Posted by: soundsfantastic | June 30, 2010

Choosing a Subwoofer

A subwoofer is an important part of any complete audio system. When shopping for a sub woofer, there are two main things to consider: power and size.

Most large box subs require less power to run loudly, but the sound quality you get from them isn’t great.  A small box sub requires more power to run. They will sound better than a large box sub with less power, but won’t be overly loud.

If you are willing to invest the extra money, your best sound quality will come from a large box sub that is equipped with a lot of power. This sub will play both loudly and accurately.

Once you find the right sub for your system, you then need to find the right place to put it. A subwoofer will perform at its best when placed in a corner, giving you more bass.

To ensure optimum performance, in any room, Paradigm has developed a system called PBK, or “Perfect Bass Kit”. This new technology actually changes the curve of a subwoofer based on where it is located in a room.

PBK  comes with a software program. It works by connecting the Paradigm subwoofer and a microphone to a laptop using USB cords, while running the Paradigm PBK software. The software plays the sub, while the mic reads the room and measures out a bass curve. The software will then modify the subwoofer, giving it a smoother curve, based on the parameters of the room.

Generally speaking, if you want your bass to be loud, choose a large box sub. If you’re looking for accuracy, choose a small box sub. If you want loud and accurate bass, invest in a large box subwoofer with high power output.

Posted by: soundsfantastic | June 23, 2010

Recap of Our Official Launch of 3D TV

Our official launch of 3D TV was a huge success. We had an excellent, and much appreciated, turn out for the media event, as well as our VIP customer event. Both events were held on Wednesday, June 16th.

The media event & luncheon took place at noon, with Dave Botting, Panasonic Product Specialist, heading up an exciting presentation on the varying functions of this year’s line of Panasonic Viera TVs.

The 3D demonstration included amazing scenes of the Grand Canyon and water that appeared to splash right in your face. After the demonstration, Dave gladly answered all questions about the new 3D technology, along with those related to the new Viera line itself. The experience was both impressive and informative.

Attendees at the evening’s VIP customer event enjoyed the same presentation and demonstration, in an atmosphere indicative of a Hollywood movie premiere.

Our VIP customers were greeted by a red carpet, a ticket master, and fresh popcorn. The entry way was adorned with pearly black & silver helium balloons, while silver stars hung from the ceiling. In the back showroom, guests found “Hollywood Concessions” set up, offering tasty treats and beverages.

There was an initial group presentation in the main Viera showroom, after which the group was split into three. One group enjoyed the 3D demonstration in a dedicated home theatre room, while others were awed by the clarity and definition of the Viera V-series plasma TV.

Dave Botting was, once again, happy to answer all questions related to the Panasonic products and 3D technology in general.

One of our lucky guests at the VIP customer event won a fantastic door prize – a Panasonic 3D Blu-ray player, by random draw. But no one left empty-handed, as there were parting gifts for all.

If you missed our event and are interested in experiencing 3D technology for yourself, drop by the showroom at 48 Bonaccord Street, Moncton, for a live demonstration by one of our knowledgeable and well-trained associates.

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Posted by: soundsfantastic | June 15, 2010

Inside Scoop on Our 3D Event Preparation

It takes more than decorations and refreshments to make an event. Preparations for Sounds Fantastic’s Official Launch of 3D TV are in full tilt, and we want to give you a peek into what’s been going on.

A team of professionals from Panasonic Canada has been in Moncton since Sunday. They have been working with our team, lead by Dave Macintosh ( Big Mac), to completely dismantle the Viera Studio and Panasonic displays throughout the store, and update them totally with 2010 products and capability.

3D TVs will be set up in the Viera studio, as well as in our two dedicated home theatre rooms, for our official launch of 3D TV tomorrow.

“We know customers have a lot of questions and have heard a lot of stories about 3D and that is why we thought we would wait to launch 3D and do it right.” commented a beaming Jason Johnson, Sounds Fantastic store manager.

The Panasonic products will be set up to showcase the new 3D technology the way it is intended to be seen, the same way it will work when set up in anyone’s home. Dave Botting, Panasonic Canada Product specialist, will take the staff through the entire Panasonic TV line up one more time tonight when the store is closed.

“There are only 14 Viera studios in the country, so we count on these guys representing our brand and not only selling our products”, Mr. Botting remarked. “Sounds Fantastic is the only Viera studio in Atlantic Canada, so this is an important showcase for us.”

“We really want to make sure our customers understand the full story on 3D and internet connectivity of Panasonic sets. That is why we have invited a group of them to come to a private presentation tomorrow evening and to have someone on hand to answer the questions. It is also superb training for our staff. It is important that our staff understand everything about the latest technology”, said Jeff Kelly, owner of Sounds Fantastic.

Sounds Fantastic will begin selling Panasonic 3D TVs on Thursday morning. “What I have seen so far makes me feel like we are opening a new chapter in TV that may be as big as going from black and white to color”, said Jeff Kelly, who remembers when his father brought home one of the first color TV prototypes (made in Canada) in the early 1960s.

Sounds Fantastic’s Official Launch of 3D TV – VIP Customer Event takes place tomorrow evening at Sounds Fantastic. Admission is open only to those who RSVP’d in advance, due to limited capacity. The evening promises to be both informative and fun.

Posted by: soundsfantastic | June 9, 2010

Movies and Programming Available in 3D

Like any new technology, there are lots of questions you may have about 3D TV. In this post, we are going to address one big and important question: “What can I watch in 3D?”

There are three movie titles available now in 3D: Monsters VS Aliens, Ice Age 3 & Coraline.  You can also catch some World Cup games (on Bell Express-Vu) in 3D.

While the list of available 3D movie titles may be short at present, there are many more to come in the next year. These will include Avatar, Astro Boy, Alice in Wonderland, Clash of the Titans, and numerous other titles, which are currently unannounced.

Within the next year, you will also see a lot of 3D sports programming, with Superbowl 2011 topping the list of anticipated 3D sports events, and entire channels devoted to 3D.

3D entertainment doesn’t stop at movies and programming, however. You can also use your 3D TV with PS3, for a virtual reality gaming experience right at home.

Although 3D TV is a new concept in the marketplace, it is catching on quickly. With new movie titles and more 3D programming on the horizon, there are sure to be plenty of options for viewing in the third dimension by the end of 2011.

It is no secret that 3D TV technology has been greeted with mixed reviews and some controversy. You can easily find both positively and negatively associated comments, articles and reviews in bulk loads all over the internet.

How do you decide if or how 3D technology will factor into your life? The same way you decide what your favorite foods, music, or activities are… experience it for yourself first, then form your own opinion.

Sounds Fantastic, in association with Panasonic Canada, will be hosting a VIP customer event, centered on our official launch of 3D TV. This is your chance to experience 3D the way it is meant to be seen. Gain expert knowledge from our guest Product Specialist from Panasonic Canada, and have your questions answered, in person, by a professional.

The evening will be reminiscent of an upscale movie premiere. Attendees will be guided to the entrance by a red carpet, treated to theatre-style refreshments, and enjoy a special group demonstration of the latest in Panasonic 3D technology. Plus, one lucky attendee will leave with a sweet door prize!

After the initial demonstration, there will be additional, private demonstrations, located in our home theatre rooms, and ample opportunity for discussion. VIPs will be awarded a special offer from Sounds Fantastic and Panasonic Canada, for future use.

Sounds Fantastic will be closed for business during the VIP affair, opening its doors only to those holding tickets for this exclusive event. There will be NO sales pitches. You WILL leave informed.

To attend, you must RSVP to an invitation, at which time you will receive a ticket for admission. Guest(s) are welcome to accompany an invitee, but everyone must RSVP and possess a special VIP ticket to gain admittance. Invitations are transferable, as long as the transferee is referred by the original invitee. All attendees must RSVP.

Watch your email inbox, or messages on Facebook, for your exclusive invitation, including the event date, time and RSVP information.

Posted by: soundsfantastic | May 26, 2010

Do all Blu-ray Players Sound the Same?

Yamaha BDS1065

The major selling point of Blu-ray technology is the vast improvement in picture quality, over that of a DVD. Blu-ray discs output 1080 lines of resolution, compared to the 480 lines of a DVD, providing a much sharper image with superior color.

Where Blu-ray players differ from one another, however, is in sound quality. All digital audio components have a DAC (digital to analog converter). The quality of the DAC in a Blu-ray player will determine the level of sound it provides.

To ensure you get the best possible sound quality in a Blu-ray player, choose one which is made by a reputable audio company, such as Denon, Yamaha, or Harmon Kardon. These manufacturers will provide the name and specs of the high calibre DACs used in their Blu-ray players.

When shopping for a Blu-ray player, if you don’t see the DAC specified, chances are it’s because the device contains only a basic DAC. Look for a high calibre DAC, like the BURR-BROWN PCM-1782 24-BIT/192 kHz, for optimal sound quality.

While all Blu-ray players will play CDs, most are not designed to have terrific sounding playback. However, audio companies such as Denon and Yamaha, use the same technology in their Blu-ray players as they use in their CD players, giving them excellent playback capabilities.

DVD players are disappearing from the market, as Blu-ray technology takes over. Not to worry though, you can still watch your entire DVD collection on a Blu-ray player.  It will even upscale the picture quality for you, so you can enjoy your DVDs in 1080p.

If you presently own an A/V receiver with a high calibre DAC, you can purchase a Blu-ray player with 7.1 analog outputs and connect it to the receiver, to achieve premium sound.

To get the best possible picture and sound, for an incredible overall viewing experience, watch Blu-ray discs on an HD TV, using an HDMI cable.

Posted by: soundsfantastic | May 19, 2010

How to put the Quality Back into Your Music

Sennheiser PXC 450 Headphones

In today’s world of ever-changing technology, sound quality is being compromised to adapt to the time-starved lifestyles of its listeners.

At one time, we used to listen to music that sounded like a live performance. Crisp, clear and properly volume adjusted. That is, a song was loud when it should be loud and soft when it was meant to be soft.

Today, we listen to music that is compacted to fit into the smallest file possible, so we can take it with us wherever we go. Volume levels are often set higher than originally intended, to compensate for poor recording value.

Convenience is the name of the game, but quality is merely watching the play from the side lines. The good news is that there are ways to put the quality back into our music.

iPods are an incredibly popular way to listen to music. Rather than using the supplied ear buds, invest in a set of high quality headphones from Bose or Sennheiser. You may be surprised by the difference you will hear.

Want to listen to your iPod without headphones or ear buds? Audio-focused companies like Denon, Yamaha, Bose and Bowers&Wilkens, strive to create products that deliver the best sound quality possible, and docking stations are no exception.

You will hear a distinct difference between the quality of sound coming from a generic brand iPod dock and that from a B&W Zeppelin or Zeppelinmini, for example.

The quality solutions don’t stop at iPod docks. There are numerous high quality speakers systems and solutions that can drastically change the way you hear music and sound in general.

Want to listen to music while you cook? Choose a set of in-ceiling speakers. Entertaining on the back deck? Get a pair of weather-resistant outdoor speakers. Prefer to feel immersed in a movie? Invest in a high quality surround sound system, which can be used to play music when the TV is off.

Want to tie them all in together? Check out a multi-zone solution, like Sonos, which can control the song choice and volume in every room of your house, all from the palm or your hand. Now that’s convenient.

For more information on the effect of today’s technology on sound quality, read The New York Times’ published article: “In Mobile Age, Sound Quality Steps Back”, by Joseph Plambeck.

Bose Lifestyle V20 Home Theatre System

A home theatre system is a combination of audio and video components, which together create an overall viewing experience.

Too often, we focus on the size of the TV in the system, spending all or most of our allotment for a home theatre system on only the TV.

We tend to rely on the average or weak sound quality of the TV itself, or decide to opt for the home theatre in a box solution, with the small portion of the budget that is left over after the TV is purchased.

It is our belief that 70% of the emotion we feel is caused by sound. Sound brings an event to life.

Picture the final moments of the gold medal hockey game, and then picture it without the goal siren, the screaming players, cheering fans, and ecstatic announcers. The emotion is significantly reduced.

Now picture the same game, with high quality surround sound.

You’re sitting on the couch, watching the action on the big screen. The Maritime hero has the puck… you can hear his blades cutting the ice to the left of you. His stick hits the ice to the right of you. The puck goes in the net and the siren goes off in front of you… loud and crystal clear, just like you were in the front row. The crowd roars all around you, and you join in.

You scream with joy, you laugh, you feel an overwhelming sense of pride, and maybe even shed a tear. All because you felt like you were there.

To get the best possible viewing experience from a home theatre system the audio components should, in our opinion, make up 70% of the total cost of the system, with 30% going to the TV.

At first, that ratio may sound high on the audio side. Since most of us are visual, we tend to gravitate to the TV more so than the audio. However, when you factor in that the sound has a larger overall impact on our viewing experience; it only makes sense to invest a larger portion into the audio.

To make it doubly worthwhile, a high quality home theatre audio system can also be used as part of a multi-room sound system when the TV is off. Pair it with other indoor speakers and even outdoor speakers, for a complete music throughout your home system.

Posted by: soundsfantastic | May 5, 2010

Outcast: The Portable, Wireless Speaker

OutCast

Looking for a single, wireless, weatherproof unit that would let you listen to your music anywhere… inside the house, in the back yard, the front yard, on the deck, or even on your boat?

The SoundCast OutCast does just that. It is an all-weather, portable outdoor system, that will play music from your iPod, MP3 player, computer, or even the TV. The OutCast measures just over two feet high and under a foot in diameter, weighing in at about 25 pounds.

The OutCast features one 8” downward-firing subwoofer, four 3” high frequency speakers that distribute sound in all directions, and a 100 watt digital amplifier, transmitting sound up to 350 feet.

This portable and highly functional system can run up to 10 hours on its built-in, rechargeable battery pack, and can continue to operate while being recharged.

Just to make the OutCast even more impressive, the people at SoundCast decided to put it through a series of extreme tests. Even when set on fire and drenched in a car wash, the OutCast still continues to play music!

Check out the incredible videos and then come see the OutCast in action at Sounds Fantastic. “Experience audio with no boundaries.”

Posted by: soundsfantastic | April 28, 2010

Outdoor Speakers: Entertaining at the Next Level

You’ve got your barbeque fired up, refreshments on ice, and ample seating on the deck. There’s just one thing missing… music!

You could race into the house to crank up your indoor sound system, open the windows, and hope for the best… Or you could keep the volume to a level you don’t have to scream over when you return to the house to refill your beverage. But then how would you entertain your guests with music outside?

There are numerous options for high quality outdoor sound. Wall speakers can be mounted on the outside of your house and hooked up to an amplifier inside, by simply running a wire through a small hole in your siding (or any exterior finishing). The wire is then fed to the attic or top of the kitchen cabinets, and run to wherever the amplifier is located.

Paradigm makes outdoor rock speakers, which look like real rocks and camouflage with a landscape. Bose Freespace 51 speakers are positioned partially underground, and are green in color, to blend with surrounding plants. These are just a few samples of available outdoor audio products.

To install ground-level speakers, the wires are buried about 12 inches underground, and enter the house at the same point as existing satellite, telephone or power wires. The wires are then run (inconspicuously) to your amplifier.

Outdoor speakers are weatherproof, and can be left outside year-round. They add value to your home, and a new level to entertaining… sure to impress your guests!

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