Farewell Princess Leia and other icons of the 80s.

By now, the news of her sudden demise would have spread across the world, and we are all recalling all her famous movies, photos and the one that is etched in the minds of those who were in their puberty years when she wore that brass bikini in Star Wars.

But behind this image of her, is another...

A young girl who had an affair with an older and married actor, someone who couldn't cope with the pressure and limelight of Hollywood. Someone who then turned to drugs, drinking and had depression. We like to remember the good parts, and certainly she was the darling of Hollywood when she grabbed a laser gun and shot her way to fame. She then did a lovely comedic turn in Harry Met Sally, along with a good run as a writer too.

Yet, I can't help feel sad, that the life of a Hollywood star is adored, admired and even idolised, and we are quick to emulate their looks, and even adopt their epicurean lifestyles. Likewise, we mourn the loss of George Micheal, but are their lives truly worthy models? 

Farewell Princess Leia, and rest in peace. You have given me a pile of movies to watch this year end, but also a lot to reflect upon too. 

Oppo UDP 203 review

Good news! I have updated the video section with a comparison with the Samsung ☺
In addition I have added a comparison with the older Oppo 83 Nuforce.


Just to set expectations right:
this is a review in progress and will be updated with more content as I tried with with more 4k displays and compare it with other players). Furthermore, as this is a personal review, I will try and compare it with as many players as I can lay my hands on, but I don't intend to make my review an end all review of all the current player.












Oppo has been at the forefront of players which provide exceptional value for money, and in recent times, they have moved from providing merely simple value players to players which even the keenest audiophiles will want for their top tier systems.

With the advent of the Ultra High Definition (UHD), 4k format, we have all been anticipating what Oppo has up their sleeves. Wisely they have not tried to be the first off the mark, and have instead allowed developments in this nascent format to take place, and now they are ready to show off their first unit, in the form of the Oppo UDP 203.

Some links to tech specs and the Oppo website:

https://www.oppodigital.com/uhd/

http://oppodigital.com/blu-ray-udp-203/

Some notes on the features:

- HDR capable
- enough CPU processing for Dolby Vision, but it's not enabled in this machine as of now
- twin HDMI, (one is HDMI 2.0a and the other is HDMI 1.4 and this one can be used with non HDMI 2.0 equipped AV amplifiers)
- HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2 capable
- 2 USB 3.0 jacks
- analog 7.1 audio output,
- RS-232
- Ethernet and built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- 32 bit AKM 4458 DAC
- UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray (2D & 3D), DVD, DVD-Audio, SACD, CD and AVCHD disc playback
- quad-core OP8591 UHD decoder


Important details:

Custom-Made 4K Loader
The UDP-203's disc loader features an optimized laser mechanism that delivers super fast disc loading, compatibility with a wide range of optical media, and strong error detection and correction to ensure error free physical media playback.
Advanced Audio Processing
The UDP-203 features a premium 32-bit DAC from AKM, the AK4458VN, which is an 8-channel DAC with support for formats such as 192 kHz / 32-bit PCM and multi-channel DSD64/128.
Advanced Image Processing Technology
With over a decade of experience developing high-end DVD and Blu-ray players, OPPO has once again teamed with MediaTek to produce and manufacture a specialized 4K UHD Blu-ray decoder SoC - the quad-core OP8591, which offers the most advanced image decoding and processing technology available for 4K UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD and user generated media formats.
HDR and HDR to SDR Conversion
One of the more exciting elements of the new 4K UHD format is the inclusion of high-dynamic range (HDR) video and an expanded color range, allowing for more natural and true-to-life colors. The UDP-203 supports the HDR10 format, and it is also capable of providing an accurate conversion from HDR to SDR for older displays.

Support for Dolby Vision will be available in the future via a firmware upgrade.

Lossless High-resolution Audio
Audio format support has been expanded to DSD64/128 or multi-channel DSD64, as well as 192kHz/24-bit PCM used in high-resolution lossless formats such AIFF, ALAC, APE, FLAC and WAV.

Manual:
http://download.oppodigital.com/UDP203/UDP-203_USER_MANUAL_ENGLISH_V1.0.pdf

Usage

The remote is very similar to previous ones and if you have used an Oppo before, the controls, setup and menus will be very familiar to you. The new remote has motion sensing.. and the buttons have a better tactile feel than before. , plus it's perfectly usable, just not as good as a Marantz Reference series remote. But those products cost a lot more.

Setting up the wifi was a cinch, and it's pretty fast. I did an update which came up as a prompt, and with my 200 mps fibre net, it was done in minutes.

Loading time is quite impressive, and is as brisk as most modern players, and matches the Oppo 101ci.

The metal work is fine, and looks very industrial, but you won't mistake it for a some reference series amp or CD player, but that's fine, as the money goes to the importanit bits inside. The buttons on the player itself can be used to operate the menu, and you will find 3 USB ports, including one in front.

It's a slimmer player than the older 105 and even the 101ci, and will fit into smaller spaces. But since it does not have an inbuilt fan, do leave some room around it.

There are two HDMI outputs, but only one does video (HDCP 2.2) compliant, and the other port is meant to output audio, in case you have a legacy system that is not HDCP 2.2 compliant.

There is also a HDMI input, which allows you to use the SOC chip inside to upscale other devices such as a media player to 4k.

Bearing in mind that Oppo intends this to be primarily a disc spinner and media player rather than a all singing all dancing player with additional apps like Netflix, one must recognise what it does and it does playback well, otherwise you will then complain about the lack of functions and apps.

The new transport is very well made, and apart from the chips and other hardware for 4k, this is where the money has been spent.




Associated test equipment:
My gear

Video

So let's get down to how the video looks.

I have enlisted the help of a few friends, who have 4k displays to show off the 4k capabilities, and I should declare that the jury is still out as to whether it will work if the entire HDMI chain isn't HDCP 2.2.
(I will post more once I have reviewed it with a variety of 4k displays and I will update this review as I try it on more video displays)

Into 1080p, it's pretty impressive. However as they say: "YMMV" or your mileage may vary. Watching Blu Rays without any upscaling will give you similar picture quality and color saturation as other players. Here the display quality will give more variation in the results.

There are many options to tweak, and if you have a HDR compliant TV set, the colors can be very good. Even out of the box, it's very solid, and the colors, clarity are quite superb.

In comparison: 

I just finished a comparison of the Samsung and the Oppo on a 65" LG E6, and my own conclusions are: don't be in a hurry to sell the Samsung..

From a purely end user point of view, the excitement of watching a UHD disc in 4k clarity, plus the enjoyment of the sound in an Atmos-equipped HT system was more than sufficient to overcome any perceived deficits in picture quality.
Of course from a technical standpoint, when one bothers to pause the movie, compare scene by scene, get the right calibration and so forth, small differences begin to emerge, and these are mostly in favor of the Oppo in terms of color, clarity and most importantly the upscaling. But the smaller the screen, the less noticeable are the differences.

Both players handle motion well, and there were no great issues with Full HD Blu Ray being presented on a 4k TV.

My opinion is of course my personal one, and I would appeal to all buyers to look objectively, because even amongst some of my mates, they do go in expecting the Oppo to best the Samsung in all areas, but when asked to explain what they feel is better, they can't. Yet they refuse to accept that the UHD picture quality is quite similar.

However when it comes to user experience, the Samsung has less glitches, less stutters and freezes. I hope Oppo will correct this in future.

In terms of the build and speed, the Oppo is one up, with a solid remote, player chassis and I am confident the transport matters and will allow the Oppo to be a good CD transport as well. But for current Samsung users, it's ok, don't tear your hair out and sell your player too cheaply. Instead enjoy it to your fullest. Cheers


Audio

As for sound, well it's quite similar in presentation to the Oppo 101CI
(http://peteswrite.blogspot.sg/2015/12/oppo-bdt-101ci-review.html).

A scene for all fans of ambience to try:

Riddick - 2013 movie
The Mud Demons approach the Station as Riddick is being interrogated, and the rain begins to fall.. drops land on the zinc roof with all kinds of reflections - but it's not just another 'rain' scene. As the monsters approach, you feel the tension being conveyed by the music, and then the monsters land and move on the roof. The roof squeaks, groans and cracks. Inside another battle goes on as Riddick beheads Santana. The crisp singing of the blade interrupts the tension as Santana attempts to behead him, only to suffer a similar fate.

Then the Mud Demons pick off the bounty hunters, one by one.. random shooting ensues and the ping of the ricochets echo throughout the hut.

Try that for ambience and 3D sound. It's not created in DTS-X, but with Neural X, you could have sworn it was.. the footsteps on the roof, distinctive and discrete.. a real demo scene..

And it only works if you do your setup right.. :)

I also tried 13 Hours, which is encoded with Atmos.
You can hear the discrete bullets flying from front to back and across, the sound of the rounds being fired echo around you, and of course the explosions are a real blast, with really meaty bass.

For the stereo listening, I used the Oppo, and fed it into my Marantz PM 11 S3 with Wireworld Equinox 7 Interconnects, and played a few familiar hits. My Dynaudio Confidence Platinum One will happily take apart a less than competent player.

The soundstage is deep, subtle and wide. It's easy to pick out instruments even in a complex piece. The does not plunge the depths as would a better dedicated CD player, but you will get some good bass. The tone tends to stay fairly neutral, and will suit systems that are quite neutral to the warm side. It's revealing enough without being bright. Detail retrieval is good, and that AKM DAC is probably responsible for the quality. Again, I would say it sounds quite similar to it's cousin, the Oppo 101CI. At the end of the day, it's quite good, but not special, as it's not as good as a dedicated player, despite what Oppo fans may say. But for such a low price, you get a 4k player with a decent Redbook playback throw in.

Comparing it to the older Oppo 83 Nuforce, with souped up audio section, the audio depth is a tad smaller, but it's a tough call. Bear in the mind this older machine cost almost twice that of this one. Now that's progress.

More importantly I was keen to see how it would perform as  transport. So I tried it as a transport, to feed my Marantz NA 11 S1, and here it come alive, with the very capable transport. The sound was typical Marantz, warm, three-dimensional, and a definite step up from the internal AKM DAC of the Oppo. The soundstage was definitely better, and more laid out, wide and deep.

This will be a good transport for audiophiles who want to integrate their player into a good audio system, whilst enjoying their movies.


The bottom line:

If you have an existing Oppo or other Blu Ray player, and will not be upgrading to view 4k anytime soon, you do not need to rush out and get this. However if you already own such a 4k display, then this should certainly be on your shopping list.

However in my opinion, this is a good player, but the player is still a beta machine, with glitches like stutter, HDCP issues and such.

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

Top seller lists vs SINGAPORE's car of the year list

It's interesting..
Each time I see the cars suggested for the car of the year award, I am amused.
Not often do these lists coincide with the most sold cars.
So what do these lists mean? Best tech, best ride ?
Maybe in a small place with few B roads and mostly start stop traffic, hot yet wet weather, and very expensive COE, we value different other thIngs. Why is it that a Corolla sells well for example?
By modern car buyer desires, it falls behind in the tech and cool count: only two airbags, fewer safety features and a less than desirable shape or interior.
Yet it continues to outsell its rivals handily. If you take away the PI sales it is likely to feature at the top again.
Perhaps it's because fans of the Corolla value reliability above all. The fact that their speaker covers don't fall out, there aren't many transmission issues reported, maintainance is affordable and when the time comes to sell it, finding a buyer is far easier then even selling your HDB flat.
So for all our desires and whatever car journalists write, what we buy doesn't often reflect the desires of keen motoring. Instead our practical side takes over and when it comes to decision time, the average buyer on the street opts for the safe choice.
I don't think we will see more than one or two of the car of the year list in the top sellers list.

The Accountant Movie Review




There have been a spate of movies which feature loners with skills, and this isn't really a recent phenomenon, but the 'man with skills' tag was brought back to prominence by Liam Neeson in his first "Taken" instalment, and I think producers were taken aback by it's popularity, leading to more of such movies, with fine examples that worked like Jack Reacher, Equaliser and more. The distinctive characteristic of the protagonist in these movies is a man who has some serious training in handling himself under extreme circumstances, but who is governed by some inner moral compass, which forces him to take up arms to defend himself and his beliefs, whilst handling anyone or anything that gets in his way, with extreme prejudice.

So that's what the basic premise of this show is about really, but with an extra twist, Ben Affleck plays this skilled loner well since he isn't really known for his dialogue, and add an extra dimension in the form of autism. A special type, Asperger's Syndrome, which are high functioning ones that posses special abilities, but aren't too social. Perhaps they had better stuntmen, he moves much better and looks far more deadly here, than the clumsy and far too bulky Batman he played in Batman versus Superman..

So The Accountant goes about cooking the books of less than savoury sorts, yet he has his internal moral compass, and takes umbrage with being targetted after solving a seemingly straightforward case of accounting fraud. He also decides to break his own rule of taking flight to defend the innocent accountant girl Anna Kendrick who was the person who found the irregularity. 

So you have your typical thrills, spills, explosions and a particularly loud Barrett M82 sniper rifle. The dialogue is clear but the rifle shots are all juiced up, and will certainly please action fans and bass heads. There are some plot holes, and you don't really get to know why the two brothers split, and why Ben did not recognise his own brother, but it's a good action thriller. Ben certainly does better here than in Batman, and maybe it's simply due to the absence of Zack Snyder.. 

However from a medical standard, parents will be concerned with the methods shown in helping autism, and do note that Asperger's is a special high functioning subgroup of autism, which does not represent the majority of autism patients. Some parents might even think the methods depicted in the show are real science. 

The ending is also done in a way that leave the movie open for more sequels, and I think this movie does well enough that I will want to see it on Blu Ray and will recommend it to those who like the "loner with skills" genre of movies.

3.5/5

Inferno Movie Review

Book adaptations can be a mixed bag, sometimes it exceeds the excitement of the books, but other times it can be rather disappointing. For example, I read Robert Ludlum's Bourne series first and found the movies to be exciting but somehow the written word carried even more excitement despite the lack of moving pictures and sound.
 
So I declare that I have never read any of Dan Brown's books, nor am I a fan of his works. But I like a good yarn about adventure, treasure and the thrill of hunting for the lost. Think Indiana Jones with someone that has twice his IQ.
 
I didn't enjoy the first instalment much, too much controversy, and too much church stuff in it. The second, even with the Vatican City in it was a much more straightforward hunt for clue kind of movie, with intrigue and thrills built in. 
 
Now Robert Langdon returns once more, with a story about a virus which threatens to decimate the world's population, and the only man to stop this massacre is our Professor once more. 
 
The story starts at a breakneck pace, hurtling from one adventure to another, with characters throw in, also at top speed and despite a run time of just over two hours, it certainly does not feel lengthy. But unlike the second or first movie, Langdon does not have as many opportunities to show off his skills and does far less sleuthing work, and instead spends a lot of the time on the run. Which brings us to the negatives. We don't really understand how or why he is in the state he starts the movie with, and I know it's a matter of the plot direction that the whys and whos are introduced to us mid-way or later in the show. This plot technique has been used before to great effect but here, it just adds to the confusion. 
 
Now one does not really need to watch the previous instalments to pick up this movie, and there are not too many inside jokes either. But some characters come and go without the viewer understanding why they are there. (think Ignazio, the Carabinieri Assassin etc). And I know as a fact that the WHO organisation does not have the funds to run about with private jets and all manner of suits, goons and bodyguards all over the world. It would have been easier to get the Interpol as the agency involved. So there are plot holes, and with the breakneck pace, sometimes we do get lost.
 
But if you want to find a place to visit and have no idea, this movie makes you want to visit Florence and Venice instantly. For those who have been there before, it's nice to see so many familiar places featured. 
 
Plot 3/5
 
I couldn't recognize Felicity Jones but she does look good in it. I wonder why the Italians have not protested that they couldn't use one of their hot actresses instead of her in the show. 
 
Chick factor 3.5/5
 
As for the sound, well it was an Atmos theatre, and the surrounds were put to good use, as you can expect in a thriller movie. There is not as many explosions but the subwoofers will get a workout or two.
 
I actually look forward to buying the Blu Ray when prices come down, as the sound was good and I like such adventure stories. It's a shame that the plot couldn't have been better, but I reckon it's worth a rental at least or seeing it on the big screen.  
______________________________________________________________
 I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Buying Car Accessories: places to get from and tips

Been looking around, and I can report back on where to find accessories:

For a brick and mortar shop options:

Autobacs:
- the biggest selection, you can touch, ask questions etc

NTUC:
surprisingly good

SGgarage, and a few others. Mod shops that also sell some kit that you can add on. 

For serious electrical mods;

Elebest:

Max does all kinds of stuff: GPS, keyless, etc

ONLINE:

Ah this is where the interesting stuff begins:

Amazon:
Amazing place where you can get stuff that suits all kinds of cars. And don't limit yourself to Amazon USA. For the Merc, which is German in origin, try search in Amazon UK and De. They may be cheaper, and offer more options. Things like car mats, wipers, replacement parts, and more.

Ebay:
A traditional source, and I might get my window visors from there. Made in USA and sells for the same price as the ones from ebay Malaysia.

Aliexpress:
A huge market place, and like Taobao, it offers many items, which are not just made in China. I got a console shelf that fits in the console box between the seats, plus some red control knobs. Do compare prices, and see if it's cheaper than Amazon and vice versa.

Taobao:
Another large market, but it's in Chinese and I am not too familiar. There are options to ship over, so one can consider that too.  





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

The Hunt For A New Car

So after nine years and a bit, my Little Red Riding Hood, aka Honda Civic FD, is coming to the end of its life. Well the end of it's COE anyway, which means I can either cough up the money to renew this little piece of paper or explore new cars.

Given that I can get back almost 10k for this baby, it's really been giving me sterling service, and I should try to get another car.

So here comes the hunt:

I have set myself a budget of around 130k but if I can spend less, that will be even better. i.e, with my car thrown in, my outlay should not extend 120k.

First decision was to forgo renewing the COE.
Second one was whether I should go for a 2nd hand one. Given the high prices I see for 2nd hand examples, a first hand car seems to be the way to go.

What are the things I really need, and what are the niceties then?

Needs:
Reliability is paramount. No 'characterful' cars, a euphemism for unreliable. So most likely a Jap car, that is actually made in Japan, maybe a Korean one, or perhaps a Merc if they are made in Germany and not somewhere else.

Not too low slung - I need easy enter and egress for my mum.

Versatile seats:
Folding rear seats, the ability to carry large objects will be very good.

Fuel economy:
Given the high oil prices, this will be a good thing.

Enough power to merge with traffic. I don't need a speedster, but I don't really want to worry about having a heart attack every time I need to join traffic and there's a rather steep slope outside my home and I need to merge with fast moving traffic there.

I also go on the North South Highway every now and then, so something that doesn't struggle on it will be nice.

Niceties:

Original leather seats
Red color
Quick turning radius
Low turn to turn ratio
SUV - high sitting position and hey, I haven't owned one before, but it was fun to drive

Front and back cameras
BT capability


So what have I identified:


Right at the top of my list right now is the Honda HRV, the authorised dealer (AD) version of the Vezel that has been taking the local market by storm.

What are the plus points:

- Jap made
- very creative interior
- SUV style
- low FC
- smart interior with decent soft touch materials abounding
- many charging points, USB and other touches

Negatives:
- not as solid feel as a conti car
- 130hp might not be enough compared to my older FD
- CVT transmission


So moving on, I have also tried a whole bunch of other cars. The main issue is that none, yes, none of the cars have everything I want. Each has their own pros and cons..


Mazda 3 & 6:

Plus:
- nice Conti feel
- good handling
- conventional 6 speed auto
- soft touch materials abound
- Jap made

negatives:
Heavy 3 combined with a 1.5l engine in the 3 doesn't help
can't help comfy in the 6 somehow
servicing can be an issue given that the new dealers aren't really setup for so many new customers
US long snout styling
? reliability
a little low slung
rear legroom


Corolla Altis

Plus
- Proven track record
- Borneo servicing
- Good FC
- Improved looks compared to the older one
- decent legroom
- solid bidding process

Negatives
still looks bleah..
plastics aren't in the same league as the Mazda or Golf
not too many nice features inside

Hyundai Elantra


- sleek looks
- plenty of soft touch materials
- decent legroom
- lower price


Negatives
- bidding tiers means you aren't so sure if you will get your car

Conti offers:

Golf

Pluses:

Solid build, lots of soft touch materials in the cabin
Good acceleration

Negatives
Tight legroom at the back
Suspect gearbox

Audi A3 Sportback

An expensive version of the Golf, with similar pros and cons


A3:

The sedan is made in Hungary, and the Merc CLA is also made in the same country, and will cost 30-40k more than a Golf. It's hard to see how one can opt for this, even though most conti cars, especially the bigger brands are known for safety, and a solid metalwork. But servicing is not as easy, since these companies are much smaller than Borneo Motor or Kah, and the cost of repairs, spares and even basic servicing might be more.
IMHO
The A3 is a value for money car. The A4 is significantly more costly. Almost got this car. The build quality is very solid, the engine is quite powerful, rear legroom is actually quite impressive.
It uses a more powerful 1.4t, has a bit more room and is made in Germany. It uses a wet clutch design.
The cabin has more features but it's about 20k more. The soft touch materials, the gear shift knob, oh so wonderful..
It's the cheapest of the three marques. A Merc Cla will cost another 20k more for example.

The big German brands are now more vague on the origin of their cars. For example, the popular C class Merc is made in South Africa, and not long ago, the previous model gave more issues than expect for this marquee brand.

BMW 216:
The 216d was IMO a better drive, more torque and instant response, greater urgency and the rear seats were sliding with a three fold capability. The cabin soft touch materials were also better.
The diesel is noisier but inside you hardly hear it.
The view out of the cabin was nice too as you sit higher.

But the 216d is about 10k more and I wonder about the reliability?

The CLA is made in Hungary, and the BMW 3 series is also made in South Africa.

The B Class was a solid build car with space, ergonomic and good safety features. The engine specs are also impressive, but it's about 30k more than the HRV.

Ideally a Honda HRV with a nice 1.8l engine or maybe that new 1.5 turbo will be superb! Even the hybrid version has enough ommph. Pity the authorised dealers aren't bringing it in.

Checklist when buying a car



Pricing
COE Top-up
COE Rebate
Delivered By
Trade-in car value
Deposit
Loan interest
Loan Amount
Loan Penalty
1st year insurance & fee
Engine/chassis ready?
Color availability
Delivered By
Keyless Entry?
LED Headlight
Leather seats
Steering Wheel Control
Floor mat
Boot cover/mat
HU unit (AVH-X2650BT)
Reverse Sensors/Camera
In-car camera
Solar films
Warranty (Years/Km)
Free Servicing
IU, reg plate, 6mths rd tax include?
Rims


Locks 

Keyless Entry (Lock and unlock using remote) 
Manual Entry (Lock and unlock using key) 
Master Lock 
Individual Lock 
Alarm 
Alarm reset switch 

Windows 

Power Windows(Check that the driver side auto window is working) 
Windows control Lock 

Electric Mirrors 

Electric Mirrors Control ( Up, Down, Left & Right ) 
Folding Mirrors(Check that the Mirrors can be retractable by either manual or electrical folding.) 

Console 

Engine Start Button (if any) 
Air-Conditioning 
Fan Speeds 
Rear Demister 
Radio/CD/DVD Player 
Reverse Camera (if any) 
Steering controls (if any) 

Switches 

Headlights 
Directional Signals 
High Beam 
Hazard Lights 
Parking Lights 
Tail Lights 
Brake Lights 
Fog Lamps 
Interior light 
Wiper (Make sure each speed is correct) 
Wiper Spray 
Horn 

Dashboard 

Dashboard lights come on when headlights are on 
Information lights (eg. Parking brake ) are lit at relevant time 
Check that odometer does not display excessive mileage 

Transmission & Brakes 

Smooth Gearshift 
Automatic transmission 
Over Drive button 
Shift Lock button 
Footbrake 
Handbrake 

Things to look out for: 
Test auto-transmission for shock while engaging gear. 
Make sure that the brake has to be depressed to shift out of Park mode. 
Make sure that the car can only start in Neutral or Park mode. 

Other Interiors 

Steering wheel properly aligned 
Steering wheel adjusting lever 
Bonnet release lever 
Boot release lever 
Fuel tank release lever 
Check for stains and holes on seats 
Seat adjuster (Forward, backward, recline) 
Seat belts (Check that the Seat belts lock when pulled hard) 
Seat belts height adjuster 
Check for scratches and dents on the trims 
Rear Mirror 
Glove box 
Check for stains on carpets 
Air-con vents (Check that they are able to move freely) 
Speakers 
Moonroof (Opens and closes fully) 

Exterior 

Check that car plate is correct 
Check that body surface is free from dents and scratches. 
Check that windows and windscreens are free from stains and scratches 
Check that lights are clear and undamaged 
Check that door handles are working 
Check that tyres are free from holes and punctures 
Check that rims are free from scratches 
Check that the radio antenna is working 
Check that fuel cap is secured 

Under The Bonnet 

Engine Oil level 
Brake Fluid level 
Battery Water level 
Transmission Fluid level 
Coolant level 
Air-Conditioning gas level 
Check engine compartment with any obvious defects and damage 

Inside the Boot 

Base board 
Boot light 
Tool kit 
Spare tyre 

Documentation 

Road Tax Disc 
Vehicle log card 
Certificate of insurance 
Car owner manual 

Miscellaneous 

Check tyres pressure 
Cruise control (if any) 
All goodies promised are given


Things to ask for when buying a new Vezel



Vezel : Standard Freebies:-
1) Leather seats
2) Entry level HU unit (eg AVH-X2650BT)
3) 3yrs warranty 100000 or 5yrs 120000
4) basic engine oil change servicing fixed below 150 including gst (cap viscosity at w30)
5) All models steering wheel volume etc button linked to HU.
6) Rebate level max 2k below last closing COE
7) Either no top up or to be fair to dealers, max cap 2k top up above last closing COE
8) reverse camera 2 sensors

Freebies To be firmly requested/demanded/negotiated:-
{especially if taking full allowable loan and max allowable tenure}
1) upgrade to high spec HU (eg AVH-X8650BT or Appradio 4)
2) 3-in-1 Anti UV, Anti infrared, Anti shatter solar films
3) wireless mirrorlink function included with HU to link iphone or android
4) 1-2yr 100% free servicing package -manufacture listed viscosity branded engine oil of choice
5) paint protection sealant or paint protection film
6) High spec front & rear recording camera
7) other body kits and accessories
8) reverse n front parking camera and 4 sensors front + 4 sensors rear




How To Refine Your Home Theatre calibration: things to do after the first calibration

So, you have done that Audyssey recalibration, and followed the checklist
(http://peteswrite.blogspot.sg/2016/07/things-to-look-out-for-when-doing-your.html)

It is also important to get the subwoofer position right, even before you run that Audyssey. So do read up on 'crawling for bass', before you even do your calibration.

And make sure your speaker positions follow the recommended guidelines as fas as possible.

This is a nice video to follow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV3oLLMgS-M

Well, the step is refinement. Audyssey is only the first step to getting that mix, where you feel totally immersed in the movie. This means setting the levels right in each channel, so when sound transverses from one channel to the next, you feel that the intensity, and the object is truly moving in space from one place to the next, as the movie maker intended.

The next stage is to measure the frequency response. Now this can seem daunting for the casual computer user, and I admit, that PCs are not my strong point, so I looked to friends to use this, and if you are handy with PCs, they promise that it isn't that hard.

Some guidelines I got from the net for Macs:
https://www.minidsp.com/applications/acoustic-measurements/umik-1-hdmi-on-mac

The REW software can be downloaded here:
http://www.roomeqwizard.com/

And you can use the MiniDSP Umik:
https://www.minidsp.com/products/acoustic-measurement/umik-1


Essentially this seems rather like rocket science to the average HT hobbyist, so feel free to skip this or better yet, get someone to help with this, but essentially if you are willing to go to this extra step, you will definitely gain a lot. Really, a lot.

Once you have your curve up, then you can see what are the parts that don't work so well.

Audyssey is suppose to smoothen out the curve and cut any bumps in frequency, but it does not always do a solid job.

For the bumps, you can rely on traps to try and smoothen out the frequencies, but for the dips, and the room nodes, it's a lot harder.

Some tricks you can do:

Play with the phase. Again even though Audyssey is supposed to help, in my case, a simple switch of the phase, from 0 to 180, immediately help.
Furthermore, in my case, I had two subs, which usually helps even out the frequencies, but there was a bass suckout right at my listening position at 33 hz. This is despite having one sub right next to my listening position. By switching the phase, we almost totally eliminated the dip.

As for getting that thump and rumble, well, it's all about the SPL. If you aren't prepared to play it louder, at 80-9-db or more, one may not get that tactile bass. In my case, I prefer saner levels, so I put up with less of the low end stuff.



Now in order to refine the levels, you have to get a test tone disc. There are many you can download off the net, and now, they will also cover all 11 channels used in Atmos or even DTS.

It is vital that you AVOID using the internal test tones, which will not give you the accurate levels after Audyssey calibrations!

Play with the various levels, see what level of immersion do you like. It's like cooking curry, some like it hotter, and so in setting the Atmos ceiling channels, some like to play those channels a little louder.

As always, your mileage may vary. YMMV.

Then play something that you like and are familiar with, that has a lot of sound transitions. I like to use the gunfight scene from the Book of Eli, when they bring out the Gatling sound and listen to the shots transiting from one speaker to the next, whilst there are bullets flying everywhere, and the sound of the house being destroyed around you.

Good luck!

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