Tag Archives: gretsch

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.

My guitar gear

I’ve played guitar for over 10 years.

Edit: In fact, I’ve also been recording guitar videos for over 8 years! Here’s a compilation of those videos since 2006 all the way up to the current year 2014.

httpv://youtu.be/VJAg6cacWOQ

I’ve played Stratocasters, Les Pauls, Flying Vs, even 12 string and double-necked guitars, but here’s what I have right now (Jul 2014):

The big news is that I got a Gretsch White Penguin a few weeks ago in immaculate condition. I love this guitar.

Gretsch White Penguin

Gretsch White Penguin

Gretsch White Penguin

Gretsch White Penguin

I’ve been wanting to have this guitar ever since I saw a Gretsch White Falcon being used in the anime Beck, and the White Penguin combines a smaller body with the amazing gold finish of the Falcon. How does it sound? I did a review here:

httpv://youtu.be/pj0Ote5_cs8

Here are my other musical instruments:

Guitars

Fender American Relic Stratocaster (custom)

Fender American Relic Stratocaster

Fender American Relic Stratocaster

I’ve been playing this guitar for about 5 years now. It’s a reliced Fender Stratocaster body with an American standard neck (not a vintage neck), with custom handwound Alnico V/III pickups from Rumpelstiltskin. Great guitar, nitro finish, I’ll probably keep this one forever.

Martin OMJM

Martin OMJM

Martin OMJM

The Martin OMJM is my primary acoustic guitar, and being a big fan of John Mayer, I had to have his acoustic sounds. It’s great. Electric Acoustic and with Englemann Spruce top – you can see it in action in many of my youtube recordings.

Amps

Traynor YCV40

Traynor YCV40

Traynor YCV40

Had this one for about 5 years too. All tube, 40 watt amp. I custom installed a Celestion Alnico Blue speaker in it, which makes the tone very very sweet with lots of highs.

Swart Atomic Jr

Swart Atomic Jr

Swart Atomic Jr

This is my main amp, it’s a class A 5 watt all tube amp including the rectifiers. It’s got an amazing amount of reverb for such a small thing, and a hot/cool switch to toggle between more highs and more mids. A great small studio amp that I can use for years to come.

Vox Mini5

Vox Mini5

Vox Mini5

I like Vox, my first amp ever was a Vox Valvetronic 30 watter, so when I needed a busking amp to go to Korea with, I chose the 5 watt Vox, which is pretty decent for a battery powered amp.

Pedals

My preference in pedals have varied greatly over the years. I’ve had Electro Harmonix, Voxes, Danelectros, Digitechs, Bosses, MXRs, Behringers, Dunlops, Visual Sounds, etc but here are my current pedals:

BBE Two Timer

BBE Two Timer

BBE Two Timer

This is a pretty good analog delay. It has two different delays which are both adjustable, and BBE makes some good quality, good value pedals. I’ll probably keep this as my main delay pedal.

BBE Ben Wah

BBE Ben Wah

BBE Ben Wah

While I’ve played Dunlop Crybabys and Vox Wahs, the BBE Wah is the best value for the money. A great sounding vintage style wah, at about half the price of a vintage Vox or Crybaby wah. Great pedal.

Digitech Hendrix Pedal

Digitech Hendrix Pedal

Digitech Hendrix Pedal

I’ve had this pedal on and off for a long time, since my high school days. Since I grew up idolizing Jimi Hendrix, it makes sense why I had this pedal so early on. It’s been discontinued now, but I still keep it as a pedal that does a pretty darn good job of recreating classic Jimi sounds like the Univibe, Octavia and Fuzz Face.

Maxon TBO9

Maxon TBO9

Maxon TBO9

This pedal is very interesting as I don’t use it strictly as an overdrive. It’s both a booster and an overdrive, powered by a miniature tube, and is best in combination with other overdrives and distortions. I use it mainly to beef up my tone, but by itself it doesn’t get a lot of distortion. But man, what a great tone.

MXR Modified OD

MXR Modified OD

MXR Modified OD

This is my main overdrive, and in combination with the Maxon, pushes the amp to breakup very easily. This overdrive is incredibly versatile, it has a 15db boost on it, and you can choose the 100Hz cutoff to shape the frequencies, which makes the sound totally different. Very versatile pedal.

MXR Custom Comp

MXR Custom Comp

MXR Custom Comp

You know, I’ve gone many years without using a compressor, and now that I have one, I can’t go back. The compressor keeps the same sound you have, but makes it more consistent, you just feel like someone just mastered your guitar sound in a studio. It can also increase or decrease your total playing volume yet keeping the overdrive constant, so I use it to play rock songs at a low volume. Great pedal, should have bought it earlier.

Boss RC3 Looper

Boss RC3 Looper

Boss RC3 Looper

I also had the Boss RC2 Looper pedal, and I kind of preferred the drum beats on that pedal to this one. But the RC3’s advantage is that it has 99 slots for storing your music, and you can hook it up to your computer to transfer .WAV files for looping, which is a great feature. It also records from AUX input.

Hardwire Chromatic Tuner

Hardwire Chromatic Tuner

Hardwire Chromatic Tuner

What can I say? It’s a tuner, it does its job, its a basic requirement for guitarists.

And lastly…

Casio Celviano Digital Piano

 Casio Celviano Digital Piano

Casio Celviano Digital Piano

This is my piano whenever I need a piano recording, and it does a pretty good job for the price, which was $800 when I bought it.