Al Griffin

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Al Griffin Posted: Sep 03, 2014 6 comments
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Q I hope you can help me. I am old school: born in the early 60s, rocked out in the 1970s.  I had a nice JVC stereo receiver that I bought in 1985, but it died after a couple of resistors got fried. What can I buy to replace it?  I would like to play my vinyl records so I need a phono input. I also have a nice Onkyo Cassette Tape deck and a Technics Compact Disc player I want to use (both with the old red and white jacks).  Plus I have four speakers that use copper wire to clip to the back of the receiver. Major volume potential is a requirement as I need to crank my 1970s rock! I don’t want to break the bank doing it, either. —Scott Wellington, Marietta, GA

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Al Griffin Posted: Aug 28, 2014 2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

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: Aug 21, 2014 6 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I recently bought new Magnepan speakers. I’m using them with a Pioneer SC-07 reciever. I am amazed by the sound, I but have been told that my Magnepans would really come alive with more power. Am I missing out? The sound is great compared with what I heard from my previous system. I've also been told that a tube amp would really make my Magnepans sing. Is that the case? And what kind of budget would I need to get something better than what I currently have? —Terry T.

A I’m going to dispense with my usual AV advisor role for this question and instead act as your therapist. Do you find it difficult to appreciate good things in life? To live in the moment? Because what I’m detecting here are distinct signs of Audiophilia Nervosa.

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Al Griffin Posted: Aug 14, 2014 2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q: I have a Yamaha 7.1-channel AV receiver in my system that’s set up to power a 5.1 speaker system. Very seldom do I hear sound coming out of my surround speakers when watching movies on Blu-ray, though I do occasionally hear sounds like thunder. I have even boosted the output of the surround channels relative to the fronts, and it doesn’t make a difference. What’s going on?—Chuck Schumm / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Aug 07, 2014 6 comments
Q I’ve heard that sealed subwoofers sound better than ported ones with music, but that ported subs handle LFE in movie soundtracks better. I want a sub that will sound good in my large, open living room with both music and movies. Do people only use sealed subs in smaller rooms? How will a ported model sound different when playing music?—Matt Carlton
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Al Griffin Posted: Jul 31, 2014 1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I recently went to my local electronics store to check out the TVs. Every set, whether 4K or 1080p, was displaying 4K programming, and I have to say that even the 1080p sets looked great when showing 4K. Here’s my question: Do 1080p TVs downscale 4K video, or does the 4K server perform that function before passing the signal on to the TV? —Bill Carman / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Jul 24, 2014 2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I need to replace an old receiver that has a phono input for my turntable. Do I need to get another receiver with a phono input, or can I just use the receiver’s Tape or Aux inputs instead?—David L. Waller 

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Al Griffin Posted: Jul 17, 2014 5 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Can you recommend an affordable device to connect an iPhone or iPod to an old AV receiver and still get good sound? — Stan Reed 

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Al Griffin Posted: Jul 10, 2014 16 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q If I have a budget of $1500 to buy a subwoofer, should I buy one great sub or two good $750 subs? They would be used equally for both movies and music. Also, how do you connect more than one subwoofer to receiver? —Raphaël Rainville, Montréal QC, Canada 

Al Griffin Posted: Jul 10, 2014 5 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,250

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Great black levels and screen uniformity
Mostly accurate color
Good set of streaming options
Low-glare screen
Minus
No gamma presets or adjustments

THE VERDICT
While it’s not quite the deal you get with Vizio’s lower-cost E series HDTVs, this M series set offers excellent performance at a very good price.

Vizio opted to take some bold steps for their 2014 lineup of LCD TVs. The first was to get rid of 3D—no huge loss there, since most folks don’t watch 3D outside of movie theaters anyway. The second was to add a full-array local-dimming backlight—and not just to some of the new models, but to all of them. The entry-level 55-inch E series set that we reviewed in the July/August issue featured 12 dimmable zones. For the 60-inch M602i-B3 under scrutiny here, that number gets bumped up to 36. Do all those extra zones make the M602i-B3’s black-level performance three times as good? Read on to find out.

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