LATEST ADDITIONS

Barb Gonzalez  |  Aug 10, 2022  |  0 comments
Free Ad-Supported TV (FAST) has become the focus of streaming services and studios. More channels are being added to free linear “live TV” services like Pluto, Tubi, Xumo, PLEX, Roku Channel, and others. Established stream-on-demand services like Netflix, Disney+, and Warner Bros. Discovery are exploring lower-priced ad-supported tiers. Streaming is beginning to look more and more like traditional broadcast TV.
Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Aug 08, 2022  |  0 comments
"I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["of hard-core pornography"], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that."

Chris Chiarella  |  Aug 05, 2022  |  0 comments
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Those seeking an accurate account of notorious gangster Al Capone's downfall should continue their search elsewhere. But anyone wanting two thrilling hours of fact-influenced entertainment need look no further. Director Brian De Palma's artful take on Eliot Ness and his squad of incorruptible treasury agents on a quest to clean up Prohibition-era Chicago blends hard-hitting dialogue and career-best performances in an almost operatic tale of good versus evil.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 04, 2022  |  0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $8,550

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent A/V performance
Processes up to 16 channels
HDMI 2.1 connections support 4K/120, 8K/60 video pass-through
Minus
Expensive
Complex Dirac Live setup
Onboard amplification limited to seven channels
Glitchy operation

THE VERDICT
The JBL SDR-38 is expensive, but offers exceptional A/V performance. The effects of its Dirac Live room EQ are rewarding, though the setup process can be frustratingly complex.

Up until a few years ago, the heart of a JBL Synthesis installation was the brand's Synthesis SDP-75—basically a rebadged Trinnov Altitude surround preamp-processor. But in 2017, JBL's parent company Harman International bought British audio manufacturer Arcam, and the lights went on. Could they take the already well-regarded Arcam line of AVRs and A/V processors, alter their cosmetics, maybe add a bit of Synthesis secret sauce, and rebadge them as JBL Synthesis models at prices dramatically lower than the nosebleed-level Trinnov?

Michael Antonoff  |  Aug 02, 2022  |  0 comments
The results of the Value Electronics 18th Annual TV Shootout held in New York City over the weekend are in and it’s Sony and LG by a hair in the 4K and 8K test categories, respectively. For each brand, the win is a repeat performance of last year’s Shootout when Sony was crowned king of 4K TV and LG king of 8K TV.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 02, 2022  |  7 comments
Change is a constant in the audio-video world, but never more so than in the changing formats that constantly roil our hobby. Every twenty to thirty years, and sometimes more often, an old format we thought would last forever bites the dust, only to be replaced by a shiny new toy. Here's a brief history...
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Jul 29, 2022  |  2 comments
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Along with Melvin Van Peebles' Sweet Sweetback's Baadassss Song, Shaft helped launch the Seventies era of so-called "blaxploitation" films that would dominate the world of Black entertainment for nearly a decade. Directed by prominent Black photographer Gordon Parks with Richard Roundtree in the title role and featuring a sizzling soundtrack by Isaac Hayes, Shaft didn't quite fit the mold of its subsequent ilk.
Mike Mettler  |  Jul 29, 2022  |  0 comments

I don’t know about you, but I love hearing what I call “the humanity of performance” while listening to music. What I mean by that is, whenever I hear singers take breaths before or after they sing their lines (or even when they do it in the middle of them!), and/or I discern things like chairs scraping across floors or fingers moving across fretboards, I’m totally cool with it.

These recording elements all give me a sense of space (i.e., where the recording took place and the proximity of those involved) and even the character of the performers, to some degree. Certain producers like their recordings to be more insular than that, which is certainly fine in isolated cases—but the more “real” a recording is the better, imo.

The reason I bring this up is there are plenty of human elements involved in the five tracks I’ve selected for this week’s Spatial Audio File. As always, I’ve thoroughly spec’ed and checked each track by way of my personal deep-dive listening sessions on both my home system and headphones alike. You’ll find each and every one of them amidst the scores of stellar Made for Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos tracks within the ever-growing Apple Music library. >p> Let’s all now plug directly into the inherent sonic sea of humanity at hand as we collectively check out this week’s five-spot of truly immersive tracks, which are. . .

Michael Trei  |  Jul 28, 2022  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $250

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Quality turntable at a budget price
Excellent pre-mounted cartridge
Versatile hook up options
Minus
Setup is a bit fussy
Inaccurate speed as shipped
No analog cable included
No leveling feet

THE VERDICT
While it is possible to spend less, the Monolith turntable marks a perfect entry point for a turntable that sounds good, offers a host of hookup options, and has a clear upgrade path.

As someone who works with turntables almost every day, one question I get pretty frequently is, "How much do I need to spend to get a real taste of what the buzz with vinyl is all about?" Defining the entry level for record players can be tricky. Spend too little and you're probably going to be disappointed and lose interest pretty quickly. Spend too much and you're likely to dismiss playing records as just another overpriced fad.

Barb Gonzalez  |  Jul 27, 2022  |  0 comments
Commercials are coming to Netflix, one of the last of the major streaming services to offer a low-priced ad-supported tier. Now that Netflix has partnered with Microsoft's Xandr digital video advertising arm, it's clear that the streaming giant is preparing to include advertising.

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