Sound & Vision December 2020/January 2021

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.

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track one

Customer Service And Subscriptions Call (800) 666-3746 (international calls: 386-447-6383) or write to: Sound & Vision, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235 Please include your full name, address, and phone number on any inquiries. Virtual Realities IRL (IN REAL LIFE), according to, that definitive lexicon of terms alien to folks who don’t spend their entire life on the internet, is an acronym “often used in internet chat rooms to let people know you are talking about something in the real world and not in the internet world.” Recently, I got a strong reminder of the value of RL (Real Life) as opposed to IRL. The occasion was CEDIA Expo Virtual 2020, the online version of the home theater and custom installation tech tradeshow that Sound & Vision attends and reports on each September. I…


Remaster Class Notes The more I read Mike Mettler’s music disc reviews and Remaster Class columns, the more interested I become in re-exploring my favorite music, the more I look into remastered classic and newer albums, the more I end up buying remastered and higher-res versions of these albums, the more I listen to and enjoy the newly remastered albums… you get the idea. Getting this information and perspective is much more useful and pertinent to me than what I read in other music publications. Keep up the great work, Mike! Steve B. / Minneapolis, MN I haven’t had a CD copy of Jethro Tull’s Aqualung since I got rid of the original release. It sounded so crappy! Wanting to hear it in my car with the best possible sound, I referred to…

jbl bar 9.1 soundbar

The JBL Bar 9.1 soundbar system provides one of the easiest ways to get a realistic Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive audio experience. JBL’s secret? The Bar 9.1 uses detachable wireless, battery-powered surround speakers that can be situated anyplace in the room that’s convenient. JBL’s soundbar uses four “racetrack” drivers, three 0.75-inch tweeters, and two full-range upfiring drivers, while each surround uses a full-range upfiring driver and 0.75-inch tweeter. The system’s substantial subwoofer features a 10-inch driver and weighs in at a hefty 24.5 pounds. Power for the Bar 9.1 system is spec’d at 820 watts total. Setup Setup of the JBL Bar 9.1 was straightforward; it only took a few minutes and I had the system up and running. Connections include an HDMI input and output with eARC, optical digital, Ethernet, and…

polk audio magnifi 2 soundbar system

Polk Audio’s new MagniFi 2 soundbar hits a sweet spot of affordability, performance, and convenience. It features Polk’s patented SDA Stereo Dimensional Array technology to enhance stereo imaging, a 3D Mode that adds virtual height and surround effects, and a Voice Adjust feature to boost dialogue levels in movies and TV shows. Chromecast built-in enables wireless music streaming from apps including Amazon Music HD, Spotify, Tidal, and Qobuz, and its HDMI 2.0 connections support Dolby Vision passthrough. The MagniFi 2 also works with Google Assistant (when used with an external device like a Nest speaker) for voice command of functions like volume adjustment and playback control. SDA (Stereo Dimensional Array) works via a combination of driver placement on the MagniFi 2 and DSP to cancel out interaural crosstalk between the left…

the rapture of the rumble

Let us begin with the facts, which are indisputable. Fact: Theologians unanimously agree that God intended that cars should be powered by internal combustion engines (ICE). Any other means of automotive power is heresy. I’ve written before about how awesomely cool ICE cars are. I mean, we are talking turntable LP cool here. Also fact: Theologians agree on the reason why God likes ICE. It is because the sound they make—that basso-profundo rumble that stirs the soul as the car passes by—is a religious experience. Drivers of loud ICE cars should not get a traffic ticket, but a ticket to heaven. What is that blasphemy you speak? Electric vehicles? They are heresy and their devilry will lead people to no good. Have you ever seen a lightning bolt strike an electric car?…

virtually there

Picture yourself in a boat on a river. Floating downstream, you eventually arrive at a beautiful island locale, where upon its shores awaits your favorite band. After you disembark, the band shows you a potential setlist that you approve, albeit with a few tweaks and additions. You want them to play some of your personal favorite deep cuts, and they’re more than happy to comply. The band commences a long set just for you, an audience of one, and it’s absolute paradise to your ears. Indeed, this is the kind of live experience you’ve been craving for months—and you didn’t even have to leave your home theater to enjoy it. Pure fantasy, you say? Well, not entirely. Welcome to the burgeoning world of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) concerts.…