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Al Griffin

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Al Griffin Posted: Feb 14, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $249

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive sound quality for Bluetooth
Audiophile-friendly look
Pain-free setup
Minus
Pricey

THE VERDICT
It might not be high-rez or high end, but Mass Fidelity’s Bluetooth receiver is a great option for casual listening.

Bluetooth gets a bad rap in the hi-fi world, and for good reason: In contrast to other wireless audio technologies that let you stream uncompressed CD-quality audio from a PC or portable device, Bluetooth subjects the signal to lossy compression. If you’re an audiophile with a reputation to uphold, the story pretty much ends there.

Filed under
Al Griffin Posted: Feb 13, 2014 3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I need a new TV. Here’s what I want: LED-backlit LCD, 55- to 60-inch screen, thin (2 inches or less deep), great picture.  I also want it to be truly dumb, with as few Smart features as possible. My research has turned up a new NuVision Lucidium NVU55FX10LS, a 55-inch model that appears to have a good picture. Can you suggest another dumb TV with an equally good picture that might be cheaper?  —Dennis A. Fuller / Dallas, TX

Al Griffin Posted: Feb 09, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,099

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Accurate color (after adjustment)
Good screen uniformity
Affordable price
Minus
Half-baked Cloud TV user interface
Not-great remote control

THE VERDICT
Smart TV shortcomings aside, Toshiba’s LCD offers very good picture quality at a low price.

With plasma TV tech seemingly on a path to early, unwarranted extinction, prospective TV buyers unwilling to spring for OLED soon won’t have much choice other than to purchase an LED-backlit LCD TV (aka “LED TV”). And while the performance of such sets has improved quite a bit over the years, the better ones are still expensive for what you get—particularly in comparison with same-sized plasmas. So, what’s a quality-conscious consumer to do? Roll over and get eat the high prices? Not necessarily.

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Al Griffin Posted: Feb 06, 2014 9 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I’d like to know if it would be a waste to use a power amplifier connected to the preamp outputs of an AV receiver with the same rated power. The AV receiver I have in mind is the Denon AVR-3313CI.—Morris Barber / via e-mail

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Al Griffin Posted: Jan 30, 2014 0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Both my TV and Marantz AV8801 surround processor provide video adjustments. If I tweak the settings for both, will they conflict with each other? Also, if the Marantz does a good job handling video processing, will there be any advantage to using a high-end player like the Oppo BDP-93 instead of a PS3 for Blu-ray playback?—Michael McGehee / Macon, GA

Al Griffin Posted: Jan 24, 2014 0 comments
There’s no doubt that Smart TVs have been getting smarter. While the earliest Smart TVs were limited to streaming movies and basic Web browsing, today’s models may encompass voice or gesture commands, the ability to “throw” your favorite photos to the screen from your smartphone, facial recognition for customized user menus, or even the ability to recommend shows based on your past viewing.
Filed under
Al Griffin Posted: Jan 23, 2014 5 comments
Q I recently updated my old receiver with a Pioneer VSX-1123-K. The difference in picture and sound quality is fantastic. I had also planned to update my old Blu-ray player with an Oppo, which I hear has superior picture quality due to its use of a Marvell Qdeo video processing chip. I’ve heard that the VSX-1123-K also uses the same processor. Does that mean I wouldn't see a difference in picture quality if I upgraded to the Oppo? —Al Baran / Stratford, CT
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Al Griffin Posted: Jan 16, 2014 0 comments
Q Sony has produced some Blu-ray discs that are mastered at 4K resolution and have an expanded color gamut called xvYCC. Is this the same thing as Deep Color or the DCI color space on Panasonic Plasma TVs?  Also, do I need to calibrate my TV for xvYCC, Deep Color, or DCI instead of the Rec. 709 color space to see expanded color with these discs?— William Lee via email
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Al Griffin Posted: Jan 11, 2014 2 comments
Joe Kane is a name that should be familiar to most, if not all, videophiles. The man is almost single-handedly responsible for getting manufacturers to put advanced picture settings in TVs that let calibrators make grayscale and CMS adjustments so your set stands half a chance of displaying accurate color. Without Joe’s vigilant advocacy, TV picture quality now might very well still suck as badly as it did back in 1989.

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