Celebrating Home Theater Geeks' 100th episode, legendary producer, engineer, and musician Alan Parsons talks about his early days as an assistant engineer at Abbey Road Studios when the Beatles were recording their last two albums, recording and mixing Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and Michael Oldfield's Tubular Bells in quadraphonic, forming the Alan Parsons Project with collaborator Eric Woolfson, his educational 3-DVD set called The Art and Science of Sound Recording, answers to chat-room questions, and much more.
With a last-minute guest cancellation, I spend a pleasant hour answering questions from the chat room, including how I got my start in home theater, what it might take for an Apple television to be successful, tips for speaker placement, what to consider when converting a basement to a home theater, where the best seat in a commercial theater is, motion blur on LCD TVs, video processors, RF universal remotes, HDMI Audio Return Channel, whether or not 3D is a passing fad, using two identical projectors to display 3D, and much more.
Renato Pellegrini, co-founder of Sonic Emotion and my first guest geek to appear live from Europe, explains the company's Absolute 3D audio technology, which uses wave-field synthesis to create a 3D soundfield throughout the room, putting every listener in the sweet spot. He reveals several consumer products that incorporate the technology and introduces Sonic Emotion's new 3D audio app for the iPhone/iPod/iPad (and soon Android devices) called Headquake. Also discussed are several commercial installations using Absolute 3D and the company's Music in Our Schools donation program.
Audio-product designer Bob Schulein talks about his long and distinguished career, including microphone design and his pioneering work on multichannel matrix encoding and decoding for broadcast and music recordings. He also explains his current project called ImmersAV, in which he shoots high-def video and records binaural audio to create a more immersive A/V experience. In addition, he discusses his extensive headphone measurements and how they relate to perceived sound quality, answers chat-room questions, and more.
Vizio product marketing manager Carlos Angulo and product engineer James Kittle talk about Vizio's soon-to-be-released 21:9 CinemaWide flat-panel TVs, including size considerations, LED edgelighting and backlighting with Smart Dimming, Vizio Internet Apps, scaling 2.35:1 movies to the panel's native 2560x1080 pixel resolution, and passive 3D. They also discuss Vizio's upcoming Google TV implementation, its 4K technology demonstrations at trade shows, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
High-end audio legend Mark Levinson talks about how being a professional musician influences his work as an audio-product designer, the importance of imparting the emotional impact of a performance through an audio system, how the high-end audio industry has evolved during the last 40 years, the goals for his latest products under the Daniel Hertz nameplate, his work restoring archived recordings from the La Fenice opera house in Venice, Italy, answers to chat-room questions, and more. He even plays a bit on the Indian sarod!
Acoustician Bob Hodas discusses the process of "tuning" recording studios and home-theater rooms, the problem of overtreating a room, different types of acoustic treatments (including egg cartons!), measurements versus subjective listening, the importance of the phase relationship between speakers and a flat frequency response in a room, speaker and subwoofer placement, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
In this special episode live from the 2012 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in Las Vegas, Leo Laporte and I walk the show floor, talking to representatives from Canon, Panasonic, JVC, and Sony about new technologies that will improve the consumer experience of TV and movies. Particularly interesting is the rapidly falling cost of 4K digital-video cameras from Canon, JVC, and Sony as well as a new 3D conversion technology from JVC. We also talk to Panasonic's Peter Fannon about the upcoming Summer Olympics in 3D and see 4K flat-panel reference monitors in the Canon, JVC, and Sony booths that look amazing even at relatively small sizes.
Academy Award-winning sound editor Lon Bender explains the process of adding sound to a movie, how the process has evolved over the years, and how a home-theater mix differs from a commercial-cinema mix. He also shares some anecdotes from several projects he's worked on, including The Hunger Games and Drive, talks about the problem of not enough sound isolation between theaters in a multiplex, answers chat-room questions, and more.
Steve Guttenberg, a regular contributor to Home Theater and Stereophile as well as the author of the Audiophiliac blog on cnet.com, questions the validity of blind ABX testing and the value of objective audio measurements, especially as a predictive factor for user preferences and an indicator of how a device will sound in various real-world environments. He also talks about the differences between audio and video gearfor example, how many people seek out old audio products but not old video displaysanswers to chat-room questions, and more.
Kevin Voecks, Director of Product Development for Harman's High-Performance A/V division (including Revel, Lexicon, Mark Levinson, and JBL Synthesis), discusses his background as chief engineer at Mirage and Snell, the ins and outs of speaker design and testing, subwoofer placement, room correction, and more.
Boxee co-founder and CEO Avner Ronen talks about the new paradigm of online video delivery, image and sound quality versus bandwidth, integrating and unifying various online sources, the importance of the user interface, the trend toward encrypting basic cable channels, the founding and evolution of Boxee, the Boxee box and remote, online delivery of 3D and 4K, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
Juergen Herre, chief scientist at Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits and professor at Erlangen University in Germany, discusses the development of the MP3 audio format (technically called MPEG-1 Layer 3), how lossy audio codecs work using psychoacoustics, how higher bitrates yield higher audio quality, constant versus variable bitrates, more recent audio codecs such as MPEG-2 AAC and surround MP3, 3D audio, object-oriented audio, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
Andrew Jones, chief speaker engineer for Pioneer and TAD Labs, talks about his illustrious career as a speaker designer with KEF and Infinity, the difference between research and product development, the importance of knowing what and how to measure audio performance, how he was able to design Pioneer's entry-level speakers to perform so well, his work with ultra-high-end speakers at TAD Labs, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
ISF video calibrator Kevin Miller talks about the Eighth Annual Flat Panel Shootout held at Value Electronics in Scarsdale, New York, where some 70 participants rated six high-end flat panelsthe LG 60PM9700, Panasonic TC-P65VT50, and Samsung PN64E8000 plasmas as well as the Panasonic TC-L47WT50, Samsung UN60ES8000, and Sharp Elite PRO-60X5FD LED-LCD TVsafter they were all calibrated as close to correct as possible. Which one came out on top? Find out here.