Al Griffin

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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 10, 2013 0 comments
Q My friend uses an iPod touch to stream Pandora Internet Radio over a speaker system at his outdoor tiki bar but is having a problem with some songs playing louder than others. I have gone into his iPod’s General Settings menu and activated the Sound Check button, but that feature only seems to work for tracks played in iTunes. Is there an in-line device with 3.5mm connectors that can hook up to the iPod’s headphone jack to level the audio output?—J. Glemming / Calabash, NC
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Al Griffin Posted: Dec 03, 2013 8 comments
Q I’m wondering about the best setup to stream music from my computer. I currently use an Apple TV connected to an Onkyo receiver to stream Apple Lossless files from my Mac via AirPlay. Is there a better way? Should I add an outboard DAC or switch to a different network streaming device? —Rafael Cremonese / via e-mail
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Al Griffin Posted: Nov 28, 2013 1 comments
Q I’m in the market to buy a new receiver. The speakers I’m using are powered models that I plug directly into the back of the receiver. My question: Will it hurt or decrease the life of the speakers if I instead plug them into a regular AC outlet on my wall? New receivers I’ve checked out with features that I like do not provide AC outlets. —Bill Major / via email

You won't be hurting or decreasing the life of your powered speakers by plugging them into a regular wall AC outlet. Instead, you’ll be helping them.

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Al Griffin Posted: Nov 25, 2013 1 comments
Q Why at this time of near-perfect plasma TVs are there no sets available in the 65-to-85-inch range? I would like to consider one of the new Panasonic or Samsung models for my home theater but require a set with a screen size larger than 65 inches.—Steve Stolte / Cedar Rapids, IA
Al Griffin Posted: Nov 22, 2013 0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent picture quality for an LCD HDTV Innovative remote control
Minus
Overly wide Arc Stand base

THE VERDICT
Samsung’s F8000 Series represents an evolutionary leap in the company’s LCD TV offerings.

My last experience with a Samsung TV (aside from the company’s KN55S9C OLED, reviewed in the November issue) was a memorable one. The company had just endowed its Smart Hub interface with voice control, and, consequently, it was the first TV I ever found myself talking at. Or screaming at, rather, since that feature proved useless in practice. Another reason was its performance: The Samsung was one of the best sets I’d tested in recent memory.

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Al Griffin Posted: Nov 21, 2013 1 comments
Q I have been reading A/V magazines for years, as well as conducting my own research, and am still a little confused about how to select the right amplifier to use with MartinLogan electrostatic speakers. The literature I’ve read clearly indicates that the ohm rating of a receiver is just as important, or more so, than its wattage per channel when considering an A/V receiver to pair with speakers. Does the ohm rating of MartinLogan electrostatic speakers make them incompatible with typical AVRs?
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Al Griffin Posted: Nov 20, 2013 0 comments
In a recent Ask S&V column, I answered a reader question about North American-made audio: Does anybody make audio gear over here anymore? One name I listed in my response was Canadian speaker-maker Paradigm, a company that manufacturers a wide range of speaker models, subwoofers, and audio electronics in a 225,000 square-foot facility located in Mississaugua, Ontario. Sound & Vision has rarely met a Paradigm speaker or electronics component from Paradigm’s sister-brand Anthem that it didn’t like, so the company is obviously doing something right. To get an overview of just what is happening under the roof of that 225,000-square foot facility, Paradigm’s marketing dept. invited me up for a day to check things out. Ready for a tour? Let’s go!
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Al Griffin Posted: Nov 14, 2013 2 comments
Q Can a videogame be played on a TV that’s set to the THX Movie mode rather than Game mode? What’s the difference? —Michael McGehee / Macon, Georgia

A The THX Movie mode on THX Certified displays is, in the company’s own words, a preset with “specific settings for gamma, color point, luminance, overscan, and other settings...intended to provide the optimum settings for playback of movie titles, but can be used for viewing other content as well.” In case there’s any lingering question here, “other content” would include videogames. But before you grab your controller, let’s review the pros and cons of using a TV’s Game mode.

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Al Griffin Posted: Nov 11, 2013 2 comments
Q How big a subwoofer would I need to produce good home theater-quality bass in a 3,100-cubic-foot room? Would the Hsu VTF-15H be up to the job, or is there a better choice in my target price range (around $1,000)? —Steven Winter / via e-mail
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Al Griffin Posted: Nov 07, 2013 4 comments
Q Can you explain what it is about an asynchronous USB DAC input on a receiver that would enable it to sound superior to an Ethernet connection streaming the same file over a home network? —Chris Hebner / Delano, MN

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