Al Griffin

Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
Filed under
Al Griffin Posted: Aug 21, 2014 6 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I recently bought new Magnepan speakers. I’m using them with a Pioneer SC-07 reciever. I am amazed by the sound, I but have been told that my Magnepans would really come alive with more power. Am I missing out? The sound is great compared with what I heard from my previous system. I've also been told that a tube amp would really make my Magnepans sing. Is that the case? And what kind of budget would I need to get something better than what I currently have? —Terry T.

A I’m going to dispense with my usual AV advisor role for this question and instead act as your therapist. Do you find it difficult to appreciate good things in life? To live in the moment? Because what I’m detecting here are distinct signs of Audiophilia Nervosa.

Filed under
Al Griffin Posted: Aug 14, 2014 3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q: I have a Yamaha 7.1-channel AV receiver in my system that’s set up to power a 5.1 speaker system. Very seldom do I hear sound coming out of my surround speakers when watching movies on Blu-ray, though I do occasionally hear sounds like thunder. I have even boosted the output of the surround channels relative to the fronts, and it doesn’t make a difference. What’s going on?—Chuck Schumm / via e-mail

Filed under
Al Griffin Posted: Aug 07, 2014 6 comments
Q I’ve heard that sealed subwoofers sound better than ported ones with music, but that ported subs handle LFE in movie soundtracks better. I want a sub that will sound good in my large, open living room with both music and movies. Do people only use sealed subs in smaller rooms? How will a ported model sound different when playing music?—Matt Carlton
Filed under
Al Griffin Posted: Jul 31, 2014 1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I recently went to my local electronics store to check out the TVs. Every set, whether 4K or 1080p, was displaying 4K programming, and I have to say that even the 1080p sets looked great when showing 4K. Here’s my question: Do 1080p TVs downscale 4K video, or does the 4K server perform that function before passing the signal on to the TV? —Bill Carman / via e-mail

Filed under
Al Griffin Posted: Jul 24, 2014 2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I need to replace an old receiver that has a phono input for my turntable. Do I need to get another receiver with a phono input, or can I just use the receiver’s Tape or Aux inputs instead?—David L. Waller 

Filed under
Al Griffin Posted: Jul 17, 2014 4 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Can you recommend an affordable device to connect an iPhone or iPod to an old AV receiver and still get good sound? — Stan Reed 

Al Griffin Posted: Jul 10, 2014 6 comments

PRICE $1,250

Great black levels and screen uniformity
Mostly accurate color
Good set of streaming options
Low-glare screen
No gamma presets or adjustments

While it’s not quite the deal you get with Vizio’s lower-cost E series HDTVs, this M series set offers excellent performance at a very good price.

Vizio opted to take some bold steps for their 2014 lineup of LCD TVs. The first was to get rid of 3D—no huge loss there, since most folks don’t watch 3D outside of movie theaters anyway. The second was to add a full-array local-dimming backlight—and not just to some of the new models, but to all of them. The entry-level 55-inch E series set that we reviewed in the July/August issue featured 12 dimmable zones. For the 60-inch M602i-B3 under scrutiny here, that number gets bumped up to 36. Do all those extra zones make the M602i-B3’s black-level performance three times as good? Read on to find out.

Filed under
Al Griffin Posted: Jul 10, 2014 17 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q If I have a budget of $1500 to buy a subwoofer, should I buy one great sub or two good $750 subs? They would be used equally for both movies and music. Also, how do you connect more than one subwoofer to receiver? —Raphaël Rainville, Montréal QC, Canada 

Filed under
Al Griffin Posted: Jul 03, 2014 5 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q Are there any inexpensive options for converting LPs and cassette tapes to digital files on a laptop via USB? I know of several software programs (such as Audacity) that can capture and edit the audio files, but what about the hardware? I own quite a number of LPs and cassette tapes that I would like to archive, and I don’t want to have to buy a USB-equipped tape deck (provided there is such a thing) and turntable. Instead, I would prefer to connect my components directly to the converter or use my AV receiver’s record loop ouput. —Eric Tang / via email

Filed under
Al Griffin Posted: Jun 26, 2014 0 comments
Q I own a Panasonic TC-P60ZT60 plasma TV. I also have a Pioneer SC-1323-K A/V receiver, the first I’ve owned with HDMI connections.

Here’s my question. Having dialed in the Panasonic’s internal settings to my satisfaction, am I losing picture quality by routing video sources through the receiver instead of connecting directly to the TV? Some receivers are praised based on the video processing chips they use, but do these actually do anything to improve picture quality when the source is HDMI? I’m using a Comcast cable box and a 1080P Roku to stream home movies from a PC located in another room. I also watch DVDs on rare occasion through a standard DVD player.—Rich Wegrzyn   


Enter your Sound & Vision username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.