Featured Home Theater System: Jeff in Waltham, MA
Jeff in Waltham, MA
Blu-ray movies convey more audio content and sonic impact in our homes than any existing movie format. As one of the lead admins of the growing Blu-ray review site ReDVDit, Jeff from Massachusetts was feeling underwhelmed by his home-theater-in-a-box’s ability to deliver a truthful audio rendering of what he was seeing onscreen. After researching options, Jeff upgraded to a full SVS Prime Tower 5.1 package with a PB-2000 Subwoofer to unleash all the captivating cinematic dynamics and authoritative bass present in the Blu-ray discs he reviews. Now, he can appreciate every word of dialogue, every room energizing explosion, every nuanced sound effect and the full emotion of the musical score, while crafting more precise movie analysis.
- SVS PB-2000 Subwoofer
- Sony 55-Inch 1080p Smart TV
- Sony STR-DN850 7.2 Channel AV Receiver
Questions And Answers:
Why is it important to have a high performance audio system when doing Blu-ray reviews?
The best way I can explain it is to compare my previous system, which was a typical 5.1 home-theater-in-a-box. The subwoofer was so limited in terms of how low and loud it could play that I was losing out on much of the impact and drama that movie sound scores are supposed to create. The surround speakers were also underpowered so there was no real sense of being in the middle of the action. No real effects that made you react.
As a reviewer, that’s a problem. Music, sound effects, dialogue and the pounding bass notes that play to heighten fear or create anxiety, those are all amplified when you have a great audio system. Plus, Blu-rays can convey so much full frequency audio content at any given time that you don’t realize how complex a scene really is without an amazing audio system.
What impact did adding SVS Speakers have on your reviewing experience?
Since I’ve had it, it’s like night and day. I feel like I can judge the newest THX and Dolby Atmos content much more accurately. The Prime Towers and Center provide such a realistic front stage, and dialogue is so crystal clear that I never feel like I’m missing a breath, never mind a word. And they can play so loud but never come off as fatiguing, which can be especially problematic with long movies with lots of dynamic range.
I was actually skeptical of the Prime Satellites as surrounds because they are kind of dinky. But good lord, they are built like mini-tanks and can project surround effects with a ton of impact that I was not expecting at all.
How about the subwoofer upgrade?
The PB-2000 is just on a whole other level considering the sad HTiB sub I had previously. It just hammers away with the perfect amount of bass, whether it’s an all-out action assault, an ominous bassline or thump in the night. Even my fiancé, who doesn’t care a bit about tech or audio, just nods her head and smiles when it comes to life.
Any unexpected consequences from having SVS in your system?
It’s funny, I find myself scoring the audio in movies much higher now because I can hear so much more of what’s in the soundtrack and appreciate what the filmmaker was trying to accomplish. We have commenters who will sometimes question our ratings saying there’s muffled dialogue or wimpy bass, so I’ll ask what they’re listening to, and it’s a cheap soundbar, home-theater-in-a-box or TV speakers. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the systems just aren’t doing the dialogue, sound effects or musical score any justice.
Also, we find ourselves turning our heads and reacting much more physically now to bass and surround effects.
What are some personal favorite movies of yours for audio?
Jaws is one of my all-time favorite movies, and watching it with the new Prime Speaker set-up was like watching it again for the first time. That intense bassline that signals the presence of Jaws just had so much more feeling and intensity, as did the whole movie. More recently, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gave my system an intense workout to the point where I mentioned it made me feel like a fly on the wall.
I’ve also revisited some movies I had previously reviewed, like Whiplash. While I was underwhelmed by the audio the first time I saw it, watching it with SVS hooked up was a whole new audio experience where I was picking up on things I didn’t notice before and feeling how well-balanced the music and dialogue played together. I originally gave it a 3.5, but with SVS, it sounded more like a 5.
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