Posts

Showing posts from August, 2012

Book of Eli - a demo worthy movie

Image
In the Book of Eli, the gunshot in the gunfight in the village run by Gary Oldman is crisp and does not have a lot of low frequency energy, so it should be a snap like sound. But what is of more interest is how the sound travels as shots ricochet, and you can discern various shooters emanating from various side and rear speakers and hear the path of the bullets whizzing around.

Literally, you are inside Denzel's head, as the bullets fly around you, just as his blind character will hear them. It's easy to hear the shot, but good speaker placement will allow you to experience and trace the bullet path.

Then in the shootout at the home of the old couple with the firearms, you get a wall of gunfire, interspersed with grenades that have a real low bass thud. Then hear the crisp higher frequencies of the woodwork splintering. Then hear the collapse of the house.

Most systems, especially those with good subwoofers will have no issue replicating the low bass, but is it…

Sparrow - movie review

Image
Sparrow - movie review
 I once owned this on a DVD, but I managed to get this on a Blu Ray disc whilst I was in Hong Kong not too long ago and I decided to re-visit this movie.
When you think of Johnnie To's works, this might not spring to mind, and indeed when you compare it to one of his more sophisticated works, this seems like a distraction, but make no mistake, it is a worthwhile distraction and a definitely solid way to spend an evening viewing. 
My usual practice is to have a short take on the plot, but let's get to the money... Kelly Lin is one very good reason to watch this movie... she is one hot babe and in this movie, she sulks, smokes and just plays a sultry and yet pitiful lady who entices, pleads and cajoles Simon Yam's motley band of 'Sparrows' aka pickpockets to assist her in getting her passport from this old man so she can be reunited with her loved one.
The catch, well, the old man with her passport is no ordinary old man, but a master
'Sparr…

Some HDMI connection voodoo...

HDMI connection voodoo

Previously...

I had mentioned the strangeness of having to turn on components in your HDMI equipped setup in a particular fashion, so each component can 'talk' to each other properly, otherwise you have to reset the connection for them to recognise one another.

I found the best sequence was TV, Amp, then lastly the Blu Ray player

More HDMI vodoo this past week...

I have been having stuttering on my Oppo on the analogue connection recently, and initially I thought it might be a dirty laser head. However I ruled that out as I could play with no issues via HDMI. It was only through the analogue outputs and I check my amp, the cables, cleaned the laser head etc, and even brought the BR player to the store where I bought it, the people there were very nice and gave it a once over and a clean bill of health.

Then I remembered shifting it during my TV calibration recently and reconnecting the HDMI outputs. I now use HDMI 1 for audio, and HDMI 2 for v…

Can my budget amp drive 4 ohm speakers?

Image
Most modern AV Amps can drive simple Home Theatre speakers in an apartment, even if it says 4 ohms on the box. Especially if there is a subwoofer to handle the energy sapping low frequencies.

But for big, loud and dynamic moments, and if you switch out from those budget speakers to more demanding designs, such as Dynaudio speakers, then the amp will shut down.

Why so?


IN THEORY:

A lower impedance speaker i.e. 4 compared to 8 ohms is easier to drive. This is a fact. Less resistance, more current flow.

IN REALITY:

MOST AMPS ARE NOT EQUIPPED TO HANDLE 4ohms.
Why? Because of heat issues. In theory all the energy is channeled to watts, and used to generate sound, but in reality, no amp is that efficient, and especially for Class A amps, it becomes heat energy. This kills amps. So most modern AV Amps, which have poor heat sinks - metal costs $$ and that's where companies scrimp on their designs. As a result, when one switches to the "4 ohm" setting, actually what happens is…

A Simple Life (桃姐) - movie review

Image
A Simple Life (桃姐)
I would like to thank my friends for recommending me this movie. And indeed, it's a hard movie to watch if you are post night call, and even harder to watch if you have been exposed to a recent diet of Transformers, Battle LA or even Wong Fei Hong.
Andy Lau outdoes himself and Ann Hui is a brilliant director, but Deanie Ipis the standout in her role as a domestic "Ah Mah" who has lived in Andy's family for 4 generations spanning 63 years, and in her winter years, gets as stroke and turns from caregiver to patient. Andy shows a wide range of emotions, and Deanie's portrayal of the Jiao Jie is sublime, poignant and heart-warming. There is a stellar cast of actors, and watching life in the old folks home is quite heart rendering. This movie should be recommended viewing for all healthcare workers, and also for All Singaporeans, and in particular all those who have dumped their parents or relatives in an old folks home and never visite…

TV - buying advice for a limited budget

With a limited budget, one's choices will be limited. That means lower expectations on quality too.
Or go for a smaller size and get a better picture quality (PQ).

One very important factor to consider is what is your viewing diet? High Definition, like Blu Ray, or Standard Definition, like free to air TV channels.

If you are watching TV channels mainly, then see what they look like at the store and understand the quality of reception will influence the quality more than the TV image quality itself.

Also consider your viewing distance, and the rule of thumb is to sit 3 times the diagonal width of the TV. If you sit too far away, you won't be able to appreciate the PQ as much. You can even get away with a lesser quality set.

Buying the run out older models will save some money especially if you do not need the latest features. But if the newer TV offers significantly better PQ, that's worth paying for.

Also consider that the TV will last for a few years, so spend wisely, and …

Prime Minister's National Day Message 2012

Prime Minister's National Day Message 2012

My Fellow Singaporeans,

We celebrate National Day amidst an unsettled world. Europe and the US face serious economic problems. Asia is doing better than other regions, but China and India are slowing down and tensions are simmering in the South China Sea.

Against this backdrop, Singapore is doing quite well. Our economy grew 1.7% in the first half of 2012 and we are on track for 1.5-2.5% growth for the year. Internationally, Singapore's standing is high, whether with emerging countries like India and China or advanced nations like the US. Domestically, we are clearing the backlog of applicants for HDB flats, building more MRT lines and upgrading our bus services. Our GST Vouchers and U-Save rebates will help lower-income households cope with inflation.

Today Singapore is a success story, but the world is not standing still. The next two decades will be very different. The emerging econ…

The death of common sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

- Knowing when to come in out of the rain
- Why the early bird gets the worm
- Life isn't always fair
- And maybe it was my fault

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they them…