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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Mar 10, 2017 1 comments

Verus II Grand Speaker System
Performance
Build Quality
Value

Bravus II 12D Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $5,005 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Tight, detailed bass
Excellent tonal balance
Spacious, cohesive soundstage
Minus
Sub has limitations in very large rooms
Narrow tower can be unstable on carpet

THE VERDICT
With modest but significant improvements to their flagship speaker line, Aperion Audio has again hit the jackpot in offering the sort of value that’s rare in today’s increasingly pricey audio marketplace.

Six years ago, I reviewed the first version of Aperion Audio’s then new Verus Grand speaker line. While this was a considerable step up from the internet-direct manufacturer’s previous, well-regarded budget-priced models, it still offered incredible value. As I concluded at the time: “If [the Verus Grand] impresses you as much as [it] impressed me, you’ll ultimately be a winner.”

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 24, 2017 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
In old Japan, young Kubo lives in a mountain cave with his mother, whose mental clarity comes and goes. As an infant he lost an eye, and his father is long gone. Every day he goes to the market in a nearby town to entertain the locals with his three-string shamisen and wondrous stories, told with magic origami that fold and unfold into lifelike characters. His stories never have an ending, much to the disappointment of the townsfolk. Nevertheless, they’re ready for more the next day (Kubo apparently invented the miniseries cliff-hanger).
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 21, 2017 2 comments
Before the era of sound movies the frame rates for silent films varied considerably due to the hand-cranked cameras of the time. When picture and sound became the future of movies in the late 1920s, however, the industry settled on 24Hz (24 frames per second) for both production and display standards. But 24fps alone would have produced significant jitter. For acceptably smooth motion, each film frame was flashed on the screen twice, using a two-bladed shutter in the projector (or, more rarely, three times with a triple blade shutter). This rate was also chosen, rather than an even higher one, to keep film costs manageable.

Even though the digital bits that now convey our films from the studio to the screen are far cheaper than celluloid, 24fps still dominates the films we see in both the multiplex and at home. But occasional efforts have tried to break the mold...

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 07, 2017 2 comments
HDMI is about to get a major upgrade. Here's why you should care.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Feb 03, 2017 0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
When a child’s father leaves his home in a small village to seek work in the city, his young son, not understanding why his father has left, sets out on a mission to find him.

That’s the plot of Brazilian director Alê Abreu’s dramatically obscure but stunningly animated film. We’re encouraged to experience the world through the boy’s eyes. If his world doesn’t always make sense to us, that may be the point. The world is a jumble to a young boy, and the result is a brilliant and visually compelling adventure. The film was nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar in 2015 (Inside Out won, however).

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 24, 2017 5 comments
Surge protectors, and even UPSs (Uninterupptible Power Supplies), are a good idea, but they’re no panacea. Here's why...
Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2017 8 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $4,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Outstanding blacks and shadow detail
Nearly flawless off-center viewing
Attractive price (for OLED)
Minus
Still expensive

THE VERDICT
Yes, LG’s OLED UHDTVs do have shortcomings, including their inability to get as bright as the best LCD sets. But OLED’s significant advantages more than compensate and have made these TVs, including the superb OLED65E6P, the new golden goose in the Ultra HD landscape.

I vividly remember plasma displays, and I mourned their passing. But even before 4K came along, LCD TVs—with their brighter images, lighter weight, lower energy consumption, and, toward the end, cheaper prices—were putting a full-court press on plasma technology.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2017 0 comments
Now that I have your attention…CES 2017 is in the history books. While I haven't yet heard the final attendance, I'm certain that somewhere north of 150,000 people were jockeying for position when I visited the Las Vegas Convention Center, the heart of the event. It's also supplemented by several other venues, including the Venetian Hotel, traditionally the site of the specialty (i.e., high-end) audio exhibits.

The video high point of the big show for me was Sony's CLETIS (Crystal LED Integrated System)...

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2017 0 comments
Snuggled into a corner of a THX hospitality suite was this jumbo subwoofer, soon to be available as Outlaw Audio's flagship. The ported design employs a newly developed 13-inch driver and is said to extend to below 20Hz and meet all THX specifications. With a shipping weight of around 130 lbs, it's projected to sell for around $1,500, give or take.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2017 1 comments
If your taste runs to vinyl but even budget audiophile-grade turntables are priced beyond your means, Victrola has your number. For $200 this model can be yours. It's also available in other styles, but this one does the best visual imitation of a $1,000 audiophile design.

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