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Al Griffin Posted: Apr 11, 2016 16 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Can I use a soundbar like the Yamaha YSP-5600 as a center channel in a traditional 5.1/7.1 or Atmos setup? Would it sound better than a standard center-channel speaker? Also, does it have to be set up on its own first or last to blend in with the rest of the system? —Oliver Johnson / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Apr 07, 2016 4 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I’m wondering if my center speaker is damaged. When I watch movies with 5.1 soundtracks, voices sometimes sound strange, as if the actor is speaking with a lisp. I seem to hear it most with movies streamed from Netflix, and occasionally on cable movie channels like HBO. Do you know of any test DVDs or other material I can use to evaluate my system and speaker set up? —Craig A. Childress / Lake Charles, LA

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 30, 2016 3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I recently built a pool house next to my backyard pool.  I used to listen to music poolside by spooling Ethernet cable to a wireless access point located in the bushes outside, streaming tracks from my iPad to a portable Bluetooth speaker. With the new construction, however, I plan to connect outdoor speakers to an AV receiver located inside the pool house. For the receiver, I’m looking at Onkyo’s TX-NR545, which has built-in Airplay and Wi-Fi along with Bluetooth. Here’s my problem: I don’t think the Bluetooth range from my iPad will be sufficient to reach the AV receiver inside the pool house. Can I tap the Onkyo AVR’s other wireless capabilities to stream music using the iPad? —John Reebel

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 28, 2016 3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I am in the market to buy an AV receiver with Dolby Atmos for my basement home theater. I have short-listed the Yamaha RX-A3050, Denon AVR-X5200W, and Marantz SR7010, but it appears that with each of these receivers I will need to buy an additional amplifier to run a Dolby Atmos 7.1.4 configuration. Is this the case? Are there any receivers that support 7.1.4 right out of the box without requiring an external amp? —Bhaskar Vooradi / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 24, 2016 81 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I am looking to buy a Pioneer Elite AV receiver, but I hear that they have problems with 4K/Ultra HD video passthrough. Is this correct? —Charlie F. / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 16, 2016 22 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q What new features are coming to AV receivers in 2016? I guess my question is more about what features might be missing from 2015 models, which already have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth aptX, Airplay, High-res FLAC and DSD support, 4K pass-through, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X processing. I am interested in the latest Marantz receivers, specifically the NR-1506 and SR-5010, but noticed that those models were announced back in June 2015. Should I wait for new 2016 models? —Jason York

Al Griffin Posted: Mar 14, 2016 0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Great brightness for the price
Dynamic iris control enhances contrast
Very good 3D performance
Minus
Low Lamp Control setting greatly diminishes brightness
Manual focus, zoom, and lens shift controls

THE VERDICT
Thanks to its dynamic iris, Sony’s 1080p projector beams bright images with great contrast and delivers performance so good that you may not care it’s not 4K.

The last time I had my hands on a Sony product, it was a 4K projector priced at ten grand. That model, the VPL-VW350ES, had many positive attributes (I gave it a Top Pick stamp, after all), along with one weakness: somewhat lackluster contrast compared with that of projectors that provide a dynamic iris control.

Al Griffin Posted: Mar 14, 2016 7 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Very good brightness for the price
Excellent contrast
Fully motorized lens controls
Minus
Slight enhancement artifacts

THE VERDICT
JVC’s DLA-X550R continues the company’s streak of producing high-value projectors that deliver high-contrast images.

Most projector manufacturers refresh their product lines every fall like clockwork, but JVC opted to sit things out for 2014. The main reason (I suspect) was the state of flux surrounding the HDMI standard, which at that point was evolving to a new 18-gigabit-per-second version designed to accommodate a full range of 4K/Ultra HD bells and whistles, including 60-hertz frame rate, 4:4:4 color sampling, and high dynamic range.

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 10, 2016 21 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I own a Sony BDP-BX57 Blu-ray player that can play SACDs. I also own a Pioneer VSX-820-K AV receiver that can only decode two-channel DSD signals from SACDs via its HDMI inputs. To get the best performance when playing multichannel SACDs, should I set the HDMI output on the Blu-ray player to bitstream? Also, which of the following listening modes on the AVR should I choose: Auto Surround, Direct, or Pure Direct? —Chris Murphy / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 02, 2016 11 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I don't have room for a surround setup in my home theater, so I’ve decided to buy a pair of floorstanding tower speakers.  My TV has a super-wide viewing angle.  Are there any speakers with a super-wide listening angle?  I don't want to be the only person in my family sitting in the "sweet spot.” —Edward G. Jones

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