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David Vaughn Posted: Jul 24, 2015 0 comments
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American Sniper introduces us to Chris Kyle, on his first tour of duty in Iraq as he’s protecting an advancing Marine patrol. Through the scope of his sniper rifle, he spies an Iraqi mother as she hands a grenade to her preteen child with the intention of killing as many Americans as they can. Kyle must choose to take the life of this kid or risk losing his brothers in arms. To Kyle, the choice is clear: He must protect the troops at any cost. And so we can understand why he went on to become the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, with 160 confirmed kills during his four tours.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jul 09, 2015 0 comments
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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ended with Katniss being rescued from the Hunger Games arena, leaving Peeta behind. Wracked with survivor’s guilt, she finds herself in the mythical District 13, reuniting with her little sister, mother, and best friend, who somehow escaped District 12 after the Capitol and its nefarious President Snow bombed it into oblivion following Katniss’ escape. District 13 is ready to go on the offensive against Snow and his cronies, but they need Katniss’ rebellious and inspiring message to unite the other districts in the uprising, and it’s up to Plutarch Heavensbee to enhance our heroine’s image for the masses.
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David Vaughn Posted: Jun 18, 2015 0 comments
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During a routine spacewalk from the Space Shuttle, disaster strikes, leaving the Shuttle destroyed and two astronauts stranded in the darkness with death lurking just over the horizon. With their oxygen running low, the two decide to make a desperate play to reach the International Space Station and secure a ride back to Earth, but the journey won’t be easy or uneventful.
David Vaughn Posted: Jun 10, 2015 0 comments

NEAR IG 6/IGS 12 Outdoor Speaker System
Performance
Build Quality
Value

NEAR 6XL Amplifier
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $4,656 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
In-ground installation allows the speakers to almost disappear
Incredibly clear audio at high, and low, volume levels
Designed to last in any type of weather
Minus
Expensive
Back-breaking work to install permanently

THE VERDICT
A speaker system designed for the rigors of outdoors with the performance of high-end indoor loudspeakers.

As a home theater die-hard, I spend way too much time indoors, regardless of the season. But my wife encourages me to get my vitamin D whenever the weather is nice, and there’s nothing like spending a leisurely Saturday afternoon lying by the pool while listening to music or some San Francisco Giants baseball. I’ve had an outdoor speaker system installed for the last 15 years. I think those speakers cost me under $1,000 (including amplification), and whereas they sounded great when new, they’ve gotten progressively worse as the years have gone on—even though I uninstall them in the winter to keep them from getting waterlogged when the rainy season hits. This isn’t a knock on the unnamed company that made my outdoor speakers; it’s just an acknowledgement of what happens when drivers bake in the California sun and have cheap “all weather” plastic enclosures.

David Vaughn Posted: May 21, 2015 36 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
11.1 channels with Audyssey MultEQ XT processing
Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D, and DTS:X surround
Full 4K video processing upgradable to HDCP 2.2
Minus
Limited range for remote sensor

THE VERDICT
Noticeably improved sound quality over its predecessor plus Atmos, Auro-3D, and DTS:X surround processing make the Marantz AV8802 a top-notch upgrade.

It’s been a little more than two years since I reviewed the Marantz AV8801 surround processor, and I liked that model so much, it never left my system. At the time, I thought it was the best-sounding pre/pro I had ever owned, and I had no real desire to upgrade anytime soon. That all changed last fall when Dolby announced that Atmos for the home was on its way. I started thinking how I could finagle four extra speakers into my room—because for some reason, I have this overwhelming desire to stay on the cutting edge of home theater technology, regardless of the personal expense.

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David Vaughn Posted: May 21, 2015 0 comments
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As World War II is nearing an end in Europe, a Sherman tank is dispatched to a crucial crossroads in order to cut off a battalion of German soldiers trying to regroup with their comrades for one last push against the Allies. In command of the American force is a battle-hardened army sergeant nicknamed Wardaddy (Brad Pitt), who has promised his crew he’ll get them home alive, but when the taskforce is attacked on the way to the rally point, he has a difficult decision to make—press on and defend the position or go back for reinforcements?
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David Vaughn Posted: Apr 17, 2015 4 comments
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Thomas is disjointed and confused as he wakes up on a rising elevator not knowing who or where he is. When he finally regains his focus, he’s surrounded by a group of teenage boys and realizes he’s not in Kansas anymore. He’s in the Glade, an enclave surrounded by giant walls that hide a maze, a mostly off-limits area that’s protected by the Grievers—cybernetic organisms that come out at night and will kill anyone who has ventured into the maze and hasn’t exited when the sun goes down.
David Vaughn Posted: Apr 02, 2015 8 comments
In Part 1 of my Atmos upgrade diary, I wrote about my unconventional home theater space with its vaulted ceiling and open floor plan, and how I eventually decided to lower the ceiling and install built-in speakers to achieve my Atmos dreams. Here, in Part 2, I’ll describe how I went about rebuilding my system for Atmos and talk about my first listening tests.
David Vaughn Posted: Mar 27, 2015 0 comments
Here at Sound & Vision we’ve given quite a bit of coverage to Dolby Atmos so far, and rightly so. Editor Rob Sabin has called it “the most discernible advance in home theater sound since the introduction of lossless digital audio formats on Blu-ray. And it’s one that leaves Dolby Pro Logic IIz and DTS Neo: X (height and width-channel surround formats) in the dust.”
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David Vaughn Posted: Mar 18, 2015 0 comments
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Wallace has not been lucky in love. He dumped his last girlfriend when he caught her cheating on him and was so dejected he ended up dropping out of medical school and moving in with his sister and her young son. Shut away from the world for almost a year, he decides to attend his ex-college roommate’s party where he meets the perfect girl and gets her phone number right before she drops the bombshell that her boyfriend is waiting for her at home—some guys can’t catch a break. After Wallace’s previous relationship, he doesn’t want to be “that kind of guy” and discards her number. As luck would have it, he runs into her a few weeks later at the movies and the pair decide to just be friends—but what if something more develops?

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