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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 13, 2017 0 comments
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Sound
Extras
Charlize Theron is back as the evil Queen Ravenna, who betrays her sister Freya (Emily Blunt) with an unthinkable act of cruelty leading to her path down the dark side of magic; like Elsa from Frozen, she possesses an icy power. She heads north to train an army in order to conquer the realm, with one caveat: They are forbidden to fall in love, which is exactly what happens to Eric and Sara, leading to Freya going postal on her most treasured Huntsmen.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jan 09, 2017 4 comments

PB16-Ultra Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value

SB16-Ultra Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,499, $1,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Powerful, deep bass response
Infrared remote and Bluetooth app control
User adjustable EQ presets
Minus
Extremely heavy
Large size can make optimal placement challenging

THE VERDICT
If you want foundation-shaking bass and have the floor space to accommodate one (or two) of these beasts, you’ll be the envy of the neighborhood on movie night.

I’ve had a home theater going on 20 years now, and one thing has remained constant through those years: upgrades. It got so bad at one point that my wife had me enter into a contract with her in 2004 that my latest subwoofer upgrade would be my last for the next 10 years. Desperate to make the purchase, I reluctantly agreed and signed my name on the dotted line. Fortunately, the subwoofer just happened to be an SVS PC-Ultra, a cylindrical monster that kept my subwoofer itch scratched for a full decade. But as soon as the contract was up in 2014, I did add a second subwoofer to the mix, a Hsu VTF-15H MK2, which has been filling my room with copious amounts of bass ever since.

David Vaughn Posted: Dec 02, 2016 0 comments
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Sound
Extras
By the mid-1960s, it was estimated that 90 percent of the humpback whales were gone from the Earth when a moratorium was put in place throughout most of the world. Fortunately, the population started to grow again, and there’s now an estimated 80,000 throughout the world. I’m old enough to remember the “Save the Whales” campaign in the mid-1970s as well as George and Gracie from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home in 1986 where it took the songs of the humpbacks to save Earth from sure destruction by an alien vessel.
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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 18, 2016 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Very powerful on music
Outstanding build quality
Small size
Minus
Tepid output at the very bottom

THE VERDICT
One of the most musical subwoofers I’ve ever auditioned, and it’s damn pretty, too!

Founded in 1972 in Ontario, PSB Speakers has grown from one man’s passion for audio into an international speaker company with more than 50 distributors and approximately 1,000 dealers. Paul Barton got his start in audio when he was just 11 years old, making speakers with his father. As he became more confident with his designs when he was in high school, he started to sell his speakers to college students at the nearby University of Waterloo. From the beginning, Barton’s goal was to create high-performance, highvalue loudspeakers for music and, eventually, for home cinema applications.

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 11, 2016 21 comments
Earlier this year, shortly after the release of the first Ultra HD (UHD) Blu-ray Disc player from Samsung, I wrote about the challenges of getting the player's full-bandwidth video signals to travel over longer distances in “UHD Blu-ray vs. HDMI: Let the Battle Begin”. Unfortunately, nearly 8 months later, consumers whose displays are more than 15 feet away from the Samsung UBD-K8500 are still in a pickle when it comes to choosing the proper HDMI cable to get the menu screen to properly come up on screen.
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David Vaughn Posted: Oct 27, 2016 0 comments

Audio Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support
Anthem Room Correction (ARC)
11 amp channels in one box
Minus
ARC doesn’t calibrate dual subwoofers individually
Pricey

THE VERDICT
One of the finest-sounding AVRs I’ve had the pleasure to audition, though it’ll cost ya.

Much like a luxury sports car, the flagship AVR is expected to have every bell and whistle under the hood in order to appeal to the well-heeled crowd that’s willing to drop a few thousand dollars on a piece of electronics. The real bummer is that even if you spend the extra cash on a flagship, there’s no such thing as totally future-proofing your investment, due to the rapidly changing landscape of the home theater business.

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David Vaughn Posted: Oct 14, 2016 0 comments
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With Erudite’s leader overthrown, Four’s mother is now in control of Chicago, and instead of getting on with their lives, it’s payback time for those who oppressed the people under the previous leadership. Tris wants no part of this, and she and Four lead a team of rebels on a daring escape beyond the wall where they face an even larger threat. Tris is then befriended by the mysterious leader, but Four’s spidey sense tells him to be on guard—and for good reason.
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David Vaughn Posted: Sep 02, 2016 0 comments
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The film begins with the words, “This is a true story,” not based on one. The screenplay by Chuck Hogan (based on the book from Mitchell Zuckoff) steers mostly clear of the politics surrounding the attack and tells the story from the perspective of the people who were on the ground on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi. Regardless of the politics, four Americans lost their lives that night; Ambassador Chris Stevens, information officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALs who were civilian contractors working out of a secret CIA annex near the U.S. diplomatic compound.
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David Vaughn Posted: Aug 26, 2016 0 comments
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Sound
Extras
Earth is being reshaped by mysterious alien invaders. Their first wave took out electricity, the second caused earthquakes and tsunamis, the third was a virus leading to mass death, the fourth is the invasion of the planet, and the fifth…you’ll have to see the movie—no spoilers from me!
David Vaughn Posted: Aug 09, 2016 10 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $50

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Easy to install
Tames unwanted vibrations
Minus
Why aren’t these standard issue?

THE VERDICT
If you have touchy neighbors who complain about vibrations from your subwoofer, you need these in your system.

I love bass, always have, always will. The same can’t be said for my wife, who constantly tells me, “Turn it down. You’re going to wake the dead, or worse, go deaf!” Part of my problem is that my home rests on a raised foundation with a wood subfloor underneath my carpet, which means my dual-subwoofer setup transmits plenty of vibrations from the subwoofer to the floor, which then resonate through the rest of the house. In fact, on certain low-frequency scenes in movies, you can literally see my windows vibrating. But is this really a problem?

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