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Bob Ankosko  |  May 21, 2020  |  0 comments
The inimitable Robin Williams once said, “Spring is nature’s way of saying let’s party.” Living in the Northeast, I couldn’t agree more. Summer’s just around the corner and lockdown rules are finally being loosened to allow parks, beaches, and businesses to open. But the thing is, your backyard never closed. And what better time to take the music and other entertainment you enjoy inside your home to the great outdoors.
Al Griffin  |  May 15, 2020  |  10 comments
Back in fall 2019, Yamaha took a page from the Technics playbook and introduced a series of upscale components aimed squarely at audiophiles. The 5000 series it rolled out consisted of speakers, a preamp/amp, and a belt-drive turntable, each sporting a design that referenced the golden age of hi-fi and a price tag typical of much high-end gear. Yamaha has now added a trio of integrated amplifiers, the A-S series, to its Hi-Fi component lineup, providing audiophiles with a somewhat less pricey, though no less premium, system-building option.
Bob Ankosko  |  May 14, 2020  |  0 comments
Home entertainment in all of its many forms has remained a constant during this time of great uncertainty, providing a welcome distraction from a pandemic that continues to command attention around the world. In the spirit of providing an escape from the unrelenting parade of COVID-19 statistics and prognostications, we offer a summary of Top Pick-worthy products we have reviewed so far in 2020 — any of which could be a valuable addition to your AV setup. It’s an eclectic mix for sure, running the gamut from $300 earbuds made of wood and a like-priced vacuum-based record cleaning system to an assortment of speakers, ranging from a $1,000 soundbar to an $8,000 home theater speaker system with several great options in-between. Enjoy, and drop us a line to let us know how you’re coping.
Al Griffin  |  May 12, 2020  |  0 comments
Denmark’s Lyngdorf Audio has announced the MP-40, a new, entry-level addition to its surround sound processor lineup. Designed for use in smaller installations, the MP-40 is said to “offer all the sonic qualities and performance” of Lyngdorf Audio’s flagship MP-60 processor, but in a more compact and streamlined package.
Al Griffin  |  May 11, 2020  |  4 comments
It’s not at all surprising that self-isolating citizens in the U.S. have been flocking to video streaming services in large numbers since the pandemic arrived. For example, a press release issued last week by the NPD Group, an organization that tracks consumer data, cited a “72 percent increase in the number of Netflix subscriber profiles that were used to stream video each week” following orders from states around the country telling residents to shelter at home. What is surprising is the increase we’re also seeing now in sales of Blu-ray Disc players, a product category in sharp decline after hitting its peak back in 2015.
Al Griffin  |  May 08, 2020  |  0 comments
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), IMAX, and DTS announced this week that SPE will release “hundreds of new titles in the IMAX format over the next two years, including all upcoming SPE and IMAX theatrical releases.” The announcement follows the expansion of IMAX Enhanced content onto multiple streaming services worldwide, including FandangoNOW here in the U.S.
Bob Ankosko  |  May 07, 2020  |  0 comments
When the owner of a magnificent mansion in St. Paul, Minnesota took on a remodeling project, he had something special in mind for his office — one that brought history and modern technology together in a most impressive way.
Al Griffin  |  May 06, 2020  |  0 comments
Wireless multiroom speaker maker Sonos today announced Arc, a new soundbar that brings support for Dolby Atmos soundtracks. The $799 Arc slots in above the $399 Sonos Beam in the company’s soundbar lineup and will serve as a replacement for its current Playbar and Playbase offerings.

Al Griffin  |  May 04, 2020  |  7 comments
Viewing fantasy epics turns out, unsurprisingly, to be a fine way to pass time while social distancing. Over the past few weeks I’ve binged both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies and am now working my way once again through Game of Thrones. What to view next? Some good news today for Star Wars fans seeking to ingest the full suite of films based on George Lucas’ original space opera: Disney+ has added 2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the latest entry in the series, to the list of titles available to stream on the service in 4K with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound. May the Fourth be with you!
Bob Ankosko  |  Apr 30, 2020  |  0 comments
To help make the best of at-home entertainment, we offer up a handful of very different Sound & Vision-vetted products for your consideration: from a unique set of earphones made of wood to a reference-caliber screen that promises to propel video projection to new heights. As usual, all are recipients of our Top Pick rating.
Al Griffin  |  Apr 29, 2020  |  5 comments
Who says they no longer make Compact Disc players? Exhibit A: Japanese audio component maker Luxman just announced the availability of its new D-03X, a fully loaded digital player that handles CD playback along with MQA CDs, MQA files, and up to 11.28 MHz DSD and 32-bit/384 kHz PCM files via USB input.
Al Griffin  |  Apr 28, 2020  |  0 comments
Dirac Live, a room correction technology that Sound & Vision has evaluated recently on several preamp/processors and AVRs, is a feature that lets listeners measure and correct for room-based anomalies using a simple, yet sophisticated interface on PCs/Macs and Android/iOS devices. According to the company, Dirac Live Bass Control, an add-on for Dirac Live that provides bass management for multiple subwoofers, is now available.
Al Griffin  |  Apr 27, 2020  |  2 comments
The last time Dynaudio updated its mid-range Contour speaker lineup was back in 2016. Since then, the company launched a retooled version of its high-end Confidence series that uses all-new drivers and revamped baffle design, along with updated cabinets and crossovers. Some tech from that effort has trickled down into Dynaudio’s just-announced Contour i series speakers, which consists of the Contour 20i bookshelf ($5,250/pair), Contour 30i ($8,250/pair) and Contour 60i towers ($10,750/pair), and Contour 25Ci center channel ($3,750 each).
Al Griffin  |  Apr 24, 2020  |  0 comments
Gigaton, the late-March release from 90s grunge-rock kings Pearl Jam and the band’s first album since 2013’s Lightning Bolt, was to be preceded by a one-night-only showing of the Gigaton Theatrical Listening Experience at select Dolby Atmos theaters around the world. But then, you know, the theaters closed and Pearl Jam was forced to cancel the screenings.
Al Griffin  |  Apr 23, 2020  |  0 comments
Among the first casualties of our new social isolation culture was gyms—for good reason since packing people together in a sweaty spin class or sauna is more or less a formula for viral spread. Fortunately, many new TVs feature fitness-related apps you can use to get a guided workout in the privacy of your own home. Recognizing the sudden massive need for people sheltering in place to burn off calories (and steam), Samsung has announced a wealth of new wellness app content available to stream for free on its smart TVs.

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