Archive for category Review
The W2700’s new XPR DLP chipset brings another talent, in the form of improved black level performance. When our heroes escape from Hawkins Lab in Stranger Things (Netflix, Season 2, episode 8), through darkened corridors lit only by a flashlight, the projector manages to keep a watchable balance without crushing out the shadows. BenQ quotes a dynamic contrast of 30,000:1.
There are still limits to low-level fidelity from this well-priced beamer, though. As Chris Pratt hides behind a plinth from the raptor in the dinosaur museum (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, 4K Blu-ray), there’s a void where shirt detail and shadow should co-exist.
“Away from 4K HDR, the set’s processing works wonders on standard dynamic range/HD content. Detail levels approach those of true 4K, without exaggerating noise or adding grittiness. The Perfect Natural Reality HDR conversion system, meanwhile, introduces a nicely judged increase in an SDR picture’s brightness range without excessive or yellowy white peaks or black crush. So while I understand the purist appeal of leaving SDR images relatively untouched, I think you’ll struggle to live without PNR once you’ve tried it. Again I’d suggest sticking with the Minimum setting, though.
Where this TV falters is with its audio. In the plus column there’s an impressive amount of detail and scale to the soundstage, especially if you call in the (off by default) Dolby Atmos height option. And vocals sound surprisingly clear for a TV with no forward-firing speakers. A lack of bass leaves its delivery feeling a bit thin, however – even to the point of harshness with some settings or very dense mixes. Add an external sound system if you can.”
“Colors are a serious strength, though, not just in terms of their aforementioned punch, but also in their naturalism and the subtlety of their shading. While many TVs struggle with distinctions between similar colors, such as shades of red and shades of blue, the X950G displays different tones that are distinct and clear without blending into one another. Viewing angles are also very good by the standards of backlit TVs. We’re not talking OLED-like perfection here, but the picture remains pretty consistent from most points in a room.
This is a good TV for gaming, too, thanks to the punchy, vibrant picture and an input lag measurement (when in Game mode) of 22.4ms. That’s not as low as the figure managed by the latest and greatest Samsung and LG sets, but it is low enough as to be more or less imperceptible”
Watching the same scenes from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse that I viewed on Blu-ray, but now on Ultra HD Blu-ray disc, I was struck by how much better this already great- looking movie came across on the latter format. Shadows gained depth and detail, and the increase in the contrast range caused images to pop in a manner that the Blu-ray version only hinted at. Colors also appeared notably more vivid and displayed a wider range of subtle hues. What caught my attention most, however, was the level of definition and detail to be seen in the computer- generated textures that Spider-Man‘s animators painstakingly employed to add a comic book look to images. This effect goes far to add a convincing element of depth to the otherwise flat, 2D animated image, and is best appreciated when viewed in 4K/Ultra HD. The ability of the 5050UB’s 4K pixel-shifting processing to pull it off on the big screen was nothing short of impressive.”
The DRX-4.3 is rated for 100wpc (2CH driven) across all 9 amplified channels with the ability to expand to 11 channels of processing via an external 2CH amplifier. The amplification section is traditional Class AB with a linear power supply and 2 very large fans flanking the rather smallish heatsinks. That’s a lot of transistors to cram into a single heatsink like this, which is common these days for Dolby Atmos / DTS:X AV receivers. Realize just a few years ago, these same-sized products had only 7 internal amplifiers. Now receiver companies are cramming 9, 11 and up to 13 channels into similar-sized products. If you were planning on running a 7.1.4 speaker configuration using this AVR, you’d have to add an external 2CH amplifier to power the surround back channels. Unfortunately, you can’t reassign the front channels to the surround backs so if you want more power to the fronts, I’d recommend getting a 5CH amplifier to power the front LCR’s and surround back channels. This is an especially good recommendation IF you’re running 4 ohm speakers for the front soundstage to take some of the pressure off this workhorse.”
“The Klipsch Reference Premiere RP-500A is an upward-firing module that is designed to create the illusion of overhead channels by bouncing sounds off the ceiling. It utilises the same 5.25-inch spun copper Cerametallic midbass driver and 1-inch titanium LTS vented hybrid Tractrix horn-loaded tweeter as the rest of the line-up, but also includes Dolby’s proprietary technology (although it also works with DTS:X soundtracks).
The RP-500A is more versatile than your average Atmos/DTS:X module, with the option of a surround, height or upward-firing orientation. Depending on your speaker configuration, you simply flip the switch on the rear between Atmos or surround. There’s a keyhole for wall mounting, and the binding posts are housed in a recessed area for tidier cabling when placed on top of another speaker.”
Calling on the speaker’s subtler side with Paddington (Blu-ray) didn’t disappoint. The creature’s capers and the charismatic dialogue of the cast shone through the soundstage. From the ambience of the jungles of Peru to the bustling London streets, the 300IWLCR6s created an enviably believable atmosphere, even in stereo.
I can’t fault the 300IWLCR6’s ease of installation and its performance is top-notch. The open-backed design may mean some fine-tuning of EQ to get a reasonably flat response depending on your walls, but the underlying engineering, engaging sound and articulate dialogue handling make them a standout design in a crowded market.