Sound & Vision April/May 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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future vision

On The Web Log on to and sign up for our free monthly enewsletter. You’ll get exclusive tips, news, trends, and reviews from your favorite S&V writers. 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. A LETTER in this issue from reader Paul Brians (The Real Big Screen, page 12) makes the case that current home theater systems, including ones that use a 65-inch TV, offer a superior viewing experience in comparison with a typical movie theater. I’ll confess to having had that same thought many times, even as I continue to be a fan of theatrical venues such as the Cinerama in Seattle that Mr. Brians…

that’s entertainment

Along with music editor Mike Mettler’s excellent interview with surround sound music guru Steven Wilson (see page 32), a few highlights in this issue’s Entertainment section merit a shout-out. First, movies editor Chris Chiarella weighs in on Tenet, a film I can’t say I loved, but certainly admired for its technical and storytelling virtuosity. I’m glad I bought the disc (Ultra HD version, of course) so I could watch Tenet multiple times—a requirement to figure out exactly what the hell is going on. Next, reviewer Josef Krebs checks out the Criterion Collection’s new Luis Buñuel box set. Films by Buñuel, the most accessible and interesting of the Surrealist artists, aren’t likely to be everyone’s cup of tea, but the fluid manner in which narrative threads are handed off like batons…


The Real Big Screen I’m writing to comment on Ken C. Pohlmann’s column “Fractured Fairy Tales” in the February/March 2021 issue. Another reason that conventional movie theaters will likely continue to struggle is that their “big screens” are often outmatched in picture and sound quality by current home theater systems. Also, when you’re seated close to a 65-inch TV screen, the apparent width of the image can match that of the middle-row seats in most theaters. I used to be willing to pay to see certain spectacular shows in the amazing Cinerama theater in Seattle, Washington. That venue is now closed—permanently. Paul Brians / Bainbridge Island, WA Al Griffin replies: From the Seattle Cinerama theater’s website: “Our gorgeously restored [in 2014] mid-century theatre is outfitted with the latest in motion picture technology…digital laser…

monolith by monoprice m-twe true wireless earbuds

Monoprice is an affordable direct-to-consumer brand, and its Monolith product line features sophisticated A/V gear including speakers, amps, surround sound processors, and now the new Monolith M-TWE earbuds. The M-TWE touts aptX Bluetooth audio, active noise cancellation (with cVc Echo Cancelling and Noise Suppression for phone calls), and SonorWorks SoundID, a feature that lets you customize sound to your preference, all at a very budget-friendly $130. A true wireless model, the M-TWE comes with a sturdy charging/carrying case, a soft fabric carrying case, a USB-C charging cable, and assorted eartips. The charging case has a magnetic clasp plus a spring to hold the lid up—both convenient features that make it easy to use. The earbuds are fastened in their charging ports by magnets, and a small LED inside the case indicates…

bluesound pulse sub+ subwoofer

What’s the one thing lacking in even the best soundbar? If you said “deep, realistic, room-filling, floor-pounding bass,” then you are absolutely correct. Bluesound is known for its wireless multiroom audio components and speakers, a family that includes the Pulse soundbar. Bluesound’s original Pulse Sub subwoofer, created to pair with the company’s Pulse soundbar, was a welcome addition. But the new, re-engineered Pulse Sub+ delivers more power and a larger driver, plus even more sophisticated features to extend lowfrequency response with greater impact and accuracy. Bluesound’s Pulse Sub+ ($749) is available in either black or white. The slim, trapezoidshaped cabinet is designed to be mounted in a variety of ways. It’s slim enough to slide under a sofa or end table, and in that configuration four bottom-mounted rubber feet allow the…

how napoleon bonaparte invented the compact disc

You can admit it. You are intrigued. Of course, it can’t be true. But is it purely nonsensical? Is it a “pigs can fly” kind of declaration? Or is there someway, somehow, a grain of truth in it? And if that’s the case, how on earth could you conceivably connect the dots between the Little Corporal and the Compact Disc? The story begins in 1815. French soldiers needed a way to read documents at night, without a light source. Charles Barbier, serving in the French army, devised a coding system using tactile patterns of bumps embossed on paper. Ingenious, but far from perfect. The patterns were complicated and hard to read. Moreover, instead of directly representing the alphabet, messages had to be expressed in a quasi-phonetic manner. Imagine running your fingers over…