Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 09, 2021  |  0 comments
When fishing around for a film to show on a movie night with friends, before Covid-19 rudely interrupted, I recommended The Court Jester. I had it on DVD, but I knew it looked good enough to satisfy non-critical viewers who likely also wouldn't be bothered by its 1950's mono sound. We passed on it that time around, but that old DVD has now taken its last spin. A spanking new Blu-ray of the film has just been released in a video transfer nothing short of stunning.

The movie was originally shot in VistaVision, a widescreen process used (mainly by Paramount) in the 1950's and 60's. It's long-since been dropped as a release format, but is sometimes employed for in-camera special effects created for non-VistaVision productions, particularly in the pre-CGI era. It was used, for example, in the creation of the effects for some of the early Star Wars and Star Trek films when CGI wasn't yet a thing.

Roger Kanno  |  Feb 05, 2021  |  0 comments
Total Recall is a near-perfect mix of sci-fi action, plot twists, and the kind of warped tongue-in-cheek humor we expect from director Paul Verhoeven, delivered here with gusto by Arnold Schwarzenegger playing Douglas Quaid, a construction worker. More correctly, Schwarzenegger is Carl Hauser, a secret operative for the "Agency" who believes he is Quaid due to a memory implant. After being attacked by agents from the "Agency," Quaid escapes to Mars to aid the rebel independence movement and discover his true identity.
Bob Ankosko  |  Feb 04, 2021  |  1 comments
In post a couple weeks ago, we focused on some of the wireless headphones introduced at last month’s virtual CES 2021, the first virtual gathering in the show’s 53-year history. We’re visiting the massively popular category again, this time with a look at headphones introduced at the show or shortly thereafter, including models that bring new form factors and technology into the fold.
Barb Gonzalez  |  Feb 03, 2021  |  2 comments
Discovery+ launched at the beginning of January with a massive amount of content from over 25 niche reality channels— from Discovery Channel to Food Network, Lifetime, TLC HGTV, A&E, and many more. Discover if it's a service you'll want in this hands-on review.
Al Griffin  |  Feb 03, 2021  |  0 comments

Build Quality

Build Quality
PRICE $3,000 (as tested)

Clean, well-balanced sound
Consistent off-axis performance
Subwoofer control app with Auto-EQ
Excellent value
Basic looks; black-only finish option

Despite its low-key exterior, Elac’s 5.1 Uni-Fi 2.0 system delivers the goods for movies/music and represents an excellent value.

Germany's Elac is a brand that has greatly expanded its presence in the hi-fi and home theater worlds over the past five or so years. While the company itself has been around for considerably longer, back in 2015 it brought on former KEF, Infinity, TAD, and Pioneer chief speaker engineer Andrew Jones to develop new product lines. First out of the gate for Jones was the Debut Series, followed by the Uni-Fi series, both affordable lines designed to pull fresh recruits into the audiophile ranks. New speakers arrived in quick succession, including the upscale but still affordable Adante passive and Navis powered models.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Feb 01, 2021  |  5 comments
There is much speculation that, thanks to Covid, the era of the Hollywood blockbuster is over. While some may rejoice, I'm not so sure.

Chris Chiarella  |  Jan 29, 2021  |  0 comments
Picture (all)
Sound (all)
The Lord of the Rings was a box office phenomenon, which of course meant demand for more movies. And lo, a prequel book had already been written, so after some wrangling Peter Jackson returned to make another trilogy set within J.R.R. Tolkien's fantastical universe. Taking place 60 years before the start of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey gives us Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), content to go about his safe, humdrum existence, until fate and a tall, pushy friend sweep him up in an incredible adventure.
Mike Mettler  |  Jan 29, 2021  |  6 comments
"I like to upset people, because it means I'm doing the right thing."

And that, my friends, is Steven Wilson for you in a nutshell. The once and future king of surround sound has taken yet another giant creative leap forward with his new solo album, The Future Bites (Arts & Crafts), which, after a pandemically induced half-year deferral, is finally being released on January 29, 2021.

Bob Ankosko  |  Jan 28, 2021  |  0 comments
Home entertainment took center stage in 2020 and will continue to be a mainstay of life at home until we defeat the invisible enemy known as COVID-19. Whether a return to quasi-normal life takes weeks or months (my bet is on the latter), A/V gear of all shapes and sizes will continue to not only make possible but enhance our music and movie experiences. All of which brings us to the latest crop of Sound & Vision Top Picks, encapsulated here for your convenience.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 27, 2021  |  0 comments

PRICE $4,999

Exceptional performance
Exceptional build quality
Dimmable power indicator light

It doesn’t come cheap, but NAD’s Masters M28 is a genuinely unique product designed to compete sonically with some of the highest-end amps on the market, regardless of how many channels they offer.

Whether you fall into the "all well-designed amps sound the same when used within their limits" camp or the "amp selection is critical" army of true believers, it's arguable that prior to the turn of the millennium amps designed for high-performance audio had fallen into a rut. They were so good that the advertising for them had to become increasingly creative. But a parade of skilled designers remained convinced that the new concepts they had come up with were superior, and audiophiles still lined up to buy them. The turf was always familiar: tubes remained tubes with their lovable quirkiness, and solid state was dominated by class-A/B designs as it had been since the transistor was invented.