Archive for category Review
In the end, I lost … and it wasn’t any of the big, dumb action set pieces that did me in. It was a scene in which Dom (played by Vin Diesel) pulls his ’71 Plymouth GTX up to a New York City intersection, revs the motor, then floors it into a right turn. At roughly six dB above reference listening levels, the bass cranked out by the PB-4000 in this scene literally made me physically discombobulated. My chest felt queasy. My heart went floopy. I had to bring the system back down to reference levels just for the sake of my own bodily comfort. At no point during any of that, though, did I hear anything other than perfectly clean, perfectly sustained, perfectly forceful and articulate low-frequency energy.”
In 3D Surround mode, the front left and right channels sizzled strongly, leaving the center and surrounds noticeably softer (but more palatable). The surround channels stepped 2 or 3 feet from the bar toward the listening position, with the left-surround channel stepping a few inches farther — probably due to my asymmetrical speaker placement, with its differing side-wall distances. The virtualizer managed to lift the height channels a few feet above the bar — nowhere near the ceiling, but definitely upward. Again, the effect was stronger in the left channel. And again, the front height channels had more sizzle compared with the rear height channels, at least with pink noise. But, no one listens to test signals for entertainment, and with program material, especially movies, the tonal shifts were less irritating.
I moved on to recordings that didn’t make big demands on the SB-4000. When I played Spoon’s “Hot Thoughts” CD, the sub helped the 3020 speakers project a larger and deeper soundstage. I tested it further by turning off the SB-4000 and running just the 3020s. Right away the sound space seemed markedly smaller. Then turning on the sub didn’t just add more bass, the SB-4000 enlarged the soundstage. I’ve noted the same effect with other top-quality subwoofers over the years.”
The Hisense’s too-low SDR gamma found in any of its available gamma settings did make images on my other reference sets look a bit more saturated. (A low gamma makes the picture brighter, particularly in mid-brightness scenes, where most video lives.) But the Hisense’s colors never looked pale or (apart from those demanding, dark scenes) washed out. Samsara was as brilliantly colored as I remember it, if just slightly warmer on the Sony. The Hisense was also, surprisingly, sharper on 1080p material than the Sony, though this was so subtle that you’d likely never spot it without a direct comparison.”
The Rotel RAP-1580 delivers sterling sound with especially satisfying dynamics and rich timbre. Is it worth $3,800? On the basis of sound quality, unquestionably—it could easily go head to head with a good pre/pro and any one-chassis multichannel amp. If you want to power demanding speakers with a one-box solution, this is your best shot. ”
“Music is a real strength of the brand’s new breed of soundbars and the MS750 is rich, solid and well detailed… if you feed it the right source. Uncompressed FLAC and ALAC files through the optical input were superb, yet Bluetooth sounded distinctly flat and lacklustre in comparison.”
The Yamaha YAS-207 soundbar isn’t perfect, but it’s still light years beyond your standard TV speakers. DTS Virtual:X does a good job tricking your ears into believing surround speakers are present while also creating an expansive soundstage. We only wish the soundbar had more mid-range and low-frequency definition.”