Error message

  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 52 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 53 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 52 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 53 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 52 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 53 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 52 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 53 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 52 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 53 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 52 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 53 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 52 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 53 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 52 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 53 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 52 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 53 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 52 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in views_handler_field_comment_link->render_link() (line 53 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment_link.inc).
  • Warning: array_flip() [function.array-flip]: Can only flip STRING and INTEGER values! in DrupalDefaultEntityController->load() (line 173 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/includes/entity.inc).
  • Warning: array_flip() [function.array-flip]: Can only flip STRING and INTEGER values! in DrupalDefaultEntityController->cacheGet() (line 350 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/includes/entity.inc).
  • Notice: Undefined variable: admin_links in include() (line 34 of /mnt/www/sites/soundandvision_drupal/sites/all/themes/hometech/templates/views-view--writer.tpl.php).

Thomas J. Norton

Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 09, 2011 0 comments
For its 2011 lineup of AV receivers, Pioneer has gone Apple in a big way. The four new models, introduced at a press event in San Francisco, range in price from $249 for the VSX-521 to $549 for the top-of-the-line VSX-1021.

To various degrees, depending on model, the receivers incorporate a high level of compatibility with iDevices from Apple, including iPhone and iPad, with no external dock required. All four feature at least 110 watts per channel (120W per in the VSX-1021, all measured at 1kHz and 8Ω) using traditional class-AB amplification. The two lower end models sport 110W x 5 and the top two are equipped to drive 7 channels. Among their features are compatibility with today's most widely used audio formats (including Dolby Pro Logic IIz's height-channel option), 3D pass-through via multiple HDMI 1.4 inputs, and Pioneer's proprietary MCACC room calibration. All of the new units are Bluetooth-ready (with the addition of an optional adapter).

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 02, 2011 0 comments
Price: $1,800 (3D glasses: $130/pair) At A Glance: THX 3D certified • Superb color and resolution • Poor black level

THX Goes 3D

I was wandering through the Magnolia section of my local Best Buy the other day when I struck up a conversation with a visitor from Oregon. She had recently bought a 42-inch LCD set. I asked her why she didn’t consider a plasma. She thought for a moment, and the first thing that popped into her head was that someone had told her that plasmas could break if you shake them. A vision of our Sacramento Governator jiggling a 70-pound plasma like a pair of maracas as he bossa-novas down the capitol steps for the last time quickly passed. I assumed she meant a plasma could break if you bump it.

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 01, 2011 0 comments
Actually, I do have bananas. A whole bunch of them, in fact. Not the edible variety, but rather banana plugs, those handy little devices for connecting your speakers to you’re A/V receiver or amplifier(s).
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 23, 2011 0 comments
Price: $1,500 At A Glance: Crisp, vivid imagery • Superb audio playback • Limited features

Back to Basics

The fundamental purpose of an optical digital disc player is to play back optical digital discs. While that may be self-evidently redundant, there’s a wide selection of players on the market that offer a numbing range of additional, gee-whiz features. These include such things as SACD and DVD-Audio playback, streaming and downloading of movies and other Internet content (sometimes wirelessly), and of course, today’s top banana, 3D.

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 17, 2011 0 comments
Price: $2,500 At A Glance: Deep, powerful bass • Sweet, extended treble and uncolored midrange • Can be unforgiving at high levels

H-PAS the Bass

For the past two years, Atlantic Technology has been working on a new speaker designed around what the company claims is a revolutionary bass-loading technique. Invented by Philip Clements of Solus/Clements Loudspeakers, H-PAS (for Hybrid Pressure Acceleration System) has intrigued trade-show goers since Atlantic started sneak-peeking it in late 2009. The speaker, the Atlantic Technology AT-1, is now in full production.

For a company known for its dedication to producing outstanding home theater speaker systems (its 8200e system won a 2008 Home Theater Award), launching what is, at present, essentially a standalone two-channel model might seem a bit odd. But Atlantic is so pumped about the potential of this design approach that the effort to get the AT-1 to market has been highly focused.

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 24, 2011 4 comments

Performance
Value
Build Quality
Price: $21,480 At A Glance: Highs to die for, uncolored midrange, tight bass • Cinematic soundstage • Flawless build quality

Going for the Beryllium

Focal first became a household audio name in the 1980s. Located in Saint-Etienne, France, the company furnished driver units for a number of well-known speaker manufacturers, among them Wilson Audio Specialties. Wilson continues to use an exclusive version of a Focal inverted titanium-dome tweeter. With that exception, Focal has long since kept all of its driver production in-house for its own complete lineup of loudspeakers for the consumer, professional, automotive, and multimedia markets.

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2011 1 comments
The new Thiel floorstanding SCS4T (about $3700/pair), mentioned again further down in this report, is a modest speaker by Thiel standards. The single coaxial driver has the advantage of coincidence. That is, the tweeter is mounted coaxially with the woofer, so the two drive units do not produce comb filtering dips in the speaker's response at off axis angles. Coaxial drivers are also used in more upmarket models from Thiel, and also by KEF and Tannoy, but otherwise are relatively rare.

Yes, I heard more dramatically impressive sound at the show, but the Thiel room, one of the first I visited, sounded so honest and right that for me it represented the sort of value that most of the higher-end products could not manage. Of course, a pair of Thiel subwoofers were helping it along in the deep bass!

And unlike nearly all of the speakers heard at the Venetian, the SCS4T is ready for home theater. The older, stand-mount SCS4 (about $2400/pair, available in singles) should be a good match. It uses the same coaxial driver and can be used as a matching center channel, even mounted on its side (a trick that other non-coaxial 2-way speakers cannot do without sonic consequences.

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2011 0 comments
As with the Thiels, we mentioned these Sony speakers earlier in this report. But also like the Thiels, they deserve another mention. No other speakert impressed me as much as this one did at the show. I'm enough of a show veteran to realize just how much the room, associated components, and program material can effect the sound of a system, but under the conditions in the Sony room, in a 2-channel setup (four of the speakers were also being used in a surround system in a different room) they impressed me about as much as any speaker ever has at a trade show. The sound was punchy, dynamic, and full-bodied without being overblown. And they made both modern and classical music sound real—few speakers can do as well on both.

The SS-AR1's (I sense an homage in that name) have been on the market in Japan since 2006, but have recently been upgraded in the voicing and crossover department.

But will we ever see them for sale here in the states? Possibly, but this show appeared to be a trial run to judge dealer interest. That's been a problem with Sony speakers in the past, and there have been some very good ones. High-end dealers are reluctant to take on Sony speakers, and Sony dealers are reluctant to take on speakers this expensive—currently about $27,000/pair in Japan.

Associated equipment included Pass Laboratories monoblock solid state amps and an EMM Labs (Meitner) Reference SACD/CED player.

Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2011 0 comments
Another potential best-of-show system has to include the Heritage Series Getz, a new model from Sweden's Marten loudspeakers. With their all ceramic drivers from Acuton (apart from a passive radiator, one of the large cones visible in the photo) they were very different in balance from the Sony speakers, above. Faster on their feet and even more sparklingly detailed, but less weighty and majestic sounding. And at $20,000, cheaper, though not exactly a blue-light special.
Filed under
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2011 1 comments
While I can't say I had any complaints about the sound of this system featuring Lamm tubed electronics and Wilson Alexanria X-2 MkII, at around $675,000 (2-channels only, of course) it was a bit, um, over the top.

Pages

X
Enter your Sound & Vision username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.
Loading