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Everything posted by HiWire

  1. HiWire

    Ye Macce Threade

    Looks like there might be some problems with the 16" MacBook Pro speakers and displays: https://www.theverge.com/2019/12/5/20997727/apple-macbook-pro-16-inch-complaints-speaker-popping-sound-display-ghosting-keyboard
  2. HiWire

    Ye Macce Threade

    I visited the Apple Store and played with the new 16" MacBook Pro a bit. It's nice to see the hardware Esc key return and touch bar seems about the same without it. The 16" MBP is only slightly larger and heavier than the 15" one, so it shouldn't throw any shoulders out of wack. The keyboard is comfortable, but there isn't a lot of travel on the scissor-switch keys, so it's kind of a middle ground between the previous scissor-switch keyboards and the newer butterfly switch keyboards. They are quiet and well-spaced though – I doubt I'd have a problem with it as my co-workers seem to have adjusted to their butterfly-switch keyboards easily. I ran a few apps without a hiccup on macOS 10.15.1 but it's hard to do a thorough performance test in the Apple Store. I'll do a more thorough check on the display and speakers the next time I see one.
  3. HiWire

    Beyerdynamic/Tesla Cybertruck-inspired design?

    β€œOnce you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
  4. HiWire

    Beyerdynamic/Tesla Cybertruck-inspired design?

    I think my ears are just the right shape for these. 😈
  5. HiWire

    Sennheiser HD 599 SE

    A headphone review! I haven't had a new pair of cans in a while, but these were on sale during Black Friday – I paid a little over $100 for them. I've been looking for an inexpensive set of open headphones like my old Sennheiser HD 320: https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/sennheiser-hd-320.21653/reviews The first thing to mention is that you get 2 sets of cables in the box, the longer 10 ft. cable (attached to the left ear cup) with a 1/4" jack and a shorter 4 ft. cable with a 1/8" jack as well as a 1/4" female to 1/8" male jack adapter. The HD 599 SE ships in a plain cardboard box, as it is an Amazon special. Immediately, I tried to pull the long cable out, but couldn't. I looked in the included safety booklet and online, but there are no instructions for this headphone. Hesitating to use any more force, I twisted the cable counterclockwise and it pulled out. It's a good design by Sennheiser to prevent accidental disconnection, but it should be documented somewhere. The second thing that I did was put them on backwards. The Sennheiser HD 599 SE should fit smaller heads well. They are an open design over-ear headphone. The head clamp pressure is secure but not uncomfortable and the ear pads fit snugly around my ears. I'm not sure where to find black replacement ear pads for the SE , but the brown regular HD 599 pads are still available from Sennheiser. If you live in a warm area, you'll want to clean the ear pads frequently. I had to pull each side down a few clicks to fit my narrow head snugly and the headphone enclosures wiggle slightly sideways a few degrees to adjust the fit to your head. The softly cushioned pleather headband is very comfortable and so are the velour earpads. I feel like I can wear these for hours. Fit and finish are excellent overall, but the lightweight plastic (plain matte black looks slightly cheap) feels a bit delicate, so I'd be cautious handling and transporting these headphones. Nothing rattles or creaks. There used to be a problem with the plastic on the old headphones in this series cracking near the extension/flex joints, so I'll be extra careful with them. To start, I listened to Voyager by Jenny Lewis, which I had just listened to with the Alessandro MS-1 on my Sony D-EJ2000 portable CD player. The short cable's 1/8" jack has a slim body so it shouldn't be a problem with most players. In comparison, the HD 599 has slightly boomier bass than the Alessandro and its sound coloration is relatively neutral. The Alessandro definitely has a more forward sound and the Sennheisers are missing some of their midrange magic. Treble is comparable to the MS-1, with less of the extension than I hear in my Sennheiser HD1 (Momentum) In-Ear headphones. Soundstage is slightly wider – not surprising, as the MS-1 are about as in-head as it gets with on-ear headphones. There is a lot more distance between your ears and the drivers in the HD 599 ear cups and the drivers are supposed to be angled toward your ears. I have to turn the volume up slightly as the HD 599 have a slightly higher nominal impedance of 50 ohms vs. the 32 ohms of the Alessandro and sensitivity is similar at 106dBSPL (1kHz/1Vrms) vs. 100 for the Alessandro. They should be easily driven by most portable devices. With Daft Punk's Random Access Memories, the exaggerated bass is more obvious – it would be ridiculous if you engaged any kind of bass boost. It's more plentiful than with the Alessandros, but not quite as tight so far. The HD 599 don't leak as much sound as the MS-1. Listening to the Chromatics' Kill for Love, the HD 599 seem to do better (or maybe they are breaking in) – their slightly spacy, reverb-centric synthesizer rock goes well with the 599 sound. On Foxygen's We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, the 599's adapt well to the vintage aesthetic. The filters, fuzz, and echoes are appropriate to Foxygen's throwback aesthetic and only the vocals are slightly recessed. Natalie Prass' The Future and the Past is a bit more electronic and the headphones capture the immediacy and energy of her pop songs. The bass and drums on this album follow a similar propulsive beat as on the Alessandros, and there are no problems with her voice. The Future and the Past has a groovy, fuzzamadelic vibe and the various instruments thrown in (strings, piano, etc.) are on the money for a pop-soul album by way of Nashville. On the Cocteau Twins' Treasure, the 599 shows its strengths. The reverb-drenched tracks allow the 599 to demonstrate its superior airiness and imaging. Listening to the Cocteau Twins on the MS-1 was somewhat frustrating as it tended to flatten their expansive soundscapes. Switching back to the Alessandro MS-1 with Foxbase Alpha from Saint Etienne, the sound signature is definitely brighter in the midrange-treble area and bass depth is about the same as on the 599. The MS-1 has a strong affinity with the Sony D-EJ2000 player, possibly because the MS-1's inherent brightness, speed, and dynamic punchiness perfectly complement the slightly rolled-off highs from the D-EJ2000. My only question with the MS-1 is whether the current "e" series drivers with enhanced bass are as balanced in liveliness and transparency as my old pair. Massive Attack's Protection is next on the 599. I know this album backwards and forwards on all my headphones. It feels much more diffuse after going back to listening all day on the MS-1. Is this the natural sound of the 599, or is it because they are still freshly out of the box? Guitars are a bit recessed and there is a bit of a fog where instruments linger, when they are in sharp definition on the MS-1 and the Grado HP-2. Tricky's voice on Inertia Creeps sounds perfect though, so perhaps they are warming up with more power. Transients are slightly muffled. Am I hitting the limits of the D-EJ2000 or the 599? I'll add more updates as I try more albums and different equipment with the new cans. My initial impressions are that these will be comfortable headphones for casual listening, but their resolution and accuracy don't quite hit the mark of the reference products (I didn't expect them to). I wanted an inexpensive, lighweight, relatively accurate set of "beater" cans for general use and that's what I got. The HD 599 might also be showing the limitations of the portable CD player – I'll try plugging them into my Schiit Fulla 2 and home setup and see how they fare with a real headphone amplifier and CD/SACD player. Time for the big guns – I switch the 599 to its heretofore unused long cable (is there such a thing as cable burn-in?) and plug it into the Headsave Classic amp and Arcam CD36 CD player. Let's start with Margo Price's Midwest Farmer's Daughter – drums are impactful, but not out of control. Treble is more realistic – you can really hear the emotion in Price's high, clear voice. The steel guitar sings a sweet tune. But something is missing. The reverb decays too quickly and the midrange doesn't have a full body like on the HP-2. So there is room for improvement.
  6. HiWire

    Post what you're watching

    Cannonball (1976) – it's like a less interesting version of Death Race 2000 Crime Zone (1989)... David Carradine again, this time with a young Sherilyn Fenn
  7. The music just popped into my head randomly this afternoon. I didn't even know how to spell BambolΓ©o until today. πŸ€” Now I've got a couple of Gipsy Kings albums in my basket. Some of their back catalog CDs seem to be out of print, but they are still available on Amazon and probably the various digital and streaming formats. Nuevo flamenco, here I come!
  8. Been a while... Happy Thanksgiving! BambolΓ©o – Gipsy Kings (1987)
  9. HiWire

    Head Case Motorsports

    We haven't had the "normal" Alfa Romeo cars in North America for decades (just the 4C and now the Giulia and Stelvio)... I still have a half-baked plan to import an Alfa Romeo GT (V6 manual) someday and modify it for fun: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfa_Romeo_GT The only problem with Alfa Romeos is everything:
  10. HiWire

    What are you listening to Part the Third

    The Voyager – Jenny Lewis
  11. HiWire

    Head Case Motorsports

    Here's an Alfa 4C with a proper engine:
  12. HiWire

    What are you reading now?

    Back to the classics... the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake (still haven't seen the TV series):
  13. HiWire

    Cassette Store Day

    Does Sony have a great sense of humor or what? 40th Anniversary Sony Walkman:
  14. HiWire

    Happy Birthday Alex (screaming oranges)

    Happy Birthday!
  15. Mashups – I need to get back to making music... these videos popped up after I was researching keyboards on YouTube today (the Yamaha Montage 8, Roland FA-08, and Korg Kronos X). Time After Time – Frank Sinatra / Earth Angel – The Penguins / Sh-Boom – The Crew-Cuts: Commodores / Maroon 5:
  16. HiWire

    Music Making

    Found this composition bit while surfing YouTube (Why 80s Pop Music Sounds So Good): Bonus – gated reverb drums are old news to most of us, but check out the attached Spotify list in the description for a mix of old and new gated-reverb songs:
  17. So... it turns out I had Jenny Lewis confused with Juliette Lewis... like, forever. Whoa. This changes everything
  18. HiWire

    What are you listening to Part the Third

    Cherry – Chromatics
  19. HiWire

    Ye Macce Threade

    πŸ˜€ New 16" MacBook! This looks like a better value for money, with a new keyboard, speakers, mics, display (notice that they do not mention HDR), GPUs, up to 64GB RAM, larger 11-hour battery, and up to 8TB storage – also, it still has a headphone jack: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2019/11/apple-announces-16-inch-macbook-pro-with-new-keyboard-design/ I always thought the previous Vega 20 graphic processor (an expensive option in the 15" MacBook Pro and 21.5" iMac) was a low-midrange product, and the new AMD Radeon Pro 5500M (8GB GDDR6) looks like a huge improvement. Apple has discontinued the 15" MacBook Pros on the website, but they are still available in the refurb store (and probably for a little while longer in the brick and mortar stores). The 16" MBP is about the same price (at the base levels) as the Early 2019 15" MacBook Pros, so it's going to make them look really bad from a value standpoint unless you can get one for a steep discount – they are still expensive. It's interesting to see that they stuck with 802.11ac wi-fi – a lot of current high-end Windows laptops are shipping with Wi-Fi 6 now. 10 Gigabit Ethernet is an option on the Late 2018 Mac Mini and it may become standard on desktop Macs next year. It may also become available on Thunderbolt 3 adapters at some point. Apple doesn't call attention to this, but the 16" MBP uses the same CPUs as in the previous 15" MBP. They are wedded, like everyone else, to Intel's technology roadmap. This means that it will be a while before PCIe 4.0 or 5.0 comes out (current leaks about Intel's 10th-Gen desktop processors indicate they are sticking with PCIe 3.0) and we can expect to see 10-core/20-thread i9 processors in the next iMacs. Intel's mainstream rollout of 10nm processors has been pushed back into 2020 and 2021 so there may still be more products manufactured on their 14nm+++ process or a confusing hybrid lineup like their current mobile offerings with Ice Lake at 10nm, Comet Lake at 14nm, and both named 10th Gen. An update on newly-disclosed vulnerabilities in Intel's processors: https://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-reveals-taa-vulnerabilities-in-cascade-lake-chips-and-a-new-jcc-bug This is an evolutionary upgrade that fixes some of the old design's problems and increases the MacBook Pro's capabilities, at the cost of larger size and increased weight (with a larger power supply to match). Microsoft's new Surface X has been getting poor reviews because of it's ARM processor performance – Apple has had much more success implementing ARM designs on iOS. Ironically, the clever lid-opening scrolling on the new MacBook Pro's features page is crashing in my Safari browser but it runs just fine in Firefox. P.S. Performance tests from Barefeats validate the 16" MacBook Pro's performance potential and thermal headroom – TL;DR get more RAM, more VRAM for heavy processing: https://barefeats.com/16-inch-macbook-pro-shootout.html https://barefeats.com/16-inch-macbook-pro-adobe.html
  20. HiWire

    Post what you're watching

    I think it's on Cinemax / Amazon Prime / Hulu in the U.S. I'm watching both shows on Blu-ray – that's why it took so long to catch up. Back in the 90s, I watched Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, Vanishing Son, and a bunch of other stuff (never watched Martial Law or Walker, Texas Ranger, though). It's always been a niche market with few breakthroughs.
  21. HiWire

    Post what you're watching

    Finally watched the first episode of Warrior. The violence and nudity seem a bit gratuitous (but not excessive) – we're in a post-Game of Thrones TV era, so I guess anything that pulls them in... they've also put a lot of swearing into the dialogue, which makes sense because of the low status of most of the Chinese immigrants (and it fits right in with post-gold rush San Francisco). Highly recommended. I'll have to stop myself from binge watching as there are only 10 episodes in the first season. I'm also watching the first season of Into the Badlands. It's a bit clumsier in writing and execution, but has its own charms as well, being a fantasy show.
  22. I was thinking about my small, messy CD/SACD/DVD/Blu-ray library and stumbled across this upcoming media format: https://news.panasonic.com/global/stories/2017/49438.html Looks like Sony and Panasonic have been working on yet another optical standard: Archival Disc. They don't plan to sell them in the consumer market, but anyone who lived through the 90s is going to get dΓ©ja vu reading this article... the same ambition, the same complex, expensive jukebox solutions, the same media/library customers...
  23. Fox On the Run – Sweet From The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009 film) trailer – ratings are really bad on this movie, so I'll give it a pass but thanks for the sweet song (also to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 for bringing it back):
  24. Found this Techmoan video on MQA-CD when I was checking out Meiko's latest album from Chesky Records, Playing Favorites: I'm going to sit this one out for a while. It seems to be a Japan-only phenomenon for a while, and there are no mainstream players.
  25. HiWire

    MQA-CD (oh no, not again)

    I agree. I bought a Bluetooth speaker for parties and such this summer and I don't care about formats, aptX, Apple AAC wireless or any of that for simple listening. If I want to listen to music on my phone or iPod, I'll rip it to 320kbps AAC or Apple Lossless, and my fancy-schmancy SACDs only get played on my Sony UHP-H1. Heck, a lot of my music listening is done on YouTube, which is terrible for sound quality.