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Showing posts from April, 2016

Captain America: Civil War – Movie Review

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Captain America: Civil War – Movie Review

The ensemble superhero movie is a great way to make a movie for the summer that will attract a huge number of fans, bring in the dough, and continue keep the money wagon rolling on.
But as we can see, from Zack Synder’s Superman vs Batman, it didn’t quite pan out, and too much of the director’s special sauce can actually make the movie quite awful.
The Russo brothers join a long line of directors who aim to bring a bunch of disparate characters together to form more than a mish mash of superheroes and they need to provide action, develop character, add humor and perhaps a dash of romance  into a story which should not be more than 2 ½ or 3 hours. Now that can be a tall order, again referencing Zack’s missteps, or as Joss Wheldon has deftly shown, it can be a group performing melodiously together to form a magnificent symphony of explosions, humor and heart. Now the Russo brothers belong to the latter group, and certainly they have done well.
Wha…

Stand Mount Vs Floor Stander Speakers In A Small Room

I have a rather small place, and space is a premium. It measures 3.1m wide, 5.5m long and the ceiling is 3m high. I also have bookshelves at one end, and a console at the other, where the speakers are sited.
Until recently, I had some B&W 804D floor stander speakers, with bass that went down to 29Hz. These numbers alone should pique some interest in them, and indeed, in the right environment, they sound marvelous.
But in a rather narrow room, where the actual width between the speakers can be less than 2m, and the fact that they need to be sited pretty close to the back wall does not help these towers breath.
I have seen some rather large floor stander speakers used in small rooms, and often they are planted right at the corners. The result is not very impressive, and hardly does justice to the cost of the speakers.
So with some reluctance, I know I had to get back to stand mounts, and these should have less interaction with the room boundaries.
My own experience with the new Dynaudio…

Adjusting Dialogue levels

IMHO, most auto-EQ systems set the centre channels to far too low a volume, and if you increase the general volume, the total volume will be way too loud. I usually boost the centre channel about 2db above the other channels, but YMMV. Each system has their own solution, eg the SR 7010 has a dialogue enhancer function, which essentially increases the centre channel volume. The Denon 7200 or Marantz AV 8802 has a more sophisticated version, which only boosts the frequencies that are perceived to be in the human vocal range. Play a familiar track, eg a dialogue heavy movie like "The Grand Hotel Budapest" and adjust accordingly.
If one shifts the position of the centre, or add Mopads, do consider doing the calibration again.

Improving your home theater system II

Recently I had quite a few messages asking about how one can get more out of their home theater system.

There are many options, ranging from free tweaks to top dollar options.

Firstly a shift in speaker position is a free yet highly effective tweak. Of course some will reply that their options for this are limited.
Do note that a fancy amp or new CD player can't fix a poorly placed speaker. Putting large floor stander speakers in the corners of a small room won't yield the best results.

The next option that is often used are cables. IMHO, cables can tune the sound but should not be considered a top tier tweak.

Room acoustics is one often neglected tweak or one that cannot be considered simply due to the WAF issue. In particular those of us using living rooms for our hobby will face a lot of resistance. But simple things like moving speakers or the MLP are free and very effective.

Another often using method is the use of power amps. Yes if the speakers used are low …

Using A Ceiling Position For The Rear Speaker

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A quick word on using a ceiling position / close to ceiling position for the REAR speaker:


(obtained this from the web: http://www.dbstalk.com/topic/21494-rear-speaker-placement-for-51-surround/ )

Not the Atmos speaker, but a rear or rear back speaker. Due to WAF or other constraints, we can see some bros using a position that is just off the ceiling or cove for their rear speaker. Then angling this down to face the MLP.
Then the question is posed - ( often after the position is actually selected and the speaker is actually in place! ), whether or not this is ok :) Well as what I told a bro an hour ago..
We live by our decisions, and make a choice based on the compromise between sound and WAF - wife acceptance factor. Put simply, a wrongly or less than ideally placed speaker won't allow the directional place and sound transition required. Say a bullet flies from back to front, it won't give that illusion if the sound emanates from up high and rear, then has to transit to the s…