Al Griffin

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Al Griffin  |  Aug 09, 2018  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

QWhen researching DACs, I ran across the Cambridge Audio CXN, a network audio player that upsamples all inputs to a 24-bit/384kHz hi-res format using “polynomial curve fitting interpolation.” This seems to be the only DAC that offers that kind of feature. Most Ultra HDTVs and Blu-ray players also provide upscaling, but for video. In my experience, this is a very effective feature that improves the experience of watching a regular DVD. Here’s my question: Does audio upsampling have the same effect as video upscaling? —Mike Yang / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  Aug 02, 2018  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,799

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent color rendition
Deep, detailed-looking blacks
Full-array backlight with local dimming
Minus
Potentially confusing screen GUI and remote
Unreliable voice command feature
No Dolby Vision

THE VERDICT
Quantum dots in Samsung’s near-top-of-line QLED TV allow it to deliver exceptionally rich color. Add in a full-array backlight with local dimming and the QN65Q8FN amounts to a winning proposition from a picture quality standpoint.

Samsung’s QLED—not to be confused with OLED—UHDTVs are the company’s top-of-the-line models. In case you’re wondering, that Q in QLED stands for quantum dot, a backlight technology that provides a more precise method to generate the red, green, and blue light that creates a video image than the process typically used for LCD displays. How does it happen? In a Samsung QLED TV, a blue LED backlight generates the blue component of the image and also stimulates a layer of nanocrystal dots sized to emit a specific wavelength of light —red and green in this case—when energized.

Al Griffin  |  Aug 01, 2018  |  4 comments
Sony introduced its new Master series Ultra HDTVs at a press event yesterday in New York City. The series consists of the A9F OLED and Z9F LCD models, both of which will arrive later this Fall.
Al Griffin  |  Jul 25, 2018  |  0 comments
The weather is warm and outdoors is the place to be. It doesn’t matter if you’re poolside, at the beach, or on the road with the family, you don’t have to leave your music and movies behind. Here are 10 AV gear suggestions for getting an entertainment fix in the great outdoors.
Al Griffin  |  Jul 20, 2018  |  0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Rewatching Game of Thrones, this time on Ultra HD Blu-ray, so many years after first entering Westeros, that fictional realm conjured up by fantasy writer George R.R. Martin, is an experience akin to visiting an old friend—and a crime scene. As the series unfolds, and its extensive cast of characters get introduced, there’s an uncomfortable pang that comes from knowing what hellish circumstances these men, women, and children are about to endure. The first episode marks the first time you hear “winter is coming” uttered. The statement is tossed off casually and doesn’t land with much impact. But it does leave a certain chill in its wake. These poor folks don’t know the half of it.
Al Griffin  |  Jul 19, 2018  |  2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I can’t seem to get clear dialogue when playing some movies and TV shows and am forced to used closed captioning. I believe my problem is caused by improper phase. My home theater setup consists of five speakers plus dual subwoofers that have a polarity switch and phase knob. I’ve heard that the proper way to adjust phase is to play a sine wave at 80 Hz (same as my crossover setting) and then turn off all speakers except the left or right speaker and its adjacent sub. The next step: adjust polarity and phase until you measure the highest SPL level at the main listening position. Am I going about things right? Any other suggestions to improve dialogue intelligibility in my system? —AMIT ALCALAY

Al Griffin  |  Jul 12, 2018  |  0 comments
Performance
Build Quality
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $900 ($1,200 as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Atmos and DTS:X sound from a compact package
Easy setup
Minus
Limited overhead effects capability
Performance with music less impressive than movies

THE VERDICT
Sony’s soundbar offers an easy way to get Atmos, but you’ll need the optional wireless surround speakers for best performance.

Soundbars designed to deliver Dolby Atmos sound in an all-in-one package offer a convenient alternative to complicated—and pricey—setups that require in-ceiling speakers or “elevation” modules. We’ve checked out a few such specimens in Sound & Vision, including Sony’s HT-ST5000 ($1,500). Now, the company’s new HT-Z9F ($900), aims to deliver the same object- based Atmos—and DTS:X—experience from a more compact and notably less costly soundbar.

Al Griffin  |  Jun 28, 2018  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Bright picture with powerful contrast
Detailed Ultra HD image
Maintenance-free laser light engine
Minus
Some loss of highlight detail with HDR
Requires calibration for best performance
Limited wide color gamut display

THE VERDICT
The Acer VL7860’s detailed picture and impressive contrast elevate it above the entry-level 4K DLP projector pack. In this case, 4K for 4K is a good deal.

With DLP projectors capable of displaying 4K Ultra HD signals now selling for $1,500 or even less, they present an affordable alternative to higher-cost 4K LCOS models from Sony and JVC. Even longtime LCOS stalwart JVC has jumped in on the game, with the company recently announcing its first DLP projector, a $2,500 4K-capable model.

Al Griffin  |  Jun 14, 2018  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I have searched extensively for an HDMI splitter that will let me connect a high dynamic range source to both my new Dolby Vision-capable Vizio TV and my legacy Anthem receiver (for lossless audio). Oppo’s UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player has dual HDMI outputs and supports Dolby Vision. It also has an HDMI input that would enable passthrough of another HDR-capable source like a Chromecast Ultra, Roku Ultra, Fire TV, or Apple TV 4K. Here’s my question: Is there a less expensive option than the Oppo that would deliver the same result? —Andy Lutz / Houston, TX

Al Griffin  |  Jun 11, 2018  |  4 comments
For me, a thrill that comes with the arrival of spring and summer months is jumping in my car and traveling in pursuit of music. Two months back, I saluted the warm weather, loaded up my Impreza, and drove a few hundred miles south to Takoma Park, Maryland to attend The Thousand Incarnations of the Rose, A Festival of American Primitive Guitar.

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