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Recent Home Theater Editorials

Car Audio Head Units Belong in Space Shuttles, Not Cars

Car Audio Head Units Belong in Space Shuttles, Not Cars

We recently installed a brand new car audio system as part of a "Pimp Mom's Car" feature in honor of Mother's Day. I mean, Mom had gotten her share of flowers and chocolates - why not go for something different this year? In writing the article and installing the system, there was a clear difference between the stock and finished stereo. It was "night and day", as the saying goes - and when we were done there was no doubt that the audio quality was vastly improved. So much, in fact, that we didn't understand why anyone would drive around with their cars' stock audio solution when, for just a small amount of money and effort, they could upgrade to something much better.

Our new head unit was harder to control than the space shuttle. I mean it. We were fairly certain we could land the Endeavor before we could master all of the features of our new CD receiver.

— May 22, 2012 04:45 in Editorials

Dolby Atmos Coming to Theaters Near You

Dolby Atmos Coming to Theaters Near You

The new Dolby Atmos platform one-ups the competition by adding a new frontier in sound - the upper hemisphere. Theaters featuring Dolby’s new Atmos technology will expand sound into discrete channels above the audience with a system that uses 64 speakers to completely envelop the audience. Dolby’s new technology could be just the next strike in a war of escalation reminiscent of razor blade ads that once one-upped each other with more blades for an even closer shave. Dolby Atmos, with 64 speakers, can create a ridiculously lifelike sonic experience with localized sound in front, beside, behind and now on top of the audience. Atmos will envelop you in such an extreme sonic experience the ticket-booth will have to hand out diapers with their 3D glasses.

The new Dolby Atmos platform one-ups ads a new frontier in sound - the upper hemisphere. Theaters featuring Dolby’s new Atmos technology will expand sound into discrete channels above the audience.

— May 14, 2012 10:15 in Editorials

Audioquest Cable "BoomBox" Demo: Legit Science or Slick Marketing?

Audioquest Cable "BoomBox" Demo: Legit Science or Slick Marketing?

We recently had the opportunity to sit in on the Audioquest "Boombox" dealer demo where they attempted to convince the participants of the sonic superiority of Audioquest cables even when using simple and low fidelity audio gear. From entry level speaker wire to iPod cables for over $600, we listened to a lot of products. But, was the scientifically flawed? Were there other factors at play? And, did they change our minds? Read on to find out.

Are hi-end cables, like those by Audioquest, worth the money? We sat in on an Audioquest demo to let them try to convince us of the differences. Here's what we heard and saw.

— April 18, 2012 13:30 in Editorials

AV Rant #280: Ego Stroker

AV Rant #280: Ego Stroker

Liz reports on Spotify’s new timeline along with a discussion of how it is working for her. Tom looks at Samsung’s new tube offerings (didn’t occur to either of them that it was April 1st so they may have been a joke), Audyssey’s Audio Dock Air (which is a joke, but not in the April 1st sort of way), and a wireless solution from Atlantic Technology. Liz has some Best Buy news. Listener John compares Lossless to iTunes Match to Mastered for iTunes. You’ll want to hear this one. Plus, lots more!

Lots of news, reviews, and updates including a comparison of iTunes Match and Mastered for iTunes to an original CD recording. Plus lots more!

— April 04, 2012 07:45 in Editorials

Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review

Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review

When Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) and his entourage arrive in the northern province of Winterfell, home to trusted ally and friend Eddard (Sean Bean), patriarch of House Stark, his royal visit sets off a chain of events that will forever change the shifting alliances of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. What follows is the basis of a bestselling fantasy book series called A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. It’s a deep and sprawling world of feuding clans, swords and knights both noble and not so noble. Topped with a healthy helping of sex, loyalty and deceit. HBO has turned the first book of the series into a television drama masterpiece with as much care and attention to detail as the its finest work.

HBO has turned the Game of Thrones into a television drama masterpiece with as much care and attention to detail as the its finest work.

— March 05, 2012 09:45 in Editorials

What Home Theater Can Learn from Apple

What Home Theater Can Learn from Apple

I once had a conversation with my mom. She had a DVD and liked the soundtrack. She took the DVD to the car and didn't understand why she couldn't listen to the soundtrack in the car. I explained that they were different formats. That the music wasn't organized like a CD. That she'd need to buy the soundtrack separately. But she just kept looking at the DVD like it had let her down. And she was right - it had. If we'd had some more forethought, a disc would work the way the typical (uninformed, maybe, but typical) user expects. Because, when a user's expectations are met, they respond positively. But when they aren't... well, that's why we have Internet forums. If Apple had designed the home theater system, the first thing they would have done is sit down in front of a TV and said, "Now, how SHOULD this work?" They wouldn't be sitting in a lab somewhere staring at printout and CAD drawings trying to figure out how to make the most overly complicated cable in the world simply so that they could add copy protection to "stop" pirates that will figure out a workaround in months if not days.

if Apple had designed the home theater system, the first thing they would have done is sit down in front of a TV and said, "Now, how SHOULD this work?" They wouldn't be sitting in a lab somewhere.

— February 28, 2012 06:05 in Editorials

AV Rant #273: Interview with PJ Pesce

AV Rant #273: Interview with PJ Pesce

For this special episode of AV Rant, Tom welcomes Clint DeBoer, Editor in Chief of Audioholics and PJ Pesce. PJ is a writer, director, musician and more. He’s worked on tons of stuff over the years and has great insight into the workings of Hollywood and the movie-making machine. Tom and Clint talk with PJ about the movie making process, some of the recent trends in movies (specifically 3D), and who is to blame for bad movies. Warning: mild use of language in this episode.

For this special episode of AV Rant, Tom welcomes Clint DeBoer, Editor in Chief of Audioholics and PJ Pesce. PJ is a writer, director, musician and more. Warning: mild use of language in this episode.

— February 24, 2012 19:47 in Editorials

AV Rant #272: Badmouthing the Brits

AV Rant #272: Badmouthing the Brits

Welcome to the last podcast where at least one of the core AV Rant members will be standing in the states. This week, Tom admits he was wrong (don’t tell his wife) about iCloud Match. Liz liked Tom’s article on Defining Confusing Audio Terms. Why aren’t we shooting video in 120Hz? We need to get James Camereon on this one! Universal Remote Control tells it like it is and Liz thinks it’s an Onion article. Plus lots, lots more. Come back tomorrow for a special interview podcast with PJ Pesce!

This week, Tom admits he was wrong (don’t tell his wife) about iCloud Match. Liz liked Tom’s article on Defining Confusing Audio Terms. Why aren’t we shooting video in 120Hz? Plus lots more!

— February 24, 2012 00:25 in Editorials

Defining Confusing Audio Terms

Defining Confusing Audio Terms

In any industry, you'll run into specific lexicons. These are words that may mean completely different things in a different setting. Go into a theater and tell an actor to "break a leg" and they'll thank you. Walk into an MMA match and you'll receive a completely different reaction. We run across a number of terms that have different meanings depending on who you talk to. We've taken some and listed them along with, when possible, the meanings to the different groups. Enjoy.

In any industry, you'll run into specific lexicons. These are words that may mean completely different things to different people. We've taken some and listed them, along with their definitions, here.

— February 21, 2012 05:15 in Editorials

The Insanity of Marketing Disguised as Loudspeaker Science

The Insanity of Marketing Disguised as Loudspeaker Science

This article is an opinion piece on why you simply cannot declare Speaker XXX is better than Speaker YYY based on a few measurement graphs or claims from a manufacturer that their speakers are inherently the best because they use anechoic chambers and DBT protocols during their design and testing phases. We explore many of the misconceptions consumers often fall victim to when viewing loudspeaker measurements or falling too heavily into the DBT mantra. In a small market catering to audio enthusiasts, that seems to be continually shrinking, it’s not unreasonable as to why manufacturers often dress up marketing as science. It is important to recognize this and note how a loudspeaker plays into a room and how we ultimately perceive that experience is a far more complex topic than we can fully understand and neatly frame with a few measurements and listening tests (sighted or blind).

This article is an opinion piece on why you simply cannot declare Speaker XXX is better than Speaker YYY based on a few measurement graphs or so called "DBT's" conducted by a manufacturer.

— February 09, 2012 13:25 in Editorials

Why We Measure Audio Equipment Performance

Why We Measure Audio Equipment Performance

This article explores the question why we measure audio component performance. We take you on a tour of the various A/V components we review, and how our measurements can and cannot be correlated audibly. After Audioholics covers a product and its readers weigh in with their opinions in our forums, you can rest assured the product performance is pretty well covered. You’ll know what to expect should you plan on buying it for your own usage. Nobody has all of the answers but collectively we can at least approach an educated assessment to help other Audioholics reach their goal of sonic nirvana while weeding out the average from exceptional performing audio equipment.

This article explores the question why we measure audio component performance. We take you on a tour of the various A/V components we review, and how our measurements can/cannot relate audibly.

— January 31, 2012 18:50 in Editorials

Internet Victory as SOPA, PIPA Lose Steam

Internet Victory as SOPA, PIPA Lose Steam

The SOPA and PIPA bills are withering away as Internet activism seems to have scored a victory. Several well-established corners of the Internet went dark Wednesday in protest of the anti-piracy bills facing the House of Representatives and Senate respectively. The bills would give content owners heavy-handed powers to shut down or block sites accused of copyright infringement without the benefit of legal discourse or due process. Even worse; the ability to block, shutdown or sue websites accused of piracy involves entertainment industry lawyers tinkering with domain registries, the very backbone of the Internet itself. In a nutshell: Politicians want to give lawyers the ability to tinker with the inner workings of the Internet! What could possibly go wrong?

The SOPA and PIPA bills are withering away as Internet activism seems to have scored a victory.

— January 19, 2012 07:30 in Editorials

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, the Cure for Black Ops

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, the Cure for Black Ops

After a carpel-tunnel inducing, twitch-fest Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 marathon - my ears are still ringing from the machine gun and artillery fire. But I'm thoroughly invigorated and pleased to report that the latest installment of the Modern Warfare franchise is the best yet. Unlike the lateral movement that was Black Ops, Modern Warfare 3 is a clear step forward in depth, game options, weapons, builds and overall polish from its predecessor Modern Warfare 2. The all-new MW3 engine is no slouch either, bringing lighting, detail and overall graphics quality that are just a tiny cut above previous Modern Warfare games.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 marathon - my ears are still ringing from the machine gun and artillery fire. But I'm thoroughly invigorated and this game is one of the most anticipated of 2011.

— November 09, 2011 14:25 in Editorials

HDMI Forum: More Better? or Just More Money?

HDMI Forum: More Better? or Just More Money?

HDMI Licensing is the organization that licenses HDMI. It's a conglomerate of founders/members that determine the spec and issue licenses and disseminate the design spec for manufacturing members to know how to properly implement the technology into their products. This week, HDMI Licensing created a whole new organization, HDMI Forum, Inc. The new organization is supposedly intended to bring more people into the process of developing the HDMI specification. Presumably, these additional members would be manufacturers, and presumably, they would be comprised of existing HDMI Licensees as well as other concerned parties.

This week, HDMI Licensing created a whole new organization, HDMI Forum, Inc. The new organization is supposedly intended to bring more people into the process of developing the HDMI specification.

— October 26, 2011 10:17 in Editorials