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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Home Theater editor Rob Sabin, senior editor Tom Norton, and I chat about what we saw at the 2011 CEDIA Expo, including the new Sharp Elite LCD TV that looks like a worthy successor to the now-legendary Pioneer Kuro plasma, home-theater projectors with 4K resolution or 2.35:1 native aspect ratio, Epson's first LCoS-variant projector that produced a spectacular image for less then $5000, 3D, Atlantic Technology's bass-friendly soundbar, GoldenEars' and Definitive Technology's new bookshelf speakers, PSB's noise-cancelling headphones, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
Laurie Fincham, senior vice president of audio research and development at THX, talks about the difference between live and reproduced music, the importance of exposing consumers to high-quality audio, THX's new analog power amp design that rivals switching amps in efficiency and small size, the theory and application of speaker line arrays, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
Paul Barton (left), PSB's founder and chief speaker designer, discusses some of the psychoacoustic research and technology that went into his company's first-ever headphones, which also include active noise cancelling. And Greg Stidsen (right), NAD's director of technology and product development, talks about his company's new Viso 1 all-in-one, all-digital stereo speaker package, which Barton helped design.
SpectraCal co-founder and CTO Derek Smith talks about the evolution of CalMan, SpectraCal's video-calibration software intended for enthusiasts, the process of calibration, automated calibration, the new eeColor image processor that adjusts a display's color for different amounts of room light, 3D calibration, 4K, expanded color gamuts, answers to chat-room questions, and more.
Philip Clements, inventor of the H-PAS (Hybrid Pressure Acceleration System) speaker-loading technology used in his own speakers as well as models from Atlantic Technology, explains how H-PAS combines bass-reflex, acoustic-suspension, and transmission-line techniques to offer many advantages, including extended bass response, lower distortion, and greater dynamic range.