David Vaughn

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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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David Vaughn Posted: Feb 20, 2014 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Interactivity
It’s the summer of 1964 and Guy Patterson is back from the Army and working in his parents’ appliance store in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania. When the shop closes down for the night, Guy puts on his favorite jazz album and plays the drums to his heart’s content. Some old friends have started a band, and when their regular drummer breaks his arm, they come looking to Guy to fill in for a college talent show—which they win thanks to Guy’s decision to pick up the tempo in their breakout song. They end up getting a gig at a local pizza parlor and eventually catch the eye of a roving talent scout. Before they know it, their song is on the radio, they’re signed by Play-Tone records, and they’re off to California.

David Vaughn Posted: Jan 02, 2014 6 comments

CX-A5000 Surround Processor
Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
MX-A5000 Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE CX-A5000, $3,000; MX-A5000, $3,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Audiophile pre/pro sound quality
Impeccable build quality
Apple AirPlay support
Minus
Amp performance merely competent
Limited network interface

THE VERDICT
Yamaha’s new pre/pro is a surefire contender, though its matching 11-channel amplifier wasn’t quite the same caliber.

If you’re in the market for a new AVR, you can spend countless hours researching all of the various manufacturers’ Websites and, when all is said and done, still have 20 or more models to choose from that have all the bells and whistles you want. The same can’t be said for the surround processor market, which is extremely limited by comparison.

Most companies offer only one model—if that—and it’s generally a reconstruction of their flagship AVR minus the amp section. Don’t expect a discounted price, though; with such a limited audience for pre/pros, you can expect to pay top dollar even when the amps are absent. That said, this isn’t such a bad deal because you can then choose an amplifier that mates well with your particular speakers. Furthermore, by having the electronically noisy amps in a separate enclosure, energized by their own dedicated power supply, you can theoretically enjoy improved audio quality. Of course, you also get an increased footprint in your rack with additional black boxes. The quest for audio nirvana certainly isn’t easy.

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David Vaughn Posted: Nov 08, 2013 0 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Audiophile sound quality
Outstanding build quality
Successful YPAO room correction
Minus
Pedestrian power output
Suboptimal video processing
Crowded, hard-to-use remote

THE VERDICT
A $700 receiver that puts the audio first.

The AVR is the Grand Central Station of our home entertainment systems. Everything runs into one box from our source components and then out to our speakers and displays for audio and video. In the process, we hope the video signal moves through the AVR without being harmed and that the amplifiers in the receiver mate well with our speakers, providing them plenty of juice without any distortion or clipping.

David Vaughn Posted: Jul 18, 2013 1 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $150 At A Glance: Unique design • Middling Web browser with built-in Wi-Fi • Extremely loud disc loading

Every year a new generation of Blu-ray players hits the market from the major electronics manufacturers. While 3D was the last big advancement to hit the streets, the latest rage is 4K upconversion in the flagship players, but you won’t find that on the budget-friendly Samsung BD-F5900. What you will get for $150 is a 3D-capable player with a plethora of streaming options, a built-in Web browser, and Wi-Fi capability. With all these goodies, is there a reason to pay more for a Blu-ray player? Read on and see…

David Vaughn Posted: Jun 19, 2013 0 comments
Picture
3D-Ness
Sound
Extras
Coerced into playing baseball by his father, Victor connects with the hit of his life and sails one over the fence. His beloved dog, Sparky, thinks it’s a game of fetch, races after the ball, is hit by an oncoming car, and dies. Terribly depressed and lonely, Victor is inspired by his science teacher to bring his dog back to life. Successful in his task, his home-sewn creature draws the attention of an evil classmate when he escapes, and Victor is forced to reveal his secret on how to raise the dead. All hell breaks loose when the town is suddenly overrun by reanimated pets, and it’s up to Victor and Sparky to save the day.
David Vaughn Posted: Jun 10, 2013 4 comments
Picture
3D-ness
Sound
Extras
When Toy Story launched the digital animation genre in 1995, you just knew that every Hollywood studio would eventually set up its own department to cash in on the latest movie trend. Throw in vampires with the Twilight phenomenon and 3D with Avatar, and it was just a matter of time before all three concepts would be mixed together into one picture, hence we get this entertaining animated tale from Sony Pictures.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 10, 2013 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
From the outside looking in, Robert Miller is living the American dream. He’s a Wall Street billionaire who lives a life of luxury, has a loving wife and family, and is financially set for life. Unfortunately for Miller, he’s living a lie, and the house of cards he’s built is about to come crashing down.
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David Vaughn Posted: May 22, 2013 1 comments
Part 1
Picture
Sound
Extras
Interactivity
Part 2
Picture
Sound
Extras
Interactivity
The seven Harry Potter novels have sold more than 450 million copies and are the best-selling book series in history. With such a rabid and loyal fan base, it was a foregone conclusion that Hollywood would come knocking on author J.K. Rowling’s door. In 1998, Warner Bros. purchased the rights to the first two novels for more than $1 million, and director Chris Columbus had the pleasure— and challenge—of casting all the various characters who would entertain audiences for the next 10 years.

The three main characters, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger, were perfectly cast with Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson, respectively. Audiences got to see these three kids grow up as people and actors over the years, and Warner Bros. executives were able to keep them and the rest of the all-star cast together until the final film in 2011.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 08, 2013 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
One of silent film’s biggest stars, Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), enlists the talents of a down-on-his-luck Hollywood screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden) to help edit a screenplay she wrote in hopes of launching her big comeback. Little does Gillis know, the poor lady is off her rocker. But when you’re broke, you have to take work when you can get it. The pair watch her old movies with her trusty butler—who hides his own dirty secret—at the helm of the camera, but the more time Gillis spends with the ex-starlet, the more he becomes accustomed to the lavish lifestyle she provides him.

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