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September, 2009:

Testing using Word as a Blogging Tool

I’m looking for a simple way to post using a good word processor.

Adding a test picture as well.

It’s practical as a way to get a longer post into WP but like BlogJet it can’t handle all the metadata stuff.

New 40th Anniversary Record Cleaning Machine from Keith Monks

Forty years after hi-fi pioneer Keith Monks defined modern record care with the launch of the world’s first Record Cleaning Machine, Keith Monks Audio celebrates with the limited edition RUBY. The RUBY, with maximum sales worldwide limited to 40, includes new and exclusive features, many unique in record cleaning.

More info here

The Beatles Remasters

I have copies of the original The Beatles CDs from when they came out in around 1987, as the EMI press office kindly supplied them. I’ve never been a huge Beatles fan so, other than the first plays when I reviewed them back then, they have sat on my shelves unplayed.

With the massive amount of publicity (some would say hype) surrounding the new remastered Beatles CDs I thought it was time to dig out the old ones  and compare them to a couple of the new editions.

I chose Revolver, my wife’s favourite and The White Album, the one that I dislike least.  You will notice below the comparisons of the dynamics of two tracks.

Top two images: Yellow Submarine, Original and Remastered
Bottom two images: Back in the U.S.S.R., original and remastered
Click on an image to open a larger version

As you can see there has been some work done.  From what I’ve read they have talked about limiting to bring things up to date.  From what I can see and what I can hear they have cleaned up the sound , firmed up the bottom end considerably and added a degree of compression that is unfortunately almost essential for any modern release.  Compared to say the last Metallica released this is absolutely sonically fantastic dynamics wise.  Compared to the originals, somehow while they have more presence and more punch they also sound a touch too loud in places. The vocals in Back in the U.S.S.R. just shout.  Pity.

I know I’m biased, as I’m not a Beatles fan, but would I buy these new CDs for pleasure? No.  Will I listen to any again in the next few weeks? Yes. However, as I’ve just learn’t that the new Prefab Sprout album is in the post the answer may now be No.

Testing BlogJet

I am testing BlogJet. It should be interesting to see if it makes posting any easier.  If it does I’ll detail more later.

First impressions aren’t that good. While it certainly makes it easier to type out a quick blog, it doesn’t make any of the back-room stuff easy.

Even more Musical Fidelity V-DAC versus the Cambridge Audio DacMagic

I’ve become increasingly interested in hard disk playback of audio and the many variables, that each creates a slightly different playback quality.  I’m increasingly beginning to believe that jitter while it’s become the well known bête noire of the audio industry is not the only serious concern.

I was listening yesterday to the Cambridge DacMagic connected to my HP2133 via USB. The sound quality was really unpleasant: especially in the treble where it was very splashy and relentless. I then connected the DacMagic via an optical isolating USB hub.  Not a practical solution as the hub, which is designed more for medical applications, is more expensive than the Cambridge. I won’t say the music was transformed into something truly audiophile but it was significantly better. The splashy quality was still there but much less obvious, the sound was more three dimensional and the bottom end was easier to follow. Realistically the jitter shouldn’t have changed (much). If anything, one would perhaps expect jitter to have increased but the sound was definitely better.

Today I played the DacMagic versus the V-Dac both connected via USB and using the USB isolating hub.  I think I can here now where the differences in opinion between CA and MF come from.  Back to Bananarama: Robert DeNiro’s waiting and the Cambridge sounds faster but the MF has a more airy 3D feel which is instantly appealing.  As I listen for longer though I become aware of a irritating quacky quality to sibilants from the MF.

Bananarama isn’t the last word in great quality recording so I chose Tumbleweed from Bill Miller’s album Reservation Road, a live recording of Bill singing and playing guitar. Again the MF does an excellent job and had I not compared it with the DM, I would have been happy.  The Cambridge just has more dynamics; it goes quieter.  Bill’s guitar playing  improved as it was now possible to easily here how hard he was strumming.  On this track the DM had the better sense of acoustic space and, most important of all, it communicated the passion of the song.

A friend is popping round tomorrow so I’ll play all this stuff to him and see if we hear any more differences.

Previous post on the comparison

Chuck 3D

My special blue/amber 3D glasses arrived today.  I ordered them via eBay as I missed all the freebies, luckily they weren’t too expensive.  I didn’t know about the special 3D Chuck episode until I sat down to watch it, so I left it on the sky planner until the glasses arrived.

Was it worth all the hassle? The Chuck 3D effect is actually rather good. Works better on axis to the TV it appears and I think it takes a few seconds to adapt to the effect but it works. I don’t think I could watch a whole programme wearing the glasses they seem rather headache inducing but as a sample of how the art has moved on they were excellent.

I’m sure than the programme would be available for download for those who might have missed it, purely for scientific experiment of course.
I’ve Googled but I can’t find out the source of the technology.  If you know more please point me in the direction of the right website.

More info at possibly