Tag Archives: audyssey

I’m an “audiophile”… and no one needs ultra HD displays

I play music for a hobby; I am a musician part time. As of now I have about 270 guitar/piano videos on my Youtube (which you can check on the media page on the side). So yeah, I care about audio alot and audio tone. The irony is that I care about audio more than I care about video. Mainstream consumers are the opposite. They love their 4K super high resolution displays and stuff, but for me, video quality has always been secondary to audio quality.

I remember when HD first came out (720p / 1080p) I couldn’t see much of a difference between that and 480p DVD quality videos. But maybe my eyes are just used to 240p/480p VHS/VCD/DVDs. All my computer resolutions have been 720p (that is, 1366×768) and lower, until this year. That’s right! It took me until 2015 to get a computer with a full HD resolution! so yeah no 4K for me for a while. I also don’t like 4K because I would have to redownload all my movies and tv shows and anime in 4K which takes up a ton of space. I would prefer just a FHD OLED display instead.

Now we have smartphones rocking 4K resolution. Which is absolutely ridiculous because 4K is questionable even on a flat screen TV. At the distance we sit from the TV I doubt many people notice the difference in resolution. Having super high resolution also impacts another big factor in battery life. I like my stuff with good battery life thats why I chose a regular 720p laptop which gets me 20 hours of battery life (thanks to the dual batteries in the Thinkpad X240!) and a regular 720p phone as well, the Sony Xperia Z3C which gets me 2 days of battery life. For my 17 inch gaming laptop I “only” have a full HD resolution. Having Ultra HD 3200×1800 resolution on a laptop will both kill the battery life and alot of windows apps don’t scale well beyond FHD anyways.

Anyways for me audio quality has always been more important, thats why I own tube amps and a record player and 180gram vinyl LPs. I listen to FLACs (lossless) whenever possible (My Sony Xperia Z3C has a built in walkman and support for high res and lossless audio), and have owned countless pairs of headphones and earphones. The irony is the average consumer doesn’t really care about audio that much. They are happy listening to their lossy MP3s, listening on their Mac or PC with a terrible built in DAC, or using cheap quality iPod or Beats headphones.

Let me take a head count here. How many of you have heard of these audio companies: Bose, Sennheiser, Fender, Marshall, IK Multimedia, Apogee, AKG, Beyerdynamic, Shure, Etymotic, Ultimate Ears, JBL, Altec Lansing, Cambridge Audio, Boston Acoustics, Polk Audio, Klipsch, Onkyo, Dynaudio, Denon, Pioneer, Philips, Creative Labs, Monster, Beats, Hifiman, Woo Audio, Linn Audio, Meridian Audio, Apple, Audioquest, Focusrite, M-Audio, SRS Labs, Jays, Dolby, DTS, Audyssey, Wave Audio, Grado Labs, Audeze, THX, Grain Audio, Audioengine, Master & Dynamic, Audio Technica, Skullcandy, Sony, Samsung, LG, Harmon Kardon, Bowers and Wilkins, Bang and Olufsen, Infinity, Sol Republic, Yamaha.

I even know most of the various amp, effects, and guitar pickup makers: Fender, ESP, Gibson, Jackson, Ibanez, Dean Martin, Epiphone, G&L, Gretsch, Rickenbacker, Kramer, Vox, Marshall, Mesa Boogie, Dr Z, Two Rock, Victoria Amps, Tone King, Line 6, Digitech, Orange, Crate, Boss, Behringer, BBE, Korg, Roland, Maxon, Dunlop, MXR, Way Huge, Xotic, Lovepedals, Keeley, Dimarzio, Seymour Duncan, Lace, Lindy Fralin, Bill Lawrence, TV Jones, Fishman, Electro Harmonix, Visual Sound, Teese, Fulltone, Analog Man, I could go on and on….

That’s a wide range of audio companies, from mainstream to boutique, from headphone makers to DSP and effects makers. But anyways you get my point; I know all these companies because I care alot about audio. I even made an article about the best portable bluetooth speakers, and the Best over ear headphones.

Here’s the audio gear I currently use:

Guitar equipment:
Swart Atomic Jr (Tube Amp)
Fender 60s Strat relic w/ handwound Alnico III/V single coil pickups
Martin OMJM acoustic guitar
Boho Moonshine guitar
Boss Looper
Digitech Trio
Lovepedals Dover drive
RambleFX Plexi Drive
Xotic compressor
Xotic booster
Maxon TBO9
Seymour Duncan 805
Keeley magnetic echo
Keeley Oxblood
BBE Wah

Audio recording equipment:
Shure MV88 iphone mic
Shure MV51 computer mic
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB interface
IK Multimedia iRig 2
MXL 770 Condenser Mic
Shure SM58 Dynamic mic
Behringer XENYX502 Mixer

Listening equipment:
Philips Fidelio X2 open back headphones/monitors
Sennheiser Momentum closed back headphones
Master & Dynamic ME03 Earphones
Bose Quietcomfort 25 Noise-cancelling headphones
Creative Soundblaster E5 USB DAC/Amp
Creative Soundblaster Roar 2 bluetooth speaker
Audio Technica LP60 Turntable
Creative T4W Speakers (for connecting to anything including record players)
Klipsch R10B Soundbar

Not a bad setup. Unlike some people, I don’t have particular brand devotion to anything. Some people like to have all their equipment the same brand, but I actually embrace diversity of brands. I like experiencing difference. My TV is Panasonic. My phone is Sony and Apple. My tablet is Apple and Nvidia. My computer is Asus and Lenovo. My keyboard is Aorus. My mouse is Logitech. My microphones are Shure. My speakers are Creative and Klipsch. My headphones are Sennheiser, Philips, and Bose. My camera is Nikon and Canon. So yeah I am not a ‘fanboy’ of anything although you could say the closest I come to that is Sony. I have a Sony phone, Sony camera, Sony UMPC, Sony PS4 and Sony PS Vita. But even then.. I like to diversify.

NEW Jul 2014 gadget update

Ok, so its been over a year since my last gadget update.

Here’s my tech gadgets as of present (Jul 2014):

Computers
Dell Latitude E4200

2008 Dell Latitude E4200

2008 Dell Latitude E4200

I still have it. Great 12″ laptop from 2008. With 3GB RAM, Core 2 Duo processor, 64GB SSD, an external DVD drive, and port replicator, it still works pretty well. Dell’s Latitude line is very reliable.

HP Envy 14 Beats edition

HP Beats edition

HP Beats edition

My 3 year old workhorse laptop has been upgraded. I upgraded the RAM to 8GB of Corsair Vengeance and the hard drive to a 240GB Samsung SSD. Now its my de facto desktop, as I only use it with my monitor and speakers now. Still pretty darn fast, even with a 3 year old Sandy Bridge CPU.

Lenovo Thinkpad X240

Lenovo Thinkpad X240

Lenovo Thinkpad X240

What can I say? I used to think Thinkpads were very boring looking, but now I realized how useful they are. This has become my main laptop for doing anything, work or study. At 12″ and 3.4lbs, very portable, with the latest Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, fingerprint reader, smartcard reader, amazing keyboard, LTE capabilities and TWO batteries that last for 14+ hours, this is an amazingly well constructed and reliable laptop. I will probably be using it for years to come, or at least as long as my Dell Latitude (6 years so far).

Fujitsu P1630

Fujitsu P1630

2008 Fujitsu P1630

This ultra light convertible from 2008 still does the job pretty well as my Windows test machine. It’s a 2lb convertible that runs an Intel Core 2 Duo, 64GB SSD, and 2GB RAM. It still handles most tasks pretty well, and is my most portable laptop.

Sony Vaio UX280 007 Edition

Sony Vaio UX280 007

2006 Sony Vaio UX280 007

My smallest computer is not really a laptop but rather a UMPC. It runs an Intel Core Solo processor with 1GB RAM and 32GB SSD, but I use it mainly to play DOS games on the go. I have one of just 500 007-edition ones.

Tablets/Phones

Archos 7

Archos 7

Archos 7

Yes, the same one I reviewed, and as I mentioned – 320GB of storage space, plays movies without a hitch, and recording PS3 gameplay, it still holds up to the tablets of today despite having an outdated TFT resistive touch screen.

Wikipad

Wikipad

2013 Wikipad

Yes, the Wikipad is relatively obsolete now, still running on 2012 hardware. But still, as long as it runs I’ll use it as my go-to android tablet. A micro-HDMI port and microSD slot, along with a detachable controller is great for playing emulator games, which is mainly what I do with this tablet, and if I need to use Android apps.

iPad Air

iPad Air

2013 iPad Air

For a long time I didn’t want an iPad as I thought it was just an oversized iPhone. But now I realized after using it more, that it fits a different need. Large games, a portable music recording station, a video editor, and guitar amplifier are some of the things I use it for. I used it so much that I actually sold my Macbook Retina in favor of the iPad. With a bluetooth keyboard, it becomes almost a laptop replacement. And with LTE, much more useful.

HTC Touch Pro 2

HTC Touch pro 2

HTC Touch pro 2

I just wanted a Windows Mobile device for legacy apps, and this was one of the latest and cheapest. The fact that it has an amazing phone keyboard is just icing on the cheap cake.

iPhone 5S

iPhone5S Gold

2013 iPhone5S Gold

Call me an Apple fanboy, but I don’t like big screens. Screens that are too big are easier to scratch, and suck more battery. The iPhone’s 4″ screen is great. Plus the camera is still the best on any smartphone.

Music

Audio Technica A900

Audio Technica A900

Audio Technica A900

These are my go-to headphones for recording, studio monitoring and anything else requiring little to no noise interference. They are excellent closed back headphones, and for the price of $150, very good value for what you get. They are one of the best sounding headphones I’ve owned (and I’ve owned many), so I’ll probably keep these for many years 🙂

Beyerdynamic DT770

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro

These are great headphones that I use at work. I use it with a Fiio Andes E07K, and man the music really lights up with these headphone amps driving the 250Ohm headphones.

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint

These are my travel headphones, the ones I use on trains, buses and planes. The sound quality overall is not quite as good as the A900s, but it is noise cancelling and portable, which is why I have them.

Bose Soundlink Mini

Bose SoundLink Mini

Bose SoundLink Mini

Bose really surprised me with these speakers. Great full range sound, great bass, a lot of volume from such a small speaker. Anyways these are my portable speakers, for use with parties and BBQs and the like.

Audyssey Wireless Speakers

Audyssey Wireless Speakers

Audyssey Wireless Speakers

These are my computer speakers, and they are pretty decent at all around performance. I am impressed at the level of bass they offer despite not having any subwoofer. They are bluetooth enabled, so other than my computer, they also double as speakers for my iPhone and tablet as well.

Monitor2go HD+ 15.6″

Monitor 2 go HD+

Monitor 2 go HD+

Great portable display, works with any HDMI input so it works with anything from my tablet to my consoles to my laptops to my Mac Mini.

Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100

My DSLR camera. Works great with many lenses.

Canon M400

Canon M400

Canon M400

My camcorder since 2011. Been using it for most videos since. Only thing is I realized the AUTO mode which is the default mode doesn’t have OIS which I regret.

I’m a gadget freak (May 2013)

As people who know me may find out, I really love gadgets. An example is my purchase of the Sony HMZ-T1, which I reviewed Here. I love the quirky, niche gadgets and here’s a chronicle of my gadget obsession since I was young. In case you’re wondering btw, these recollections are all from memory, so don’t expect in depth reviews of something I had when I was 15.

2002-2006 Gadget collection
Sharp Yo-190

Sharp Yo-190

Sharp Yo-190

This is a mini computer PDA/Organizer that I had back in middle school and was probably my first gadget. It had a calendar, memo, email, web browser, converter, clock, and calculator. With computer linking capability, a backlight, and 256k of RAM, it was amazing for a small kid like me. I took it to class and used it to store all my friends phone numbers and stuff. I probably didn’t use it to its full extent as it was designed for adults, but it was my first taste of gadget goodness.

Cybiko

Cybiko

Cybiko

This is such a niche device. But I had one of these things. It was kind of like a PDA or a game boy, but not. It had a bunch of downloadable games, and this chat thing, which I guess the makers expected this to be really popular, because that chat was only to other Cybiko users. I used it to play alot of cool games, it even had two players games in it, but eventually it got bricked when I reset it while playing a game and it didn’t turn back on after that. Eventually Cybiko realized it was a niche product and so the number of actual applications were really low. It was a cool device for the time though. ‘

Casio Cassiopeia

Cassiopeia BE300

Cassiopeia BE300

Yay, the $300 PDA I had when I was a kid. You know, back before smartphones, people had these devices called Pocket PCs, which are like the precursor to today’s smartphones. And I had the Casio Cassiopeia, cause I was the nerdy kid on the block. It was a good device – it had a number of cool apps and games for it, and no other 15 year old kid had something like that. Unfortunately, it got bricked when I tried to root it and install another OS on it, lol.

Dell Inspiron 7500

Dell Inspiron 7500

Dell Inspiron 7500

The Dell Inspiron 7500 was my first laptop, which I got in 2003. It was quite powerful for the time, having a dedicated graphics card (ATI Radeon 7500), and cost over $2000 I think. Ah yes I remember the days when 256MB RAM was alot, and everyone had a sound blaster card. And these days we take built-in Wifi for granted, but back then laptops didn’t have it built in! I needed to use a pcmcia wifi card to have it! (remember pcmcia/express cards?) and it also had legacy modem & s-video ports which are not found anymore… I had good memories with this laptop, and especially the overheating issues, due to Intel having not invented mobile processors yet. The Pentium M hadn’t arrived yet, so it had a full Pentium 4 processor in it, which isn’t efficient, and often overheated the laptop. My dad and I had to put it on some homemade pieces of wood as a cooling solution, lol.

2006-2011 Gadget collection
I had several gadgets when I was in university, including several laptops. Among the ones I had was:

Gateway CX2724

Gateway CX2724

Gateway CX2724

You know how all these Windows 8 convertible ultrabooks are coming out?? Well back in 2006, Gateway had a convertible notebook, the same kind!! 4 years before the iPad came out. And I was carrying this 7lb behemoth to classes. Despite the heavy weight, I loved using it. A screen that can rotate?? A Wacom digitizer?? That was cool stuff back then, and although it wasn’t particularly powerful on specs (an original Core Duo and GMA 950), it was a unique laptop.

Asus EEEPC S101

Asus EEE PC S101

Asus EEE PC S101

My next laptop was when netbooks were all the rage… and this one really catches my eye. It only had 16GB of storage, sure. And had an underpowered Atom processor. But, the brushed aluminum lid and Swarovski crystals… they were a good touch. Ok, so I bought it based more on looks, but it was decent for what netbooks do – browse the internet. Netbooks have been replaced by Tablets and Chromebooks now, but they all serve the same purpose, to be mobile and browse internet.

Dell Latitude E4200

Dell Latitude E4200

Dell Latitude E4200

My last laptop in college is still one of my favorites. This was in 2008, before ultrabooks came out. But this essentially is an ultrabook. A powerful laptop that is thin and light. It was only 2.6lbs!! and had a Core 2 Duo ultra low voltage CPU, which was good for its time, and I had a port replicator as well, so I could connect it with 3 externals and a 22″ Samsung display at home. It was very durable, I think I dropped it a few times and even spilled drinks on it before and it kept working. It served me well – I gave it to my parents after I retired it, and I will always remember playing Starcraft 2 lagging the hell out of games with it on that integrated GMA 4500.

Archos 7

Archos 7

Archos 7

Yes, the same one I reviewed, and as I mentioned – 320GB of storage space, plays movies without a hitch, and recording PS3 gameplay, it still holds up to the tablets of today despite having an outdated TFT resistive touch screen.

Myvu Crystal

Myvu Crystal

Myvu Crystal

Yes – I’ve had several HMDs before. The Myvu is actually quite good, when I hooked it up to my Xbox 360/PS3, I was able to play many games quite smoothly on it. Of course, my current Sony HMZ-T1 beats it hands down, but the Myvu was pretty decent for its time, plus the company is out of business, so they might be hard to find.

Samsung D900

Samsung D900

Samsung D900

My cellphone of choice during university. Remember flip phones and slider phones? This was the slimmest slider phone when it came out, and its one of the best non smartphones out there. 3.2MP camera with an autofocus and flash was good for its time, and sending text messages isn’t great as the iPhone of course, but it does its job well. And remember when batteries lasted weeks instead of days?? yeah…

Creative Zen Vision M

Creative Zen Vision M

Creative Zen Vision M


This was my mp3 player of choice during university, and it stills holds up pretty well to the iPod Classic, even now. It stored 30GBs, which is actually more than most phones these days can store. Remember when people carried a dedicated mp3 player back before smartphones? Not to mention, it played alot of photo and video formats, could record radio and voice, and had some pretty good sound quality as well.

Canon Powershot 300

Canon Powershot 300

Canon Powershot 300

I recorded all of my old videos, and took all of my old pictures on this baby. Before I got my new Canon and iPhone. It was – and remains – decent at what it does.

Flip Video Mino

Flip Video Mino

Flip Video Mino

The Flip Video Mino was the GoPro before GoPros. A pocket camcorder that can be taken anywhere easily and record from your pocket. It was innovative for its time, before smartphones had good cameras, and unfortunately, I didn’t use it as much as I should have.

2011-2013 Gadget collection

iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S

What can I say? I went through 22 years of my life without needing this phone. And yet now I can’t live without it. It’s the perfect phone. I’ve never wanted an iPhone 5, or a Galaxy SIII or a Nokia Lumia, or a Blackberry, simply because the iPhone 4S has everything I need. It has a ton of apps, it has a small enough screen to be portable (I don’t like the big screens on the iphone 5 or samsung galaxy), its replaced my main camera, and its great at texting. I’ve never wanted anything more.

Sony HMZ-T1 / HMZ-T3

Sony HMZ-T1

Sony HMZ-T1

Sony HMZ-T3

Sony HMZ-T3

I reviewed this before and my thoughts haven’t changed. It’s a simulated 100″ screen with the best 3D you can get, and virtual surround sound. The only downside being the comfort and lack of two-player convenience. I’ve also upgraded to an HMZ-T3, which is much lighter than the T1 and has wireless HD transmission, but still requires you to carry around an HD receiver.

Canon M400

Canon M400

Canon M400

I recorded all my videos and trips with this thing, and its pretty decent at that. Full HD res, multiple recording modes, and a better low light performance than many other video cameras out there. It continues to be my main video camera.

HP Envy Beats edition

HP Envy Beats

HP Envy Beats

My current main laptop. The one I use for everyday computing. Its my first laptop with a quad core processor and a dedicated video card (Radeon 6630) since my Inspiron 7500, and I loved being able to play games at high framerates again. Also, the beats audio is quite good when using external speakers or headphones. Its also got a hybrid SSD-HDD drive system which is great for fast bootup of applications, and I still get alot of storage space. I don’t really appreciate the low resolution 768p screen though, but it is still a very functional laptop with 3 USB ports, an optical disk drive and full HDMI port. Eventually the display broke when it slipped off my desk and fell on the floor, but the HDMI output still works so I can still hook it up to a display and it functions.

Macbook Pro Retina 13

Macbook Pro Retina 13

Macbook Pro Retina 13

This is my first macbook – and its mainly used for work purposes. For many years I never got a Mac – but I realize its faster for development, and less riskier for viruses, so I’ve been using it as my main work laptop now. Its fast, the screen is gorgeous, and its a Mac – I wouldn’t say its better than windows, just different. I also use it as my main recording tool after installing Pro Tools on it – for some reason Windows just isn’t as good for audio recording and video editing as a Mac. I’ve since sold this laptop due to using my iPad Air a lot more.

Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100

Nikon D5100


The Nikon D5100 is my DSLR. I don’t use it too much for general photography use, as I use my iPhone for taking most pictures due to the wider lens. The DSLR lens I use is more for taking close up pictures, portraits, and video recording, of which the quality is much better than my Canon but requires another cameraman to hold. It is a pretty decent value too; I acquired it at only $400.

Audio Technica A900

Audio Technica A900

Audio Technica A900


These are my go-to headphones for recording, studio monitoring and anything else requiring little to no noise interference. They are excellent closed back headphones, and for the price of $150, very good value for what you get. They are one of the best sounding headphones I’ve owned (and I’ve owned many), so I’ll probably keep these for many years 🙂

Audyssey Wireless Speakers

Audyssey Wireless Speakers

Audyssey Wireless Speakers


These are my computer speakers, and they are pretty decent at all around performance. I am impressed at the level of bass they offer despite not having any subwoofer. They are bluetooth enabled, so other than my computer, they also double as speakers for my iPhone and tablet as well.

Panasonic ST50

Panasonic ST50

Panasonic ST50


Sorry Samsung, but Panasonic makes better Plasma TVs at the medium range segment, and hence I opted for them. This is a 3D Plasma TV, which means uniform viewing angles, deeper blacks, and pretty thin too… all in all, one of the better TVs I’ve used, though I wish the interface for youtube and video browsing was done better.

Samsung E450 Sound Bar

Samsung E450 Sound Bar

Samsung E450 Sound Bar


This is the soundbar for my TV, and its a pretty good value as well, being only $150. It takes in the regular HDMI and optical connections, but also comes with Bluetooth and AUX and a wireless subwoofer. Many soundbars at this price doesn’t have bluetooth, hence I went for this one.

Monitor2Go HD+

Monitor2Go HD+

Monitor2Go HD+


This thing is pretty cool, its a portable second monitor that displays a nice HD+ resolution, and can be used in various configurations, standing up, swiveling, etc. It also supports being used as a secondary display for an iPad, iPhone, or anything with an HDMI connection. I’m currently using it paired with my Mac for work, and the DisplayLink technology works flawlessly.

That’s alot of gadgets eh??? Probably not the end of it either… once Google Glasses comes out, as well as the Occulus Rift (A VR HMD) and This awesome quadcopter (which I plan to use for recording) comes out, you know I will be getting them :).