Thomas J. Norton

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 05, 2020  |  0 comments
We have no confirmed data to show how the current coronavirus pandemic might affect the consumer electronics market. Even experts paid to research such things can only guess, but there’s little doubt it’s effect will be significant.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 21, 2020  |  21 comments
Ah, the good old days. Happy crowds coming together in joyful celebration, shopping together for a new TV on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Seems like only yesterday. Oh, wait, it was. But in the greater scheme of things, how the current Wuhan Virus pandemic will affect our small world of consumer audio-video isn’t a big topic on the nightly news. Nevertheless, that’s our gig here, and it’s important to consider the possible consequences. Will this be the end of the A/V world as we know it?
Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 07, 2020  |  5 comments
Subwoofers are like the magic beans of audio, expanding a playback system's dynamic range in a way that dramatically enhances the listening experience. There's an attitude among some audiophiles that subwoofers represent, if not the spawn of the devil (there are numerous such spawns in audio lore), a bad compromise at minimum. But the truth is that adding a modest but well-designed subwoofer to speakers, even compact bookshelf models, can result in better performance than what you'd get from full-range towers that cost considerably more.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Apr 07, 2020  |  5 comments
A month or so ago, my local AMC theater sent out a notice that they were only selling seats separated by a few feet to minimize close contact. A few days earlier I had gone to the Dolby Cinema screen in the same complex to see Onward, but it was a weekday afternoon and there were only about a half dozen of us spread out across the theater’s 250 seats. Today, thanks to the corona virus, that theater is closed for the duration. That’s true throughout the world...
Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 24, 2020  |  9 comments
As you settle into a new routine during these unprecedented times, here are few things you can in your (mandated) free time.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Mar 10, 2020  |  3 comments
Every year as LG gets ready to release new TVs into the market, the company invites reviewers from all over the country to its Los Angeles facility to introduce the new lineup. Just this week I was scheduled to travel to that annual event for an up-close look at LG’s 2020 TV lineup. I thought seriously for days about whether or not to attend as coronavirus (COVID-19) slowly spreads across the country...
Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 26, 2020  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,200

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Solid performance
Flexible 4-, 2-, or 3-channel setup
Five-year warranty
Minus
Intrusive rear-panel lighting

THE VERDICT
The Avalon G4 may be designed for upgrading systems to the new immersive audio formats, but it's also a fine performer that's flexible enough to satisfy other configurations.

Four may be an even number, but a four-channel amplifier like AudioControl's Avalon G4 might seem like an odd duck to some. With Dolby Atmos and other immersive audio formats becoming more common in the custom install market (where AudioControl, which manufactures products at its Seattle facility, has a heavy presence), however, upgrade-anxious customers will obviously need four additional amp channels to complement the company's existing 5- and 7-channel designs.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 25, 2020  |  16 comments
When I was a lad I served a turn as a Hi-Fi looker with no bucks to burn…

With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan, I’d venture that more than a few veteran audiophiles began that way. Back in the day every city of medium to large size had at least one hi-fi shop. Big cities had dozens....I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but by the mid ‘90s there were far fewer shops than before...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 12, 2020  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $2,995

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Natural dialogue Detailed without sounding aggressive Great Value
Minus
Limited deep bass

THE VERDICT
This Aperion Audio Novus system delivers great sound with music and, when combined with a good subwoofer or two, enough visceral thrills to keep up with the most sonically ambitious movie soundtracks.

Aperion Audio had a dilemma. Its flagship speaker line, the Aperion Verus III, costs considerably more than its entry level Intimus range, with the $2,500 flagship Verus III Grand tower selling for nearly three times the price of the $800/pair Intimus 5t tower. Both are bargains in high-end audio's accelerating race to the top, but buyers who might spend more than $800 aren't always keen about making a $2,500 commitment, not to mention the added outlay needed for a full home theater speaker setup. Enter the company's new Novus range, which at $1,400/pair for the Novus towers neatly splits the difference between the two existing ranges.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Feb 11, 2020  |  9 comments
I first saw George Pal’s 1953 The War of the Worlds as an 11-year old. It terrified me, but I couldn’t look away. I wasn’t aware at the time that it was based on a book by H.G. Wells, a story that had earlier been adapted by Orson Welles into a 1938 radio drama. The latter had panicked hundreds of adults. Scared as I was in watching the film, I knew it was just a movie. A surprising number of those 1938 listeners thought the broadcast was real.

Both that 1938 broadcast and the 1953 film insured that alien invasions from outer space would become a staple of sci-fi films. Since then the Earth has been attacked from beyond dozens of times in movies, television shows, and even in a 1978 progressive rock album from Jeff Wayne. The results, depending on individual tastes, have ranged from stunning to silly.

But no serious film fan today can deny that the 1953 War of the Worlds is a cult classic...

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