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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
Picture
Sound
Extras
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
Picture
Sound
Extras
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
Picture
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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David Vaughn Posted: Jul 29, 2016 0 comments
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Sound
Extras
Football Hall of Famer Mike Webster of the Pittsburg Steelers won four Super Bowl rings throughout his 17-year NFL career. He retired in 1990 and was enshrined seven years later, but his life would go downhill from there: Five years later, he was dead from a heart attack. The sad story would have stopped there if it weren’t for a junior pathologist in the Allegheny coroner’s office whose relentless search to know why led to the discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. As more cases came to his attention, this Nigerian-born doctor took on one of the most powerful institutions in the world—the NFL.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jul 22, 2016 2 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Leading a fur expedition in the early 1800s, frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is left for dead by one of his companions who is afraid of being attacked by Native Americans. Somehow Glass survives and begins to hobble back toward civilization, facing many obstacles, looking to exact revenge.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 22, 2016 10 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $399

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Exemplary value
Clean, punchy bass
Optional wireless transmitter works like a charm
Minus
Doesn’t go quite as deep as the big boys

THE VERDICT
When I heard I was going to review a budget $399 subwoofer, I dreaded the month I’d miss my reference subs. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

There are two things that I really love in life. The first is the entrepreneurial spirit that grows within someone and inspires them to take a chance with an idea, create a company, and do their best to make it succeed. The second is great bass. As longtime readers know, I’m a bass-oholic—and if my wife would let me, I’d have four (or more) subwoofers in my media room, because there’s no such thing as too much bass!

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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 17, 2016 2 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Moby Dick is considered one of the great American novels. Most don’t know—I sure didn’t—that the book was based on the true events that took place in the winter of 1820 when the whaling ship Essex left the port of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and sailed around the tip of South America looking for prey. While in a South American port, they hear a tale of a mammoth whale that can be found in the Pacific, so they venture dangerously far from land and get a lot more than they bargained for when they find that said whale has a vengeance against humanity.
David Vaughn Posted: Jun 01, 2016 9 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,499

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Class A/B design
Impressive sound quality
Equal power to all channels
Minus
Very heavy
Lacks balanced inputs

THE VERDICT
At $1,499, this amp is an incredible steal. While it doesn’t quite reach the heights of its more expensive competition, it still offers a helluva view.

My introduction to Monoprice happened about 10 years ago when I needed some interconnects for a system I had designed for someone on a tight budget. I’d read how great a value the company’s offerings were and decided to take the leap. Not only was my friend happy to save a few bucks from the store brands, he didn’t sacrifice any of the quality, either. From day one, the interconnects worked like a charm. Since then, Monoprice has been my go-to source for home theater cables.

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