Al Griffin

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Al Griffin  |  Jul 25, 2018  |  0 comments
The weather is warm and outdoors is the place to be. It doesn’t matter if you’re poolside, at the beach, or on the road with the family, you don’t have to leave your music and movies behind. Here are 10 AV gear suggestions for getting an entertainment fix in the great outdoors.
Al Griffin  |  Jul 20, 2018  |  0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
Rewatching Game of Thrones, this time on Ultra HD Blu-ray, so many years after first entering Westeros, that fictional realm conjured up by fantasy writer George R.R. Martin, is an experience akin to visiting an old friend—and a crime scene. As the series unfolds, and its extensive cast of characters get introduced, there’s an uncomfortable pang that comes from knowing what hellish circumstances these men, women, and children are about to endure. The first episode marks the first time you hear “winter is coming” uttered. The statement is tossed off casually and doesn’t land with much impact. But it does leave a certain chill in its wake. These poor folks don’t know the half of it.
Al Griffin  |  Jul 19, 2018  |  2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I can’t seem to get clear dialogue when playing some movies and TV shows and am forced to used closed captioning. I believe my problem is caused by improper phase. My home theater setup consists of five speakers plus dual subwoofers that have a polarity switch and phase knob. I’ve heard that the proper way to adjust phase is to play a sine wave at 80 Hz (same as my crossover setting) and then turn off all speakers except the left or right speaker and its adjacent sub. The next step: adjust polarity and phase until you measure the highest SPL level at the main listening position. Am I going about things right? Any other suggestions to improve dialogue intelligibility in my system? —AMIT ALCALAY

Al Griffin  |  Jul 12, 2018  |  0 comments
Performance
Build Quality
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $900 ($1,200 as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Atmos and DTS:X sound from a compact package
Easy setup
Minus
Limited overhead effects capability
Performance with music less impressive than movies

THE VERDICT
Sony’s soundbar offers an easy way to get Atmos, but you’ll need the optional wireless surround speakers for best performance.

Soundbars designed to deliver Dolby Atmos sound in an all-in-one package offer a convenient alternative to complicated—and pricey—setups that require in-ceiling speakers or “elevation” modules. We’ve checked out a few such specimens in Sound & Vision, including Sony’s HT-ST5000 ($1,500). Now, the company’s new HT-Z9F ($900), aims to deliver the same object- based Atmos—and DTS:X—experience from a more compact and notably less costly soundbar.

Al Griffin  |  Jun 28, 2018  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Bright picture with powerful contrast
Detailed Ultra HD image
Maintenance-free laser light engine
Minus
Some loss of highlight detail with HDR
Requires calibration for best performance
Limited wide color gamut display

THE VERDICT
The Acer VL7860’s detailed picture and impressive contrast elevate it above the entry-level 4K DLP projector pack. In this case, 4K for 4K is a good deal.

With DLP projectors capable of displaying 4K Ultra HD signals now selling for $1,500 or even less, they present an affordable alternative to higher-cost 4K LCOS models from Sony and JVC. Even longtime LCOS stalwart JVC has jumped in on the game, with the company recently announcing its first DLP projector, a $2,500 4K-capable model.

Al Griffin  |  Jun 14, 2018  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I have searched extensively for an HDMI splitter that will let me connect a high dynamic range source to both my new Dolby Vision-capable Vizio TV and my legacy Anthem receiver (for lossless audio). Oppo’s UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player has dual HDMI outputs and supports Dolby Vision. It also has an HDMI input that would enable passthrough of another HDR-capable source like a Chromecast Ultra, Roku Ultra, Fire TV, or Apple TV 4K. Here’s my question: Is there a less expensive option than the Oppo that would deliver the same result? —Andy Lutz / Houston, TX

Al Griffin  |  Jun 11, 2018  |  4 comments
For me, a thrill that comes with the arrival of spring and summer months is jumping in my car and traveling in pursuit of music. Two months back, I saluted the warm weather, loaded up my Impreza, and drove a few hundred miles south to Takoma Park, Maryland to attend The Thousand Incarnations of the Rose, A Festival of American Primitive Guitar.
Al Griffin  |  Jun 06, 2018  |  4 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Dolby Vision compatible
High-quality Blu-ray video upconversion
Plays SACDs, DVD-Audio discs, and Blu-ray 3D discs
Minus
No analog audio outputs
Remote control not backlit
Pricey compared with competition

THE VERDICT
Cambridge Audio’s CXUHD provides faultless video performance in a streamlined package.

Cambridge Audio is a British manufacturer known for their sleek, well-built, affordable audio components and speakers. They are also known for their universal disc players, which are based on Oppo Digital units but sold minus the built-in digital-to-analog converters and analog audio outputs. According to Cambridge, this is meant to “decrease interference to the signal, improving quality by reducing video noise.” Since the brand makes A/V receivers with built-in DACs designed to mate with their players, there’s some sound reasoning behind that strategy.

Al Griffin  |  Jun 01, 2018  |  13 comments
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the EISA (European Imaging and Sound Association) convention in Antwerp, Belgium. At this annual event, magazine editors from around the globe are given the chance to preview new audio, video, and digital photography products, many of which are yet to hit the market. For me, a highlight of the event was a demo of Panasonic’s DP-UB9000, a flagship Ultra HD Blu-ray player designed for high-performance video and audio playback.
Al Griffin  |  May 31, 2018  |  Published: May 30, 2018  |  2 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Why are different units of brightness measurement used for different display technologies? For example, I’ve seen lumens used for home theater projectors, foot-lamberts for movie theaters, and nits for high dynamic range-capable TVs. Wouldn’t it be less confusing for the average consumer to lump everything together as a single measurement?
Nathan Robertson / via e-mail

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