Al Griffin

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Al Griffin  |  Feb 15, 2018  |  4 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,100

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Free app from Roon Labs
Wired and wireless multiroom playback options
Impressive sound from built-in DAC
Minus
Track count limited to 30,000
Requires wired LAN connection

THE VERDICT
Elac’s Discovery provides a simple, elegant option for adding a networked music server with Roon to an existing audio system.

Before diving into a review of Elac’s Discovery DS-S101-G music server, it seems apt to ask: What is a music server? In the past, it was a standalone audio component with a built-in hard disk that stored and played a ripped CD collection while connecting to the internet to fetch metadata. While products that fit this description still exist, a music server can also be something as basic as a software application running on a computer or on a network-attached storage (NAS) appliance. The server application, wherever it may reside, acts as a librarian for your digital audio files, sorting and retrieving them, and then routing the data to a USB DAC or a networked audio component that translates the ones and zeros into music.

Al Griffin  |  Feb 08, 2018  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I have a home theater system based around a Sony STR-DN1080 7.2-channel receiver and I’m on a quest to pick up new speakers to use for Dolby Atmos. What’s the best speaker match in the $1,000-to-$2,000 range? Also, how would I hook everything up to optimize the system for Atmos? —Ernest Walker / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  Feb 01, 2018  |  4 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q The connector on my in-wall HDMI cable broke off, and I have no way to replace it other than ripping into the wall. As a result, I’m wondering if the wireless HDMI products on the market are a noticeable downgrade from wired HDMI? —R.A. Oleson

Al Griffin  |  Jan 30, 2018  |  4 comments
Epson Home Cinema LS100
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value

Elite Screens Aeon CLR
Performance
Setup
Value
PRICE $3,000 (Epson), $799 (Elite)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Bright picture
Compact form factor
Can be used in average room-lighting conditions
Minus
Below-average picture contrast
Some center-to-edge brightness dropoff
Mediocre remote control

THE VERDICT
This combination of Epson projector and Elite screen represents a great value for those seeking a daylight-friendly, ultra-large-screen viewing option.

Ultra-short-throw (UST) projectors are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to regular front-projection systems. The reason is that, unlike regular projectors, which require careful lighting control to perform their best, UST models can operate in well-lit environments. They beam light upwards and are designed to be mounted only a few inches away from the screen, an arrangement permitting clean installations that not only are free of ceiling mounts or long wiring runs but also avoid the problem of onscreen shadows when someone traverses a projector’s beam.

Al Griffin  |  Jan 25, 2018  |  3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I want to install a projector. Due to my room’s layout, screen width would be limited to 72 inches, and the projector would need to be mounted 16 feet away from it. I've messed with screen calculators for several projector brands and have concluded that I'm out of luck: a projector mounted at that distance would require a much larger screen. Do you know of any projectors that would work in my situation? —Stan Silverman

Al Griffin  |  Jan 23, 2018  |  0 comments
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Q I have a Samsung HDTV and use the set’s analog minijack output to route an audio signal to my NAD integrated amplifier. Here’s my question: Would using an HDMI switcher/audio extractor that has HDMI inputs and HDMI and RCA-jack audio outputs increase sound quality? I have been told that using such a device would actually decrease audio performance. —James P. Landolt / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  Jan 18, 2018  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I’ve ripped most of my CD collection to my computer using iTunes. At this point, I’d like to maybe get a portable media storage unit and transfer my iTunes library to it so I can play music through my AV receiver and Amazon Echo speakers. Is that a good idea? All suggestions are appreciated, but I am looking for an inexpensive solution. —John McGlynn / Boca Raton, FL

A There are a few ways to skin this cat. Here are some suggestions that won’t cost much money.

Al Griffin  |  Jan 04, 2018  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I have my Pioneer Elite SC-LX901 AV receiver connected to a 7.1 speaker system. When I press the SURR button on the remote, the receiver’s front-panel display shows all 7.1 speakers lit up and ready for action, but no sound comes out of the two Surround Back speakers. Do you have to watch a disc with a 7.1-channel soundtrack to get 7.1-channel sound, or can my receiver upscale a 5.1 soundtrack to a 7.1 format? The SC-LX901 is a Dolby Atmos-capable receiver, so I’d expect it to upscale 5.1 soundtracks for 7.1 output.—B. Hinson

Al Griffin  |  Dec 28, 2017  |  10 comments
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Q I currently use a receiver for watching movies in 5.1 surround and for listening to stereo music. I’d like to expand my system with a dedicated stereo preamplifier and amplifier for music playback but have realized that I would need to switch the cables of my main left/right speakers from the receiver to the amplifier every time I changed over from movies to music. Is there some type of switchbox that would enable such a setup? If so, is there an audiophile-grade version that wouldn’t negatively affect the sound? One more question: Would I be able use my subwoofer with both configurations? —Raphaël Rainville / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  Dec 21, 2017  |  2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I am looking to buy an AV receiver that can play music (mainly FLAC files) and movies streamed from a media server hosted on a NAS. Are there any new receivers that provide that feature? I was looking at a Pioneer VSX-832 Network receiver based on a recommendation from a local dealer, but discovered a note on Pioneer’s website saying that it’s not supported.—Gigi Mathew

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