Al Griffin

Al Griffin  |  Dec 20, 2019  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I just finished listening to the new Giles Martin remaster of The Beatles’ Abbey Road via a 24-bit/96kHz stream from Qobuz. For the first few tracks I felt like I was listening to the original album, but on a much better stereo system. Then the bad news came when I got to the medley on “side two” starting with “You Never Give Me Your Money.” Instead of a seamless flow between songs, I heard distinct gaps between the tracks. It really ruined the experience. Why can’t streams of album tracks that are supposed to segue do so without annoying, and at times jarring, gaps in the sound? There are lots of iconic recordings with the same issue. —Thomas E. Moore, Fairfax, VA

Al Griffin  |  Dec 05, 2019  |  2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I use an Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player and an Apple TV as sources, with the signals fed through a Marantz SR7011 AV receiver to an Epson Home Cinema 5050UB projector. From what I understand, the player, projector and receiver can all upconvert standard- and high-def signals to 4K. Which one should I let do the upconversion? —Michael Antoniello, via email

Al Griffin  |  Nov 29, 2019  |  0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Ari Aster's second feature—the first was 2018's thoroughly unnerving Hereditary—continues the director's preoccupation with family as a wellspring of horror. This time around, horrific familial events occur in the film's first fifteen minutes, and the main protagonist, college student Dani, ends up trailing her ambivalent, unsupportive boyfriend to a rural community in Sweden that's in the midst of celebrating Midsommar, a festival occurring only once every ninety years.
Al Griffin  |  Nov 21, 2019  |  2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I am considering replacing an old, dumb 42-inch LCD TV located in a small room. The screen size will be limited to 50 inches and viewing distance will be around 8 feet. Will I see any benefit from the higher resolution given the screen size limitation? —Alan Washington, via email

Al Griffin  |  Nov 20, 2019  |  9 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $6,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Clean, dynamic sound
Tank-like build quality
Ample power
Minus
Pricey
Streaming requires wired network connection
Unintuitive setup menu

THE VERDICT
With its extremely solid build quality, future-proof feature set, and excellent sound, Hegel's H390 could be the last integrated amp you'll ever need.

Hegel Music Systems is a Norwegian audio electronics manufacturer that has been slowly and steadily making a mark on the high-end audio world since it started out in the early 1990s. One thing that distinguishes Hegel from other audio companies is its portfolio of proprietary technologies that were developed in-house by founder and chief designer Bent Holter.

Al Griffin  |  Nov 14, 2019  |  0 comments
Depending on how you look at it, the arrival of Apple TV+, Disney+, and other streaming options — some still on the horizon — is either a glut or an embarrassment of riches.
Al Griffin  |  Oct 25, 2019  |  0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
"The avant-garde art of the past becomes the wallpaper of the future." This statement, from a new introduction by Francis Ford Coppola contained on the Apocalypse Now Final Cut Ultra HD Blu-ray release, ultimately explains the acclaimed director's motivation to revisit his Vietnam War epic, ranked number 30 on the American Film Institute's 2007 list of the 100 Greatest American Films, and create yet another cut after already having done so in 2001 for Apocalypse Now: Redux.
Al Griffin  |  Oct 24, 2019  |  17 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

If I subscribe to Tidal Hi-Fi should I bother with 24-bit/192-kHz playback or is 24/96 all I need?

Al Griffin  |  Oct 23, 2019  |  9 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $5,998/pair

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Enveloping soundstage from SDA-Pro tech
Dynamic, full-range sound
Flush-mounted elevation module option
Minus
Somewhat bulky cabinet design
Requires SDA-Pro interconnect cable

THE VERDICT
SDA-Pro, the latest refinement of Polk Audio's proprietary tech, elevates the performance of its impressive flagship speaker.

Many years ago (the early 1980s, to be precise), Polk Audio produced the first speakers to feature a technology it had developed called SDA (Stereo Dimensional Array). The idea behind SDA was to eliminate a problem called interaural crosstalk that's a necessary artifact of typical two-channel speaker configurations. Basically put, when listening in stereo, your left/ right ears hear not just sound emanating from the respective left/right speakers, but sound coming from the other speaker as well. According to Polk Audio, this has a constricting effect on the presentation, with the width, height, and depth of the stereo image coming across as a pale representation of what's actually contained on the recording.

Al Griffin  |  Oct 15, 2019  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $269

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Warm yet detailed sound
Ultra-compact form factor
Bluetooth streaming
Minus
No front panel volume control
USB input support maxes out at 24/48

THE VERDICT
The A2+ combines audiophile-friendly sound with the convenience of Bluetooth to create a broadly appealing compact speaker package.

Audioengine is well-known for making affordable powered and passive speakers that are compact enough for desktop use. Like several of the company's previous offerings, its most recent model, the A2+, is a petite powered speaker with multiple connectivity options, including wireless aptX Bluetooth streaming. What makes it stand out from other Audioengine speakers? The price: at $269, the A2+ is the least expensive powered Bluetooth model in the company's lineup.

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