Al Griffin

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Al Griffin Posted: Jul 02, 2015 0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I’ve been checking out the JBL Charge 2 Bluetooth speaker but had doubts regarding its performance with metal and other heavy types of music. Would the Charge 2’s limited bass hinder the sound quality of heavy music in any way? —Abhay Bajpai / via e-maill

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Al Griffin Posted: Jun 25, 2015 6 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I’m in the market for a new 7.1 home theater receiver but have been told that many lower-end models do not pass HDMI audio signals from an Apple TV box or Blu-ray player to their Zone 2 or Speaker B outputs. Is this true? I don't want to invest in a new receiver if I can't play Internet radio from my Apple TV, or Pandora from my Blu-ray Player, to the speakers on my patio. Is there a way to identify receivers that do or do not support this? —James Goar

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Al Griffin Posted: Jun 18, 2015 15 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I have a 7.1-channel surround system with four dipole surround speakers. My plan is to move the back surround speakers to the ceiling in my home theater and use them for down-firing height speakers in a Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 setup.  The room is 12 x 20 feet with a flat, 8-foot-high ceiling. Will I get a good Atmos experience with this setup? How will it work for DTS:X? —Dan Spaughs

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Al Griffin Posted: Jun 11, 2015 13 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I have TVs connected to both of my Onkyo TX-NR636 receiver’s HDMI outputs and am finding that I need to have both sets switched on before the receiver will pass any video content. Any suggestions on what settings to look for?—Chris Hauer

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Al Griffin Posted: Jun 04, 2015 3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I am new to the world of home theater, but I’m building a house soon and want to plan for the possibility of a home theater setup. I like the idea of having in-ceiling speakers running the surround sound. Is it possible to set up a Dolby Atmos system that exclusively uses in-ceiling speakers?—Jonathan Huizingh / via e-mail

Al Griffin Posted: May 29, 2015 4 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
High-quality 4K video upconversion
Superb detail enhancement and noise reduction
Excellent digital-to-analog audio conversion
Minus
As pricey as it is heavy
Slim feature set compared with competition

THE VERDICT
Pioneer’s flagship 4K-upconverting universal disc player is something special, even if it’s late to the party.

What’s new in the world of Blu-ray? 4K, that’s what. Expected to arrive sometime in late 2015, the UHD Blu-ray format should offer not just UHD-resolution video but also high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities, an extended color gamut, and up to 16-bit color encoding, among other advanced features. Something to get excited about, right?

Now that I’ve dropped that tidbit, let me tell you about the Pioneer Elite BDP-88FD, a universal player that can handle Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, SACD, DVD-Audio, regular DVDs, and CDs—just about everything except UHD Blu-ray. And it lists for $2,000. Excited? No? Well, let’s see if we can work you up.

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Al Griffin Posted: May 28, 2015 7 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I want a great-sounding home theater system (preferably wireless) that won’t break the bank. I’m interested in the Sonos system (PLAYBAR, PLAY:1 rear speakers, and SUB). The only downside is that Sonos doesn’t support AirPlay—a deal-breaker for me since much of my music is on Apple devices (MacBook, iPad, and iPhone). Someone told me I don’t really need AirPlay to play my iTunes library through Sonos. Is that true?—Paul Fox

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Al Griffin Posted: May 25, 2015 3 comments
Q I have a 7.1 setup and am interested in upgrading my receiver/processor to one that supports Dolby Atmos. My situation won’t allow me to easily run new wires. Is there a good wireless speaker option for adding channels from a receiver/processor? Or would I be better off trying to retrofit/hide new wire runs? —Mason Guy / via e-mail
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Al Griffin Posted: May 21, 2015 12 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I went to Best Buy looking for a TV with the highest possible refresh rate. (I like to watch sports.)

The salesperson there explained to me that buying a 240Hz TV would be a waste of money since there are no broadcasts with that frame rate—TV networks, cable, and satellite providers all transmit either 60Hz or 120Hz signals. He also said that if a set receives a signal that doesn’t match from its native refresh rate (240 Hz, for example), it can’t convert it. Was the salesman right, or I should follow through with my initial plan to buy a 240Hz set? —Nelson Aleman

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Al Griffin Posted: May 12, 2015 1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I’m planning a significant overhaul of my home theater and am leaning toward using the configuration suggested for Auro-3D: 10.1, with four corner speakers and one overhead voice-of-god speaker. In replacing my current AV receiver with separates, I am concerned about buying amplifiers that I can keep over the next several advances in surround sound tech/features. Here’s my question: When using height speakers, is it important that they be amplified at the same power as those near ear-level?—Quest Fanning / Brooklyn, NY

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