital beings swapping business cards in a bar.

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