Q: I read your reviews of the TCL 5-Series and 6-Series 4K televisions. I recently saw the TCL 4-Series 55-inch 4K TV on sale for $329. What do you think of that model?

A: The TCL 4-Series is a good TV, but I think you are better off spending an extra $50 for the TCL 5-Series. It includes Dolby Vision, which provides noticeably better picture quality with content recorded with Dolby Vision processing. The 5-Series also has HDR dynamic contrast for brighter whites and blacker blacks.

Your question caused me to reflect on my first HDTV, which was a 55-inch Mitsubishi model purchased in 2002. This CRT rear projection TV had a list price of $4,200, was as big as a refrigerator and weighed over 200 pounds, had 1080i resolution, and had no Smart TV features whatsoever. Now we get a 4K Smart TV in the same screen size for a 10th of that money, and it can be hung on a wall. I loved the natural picture on that old CRT projection set, but we sure have come a long way.

A life story

I love hearing from readers, but a recent e-mail really caught my attention. It was from a reader recounting his audiophile journey, from his school days right up to when he finishes his story in his listening room. It really made my day, and I’d like to share the gist of the e-mail with you:

I want to thank you for convincing me to try the Technics 1200GR turntable. I have been a vinyl enthusiast since I was a young man. I bought my first turntable from a co-worker at the used record store where I worked almost 50 years ago. It was a belt-drive Pioneer, a pretty good table at the time. Over the years I replaced that table with a Micro-Seiki, an Ariston and then, about nine years ago, with what I thought would be my last table, a very fine Rega P5, which sounded great and looked beautiful.

But as I have aged, I have developed arthritis in my hands, and the Rega is not an easy table to adjust or change cartridges on. So when I saw your glowing reviews of the new Technics tables I was intrigued, and four months ago, I somewhat fearfully traded in my Rega and brought home a 1200GR.

Your review notwithstanding, I simply was not prepared for what I have been hearing ever since. Using exactly the same cartridge as on my Rega, the upgrade in fidelity, solidity and musicality has been stunning. I have owned a lot of audio equipment in my life, much of it very good. The Technics table is simply the finest piece of audio equipment that I have ever owned, or ever heard.

Many of the records in my collection (of about 700 albums) are 40 to 70 years old. Some are albums I bought at that record store I worked at that were so beaten up already that their covers were falling apart. Doesn’t matter — whatever I put on this table sings. So as I listen to a Miles Davis recording from 1956 that has never sounded better on my system, thank you. I still don’t understand how Technics has accomplished this magic; it’s truly amazing.

 

Send questions to Don Lindich at donlindich@gmail.com. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.