Friday, December 25, 2015

My wife got me a great Christmas present - one that I have almost bought for myself on several occasions - The Star Wars Blu Ray Box set.

The other half of the gift was better though - a pledge to watch the 6 movies with me. (It seems I can't talk her into watching the 40 hours of bonus material though!)

Maybe, just maybe, I can get her to watch the original originals (not mucked around with) and we can do comparisons... Yeah right!

Anyways, a great holiday present from a great wife.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I have a few different pairs of headphones including a pair of fake Audio Technica ESW9s that I have made real by replacing every component myself with parts sourced directly from AT. But which is my favorite pair? Hmmm... a tough question.

I really like the Sennheiser PX100. The original one - not the new one. I spent around $35 on them years ago and with a recent set of replacement pads, they are as good as new. No - better than new since they have about 5 years of burn in on them!

The px100 folds up, comes with a hard carrying case, a reasonable length - noise free cord, a really well balanced Sennheiser sound.

I'm in the market for a new pair of headphones and what I've realized is that I would like a pair that just improves upon the px100. The obvious choices are the HD600 and the HD650 but I'm also interested in the HD700. I'm not naive enough to think that maybe a pair of ultrasones might be able to evoke the same response in me - so I'm reaching out to some other brands too.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Keeping in the same vein as the last post, an incredibly important piece of audio gear is, perhaps suprisingly, the seat you sit in!

At home, I sit in an aeron chair. (scored it used on craiglist a few years ago) My chair is a little busted, the recline doesn't really work, but it is still a fairly comfortable place to sit and listen to music. This really works for me because my music is mostly replayed through my computer.

However, up at my wife's house, I run my portable rig - a rockbox'd ipod 5.5 through an alo audio Au/Ag cable to my meier corda 3move amp. Then I usually use my rebuilt AT esw9s or sometimes my sennheiser ie7s or the JVC HA S500. Although the sound isn't quite as great from the portable rig it still is way better than any stock ipod combo and it gives me the flexibility to sit in this:
This thing reclines all the way back, so that you end up in a lying down position. One night, I passed out listening to music because it was just too damn comfortable!

There is no way I'll end up with one of these in my apartment, they take up a lot of space and frankly I don't have the money lying around to buy a fancy lounge chair. However, a great alternative is the ikea Poang chair, especially if you get the leather cushions. I often chill in mine and have occasionally fallen asleep in it - a testament to its comfort. 

I'm currently looking into headless computer systems or multimedia centers, that I could use to store and play back music, without being limited by a screen and distracted by the possibilities of a web browser. It wouldn't make sense to set that up in my living room, but maybe down the road, a dedicated listening chair could be in order!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Remember CDs?

I have a pretty nice setup for playing back music at my computer - Foobar + FLAC > optical out > emotiva xda-1 > gilmore lite > akg k601... It's not a super fancy audiophile setup but they are all good components and provided with good source material, it sounds really great. I was just listening to Phish's 46 Days, off of Round Room, and I wasn't impressed with how it sounded, too grainy... There is a bit of grit in the recording, but the source material I have makes it sound a litle noisy as opposed to gritty. Then I remembered, I own that CD, why don't I put it in?
I happen to own an OPPO 970HD which is Oppo's second player they ever built, back before blu-ray had taken over from HD Video. I use my 970HD as a cd player in my system - it also outputs via optical cable to the XDA-1 second optical input, then through the same signal chain. (By the way I use emotiva cables throughout my system, good quality and not too expensive...) Man, it sounds amazing!! The clarity is improved, as is the spaciousness of the music. The Oppo has a good DAC, but when you use it as a pure digital output and farm out the digital to analog conversion to an external component, the player really shines. You can read more about using this old dvd player as a cd transport here... Anyways, I'm going back to just listening - no typing or browsing - just listening!

Friday, January 18, 2013

What?!?!?!? Mother F(%^(O&*

Lila and I are flipping out over Kristen being kicked off top chef. You've got to be kidding me. Josie, you are irritating and quite simply, not up to the standard of the remaining chefs. Absolutely infuriating that the best chef in the competition went home. Kristen - too much integrity. Being honest doesn't equate to lacking integrity.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Well, in two days, I'm off to Turku, Finland for my brother's wedding. Of course, that means some substantial travel. To get there: New York->Vienna->Stockholm->Helsinki then the train to Turku. Coming home: Train from Turku to Helsinki->Frankfurt->New York. There are a few miscelaneous buses in there to facilitate local transport. Here's my packing list: 2 Suit Coats Khaki Pants Suit Pants 2 Dress Shirts 2 Underwear 2 Undershirts 4 T-Shirts 4 Underwear 2 Dress Socks 5 Reg Socks Ex Oficio cold weather pants Green Wool Sweater Dress Shoes 2 Ties Black Belt Pentax Q Charge Block k5 Charge Block 1 Power Cord Simple 2 plug usb w/ micro usb and ipod cord DS Charger Flash Battery Charger Flash Batteries Kindle Ipod Video Ipod Nano DS/Games/Manuals LOD Cable Rubber Bands 3Move Headphone Amp K5 DA* 55mm f/1.4 DA 18-135mm WR Flash Camera Accessories Wallet Cleaning Cloth Parka Gloves Over Gloves Thin Hat Pentax q Clothes/Shoes for the Plane Passport Sam/Saga Gift Travel Papers Believe it or not, all of this is going in one carry on sized suitcase! The Red Oxx Airboss. This was the only bag I could find that seemed like it could carry two suits in a marginally wrinkle free arrangement, as a carry on.
The bag uses this bundle folding method. So provided you are comfortable packing like that, It is a stellar bag.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Windows 8 Thoughts

I spent the evening (about 5 hours) installing and optimizing windows 8. It has gotten some pretty mixed reviews, but I have to say, I have managed to get everything exactly the way I want it! A necessary download is Start8... it gives you a start menu (a very customizable start menu) back. Why Microsoft didn't include it originally, I'll never know. But frankly, I don't care because Start8 is so good I might have downloaded it anyways. The Aero interface (formerly known as metro) is solid. I can see why some people don't like it, but if you spend some time customizing it, it provides a very fast and efficient launch pad. I have to look for a modifier that lets you run more than one aero tool at a time, as right now there is little multitasking capability, but overall I don't mind it. Multiple monitor support is improved - you don't need to run a 3rd party app to get two different desktop backgrounds. So that's a plus! Software install was fine - no problems with Windows 7 application support in 8. Only problem I am having is getting my Razer Peripherals Tron Mouse Driver to recognize the Tron mouse that is attached to the computer. I will work on it tomorrow when I am not dead tired! Of course, I will need all day tomorrow to recover from this upgrade session. So if you are on the fence about Windows 8 I say go for it provided you also download Start8. Spend the time customizing aero and finding where Microsoft has hidden things (like the nicely buried Windows 7 disk backup tool - now in the control panel!). I think if most users put in the time, they'd be perfectly happy with Windows 8.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a nice thanksgiving with a 22 month old with a fever and a 7 week old who is a bit fussy. But... we didn't have to cook anything! We ordered a pre-made Whole Foods dinner, heated it up, and enjoyed. It was a little bland, but hey, I have salt, so no problem. A very nice thanksgiving!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Juggling Again

Hello Friends, I discovered that Maxwell really enjoys watching me juggle - he tries to do it too - so all the props are broken out and I'm juggling again! This video was the product of an afternoon play session between me and Maxwell!