Editor's Eye

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Rob Sabin  |  Dec 16, 2013  |  16 comments
I had the unexpected and unexpectedly pleasant experience recently of viewing the 3D version of the theatrical blockbuster Gravity in what proved to be a perfectly competent RealD (i.e., not IMAX) presentation. I say unexpected because I’d actually recommended that our group that day skip the 3D entirely and just watch the (undoubtedly brighter) 2D version—such has my need for theatrical and at-home 3D dropped off the cliff. I only walked into the theater reservedly after a mishap in which the wrong tickets got purchased online in advance of our arrival.
Rob Sabin  |  Dec 08, 2017  |  2 comments
...We Were More Than a Decade Strong

A recent visit to The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, site of 1969’s Woodstock Music & Art Festival, inspired me to dig into the stored archive of our magazine as we set sights on our 60th anniversary year. And what a library it is. Sound & Vision was founded in February 1958 as HiFi & Music Review, when the big news in audio tech was the transition from mono to stereo.

Rob Sabin  |  Aug 31, 2015  |  5 comments
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X may not be enough.

We are finally starting to see the new 2015 model year AV receivers trickle in, the first generation to more or less universally include HDMI 2.0 connections along with HDCP 2.2 copyright management.

Rob Sabin  |  Apr 25, 2011  |  9 comments
In recent months we've received a number of letters at Home Theater complaining about our coverage of the new 3D video technology and of the Web-streaming capabilities appearing in everything from TVs to Blu-ray players to set-top boxes. Most of our video reviews now have a dedicated section describing 3D performance and a short discussion of what content is available on each product's streaming platform. Some readers who are skeptical or not interested in these new part-time features think we shouldn't be wasting their time by writing about them, while others have defended us and acknowledged our obligation to report on any significant new features and assess their performance.

Rob Sabin  |  Mar 12, 2014  |  4 comments
It’s been said that the sound associated with watching video is “half” of the experience. But is it really? Or is it actually more than half? Or less?

Answering this question was the goal of a clever study recently commissioned by DTS, with an eye toward promoting its new DTS Headphone:X technology. For those unfamiliar, Headphone:X has been at the heart of one of the more impressive CES show demos for the last two years running.

Rob Sabin  |  Feb 18, 2013  |  18 comments
As a consumer electronics editor and reporter, I’ve never been a big fan of company profiles. We are frequently contacted by public relations reps who think their client has a good backstory worth telling consumers. But I usually prefer to let those company’s products speak for them in the Court of Test Reports, believing that hands-on feedback about the equipment is what readers really want, and that positive observations we might report in an article do a disservice if the gear fails to live up to it. Matters are complicated further when the company is one that advertises in our magazine or on our Website. Any upbeat comments naturally become suspect, and might cast doubt on a good product review arrived at independently and fairly. We never want to look like we’re in bed with any manufacturer, so why even go there?

Such was the case with Emotiva, a Web-based direct-sale audio company out of Nashville, TN that has carved a niche for itself delivering what’s best described as “affordable high-end.”

Rob Sabin  |  Apr 01, 2017  |  0 comments
As night settled in with hours left to drive, I pulled off the highway in Barstow to tap the Wi-Fi at Starbucks and download the Audible version of Fear and Loathing to my iPhone. That’s when I saw him, working behind the counter, his wild gray hair dancing in the overhead lights...
Rob Sabin  |  Jun 27, 2014  |  First Published: Jun 28, 2014  |  13 comments
The Dolby Atmos surround-sound format for home theaters made its debut this week with product announcements from several manufacturers and live demos in New York City at the Consumer Electronics Association's CE Week trade show. The technology that Dolby first introduced to theaters in 2012 offers the potential for a far more immersive audio experience than the traditional 5.1- and 7.1-channel systems that are still mostly employed today, and having experienced Atmos in the cinema, I admit I was pretty pumped heading into the demos.

And I wasn't let down. Atmos in the home environment seems to work—surprisingly well, in fact. Caveats? Yeah, there are a few worth watching out for that I'll get to later. But overall, I'll go on record that this is probably the most discernable advance in home theater sound since the introduction of lossless digital audio in the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats on Blu-ray. And it's one that leaves all the pre-existing height- and width-channel surround formats— including Dolby Pro Logic IIz and DTS Neo:X—in the dust. Finally, this may be one that will truly make it worth the trouble of adding those extra speakers. Maybe...

Rob Sabin  |  Aug 11, 2017  |  0 comments
I love that time of year when, after a couple of false starts and brief teases, the persistence of winter finally breaks for good and the soft breezes of spring arrive. That’s a decidedly northern experience, of course, one that some folks eventually move south to get away from permanently (well, the winter that precedes it, anyway), and which others have never known because of their origins in warmer climes. I get it — I’ve got family all over the country and have spent plenty of time out west and in Florida, and I see how a guy could get used to it. But the New Yorker in me thinks those folks are missing out. If you haven’t struggled through a winter, even a mild one, you can’t fully appreciate the fleeting beauty of a spring and summer in the same way. You need that frame of reference. It makes being outside that much better.
Al Griffin  |  Oct 01, 2020  |  5 comments
It seemed like a miracle when Christopher Nolan’s new film Tenet was released in theaters a few weeks ago. But there was a dilemma. I live in New York State, and the governor hadn’t yet cleared movie theaters for reopening. And that’s still the case.
Rob Sabin  |  Aug 05, 2015  |  3 comments
Hint: It's One You Already Know...

In a recent Signals blog (“Saving Hi-Res Audio”) Ken Pohlmann spotlighted the near-rabid sniping in the audiophile community and the public at large about whether hi-res audio delivers real, discernible benefits. Ken suggested that if the music industry wants hi-res to succeed, they should drop the significant premium now attached to hi-res downloads and charge the same as for any other music file, then reap the benefit of people buying more music because they like engaging with high-quality content.

Al Griffin  |  Apr 26, 2019  |  2 comments
As someone who has spent the past two-plus decades writing about and reviewing TVs, projectors, and associated gear, I have to say that the addition of high dynamic range to video is among the more impressive developments I’ve encountered. Not since high-definition TV took over the airwaves back in 1999 and then made its way to Blu-ray (and HD DVD) discs a few years later have video enthusiasts been treated to such a massive leap in visual quality. Oh right, there was the launch of Blu-ray 3D back in 2010, a format that required a new player and TV, goggles, and a 50 percent hit in screen brightness, but…oh, never mind.
Rob Sabin  |  Feb 01, 2016  |  0 comments
I’ve had almost a month to ponder CES 2016 and what strikes me most as I look back is how a show that was once strictly about audio/video has grown into an enormous and wild Mardi Gras of tech, encompassing everything from drones and hoverboards to smartphones and digital health wearables and much more.

Al Griffin  |  Aug 20, 2020  |  4 comments
TAP, TAP, TAP. . . is this thing on? We’re back! If you’re a print subscriber I’m sure you’re wondering what happened to the June/July issue of Sound & Vision so here’s the deal.
Rob Sabin  |  Jul 24, 2013  |  First Published: Jul 25, 2013  |  31 comments
Readers who follow developments in audio/video electronics might have heard back in May that Home Theater's parent company, Source Interlink Media, acquired its chief competitor Sound & Vision. These were the two biggest print magazines serving the A/V enthusiast.

It was announced on Monday that, beginning with the October issue, Home Theater and Sound & Vision will be merged, and only one magazine will go forward under the Sound & Vision brand.

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