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Al Griffin  |  Apr 11, 2016  |  2 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

Al Griffin  |  Apr 07, 2016  |  3 comments
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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

Al Griffin  |  Mar 30, 2016  |  1 comments
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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

Al Griffin  |  Mar 28, 2016  |  2 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

Al Griffin  |  Mar 24, 2016  |  9 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

Al Griffin  |  Mar 16, 2016  |  21 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  |  Mar 10, 2016  |  2 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

Al Griffin  |  Mar 02, 2016  |  8 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

SV Staff  |  Feb 29, 2016  |  1 comments
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Q I am finally upgrading my Pioneer Elite receiver and plan to replace it with a new model that has HDMI 2.2 inputs. Unfortunately, the new receiver that I have in mind lacks a phono input. To get that feature, I’d have to fork over $500 more for a step-up model. Is there any way to use the phono preamp in my old receiver and hook it up to the new one? Also, how good are the built-in phono preamps in receivers compared to standalone models? —Kevin Olds /Via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  Feb 24, 2016  |  14 comments
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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

Al Griffin  |  Feb 18, 2016  |  4 comments
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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

Al Griffin  |  Feb 10, 2016  |  0 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

Al Griffin  |  Feb 08, 2016  |  1 comments
Q I recently purchased a Bose SoundTouch 130 soundbar and have a Samsung BDP7500 Blu-ray player connected to it. Here’s my question: There’s a setting in the Samsung player’s menu for speaker size and distance. Since I’m using a soundbar that gets calibrated using a headset in five positions, is it necessary to also adjust the Blu-ray player’s speaker size/distance settings, or should I just leave those alone? I called Bose tech support, and they had no answer for me. —Peter Palagonia/Las Vegas, NV
Al Griffin  |  Feb 03, 2016  |  10 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I want to check out the world of High-res audio, but being a Mac and iTunes user presents challenges in that arena. I have spent hours researching Hi-Res-friendly computer music playback alternatives, but each seems to have drawbacks (and costs). Is there a way to use iTunes for Hi-Res playback, or do I have to wait for Mother Apple to eventually condescend to selling and supporting Hi-Res music? —Scott Oakley, Phoenix, AZ

Al Griffin  |  Jan 27, 2016  |  4 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I have a Denon A/V receiver hooked up to a 5.1-channel speaker system. The setup works fine for movies, but every now and then I want to listen to good ol’ stereo recordings ( I have a modest collection of CDs stored as Apple lossless audio files).  I am tempted to purchase a high-end integrated amp for just this purpose. Which gets me to my question: Can I hook both my receiver and the integrated amp to my front L/R speakers? —Nick Gruin

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