Al Griffin

Al Griffin  |  Sep 06, 2018  |  0 comments
Harman has its affordable JBL Stage series speakers on display at CEDIA. The new speakers, which supersede the company’s previous entry-level Arena series, has a neat, retro look, with white paper-cone mid-bass drivers reminiscent of those found in the company’s professional studio monitors from a few decades back.
Al Griffin  |  Sep 01, 2018  |  0 comments
Not to be outdone by Samsung, LG had its own 8K TV to show at IFA 2018, this one an 88-inch OLED model.
Al Griffin  |  Aug 31, 2018  |  1 comments
Directed by John Krasinksi (star of TV’s “The Office”) and produced by action film director Michael Bay, A Quiet Place is a curious mashup of sci-fi/horror and family drama. The world is under siege by alien creatures who are blind but have powerful hearing capability, which they use to locate human prey. To survive, a family at the story’s center of needs to remain completely silent at all times— not something that’s easy to do when the clan includes young children.
Al Griffin  |  Aug 31, 2018  |  1 comments
The IFA show happening right now in Berlin, Germany is as much about home appliances as A/V electronics — I’ve never seen so many refrigerators in one place in my life. Still, there are interesting products to report on, particularly the new 8K TVs from Samsung and LG.
Al Griffin  |  Aug 09, 2018  |  1 comments
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at

QWhen researching DACs, I ran across the Cambridge Audio CXN, a network audio player that upsamples all inputs to a 24-bit/384kHz hi-res format using “polynomial curve fitting interpolation.” This seems to be the only DAC that offers that kind of feature. Most Ultra HDTVs and Blu-ray players also provide upscaling, but for video. In my experience, this is a very effective feature that improves the experience of watching a regular DVD. Here’s my question: Does audio upsampling have the same effect as video upscaling? —Mike Yang / via e-mail

Al Griffin  |  Aug 02, 2018  |  2 comments

PRICE $2,799

Excellent color rendition
Deep, detailed-looking blacks
Full-array backlight with local dimming
Potentially confusing screen GUI and remote
Unreliable voice command feature
No Dolby Vision

Quantum dots in Samsung’s near-top-of-line QLED TV allow it to deliver exceptionally rich color. Add in a full-array backlight with local dimming and the QN65Q8FN amounts to a winning proposition from a picture quality standpoint.

Samsung’s QLED—not to be confused with OLED—UHDTVs are the company’s top-of-the-line models. In case you’re wondering, that Q in QLED stands for quantum dot, a backlight technology that provides a more precise method to generate the red, green, and blue light that creates a video image than the process typically used for LCD displays. How does it happen? In a Samsung QLED TV, a blue LED backlight generates the blue component of the image and also stimulates a layer of nanocrystal dots sized to emit a specific wavelength of light —red and green in this case—when energized.

Al Griffin  |  Aug 01, 2018  |  4 comments
Sony introduced its new Master series Ultra HDTVs at a press event yesterday in New York City. The series consists of the A9F OLED and Z9F LCD models, both of which will arrive later this Fall.
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
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

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