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Al Griffin  |  Jun 04, 2014  |  0 comments
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Q I want to get better sound when watching movies on my new Panasonic ZT60 plasma TV. (I stream a lot of Netflix and Vudu via the Panasonic’s built-in apps.) To that end, I recently bought a small stereo setup: an NAD C326BEE integrated amp, a Musical Fidelity V90 DAC, and a pair of Monitor Audio Apex 10 speakers. The only way to connect the TV to my audio system is by using an optical digital output from the Panasonic to the DAC, which then connects to one of the NAD’s stereo RCA inputs. Here’s the problem I’ve been having: When I watch Netflix or Vudu, I hear nothing but static noise coming from the speakers, though the sound is fine when I watch DirecTV (I have my satellite receiver connected directly to the TV via HDMI). This noise went away when I switched from 5.1 to 2.0 audio in Netflix, but I don’t get the same option for Vudu. I’m kinda stumped at this point. Shouldn’t the Musical Fidelity DAC automatically dumb down 5.1 signals to stereo? Is there another possible configuration that can solve my problem? —Gilbert Solis / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  Feb 27, 2014  |  7 comments
Q I thought that plasma TVs don’t suffer from motion blur, but I definitely see it when watching with my new Panasonic TC-P60ST60 plasma. Is there some setting I have configured incorrectly, or was I wrong in thinking that plasma tech is free from motion blur? —Bob Shedlock / Strongsville, Ohio
Al Griffin  |  Jun 23, 2014  |  1 comments
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Q Most movies on DVD and Blu-ray default to 5.1 surround sound, but most concert videos default to 2.0 stereo, and the viewer has to manually select 5.1 surround when playing the disc. What’s the reason for this? —John Kellam / Tucson, AZ

Al Griffin  |  Jun 22, 2017  |  3 comments
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Q I received an el-cheapo Victrola Vintage turntable for Father’s Day. Bypassing the built-in speakers, I eagerly connected the turntable’s RCA outputs to an auxiliary input on my Denon AVR X4200W receiver and played “Bohemian Rhapsody” from Queen’s Greatest Hits. I expected to be greeted by the warm, crackly sound of vinyl playing through my GoldenEar Technology Aon 3s (with help from a 12-inch JL Audio E-Sub), but instead heard a shrill, disappointing mess that lacked low-end and had virtually no stereo image. Comparing the vinyl to a Hi-Res digital recording I own of the same track, the vinyl sounded more like AM radio. Here’s my question: is vinyl all hype, or am I the victim of a low-end turntable? —Chris Wilson, Alpharetta, GA

Al Griffin  |  May 22, 2014  |  4 comments
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Q My system consists of Aerial speakers, a Rotel 5 x 100 watt amp, a Marantz AV-7701 pre/pro and a Panasonic Blu-ray player. All my music is stored on a Mac computer and streamed to an Apple TV which is connected by an optical cable to the processor. The sound with movies is fine, but digital music lacks detail and has no WOW to it. My car’s Krell audio system sounds far superior in comparison. All music files on my Mac are in 16-bit WAV format. What am I missing? —Roland Bertha / South Florida

Al Griffin  |  May 15, 2014  |  4 comments
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Q I’ve owned two high-end plasma HDTVs, but recently purchased a new LCD UHDTV (Samsung HU8550). Watching Blu-rays on the new set using an Oppo player and Onkyo NR929 AVR, I am seeing something disconcerting that I never noticed before with the plasmas: Whenever there’s a fade-to-black transition between movie scenes, the screen abruptly goes black for about 1-2 seconds in the middle of the transition/edit. Is this sort of thing typical for LED-backlit LCD TVs? It ruins the viewing experience for me. —Richard Rife via email

Al Griffin  |  Nov 02, 2017  |  4 comments
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Q I'm a proud new owner of a Marantz AV7703 preamp/processor, which I use with a 7.0 speaker configuration (full-range fronts and no subwoofer).

Here’s my question: When I play a Blu-ray disc with a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, the pre-pro’s auto surround mode outputs it as DTS-HD + Neural:X (see above picture). But why would the processor create an upmixed signal instead of passing on discrete channel information to the back surrounds? I’m using an Oppo BDP-103 Blu-ray player with the audio output set to bitstream. —John F. Bartelt

Al Griffin  |  Mar 05, 2015  |  0 comments
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Q The 4k content I see on UHDTVs in stores looks awesome. But when I ask the salesperson to flip the feed to regular HD (from Direct TV), the picture doesn’t look nearly as good. It looks worse, in fact, than the same content shown on the standard HDTVs, and certainly worse than on my 10 year-old Sony SXRD.  My question is, if I buy a new UHDTV, how can I make the picture look as good as what I’m used to seeing on my Sony? There isn’t much 4K content yet, so what I’d mainly be watching is regular HD.—Ben Soave

Al Griffin  |  Jun 19, 2014  |  0 comments
Q I have a Denon AVR-4310CI A/V receiver. Although I have speakers connected for all seven main channels, I have never heard a movie with 7.1-channel sound. My sources are Blu-ray and Verizon Fios HD. What do you think is going on? —Mister Phillip
Al Griffin  |  May 31, 2018  |  First Published: May 30, 2018  |  2 comments
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Q Why are different units of brightness measurement used for different display technologies? For example, I’ve seen lumens used for home theater projectors, foot-lamberts for movie theaters, and nits for high dynamic range-capable TVs. Wouldn’t it be less confusing for the average consumer to lump everything together as a single measurement?
Nathan Robertson / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  Jun 11, 2015  |  13 comments
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Q I have TVs connected to both of my Onkyo TX-NR636 receiver’s HDMI outputs and am finding that I need to have both sets switched on before the receiver will pass any video content. Any suggestions on what settings to look for?—Chris Hauer

Al Griffin  |  Sep 23, 2015  |  16 comments
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Q I am looking for a new Blu-ray player and have a question. What’s the difference between inexpensive models and ones that cost $300-plus? It seems to me that inexpensive models have as many features, if not more, than pricey ones. If it’s a question processing power or something else, does that make a huge difference in picture and sound quality? —Edwin Vela

Al Griffin  |  May 16, 2016  |  0 comments
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Q I have been reading about the new TVs for 2016 that were shown at CES. I’ve also read about ATSC 3.0, the proposed new broadcast standard (also shown at CES) for 4K “over-the-air” transmission. Will any of the TVs coming out this year be upgraded to ATSC 3.0 via a software update? —Paul Binder / via email

Al Griffin  |  Apr 20, 2017  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I own a 720p-resolution Pioneer plasma TV. Every time I use my old plasma—now relegated to my photography studio after being replaced with a Full HD LCD model in the living room—I am blown away by the rich blacks and crisp color. It just looks better than LCD. With the arrival of 4K and HDR (finally, TV tech that can match the color gamut of the computer monitors I use for photography), I’m thinking it may be time for another upgrade. Are there any HDR-compatible UHDTVs that perform well enough to finally end my love affair with my plasma? — Ed Nazarko / via email

Al Griffin  |  Jan 03, 2017  |  1 comments
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Q I’m using a Marantz SR5005 AV receiver rated at 100 watts per channel to power a 7.1 speaker system. My surrounds sound like they’re getting enough power, but I’d like to add three external 200-watt monoblock amps to increase output to the front left, center, and right channels. Here’s my question: Will the receiver’s Audyssey MultEQ automated setup calibrate the system in a way that accommodates the added power? In other words, will I still get full power from the front three channels if I use external amps and Audyssey MultEQ? —Todd Hunt / via email

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