David Vaughn

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David Vaughn Posted: Sep 03, 2014 3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $6,395

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Outstanding dynamics and headroom
Equal power to all channels
Seven-year transferable warranty
Minus
Very, very heavy
Recommended for two independent 20-Ampere power outlets

THE VERDICT
This amp never broke a sweat driving my 4-ohm speakers at insanely loud levels.

There are quite a few people in the audio world who have become household names, at least among audiophiles. I’m talking about legends like Paul Klipsch, Amar Bose, Saul Marantz, Henry Kloss, Bob Carver. But these aren’t the only influential contributors to the business and history of hi-fi. Among the lesser-known audio icons is Morris Kessler, the founder of ATI.

Mud
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David Vaughn Posted: Jul 16, 2014 0 comments
Beware of men who don't traffic in the truth.

Picture
Sound
Extras
Two young boys, Ellis and his best friend Neckbone, meet a mysterious drifter named Mud who’s hiding out in an abandoned boat that’s beached on a deserted island in the middle of the Mississippi. Like a good Southern boy, Mud has a way with words and fascinates the boys with a series of stories about his life and why he’s hiding out on the island. He says he’s there to meet the love of his life, Juniper, who’s waiting in town for him, but he can’t go and get her because a group of bounty hunters are after him for killing a man in Texas. Neckbone is very suspicious of the stranger, but Ellis is a sucker when it comes to love and makes an executive decision to help Mud extricate himself from his predicament.
David Vaughn Posted: Jun 18, 2014 5 comments

S300 Speaker System
Performance
Build Quality
Value

X12 Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $17,700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Realistic, dynamic sound
Outstanding build quality
Carries on the fine M&K tradition
Minus
Expensive

THE VERDICT
M&K’s system is perfect for the movie lover and extremely capable for the discerning audiophile.

It was in February 2000 when I was in a hi-fi store looking at some new electronics and stumbled upon a salesman giving a speaker demonstration to a married couple. I decided to listen in to see if anything piqued my interest. The salesman went through a number of different speakers, and I didn’t hear anything remarkable until his last demo: M&K Sound S150s coupled with an MK350 subwoofer. I don’t recall the exact track he played, but my jaw dropped when I heard the sound emanating from the speakers. It was as if the entire wall came alive, and I couldn’t pinpoint which speakers were active. Much like the wand picking the wizard in Harry Potter, these speakers picked me, and I knew I’d have to own them.

Sadly, it took me three years to convince She Who Must Not Be Crossed to give her blessing, but I’ve been in audio bliss for over 10 years now with a trio of S150s across the front soundstage and four SS150s across the rear of my home theater.

David Vaughn Posted: Jun 06, 2014 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $180

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Outstanding audio and video performance
Loaded with streaming options
Unique screen mirroring with Samsung smartphones and tablets
Minus
Suspect build quality
Controls are on top of the player, limiting placement options

THE VERDICT
A good budget player that makes up in performance and features what it lacks in build quality.

Last week I was playing poker with a bunch of guys and our topic of conversation turned to home theater. I was asked what I was currently reviewing, and when I mentioned the Samsung BD-H6500 Blu-ray player, one of my friends was shocked. “They’re still selling Blu-ray players! Why?” Needless to say, I was shocked, too. When I asked the table of nine other guys, only two said they had watched a Blu-ray movie in the past three months; the rest were getting their movies from PPV (pay per view) or streaming them from Netflix, Vudu, or Amazon VOD.

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 03, 2014 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
After securing victory in the Hunger Games the previous year by sticking the finger to President Snow by threatening suicide, Katniss and Peta must leave their homes and loved ones behind in order to embark on the Victory Tour through the districts. As they travel around the various locales, Katniss begins to sense a rebellion is afoot and believes she’s the unlikely inspiration for the movement. Still, Snow gets the last laugh by announcing a special 75th Hunger Games that will pit previous winners against each other in a winner-take-all showdown in a made-for-TV event that will be a winner in the ratings—take that, Everdeen!
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David Vaughn Posted: May 09, 2014 2 comments

SVS SB-2000 Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value

SVS PB-2000 Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $699, $799

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Room-friendly form factor (SB-2000)
Outstanding build quality
45-day in-home trial period
Minus
No built-in parametric equalizer
Best for moderately sized rooms

THE VERDICT
For rooms smaller than 3,000 cubic feet, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better bass value than what either of these subwoofers offers.

I've loved movies since I was a kid and have been interested in home theater for more than 20 years now. There are many reasons I prefer watching movies at home versus the local cinema: There's no texting or talking, for example, and I can pause the movie if I need a potty break. But the biggest reason I love watching at home is the sound. Don't get me wrong. It's not that the local theater sounds bad; it's just that my home theater sounds better overall, especially when it comes to bass.

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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 23, 2014 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
White House butler Cecil Gaines has a front-row seat to the inner workings of the people’s house as the Civil Rights era begins. Raised in Georgia as the son of a sharecropper, he’s turned into a house servant when his father is murdered and ventures out on his own into the cruel world as a teenager. Though he makes several stops along the way, he eventually ends up in the White House serving a string of presidents starting with Eisenhower and ending with Reagan.
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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 02, 2014 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Clint Eastwood has been a household name for over 50 years thanks to his impressive Hollywood résumé that includes work in TV as Rowdy Yates on Rawhide and as a movie star playing such iconic characters as Dirty Harry, Josey Wales, and Philo Beddoe, but it’s his work as a director that has had the greatest impression on me. Believe it or not, the iconic actor has directed 35 films since 1971 winning two Oscars in the process for Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby.
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David Vaughn Posted: Mar 25, 2014 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Lil (Naomi Watts) and Roz (Robin Wright) have been inseparable from a young age, growing up in a quaint coastal Australian community. When Lil’s husband passes away, the two grow even closer, and their two young boys, Ian and Tom, develop a similar close relationship. Roz’s husband takes a job in Sydney, and with him away, the quartet starts to spend even more time together going to the beach, eating dinner, and drinking heavily with each other. After a night of partying, Ian (Lil’s son) professes his secret love for Roz, she succumbs to his advances, and they wind up sleeping together. Unbeknownst to either of them, Tom spies his mom leaving Ian’s room and decides two can play that game and makes a move on Lil. This opens up Pandora’s box, and the lines between family, friendship, and morality all become blurred.
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David Vaughn Posted: Mar 19, 2014 9 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,200

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Powerful, deep, and taut bass response
Outstanding build quality
Sealed push-pull design
Minus
No built-in parametric equalizer
Pricey

THE VERDICT
M&K Sound calls the X12 the subwoofer, and I can’t disagree with them. This is one of the best subwoofers I’ve ever heard in my room.

M&K Sound got started when Walter Becker of Steely Dan commissioned Ken Kreisel to design a studio reference subwoofer and monitoring system for the Pretzel Logic mixing sessions. Partnering with a high-end audio dealer, Jonas Miller, Kreisel developed a revolutionary subwoofer that led to the creation of M&K. As time passed, word of mouth spread throughout the music and movie industries, and M&K would go on to create systems for leading studios and in-home installations for producers, actors, and recording artists.

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