Al Griffin

Al Griffin  |  May 08, 2019  |  0 comments

Speakers
Performance
Build Quality
Value

Subwoofer
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $2,144 (as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive performance for price
Surround speakers provide flexible installation options
Subwoofer with app control and room correction
Minus
Basic build quality and looks

THE VERDICT
This entry-level Paradigm speaker package delivers performance reminiscent of the company's higher end models, along with a few sophisticated and well-considered features.

Canada's Paradigm offers a truly impressive range of speakers for audiophiles and home theater enthusiasts alike. The company makes so many speakers, in fact, that I sometimes have trouble keeping track of what's what in the Paradigm lineup. With luscious, hand-lacquered cabinets and Beryllium drivers, the Persona line is the flagship offering, one that Sound & Vision reviewed in a 5.1-channel configuration in our September 2017 issue. While we found plenty to like about that Persona rig, at $31,000 it clearly represented a luxury purchase. Fortunately, the Paradigm family also includes speakers aimed at budget-conscious listeners, such as the Monitor SE series.

Al Griffin  |  May 02, 2019  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q I’ve got a smallish 10 x 12-foot viewing room. The room’s size isn’t necessarily a problem, but the seating is a modular couch set all the way against the back wall. Can I get any value out of in-wall surrounds right behind or beside the seating? —Robert Greenwalt, via email

Al Griffin  |  Apr 26, 2019  |  2 comments
As someone who has spent the past two-plus decades writing about and reviewing TVs, projectors, and associated gear, I have to say that the addition of high dynamic range to video is among the more impressive developments I’ve encountered. Not since high-definition TV took over the airwaves back in 1999 and then made its way to Blu-ray (and HD DVD) discs a few years later have video enthusiasts been treated to such a massive leap in visual quality. Oh right, there was the launch of Blu-ray 3D back in 2010, a format that required a new player and TV, goggles, and a 50 percent hit in screen brightness, but…oh, never mind.
Al Griffin  |  Apr 23, 2019  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $200

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impressive sound and build quality for price
Good looks
Easy to set up
Minus
Limited connection options
Analog input can be noisy

THE VERDICT
The Fluance Ai40 delivers great sound and easy setup at a stunningly low price.

The Fluance Ai40 is a good-looking and reasonably compact powered speaker system that's equally at home on the desktop and in the living room. With aptX Bluetooth and stereo RCA inputs and not much else, it's easy to set up for streaming and vinyl or CD playback. At $200, the Ai40 is also a notably affordable given the performance level it provides.

Al Griffin  |  Apr 04, 2019  |  0 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q If I use an Apple TV 4K with an AV receiver, is it possible to route the surround sound to headphones? I ask because I’m viewing using a computer monitor and the only way I can get sound is through headphones. —H.G. Fernand, via email

Al Griffin  |  Apr 01, 2019  |  0 comments
Picture
Sound
Extras
It was a bold move for Luca Guadagnino, director of the 2018 Academy Award-nominated, Call Me by Your Name, to undertake a remake of Suspiria, the 1977 film from Italian horror auteur Dario Argento, as his next project. Buoyed no doubt by the critical acclaim Call Me by Your Name had received, Guadagnino, an avowed Argento fan, likely felt he could do Argento's cult classic justice.
Al Griffin  |  Mar 27, 2019  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,747 (as tested)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Rich, dynamic sound
Easy setup and reliable wireless performance
Uses BluOS app for streaming
Minus
Utilitarian looks
Kinda pricey

THE VERDICT
DALI’s Callisto 6 C towers provide a reliable option for high-performance wireless hi-fi, as well as high-res multiroom streaming when paired with the BluOS NPM-1 module.

Active speakers that deliver sound via wireless connections have become a hot category in the hi-fi world. Sound & Vision has reviewed a wide range of them—everything from cheap, compact cylinders that sit on your kitchen counter and respond to voice commands, to more advanced systems designed to deliver stereo or 5.1 sound in a living room or home theater environment. The new Callisto line from Denmark's DALI (Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries) belongs to the latter category. You'll find no tiny drivers or molded plastic cabinets here, let alone a built-in intelligent assistant of the Google, Alexa, or Siri stripe. Instead, the Callistos merge the convenience of wireless audio with a traditional approach to high-end speaker design.

Al Griffin  |  Mar 21, 2019  |  3 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

Q Would audio upmixing solutions like Dolby Surround or Dolby Pro Logic IIz be able to convert stereo sound for a 5.1.2 speaker setup? —Osama Ashoor, via email

Al Griffin  |  Mar 06, 2019  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,300

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent sound quality
Strong feature set
Good ergonomics and control app
Minus
Pricey

THE VERDICT
Simaudio's Moon 390 is a high-res stream machine that combines high-end sound with an extensive feature set and solid ergonomics.

Canada's Simaudio has been designing and manufacturing audio electronic components from its home base in Quebec for almost four decades. While the company's product lineup clearly skews toward the high end—a pair of its flagship Moon 888 monoblock amplifiers will run you around $120,000—the company also makes a wide range of other components with more approachable price tags. A number of these, such as the Moon 390 preamplifier ($5,300) we have under review here, feature the MiND 2 streaming module, a built-in network player that lets you stream audio from services like Tidal, Qobuz, and Deezer, along with files stored on a NAS or USB drive or computer.

Al Griffin  |  Feb 01, 2019  |  0 comments
Need something to watch on that new 8K TV? (You have one of those, of course, don’t you?) Florian Friedrich, a developer who creates HDR mastering software and who has worked with video expert Joe Kane to develop UHDTV test content, has created a reformatted 8K version of the 8K footage NASA recently made available for download on its website.

It apparently was necessary for Friedrich to reformat the original NASA 8K footage because it wouldn’t play on the Samsung 8K TV that he initially tried it with. Why not? According to Friedrich, “The whole encoding was not optimized for playback with CE-devices: wrong video levels, incompatible MPEG profile, critical bitrate.”

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