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Sound & Vision May 2016

Sound & Vision is at the forefront of the ever-changing, always dynamic world of electronic entertainment. Authoritative and accessible, written with insight and humor, Sound & Vision is the preeminent source for consumers of home theater, audio, video, and multimedia products.

United States
AVTech Media Americas, Inc.
10 Issues

in this issue

3 min
what’s your favorite color?

I’m sometimes amazed at what I learn, or am reminded of, as we put to bed each issue of Sound & Vision. With the bird’s-eye view that comes with crossing t’s and dotting i’s on six to eight product reviews, written by staffers with their own eyes, ears, and perspectives, I get to see themes and patterns that might go unnoticed reading just any individual piece. One such revelation came as I went to finalize our review of the XTZ Cinema speaker system. Normally, our reviewers submit their raw copy with the Plus, Minus, and Verdict comments in place, and with their suggestions for star ratings and whether to award or deny Top Pick status. In the case of the XTZs, a well-built monitor system out of Sweden, our contributing technical…

9 min

E-mail them to HTLetters@sorc.com.Please note: Questions about the features and functions of a particular product are best directed to the manufacturer. Questions about what product you should buy are best directed to a dealer who knows all the details of your system, your preferences, and your personal habits. All submissions are considered the exclusive property of Sound & Vision magazine and TEN: The Enthusiast Network. We reserve the right to edit letters for brevity. Due to the volume of mail that we receive, we regret that we cannot respond to every letter. The High Cost of Hi-Res With great enthusiasm, I read Mike Mettler’s review of Rush’s Fly by Night, A Farewell to Kings, and Signals on Blu-ray DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD (S&V, December 2015). As a longtime S&V subscriber…

4 min
power and pride

Even if you’ve never heard his name, you know his work. For nearly half a century, Morris Kessler has been quietly designing and building world-class power amplifiers, not only for SAE—the iconic brand he founded in 1967—but for his other company ATI and a number of respected brands including Dynaco, Aragon, Crestron, Adcom, Integra Research, and B&K, to name a few. But that’s not all Kessler is known for. SAE introduced the first graphic equalizer, first digital read-out tuner, and first phonograph pop-and-click filter. Kessler is also credited with designing the first high-power fiveand seven-channel amplifiers. All done without great fanfare. As Brian Barr, current president of SAE put it, “Morris is the antithesis of an egomaniac.” It was love at first sight when we laid eyes (and ears) on…

3 min
this just in...

Amazon’s Top Sellers of the 2015 holiday shopping season were a Jenson JTA-230 turntable with built-in speakers and USB port (marked down from $80 to less than $50) and Fuji film for Instax Mini cameras ($15/twin-pack). Other, less retro audio sensations were the Yamaha RX-V677 A/V receiver (under $400) and Sonos Play:1 speakers ($349 for a two-room bundle)... DTS:X Firmware Updates arrived in January, bringing the Dolby Atmos competitor to upper-end Denon and Marantz receivers including Denon’s flagship AVRX7200WA ($2,999) and Marantz’s SR7010 ($2,199). Once updated, the receivers can run Audyssey auto setup and room calibration for up to 9 or 11 channels... LG Is Building OLED in a new South Korean plant with a $9 billion investment, Reuters reports. It will open in early 2018, making not only big-screen TVs but…

3 min
kef m400 headphone

Soul Stirrers PRICE $250 I REALLY WASN’T EXPECTING this. While I liked KEF’s original M500 headphone when it arrived in 2013, I can’t say I was ever smitten by the sound. But the new M400 was quite the opposite: I loved it from the get-go and immediately connected with it. The newer model is a smidgen less expensive, and it features a cleaner design and deftly executed, mostly aluminum construction, deliciously ample ear pads, and a rich tonal balance. The M500 and M400 both share similar memory-foam ear pads and a 40mm driver that features a copper-clad aluminum voice coil, but the bass venting of the driver is different on the M400, which accounts for most of the difference in sound quality. The M400 was designed in England, with proprietary KEF measuring programs…

4 min

Center Suggestions I’m wondering if my Klipsch RC-7 center speaker is damaged. When I watch movies with 5.1 soundtracks, voices sometimes sound strange, as if the actor is speaking with a lisp. I seem to hear it most with movies streamed from Netflix, and occasionally on cable movie channels like HBO. Do you know of any test DVDs or other material I can use to evaluate my system and speaker setup? Craig A. Childress / Lake Charles, LA You can find a few calibration DVDs with audio tests for under $10 at Amazon.com, including Disney Wow: World of Wonder and Digital Video Essentials. If you own a Blu-ray player, you can find Blu-ray versions, along with the AIX Audio Calibration Blu-ray ($24.99 at oppodigital.com). Each of these discs provides test tones to ID…