Fred Maher, an audio engineer now working for DTS, talks about his career as a musician, recording engineer, and producer as well as the use and misuse of dynamic-range compression, the audible effect of lossy data compression, the art of mixing music for multichannel playback, DTS' new Neo:X algorithm that can upmix any smaller number of channels to 11.1, where to place 11 speakers, the benefit of 3D audio, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
In this episode, I fly solo, answering questions from the chat room about everything from plasma versus LCD to tonally matching the front speakers to my opinion of various specific makes and models of AVRs, TV, and speakers, and many things in between. Plus, for those who watch the video, I show you around my new podcast set and point out some of the interesting items that appear behind me as I do the show each week.
In his second appearance on the podcast, our own Michael Fremer, audiophile extraordinaire and redoubtable raconteur, waxes rhapsodic about the dichotomy of the quality of physical media versus the convenience of streaming, then takes us on a tour of his listening room and his incredible collection of vinyl records. He also opines on the audible effect of different cables and demagnetizing black vinyl records (really!), objective versus subjective (what he calls "observational") listening, and comments and questions from the chat room.
In Part 2 of my discussion with 3D maven Gene Dolgoff, he talks about how 2D is normally converted to 3D, how his company, 3-DVision, does it differently (and better!), and the limitations of all stereoscopic 3D, including lenticular glasses-free techniques. He then explains a bit of the history and technology of holography, venturing into the mind-bending realm of four spatial dimensions, and talks about his technique for creating a truly holographic, full-color, full-motion 3D display for the home and commercial cinema.
One of Home Theater Geeks' most requested return guests, Gene Dolgoff, talks about his invention of digital projection and its benefits over CRT, including much greater brightness and efficiency. He also explains his more recent work on advanced 3D compression algorithms that can transmit full 1080p resolution for each eye using the standard broadcast bandwidth and discusses the problems inherent with current 3D technology, ending with a tantalizing glance at the possibility of using holography for next-gen 3D displays.
Gregg Loewen and Michael Chen, well-known video calibrators and instructors of the THX video-calibration course, talk about teaching the THX course in China, the importance of setting a TV's basic picture controls, the problem of calibrating for a broadcast source such as satellite or cable, the ups and downs of color-management systems, different types of calibration meters, the importance of educating calibration clients, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
Legendary live-sound pioneer and microphone maker Bob Heil tells fascinating stories about his early days as a theater organist in St. Louis and his work as a live-sound engineer for groups such as the Grateful Dead, the Who, ZZ Top, Joe Walsh, Peter Frampton, Jeff Beck, and many others in the 1960s and '70s. He also talks about his involvement in the early days of satellite TV and his home-theater business, which he shuttered with the advent of cheap home-theater-in-a-box systems.
In this special episode of Home Theater Geeks, I take viewers on a video tour of my own home theater and answer many questions from the chat room. Plus, my wife Joanna drops by at the end and we sing a little duet!
Chris Connaker, founder of ComputerAudiophile.com, talks about the basics of high-resolution computer-audio files, including file formats and compression, adaptive and asynchronous USB DACs, ripping physical discs, online sources for high-res music files, the Simple Design Sonore Linux-based music-server appliance, cloud-based systems, using a preamp/processor with high-res music servers, local-area network streaming, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
Our own Tyll Hertsens, editor-in-chief of InnerFidelity.com, talks about the surprisingly social hobby of headphones, measuring the performance of headphones and how that relates to the subjective experience of listening to them, in-ear versus on-ear versus over-the-ear designs, simulating surround in headphones, how sound levels impact sound quality and hearing safety, noise cancelling, breaking in headphones, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
Jeff Murray, president of SpectraCal, discusses the importance of setting a TV's basic picture controls and grayscale calibration, the advantages and pitfalls of color-management systems, the company's VideoForge test-pattern generator and VideoEQ processor, automatic calibration using CalMan software with some of Panasonic's 2011 TVs, where to get educated about video calibration, calibrating 3D TVs, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
Video guru Joe Kane makes his second appearance on the podcast, talking about active and passive 3D technologies and his new "3D flat" test patterns, which reveal exactly what a 3D TV is doing, as well as the importance of evaluating a 3D TV's 2D performanceafter all, a 3D TV actually displays two 2D images, so it had better render 2D well if its 3D has any hope of looking good. He also describes the process of installing his own home theater and answers chat-room questions.
Barb Gonzalez, aka The Simple Tech Guru, updates her impression of Roku as well as other media-streaming devices and services such as Vudu, Google TV, Apple TV, and the Sony SMP-N100, which has the best picture quality of all, though not the widest selection of content. She also talks about how content providers present different user interfaces and content to different devices, and she explains a new service called Zediva, which streams the playback of actual, physical DVDs to get a jump on the release of streaming movies. Plus answers to chat room questions and more.
Our own Jon Iversonmusician, radio DJ, and web monkey for UltimateAVmag.com, HomeTheater.com, HomeTheaterDesignMag.com, Stereophile.com, and InnerFidelity.comdiscusses the changing media-distribution landscape as we move away from physical media toward online streaming and downloading. He also talks about the advantages of in-home media servers, the problems of copy protection and artificial scarcity, his decision to make his music available for free, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
Ron Williams, imaging consultant and CEO of the Landmark Group, talks about his four decades in the TV and film industries, including the transition from film to ENG (electronic news gathering) as well as from film to digital capture of TV programming, his dislike of LCD displays, OLED and SED flat panels, 3D, 4K, his work on the technical infrastructure for broadcasting the Beijing Olympics, movie piracy in China, digital cinema, and answers to chat-room questions.