|Accelerate Your Mac! Audio & HT Related Updates/Articles/Notes|
|Links to recent A/V Reviews, other Audio/HT items of interest.
(most hardware out of my price range, but interesting to read.)
- (May 16, 2013) Yamaha AV Controller App v3.60.
What's New in v3.60:
- DAB Operation (for DAB compatible models)
- Renewed Zone Control Operation
- New Zone Control Panel
- Selectable Zone Icons
- All Zone ON/OFF
- Party Mode
- Other improvement
- (May 8, 2013) FYI for Movie SteelBook/MetalPak Fans/Collectors:
Some Walmarts have put out a large number of SteelBook/MetalPaks in stores ($12.96 ea. locally, may vary by store), but check carefully for damage. (I was left waiting 2hrs at the doc due to my ride examining so many in the store.) She said about 1/2 she checked had some sort of damage (dent, paint chip, scratch) and some damage may only be seen after removing wrapping. (For my wait I recd Saving Private Ryan and Watchmen, both w/inside art. IIRC most steelbooks don't have interior art.) Here's an online walmart.com steelbook search (which includes more than just these $12.96 titles) but in-store stock can vary. (Some avoid buying steelbooks via mail due to possible shipping damage/buying unseen.)
- (Apr 22, 2013) Review: Pioneer Elite N-50 Network Audio Player
- Yamaha Aventage Receiver Firmware Updates released for (2010 models) RX-A1000/2000/3000 (firmware v3.43), (2011 models) RX-A1010/2010/3010 (firmware v1.37) and (2012 models) RX-A1020/2020/3020 (firmware v1.58). There may also be updates for other models. If not available via network update check, some use Yamaha Canada support site for Downloads (entering complete model number there) as it avoids USA site "easypass" login/acct rqmt. All those updates seem to have the same change info - here's an example from RX-A2000's v3.43 download page:
- Lets you continue using Rhapsody/Napster* service
- Improves network function stability
*Music availability varies by regions
The 'registered' date of the update was listed as 4/15/2013, rom file dated 4/8/2013. Saw one A2000 owner report odd behavior after the update regarding video playback, but no specifics given other than power cycling/toggling inputs helped. (An old tip for odd problems is unplugging for a few minutes.)
- (Apr 19, 2013) Review: Cambridge Audio Minx S325v2 Speaker System
- (Apr 19, 2013) Parrot Asteroid Smart Review, Part 2 (Part 1 was In-Car Install)
- (Apr 17, 2013) Anthem Room Correction (ARC) System Part 2 - including a subwoofer
- (Apr 17, 2013) Review: BenQ W1070 3D DLP Projector ($999 list)
- (Apr 15, 2013) Review: Alan Parsons' Art & Science of Sound Recording
- (Apr 11, 2013) Anthem Room Correction (ARC) System - Part 1
BTW: Someone wrote about the link above basically saying Audyssey was all you need. (Various Audyssey EQ versions are included in many AVRs and I agree are all most users need. I've used their MultiEQ XT version in an Onkyo NR3007. (XT32 is a later/better version for Sub EQ. They also have an extra-cost "Pro" version that allows adjustments the embedded Audyssey AVR versions don't.) I have also used Pioneer's and Yamaha's AVR Room EQ - they don't EQ the sub as well (don't go very low in freq) but that's fine with me. (I use the sub's amp PEQ.) But they both allow adjusting the EQ'd freq response/curves without having to buy a Pro version. Anyway, the ARC article was linked for anyone curious/interested, not me saying it's what I prefer or recommend. (I've never used ARC but was curious to know more - some like it/some don't - just like some (including me) don't care for Audyssey.)
I'm completely satisfied with my current (non-Audyssey) Yamaha A2000's AVR/EQ setup. All my A/V equipment was bought used (and/or needing repair) and very affordable. (My complete 7.1/AVR setup cost less than most low-end brand name systems that I wouldn't even consider buying regardless of price.) For example Klipsch RF83's at $100 each (veneer damage from original shipper, 1 driver dented (voice coil ok), grilles cracked. The OEM driver + pair of new grilles cost $130. Black Electrical Tape over the veneer damage is an almost perfect (matte) match - can't be seen from 2ft away.) Center (RC64) and surrounds also from CL/used. Used AVR (Yamaha RX-A2000, original owner hated the OSD for volume could not be disabled so sold it cheap (the next year's model allowed disabling it). SVS PC13 subwoofer bought used w/Bash amp failure (amp repair was $1 thermistor as I mentioned earlier). A good sub makes a huge difference in movie audio. Amazing sound from this setup IMHO and for my needs/usage (primarily BR/DVD movies, some music), I can't see a need to upgrade any of it.
After almost being a shut-in the last few years I appreciate the ability for movies to help you forget about your troubles; for a few hours at least. Great sound (esp. bass) makes it even more engaging. (Mine is a very small room (10x12ft), but the upside is nice room gain (bass) and the "bouncy" floors make for a more tactile experience.)
- (Apr 10, 2013) Are The Energy Take Classic & Monoprice 9774 speakers the same?
- (Apr 10, 2013) Review: MartinLogan Motion 15
- (Apr 8, 2013) Review: Pioneer SP-PK52FS 5.1 Speaker System & VSX-822-K Receiver
- (Apr 7, 2013) Review: Paradigm Atom Monitor 7 (bookshelf speakers)
- (Mar 29, 2013) Review: 8 Bookshelf speakers under $400/pair
- (Mar 28, 2013) (Short) Review: NuForce S3-BT Wireless Speaker System
- (Mar 27, 2013) Yamaha AV Controller App v3.50
What's New in v3.50:
- Yamaha AV receiver with blu-ray player advanced linked operation
- Zone B operation for RX-V575/HTR-5066
- Other bug fixes
- (Mar 26, 2013) Review: Polk SurroundBar 9000 IHT Soundbar (w/wireless sub)
- (Mar 21, 2013) (Tech Article) Effectiveness of Using a Subwoofer in a Music System
- (Mar 21, 2013) Preview of Samsung's 2013 TVs (LCD and Plasma)
- (Mar 20, 2013) Review: Life of Pi (3D Blu-ray)
- (Mar 18, 2013) Review: Yamaha A-1020 Universal Blu-ray Player
- (Mar 17, 2013) FYI to Marvel/Avengers Fans:
After many months of unsold copies (in some stores at least), Best Buy finally put their "The Avengers" Gift Set (Backlit 3D Lenticular case, 208pg hard-cover character guide, Lithograph card (7x9), 3D/BR/DVD/DC combo, $30 Sideshow gift card) on sale for $19.99 ($50 off). Limited to in-store stock only, not available for order online. (Listed in Mar. 17-30 special offers (gone on 3/31) but only links to a Retail Store Finder page since this was a limited/exclusive package, no longer made.)
(Update: As of 4/1/13 it's now shown at $89.99?! - that's $20 over the original price!)
- (Mar 13, 2013) Panasonic DMP-BDT220/320/321/500/BBT01 Firmware D/L v1.53
(Change list has "VIERA Connect™ compatibility". DL is self-extr EXE)
(Now also at US DMP-BDT320, BDT500 & BBT01 Firmware page, mac friendly DL)
- (Bitstreaming) Dolby True-HD 7.1 Audio Drop Outs (again):
As reported previously, there's been more reports of audio dropouts with another recent Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Blu-Ray - this time Monsters Inc. released Feb. 19th. (Same Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio dropout issue previously reported with other recent TrueHD 7.1 releases like Total Recall (2012), Brave, Finding Nemo, etc. although not everyone had the problem.) And the same workaround/fix - change the Blu-Ray player from Bitstream to PCM audio output. As before however, no issues seen (heard) with bitstreaming these titles with the only setup I have access to - a Panasonic DMP-BDT500 (current 1.52 firmware) with HDMI 1 (video) direct to an HDTV and HDMI 2 (audio) to a Yamaha RX-A2000 (firmware 3.34) receiver. Zero dropouts with this setup and Monsters Inc 7.1 audio selected, player set to bitstream. (BDLive always disabled.) Ditto (no issue) with TrueHD 7.1 audio on Total Recall (2012), Brave, etc. (BTW: I have to say the audio and video of the new Monsters Inc 3D release was some of the best I've ever experienced. Outstanding.)
I've not tested using a single HDMI connection (both A/V to AVR, then out to TV) but have seen some dropout reports from others using Dual HDMI output player setups including Sony S790 and Oppo BDP-103 owners. (And one Oppo BDP-103 owner said he had audio dropouts bitstreaming Monster Inc's 5.1 audio.)
Normally with any disc playback issues you'd blame the player/firmware (or new DRM), but I felt the AVR used was a primary factor since with bitstreaming the AVR does the audio decoding. Using the workaround PCM setting has the Player doing the decode. (However I did see a post from an Onkyo 709 owner that said his Oppo BDP-83 had dropouts (Total Recall 2012), but a Panasonic BDT-110 didn't with the same receiver.) Wish I had a Sony S790 or Oppo to test with my AVR to see if a player change (only) mattered here.
Despite the focus on firmware updates for players/AVRs (for a fix), most feel some change in Dolby's TrueHD encoding is the real culprit. (Originally (last year) I'd wondered if the playback problems were related to another new spin on DRM.) For existing discs of course those affected can only hope a firmware update addresses this if they don't like setting the player to PCM. (Some like to see the Codec on the AVR's display vs just "PCM".)
Disc replacement programs have been rare (most recent was over Dredd discs that wouldn't play although I've seen rumors of redone Total Recall 2012 discs, later disputed) and some have repeatedly swapped blu-rays at retail over TrueHD dropout problems. (Usually with no change.) Personally I hope studios learn something from this (repeated) experience and choose DTS-HD 7.1 instead going forward. (I've always preferred DTS over Dolby.)
[FYI: Saw a report that the Monsters Inc. Digital Copy Disc is the original pressing with a PowerPC coded (not universal) mac app which means the app on it won't run on OS X 10.7 and later. (No Rosetta.) Just run iTunes and enter the redeem code w/disc inserted.]
- HD-DVD Disc "Rot" notes / Tip for Cleaning Discs (HD/DVD/BR/CD):
After getting a recent heads up from a reader with an HD-DVD Collection about playback problems with several of his HD-DVD discs (most Warner Bros he said - google HD-DVD disc rot for owner posts), I checked my HD-DVDs (16 movies + U2 Rattle and Hum) from 2007 (IIRC, shortly before HD-DVD production was halted) to see if any were now bad.
These HD-DVD cases had not opened for at least 3 or 4 years I think, and some I had never used/touched at all. (5 were part of a free bundle with the Toshiba A20 player I bought back then.) I noticed about 1/3 of the HD-DVD discs had areas of (white/milky) clouding on the back side - some worse than others - one looked like there had been some sort of condensation present (i.e. looked like a long drip line down the disc). Most however just had odd shaped areas of white/milky clouding that would not wipe off with water (or the usual fogging by breathing on them) using a microfiber cloth.
The worst examples I had were the Bladerunner 5 disc set and the Matrix Ultimate collection. (I should have done the trade-in to Blu-Ray offered years ago but didn't.) So I dusted off/hooked up my Toshiba HD-A20 (w/last firmware update) and tested them. Although some reported cases of discs not recognized at all, most reports cited freezing/lockups part way through the movie (some say at layer change?) so the best test is a complete playback, not just seeing if it plays to the menu, jumping to specific scenes/chapters etc. Here's a summary of what I found in my collection:
- I tested several of the worst (clouding) examples (and discs I liked most - Blade Runner disc 1, Matrix 1, FMJ) in the Toshiba A20 and they played all the way through. (I'd forgotten how good they looked.) I separated out all discs that showed any clouding at all and will test them as time allows. (This was before using the plastic polish.)
- It may not be related, but I also noticed that -all- of the HD-DVD cases that had glossy interiors had a layer of some sort of film/fogging on them. (As if the plastic had outgassed over time, or was it just related to mfg plastic mold release?) A couple cases had a matte/pebble-like finish inside (i.e. Unforgiven) and were still pristine. The heavily clouded discs were all from the cases with glossy interiors btw.
- Some think the problem with HD-DVD disc 'rot' was from a specific batch or mfr. (google 'hd-dvd rot cinram' and you'll see some hits, including one on LaserDisc rot). I wasn't able to tell if any of mine were made by cinram but did notice two different disc types: all silver on the back and others with a white center ring. (The worst clouding examples were the white ring disc type.)
- (Cloudy) Disc Cleaning Tip: One tip I saw for cleaning the discs to remove the milky clouding was using plastic polish. I remembered years ago (2005 or so) I'd bought some "Meguiar's Scratch-X" (fine scratch and swirl remover) to polish haze out of an old mustang's plastic speedometer lens. (Never tried the later Scratch-X "2.0".)
I used a small amount of it on the discs (worst examples first), just lightly rubbing it with a finger around the back of the disc. Waited a few seconds and buffed it off with just toilet paper. Bingo - all the clouding was gone. (I was impressed at how well the Scratch-X worked for this, but I have not tried it for scratches on discs, and only would if any were bad enough to affect playback.)
This isn't a new problem and I suspect few even have these now but for anyone with a HD-DVD disc rot problem that cleaning doesn't fix, a thread at AVForums titled Warner Brothers HD-DVD's Disk Rot has some posts (i.e. April 2012) with WB contact info to try and get replacements (or swaps for BR), not always possible - YMMV. This is a long post (and maybe should have been put on a separate page) but perhaps the cleaning tip may be useful for owners of other Discs (CD/DVD/BR).
- (Mar 4, 2013) Review: XTZ Room Analyzer II Pro Room Acoustics Analyzer Kit
(FYI: Room EQ Wizard software is free & has a Mac version but uses Java Runtime.)
- (Mar 1, 2013) 10 MP3s You Need to Download for Free This Week: Tricky, Low
- (Feb 28, 2013) Review: Denon AVR-2313CI A/V Receiver
- (Feb 26, 2013) Review: MartinLogan Motion Vision Soundbar
- (Feb 22, 2013) Review: Samsung UN75ES9000 3D LCD HDTV
- (Feb 18, 2013) Emotiva: Good Deal or the Real Deal?
- (Feb 13, 2013) Review: Atlantic Technology PowerBar 235 Soundbar
- (Feb 13, 2013) Test Report: Klipsch HD Theater 600 5.1 Speaker System
- (Feb 11, 2013) Review: Bowers & Wilkins MT-60D Home Theater Speaker System
- (Feb 11, 2013) Playbar: The new soundbar from Sonos
- (Feb 8, 2013) Review: Yamaha RX-V473 & RX-V573 A/V Receivers
- (Feb 8, 2013) Project Ayr: solid state, fanless, dead silent home theater PC
- (Feb 7, 2013) 'The Walking Dead' 3rd Season Limited Edition Blu-Ray Case
(and I thought Season 2's Limited Edition Zombie Head was creepy)
- (Feb 6, 2013) FYI on Dredd Blu-Ray Disc Problems:
For anyone that had playback problems with their disc, a reader sent a link to a BestBuy Forum post on Dredd Blu-Ray Disc problems that has a Feb 6th, 2013 post from BB that says they (finally) have been able to confirm there were some bad discs:
"I have received a final update from our business team as well as the vendor, and I wanted to make sure to pass this on to all of you. After all of their research, they have been able to isolate this problem to a specific number of copies of this movie. Due to the number of affected discs, customers are being asked to contact Lionsgate directly with any issues. They can be reached at 1-877-230-2756 or by emailing email@example.com."
- (Feb 6, 2013) Review: Pioneer BDP-62FD Blu-Ray Player
- (Feb 5, 2013) Review: Klipsch Image X7i in-ear headphone
- (Feb 4, 2013) Review: Top Gun - 3D (Blu-Ray)
- (Feb 3, 2013) How to Set Up iTunes and OS X DVD Player for Digital Surround Sound
- (Jan 31, 2013) Review: Yamaha YAS-101 Soundbar ($300)
- (Jan 29, 2013) (Short) Review: Bowers & Wilkins A5 (Airplay speakers)
- (Jan 29, 2013) THX's (iOS) App Helps Setup Your Home Theater
- (Jan 28, 2013) Review: Pioneer Elite SC-61 A/V Receiver
- (Jan 28, 2013) Review: Fanny Wang WangBuds
- (Jan 25, 2013) Review: Gallo Nucleus Classico CL-2 Speaker System
- (Jan 24, 2013) Review: Oppo BDP-105 Blu-ray 3D Player
- (Jan 23, 2013) Review: Emotiva Airmotiv5 Powered Studio Monitors
- (Jan 21, 2013) Review: Oppo BDP-103 Universal Blu-ray Player
- (Jan 16, 2013) Review: Toshiba SBX4250 Sound Bar
- (Jan 16, 2013) Review: Pioneer SC68 9.1 A/V Receiver
- (Jan 12, 2013) CES 2013: Panasonic 2013 ZT60 vs 2012 VT50
- (Jan 12, 2013) Stunning DTS Headphone:X Will Make Your Headphones Go To 11
- (Jan 6, 2013) Review: SVS SB13-Ultra Subwoofer
- (Jan 3, 2013) Review: LG 55LM8600 3D LCD HDTV
- (Dec 27, 2012) Review: Yamaha RX-A1020 A/V Receiver
- (Dec 27, 2012) Review: Samsung BD-E6500 Blu-ray 3D Player
- (Dec 27, 2012) PSB Intros SubSeries 125 (IMO, here's a better value for $50 more)
- (Dec 26, 2012) Review: Yamaha RX-A3020 A/V Receiver
- (Dec 21, 2012) Firmware update v3.34 for the (2010 model) Yamaha RX-A2000 Receiver available at Yamaha Canada support site. (Enter model number there - CA site D/L avoids USA site "easypass" login/acct rqmt. Updates for RX-A1000 and A3000 models also may be there by the time you read this.) Previous version was 3.20.
Info on v3.34 from the download page:
This firmware includes the following improvements.
- Compatibility with the latest Napster network music streaming service (in Europe) *Music service availability varies by region.
- Improves SiriusXM Internet Radio connectivity (in USA/Canada)
- Improves operation stability
An RX-A2000 Network update check on 12/21/2012 didn't show v3.34 yet, so it was updated via USB flash drive (FAT). (Copy rom file (RXV2067-0140.bin) from ZIP download.)
[There may be updates for later Ax010 (2011) & Ax020 (2012) models also.]
- (Dec 21, 2012) Review: Samsung PN51E550D1F 3D Plasma HDTV
- (Dec 19, 2012) FYI: Lots of reports of (TrueHD) Audio dropouts with the new (2012) Total Recall blu-ray. (A workaround cited is switching the BR player to output PCM vs Bitstream.) Many reports from Oppo owners as well as Sony (including latest 590, 790 models) and perhaps other models/brands. I suspect it might be related to another spin on DRM and may require yet another firmware update to players (hopefully not AVRs).
Some are calling for the studio to exchange/replace discs (w/fix) but I doubt that will happen. (I always preferred DTS over Dolby, even in the pre-HD days.)
- (Dec 18, 2012) Best of the Boxes: 2012's Best Blu-ray Collections
- (Dec 17, 2012) Review: Samsung PN51E8000 51" Plasma HDTV
- (Dec 17, 2012) Review: Sony MDR-X10 and MDR-1RNC Headphones
- (Dec 13, 2012) Review: Sony XBR-55HX950 3D LCD HDTV
- (Dec 12, 2012) New Gear: Olive One Music Player
- (Dec 10, 2012) Review: Behringer iNuke Boom Junior ($179)
- (Dec 10, 2012) Review: Vanatoo Transparent One (powered) Speakers
- (Dec 7, 2012) Review: Onkyo TX-NR3010 A/V Receiver
- (Dec 4) The Dark Knight Rises Batcowl Ltd Edition Sale:
FYI for fans/collectors - sold out online early (AZ, Walmart, BB, etc) but check your local Walmart. On Dec 4th some were on sale for $24.96 +tax ($10 off). As always, prices can vary by store and will sell out quickly. (Per Certificate/SN Label, 35,000 made of this (USA) BR+DVD+UV combo set)
[Watch these appear on Ebay for many times the cost]
- (Nov 29, 2012) Review: Blue Aura v30 Blackline Tube Desktop System
- (Nov 28, 2012) Review: Sony STR-DN1030 A/V Receiver
- (Nov 21, 2012) Review: Bowers & Wilkins A7 AirPlay Speaker
- (Nov 20, 2012) Reviews of Vizio E601i-A3 LCD HDTV ($1K MSRP) and GoldenEar Technology SuperCinema 3D Array Soundbar System
- (Nov 20, 2012) Reviews of CasaTunes XLI Multiroom Music Server with Airplay, Cambridge Audio Azur 551R A/V Receiver, Martin Logan Motion Vision Soundbar & Dynamo 700W Subwoofer, Monitor Audio Shadow On-Wall Speakers & RXW12 Subwoofer and Panasonic TC-L55WT50 3D LCD HDTV
- (Nov. 19, 2012) (BD/Univ. Player) Yamaha BD-A1010 Firmware Update v1.7012
(only info notes improved "Playback stability of certain discs")
- (Nov 18, 2012) Power Sound Audio XV-15 Subwoofer Review ($799 shipped conus)
- (Nov 15, 2012) Review: Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Speaker System
- Bargain ($3) DVD Comedy TV Series: I'd forgotten how much I liked this show until last weekend's 2012 Mac Mini HDMI Video tests (for dropouts/flicker), but if you can find "Worst Week: The complete series" (cancelled after 1 season) for $3 at "Big Lots" as I did (last year) - Buy It. Without a doubt the most laughs (out loud) I've had in a long time.
- (Unrated) Nitro Circus 3D Disc Playback Fix/Tip:
Not sure if this problem is related to the BestBuy exclusive version and/or a particular BR player, but if you have a problem with the Nitro Circus 3D disc not playing in 3D when pressing "Play Movie" from the 3D Disc's Main Menu (which was shown in 3D), try starting playback from a "Scene Selection". (Issue was reported by owner of BB excl. 3D Disc & Panasonic DMP-BDT500 w/latest v1.49 firmware.)
- (Nov 9, 2012) Review: Oppo BDP-103 Blu-ray 3D Player
- (Nov 7, 2012) Review: Kreisel DXD-12012 Dual 12" Push-Pull Subwoofer
(At that price consider a JTR S2 (Dual 18") or Seaton Submersive HP (Dual 15"))
- (Nov 6, 2012) Review: (Martin Logan) Motion Vision Soundbar
- (Nov 5, 2012) Review: Samsung HT-E6730W Home Theater System
- (Oct 29, 2012) Panasonic DMP-BDT320, BDT500 & BBT01 Firmware v1.49
(said to fix Issues with Wireless LAN connectivity)
- (Oct 19, 2012) Review: Vizio Co-Star Streaming Player with Google TV
- (Oct 19, 2012) Reviews of Madagascar 3 (3D blu-ray) and I, Robot - 3D (blu-ray)
- (Oct 19, 2012) Review: Sony XBR-55HX950 (Full-array) LED 3D HDTV
(yet another review at this site that lists Calibrated settings w/Backlight at Max (?))
- (Oct 19, 2012) Review: Vizio XVT3D580CM 21:9 (2560 x 1080) 3D LCD HDTV
- (Oct 18, 2012) Test Report: Samsung UN55EH6000 LCD HDTV
- (Oct 18, 2012) 3D FilmSchool 101: Just How & Why Fox Converted I,Robot To 3D
- (Oct 16, 2012) Test Report: LG 50PM9700 3D Plasma HDTV
- (Oct 16, 2012) Test Report: KEF R Series Speakers
- (Oct 16, 2012) Test Report: SVS PC-13 Ultra Subwoofer
(Assuming the amp's port tune option was set to match the port plug config (?), their 16Hz tune +/-3dB results look suspect. (It's only 1Hz lower than the 20Hz Tune results.) But the common (on both 16Hz & 20Hz graphs) peak/hump centered around 45Hz is a factor. I'd expect a flatter resonse in that area than their results when done outdoors. (Typical test environment, done to rule out any room effects.) Despite comments they followed SVS (Ed's) suggestions, perhaps test mic location may have affected FR results. (Driver on bottom and ports on top both contribute.)
I have an older Bash amp (750W) PC13 Ultra, bought used with a blown amp in 2009 for cheap ($200). Amp fix was $1 Thermistor used for startup/inrush current limiter. A common failure cause based on several failed SVS Bash amps I've seen. If buying a used Bash Amp SVS subwoofer, I'd do this test first: With the "Auto/On" Toggle switch set to ON (not auto), power it on. IF you hear any "Thump" from the driver, the amp may have this same problem (failing thermistor). The PB13 Bash that failed shortly after sold by original owner (appx 2.5yrs old) would thump so loudly on that test it would rattle items in a small room. Eventually it failed blowing AC fuses. The PC13 Bash had a much lower level thump but inspection of the AMP's thermistor showed it had cracked and appx 1/3 of it was missing. (That piece was found on top of the (downfiring) driver's magnet/motor - luckily it did not fall through the pole vent, which did not have a screen. That's something I wanted to add considering the cylinder's design: Down facing driver, port tubes, open pole vent.)
Their current 1KW "Sledge" DSP amp is a much better design than the Bash however, and I suspect far more reliable (lower parts count, DSP vs Analog design). With its Dual PEQ , Room Compensaton and variable Port tunes allow an almost unlimited FR shaping. The Sledge DSP amp also has excellent driver protection - far better than the Bash amp. Although the Sledge clamps down a bit more under 20Hz, trading a bit of output for better driver protection. (And with the Sledge's different gain structure and lower input sensitivity its Amp volume setting will be much closer to max than the Bash for the same output levels.)
SVS Ultra Subs are well engineered products, with a very beefy driver (over 50lbs IIRC and a Cone stitched to the surround) from a company with a history of excellent Customer Support (and Warranty) - even for 2nd owners. (Warranty now 5 years, was 3.) Unfortunately their Ultras are now priced out of my budget (not that I need any more), but you can get a LOT less for the dollar nowadays elsewhere, especially when you factor in SVS's legendary support and excellent performance. (45 day in-home trial, free shipping in CONUS, see their customer bill-of-rights.)
- (Oct 4, 2012) 3D Pioneer Explains New 2D-3D Converter & How the Brain Works
- (Oct 3, 2012) Review: Darbee Darblet DVP5000 Video Processor
- (Oct. 2, 2012) Review: LG 47LM7600 Passive 3D HDTV (televisioninfo.com)
(Calibrated settings had backlight at 100 (Max)?? Much too high IMO)
- (Oct 1, 2012) Review: Samsung DA-E750, Everything you ever wanted in a dock
- (Sept 27, 2012) Review: Panasonic DMP-BDT220 Blu-ray / 3D Player
- (Sept 18, 2012) Reviews of Panasonic TC-P55VT50 3D Plasma TV and Sony KDL-55HX850 3D LCD TV (Sound & Vision)
- (Sept 14, 2012) Review: LG 47LM7600 Passive 3D LCD TV (Cnet)
- Feedback on Sony BDP-S790 (Case Design/Drive Noise vs Panasonic DMP-BDT500)
(Reply to a review of the Sony BDP-S790 Blu-ray 3D Player in the 9/6/2012 news page. I doubt this is common considering the great reviews (press) the S790 has gotten and many seem happy with theirs. If drive noise levels were very high, reviewers should have noted it.)
"Sony BDP-S790 - great electronics/features but my 2 had high drive noise levels
Just an FYI - The two S790 samples I owned (and returned) had very high levels of drive noise and vibration. The 2nd S790 was so noisy it could be clearly (loudly) heard from 7+ feet away. And it wasn't just a few discs - out of several dozen I tried, most had totally unacceptable noise and vibration levels when played in two different S790s I bought earlier this summer .
Of course I first suspected the drive noise/vibration problem was due to out of balance discs, but tests in other players (my Sony S1000ES and a Yamaha A1010 - and later a Panasonic BDT500) were quiet with the same discs - but those players have larger/heavier case designs, centered drives (w/flip-down faceplate/cover), larger/isolation 'feet' (vs small rubber pads) and of course a different drive mechanism.
With some players (including the S1000ES), I occasionally hear a high-pitched whine when playing discs, but it's not nearly as annoying as the drive noise/vibration of the two S790 samples I tried. (Granted my Yamaha A1010's first power-up drive seek sounds like an old 5-1/4 floppy drive (growl/grind), but is generally quiet otherwise in use.)
The S790 has great features (especially for the price - including 4K support) but IMO the build quality felt like cost cutting taken too far compared to their previous upper-tier models I've owned. The lighter weight S790 has an off-center drive and does not have isolation feet like some older models did (for example S1000ES) - only small rubber bumpers. Both S790 samples I had were very loud and transmitted a lot of vibration with many discs of mine. (Again same discs tested in other players on hand.)
Although the S790 is the current flagship model, IMO it doesn't feel as well made in comparison to previous higher end models I've owned. But that alone wouldn't have mattered if it hadn't been so noisy in use. (The worst I've ever owned/used, regardless of cost or brand.) I can't believe my 2 samples are typical, perhaps a noisy batch of drives but aspects of the S790 case/design (light weight, off-center drive, feet, etc) IMO are not the best for damping/supression.
After the 2nd noisy drive Sony S790 sample (even worse than the first), I decided to replace it with a Panasonic DMP-BDT500 (w/dual HDMI outputs like the S790, but has a centered drive, flip-down front cover, isolation feet, beefier chassis and 7.1 analog outs) - very quiet with same discs that were buzz saws in two S790s. (Price was similar on both - under $250 delivered [Summer 2012] thanks to a sale on the DMP-BDT500.)
IMO the Sony S790 has better net features and interface, but no regrets on going with the Panasonic BDT500. (My first Panny player.) The S790 also has 4K support, which I don't need but that would be a major plus for anyone with a 4K display/projector of course. Both players have excellent 2D/3D and upscaling in my experience. I've always been very impressed with my previous Sony player's DVD upscaling as well as Blu-ray PQ. The Panny 500 seems just as good to my eyes, and might be a hair better for 3D perhaps, but PQ differences to me were too close to call and not a reason alone to pick one over the other. Wired Ethernet used on both so I can't comment on wireless performance and don't use either model's steaming apps or internet features. (The BDT500 has support for 4 user's custom settings/prefs/wallpaper, etc but my primary focus is simply BD/3D/DVD playback.)
I've used the Sony interface for years and prefer it to the Panasonic's initially but I'm getting over that. However the BDT500's Trackpad Remote really takes getting used to. Many owners don't care for it and I can understand that.
I've been a longtime Sony BR player fan, having owned CX960 and CX7000 Blu-Ray changers (both bought at clearance sales) plus two S1000s. The S790 was bought for its dual HDMI out primarily, and if not for the noise/vibration issues, I'd never have returned it. (I was very happy with the S790's performance/feature set otherwise.)
I'm sure others have had better luck than I did with the S790 (clearly most must have!) but just wanted to mention something that often gets glossed over (or not mentioned) in 'pro' reviews. (I was very impressed with the S790 otherwise, but the noise factor with these 2 samples was an absolute deal breaker - regardless of features/price, it just wasn't tolerable period.)
Some may have had an opposite experience with these two players. Maybe I just had bad luck (twice), but considering the build quality/case design I didn't feel like trying a 3rd time. The upside is I'm very happy with the Panny BDT500, and if not for the noisy S790's would likely never have tried that brand/model.
Update (Feb 2013):
After seeing so many web reports on problems with these two Blu-Ray movies, I just wanted to report that with my setup (One BDT500 HDMI out to HDTV, the other HDMI out to a Yamaha RX-A2000 (firmware 3.34) AVR, I had no audio dropouts with 2012's "Total Recall" (Walmart Steelbook day 1 buy) with bitstreaming and no playback problems with Dredd (also day 1 buy, played in 3D). A common tip/fix for anyone with audio dropouts on 2012 Total Recall was to set the BR player to output PCM instead of bitstream. (Have the Player decode the audio instead of the AVR.)
My BDT500 has firmware 1.49 (current as of 2/1/2013) and BDLive is off/disabled. (Not using an SD Card in the player and unless required, I don't.)
Often BR player firmware updates are released to fix playback problems like this (or DRM), but a thread in the Blu-Ray forum mentions a replacement option (YMMV) for (2012) Total Recall owners that have had problems with their discs. (And some questioned if AVRs needed an update to fix what many felt was a Dolby TrueHD encoding issue.) I'm curious if there will be a different # on later discs.
For Dredd, some have returned/swapped discs but often without better luck. What's frustrating is many times there's not enough detail in problem posts (specific player model, firmware used, etc) to see if that's a common factor. (But much detail on what store it was from, if it had one or two security tapes on the case, etc, thinking there was some specific bad/suspect batch of discs at certain stores/sources.)
[Update (2/6/2013): Apparently there were some bad Dredd Discs.-Mike]
BTW: The Panasonic BDT500 played AVCHD 3D off an SD card from my son's Sony TD10 3D camcorder (3D 60i and 2D 1080/24p tested). SD Card was formatted in the TD10, set as the storage medium vs internal flash. (I think later Sony BR players like the current 5xx/7xx series would also.)"
- (Aug 21, 2012) Panasonic Blu-ray Remote 2012 App v1.0.1 "Improved performance of device detection"
- (Aug 20, 2012) Yamaha AV Controller App v3.30
What's New in v3.30:
- - Multi-Language Support (11 additional languages)
- - Icon Edit (Hide Unused Input/Scene, Rename Input/Scene/Zones)
- - Other Operability improvement
- (Aug 15, 2012) LG Magic (TV remote control) iOS App v1.6.1
What's New in v1.6.1: "Supports some more specific TV models"
- (Aug 4, 2012) Sony BDP-S790 Support page lists a Firmware Update M13.R.0443 noting "Improves BRAVIA® Internet Video connectivity" (vs M13.R.0369) however someone in the know said RGB mode is also fixed. (Unknown if the issue with 3D motion sync with a few specific 3D Movies (3 musketeers, Ice Age DOTD, RIO...) is fixed also but hopefully so. The recent update for 590 model fixed it (and RGB) despite not being listed in chg notes.)
- (July 20, 2012) FYI on Sony Blu-Ray Player Firmware Updates:
Firmware M11.R.0422 for Sony BDP-390 and BDP-BX39
Firmware M12.R.0430 for Sony BDP-S590 and BDP-BX59
The change notes only say "Improves BRAVIA Internet Video connectivity" but reportedly RGB is fixed with the new S590 firmware. (The S790 is said to need that fix too, but no new update yet.)
BTW: A BDP-S590 owner (w/LG passive 3D TV) said the new firmware fixed (motion) 3D Sync issues the previous .369 firmware had with some 3D movies like Rio 3D, Narnia Dawn Treader 3D, Ice Age DOTD 3D, Three Musketeers 3D, Darkest Hour 3D and perhaps others. (The same issue also exists with .369 firmware (dated 5/16/2012, latest to date) in the BDP-S790 model, not seen with original .325 firmware it shipped with. Hopefully Sony releases an update w/3D and RGB fix for the BDP-S790 soon. Update: See Aug 4th post above for later S790 firmware.)
FYI: Some S590 owners have reported this FW update broke support for their DLNA software/streaming. (A Mac user said PlayBack still worked.) As with any firmware update, often the best advice is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". (i.e. if you have no problems, leave well enough alone as there is no way to backflash these models that I know of.)
[BTW: Previous firmware already included Cinavia™ DRM]
- (June 22, 2012) FYI on Sony Blu-Ray Player Firmware Updates:
Firmware v014 for BDP-S1000ES, BDP-BX2, BDP-S360 and BDP-S560.
Firmware v026 for BDP-S5000ES, BDP-BX1, BDP-S350 and BDP-S550.
Chg notes say "Improves disc playability" but some thought it might add Cinavia DRM, however Sony support said it doesn't. (Saying chg notes would have listed it.)
- (May 18, 2012) Yamaha AV Controller App v3.20
What's New in v3.20:
- - Optimized for Retina display of new iPad (3rd Generation)
- - Search function in Music Play
- - FM/AM Manual Tuning
- - Icon order change for iPod touch/iPhone
- - Input select during HDMI standby through
- - Other improvements
- (Apr. 25, 2012) Pioneer BDP-51FD page has Firmware Update 1.73
Change notes say: "Enhances stability of BD-ROM/BD-R/BD-RE playback".
(Kudos to Pioneer for still updating old models. I paid $80 for a local store display one years ago - 2008 I think. (No box/manual or power cord, just player and remote. But was never used and like new. Made in Japan also.) Original MSRP was $599.)
I'm still running v1.72 from fall 2011 but burned the 1.73 ISO to a CDR and will update if I see any issues.
Older Articles on Mac Audio Related topics (Cards/Drivers/USB, etc):
- (Some) Updated M-Audio Drivers for Snow Leopard (32bit/64bit) (Nov. 2009)
- My impressions of Bose vs Philips under $75 (2.0) Speakers (Sept. 2009)
- M-Audio Revolution 7.1 PCI Audio card feedback and tips (Updated Feb. 2009 w/feedback on Beta OS X Leopard drivers)
- M-Audio Revolution 5.1 PCI Audio card reports (Updated Feb 2009 on Drivers for OS X Leopard)
- Mac owner reports on Cheap USB Audio cards/adapters (Updated Nov. 2008)
- Reader feedback on iPhone/iPod Car Mounts and Adapters (Aug 2008)
- iSub Problems with Intel-based Macs w/workaround for OS X Tiger (Updated w/notes on 10.5.3)
- Audio Apps User reports on CPU Upgraded G4 Macs (Updated Aug. 2007)
- Apple posts doc w/Fix for 10.4.10 Firewire Audio Interface Problems (July 2007)
- Workaround for 10.4.10 Firewire Audio device problems (July 2007)
- Audio Update 2007-001 - fix for Audio Pops w/10.4.10 v1.0 on Intel-based Macs (July 2007)
- Logic user Tip for 10.4.9 Audio Unit Validation problems w/Universal Plugins on PPC Systems (Mar. 2007)
- iPod user notes on how to revert back to older firmware (using iTunes 7.0x) (Dec. 2006)
- Mac Pro owner notes on problems with Motu 828 (Nov. 2006)
- Quick Start: Cleaning Audio Using Audacity (Nov. 2006)
- Adding an ION USB Turntable to a G4 tower (Nov. 2006)
- User reports/CPU usage notes on SRS iWOW Plugin for iTunes (Oct. 2006)
- First Feedback on Griffin's FireWave (surround sound) (Aug. 2006)
- Questions/Info on Intel Core Duo iMac Onboard Audio (Jan 2006)
- Status of Independent Development of SBlive OS X drivers (Updated Dec. 2005)
- Review of Linux on the iPod
- M-Audio (USB) Transit Owner Reports/Tips
- Resurrecting my old 5GB iPod with a Hi-Capacity 2100mAh battery (21Hrs of constant runtime!)
and another iPod owner report on 2100mAh battery runtime (23hrs plus).
- G5 Owner Reports on Optical Audio (updated 1/11/2005)
Older articles from 1998 to 2004 are at www.xlr8yourmac.com/audio/oldMacAudioArticles.html
Back to Xlr8YourMac.com
Data Doubler Kits!
OWC XLR8 SPECIALS!
(click for sales)
= UPGRADES by Model =
Upgrades for YOUR Mac!
= SSDs from under $65! =
Fast SSDs for Most Mac Models!
= ThunderBolt =
Drives & More
= HARD DRIVES =
Up to 4 TB HDs!
Hitachi, WD, Seagate, Samsung HDs
= 2.5" HDs & DIY Kits =
Notebook Hard Drives and DIY drive/case kit bundles.
= MEMORY =
Lifetime warranty RAM Upgrades for Mac Pros, MacBook/MacBook Pros, iMacs & Mini
RAM for PowerMacs from under $20
= OPTICAL DRIVES =
Internal and External Superdrives/Blu-Ray drives.
= VIDEO/LCDs/TV =
Graphics cards, TV tuners, Video Capture, adapters and more.
= SOFTWARE =
Apps, Utilities, OS, VM, Games and more.
= WIRELESS =
WiFi and Bluetooth Devices/Adapters/More
Help Fight Hunger