Kano - movie review

When someone thinks of a Taiwanese movie, you would not normally expect a movie in which 95% of the dialogue will be Japanese. Yet, here is a movie about a Taiwanese team based in Kagi or Chia-Yi, set during the occupation of Taiwan in the 1920s, and how the mix of Japanese, native Taiwanese, and Han Chinese go from absolute losers to feature in the final of the top middle school baseball tournament in Japan.

Sure the actors are raw, but the director takes great pride in getting the accents right, and the coach is wonderful and the movie is less about nationalistic sentiment of an occupied nation, but more about beating the odds and digging deep during a difficult time when half of North Asia was under Japanese rule.

It's a little longer than it could have been, some of the training scenes could have been edited out, but it's heart warming, and a good effort.

Highly recommended for sports fans, and worth a watch even if you aren't one.


I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Chef - movie review

Jon Favreau usually is associated with more action movies like Iron Man, Aliens and Cowboys, and he spends more time behind the camera or in the directing chair these days, but I am glad he decided to take on a different kind of project that warms not only the heart but also the stomach..

In fact, if you aren't reaching out for a cubana or some kind of sandwich after watching this, you aren't human... Jon actually took lessons from a food truck chef to make this show and that's really him chopping those veggies at top speed.

This light-hearted and yet moving show depicts Jon as a chef who cooks well albeit unhappily at a top restaurant in LA, and his creative juices are suppressed by his boss, played nicely by Dustin Hoffman. A top food critic lambasts his efforts and he goes berserk,  leading to a meltdown and his sacking.

At the same time, he has trouble connecting with his son, who lives with his estranged wife, played by a super hot Sofia Vegara. He then goes on a journey of renewal, as a food truck chef, re-connecting with his passions, in food, love and more.

Jon must have called in a few favors, getting some of his co-stars from other movies to cameo in this show, and they don't merely show up. Robert Downing JR is cute and eccentric all at once, we saw Dustin Hoffman making full use of his few minutes, and John Leguizamo is a wonderful supporting actor, who holds his own. Emjay Anthony is wonderful as his kid, and is quite endearing without being cutesy.

I also like the idea of using social media, and how they convey the usage of Twitter... I think I first saw this in Sherlock Holmes, the BBC series.

Bad points? Well Scarlett comes and goes, and we don't really know why she's there. The ending is a little too pat if you are really a skeptic, but it works fine for me, even with the happy ever after sort of conclusion.

There are also a lot of F-bombs, which I didn't think were needed for the plot, especially since this could have been such a great family movie..

It's not a movie for action fans, nor does it have a lot of surround, but there's plenty of Cuban music to give your sound system a good workout, and more importantly the picture quality is great, so you get wonderful views of food that will send you out to grab a Cuban sandwich once the credits go up.

Recommended for at least a view and if you like food shows with a heart, this is a keeper.

I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Adding Atmos / Auro speakers to an existing setup

When one adds speakers into an existing setup, there are a few considerations:

1) Space

Do you have space, and what kind of speakers can you add - floorstanders, space for stands and space in the ceiling for speakers is no different.
As it's an added on item you may already have stuff on the ceiling, such as fans, lights or even other speakers.. If they are too close together, the sound will be affected.

2) Mounting

Are the speakers mounted directly onto the concrete ceiling or will they go into a false ceiling? Cutting into concrete is no mean feat.. there's lots of dust, and you will need to cover up your stuff in the home if you want to avoid dust. Trust me, they will get into everything if you don't cover up..

If there are items where dust is a no no, move them..

As for false ceilings, will the ceiling take the weight? For small speakers like the Anthony Gallos, that's usually no issue, but if you are using regular bookshelf speakers, adding 4 or more of them to a structure which may only be supported by thin aluminum struts can be dangerous.

Also when one runs the cables in the false ceiling make sure they are secure. Otherwise your subwoofer will find these loose cables and send them rattling..

3) Cable runs

So how will these new cables run? Unless you are using wireless - which doesn't seem to work too well right now and you still need a power supply, so that still needs cables.

For my own place, I had space to hide the additional cables in my cove of the false ceiling, so I ran the trunking from the front to the right side, then skirted behind my bay window, then upwards behind the curtains, into the ceiling, where they punched through the original false ceiling and lay my cables..

4) Actual ceiling mounts

You can use OEM brackets or if the speakers you choose has specific brackets, then you can use them.
How will the cables emerge from the ceiling?
Are the mounts adjustable? Can you change their tilt?

They should be solid enough and the angle of tilt should not change with time or gravity.. saggy speakers are not nice ;)

5) WAF - aesthetics

Now this can the most tricky and expensive part...

You can drape the cables all over the floor or you keep it neat and tidy, run it into the ceiling and walls. The latter option involves a lot of cutting and hacking.. and cost.. so you will need to work it out with your spouse / partner on this. Keeping it neat buys you domestic bliss that can be priceless...

6) Angles

The Atmos and Auro website will give you links to the actual angles from the main listening position.


I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Making A Home Theatre Den In My Mum's Place - high WAF

I decided to design a rack myself with the help of Nic and my ID for my mum's home, and this is a full tower rack, plus a front console which can store four CD / BR players, two set-top boxes / Modems, one processor and three amps / power amps.

The rack is made from mahogany, and can be stressed to carry 300 kg or so.

It has slits for ventilation, and a sliding side door to access the back panel. There are double magnets to hold the doors to prevent shaking.. and we tested the place with a solid sub to check for vibrations.

In addition there's a LED light strip stuck to the wall behind the shelves.

Each shelf can also be removed totally, allowing for a PA rack to slide in..

I also sized the bottom to fit up to a JL Audio F 113 or Rhythmik F15HP.. and there's an inbuilt Auralex-like pad at the bottom of the console.

The front console follows the basic dimensions of my old rack, but the top is removable to access the gear inside, plus a rear access panel which opens up to access the back of the components. Also there's a LED light strip to enable me to see the back.

There are four dedicated power lines which run from a main power cable that goes from my main DB into a DB constructed specially for the audio gear which is mounted in the cabinet above my main console.

They are distributed into 18 separate sockets in the wall, using MK Albany plus sockets made from brass, plus another 8 in my mum's bedroom, which also has a single dedicated 20A power line.

That room carries a 5.1 cable system plus in wall cable mounting. It is connected to the main listening area with analogue RCA and HDMI cables to function as a Zone Two.

There are two Pioneer TVs mounted on either side of the wall (mum's bedroom unit sits behind the wall)..

Future proofing...


 I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Atmos arrives in my den...

 New year, new gear...

Well it's not 2015, so not everything is in place...

But here's what I will be getting in the next few weeks or are in place recently:

JL Audio E 112 - two units
Auralex Gramma
QED Revelation Signature
Anthony Gallo A'Divas

I am current waiting for things to settle before I decide on which AV amp / processor..

The MLP is sited under the fan, which I don't use for critical listening... but the blades don't hit the speakers... and they are far enough to avoid influencing the sound..

The speakers are 35 degrees from the perpendicular, pointed towards the MLP. The speakers are in line with the front speakers. 

The one in the centre is meant for a future Auro Voice Of God project..

The cables were cut and buried into the ceiling.. that was one dusty and tough job...

We used a combination of QED Classic and Micro..

And what's already in my current setup:

PS64D8000FM Samsung plasma TV

Marantz PM 11S3 : 2 channel stereo amp with HTbypass and 100W per channel driving the front pair of 804D (http://peteswrite.blogspot.sg/2014/04/marantz-pm11s3-review.html)
Oppo BR player BDP 105 as CD transport and HT source Oppo BDP 83  Nuforce BR player (http://peteswrite.blogspot.sg/2010/07/review-of-oppo-bdp-83-nuforce-edition.html) Marantz NA11S1 as a DAC and network player
Apple TV (Gen 1) X 2 for music and photos
HTM4s centre, Radius 90HD for height channels
Anthony Gallos A'Diva for the Top Front and Top Rear Atmos speakers
Usher 520 for rear back
Monitor Audio RXFX in dipole mode for side surrounds

QED Revelation Signature for front and centre speakers
QED Micro speaker cable for the rest
Audioquest Cinnamon HDMI for Oppo to amp
Aiborg flat HDMI cable, LHS and AQ Forest HDMI cable - amp to TV and other sources
Audioquest Snake subwoofer cables
Wireworld Oasis 6 Interconnects Assorted Xindak, PS Audio and other power cables
MK wall power sockets
Rhodium Right Angle Plug adapters for USA power cables
Auralex Gramma platform and MoPad  (centre speaker + rears)
Da lite screen
Glass optical cables


 I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Not just another Sydney trip - food and more

So who has not been to Oz and in particular Sydney? Blue mountains? Harbor bridge? Koalas? I think most of us have seen them all .. How a...