Al Griffin

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Al Griffin  |  Jun 22, 2017  |  0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Very good picture quality for the price
Flexible installation options
Fully backlit remote
Minus
Inaccurate out-of-box color
Some motor noise from Auto Iris
High fan noise in certain picture modes

THE VERDICT
Epson’s mid-range projector delivers very bright images, but it also offers enough refinement to make it a worthy upgrade over cheaper budget-priced models.

Let’s face facts: Budget home theater projectors can be a mixed bag. Last year, I tested a trio of such models from Optoma (December 2016 issue), InFocus (soundandvision.com), and ViewSonic (September 2016 issue). More recently, I checked out BenQ’s HT1070 (May), another projector that proved to be a high-value find. But while I liked the idea of getting a big, bright 1080p-resoluton picture for under $1,000, the less-than-impressive picture contrast and sparse installation features put a cap on my enthusiasm. When I look back at the bunch, it seems clear that “better” means “more expensive” when it comes to projectors.

Al Griffin  |  Jun 22, 2017  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I received an el-cheapo Victrola Vintage turntable for Father’s Day. Bypassing the built-in speakers, I eagerly connected the turntable’s RCA outputs to an auxiliary input on my Denon AVR X4200W receiver and played “Bohemian Rhapsody” from Queen’s Greatest Hits. I expected to be greeted by the warm, crackly sound of vinyl playing through my GoldenEar Technology Aon 3s (with help from a 12-inch JL Audio E-Sub), but instead heard a shrill, disappointing mess that lacked low-end and had virtually no stereo image. Comparing the vinyl to a Hi-Res digital recording I own of the same track, the vinyl sounded more like AM radio. Here’s my question: is vinyl all hype, or am I the victim of a low-end turntable? —Chris Wilson, Alpharetta, GA

Al Griffin  |  Jun 15, 2017  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

A If I use two Dolby Atmos-enabled towers as the front left/right speakers in my system, will that be sufficient to experience the format when playing discs with Atmos soundtracks? — David Lambert / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  Jun 08, 2017  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I’m having trouble getting a picture from my cable box when running it through a HDCP 2.2-compliant AV receiver. I’m thinking that the problem might be the cable modem/router attached to my system, which is more than 10 years old. Is there such a thing as a HDCP 2.2-compliant cable modem/router, or could the problem lie elsewhere?  —Bill Ferguson

Al Griffin  |  Jun 01, 2017  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q In the early days of high-res audio, I downloaded loads of music from HDtracks and played it on my laptop with JRiver Media Center. More recently, I took the plunge on a Premium subscription from music streaming service Tidal.

Here’s my question: Which has better sound quality, music downloaded from HDtracks or streamed from Tidal?  I did listening comparisons using the same songs from each service but couldn’t tell a difference. (HDtracks downloads had slightly better clarity, perhaps?) I’m also wondering if one service offers higher resolution than the other. —Timothy Hatfield

Al Griffin  |  May 25, 2017  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

A I’m using a Yamaha AX-497 integrated amplifier to power a pair of Elac speakers with a nominal 4-ohm impedance. I also have a Yamaha YST-SW315 subwoofer I’d like to use in my system. Here’s my question: If the speakers are wired directly to the amp as speaker pair A, and the powered subwoofer is connected as speaker pair B, can I power both simultaneously without damaging the amplifier? (The amplifier’s manual warns against connecting more than one pair of 4-ohm speakers.) For convenience reasons, I would rather not wire the main speakers through the subwoofer. —V.A. Dare / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  May 24, 2017  |  5 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $300

AT A GLANCE
Plus
High-quality video upconversion of standard Blu-rays
Plays SACDs, DVD-Audio discs, and native DSD files
Inexpensive
Minus
No announced Dolby Vision support
No analog audio outputs

THE VERDICT
Sony’s ultra-affordable Ultra HD Blu-ray player offers solid video performance, and it also plays SACDs and DVD-Audio discs.

Call it nostalgia, but the launch of an audio or video format strikes me as an opportunity to reflect on what came before it—especially now, with the sun threatening to set on physical media. When the Blu-ray Disc first appeared a little more than a decade ago, Sony was among its main flagwavers. Not only that, but the company’s PlayStation 3 console was considered by many to be the top-performing player in the Blu-ray format’s primitive days. Samsung and Panasonic were quick to push out standalone Blu-ray players, but the folks at Sony took their sweet time bringing their own model to market. When the BDP-S1 did arrive, it was well received for its picture quality—though it had design quirks, including an inability to play CDs.

Al Griffin  |  May 18, 2017  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q There’s been much discussion about MQA technology and its capabilities, but the only products that support MQA are a handful of DACs and stereo amps.

When can we expect to see MQA in mainstream AVRs such as those from Marantz, Yamaha, Denon, Pioneer, and Onkyo? For me, there’s no point in upgrading to a new receiver now if MQA decoding can’t at least be added via a firmware update. —Jacek G.

Al Griffin  |  May 15, 2017  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

A I own an Integra DTR-40.6 AV receiver that is capable of playing Hi-Resolution Audio (HRA). Here’s what I want to know: If I were to upgrade my Pandora or Spotify account to stream HRA, would I be able to listen to it using the Pandora or Spotify app built into the receiver? My internet service plan is 50-Mbps FIOS, and I have the receiver connected to my router with an Ethernet cable. &Tony Held / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  May 11, 2017  |  3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I own an Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB turntable that I’ve modded. I’ve also purchased a Cambridge Audio CP1 phono preamp to connect the Audio-Technica to my Denon AVR-X6200W receiver. Can you help me understand how to hook the CP1 up to the Denon? I’ve tried many options but still fail to get sound. The turntable plays when plugged into another amp so I know it’s working correctly —Rodger Benson

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