home theater

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1137

Scott Wilkinson

Scott joins to talk about high resolution music. He likes to go to AIX Records because they record original music with mainstream musicians. He's also up north for a few days and enjoyed the Monterey Symphony Orchestra live. Scott says that going live is like a gourmet meal while MP3s are like fast food. Listening to a symphony is unamplified. And the emotional reaction you get from it is amazing. Amplified can have a similar reaction, if it's mixed right. But all too often, it's too loud.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1135

Scott Wilkinson

Scott Wilkinson saw Interstellar and says that Christopher Nolan used a wide variety of aspect ratios to maximize the impact of moments in the film. From wide screen for intimate moments to tall for outer space moments. It's available in six different formats from IMAX film to 4K digital. Scott says that Nolan is definitely a filmophile. He doesn't like immersive audio, so he didn't mix in Dolby Atmos. And he doesn't like 3D. It's a pure movie experience.

Why do I get buzzing in my home theater speakers?

Episode 1133

Matt from Savannah, GA
Speakers

Matt has a set of speakers plugged into his TV and he gets some loud buzzing noises. If he unplugs them, the buzzing goes away. Leo says that's called a "ground loop," and it could be a loose wire that's causing it. An optical connection would solve it, but he'd need a receiver and speakers that support it. Leo says that it's likely an issue in his wall and only an electrician can fix that. But it sounds like the electrical wire isn't grounded.

How should I position my speakers?

Episode 1133

Linella from Los Angeles, CA
Bookshelf speaker

Linella has several bookshelf speakers that have round holes in the front or back. What are they for? How close can she have them to the wall or furniture, or even each other? Leo says that a lot of speakers have a bass port vent. Scott says they are intended to change the bass characteristics to make them smoother. If the hole is in the back, she won't want them against the wall. She'll want them at least 6 inches away to give the sound room to resonate. If it's in the front, then she can put it up against the wall no problem. So it really just depends.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1133

Scott Wilkinson

Scott had the inventor of Auro3D Immersive Audio, Otto Von Balen, on Home Theater Geeks this week and immersive audio is becoming a huge trend thanks to Dolby Atmos' success last year. Auro puts additional speakers higher on the wall so that the audio doesn't get lost bouncing off the wall. Scott says that what's needed is a standard that all immersive systems can operate under, and SMPTE is working hard to adopt one.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1129

Scott Wilkinson

Scott was at the SMPTE Tech Conference this week and saw the new high dynamic range video displays. HDR video is the latest hot thing, and it creates some incredible high dynamic range of the image. Leo says our brains do HDR really well, but it's a challenge in video. Scott says that high dynamic range cameras are going to be needed and the latest generations of digital cinema cameras have over 14 stops of dynamic range. So they can do it. It requires 12 bit color, but the current video systems are only 8 bit.

Can I omit the center channel in my home theater?

Episode 1127

Ignacio from San Diego, CA
Home Theater

Ignacio had his living room prewired with HDMI and Cat 6 Ethernet. But he forgot speaker wires for the center channel speaker of his home theater. What can he do? Leo says he could go with a wireless center channel. Or he could just do a two channel stereo configuration and do without the center channel. But that's where the vocals are going to be and he'll lose all the dialog. So he really won't want to do that.

Should I buy Sony's new HT-ST5 sound bar?

Episode 1127

Doug from Panama City, FL
Sony HT-ST5 Sound bar

Doug hears that Sony's new HT-ST5 sound bar has separate amps for every speaker. Is that THX? Leo says that having a separate amp doesn't mean the speaker is better, just that it gives it more juice. And THX is a certification, not really a technology. Leo likes Sony because they add a subwoofer to it and it doesn't have wires everywhere. But it will never be the same as actual surround sound quality. Scott Wilkinson recommends the Pioneer Andrew Jones Sound bar.

What's the best sound bar under $500?

Episode 1125

Pete from Detroit, MI
Pioneer SP-SB23W

Pete wants to get a sound bar to replace his aging home theater system. Leo says you can do it, it's a good option especially for a smaller room. But he won't get the separation and quality of home theater. Sound bars are popular and do a great job, though. Pioneer makes one that Scott Wilkinson likes called the SP-SB23W. It's designed by Andrew Jones and is very affordable at around $400. Scott says it sounds really good.