Audio and video often seem like nothing more than numbers games. So much is specified in some kind of figure: 7.1 channels, 200 watts, 800 lumens, 90 decibels. Sure, it's simplistic and pandering, but on the whole it's good. If Match.com could deliver this level of precision, I'd be a much happier man.
Many A/V enthusiasts dream of having a custom theater designed by home theater pioneer and Sound & Vision columnist Theo Kalomirakis. But mystery novelists Jonathan and Faye Kellerman (Capital Crimes, When the Bough Breaks) have something twice as nice: two theaters designed by Theo.
Most video display demos aren't terribly convincing. First, the manufacturer spends 15 minutes telling you about his whiz-bang new technology. Next, he turns on the display and shows you pictures of flowers, vegetables, and Japanese girls in bikinis.
Some people have the common sense to get alarm systems. Others set up all sorts of lights and timers to make the bad guys think they're home when they're not. I thought I was pretty smart for being a member of the latter group - until last week when my neighbor asked, "Were you gone Monday and Tuesday? I noticed your light timer was on."
What's the most popular audio evaluation tool in the world? It's RadioShack's model 33-4050 sound level meter. What's the most controversial audio evaluation tool in the world? That same little $45 meter.