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Al Griffin Posted: Mar 28, 2016 1 comments
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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 109 comments
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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
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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 12 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 19 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 9 comments
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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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Al Griffin Posted: Feb 24, 2016 12 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I recently purchased a 5.1 Klipsch Reference Premiere speaker system and a Pioneer Elite VSX-90 receiver. The Klipsch front towers are capable of being bi-amped, and the Pioneer receiver has a bi-amp output setting. Is there a sonic benefit to bi-amping speakers? —Michael Holly

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Al Griffin Posted: Feb 18, 2016 4 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I’m on a vinyl kick. I recently purchased an Audio-Technica LP120 USB turntable and am converting a few of my old LPs. I have it connected to a Sony AVR and am listening through my Klipsch Reference RB-5II bookshelf speakers. Now I’m thinking about searching for a vintage amp or receiver. I’ve read good things about the Marantz 1060 integrated amp (circa 1975), which is rated at 30 watts per channel. I also hear good things about some of the old Pioneer gear. I want to crank old classic rock, and I know the RB-5IIs can handle it. Any suggestions on what I should set my sights on? — Lew Collins/Via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Feb 10, 2016 4 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Is there any way to connect my old Technics SH-GE90 Equalizer/Digital Sound Processor to my new Onkyo TX- NR838 receiver? The Technics is capable of signal manipulation, but what I really miss is the graphic display of audio waveforms on its front panel. If this is not possible, are there any similar devices that connect via HDMI?—Mark Goldberg, Rochester, NY

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