Rotel P5 and S5 review

The general buying public has made a big move. In the early days, one had a single radio in the living room, no TV and everyone gathered around it to listen. Then came stereo and everyone also had a turntable. With the advent Dolby and surround sound, many bought larger system with every increasing number of channels. Then with smaller homes especially in Asia, the wireless streaming options and the neat sound bar has replaced the multi box home theatre system with the spaghetti of cables flowing around the room. So where does the stereo system fit in? Especially one which costs significantly more than a grand ?
Whilst many have a small sound bar that fits under the TV, the audiophile still wants a decent system for music playback and amongst these are those who are not satisfied with a basic Bluetooth sound box and want the best sound reproduction he or she can afford.
Now there are the regular suspects in the above 10 grand range, Rotel has been well known to make very good gear for not t…

Checklist for renovations after getting your new home

So... you've finally invested in a new home

And you're hoping it will go from this..

To something like this....

Well the key is to plan, plan and plan!

It might be new or a resale unit, but essentially, this list of items will help you make sure you're off to a good start:

- look at plans for layout
- check place for what Needs replacement vs what you Want to replace / renovate
- think of concept - styling eg Scandi / modern etc. There's no need to make it look like the cover of Home and Decor, but you should feel happy and proud to come home
- budget - a realistic one that covers the Needs list for sure and most if not all of the Wants if possible.
Bear in mind, when you sell it, chances are the work you have done will be outdate or worn out, so it's not really worth much when the comes to sell. And the more walls you hack in a flat, the less welcome it is
- assess what's urgent vs nice
Some items must be done before you move in, others should be done and basically, try …

First thing you should do before embarking on a buying spree - Budget

I got this from another forum, but it's pretty funny and and true.

When we decide that a new gear is on the card, make sure you set the budget. And what's the final pain level. Otherwise, like this cartoon, you end up spending far more.

I also try to avoid listening to something far more expensive than what I can afford.. that can be hazardous to your wallet and your health (when your wife finds out)..

Assembly (2007) - movie review

My father was a big fan of Chinese stuff, from his Panda singlets, to furniture, porcelain to old Chinese movies, he loved it all.

I showed him one movie called Postmen In The Mountains, and we watched this father and son movie with not only great reference but a certain bonding too, and today, I found a movie which I reckon he would have enjoyed too, and it's a pity he isn't around anymore to enjoy it with me.

There have been some military movies coming out of China recently, with great production values, and large budgets, but whilst they boast amazing sets and tremendous action scenes, they had a more jingoist and nationalistic slant. 

This movie on the other hand, harks back to the old style, some might say propaganda mode movies, but I reckon it should rank as highly the old Dirty Dozen and the more recent Band of Brothers. You may dispute the praise I heap on this movie, but hear me out.

Firstly, you have to be able to understand the language, and also the nuances of the var…

Is Your TV Really HDR capable?

When one is shopping for a new TV, do take note of the potential minefields out there.
Terms like HDR (high-dynamic range) and DV (Dolby Vision) are splashed all over the specs or the brochures rather carelessly.

Just be aware that it can be a slightly artificial feature..

Why so? 

Eg a minimum for HDR is about 500 nits. Ideally you should get a TV that can go up to 1000 nits.
DV is capable of showing 10000 nits.

So please temper your expectations when you see such terms like HDR and DV on TVs. You may see the tag light up on your TV, but the results may be disappointing. Now you know why. 

Look out for real reviews and measurements. Websites like Rtings do real measurements that can help with your decision process. 

Some basic info on ARC and eARC

I notice a lot of questions on this topic I'm compiling some basic info, that I gleaned from some useful website and posted them here.

BUT, please - DO YOUR HOMEWORK and Read the Manuals!

Some basic terminology that one should familiarise oneself with:

ARC: Audio Return Channel
eARC: is Enhanced ARC

What are the benefits:
This article explains it quite well:

The differences between ARC and eARC:

"In its most basic form, ARC uses an HDMI cable to send audio from a TV back to a receiver or a sound bar. That means you can use a single cable for both audio and video, for example from the Netflix app built into your TV or from a connected game console, and use your TV for switching.


HDMI CEC control
Another HDMI feature is called CEC, or Consumer Electronics Control. Nearly every company has their own name for it, including SimpLink, Anynet+, BRAVIA Sync, an…

SONY UBP-X1100ES Region Free Player review

Sony is one of the few major players left in the game still making 4k and Blu Ray players. They had the X700 to cover the lower end and also the X800, which is now in the MK II iteration.
I have owned both of them before, my previous review on the original X800, which uses a similar chassis:

So is there are any virtue in owning the ES series flagship?

Firstly, what does the "ES" stand for?
Well I got some info off this site:,Superior%20product%20with%20superior%20service

"What is SONY ES?

ES stands for Elevated Standard. Sony's top of the line product that emphasizes the highest build quality and refinements to deliver an unmatched audio and video experience."

So let's see if it really make a difference to pay almost twice the price of the X800MK II for this model.

The official website from Sony:

Dynaudio Music 7 Review

So the Music 5 or 3 isn't big or badass enough?

Need more bass, more presence, and spread? Or just something that works well with a larger TV or even a projector based system?

The tech blurb:
"Like the Music 5, it’s mains-powered with an optical input – but it's also packing two 1in soft-dome tweeters, two 3in midrange drivers and twin 5in woofers. It even has an HDMI connection with Audio Return Channel so you can use it as a soundbar under your TV."

Now Dynaudio has the largest one, their 7 is a bit of a beast. It's mains powered, and has a fairly large profile and might not fit under smaller TVs with smaller legs.
It can be wall mounted, or it can sit under your TV (I couldn't fit it under my 58", but it did well in my dedicated HT room under my 75"). If you do mount it, bear in mind this baby weighs more than 7kg, so make sure your shelves are up to the task.
I tried the Bluetooth, optical and HDMI conn…