I’ve pretty much decided that, as a lover of movies, I should not hesitate to see any movie made by Joel and Ethan Coen. Those guys make some pretty sweet movies. It just so happens that one of my all time favorites is The Big Lebowski, done by… Joel & Ethan Coen. You gotta love O Brother Where Art Thou, Ladykillers, Fargo, and No Country for Old Men too. So as you can imagine there was little hesitation on my part when I happened to glimpse the cover of their latest movie “A Serious Man,” at my local Blockbuster. I grabbed it and just finished watching…
Steve sat down to take a listen to a pair of Mirage OM-7 speakers at a customer’s house, as he would soon be calibrating the audio system of which they were a part. He had taken some basic measurements using his calibration equipment and had found that, besides some relatively minor expected issues due to placement, they had a pretty nice frequency response. He had asked me to take a listen to them while he worked to toe them in toward the listening position, and to pay special attention to the imaging (placement of the sounds as if on stage).
“It’s a mess.” I said. I’ve heard good sound and good imaging before, and I wasn’t getting it. Steve moved the speakers a little and asked what I thought.
“I guess it’s a little better.” I said not too confidently. I asked Steve to listen, as I trust his ear more than mine as far as picking up subtleties of sound.
“I don’t like these speakers,” he said. “I can hear them… I can hear the speakers.”
At first blush this comment might seem silly. You might be thinking: Of course you can hear the speakers, they’re playing aren’t they? But this is a valid concern that does, in fact, relate to good sound.
A couple of weeks ago as I was browsing one of my usual A/V websites I stumbled upon a review of a movie that had just become available on Bluray: The Slammin’ Salmon. I immediately got on Blockbuster Online and added it to the top of my queue. Then I jumped on Facebook and found my buddy Ryan to let him know that as soon as I get it, we’re watching it!
As you can see, I was pretty excited to see this movie. My friends and I are big Broken Lizard fans, and would often quote memorable lines from Super Troopers and Beerfest, our favorite Broken Lizard flicks. We made it a recurring event to head over to Jared’s house to watch Beerfest and play the drinking game we came up with for added fun and hilarity.
It had been more than 3 years since Beerfest had come out, and we had all been waiting in anticipation of their next movie; periodically checking imdb.com for updates on what they were doing and when we’d see their next film. Ryan and I had read reviews of The Slammin Salmon before we watched it, and they were pretty mixed, mostly negative. This made us a little uncertain of what to expect, but it was in no way going to deter us from seeing the movie. Jared called us up to inform us that he got it, and we all headed over to his place to check it out…
Posted in Movie Reviews |
Some of you might be scratching your heads wondering what could possibly be fun about programming remote controls for A/V gear. Well, let me tell you…
Like many of you, I have a huge list of things I want to buy for my A/V system to add to my movie watching and music listening experience. I’m anxious to expand beyond 2.1 into surround sound so I want a new amp, a new processor, rear speakers, a new Media Center extender, I want to relocate my gear to a closet… the list goes on and on (and the cost goes up and up).
The thing I want most however, is something that many A/V enthusiasts don’t think of, and many stressed out fathers do: a quiet room.
Check out this snippet of an article I found on a blog, in which the writer is reviewing a low-end surround sound system he bought:
… awesome! A 1,000 watt system for less than $200? … The only problem was that it just didn’t get very loud … I cranked the volume all the way up on my MP3 player and almost all the way up on the receiver itself before I was satisfied. Next I thought I’d test out the surround sound on a movie. Once again, the quality of the sound was nice, but I had the receiver turned all the way to max volume, and I still just wanted it a bit louder. And once the dishwasher started in my adjacent kitchen, I was really unhappy. Just a bit of extra noise seemed to drown out this “1000 watt” system at the maximum volume level! … I ended up buying an 800 watt system from Sony for a few more bucks that offered better sound quality and more volume!
That’s not an uncommon discovery for people who buy a low-end home theater in a box (HTIB) with a big wattage claim. Or consider the other end of the spectrum, which is perhaps, even more common, taken from a positive review of another high powered HTIB system.
… it can put out a lot of sound if you want it, especially bass – the subwoofer will make the room shake if you let it. Some battle scenes we’ve watched in movies require you to turn down the volume or risk permanent damage to your hearing and your house, haha.
Wow! It sounded so good that they turned the volume down? This is another common indication of a poor-quality sound system. Bad systems sound worse as you raise the volume, and people often mistake this discomfort for it just being too loud. But what gives here? Both these systems have 1,000 watts or more of power so how can they yield such different results? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the most prominent and most misrepresented feature of the amplifier – wattage.
Holy 174″ screen Batman! Check out this amazing theater that the guys at First Impressions Theme Theaters did for this customer. I stumbled upon this article on Electronic House’s website and had to clean up the puddle of drool on my desk as I was reading.
Check out the LED ceiling in particular. It can mimic different skyscapes based on the lighting levels in the room. When it’s movie time and the lights go down, the sun-lit clouds change to a star-field, complete with shooting stars!
Also, the crew at First Impressions is really proud of the work they put in to make the room soundproof and completely silent. Theater designer Jeffrey Smith sums it up:
The first thing you do is bring guests in and go, ‘Shhh … what do you hear?’ Nothing,” Smith says. “Then we know we’ve done our job. You literally hear your heartbeat — no HVAC, footfall, electronics or projector noise — we really work hard at that.
This aspect ties in nicely to a future post I’m working on. But take a minute and check out this theater! There are a few more pictures and a great description of the room, including the 350 lb. door! Oh yeah – what kind of awards do you think those are in the back?
Kudos to First Impressions. It’s good to see places out there “doing it right” these days. Of course a $250K + budget helps too! I wanna work for these guys!