Al Griffin

Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
Al Griffin  |  Aug 18, 2016  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I assembled my surround sound setup back in 2002. It still sounds awesome, but I'm wondering about the speaker wires. I spent good money for nice 12-gauge speaker wire, the ends of which are bare. Every time I break the system down to move, I see the bare wire and worry that corrosion or some other devious detractor is attacking it. Is that something I should worry about? Should I consider clipping and re-stripping at some point? —Scott M.

Al Griffin  |  Aug 17, 2016  |  0 comments

2D Performance
3D Performance
PRICE $890

Impressive brightness
Clean, detailed picture
Good overall 3D performance
So-so contrast
Relatively high fan noise

ViewSonic’s low-budget Pro7827HD home theater projector has its compromises but delivers impressive performance for the price.

When you consider the benefits of buying a 1080p projector, the main one that should come to mind is price. There are a few native 4K models, including ones with high dynamic range capability, but they still remain costly, with the cheapest being Sony’s VPL-VW350ES at $8,000. Even those that accept 4K signals and deliver a faux 4K picture, such as JVC’s e-shift models, remain in the several thousand dollar range. Survey the plain ol’ 1080p field, on the other hand, and you’ll find plenty of bargains, including ViewSonic’s LightStream Pro7827HD DLP projector, with a list price of $890 and an online street price of just $799.

Al Griffin  |  Aug 15, 2016  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q Digital high-definition broadcasting started back in 1998, but since then, only video has received a facelift, not audio. Why hasn’t DTV audio evolved to at least Dolby Digital Plus status? —David Musoke / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  Aug 11, 2016  |  10 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I'm looking to load my CD collection into a hi-res ripper/music server that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. My plan is to connect it to my Pioneer SC-85 receiver so I can browse lists of artists and titles on my TV. Do you have any suggestions? —April Seale

Al Griffin  |  Aug 04, 2016  |  14 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I am looking to replace the 65-inch Panasonic plasma TV in my man cave/theater room with a larger, high dynamic range-compatible Ultra HD model that would be used for watching sports and movies. I was considering a Samsung 85-inch LCD, but am also looking into a projector like the JVC DLA-X550R, a Sound & Vision top pick. When all is said and done, I believe that the cost would be the same: roughly $8-10,000. My room is 30 feet long by 20 feet wide, so I have plenty of wall space for the new screen. What display should I buy? —Chris Amaral

A Since your room is a man cave, I’d say get a projector. To me, man cave implies an utter absence of aesthetic or lifestyle considerations that might interfere with the quest to get the biggest, best picture possible. It also means stuff like dartboards and mirrors embossed with the Jack Daniel’s logo, but that’s not our concern here.

Al Griffin  |  Jul 28, 2016  |  2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q In my current system, the receiver’s subwoofer output connects to an external amp linked to a passive subwoofer via a 20-foot length of speaker wire. The speaker wire runs under the floor and is tacked to the basement floor joists, where it crosses several household electrical wires. I would like to upgrade my subwoofer, but am having trouble finding one that is not self-powered. What concerns me about using a powered sub in my current setup is that the 20-foot coaxial cable run from the receiver to the sub would be susceptible to noise and interference. Are my fears unfounded? — David C.

Al Griffin  |  Jul 25, 2016  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q About five years ago, I got serious (at least by my tightly budgeted standards) about home theater and purchased a 50-inch Panasonic plasma TV, a Yamaha 7.1-channel AV receiver, and Klipsch speakers. This setup has provided me with a great in-home listening/viewing experience, but I wonder which upgrade could better take things to the next level: Atmos/DTS:X audio or 4K/HDR video? Both would require a new receiver. For audio, I could easily add Klipsch Reference Premiere Dolby Atmos elevation speakers to my current system and be ready for Atmos/DTS:X. That option would be quite a bit cheaper than buying a new receiver plus a 60-inch or larger high dynamic range (HDR)-capable 4K TV. Which upgrade do you think would provide the biggest wow factor?—Adam Head / via email

Al Griffin  |  Jul 21, 2016  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q For years, I had a projection system that dropped down in front of a plasma TV in my multi-use living room. I loved it but ended up using it less and less as the hassle of viewing in a blacked-out room grew to bother me. I have now moved and am considering options for my new living room. With the price drops of 80-inch LCDs, it’s hard to see a reason to use a projector anymore. I know the screens are getting better, but projection systems still can’t match the brightness and contrast of an LCD panel with local dimming. Then again, 80 inches is nowhere near as big as 120 inches. Right now I’m leaning toward the new Vizio M-series 80-incher. What are your thoughts? —Alex Smith / via email

Al Griffin  |  Jul 14, 2016  |  6 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I have become enamored with the Denon AVR-X7200W receiver after reading a review of it in Sound & Vision. Not only does it have all the features I want, it should allow me to expand my home theater/audio world with little compromise to my existing system.  

Now this is really old school, but I need to know if there is some provision for connecting a cassette deck and CD recorder.  I know the AVR-X7200W lacks dedicated tape loop inputs/outputs, but I wonder if some of its other assignable audio jacks could be used for that purpose.  Why? I have a couple of vintage cars with cassette players in them and want to preserve the original equipment aspect of the cars, right down to the audio systems. It’s great to go cruising and listen to music, no matter what the vintage, in a vintage car. Please let me know if my plan is possible with this Denon receiver.—Ed Sobiecki

A Preserving the original equipment aspect of a vintage car — now there’s a good reason finally to initiate serious discussion of the recently resurrected cassette tape format !

Al Griffin  |  Jul 07, 2016  |  7 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

Q I have plans to buy a new LG 65EF9500 OLED TV. Here’s my question: How long a break-in period would you recommend before having it professionally calibrated? I used my current Panasonic plasma for about 100 hours before having it calibrated.  Also, can any ISF-certified technician handle an OLED TV, or does it require special training? —John Violette

A It’s recommended that you treat an OLED TV the same as you would a plasma for the first 100 hours of use, being careful not to leave fixed images like electronic program guides or paused video game frames onscreen for an extended amount of time. This will be especially important when viewing high dynamic range (HDR) content with the 65EF9500. LG even warns about the potential for burn-in in the EF9500’s manual and recommends steps you can take to prevent it, though any image retention you experience in most situations should only be temporary.