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Sound & Vision

Sound & Vision June/July 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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United States
AVTech Media Americas, Inc.
10 Issues

in this issue

2 min

ULTRA HD BLU-RAY GATTACA tells the story of a future where genetically engineered humans are provided all the benefits of an advanced civilization while those that are genetically inferior are relegated to more menial jobs and not afforded the same opportunities as society’s elite. Ethan Hawke plays Vincent, an “in-valid” who takes on the identity of one of the genetically elite, Jerome (Jude Law), in order to realize his dream of becoming a navigator at Gattaca, a prestigious space exploration corporation. The film moves slowly, but with stylish cinematography and excellent performances, it holds up well nearly 25 years after its initial release. The film was shot in the Super 35 format and is presented here in a 2.39 aspect ratio. With a new 4K master sourced from the original camera negative,…

2 min

BLU-RAY THE MODERN-DAY composer died way too young. Frank Zappa was only 52 when he passed away from prostate cancer in December 1993, but his recorded legacy continues to cast a long shadow over music to this day—and will continue to do so well beyond our lifespans. It’s all covered quite Motherly-lovingly in Zappa, an excellent in-depth documentary that looks at the full scope of the man’s grand wazoo of a career. Astutely directed by Alex Winter, Zappa is a two-hour plunge into all things Frank. Given Zappa’s personal interest in filming most every envelope-pushing thing he could see and do once he got his hands on his father’s 8mm camera in the 1950s—and thanks to the unlimited vault access granted by FZ’s late wife, Gail—Winter culled from a wealth of unreleased…

28 min
noise-canceling true wireless earbuds

WHAT THE WORLD needs now is active noise-canceling (ANC) true wireless earbuds. ANC buds meet the needs of the moment by providing a way to boost audio quality during Zoom calls while simultaneously isolating us against intrusive environmental factors (remote-schooled kids, other work-from-home adults, etc.). And fortunately for us all, they are getting better-sounding, more feature-packed, and less expensive. When considering which ANC buds will satisfy both your ears and lifestyle, you many need to reverse your usual headphones-buying qualifications. You’re a Sound & Vision reader, so sound quality is critical. But while you will discern differences in frequency response and soundstage dimensionality from one set of buds to the next, the more critical metrics for comparing true wireless ANC in-ear models are convenience and operational features. You’ll also find a…

12 min
the best, for less

RATINGS Speakers PERFORMANCE BUILD QUALITY VALUE BACK IN 2019, Polk Audio rolled out its Legend series speakers. For a brand known to maintain a laser-like focus on value, the Legends, with their finely constructed cabinets (featuring real wood veneer) and fully redesigned driver complement, not to mention an enhanced version of the company’s SDA (Stereo Dimensional Array) technology in the line’s flagship L800 tower, seemed an atypically cost-no-object offering. Even so, this being Polk Audio, the Legend series was priced substantially less than flagship speakers from many other brands, but also more than a typical Polk customer might expect to pay. Fast-forward two years and Polk Audio has rolled out its Reserve series, a follow-up to the Legends that incorporates the same advanced drivers developed for those flagship speakers, along with some new technologies developed to…

5 min
a garden oasis in the heart of pittsburgh

NESTLED IN Pittsburgh’s North Side is a beautifully renovated row house with four bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, and three outdoor entertainment spaces, including two private balconies offering stunning views of the City of Bridges’ skyline. As cool as the balconies are, the 2,000 square-foot courtyard is what really sells this place. It’s a veritable oasis in the heart of the city, complete with tasteful landscaping and a small lawn, a spacious dining area with a large firepit, and a sheltered “sports bar” area featuring a grill and wall-mounted TV with its own dedicated sound system. When it’s time to get the party started, a second sound system concealed in the landscaping brings the courtyard area to life, capping off what adds up to a magnificent outdoor entertainment space. “The outdoor area was…

5 min
sonos roam portable wireless speaker

When a company known for inventing the multiroom speaker announces a new fully portable model, we sit up and take notice. The new Sonos Roam ($169) is an ultra-compact, IP67 water- and dust-proof smart speaker that weighs less than one pound and links with your phone or tablet via Bluetooth 5.0. But that’s not the whole story. The Roam can also connect with your home Sonos ecosystem, automatically making the switch between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as you come and go. The very clever Roam can be charged via its USB-C port or wirelessly docked on a Qi charger. (An optional Sonos wireless charging dock with magnetic connection is available for $50.) It sets up quickly with the Sonos app, which makes it easy to adjust EQ and playback features including loudness…