Thomas J. Norton

Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 04, 2022  |  1 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $8,550

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent A/V performance
Processes up to 16 channels
HDMI 2.1 connections support 4K/120, 8K/60 video pass-through
Minus
Expensive
Complex Dirac Live setup
Onboard amplification limited to seven channels
Glitchy operation

THE VERDICT
The JBL SDR-38 is expensive, but offers exceptional A/V performance. The effects of its Dirac Live room EQ are rewarding, though the setup process can be frustratingly complex.

Up until a few years ago, the heart of a JBL Synthesis installation was the brand's Synthesis SDP-75—basically a rebadged Trinnov Altitude surround preamp-processor. But in 2017, JBL's parent company Harman International bought British audio manufacturer Arcam, and the lights went on. Could they take the already well-regarded Arcam line of AVRs and A/V processors, alter their cosmetics, maybe add a bit of Synthesis secret sauce, and rebadge them as JBL Synthesis models at prices dramatically lower than the nosebleed-level Trinnov?

Thomas J. Norton  |  Aug 02, 2022  |  5 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 07, 2022  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Full P3 color
Inky blacks
High brightness
Minus
Cluttered WebOS
eARC usability inconsistent

THE VERDICT
With its upgraded evo technology and new heat sink, the G2 Gallery Edition punches through the brightness limitations associated with OLED displays while retaining the vivid color, stunning blacks, and off-center viewing that have long been the prime appeals of OLED.

LG's new G2 OLED evo Gallery Edition is the replacement for last year's G1 and the flagship offering in LG's 2022 OLED lineup—excluding the $100,000 OLED R(ollable) model, which sits in a class all by itself. Like the G1, the G2 is designed to hug the wall and features a Gallery mode that, if selected, can display a revolving range of still images and artwork when it's not being used as a television. The set ships with only a slim wall-mount bracket but LG offers a conventional tabletop stand for $100 and, if you want a full-on Louvre vibe, an easel-like Gallery Stand for an extra $350.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jul 05, 2022  |  0 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  |  Jul 01, 2022  |  0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
When on-the-run drifter Stanton Carlisle stumbles into a seedy, travelling carnival in the late 1930s, he begins an adventure that might not end well. Ingratiating himself with the show's resident fortune-telling act, he manages to develop a flair for reading people, a talent that naive audiences see as mind-reading. Eventually he sets off in search of fame and richer pickings along with Molly, the carny's electric-girl act (and the film's rare sympathetic character). He hits the top, performing for upscale audiences, but when he meets Dr. Lilith Ritter, a big-city psychiatrist with wealthy clients and her own way with a grift, he more than meets his match.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jun 27, 2022  |  1 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 24, 2022  |  0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Based on the Broadway musical from Leonard Bernstein, Steven Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents, West Side Story involves two teenage gangs, one Anglo (the Jets) and the other Puerto Rican (the Sharks), that fight constantly over turf and ethnicity in the mean city streets of 1950s New York. When Jets-member Tony falls head-over-heels for Maria, the sister of a Shark, you don't need a roadmap to see where this will end up. Hint: Think Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
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  |  Jun 02, 2022  |  3 comments

Performance
Features
Value
PRICE $199

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Superb setup flexibility
Adjustments shown in simplified parametric EQ format
Processing can be applied to full or limited frequency range
Minus
Requires a PC to run program
Steep learning curve
Not compatible with all AVRs featuring Audyssey
Software not transferrable

THE VERDICT
Audyssey's latest version takes room EQ processing to the next level via a PC software app offering an unprecedented degree of options to tune all channels in your system.

Electronic correction for the flaws common to any listening room wasn't always a thing. My first exposure to it came over 20 years ago with the Snell Acoustics RCS1000 Room Correction System, a complex device that never made a splash in the market before that innovative company folded. It wasn't until 2002 that room EQ took off with the launch of Audyssey, which was founded at the University of Southern California by USC professors Chris Kyriakakis and Tomlinson Holman, the latter famous for his work in the development of THX while at LucasFilm.

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