We have added to our product line list!! Check out the additional components Sound Video has to offer you!

ADDED LINES!

Emotiva – https://emotiva.com/
Furman – http://www.furmansound.com/
HEOS by Denon- http://usa.denon.com/us/heos
Speakercraft – http://www.speakercraft.com/
Sunfire – http://www.sunfire.com/
Theta Digital – http://www.thetadigital.com/index.shtml

Posted in Uncategorized

CES 2015 Highlights – More to COME!

20150106_131040 Sandy Gross GoldenEar

GoldenEars’ Sandy Gross (left) showing the new Triton 5 towers at CES 2015.  The 5s will retail for $1000 each and incorporate crossover updates that are on the Triton 1 flagship speakers.  They go deeper and have more finesse than the highly touted Triton 7s.  ETA is late spring 2015!

20150107_113205 Monitor Audio Gold 300s

The new Monitor Audio Gold 300’s in beautiful piano ebony for $2300 retail. The 11 layers of high gloss lacquer is well worth the $100 upcharge. STUNNING! I heard strong sonic improvements over the soon to be discontinued GX Series.
Available late February 2015.

20150107_114123 Bryston Mini T's

Yet another incredible demonstration by Bryston’s Mini T’s! Mr. James Tanner of Bryston is pictured showing his $3,000 retail speakers. They easily mopped up rooms costing tens of thousands more. My highest recommendation.

Posted in Uncategorized

The New Marantz AV-8802, AV-7702 Atmos Comparisons.

Dolby Atmos is HERE!  Are you Ready?  

Also introducing…

The BRAND NEW Marantz AV-8802!

Introducing the Flagship Preamp processor with Atmos by Marantz!Marantz AV-8802
Pre-order your Marantz AV-8802 at Sound Video! Retails for $3995.  Email or call me for promo price.  We take trades!

After looking at all of the design modifications and engineering enhancements, this should of been called this the AV9902.  There were multiple circuits that were reworked by their residential audio guru exclusively for sonic improvements.  I’ve attached a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the differences.  It’s well worth the read. Click on 8802 Cliff notes and board pictures. (A PowerPoint slideshow will be downloaded).

Marantz AV-8802 inside

The all new AV-8802!!

How do you improve upon the world renowned AV8801?
By using trickle down technology from the improved Marantz Reference line; specifically the PM-11S3; Marantz engineers took a second look and dissected every critical component in the unit including the Transformer, the DACs, the HDAMs, the Filter Capacitors and more.

The results? Stunning! The engineers are saying nothing short of jaw dropping.
Based on the several improvements, the AV8802 is quite possibly the best AV Preamp under $10K leaping over boutique brands at a fraction of the price. Whether reproducing a blockbuster movie or the most intricate detail of a classical recording, the AV7702 excels let alone the AV8802. If that wasn’t enough, it is also upgradable to support other exciting pending surround formats as well as the next generation Ultra HD 4K HDMI.
Sound Video is pleased to announce that the new AV8802 will begin shipping in early February. We have more on order than any dealer in the country!  I’m already over 1/2 sold out.  The best trade values are for the early adopters.

AV8802 Key Features:
* 11.2 Channel Preamp with Reference Grade (PM-11S3) Balanced Circuitry
* Dolby Atmos with Audyssey MultEQ XT 32 processing
* Aura 3D Ready (Requires optional paid upgrade – $199)
* Brand new, Fully Discrete Current Feedback HDAM-SA2 Modules
* Brand new Jitter reduction circuitry for all Optical, Coaxial & HDMI inputs
* New Lower Noise Toroidal Power Transformer, derived from the PM-11S3
* New Audiophile Capacitors with twice the reserve as what was in the AV8801
* Brand new 768kHz / 32Bit Digital to Analog Converters – AKM4490
* USB-A with DSD playback
* Full 4K Video Processing. Upgradable to HDCP 2.2 (FREE Hardware upgrade)
* 13.2 channel XLR and RCA
* Three Piece Top Cover with Copper Plated Chassis and new Isolation Feet
* Networking: AirPlay, Pandora, Sirius/XM, Internet Radio & Spotify Connect
* WiFi, Bluetooth, DNLA 1.5

NEWS FLASH: AV7702 Re-worked Analog Outshines the AV8801 Sonic Performance.
Here is an update about how the AV7702 has been received.  A total of 15, AV8801 customers so far have took my advice to get the AV7702. Forget that the price is at $2K list. The re-polished analog section of the AV7702 out shines even the 8801.  Atmos is a bonus.  I’d be happy to supply some names of delighted former 8801 buyers who are delighted AV7702 owners.  Call or email to ask me how Marantz technically did it. See the PowerPoint download by clicking on AV7702 Versus AV8802 Key Internal Pictures.
Posted in Comparisons

2-Channel Audio Speaker Placement

For full-range floor-standing speakers, start out with the speakers as far out from the back wall as practical or your “significant other” will abide; remember they have to live there, too!. 2 to 3 feet should be your minimum with 5 to 6 feet desirable. In a very small room (i.e., 10 feet x 10 feet) figure on getting the speakers about 3′ from the back wall. The “Rule of Thirds” applies here, so a larger room will allow for speaker placement farther from the walls. Smaller speakers on stands and mini-monitors in particular may benefit from closer proximity to the back walls (it may help reinforce lower frequencies) though it’s still a good rule to keep them at least 2 to 3 feet out. Space the speakers as far apart as practically possible (5 to 10 feet center to center) while retaining at least 2 to 3 feet between their outside edges and the side walls. Check that the distances from each speaker to the back wall and side walls are the same (symmetrical).

Start with your listening chair about 8 feet back from the speakers and exactly equidistant from the side walls. Measure from the center of one speaker to the center of the back of the listening chair. Move the chair straight backwards and forwards until the measurement is the same as the distance between the center of the speakers. You will now have your head located at the approximate apex of an equilateral triangle described by the centers of the speakers and your listening position.

2 Speaker Placement Diagram

If the tweeters are at about the same level your ears will be when you’re seated, (or slightly above if the speaker is a simple two-way design) proceed to the next step. If the tweeters are too low, try tilting the speaker back slightly until the tweeters point toward your head. If this still doesn’t do it, consider putting the speakers on stands. If they’re too high, tilting the speakers down a bit may work, but in that case you’re better off padding or raising your seat until you reach the right height. Depending on the speaker design, you may find the optimum position for your ears to be right between the tweeter and midrange drivers.

Attach a piece of string or cord to the center of the back of your chair, long enough to reach beyond the speakers. The measuring string shouldn’t be stretchable. Unless the speaker manufacturer recommends facing them straight ahead, angle (toe-in) the speakers toward your listening position by standing directly behind them, sighting squarely over their tops, aligning them with both hands. Use the measuring string to confirm that both speakers are exactly the same distance from your listening position and angled the same amount. Just pull the string out to one corner of a speaker, hold the measurement, and swing it over to the other speaker to check that it’s the same. When all four measurements are the same, your speakers will be equidistant from and aimed directly at your listening position.

Now it’s time to listen. Play a record with decent soundstaging and a single vocalist center stage. If the soundstage you hear is nice and wide but the images in the center are blurred, move the speakers closer together. Make your string measurements again. If the center images are well-focused but the soundstage isn’t very wide, angle the speakers away from the listening position a little at a time until the soundstage becomes it’s widest without losing the center fill. Keep in mind that many speakers seem to like being pointed at your shoulders rather than directly at your head. Use your string again – your measurements will now be the same for pairs of corners, not all four. Once you find a position that seems to offer the best compromise, try moving your listening chair straight forwards or backwards a little, paying close attention to subtler changes in perceived frequency response (i.e., highs rolled-off or too bright, forward or backward shifts in the soundstage). You may find an ideal chair placement, or “sweet spot”, depending on the dispersion pattern of your particular speakers. If you decide to move the listening position more than a foot or so in either direction, you should start all over with the spacing vs angling tests.

Excellent results can occasionally be achieved by listening at a greater distance from the speakers, but then room interactions play a major role in perceived sonics, i.e., you wind up listening to your room rather than the original recording venue. Alternatively, there’s what’s commonly referred to as “nearfield” listening, which has distinct advantages. Of course, if your room is small, you may not have a choice. Many rooms are not symetrical to start with, are L-shaped, or have different wall materials, etc., so you may have to resort to some simple room treatments to get the best sound.

Above all, don’t be afraid to experiment. These are just guidelines, not hard and fast rules. However, if you insure equidistant spacing and angling (with the string measurements), you will vastly improve the overall performance of your system. Naturally, if you do discover a “sweet spot”, make sure it’s your chair!

Posted in Tips

Differences between Projector and Large Screen Televisions

Space

A projector can be mounted on the ceiling or set behind the viewing area on a shelf or table. The screen can be mounted to a wall, recessed into the ceiling or the floor. This leaves much more floor space and allows for more living space.

Cost

Cost is comparable. A good large screen TV will cost from $3,000 to $5,000+ dollars. A projector and screen combination can cost as little as $3500.

Versatility

A projector provides many options for viewing versatility. You can mount it permanently in your living room or TV room or you can move it from room to room. Big Superbowl party at your neighbors? Take the projector and screen (or just project it onto a blank white wall). You can set it up outside in the summer and watch movies under the night sky.

Viewing area

With a projector and screen, you can get up to a 30′ viewing diagonal. A zoom lens and focus allow for different sizes in different locations. Different placements within a room will allow for various screen sizes.

Options

A projector can be plugged into any device that uses RCA, VGA or S-Video cables. Plug your DVD player into it to watch movies. Plug it into your home computer to surf the internet as a family. Watch video games at life size when you plug it into your game machine. Digital Satellite Systems, TV’s and camcorders can all be plugged into your multi-purpose projector as well. It can be plugged into any device that uses a RCA, VGA or S-Video cables.

Ease of use

Projectors are ready to go as soon as you open the box. Plug it into power and then plug it into your viewing device. No additional set-up or convergence required.

Clarity

With a projector, you will see no visible pixilization as you do with your current television set. This makes for a better, clearer viewing image.

Posted in Tips

Advanced Home Theater Terminology

This post explains the more technical language often used by audiophiles to describe the sonic characteristics of a system.

Absolute Phase / Absolute Polarity

Refers to the preservation of the initial acoustic waveform all the way through the recording and reproducing system so that a compression that reaches the original microphone will be reproduced in the listener’s system as a compression reaching his or her ears. Some listeners appear to be more sensitive to this being correct than others, often referring to the inverted state as “muffled.”

Airy

Pertaining to treble which sounds light, delicate, open, and seemingly unrestricted in upper extension. A quality of reproducing systems having very smooth and very extended HF response.

Articulation

  1. Clarity and intelligibility, usually of voice reproduction.
  2. The reproduction of inner detail in complex sounds, which makes it easy to follow an individual musical voice among many.

Balance

  1. The subjective relationship between the relative loudness of the upper and lower halves of the audio spectrum; “tonal balance.”
  2. The relative loudness of the instruments in a performing group.
  3. Equality of signal level between the left and right stereo channels, which centers the soundstage and allows mono program material to image at the center; Also called channel balance.

Balanced (Differential) vs. Unbalanced Signals

When using an unbalanced interconnect, the audio signal runs through both the center wire and the shield/ground wire. Any noise picked up by this interconnect (i.e., nearby magnetic fields such as an AC power cord) will be reproduced by the amplifier and heard through the loudspeakers. Conversely, a balanced interconnect has three separate conductors; one for the ground and two for the actual signal. These two signals are identical except that one is 180 degrees out of phase with the other. For example, when one conductor is carrying a signal of +5 Volts, the other will be carrying a signal of -5 Volts. When these two inverted signals on a balanced line are input into a differential power amplifier, any noise picked up by the interconnect will be eliminated since a differential circuit amplifies only the difference between these two signals: Noise on a balanced interconnect will be equal on both conductors and therefore not be processed.

Beyond-the-speakers imaging

The placement of phantom images or spatial (stage boundary) information beyond the positional limits of the loudspeakers.

Bi-Wired Lodspeakers

This is the result of running 2 equal lengths of cable from your power amplifier to your loudspeaker, which must have 2 pairs of binding posts – 1 each for the woofer and the tweeter. Improved sonic performance is achieved from what is referred to as frequency splitting, which significantly reduces the magnetic interaction inside the cables. Many speaker cables are configured for bi-wiring whereby a single cable run has 2 terminations for the amplifier connection (+ and -) and 4 terminations for the speaker connection (+ and – for the woofer / + and – the tweeter).

Boomy / Boominess

Characterized by pronounced exaggeration of the mid-bass and, often, dominance of a narrow range of bass frequencies.

Bright / Brilliant

The degree to which reproduced sound has a hard, crisp edge to it. Brightness relates to the energy content in the 4kHz-8kHz band. It is not related to output in the extreme high-frequency range. All live sound has brightness; it is a problem only when it is excessive.

Center Fill

Correct image placement between the loudspeakers of sound sources which were originally located at or near center-stage.

Center image

The phantom third channel. Many people think of a two-channel system as having three distinct channels or places where sound originates. This phantom center channel is the product of an equal and identical sound source coming from both the left and the right loudspeakers. When properly setup, a well balanced two-channel stereo system should produce a virtually seamless presentation that extends from one side of the room to the other side of the room.

Class-A/B Amplification

This is the most common form of amplification; Output transistors are arranged in complimentary pairs where one transistor handles the positive (+) phase and the other handles the negative (-) phase of the signal – when one is working, the other is resting. Also commonly referred to as push-pull output, this involves a significant amount of switching.

Class-A Amplification

Instead of splitting the signal into + and – phases, each requiring a separate transistor like in Class-A/B, Class-A requires that each output transistor handle both phases of the signal. As a result, each transistor conducts current all the time – they are always turned on, resulting in significant heat dissapation and less output power. They also draw the same electrical AC current at idle as at fuill power output. However, Class-A amplifiers have many advantages: Since the transistors are always conducting, they are more linear so that the output signal more closely resembles the input signal; As well, since the transistors never switch on and off when amplifying a signal, crossover distortion is virtually eliminated. Finally, the output transistors have better thermal stability, which yields more uniform operating characteristics.

Many of todays Class-A/B amplifiers operate in Class-A at very low power output levels, usually to 5 watts, to maintain efficiency. This is dependant on the amount of bias – a small DC current that makes transistors conduct a larger current – that is applied to the output transistors. A higher bias results in increased current and more Class-A power output.

Coherent

  1. Pertaining to a multi-way loudspeaker’s sound: seamless from top to bottom; showing no audible evidence of a crossover or of different driver colorations in different frequency ranges.
  2. Pertaining to the soundstage: phantom imaging that reproduces within the stereo stage the original lateral positions of the performers.

Coloration

An audible “signature” with which a reproducing system imbues all signals passing through it.

Continuity

  1. Of the soundstage: the reproduction of the original lateral positions of the stereo images.
  2. Of a multi-way loudspeaker: uniformity of coloration from the operating range of one driver to that of the other(s).

Control

The extent to which a loudspeaker sounds as if it is “tracking” the signal being fed to it. The sound is tight, detailed, and focused. Also refer to “damping”.

Damping

The amount of control an amplifier seems to impose on a woofer. Underdamping causes loose, heavy bass; overdamping yields very tight but lean bass.

Dark

A warm, mellow, excessively rich quality in reproduced sound. The audible effect of a frequency response that is clockwise-tilted across the entire range, so that output diminishes with increasing frequency. The opposite of “light.”

Decay

The way a musical note stops.

Definition

Also commonly referred to as resolution is the quality of sound reproduction which enables the listener to distinguish between, and follow the melodic lines of, the individual voices or instruments comprising a large performing group. Also refer to “Focus.”

Depth

The illusion of acoustical distance receding behind the loudspeaker plane, giving the impression of listening through the loudspeakers into the original performing space, rather than to them. Also refer to “Layering,” “Transparency.” The opposite of “Flat.”

Detail

The subtlest, most delicate parts of the original sound, which are usually the first things lost by imperfect components. Also refer to “Low-Level Detail .” The opposite of “Smearing” and “Veiling.”

Direct Sound

A sound reaching the ears in a straight line from its source. The direct sounds are always the first sounds heard. The “critical distance” from a sound source is when the spl of the direct sound is equal to that of the reverberant field. Please refer to “Far Field” & “Near Field”. The opposite of “Reflected Sound.”

Dry

  1. When describing the texture of reproduced sound: very fine-grained, chalky.
  2. When describing an acoustical space: deficient in reverberation or having a very short reverberation time.
  3. When describing bass quality: lean, overdamped.

Dull

Lifeless, muffled, veiled. Same as “soft,” only more so. The audible effect of HF rolloff setting in at around 5kHz.

Dynamic

Giving an impression of wide dynamic range; punchy. This is related to system speed as well as to volume contrast.

Dynamic Range

  1. Pertaining to a signal: the ratio between the loudest and the quietest passages.
  2. Pertaining to a component: the ratio between its no-signal noise and the loudest peak it will pass without distortion.

Effortless

Unstrained; showing no signs of audible stress during loud passages. The opposite of “Strained.”

Etched

Very crisp and sharply outlined, focused to an almost excessive degree.

Euphonic

Pleasing to the ear. In audio, “euphonic” has a connotation of exaggerated richness rather than literal accuracy.

Extension

The usable limits of a component’s frequency range

Fast

Giving an impression of extremely rapid reaction time, which allows a reproducing system to “keep up with” the signal fed to it.

Far Field

Pertains to that range of listening distances in which the predominant sounds reaching the ears are reflections from room boundaries. The opposite of “Near Field”.

Flat

  1. Having a subjectively uniform frequency response, free from humps and dips.
  2. Deficient in or lacking in soundstage depth, resulting in the impression that all reproduced sound sources are the same distance from the listener.

Floating

A positive attribute that pertains to soundstaging in which the phantom images seem to exist independently of the loudspeaker positions, giving the impression that the speakers are absent. Refer to “Beyond-the-Speakers Imaging,” “Depth,” & “Layering.” The opposite of “Flat” & “Wander.”

Focus

The quality of being clearly defined, with sharply outlined phantom images. Focus has also been described as the enhanced ability to hear the brief moments of silence between the musical impulses in reproduced sound.

Forward / Forwardness

A quality of reproduction which seems to place sound sources closer than they were recorded. Usually the result of a humped midrange, plus a narrow horizontal dispersion pattern from the loudspeaker. The opposite of “Laid-Back.”

Frequency Range

This is a breakdown within the limits of what is considered a component’s acceptible range:

  • Extreme Bottom: below 32Hz
  • Bottom Octave: 20 – 40Hz
  • Low Bass: 41 – 80Hz
  • Mid-Bass: 81 – 160Hz
  • Lower Midrange: 161 – 320Hz
  • Midrange: 321Hz – 2.5kHz
  • Upper Midrange: 2.51 – 5.12kHz
  • Highs & Lower Highs: 5.13 – 10.24Hz
  • Extreme Highs: 10.25 – 20kHz

Frequency / Amplitude Response

  1. A range of frequencies stated with level limits: For example “The amplifier’s frequency response is 10Hz-80kHz ±3dB.”
  2. The uniformity with which a either system or individual component sounds as if it reproduces the range of audible frequencies. Equal input levels at all frequencies should be reproduced by a system with subjectively equal output.

Grainy

The moderate texturing of reproduced sound. The sonic equivalent of noticeable grain appearing in a photograph.

Hard

Tending toward steeliness, but not quite shrill. Often the result of a moderate frequency response hump centered around 6kHz, sometimes also caused by small amounts of distortion.

Hash

A very coarse texturing of the sound, characterized by a sharp-edged, spiky roughness. Caused by severe distortion with strong transient content, as from a grossly mistracking phono cartridge.

High-end Audio

The pursuit of realistic sound reproduction.

High Fidelity

  1. A kind of sound-reproducing system whose realism of reproduction is judged to be better than average. Stereo reproduction can be high fidelity or otherwise.
  2. The pursuit of perfection in sound reproduction, as a hobby or a religion.

Imagery

Usually describes qualities in reproduced sound in terms of more familiar sensory responses like vision, taste, and touch.

Imaging

The measure of a system’s ability to float stable and specific phantom images, reproducing the original sizes and locations of the instruments across the soundstage. Refer to “Stereo Imaging.”

Impact

A quality of concussive force, as from a deep, strong bass attack, which produces a brief sensation of visceral pressure.

Impulse

An abrupt, extremely brief burst of signal energy; a transient.

Inaudible

A sonic imperfection which is either too subtle to be consciously perceived or is actually nonexistent.

Inner Detail

The sonic subtleties within a complex program signal, reproducible only by a system having high resolution. Refer to “Focus.

Laid-back

Recessed, distant-sounding, having exaggerated depth, usually because of a dished midrange. The opposite of “Forward.”

Layering

The reproduction of depth and receding distance, which audibly places the rows of performers one behind the other.

Lean

Very slightly bass-shy. The effect of a very slight bass rolloff below around 500Hz.

Light

Lean and tipped-up. The audible effect of a frequency response which is tilted counterclockwise. The opposite of “Dark.”

Listening Fatigue

A psychoacoustic phenomenon from prolonged listening to sound whose distortion content is too low to be audible as such but is high enough to be perceived subliminally. The physical and psychological discomfort can induce headaches and nervous tension. First generation CD players from the 1980’s were often a cause of this scenario.

Low-Level Detail

The subtlest elements of musical sound, which include the delicate details of instrumental sounds and the final tail of reverberation decay.

Modulation Noise

A hiss or other extraneous noise that “rides on” the main signal, varying in loudness according to the strength of that signal.

Muffled

Very dull-sounding; having no apparent high frequencies at all. The result of HF rolloff beginning around 2kHz.

Musical / Musicality

A personal judgment as to the degree to which reproduced sound resembles live music. Real musical sound is both accurate and euphonic, consonant and dissonant.

Near Field

Pertains to that range of listening distances in which the sounds reaching the ears are predominantly direct. The opposite of “Far Field”.

Opaque

Lacking detail and transparency.

Open

Exhibiting qualities of delicacy, air, and fine detail. Giving an impression of having no upper-frequency limit.

Out-Of-Phase

In a two-channel system, one channel being in opposite polarity to the second, most commonly due to having one speaker hooked up with the red (positive) lead to the red (positive) terminal, the other with the red lead to the black (negative terminal). The result will be a reduction in low frequencies.

Loudspeakers generate sound that we hear because of the back and forth movement of the speaker drivers. This back and forth movement pressurizes the air and moves our personal hearing mechanism. We hear this pressurization of the air. If the same signal comes to both loudspeakers at exactly the same time, and the two loudspeaker drivers are moving at exactly the same rate and time, then the air will move in concert with the drivers. However, if the two drivers are out of phase, then each moves in an opposite direction from the other. This causes the sound to de-pressurize or cancel and you lose sound pressure or volume. Please refer to “Phasey.” Not to be confused with an inversion of Absolute Phase / Absolute Polarity.

Pace

The apparent tempo of a musical performance, which can be different from its actual beats-per-minute Tempo. Pace is affected by phrasing in performance and speed in reproduction.

Palpable

Describes reproduction that is so realistic you feel you could reach out and touch the instruments or singers.

Perspective

The soundstage depth information that is conveyed by layering.

Phantom Image

The re-creation by a stereo system of an apparent sound source at a location other than that of either loudspeaker.

Phasey

A quality of reproduced sound which creates a sensation of pressure in the ears, unrelated to the intensity of the sound. Phasiness is experienced by many people when listening to two loudspeakers which are connected “Out-Of-Phase” with each other.

Pinpoint Imaging

Stereo imaging that is precise, stable, and focused.

Point Of First Reflection

The point at which the sound from your loudspeaker first hits a wall or room boundary.

Presence

A quality of realism and aliveness.

Realism

A subjective assessment of the degree to which the sound from an audio system approaches that of live music. This has meaning only when the recording purports to reproduce an acoustical event taking place in a real acoustical space.

Recessed

Very laid-back.

Reflected Sound

A sound that reaches the ears after being reflected from at least one boundary surface. Also refer to “Far Field” & “Near Field”. The opposite of “Direct Sound.”

Reticent

Moderately laid-back. Describes the sound of a system whose frequency response is dished-down through the midrange. The opposite of “Forward.”

Revealing

Pertaining to a loudspeaker or a system as a whole: Outstandingly detailed and focused; analytical.

Reverberation

A diminishing series of echoes spaced sufficiently closely in time that they merge into a smooth decay.

Ringing

The audible effect of a resonance: coloration, smear, shrillness, or boominess.

Rolloff

A frequency response that falls gradually above or below a certain frequency limit. By comparison, the term cutoff (often abbreviated to “cut,” as in “bass cut”) implies an abrupt loss of level above or below the frequency limit.

Rumble

An extraneous low-frequency noise, often of indeterminate pitch, caused by physical vibration of a turntable or of the room in which a recording was made.

Seamless

Having no perceptible discontinuities throughout the audio range.

Sibilance

A coloration that resembles or exaggerates the vocal s-sound.

Slow

Sound reproduction which gives the impression that the system is lagging behind the electrical signals being fed to it. Also Refer to “Fast,” “Speed,” & “Tracking.”

Smearing

Severe lack of detail and focus.

Smooth

Sound reproduction having no irritating qualities; free from HF peaks, easy and relaxing to listen to. Effortless. Not necessarily a positive system attribute if accompanied by a slow, uninvolving character.

Solid-State Sound

That combination of sonic attributes common to most solid-state amplifying devices: deep, tight bass, a slightly withdrawn brightness range, and crisply detailed highs.

Soundstaging / Soundstage Presentation

The accuracy with which a reproducing system conveys audible information about the size, shape, and acoustical characteristics of the original recording space and the placement of the performers within it.

The ideal stereo soundstage for a large performing group will center the performers across an area of about 2/3 to 3/4 of the distance between the loudspeakers, and will audibly separate the front rows from the receding rows (layering). There will be an awareness of the reflective boundary walls of the acoustic space behind and to the sides of the performers, and the spatiality of the hall itself will extend a considerable distance beyond the distance between the loudspeakers. The ideal is achieved only from suitably miked recordings.

Soundstage Shift

Apparent lateral movement of the soundstage when listening from either side of the sweet spot.

Spacious

Presenting a broad panorama of ambience, which may be wider than the distance between the loudspeakers.

Speed

The apparent rapidity with which a reproducing system responds to steep wavefronts and overall musical pace. Refer to “Fast” & “Slow.”

Standing Waves

Groups of high and low pressure waves that build up in a room. There are no standing waves without a room. A graphical view of a standing wave is easy to produce. Take a glass of water and set the glass atop your loudspeaker. Put on some music with lots of heavy bass and crank up the music. While it is playing, look at the water inside the glass. Note that there are ripples in the water caused by the speaker’s vibration. The ripples will appear to stand still and in many cases not be obviously associated with the sound.

The air in your room can act the same as the water in the glass. As your speakers pressurize the air in the room, standing waves bunch together in much the same way as the water in the glass did. Typically these standing waves gather at the boundaries of the room and the corners.

The problem with standing waves is that they create tonal imbalances, especially in the bass. Standing waves create interference patterns that will either boost some frequencies while attenuating others. This has a lot to do with why one room sounds better than another.

State-of-the-Art

Pertains to equipment whose performance is as good as the technology allows. The best sound equipment money can buy.

Stereo Imaging

The production of stable, specific phantom images of correct localization and width. Refer to “Soundstaging” & “Wander.

Stereo Spread

The apparent width of the soundstage and the placement of phantom images within it. Generally, a group of instruments or voices should uniformly occupy the space between the loudspeakers. The opposite of “Beyond-the-Speakers Imaging”.

Sterile

Pristinely clean but uninvolving sound.

Strained

Showing signs of audible distress during loud passages, as though the system is verging on overload. The opposite “Effortless.”

Suckout

A deep and narrow frequency-response dip.

Sweet Spot

That listening seat from which the best soundstage presentation is heard. Usually a center seat equidistant from the loudspeakers.

Tempo

The actual number of beats per minute in a musical performance. The opposite of “Pace.”

Texture / Texturing

A perceptible pattern or structure in reproduced sound, even if random in nature. Texturing gives the impression that the energy continuum of the sound is composed of discrete particles, like the grain of a photograph.

Thick

Describes sodden or heavy bass.

Thin

Very deficient in bass. The result of severe attenuation of the range below 500Hz.

Tight

  1. Bass reproduction that is well controlled, free from hangover, not slow.
  2. Stereo imaging that is specific, stable, and of the correct width.
  3. Describes a closely bunched image in A+B double-mono mode that occupies a very narrow space between the loudspeakers.

Timbre

The recognizable characteristic sound “signature” of a musical instrument, by which it is possible to differentiate an oboe from a flute when both are sounding the same note.

Tonal Balance

Tonal balance is the art of achieving a balance or neutrality of volume between tones. If one tone or frequency is louder, softer, more apparent than another tone, then you do not have accurate tonal balance.

Tonality

In music, the quality of an instrument’s tone, often related to the key in which the music is written. In audio, mistakenly used in place of “Tonal Quality.”

Tonal Quality

The accuracy (correctness) with which reproduced sound replicates the timbres of the original instruments.

Tracking

The degree to which a component responds to the dictates of the audio signal, without lag or overshoot.

Transparency / Transparent

  1. A quality of sound reproduction that gives the impression of listening through the system to the original sounds, rather than to a pair of loudspeakers.
  2. Freedom from veiling, texturing, or any other quality which tends to obscure the signal. A quality of crystalline clarity.

Tube sound / Tubey

That combination of audible qualities which typifies components that use tubes for amplification: Richness and warmth, an excess of mid-bass, a deficiency of deep bass, outstanding rendition of depth, forward and bright, with a softly sweet high end.

Tweak

  1. To fine-tune a system or component to the nth degree in pursuit of perfection.
  2. A person who constantly does this in an ultimately vain effort to achieve absolute perfection.

Uncolored

Free from audible colorations.

Uninvolving

Ho-hum sound. Reproduction that evokes boredom and indifference.

Veiled / Veiling

Pertaining to a deficiency of detail and focus, due to moderate amounts of distortion, treble-range restriction, or attack rounding.

Wander

Side-to-side vacillation of the apparent position of a stereo image as the instrument plays different notes. Poor imaging stability.

Warm

The same as Dark, but less tilted. A certain amount of warmth is a normal part of musical sound.

Weight

  1. The feeling of solidity and foundation contributed to music by extended, natural bass reproduction.
  2. The emphasis assigned to a subjective term by a qualifier.

Width

The apparent lateral spread of a stereo image. If appropriately miked when recorded, a reproduced instrument should sound no wider or narrower than it would have sounded originally. See “Stereo Spread.”

 

Posted in Terms

Home Theater Terminology

This post explains the basic terminology of lexicons commonly used to describe Home Theater systems and components.

Amplification

Increase in signal level, amplitude or magnitude.

Amplifier

A device which increases the level of signal (by increasing the voltage or current). Some amplifiers are used to isolate or control a signal, and may not increase level – or may actually decrease the level.

Analog

An electrical signal whose frequency and level vary continuously in direct relationship to the original acoustical sound waves. “Analog” also may refer to a control or circuit, which continuously changes the level of a signal in a direct relationship to the control setting.

Anamorphically Squeezed

This process, which is used on few laserdiscs, a few DVDs and even fewer TV broadcasts, is used to achieve a widescreen image, where the image is considerably wider than standard NTSC fare, once it is ‘unsqueezed’. The wider image is squeezed into the skinnier aspect ratio, which is usually the NTSC standard of 4:3/1.33:1. Un-squeezing can be done with a ‘stretching circuits’ in the TV. The end result (if left un-squeezed) is a picture with really skinny objects. Another option which has less detail, but is more widely used is letterboxing the picture.

Aspect Ratio

This describes the ratio of the width of a picture to the height. The NTSC standard is 4:3. The current HDTV standard is 16:9. Modern movies range from 1.66:1 to 2.4:1. By far the most common ratios are 1.85:1 and 2.35:1.

Bipole Speakers

One type of surround speaker. In this instance two or more drivers are facing different directions, and their cones vibrate in phase. This causes an omni-directional sound.

Bypass

An alternate signal path that goes around a given circuit. A “hard wire” bypass uses a switch and a piece of wire to route the signal from the input to the output of a device. A “bypass” switch is sometimes called an “in-out” switch.

Crossover Frequency

In a 2-way loudspeaker system, the frequency below which the sound feeds the low frequency driver and above which the sound feeds the high frequency driver.

CRT Projector

One type of front projector. It consists of three tubes each putting out one color: red, green, and blue. They offer brightness and detail, but are difficult to setup, and convergence is required about two times a year.

Digital Light Processor (DLP)

Digital Light Processing (DLP) generates images by reflecting light off the surface of a digital micro-mirror device (DMD) containing hundreds of thousands of tiny mirrors, then through a color wheel and a lens and onto the screen. Higher resolution projectors have more mirrors in their DMD’s-reflecting a greater amount of light for brighter images.

Digital Micro-mirror Device (DMD)

A mirror that is very small that can be kept as is or tilted x amount of degrees in order to reflect light. As such, it is either on or off. It can be turned on and off at various rates per second to achieve different levels of brightness. Commonly used together to form micro-mirror “wafers” and are controlled by a Digital Light Processor (DLP).

Dipole Speakers

One type of surround speaker. In this instance two or more drivers are facing different directions (most commonly and by definition 180 degrees) and their cones are vibrating out-of-phase. This causes nulling out of the sound by the viewing area which forms a “figure-8″ sound field.

Discrete

Audio information can be assigned and sent to exact speakers.

Dolby AC-3

The old name for the most popular 5.1-channel home theater sound system. Is now called Dolby Digital. Consists of front left/right speakers, a center speaker, left/right surrounds, and a Low Frequency Effects (LFE) channel, usually used with a subwoofer. See AC-3 vs. DTS.

Dolby Digital

1 – The new name for the most popular 5.1-channel home theater sound system. Used to be called Dolby AC-3. Consists of front left/right speakers, a center speaker, left/right surrounds, and a Low Frequency Effects (LFE) channel, usually used with a subwoofer.

2 – A 5.1-channel sound system. Used in some commercial movie theaters in which the sound is placed in between the sprockets on the film.

Dolby Pro-Logic

Most popular surround format. Almost any receiver nowadays has it. Uses matrixed surround in order to encode four channels of sound: left/right front channels, a center channel, and one surround channel. It is quite a common occurrence to see two speakers used for the one surround channel however, as well as a subwoofer to supplement the speakers.

Dolby Surround

Another surround format that came out before Dolby ProLogic. It consists of only three channels: left/right front channels, and one surround channel.

Driver

Another name for a loudspeaker; usually the term is used when the loudspeaker is coupled to a “horn” for acoustic coupling and controlled dispersion of sound.

Efficiency

In general sense, efficiency is the ration of energy output to the total energy input, expressed as a percentage. In speaker systems, efficiency refers to the ratio of total acoustic watts radiated to total electrical watts input. Home speaker systems of 1% to 3% efficiency are typical, while larger horn-loaded sound reinforcement speakers sometimes reach 10% efficiency or more. Efficiency should not be confused with sensitivity, which measures only the on-axis sound pressure level in relation to electrical input power.

Frequency

The rapidity of change in current of voltage in an electrical signal or of air pressure in an acoustical signal. Frequency is measured in cycles per second; 1 cycle per second (cps) is 1 Hertz (Hz). The higher a note on the musical scale, the higher its frequency.

Front Projector

One type of viewing device. This is a separate unit that projects the image onto a screen allowing screen sizes of over 300″.

High Definition TeleVision (HDTV)

New viewing standard with an aspect ratio of 16:9/1.78:1. It is slated to have over 1000 lines of resolution, as well as to have Dolby Digital be the official sound format. There is an analog system in Japan, and a digital system proposed by the Grand Alliance for the US. This system is supposed to co-exist with the current standard and eventually replace NTSC around the year 2006.

Impedance

The total opposition to the flow of alternating current in an electrical circuit. Impedance is measured in ohms.

LCD Projector

One type of front projector. Liquid Crystal Display transmits light through a tiny LCD screen and then projects it for a larger image. One major benefit is that convergence and adjustments are not required to perfect the picture. One drawback is that this technology results in pixellation.

Letterbox

This process, which is used on many laserdiscs and some TV broadcasts, is used to achieve a widescreen image, where the image is considerably wider than standard NTSC fare. The end result is a wider picture with black bands on the top and bottom of the screen, which reduces the overall resolution of the image. Another option with greater detail, but is less widely used is anamorphically squeezing the picture.

Light-Valve Projector

One type of front projector. It combines the technologies of LCD projectors and CRT projectors. They offer exceptional detail and brightness. Line Doubler/Tripler/Quadrupler doubles, triples or quadruples the number of lines that make up a picture, therefore increasing detail, and ridding the picture of scan lines. Usually used with front projectors.

Matrixed Surround

Term used to describe the process to make Dolby Pro-Logic compatible material. It fits four channels of sound into a space meant for two channels. The center channel is decoded by using material common to both left/right channels, and the surround channel is decoded by extracting the sounds with inverse waveforms. This process results in channel leakage.

Monopole Speakers

One type of speaker with all drivers facing one direction. Used for precise placement of sounds. Usually used in front and center speakers.

NTSC

The standard by which TV is broadcast in the US. It has a theoretical maximum resolution of 525 lines. Also has an aspect ratio of 4:3 or 1.33:1.

Ohm

The unit of measure of electrical resistance or impedance.

Omni directional

Equal sensitivity in all directions. Usually refers to non-directional microphones.

PAL

The standard by which TV is broadcast in Europe. It has a theoretical maximum resolution of 625 lines. Also has an aspect ratio of 4:3/1.33:1, and in some places 16:9/1.78:1.

Pan and Scan

A technique used in which the right and/or left edges of widescreen material is chopped off in order to fit the picture into a narrower aspect ratio, for example the NTSC standard of 4:3 or 1.33:1. Pepople who do this select the best part of the image to scan, and then if the whole image needs to be seen, scans across the rest of the frame.

Polysilicon

Polysilicon technology splits light into red, green and blue (RGB) components and directs each to its own liquid crystal display (LCD) panel. Each LCD creates an image for its respective color by blocking out portions of the light (similar to a film negative). The output or images of the three panels is then “assembled” by a prism and transmitted through a lens to project a fully saturated color image.

Rear Projector

A type of viewing device: A translucent pane of glass or acrylic with a customized coating and structure to optimally refract video and computer imagery projected onto the side farthest from the audience.

Receiver

Component used in home theater and stereo applications. A decoder, audio/video switcher, AM/FM tuner, and an amplifier built into one unit.

Refresh Rate

The rate at which the picture redraws itself in one second. Usually expressed in hertz (Hz).

Resolution

A term associated with the number of lines that make up the vertical portion of the picture. The higher the number, the more detailed the picture.

Screen

What the picture is projected onto. The screen is more important when it comes to front projectors, when the screen must be bought separately.

Subwoofer

This is a separate speaker used to handle the bass of movie soundtracks, and can be used with the Low Frequency Effects channel in the new digital sound formats. These speakers can sometimes handle frequencies as low as 15hz.

Surround Sound

The popular term used to describe an experience where the sound ‘surrounds’ you. This is best achieved using surround-encoded material, a receiver, and surround speakers.

Surround Speaker

Set of four, rear (surround), and center channel speakers. Used to create “life like” sound reproduction in movies.

THX

Rumored to stand for the Tomlinson Holman experience. Others say it was named after George Lucas’ first film, THX-1138. THX is a set of standards by which laserdiscs and video tapes are made, as well as by which home theater equipment is made. They are supposed to yield the highest quality in home theater.

Tweeter

A loudspeaker used in a 2-way or more complex speaker system to reproduce only the treble or high frequencies of the audible spectrum.

Watt

A unit of measure for electrical or acoustical power.

Widescreen

Term used to describe a picture in which the aspect ratio is wider than the NTSC standard of 4:3/1.33:1. Almost all movies made nowadays are shot in some widescreen format. To solve the problem of different aspect ratios, several different techniques can be used. Among them are anamorphic squeezing, letterboxing, and Pan and Scanning.

Woofer

A loudspeaker or driver in a 2-way or more complex speaker system that is used to reproduce only the bass or lower part of the audible spectrum.

 

Posted in Terms