David Vaughn

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David Vaughn  |  Jul 08, 2007  |  0 comments

The past year and change has been an interesting time for home theater enthusiasts, with the introduction of two competing high-definition movie formats, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The scenario is very reminiscent to the 1980's when VHS and Betamax had their own slugfest for the wallets of consumers, but in this new "war" the battleground has evolved.

David Vaughn  |  Sep 22, 2017  |  1 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
It’s been several years since Xander Cage has been on the scene, but he’s brought back into the fold when a device called Pandora’s Box falls into the wrong hands. It has the ability to bring down any satellite and turn it into a weapon of mass destruction as it crashes down on the planet. One of his conditions for coming back to the CIA was that of recruiting his own team so he can ensure their absolute trust and his own personal safety.
David Vaughn  |  Dec 30, 2015  |  3 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Audiophile sound quality
Best-in-class control for iOS and Android
Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support
Built-in MusicCast multiroom audio
Minus
Slow to lock onto HDMI signals
YPAO doesn’t equalize below 31 Hz

THE VERDICT
Yamaha’s Aventage CX-A5100 is an incredible value in the sub-$5,000 pre/pro market, with stellar audio and a suite of usable features to keep an A/V enthusiast happy until the next upgrade cycle comes around.

Amazingly, you can buy a pretty damn good AVR these days that’s Dolby Atmos–enabled for under $500, so why spend more if you don’t have to? Well, there are many reasons: better-quality DAC chips, enhanced features (such as multiple zones for both audio and video), and more channels of audio and associated amplification. You can also usually count on these upgrades when you move into the realm of the preamp/processor (also known as a surround processor), though with pre/pros, you’re left on your own for the amplification. It’s kind of like an impromptu college party that advertises BYOB—except, it’s BYOA: Bring Your Own Amp(s)!

David Vaughn  |  Apr 18, 2012  |  6 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,100 At A Glance: Audiophile-quality sound • Great build quality • Outstanding iDevice app

In George Orwell’s futuristic novel 1984, Big Brother takes away the citizens’ free choice. This is one man’s vision of our future—and it’s turned out to be just the opposite. In fact, one could argue we have too many choices. For example, say you’re looking for a new car and have narrowed down your choice to a Ford Mustang. Your decision doesn’t stop there. You must now choose among 11 different models that range from $21k for the base to a jaw-dropping $54k for a Shelby GT500 Convertible. If money is no object, then grab some sunscreen and cruise in style. But for anyone on a budget, some difficult decisions need to be made before your purchase.

David Vaughn  |  Jan 02, 2014  |  12 comments

CX-A5000 Surround Processor
Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
MX-A5000 Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE CX-A5000, $3,000; MX-A5000, $3,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Audiophile pre/pro sound quality
Impeccable build quality
Apple AirPlay support
Minus
Amp performance merely competent
Limited network interface

THE VERDICT
Yamaha’s new pre/pro is a surefire contender, though its matching 11-channel amplifier wasn’t quite the same caliber.

If you’re in the market for a new AVR, you can spend countless hours researching all of the various manufacturers’ Websites and, when all is said and done, still have 20 or more models to choose from that have all the bells and whistles you want. The same can’t be said for the surround processor market, which is extremely limited by comparison.

Most companies offer only one model—if that—and it’s generally a reconstruction of their flagship AVR minus the amp section. Don’t expect a discounted price, though; with such a limited audience for pre/pros, you can expect to pay top dollar even when the amps are absent. That said, this isn’t such a bad deal because you can then choose an amplifier that mates well with your particular speakers. Furthermore, by having the electronically noisy amps in a separate enclosure, energized by their own dedicated power supply, you can theoretically enjoy improved audio quality. Of course, you also get an increased footprint in your rack with additional black boxes. The quest for audio nirvana certainly isn’t easy.

David Vaughn  |  Nov 08, 2013  |  0 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Audiophile sound quality
Outstanding build quality
Successful YPAO room correction
Minus
Pedestrian power output
Suboptimal video processing
Crowded, hard-to-use remote

THE VERDICT
A $700 receiver that puts the audio first.

The AVR is the Grand Central Station of our home entertainment systems. Everything runs into one box from our source components and then out to our speakers and displays for audio and video. In the process, we hope the video signal moves through the AVR without being harmed and that the amplifiers in the receiver mate well with our speakers, providing them plenty of juice without any distortion or clipping.

David Vaughn  |  Nov 05, 2007  |  0 comments

Evolution is the continual process of change. For electronics manufacturers, evolution is often defined as updating equipment just enough from year to year to make consumers willing to upgrade to the latest and greatest. One could argue that until the advent of HDMI a couple years ago, the evolution of the AVR (Audio/Video Receiver) hadn't featured a compelling reason to upgrade in a while.

David Vaughn  |  May 07, 2008  |  0 comments

According to Wikipedia, a flagship is the lead ship in a fleet of vessels that is usually the fastest, largest, newest, or most heavily armed. In terms of home-theater electronics, a flagship model is the company's top-of-the-line design, with cutting-edge features, capabilities, and technologies.

David Vaughn  |  Apr 09, 2009  |  0 comments

<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/yesman.jpg" WIDTH=200 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>Three years after his divorce, Carl Allen (Jim Carrey) still has the blues and dreads going to work at his dead-end job as a loan officer. In order to get a new outlook on life, he attends a self-help seminar led by Terrence Bundley (Terence Stamp), who challenges people to say "yes" to everything. Miraculously, when Carl embraces this philosophy, events lead him to Allison (Zooey Deschanel), and his life takes a turn in the right direction.

David Vaughn  |  Mar 18, 2011  |  0 comments
When Yogi (voiced by Dan Aykroyd) finds out that Jellystone Park is being sold, tossing him, Boo Boo (Justin Timberlake), and all their friends out of the only home they've ever known, he and Boo Boo join forces with is long-suffering nemesis, Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) in order to save the park from an evil politician.

This one certainly caters to a younger audience and I doubt viewers without kids would want to give it a look. Regardless, it actually isn't that bad and features surprisingly good 3D effects, a decent story, and the cartoon characters of Yogi and Boo Boo blend seamlessly with the live-action actors.

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