Al Griffin

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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 26, 2013 4 comments
Q My Onkyo HTS-S5400 home theater system has a front USB input where I plug in my iPhone to play music. I recently bought a new Sony Xperia L Android smartphone, however, and would like to use that for music playback instead. The Onkyo’s manual says the USB input is for iPhone/iPod playback only. Is there any special cable or app that I can use to play music through the system with my Android phone? —Mila Arasu via email
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Al Griffin Posted: Aug 28, 2014 2 comments
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Q I want to amplify just the dialogue on my TV. Is it possible to do that? —Glenn Goudeau

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Al Griffin Posted: Jun 16, 2014 0 comments
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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: Dec 10, 2013 0 comments
Q My friend uses an iPod touch to stream Pandora Internet Radio over a speaker system at his outdoor tiki bar but is having a problem with some songs playing louder than others. I have gone into his iPod’s General Settings menu and activated the Sound Check button, but that feature only seems to work for tracks played in iTunes. Is there an in-line device with 3.5mm connectors that can hook up to the iPod’s headphone jack to level the audio output?—J. Glemming / Calabash, NC
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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 20, 2014 4 comments
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Q I would like to get my feet wet with high-res audio, but don’t want to make a huge hardware investment. I’ve found some 192/24 tracks I’d like to buy from What would be the next step after I download these in ALAC format to my MacBook Air? Can I play them via my Mac’s optical output to the optical input on my preamp-processor (Emotiva UMC-1)? Can I stream them to said pre-pro via Apple TV or Airplay? Since the UMC-1 doesn’t have a USB input, do I need to buy a Dragonfly DAC or something like that? How about a USB headphone amp?  I obviously want a hardware setup that preserves the highest resolution. —Steve Burbidge / Minneapolis, MN

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Al Griffin Posted: Feb 20, 2014 4 comments
Q I recently learned that my television’s 120 Hz feature is global—when I turn it on, it remains on for all sources. I'm not a fan of this because I don't like seeing the “Soap Opera Effect” on TV and movie sources, though I do like it when playing videogames because the higher frame rate gives them a silky-smooth look. Here’s my question: Do you know of any TVs with a 120 Hz feature that can be turned on or off for specific inputs? —Ricky Meadows / via email
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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

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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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 17, 2013 3 comments
Q How much amplifier power is too much power? My speakers have a 75-to-100-watt RMS power rating and are connected to an entry-level Yamaha receiver, so it’s safe to say they aren’t being pushed anywhere near their potential. I plan to upgrade to separates in the near future, however, and need to know how powerful an amp I should buy. Should I go with too much amp (200 watts RMS per channel), or just enough (125 watts RMS per channel)? —Audiophile Noob via e-mail
Al Griffin Posted: Jan 24, 2014 0 comments
There’s no doubt that Smart TVs have been getting smarter. While the earliest Smart TVs were limited to streaming movies and basic Web browsing, today’s models may encompass voice or gesture commands, the ability to “throw” your favorite photos to the screen from your smartphone, facial recognition for customized user menus, or even the ability to recommend shows based on your past viewing.
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Al Griffin Posted: Jan 01, 2005 0 comments

So your new HDTV and surround sound system are all set up and ready to rock, but you still need a DVD player. What's that? You saw one at Wal-Mart for 50 bucks but can't remember the brand?


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