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First Impressions: Audioengine A5 by sadd3j

So it’s been a long time coming but I finally made the jump to replace the Klipsch Promedia 4.1s that I bought sometime between 2000-2002, paying somewhere in the ballpark of $600 at the time and having to go to an actual audio store. Staying true to that vein, pretty much the only store in the GTA which carries Audioengine is Computer Systems Centre. I actually found the brand and these speakers a few months ago but the price (CAD$349 at Canada Computers, $359 at CSC) and not wanting to trek down to CSC to try them out deterred me.

Well now that I work near CSC and in light of recent employment events, I decided to indulge a little bit. Due to streetcar traffic I ended up walking there (15 minute walk) and it was absolutely frigid. Once I got there, I plugged my iPhone in and tried out a few choice tunes including and not limited to: Sound of Silence, Coachella, Your Latest Trick and Sultans of Swing. The speakers were placed a little high in the store and the environment in general wasn’t ideal for critical listening. I have to admit I wasn’t really wowed on first listen. I could tell they were on par with the Klipsch, but didn’t sound any better. After a good 25 minutes of listening, I was satisfied and so picked them up. Partially persuaded by the long trek there in the cold.

An hour later when I got home, I began the unbox!


The ugliest box ever. Straight out of China.


Guest unboxer!


Nicely bagged and wrapped. They’re actually upside down in this photo. A felt layer on the bottom of each speaker to help with isolation and reduce vibrations etc.


Ta da! Can’t judge a speaker by it’s box; it’s a very solid, nicely finished speaker in a satin black.

The first thing I noticed is that they’re too big for my desk and because they’re so deep, you’re definitely in front of the ideal soundstage, but it’s tolerable. I can’t point them in too much due to my weird desk, so I may look into finally replacing what was supposed to be a temporary table top.

I’ve been playing a variety of music through it over the course of the evening, from Broadway soundtracks to Erin Bode to Starfield to Keith Jarrett. It sounds far better now than in the store.. I’m also listening at a more reasonable level and that may have something to do with it. These speakers are *extremely* musical. They don’t have the same oomph of the Klipsch but that was typically wanted in games and movies and not so much in music. I can finally agree with the other reviews I’ve read and say that the A5s pack more than enough bass for music.

One thing that happens often with a 2.1 computer system is that when you listen at extremely low levels (late night) there’s an obvious separation between the (typically) 3-4″ satellites and the subwoofer. One advantage for the A5s is that even at low levels, the bass is still present and mixes smoothly. I’ve not tried pushing them too loud since it’s late, but at comfortable volumes for near-field listening, the A5s are really outstanding and very full sounding.

I was deciding between the M-Audio BX5a’s and these and while I still haven’t listened to the BX5a’s, I definitely don’t regret picking up the A5′s. Reviews/comparisons for the BX5a say that it’s extremely light on bass and much less forgiving (as they should be, being monitors) and so including the cost of a sub, getting the BX5a’s would cost far more than a pair of A5s. I did listen to a pair of AV40s that JV lent to me and while they were pretty adequate for near-field use, they just didn’t do it for me.

Anyhow.. to end my rambling, very happy with the purchase (as non gadgety as speakers are) and now it’s only a matter of them lasting as long as the Klipsch did! Will try games and movies soon.

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Taylor 414ce Spring Limited by teewee

I’ve been meaning to do a post on this, but never had the time. Finally had the chance to grab some photos of the guitar. It plays really nice. Nicely balanced sound, not too warm and bassy, but not too tinny. Perhaps I’ll write a more detailed review down the road, for now, you’ll have to settle with just a collage !

(I realized I’ve filed this under ‘toys’, but I’d like to think of this guitar as more than a toy =P)

edit: as yfa pointed out, I did not include a full body shot of the guitar in the collage, this is for the simple reason that, I don’t know where my guitar stand is and so couldn’t prop the guitar up onto anything.

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First Impressions: Fallout 3 by sadd3j

The perfect game for wasting a few (read: many) hours on a lazy Sunday. So yesterday I spent the whole afternoon/evening sleeping and playing Fallout 3 (picked up used at Rogers, also got Ocean’s 13 and The Kingdom for $2 each). It’s a really cool game, I’m not sure if anyone else in TPX would really take to it, but it’s pretty amazing and quite a lot of fun.

I played the original, or more accurately, watched my brother play the original. Fallout? No.. the original on which Fallout was based was Interplay’s 1988 computer game, Wasteland.

Anyhow, the graphics are great, and can’t complain about the surround sound. Also re: 360 over the PC version, I figure if I’m going to spend hours on an adventure game, I’d rather do it in a blanket on my couch than sitting at a desk. I’m not usually a fan of the free-roaming-do-anything-you-want games like Oblivion etc. due to the aimlessness feeling, but Fallout 3′s starting story is really interesting and so far has kept me in it.

That being said, out of the 8 hours I played it yesterday, after maybe the first hour and a half of the story, I spent the other 7 hours doing side quests from the starting town. The degree of freedom (or at least perceived freedom) has really impressed me. For reference, the game is post-apocalyptic so everything is poor and run down. The starting town, Megaton, and is shantytown built around an atomic bomb which didn’t go off but was still armed. Once you’ve talked to some people, you get some quests, and so it’s all typical so far and follows the typical rpg recipe:

1. Starting town.
2. Get quests.
3. Complete quests.
4. Do story quest.

For reference, it’s post-apocalypse and everything is run-down, poor and dirty.

One of the quests I picked up from the sheriff/mayor was to disarm the a-bomb in the middle of town, sounds pretty typical so far right? I fix the BIG problem in town and then voila, story progresses. Anyhow, I walked into the bar and picked up another sidequest, deliver some message to family in another town, go strongarm some druggie girl for money etc. etc. Then I talked to some suspicious, well dressed character in the corner. This is where the game REALLY turned it upside down for me (and I will admit, caused me to have to reload a prior save).

The sketchy guy said he worked for some powerful people.. who wanted to basically get rid of the town.. wouldn’t give many details, just said that it paid really well. The quest was basically to detonate the a-bomb in the center of town. I turned it down because I’m inherently good :p and I had picked up all these other quests.. what would happen to all of those? I said I’d think about it and headed back out. I talked to the sheriff again as I was walking past to leave the town, and a new dialogue option had appeared to tell him about the guy who’s offering money for someone to blow up the town. The sheriff told me to follow him.

He ran up to the bar and confronted the guy with his rifle. After some initial questioning at gunpoint, to which the guy denied anything of the sort, the sheriff told him he was going to put him in jail for questioning. The sheriff tells sketchy guy to follow him and he leads him out of the bar. As he was leading him out of the bar.. sketchy guy pulls out a silenced 10mm and blows away the sheriff and then starts attacking me for ratting him out! This left me gah.. now BOTH disarm and explode the abomb quests are gone!

So I had to reload.. but due to autosave the sheriff is already confronting the guy.. so I had to shoot the sketchy guy to save the sheriff. Anyhow.. now I’m just doing some other sidequests which are pretty fun so far and leveling up some and gain some skills. Of course there are so many skills, that you have to specialize, I’m kinda specialized in small guns, sneaking, and hacking.. but yeah.. not sure If I really need the “big guns” skill later or what.

Really a cool game so far.

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First Impressions: 35mm F2.0 by sadd3j

Terry’s new lens.. circa 1950. The box looks like its older than me. I have to run out so here’s a few photos I got in the supermarket before I had too much in my basket to take photos.. and the looks I got toting a 5D in No Frills.

As you can see, DOF is hard to come by.. in the 2nd shot.. f6.3 and still not as much in focus as I’d like.

1/400 at f2.0, ISO 400, 35mm

1/100 at f6.3, ISO 1000, 35mm

1/320 at f2.0, ISO 320, 35mm

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Long awaited post by JasonC

Alright, here are some pics of my place…well…pics of the interesting parts..my home theatre set.
And a little review of the roomba.

Here’s my TV and all the front speakers, see my sub on that little nice ikea shelf.
I know…but this is the best setup I can get with the oddly shaped room.
TV and front speakers

This my my new PC built to do all my media stuff, everything in it costed me around $550. There’s the trusty WRT54GL at the back with extended antenna.
HTPC

Receiver and ps3. I didn’t buy that GT5 Prologue..my brother bought it thinking it was a bargain…until I told him what prologue means…
Receiver/PS3

Here’s one of my back speaker with the roomba. It’s pretty stable (the stand), just as long as no one like pushes on it or anything. Have yet to think of a way to secure it more.
Back speaker and roomba

Here’s the rest of the living room stuff, the sofa and the other speaker.
The rest

This is actually day two of roomba, some how it ripped my antenna off which was laying against the window behind it. Antenna’s used for HDTV OTA.
Roomba mischief

And more mischief..pulled the small rug off that’s covering the cables running across. I’m going to put down some cable concealer bar thing across, so the carpet’s temp.
More roomba mischief

The roomba actually did alright this time around…did got back home, after limiting it to do living room and hallway. The day one of roomba, it got lost in the master washroom. Another thing I found is that it uses its bumper more than I thought it would. I find the bumper all dirtied up after a run. Hope it’s not doing any damage…

More to come when I have more time…….not anytime soon haha..

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