Rob Sabin

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Rob Sabin Posted: Dec 11, 2014 3 comments
Home theater enthusiasts know that when it comes to performance there is no real substitute for an AV receiver connected to discrete speakers spread around the room. But soundbars, those popular standalone TV speaker systems, have been getting better and better with each passing year, and some very respectable options have been turning up in the premium category. Here’s our current list of the best you can buy, with recommendations under $500, from $500 to $1,000, and above $1,000. For the full review (where available), click on the title of each product. —Rob Sabin
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Rob Sabin Posted: Nov 21, 2014 6 comments
This year’s CEDIA Expo in Denver could have been dubbed “Dolby Atmos Expo,” with no fewer than a dozen active demos at the show including Dolby’s own. It makes sense that CEDIA would be the Atmos coming-out party. As compelling as Atmos can be (check out Dan Kumin’s impressions of our first Atmos system), I’m of the mind that the customer shopping for a soundbar isn’t about to toss that idea in favor of a discrete component system just because he’s heard Atmos. On the other hand, custom integrators building media and theater rooms are in good position to bump what would have been a conventional 5.1-channel or 7.1-channel system to a 5.1.4- or 7.1.4-channel Atmos system. They, along with enthusiasts like you and me who map our own upgrade paths, will drive this market.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Oct 24, 2014 2 comments
If This Is Hell, Count Me In

I got a good belly laugh as I was proofreading our Perfect Focus section for the November print issue. I’d just finished putting together our Letters section, in which I’d responded to a reader inquiry about Dolby Atmos with one of my usual geeky diatribes. Then I turned to Perfect Focus and saw...

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Rob Sabin Posted: Sep 10, 2014 Published: Sep 11, 2014 0 comments
In a keynote speech that marked the beginning of CEDIA’s 25th anniversary celebration this week in Denver, Sony Electronics President and COO Mike Fasulo touted an “Install Innovation” theme and took attendees through a variety of new and growing profit opportunities that Sony, along with industry partners who joined Fasulo on stage, is presenting to today’s integrators.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Sep 05, 2014 5 comments
At the highest level of execution, building a home theater is an expression of fine art, an engineering as well as aesthetic endeavor that combines technical know-how with inspired interior design, all with the idea of creating a room that wows its inhabitants no matter if the lights are on or off. The end game of a great theater room can be summed up in a single word: impact.
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Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 08, 2014 1 comments
Tom Nousaine Loved Audio, the Bass Most of All

As we went to press for the upcoming September print issue, word began circulating about the passing of Tom Nousaine, long-time former contributor to Sound & Vision, its predecessor Stereo Review, and several other home and car audio magazines. He was 69 years old.

Tom was a one-of-a-kind character, a business manager by day for Ameritech (one of the Baby Bells) prior to his retirement, and a tireless audio enthusiast and writer in the rest of his waking hours. He was a contrarian...

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jul 02, 2014 0 comments
Hi-Res Audio and Headphones Go Hand in Hand

Only the eldest among Sound & Vision readers would know that the use of the term high-performance to define a better class of headphones is a relatively new development. Back in the day, high performance headphones were the only kind you could buy. Classics like the Koss Pro4AA (born in 1970 and still available in a slightly revised form for $99) and the Sennheiser HD414 (pictured here) were the first crossover ’phones that found popularity with both engineers and consumers. They brought a new kind of private and intimate listening experience to ’70s and ’80s audiophiles.

Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 27, 2014 Published: Jun 28, 2014 13 comments
The Dolby Atmos surround-sound format for home theaters made its debut this week with product announcements from several manufacturers and live demos in New York City at the Consumer Electronics Association's CE Week trade show. The technology that Dolby first introduced to theaters in 2012 offers the potential for a far more immersive audio experience than the traditional 5.1- and 7.1-channel systems that are still mostly employed today, and having experienced Atmos in the cinema, I admit I was pretty pumped heading into the demos.

And I wasn't let down. Atmos in the home environment seems to work—surprisingly well, in fact. Caveats? Yeah, there are a few worth watching out for that I'll get to later. But overall, I'll go on record that this is probably the most discernable advance in home theater sound since the introduction of lossless digital audio in the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats on Blu-ray. And it's one that leaves all the pre-existing height- and width-channel surround formats— including Dolby Pro Logic IIz and DTS Neo:X—in the dust. Finally, this may be one that will truly make it worth the trouble of adding those extra speakers. Maybe...

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jun 03, 2014 0 comments
As a longtime observer of the audio/video scene, I can state with confidence that things have changed more in the last five years than they did in the prior 25. I say that with full acknowledgement of the breakthroughs I’ve been lucky enough to report on during my career, including the introductions of the VCR, camcorders, Laserdiscs, Compact Discs, DVDs, high-definition television and its HD disc formats, surround sound in its various incarnations, flat panels, digital music downloads, and others.
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Rob Sabin Posted: May 28, 2014 1 comments
Bang & Olufsen, the Danish firm best known for the high performance and high-tech industrial design of its audio and video gear, has introduced a unique, motorized HDTV.

In what amounts to a wow-inducing visual treat, the show on the new BeoVision Avant starts well before you begin watching TV. Pressing the power button on the set’s one-piece, milled aluminum remote control causes the stand-mounted, 55-inch Avant to begin shifting.

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