Sound + Image August - September 2018

SOUND + IMAGE magazine offers a comprehensive package focused on lifestyle home electronic entertainment. It provides easy-to-read information about audio and video equipment and how ordinary consumers can assemble extraordinary systems that look and sound fantastic.

Future Publishing Ltd
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8 Issues

in this issue

2 min
the hi–fi headlines

Yamaha’s voice-controlled AV receivers now in store There is a reason why every generation of Yamaha’s Aventage audio-visual receivers has won a prestigious Sound+Image ‘Receiver of the Year’ award – it’s simply because they deserve it. Yamaha have dominated the AV receiver market for many years now and their latest release, the 9th generation of this fabulous range, suggests that they will retain this dominance for some time yet. The first Aventage range of receivers was a stand-out, and all subsequent releases have been evolutionary. The lynchpin of the initial release was the sound quality – Yamaha wanted to prove that a home theatre receiver could sound good. While no audio visual receiver will sound as good playing music as a dedicated two-channel amplifier, Yamaha considerably narrowed the gap. This has not…

1 min
cocktail x35

Introducing the Cocktail X35. This single box (just add speakers) features: • 100-watt/channel amplifier.• CD player.• FM and DAB+ tuner.• Reference level 192kHz DAC.• Network streamer, supporting Roon, Tidal, Spotify and many more.• CD ripper and hard-drive. This will rip and store thousands of your CDs.• Phono input – which allows you to record your vinyl to the hard drive. This is a very comprehensive piece of equipment, and is ideal for anyone who wants all that a modern Hi-Fi system has to offer, has limited available space, but still expects quality. The review concludes ‘What’s remarkable about the Cocktail Audio X35 is not that it does so many things, but that it does them well’. The price is $3,499 including a 2TB hard-drive.…

4 min
war is over. (if you want it.)

Remember CD versus vinyl? VHS versus Betamax? Blu-ray versus HD-DVD? Consumer audio and AV has always seemed to love a good format war, despite the fall-out for early adopters when two (or more) rival systems vie for the market. Sometimes they cohabit the world of audio and AV for years, which is downright inefficient for everyone; sometimes there’s an outright winner and a subsequent retiree. Very rarely the loser bides its time and makes a comeback (yes, we’re looking at you, vinyl). So what have we got happening at the moment? OLED versus LED TVs — is that a format war? We review two OLEDs and one LED TV this issue, and OLED offers the better picture quality, if you can afford the technology’s higher price-tag. OLED looks best in a…

3 min
7.1.4 from samsung’s soundbar

Having been well impressed by Samsung’s HW-K950 soundbar when it was released for the Christmas 2016 season, we were keen to hear Samsung’s updated version, the HW-N950, launching at the same $1999. If that sounds pricey for a soundbar, and a Samsung one at that, take a look at the specs. This is a full 7.1.4 immersive sound system with dedicated drivers for each channel, rather than virtualisation (other than the side-surround position being delivered by side drivers on the front bar). There are separate physical wireless rear speakers, and four drivers dedicated to the height channels of Atmos and DTS:X — a pair of upfiring drivers on the bar, and two more at the rear, one on each rear speaker. At the Sydney demonstration we asked for a Dolby Atmos 7.1.4…

2 min
what is mpeg-h?

When we were told that the Samsung N950 soundbar (right) was compatible with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and MPEG-H, well, we knew Atmos and DTS:X, of course, as we do the third commonly considered immersive sound format Auro-3D. But what is MPEG-H? Not new, it turns out, developed from 2014 as part of a full audio-video standard, of which the audio compression standard has been vying with Dolby AC-4 for adoption within the new ATSC 3.0 broadcast standards. While Dolby has the edge with AC-4 for use in the States, MPEG-H was adopted in South Korea for its launch of ATSC 3.0 last year, which may explain why the main brands known to consider it are LG, which licensed MPEG-H for its 2017 TV models (according to the MPEG-H Audio Alliance), and…

1 min
roon gets chroming

Users of Roon, the paid music management software, may find their list of endpoints expanding dramatically with an update which brings Chromecasts within the list of devices to which Roon can send music. So that’s good for sending to all Google-equipped speakers, all Android TVs, direct delivery to audio Chromecasts, and to video Chromecasts for which it adds a visual interface. Roon was already able to address AirPlay devices, iPhones and iPads, and Sonos products, plus of course any Roon-ready kit, or DACs connected to the computer hosting your Roon Core. Powerful, then, if you are up for the US$119 per year or $499 ‘lifetime’ fee.…