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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
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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  |  13 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
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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
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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
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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

Al Griffin  |  Jan 21, 2016  |  14 comments
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Q I own an Integra receiver, Polk Audio speakers, and an Oppo BDP-105D Blu-ray player with a high-end DAC. I recently bought an iMac and am using it to download and store high-res audio files. What’s the best way to connect my iMac to the Oppo player? Both are set up in the same room about 20 feet apart. —Neil Levy

Al Griffin  |  Jan 13, 2016  |  4 comments
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Q In a picture accompanying S&V’s recent article on VIZIO’s Reference UHDTV, I noticed a coaxial cable input on the back panel next to the HDMI connections.  This made me wonder why coaxial cable is used to convey over-the-air and cable HD signals, but HDMI connections are used to carry them the last six feet to our screens. Is the issue copy protection in the HDMI cable?  Or is it about compression/decompression? —Ben Hurwitz / Greensboro, NC

Al Griffin  |  Jan 09, 2016  |  7 comments
With TV makers focused on releasing 4K TVs with an expanded range of capabilities (HDR, wide color gamut, etc.) at CES 2016, the idea of a consumer 8K TV seems far off. Japanese broadcaster NHK has been demonstrating 8K for several years now at trade shows, however, and it plans to use the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as a platform to debut an 8K-res TV broadcast format.
Al Griffin  |  Jan 09, 2016  |  0 comments
If there’s one thing we know for sure about an Ultra HD broadcast standard, it’s that its still under development. But will TV stations really end up broadcasting 4K-resolution programming? Will the average viewer even care?
Al Griffin  |  Jan 09, 2016  |  0 comments
What you’re looking at is ELAC’s forthcoming wireless speaker. In truth, it’s a wireless powered speaker module—the company hasn’t settled yet on which of its bookshelf speaker models, the B5 or B6, will eventually get the wireless treatment.

Also shown is ELAC’s Discovery Music Server...