Showing posts from September, 2011

F1 2011

It's Vettel's season to lose, he entered this race with a wide margin between him and the nearest contenders.
Within seconds of the start, he powers to a commanding lead, and from then, he essentially leads from start, all the way to finish.

The crash by Schumie was a vain attempt by a past champion, trying something risky, which he could have pulled off in his heyday, but he also showed that his time was up and his stunt only managed to make him crash into the back of another car.

So it ends Vettel, Button, Webber...
Comfortable win for V, tremendous fight by W for second but B takes runner up. Loud loud race, from the high pitch whine to bass explosions ...
If you have dinner in the Padang you will be surrounded bu a cacophony of sound. Someone should make this into a Blu Ray Disc.

And for the third year running the safety car is brought out as Schumie decides to get intimate with the barrier wall ....

Hardly my best effort... the cars were simply too fast... and the f…

Rear speaker cables and cables in general - budgetting

Rear speaker cables and cables in general.

Someone asked me about what rear cables to buy, and I reckon more can benefit if I post it here.

There has been a rough rule of thumb, which is to spend about a tenth of your budget on cables in general. So following on this, if you have a mid-level or budget amp, you may want to get something simple, that costs <$3/m.

There are many options from Belden, QED, chord and many more. I have a personal deference to QED, ever since I used their 79 strand cable, so I use QED Micro for most of my surround cabling. You can choose from a wide range.

I would not go overboard on the rear cables, but I would spend getting something I would not upgrade, as it can be quite hard, since the cabling could be laid into the wall, false ceiling etc and is hard to access.

So spend say 10% more than what you think i.e. if you have a $800 AV amp, think ahead and see if you upgraded to a $2000 model later on, will you still be satisfied with the same…

Buying that AV amp

Buying that AV amp

Life is complicated. Just when we have that spare cash to build up a new home theatre system, we discover that there are so many brands, models and features.

Actually it gets simpler when we do the guy thing - break it down into compartments:

First - budget.

Decide on a realistic amount. It is quite silly to ask for "great music performance", "superb home theatre experience", "lastest technology" and only want to pay a few hundred.
Life isn't fair and some compromises will need to be made.

Second - music / HT balance.
When we have a limited budget, avoid spreading your budget too thin. Unless you exceed 2-4k, a typical AV amp/ reciever won't come close to a stereo amp in performance. It is usually equal to a stereo amp in sonic quality 1/3 the price. You are paying for features, so if music matters mainly, get a stereo amp. Otherwise the main reason we get a AV amp is for HT.

Third - features.

Do we need 3D? Itunes p…

Mounting your surround speakers

Wall brackets and Mounts

I know of us use bookshelves, or table tops (yucks) for this, or stands and mounts. Depending on your aesthetic demands/need to get the speakers out of the way, your methods of mounting the speakers will vary.

Been doing some research work on this:

Some speakers come with their mounts, such as the MA Radius speakers.

There are a few brands locally, but if you are willing to import, there are more choices.

There are many Omnimounts and you can get them off amazon or Monoprice too.

Many speakers come with their screw thread behind, but it is vital to assess the mount to see if it will take the weight, and give it some excess.
Check too if the wall itself especially if it is not solid can take the mount.
Other considerations are if the mounts can pivot or rotate.
Colors - black is about the only choice, unless you are willing to spray paint it..

Avoid mounting it right at the top near the ceiling - the boundary effect really changes the sound. And if it …

Specs vs real Pecs...

Specs and real Pecs...

I thought it was worth posting something on specs here:

When I see a debate over which amps delivers 10w more per channel it is amusing and yet at the same time ridiculous, since they don't come anywhere close to what is stipulated, especially for the lower end models.
So I would be very sanguine and take a whole bunch of salt when looking at specs. Often for AVRs and esp in lower end models, they are grossly inflated. Even for higher end ones, when you drive all channels, some models deliberately throttle the current to prevent their amp sections from a meltdown.

However when driving 8 ohm designs in a typical apartment living room, most amps will be ok. But if you start upgrading, and start using better albeit harder to drive speakers, then the game is more complicated.

Few AVRs can drive 4 ohm designs. Krell, Sunfire etc and a few top end models from the Japs.

For the rest of us who use amps in the 1-2k region, essentially forget the specs and…

What can Audyssey and other auto-EQ do for me - what version to get?

Since I mentioned about moving upwards to XT 32, there have been some questions for me so I might as well post it:

- Audyssey takes the hassle of room acoustic adjustments or EQ from the hands of a novice and gives a pretty impressive approximation of what an expert can do. You won't replace joamonte or some of the other pros, but for those not inclined to doing too much tweaks or have no choice in the placement of certain speakers or subwoofers, this is a valuable tool.

Long before Audyssey in whatever versions, HT and audio hobbyists have been doing their own acoustic measurements and were able to get very impressive sounding rooms and setups. Audyssey has made great strides ahead in achieving this with a simple keypress after just placing the mike on a tripod.

So will everyone need it or the other versions from the other companies, such as MACC, YPAO etc? Well it saves a lot of effort, and does it's job well.

So what about XT and XT 32 etc?

Well from a personal perspective,…

Region Free Blu Ray players - Toshiba BDX3200KY 3D Blu-ray Player - mini review

Region Free Blu Ray players - Toshiba BDX3200KY 3D Blu-ray Player - mini review There is a sparse selection of Region Free Blu Ray players out there. Apart from the Oppo series (80, 83, 93 and 95), some other companies make mod boards for Panasonic and other mainstream players, but you will either need to send your player to them or buy a modified player from them. Dune is another alternative, which has a simple firmware which allows this. Sonic, Sherwood, and other lesser known brands, also make limited runs of players that allow you to change the region code via a few key presses on the remote. Apart that these few players, you basically had to restrict your purchases to the regions or follow those forums which share the region coding of the discs like: However, there is a new player in the region free world – Toshiba. From the BDX 1200 to the 3100 and now the newer 3D capable BDX 3200.…