Monday, March 24, 2008

Stuff 03 : Sony MDR-EX71SL Fontopia In-The-Ear Headphones

Despite having mentioned my Rio Karma does a good job of driving the Sennheiser HD580s, I do not normally bowl down the North East Corridor Line with a pair of giant cans on my ears.

The Sony MDR-EX71SL Fontopia In-The-Ear Headphones are a massive step up from the nasty things which come with most iPod/mp3 players. Oh, the ones that came with your player are very good? Well, try some after-market headphones then tell me that.

The MDRs require a little getting used to, and I know some people find them quite unpleasant. The 'phones fit right into your ear. There is a set of different sized grommets which enable a snug fit. However, if you find them comfortable this type of earphone gives a phenomenal increase in sound quality - deep bass and crystal clear high-frequencies.

There is also a high degree of isolation. I find them much better than sound-cancelling headphones on flights, out performing a much more expensive set of active sound-cancelling headphones I have. Of course, this means they're plain dangerous in other circumstances, like cycling - not that listening to music while cycling is a good idea anyway ...

I've got through about four sets of these headphones so you can tell I've been pleased with them. However, I'm considering trying some of the new Sennheisers or even Etymotics if I'm feel particularly flush ...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

5 Boro Bike Tour, 2008

Hmmmm ... received my rider number and bib today.

I really need to get back on my bike!!!

Anyway, if you happen to be there look out for rider 38495. That will be me then.

Gulp ...

* See how I got on here.
* see my Bike Index here

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Adele : Joe's Pub NYC, part III

Can you believe my luck???

After breaking my neck to get tickets for this gig I went down with a bad attack of the lurgy ... bad stomach, bad head, like 'flu only not as nice ...

So I missed Adele at Joe's Pub ... Can someone leave a review here so I can feel even worse?

NYT review here ... another here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Stuff 02 : RioVolt PSX100

I think I'm over being an Early Adopter. I am now convinced never to buy software before version 3 or after version 4. Wait until the hardware I like is superseded by the latest megagiga whatsit ... and the item is in the remainder pages.

Having said that, I have been fairly lucky on the early adoption front in many respects; Sansui AU-317 amplifier, the Rio Karma, wifi and my old RioVolt PSX100 cd/mp3 player, as examples.

Yes ... Rio again ... whatever happened to them? They produced some of the best and most loved music player hardware around and still went bust ... Oh well.

Anyway, my RioVolt PSX100 is still going strong despite being at least eight years old. It has even been possible to upgrade the firmware because iRiver still use a compatible chipset in their models, so everything's still up to date.

*See my hifi / media index here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Musée des Beaux Arts : W.H. Auden

The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

HiFi 07 : Sennheiser HD580 Headphones

When the Sennheiser HD580 headphones came out in the UK they had a couple of bad reviews.

Consequentially, a few months later I just popped into my local hifi store and was offered these at an absolute bargain price. I mean, a fraction of their original cost. How could I refuse?

Well, I found nothing wrong with them. In fact they went on to be regarded as one of the top high-end headphones and are still regarded as classics. So much for hifi reviews. In the end, trust your ears.

These are great 'phones. Extremely comfortable, incredible sound, fantastic dynamics ... and even my Rio Karma can drive them.

At the moment I'm using them direct from my Marantz CD5001. Not quite as dynamic as through the Sansui, but still pretty good for recreational listening.

Vastly superior to your average .mp3 player and ear buds.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Spring iz sprung; the grass iz riz ...

... I wonder where the cyclists iz?

I've gone and done it now ... 42 miles around New York's Five Boroughs; Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

The Five Boro Bike Tour is the USA's largest bike event. 30,000 riders converge on NYC for the chance to ride on closed roads and visit each of the boroughs which constitute the city.

The die is cast. I've paid my entry fee so I'm committed. I'd better start riding soon.

I've got a practice run to aim for; The 2008 Tour de Franklin. Hopefully I'll make it ... I'd better get a move on ...

Tour de Franklin : Sunday, April 27, 2008
Five Boro Bike Tour : Sunday, May 4, 2008