A/V Veteran

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Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 20, 2022  |  0 comments
A few blogs ago I commented on the 1954 movie, The Egyptian. In the '50s, the introduction of CinemaScope inspired, or rather demanded, epic tales in a genre often referred to as Swords and Sandals. Many of them, but not all, were set in the ancient world, typically Egypt or Rome. Here we look at a few more of those classics.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 06, 2022  |  0 comments
Quantum dots have been used in TVs since 2014 but what are they and what do they do? Let's find out.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 16, 2022  |  5 comments
I've written early and often about where the current mania for streaming will take us, and the slow, possible demise of packaged media. Yes, new and re-releases on disc are still common, to which anyone who follows the website The Digital Bits website can attest. But what does the future hold for disc-based entertainment?
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...
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 19, 2022  |  0 comments
High dynamic range is still the hot tamale in today's video world. While it's been around for a few years now, nothing new in video has yet made HDR yesterday's news. Here’s why.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 05, 2022  |  1 comments
I love animation but recognize that there might be barriers to overcome with some of your family and friends if you’re playing host on movie night and plan to serve up a Disney classic. Here are a few of my favorite animated titles on disc. With any luck, one of them just might do the trick.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 27, 2022  |  2 comments
The 1972 movie version of the Broadway musical 1776 has been available on Blu-ray for some time, but it was only recently released on a multidisc package headlined by an 4K Ultra HD transfer. And it's certainly an appropriate month to have a look at it. 1776 began as a hit Broadway musical in 1969, winning several Tony awards (including best musical) and ran for three years. It hit the big screen in 1972...
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 14, 2022  |  1 comments
Looking to improve the sound of your system? Before you start switching out gear, assess the acoustics of your room. You may be surprised by what you find.
Thomas J. Norton  |  May 31, 2022  |  3 comments
Spring is traditionally prime time for the audio industry to dust off the cobwebs and bring out their best and latest gear at a hi-fi show for the public to see, hear, and touch. But the pandemic of the past two years wreaked havoc on the show front.
Thomas J. Norton  |  May 17, 2022  |  2 comments
It's been a strange two years for home entertainment as Covid came and went, came and went, came and... It's been even stranger for home theater.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 26, 2022  |  2 comments
Audiophiles have an inherent advantage over home theater enthusiasts: when it comes to setting up their systems, they need only make room for two loudspeakers plus a convenient location for the sources and amplifiers needed to drive them. For a home theater we need to find space for more, often much more. Those multiple speakers must also support the screen, and often there isn't much flexibility in where to put the latter—be it a TV or a projector with a separate screen. In any home theater setup the locations for the center, surrounds, and perhaps overhead speakers are then usually fixed by the placement of those front speakers and the main listener/viewer positions, with little room for deviations in a proper setup.

But positioning one or more subwoofers for the best results is a chore that takes time and patience. Subwoofers are relatively rare in 2-channel systems, which is unfortunate because they can achieve soul-satisfying bass while limiting the need for hulking, and expensive, front left and right loudspeakers.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 12, 2022  |  6 comments
All full-range loudspeakers have a tweeter, apart from relatively uncommon, single driver designs. A tweeter's performance can vary widely, but generally reflects the budget and/or the intentions of the designer. Most buyers are happy with the tweeters in their loudspeakers, but are they missing something?

Aperion Audio believes they are. They offer three different super tweeters as add-on devices to your current loudspeakers. There are other super tweeters on the market, but as a category they're rare. Aperion sent me one of each — the pure Aluminum Ribbon at $649 (shown in the photo above), the Planar-Ribbon at $399, and the pure Dual Aluminum Ribbon (radiating toward both the front and the back) at $999.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 29, 2022  |  0 comments
When I wrote about the new film version of Dune some months back my reaction was positive. I saw it in a movie theater—my first visit to one in two years. There was plenty of social distancing during my visit; with a dozen or so other attendees at a midweek, midafternoon showing I could have swung a cat on a 10 foot rope without hitting anyone (with apologies to cat people). I enjoyed the film, but as I noted in that October 2021 blog, I was disappointed by the quality of much of the cinematography. This was surprising, since it was the Dolby Cinema in my local AMC-plex. Dolby Cinema is by far my favorite way to see a movie in a commercial theater. It wasn't the sort of disappointment the average viewer would feel, and even I could set my concerns aside once I got into the film. But I know Dolby Cinema can do better and the film deserved it.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 15, 2022  |  2 comments
...Long before the CGI animation revolution, a number of Disney animators quit to go off on their own. It was the late 1970s, and Disney, they felt, had fallen into a rut, resisting new animation techniques and failing to adequately train new animators. Their leader was Don Bluth, and while the efforts of his nascent company were only modest successes at best over the years, they did leave us with one title that deserves to be remembered as a genuine classic: The Secret of NIMH.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 22, 2022  |  2 comments
The human visual system is a lot more complicated than we might imagine. A recent paper published in the journal Science Advances (January 12, 2022), Illusion of visual stability through active perceptual serial dependence, by researchers Mauro Manassi (University of Aberdeen, UK) and David Whitney (UC Berkeley), takes this idea a step further. I can't pretend to have slogged through the bulk of this article. The text is dense with the sort of science-speak common to experts in their field of expertise but nearly incomprehensible to the layman (a worldwide issue over the past two years, but I digress!)

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