Thomas J. Norton

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 11, 2022  |  0 comments

R5t Tower
Build Quality

D15s Subwoofer
Build Quality
PRICE $7,000/pair (R5t tower), $5,000 (D15s subwoofer)

Clean, uncolored sound (R5t)
Surprisingly powerful bass (R5t)
Excellent build quality (R5t)
Stunningly dynamic performance (D15s)
Excellent build quality (D15s)
Pricey (both)
Not the best option for very large rooms (R5t)

Perlisten Audio's R5t towers and D15s subwoofer offer stunning performance and good looks, but in this case the great sound and build quality will cost you.

Even the most veteran A/V enthusiast is unlikely to have heard of Perlisten (short for Perceptual Listening) Audio, but that situation should soon change. Founded by a group of audio industry veterans, the company was formally launched in 2021. For a new speaker outfit, the number of Perlisten models is astonishingly long and encompasses towers, standmounts, center and surround speakers, in-walls, and subwoofers, all of them engineered in the U.S. and manufactured in China.

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  |  Apr 01, 2022  |  0 comments
As young Alma and Pedro Madrigal flee from war in their native Colombia, Pedro is killed. Alma clutches their children as a magic candle appears, smiting Pedro's killers and promising endless magical gifts for the Madrigal family—as long as the candle burns. Alma and her children settle in a small village where the candle creates an enchanted Casita (home) for them.
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 23, 2022  |  0 comments

Build Quality
PRICE $3,100 (as tested)

Clean-sounding dialogue
Silky detail
Big, open presentation
Limited deep bass (without sub)

Elac’s new Uni-Fi Reference series can hang with many far larger and pricier loudspeakers. Just add a subwoofer or two to this system for movies, and you’ll be good to go.

German speaker company Elac has had quite a run over the past few years, with designer Andrew Jones turning out new models on an annual basis after setting the audio world on its ears in 2016 with the Elac Debut. Following the Debut's launch, the company came out with the pricier Uni-Fi. A three-way bookshelf design, the Uni-Fi incorporated a coincident midrange-woofer that positions the tweeter at the apex of the midrange cone where the dust cap usually sits.

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!)
Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 08, 2022  |  3 comments
Chances are if you're reading this you're careful about setting up and configuring your loudspeakers. But if you're new to this game, perhaps you're not. The average consumer may unpack those new speakers carefully, but then simply plunk them down wherever they happen to fit. We've heard stories of surround speakers being placed up front near the mains because it was too inconvenient to run wires to the back of the room! That's certainly understandable, but then why even bother; such placement will almost certainly make the sound worse than simply leaving the surrounds in their box.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 25, 2022  |  0 comments
At the January 2022 CES in Las Vegas the latest version of HDMI, HDMI 2.1a was announced. What does it bring us, and perhaps more to the point, what will it demand from us?