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Rotel versus Parasound: Difference in Sound Quality

Rotel versus Parasound: Difference in Sound Quality

How big is the difference in the quality of sound between a Rotel RSP 1068 and a Parrasound P7 pre amp (the Rotel in the bypass mode). Is the difference worth the P7's price tag? Right now I am using an OPPO-83SE with the Rotel and I am planning on replacing the 83SE with an Oppo BDP 105.

- J. Vazquez
Pennsylvania

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Projectors: Buying higher-end used or reconditioned models, considerations?

Projectors: Buying higher-end used or reconditioned models, considerations?

I will have a spot in the basement of my new home for a small home theater. My budget is limited for what I can spend on a projector and screen, however. Rather than buy an entry-level 1080p projector, I am considering buying a higher end model from the used or reconditioned market. Is the risk worth the reward? For example, I can buy a Sony VPLHW30ES for about $2K or a JVC DLAX3 for around $1,500. I have a Pioneer plasma, so I know that black levels are important. What do you think?

- S Knapp
Georgia

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Sennheiser HD 800 Headphones: Receiver or Headphone Amp?

Sennheiser HD 800 Headphones: Receiver or Headphone Amp?

Do I need to add a headphone amp to my 4 yr. old AVR Denon 4310 to add power to my Sennheiser HD 800 headphones? If so, what kind? In addition to listening to music I watch a lot of movies with the headphones. Can I connect the amp directly to the Denon with an optical or different cord?
- Troy C
Boyceville

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Q&A - Flash Drive Music: What Source Component Options?

Flash Drive Music: What Source Component Options?I have an analog tube preamp with no digital in's or outs. My sources arÅe an Oppo BDP-83 and a Marantz changer. My problem is that I have a lot of music on flash drives and use my Oppo's usb to play them. The Oppo does not play hi-rez files, only mp3's. What are my options as far as a source component that will give me great sound from rca connections and handles flash drives.
- Steve S
Southfield, MI

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Q&A - Monitor Audio or Tannoy Speaker Upgrade

Monitor Audio or Tannoy Speaker Upgrade

I'm currently using a Yamaha A-S500 integrated amp to drive my Mirage Omni 250 towers. They mate well together. I also have an HK-3490 stereo receiver. I want to upgrade my current speakers to a pair of Tannoy DC6T/DC6T SE. Would either of my electronics mate well with the Tannoys? If not, how about the Monitor Audio Silver RX-6? These are currently the only speakers I'm considering. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

Jay B.
Palm City, Florida

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How is bass divided among speakers?

QAHow is the bass divided among speakers if there is no sub in the home theater system? If a 5.1 system has identical speakers all around with 15 inch woofers and all of the speakers are set to "large" on the processor, does the serious bass get evenly distributed to all speakers? Say, like an explosion or a dinosaur stomping? Is there much serious bass info sent to the surround speakers if they are set to "large"?

- Mitch D
Los Angeles

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4k and the limitations

QAI know the industry wants to move away from physical discs especially with 4K, but don't you think the following limitations point to needing some physical format for collectors...

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Surround Sound Systems: 5.1 or 7.1?

Surround Sound Systems 5.1 or 7.1?I'm going to be in the market for my first surround sound system. I was wondering if you know if what I'm looking for exists. I'm looking for a surround sound system that can be expanded to more speakers. Like a system that is a 5.1 surround that has ports to add an additional two speakers to make it a 7.1 surround. A kind of modular surround sound system. I'd love to get the 7.1 right away but if I can save some money right away with a 5.1 and maybe in 6 months or so add a couple speakers that would be the best.

- Bill Russell
Bismarck, ND

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Decoding Audio Formats

I have a Panasonic DMP-BD655 Blu-ray player connected to an Onkyo TX-SR805 receiver, with DefTech Mythos STS speakers for the fronts. I know that the Onkyo is capable of decoding losses HD audio formats sent via bitstream from the Panasonic.

My question - For best sound quality, should I have the Panasonic bitstream lossless audio and have the Onkyo do the decoding? Or, will I get better sound by having the Panasonic do the decoding?

- Venkat Iyer
Chicago, IL

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Graphics Cards with HDMI output and 5.1 Audio?

Graphics Cards with HDMI output and 5.1 Audio

I currently have a Windows 7 PC connected to my TV via VGA and stereo audio. I use this setup to watch Netflix and Hulu. I would like to be able to get 5.1 sound, which Netflix (and maybe Hulu) says they support if the hardware in the PC supports it. Are there graphic cards that have HDMI output that also include 5.1 audio over the HDMI cable? I should then be able to connect it to say a Yamaha RX-V375 receiver and have 5.1 audio.

- Ken L
Boston, Mass

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Stereo Bass from AV Processor or Receiver?

Stereo Bass from AV Processor or Receiver?

I want to use two subwoofers and keep the bass stereo for recordings that, in fact, have phase differences in the low frequencies. So I am looking for a processor or receiver that, when all the main speakers are set to "small," sends the left-side bass to the left subwoofer, the right-side bass to the right subwoofer, and splits the center-channel bass. Also, if any product actually does this, what happens when you run the auto EQ/room correction? Would the auto EQ make the subwoofers mono?

- Richard Severance
St. Paul, MN

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Which Speaker System is Best?

Which Speaker System is Best?

I am considering buying the Klipsch Reference II 5.1 home-theater speaker system, Aperion Audio Verus Grand Tower XD system, or GoldenEar Technology TritonCinema Two system. Which is the best choice? Or what would you recommend around the $4000 - $4500 price range?

- Arnel Balatbat
Auburn, WA

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Buy Now or Wait?

Buy Now or Wait?

I am thinking about the Panasonic ZT60 plasma, but I hear that Panasonic and Sony are going to make OLED TVs. Also, Netflix will start 4K streaming. What is a person to do, wait for OLED or buy 4K? Is the ZT60 worth getting?

- Paul Rothman
Miami, FL

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What is RedMere Technology?

What is RedMere Technology?

Monoprice sent me an email about HDMI cables with RedMere technology in them. Near as I can figure, this technology allows longer runs with thinner wire. What is RedMere technology?

- David Eckard
Durham, NC

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AVR DACs vs. Standalone?

AVR DACs vs. Standalone?

Do the DACs (digital-to-analog converters) in mid-priced AV receivers perform as well as standalone DACs such as the Peachtree Audio DAC-iT or Musical Fidelity V-DAC II?

- Ed Wood
West Chester, PA

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Blu-ray Player for Older AV Processor?

Why is 3D Through Active Glasses So Dark?

I have a JBL Synthesis AV2 processor with HDMI 1.1 and eight RCA analog-audio inputs. I want to buy a new Blu-ray player, but I've been told conflicting info about what outputs the player needs to send 7.1 channels of HD audio to the AVP. I have been told that HDMI 1.1 will only accept 5.1 channels from a player, and to get all 7.1 channels, I need a player with eight RCA outputs. Other sources say the AVP should be able to handle 7.1 channels via HDMI 1.1. Which true?

I am looking at the Sony BDP-S790 player, which doesn't have eight outputs, only HDMI 1.4, versus the Oppo BDP-103 and 105. Which do you like best?

- John Baldino
Orange, CT

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Do You Recommend the Vizio XVT3D580CM?

Do You Recommend the Vizio XVT3D580CM?

I would like to get the 58-inch Vizio XVT3D580CM CinemaWide HDTV with a 21:9 aspect ratio. I'm sure it will be great watching Blu-ray discs, but I'm concerned that it might be a disappointment with 16:9 content from my HD cable provider and over-the-air local channels. Can you give me the advantages and disadvantages of this TV, and if you've reviewed it, can you tell me what you think?

- Jay Nesbitt
Chula Vista, CA

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Why is 3D Through Active Glasses So Dark?

Why is 3D Through Active Glasses So Dark?

I enjoy movies in 3D with Dolby Atmos sound, such as Live of Pi, but the only local cinema showing in this format is the ArcLight Cinema in Sherman Oaks, CA, which uses active glasses for 3D. Does this make the movies too dark to enjoy?

- Barry Operman
Santa Monica, CA

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Bipolar Speakers in the Front?

Bipolar Speakers in the Front?

What do you think of bipolar speakers? Are they worth the price, and do they perform well while playing movies and music? Crutchfield has a special on Definitive Technology bipolar speakers—when you buy the front two, you get the center and two surround speakers. Would this be a good value at $2000? Would you put these in your home system?

- Paul Schneider
Garden Grove, CA

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Which Universal Remote?

Which Universal Remote?

I recently purchased a Marantz NR1602 receiver and Pioneer SP-PK52FS speaker package. I am really excited and pleased with the performance, but I now have a new problem—way too many remotes! I hear a lot of endorsement for the Logitech Harmony remotes, but I also have seen a lot of professional installers recommend URC and RTI remotes. I am not afraid to dive in and spend a few hours programming my own macros, and I prefer a remote based on physical buttons. My current system includes an Apple TV, Marantz NR1602 receiver, Dish Network Hopper, Panasonic TC-P50ST50 plasma TV, and a Sony PS3, which I know I'll need an added dongle to control. Can you recommend a particular model? Price is not an issue.

- Cory Hack
Hollis Center, ME

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