Showing posts from 2018

Getting some Soul in Quebec and having a whale of a time

Some cars make you feel like a speed demon, others turn heads as they past you.  Some are simply anonymous work horses, and yet others are so poorly made you feel shy telling others what you drive. 
But how about a funky little number that makes you feel like Noddy and is fun to look at, fun to drive and makes you want to go on an adventure?
So I recently went over to North America and I was supposed to get a full sized sedan, and they offered me a Nissan Ultima, a typical workhorse of the rental car fleet... reliable, spacious and utterly boring... 
So I did the Oliver Twist thing and asked, “are there more choices?” Coincidentally someone had just returned a car and the kind man at Thrifty car rental allowed me to choose amongst the other cars he had, and I spied that unmistakable form in bright red, newly washed, sitting next to the grey Nissan Ultima. The choice was obvious, and I took the keys to the car and put all my gear in it.  
Now there are many names for this kind of vehicle, …

Game night movie review

Game night movie review

Some movies have a plot that feels familiar and yet leave a longer impression on you than the average yarn or summer blockbuster where you simply leave your brain turned off at the entrance.
Game night has a story that we may have seen before such as in Micheal Douglas movie The Game but it succeeds because of the wonderful chemistry between the leads played by Rachel mc Adams and Jason Bateman. They are supported by a wonderful team of actors which make this show rise above the average show.
So a make believe game takes a serious turn and the players have to sieve through what is a game and what is real to save the protagonist's brother.
Rachel is always lovely, does comedy well and her affable girl next door demeanor leads a realism and humor not found in too many other actresses.
She combines well with Jason to elevate a genetic plot into one filled with funny moments and good twists.
Recommended 4/5

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Redeeming Digital Media Codes - the new frontier in movie playback

Remember the days when one had shelves of discs? A whole wall filled with your collection of all kinds of media, from DVDs to Blu Ray to 4k and of course some CDs and even LPs... then trying to remember where that particular title was kept? Nowadays, many things are kept online, and you just need a media player. 

The good news is that many discs also come with a digital code, which allows you to redeem the same movie online.

I must say.. I have been slow to try this new way of keeping movies. When space becomes a premium, keeping movies online or in a cloud form makes sense.
However are there any compromises?

Firstly you need to choice a platform. There are quite a few:
Vudu, Movies Anwaywhere (MA), Ultraviolet, Flixster, iTunes to name a few..

Some are proprietary, such as iTunes, others like Movies Anywhere give you the option of using different platforms to be linked with. For example, you can key a code into MA, then link it to iTunes.

The devil is in the details though.. as not every mo…

Den of Thieves movie review

This is like a Heat lite... taking the heist element of that movie, then milking some emotion part out of it. There are also Now You See Me surprise twist parts in it, just so it does not appear to be a straight up heist movie. Does it work?
Well I chose to focus on what it does well: The action. There's plenty of surround, good fight scenes and that for me, makes up for the wooden acting and the rather unnecessary relationship angle thrown in to make the lead more 'human'. A whole chunk could have been cut out without missing a beat.

So is it a buy, rental or a skip it? I would say it's a rental at least and if it comes cheap, worth a leap of faith for action aficionados.

Mission Impossible Fallout Movie Review

What are the common adjectives to describe an action movie?
Breath-taking stunts, bone crunching combat, breakneck pacing, side splitting dialogue with side kicks and a dash of romantic interlude?
Well, here we have a movie with a functional plot, and an extremely hardworking superstar who really strives to make it work.. he is a wonderful chef, placing all the adjectives together into a wonderful movie which he dishes out with all his heart, blood and guts. That's the short take on this..

There are not too many stars these days who will put their life and limb on the line for one movie, but how about doing that for half a dozen in the ongoing franchise? One simply gasps in amazement at the stunts and it's not merely one stunt, but the entire movie is one daredevil manoeuvre after another. Take half of them away and you still have a solid action movie. So I do allow Mr Cruise his indulgence, since he is basically in every single scene and he does dominate the movie.


Buying A New AVR or AV Amp: things to look out for

- at least 7.1 capability with built in amps
- latest sound formats:
DD, DTS are basic, you also want Tru-HD and DTS-MA as a standard as well more 3D formats like DTS-X, Dolby Atmos.
These days, not only the video gets upscaled, but you also have upscaling of sound, using tech from Dolby and DTS: Dolby Surround and DTS- Neural X.

You can never have enough power and do note that what they state on the box seldom gets realised in real life. Look at the power consumption for an idea. Eg, if the power drawn from the wall is 700W, and there are 9 channels, even if the amp has an efficiency of 80%, that means you won't see more than 60W per channel when all channels are operating.

However if you live in a domestic setting like a flat and use a subwoofer, this will be enough if you use typical speakers. More power allows you to use less efficient speakers and will give you more dynamism and headroom for the explosive moments.

HDMI inputs and version.

For 3D, you only need HDMI v1.4 but …

Jurassic World : Fallen Kingdom movie review

If you liked the shock factor combined with the technology, and decent action built in, this movie will please the original fans as well as attract new ones to the franchise.
It feels a little like the suspense thrillers of yore ala Alien but it does fall a little short as though you have seen it before, with a basic theme of greed causing science to go awry.
But the CGI is amazing and Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas form a good pairing. Not as much romance or humor as the last installment but a good outing nevertheless.
Action fans will be pleased and the surround effects come from everywhere, even topside.
Bass is thunderous and the volume dial is turned all the way up to 12.. Watch out when the volcano 🌋 explodes!
There are new creatures as expected but you do get to see your old favorites too.
They do leave enough room for yet another sequel.

Dynaudio Factory Visit

Ever wondered what the insides of your speaker would look like? Or what goes into making and designing one? I have always been fascinated by the process of manufacture and the technical details of each product I use or own. So when the opportunity came for me to go and see the Dynaudio factory, I literally jumped at it!

I was invited to their factory by the local dealership and I joined a bunch of dealers from Australia and New Zealand to Skanderborg near Aarhus in Denmark the HQ of this renowned speaker brand. Here, they design, measure and make the world famous speakers. You take a flight from a major European city (we came from the Munich High End Show), and then it's a 30 minute car ride to the factory, and if you come in late spring, you will see fields of canola or rapeseed flowering. 

Now as many who are familiar with the audiophile world would know, the Chinesecompany Goerterk bought over the company in 2014 and fans of this brand will be keen to know if there has been any c…

How to fix a dented Dynaudio tweeter

Imagine if one day you invite a friend over and he brings his kid, who promptly decides to explore your sound system and give the tweeter of your prized Dynaudio system a poke..
Is life over?
Can you justify the manslaughter charges?
Well I recently consulted Roland Hoffman from Dynaudio and this is his advice:

Firstly you can still salvage your friendship.. well 90% of it to be more precise. Because if you manage to pop it out, you will get most of the sound back. The directivity may change a bit but the sound should be ok.

Now Otto has previously suggested using the sucking method. That requires a no contact dry approach .. and a big mouth with great skill. Plus lots of privacy.. because you don't really want to be caught by your other half in a compromising position down on your knees locking lips with your precious Esotar..

Roland has suggested a simpler method. First make sure your hands are dry. Then gently from all sides using the flat part of your nail to posh the…

Sony Z9D 75” TV Review

My old plasma gave up the ghost recently, and I had to look for a new TV. I was not interested in a projector, simply because the setup is more difficult for my family and the net size I could achieve in my den will not be more than 80” or so, so that option was not practical or worth it. Furthermore I did not want to use it in a totally dark room as others will be using the room too.
So some may jump in and ask, why not OLED? Indeed the blacks on a 2018 OLED are very impressive, but the cost of >65” panels is much higher, so it meant that I had to restrict myself to LED/LCD panels to meet my budget of under US$8000.
I actually wanted to wait for HDMI 2.1, but no TV released this year will have it.
Now the Z9D was reaching the end of it’s run, and whilst Sony is not well known for cutting prices, they usually give more discounts when it’s a runout model. So it meant that I could get the flagship model for not much more than the lower end 2017 choices.
I also consider the 85” X9000F, …