Sound & Vision October/November 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.

United States
AVTech Media Americas, Inc.
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10 Nummer

i detta nummer

3 min
voice? whose voice, and where does it come from?

If an audio product were perfect, it would have no sound of its own. It would be invisible. It would have no “voice.” In the real world, DACs, amplifiers, turntables, and especially the transducers—microphones, phono cartridges, and loudspeakers—all have character, all have a sonic signature. If an overly optimistic designer believes their design and all the parts are perfect, and that there’s no need to listen during the development process, then the resulting product is very likely to have an irritating and fatiguing character, even if it measures very well. “Voice” is the result of crucially acknowledging the sonic effect of every decision and every part, and then purposefully coordinating the combined effect of all those many little imperfections into a whole, into a voice with as little overt character as possible. At…

3 min
spatial is the place

A REGULAR complaint aired in Sound & Vision’s Letters section is that the 5.1 surround discs covered in our Remaster Class column (see page 82) are 1) out of print, and 2) too expensive to buy on e-commerce and collector sites like eBay and Discogs. And while I commiserate—the multichannel SACD version of Roxy Music’s Avalon covered in this issue’s Remaster Class goes for around $160 (glad I picked up that one back in the day!)—the reality of the situation is that disc releases, be they LP, CD, SACD, Blu-ray, or whatever, don’t remain eternally in print. That’s the reason why there’s a thriving market for vintage vinyl, and why albums and movies are regularly remastered and reissued on disc. You can always expect to see evergreen titles like Miles Davis’…

9 min

Buried Treasure I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed Matt Hurwitz’s article about the making of George Harrison’s album All Things Must Pass in the August/September issue. After reading the article, I ended up pulling out my copy that’s been sitting on a shelf for 50 years and playing all 6 sides. It has been a long time since I played that album, and I was surprised when I took it out to see there was a poster of George still in the case. It looked brand new. I really enjoy your magazine and go back to the Stereo Review days. I have attached a photo of my George Harrison album, record sleeves, and poster. They are in good shape for being 50 years old. Mike Orland/via email The…

3 min
monoprice sb-500 5.1 soundbar

Value-priced audio products usually come at a, well, price. A user can typically expect to sacrifice sound quality and/or features, but the Monoprice SB-500 soundbar system breaks that mold by offering true Dolby Digital 5.1 with a wireless subwoofer and surrounds, all for $280. The soundbar contains four 1.7 x 4-inch midrange drivers and four 1.75-inch tweeters arrayed in a 3-channel configuration and powered by a 60-watt built-in amplifier. The down-firing subwoofer has an 8-inch driver and a 100-watt amp, and the two surrounds each have a 2.5-inch full-range driver powered by a 20-watt amp. The soundbar and the satellites can be wall-mounted using included hardware. Monoprice’s soundbar has a clean, simple look. The metal grille on its front panel has a basic LED status display that can be toggled off via…

4 min
thx onyx dac/headphone amplifier

Home theater enthusiasts know THX for its certification program, an initiative responsible for the familiar logo emblazoned on all manner of gear for nearly three decades, along with the Deep Note trailer heard in certified movie theaters and on home video releases. Surprisingly, the company never released its own “THX” product, a situation that now changes with the arrival of the THX Onyx portable DAC/headphone amplifier. The THX Onyx joins a crowd of portable DAC/amps designed to be plugged into a computer or smartphone for improved on-the-go audio quality. Its $199 price locates it in the middle of the pack in terms of affordability, but when you check the Onyx’s specs, you’ll see you get quite a bit here for the money. While most other portable DAC/amps top out at 24-bit/96kHz decoding,…

4 min
the secret life of gear

I usually don’t talk to myself, but the other day I was sitting down to my favorite breakfast, a stack of delicious Eggo buttermilk waffles, and I exclaimed out loud, “Man, I need to buy some more syrup!” Later that day, browsing on my PC, I got a pop-up ad for Vermont maple syrup. I exclaimed, “Wow! What a coincidence!” And then my life spiraled out of control. Rewind several months. One day I unplugged my TV cable box and switched to a TiVo instead. The cable box sat, unplugged, forgotten, in the closet. This morning I was paying some bills online, and I happened to click on a link to my cable box. There it was, alive and well in the cloud, selecting and recording movies and TV series, setting…