Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My confession

I love audio equipment. I have my entire life. I have a radio studio/recording facility that I use to produce for clients. I have a very nice audio nice as I can afford. But I must confess that these days I find the most enjoyment listening through headphones to inexpensive, often portable devices. Like my Accurian HD Radio. And various mp3 players through a Koss headphone amplifier^ac^EQ50 into Sennheiser HD-435s (yeah I'd giggle too if I were you. But you'd stop giggling when you actually heard it!) By the way, ignore the specs for the Koss. The bass is flat to 20hz at least...verified with swept test tones I generated in Adobe Audition 2.0).

I actually hear more detail, more musicality from this rig (usually with a very cheap Philips mp3 player or Archos Gmini 402 ) than from most any system through conventional speakers. Even high end systems, with exotic electronics and speakers don't provide the relaxed musicality as this cheap system. Sorry, but it's true. I ENJOY IT MORE, and end up listening lots longer. I tell you that because this blog isn't about bullshit. If I believe something to be true, I'll shout it from the rafters, no matter what anyone thinks...and no matter how contrary it is to "conventional wisdom". And I believe the following to be true...inexpensive, headphone-based equipment these days FREQUENTLY provides more real-world musical enjoyment than expensive, speaker-based systems...even VERY high-end ones. And when bang-for-the-buck is factored in, it's no contest.

Best online resource for LEGAL music downloads? Unless you're into mainstream stuff like Britney or Toby Keith...if you actually go for musical merit over chart position, then it's E-Music hands down!

EXCELLENT sound quality, enormous variety, and forty free songs for joining! NO they're not paying me. But I wouldn't recommend them any higher if they did! No DRM, no weird formats, no bullshit...just VERY high quality mp3s you can play on ANYTHING! Now go listen...TO THE MUSIC, not the audio system!

Recording Digital TV part II

Just talked with J&R. Today is Wednesday. I ordered my Toshiba and HDMI cable on Saturday. It still hasn't shipped. I told them they can get it here by Friday, or they can keep it (life is short, and consumers have options. Retailers should be reminded of that, FORCEFULLY!) We'll see.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Recording Digital TV

About a month ago, I bought a new Vizio HDTV (VX32L...more on it in the future), along with a new big-ass over the air tv antenna, preamp, and rotor. I now get just about every digital station in Charlotte (the exception being channel 42, WTVI), a couple from Winston Salem, and Greenville/Spartanburg. The antenna is also great for pulling in HD Radio...with solid reception up to 100 miles away.At any rate, after watching glorious digital tv in 16:9 widescreen for a while, I have become increasingly intolerant of the 4:3 aspect ratio of most content I can record on my DirecTV DVR. DirecTV says I can't have a HD rig from them yet, because large trees behind my house block the line-of-sight to their HD satellites, which are lower on the horizon than the standard-definition satellites. So I have turned to another method of capturing digital tv in all it's 16:9 of the new standalone DVD recorders with a built-in ATSC digital tuner. It's a Toshiba DR550. (And yes I'm aware that you can't capture the full resolution of HDTV with a DVD recorder, but you CAN record a damn nice picture, with the original aspect ratio). I had J&R Music World toss in an inexpensive HDMI cable (no reason to spring for an expensive one for a short run (6 feet). After all, we're talking binary code here...ones and zeroes. You can either re-assemble the bitstream at the other end, or you can't. There's no "magic" at work...just simple math.) I haven't received the unit yet (August 21). I'll probably be here on the 22, or 23. When I have some practical experience, I'll write more.

By the way, that's exactly how I plan on doing things at this blog. I'll write from practical experience. There will be no "this technology sucks", or "this technology is wonderful" without actually investigating. For that reason, there will be some times when I don't blog for a while. I haven't forgotten you, Dear reader! I'm doing the research necessary to hopefully write something meaningful, that's all!Do YOU have any experience with capturing digital (over the air ATSC, or cable QAM) tv in 16:9 to DVD? If so, please post a response to this, and I WILL publish it.