Two words? Headphone heaven. Two more? Read further. The first time I came across these headphones was about five years ago. I was browsing the web for G-d knows what and accidentally ended up at the Grado RS1 product page. The page design was outdated (and hasn't changed since!), the headphones looked weird, and I most likely ended up sending a link to one of my friends commenting on their preposterous price (which hasn't changed since, either). Well, about two and a half years ago I got me a pair of Grado SR80. At $95, these headphones are the second cheapest in the Grado offering, but they've made me an instant fan of the brand. The first night I brought them home, I ended up doing nothing but laying on the couch listening to two cd's back to back. Who does that anymore? With all the cable channels, the internet, and the video games, nobody just listens to music anymore. Sober, anyway. Yes, the SR80's are that good. At $95 they simply can not be beat, the tight bass, the clarity of the mids and the treble, and just the ability to hear each instrument separately was new to me. Needless to say, when I decided it was time for a headphone upgrade, I knew I wouldn't be buying anything other then a set from Grado. Grado GS1000 looked very appealing, but who has $995 to spend on a pair of headphones? So, the RS1 it was. Having put about 15 hours on them, I am still not done breaking them in, but they have already impressed me a great deal. Way clearer then the RS80's and a much wider sound stage. The mp3's encoded at 192k/s don't cut it anymore. To get the fullest out of them you probably need LP's and CD's, but even listening to mp3's encoded at 320k/s gave me goosebumps. Listening to Digicult's Icarus One brought back (ahem!) some college memories and made me grind my teeth. Listening to Enya's Winter Came album lowered my blood pressure dangerously low. And they did a damn good job conveying Collie Budz' disdain for fawkin' hataz. In all seriousness, you simply have to check out the way the guitar sounds on Collie Budz' Moving On with the RS1's. To conclude - money well spent!
Here's my test setup - the RS1's with my Cowon S9. These two are great paired together, as the S9 can easily drive them at half volume - I usually have it on volume 20-25 out of 40. Also, I highly recommend exploring the BBE equalizers available on that player.
I'll be testing the RS1's with my hometheater set up shortly. I am sure t
As I've mentioned, my old mp3 player, Cowon D2, died a painful death last week, so it was time for an upgrade. Got my brand spankin' new Cowon S9 16 gig a week ago and I am loving it. The s9 has a 3.3 MOLED display - that's right not an LCD - and you can definitely see the difference. The screen is bright, the colors are rich, and the dynamic range is excellent. Some other properties of MOLED displays are that they are light and consume a lot less power then LCD displays which, I am guessing, makes for a smaller/lighter battery. This makes itself known even before you turn the unit on, as not only will the S9 fit into any of your pockets, but you'll end up checking up on it to make sure its still there. It's that light! Only 77 grams (~2.7 oz).
To keep this short and sweet I won't cut and paste the Cowon press release nor will I cut and paste the full tech specs (you can see them here). Here are the highlights:
- Is very light and portable
- Everything about the MOLED display is amazing - great color, contrast, and is very watchable under even the most extreme of angles.
- Supports your favortie formats: XVID, WMV9, MP3, FLAG, OGG, etc.
- Is mass storage compliant
- FM radio sounds great and is recordable at up to 256k/s
- Built in microphone (and line in!) records at up to 256 k/s
- Bluetooth headphone/speaker support
- Has dedicated buttons for volume, play/pause, fast forward/rewind, so you wont have to fish it out of your pocket every time you'ld want to control any of those functions
- Flash support! Custom themes are already available - or make your own! Can play flash games as well.
And in the interest of fairness, here are the "negatives":
- Though the unit is mass storage compliant, the cable itself is not the regular mini USB cable, but a 20 pin one. While it's not impossible to find if a replacement is needed, it's a potential inconvenience. You'll need to carry yours around if you'll need to copy files (or recharge) away from home.
- No SD slot, so it's not expandable.
- The menu system can be somewhat fiddly, but not a big obstacle (specially for previous Cowon owners).
Now you might be wondering why I put quotes around the word negatives. The reason is that I don't believe that those things I've listed take anything away from the fact that the Cowon S9 is a great portable audio/video player. The 20 pin cable doesn't affect the sound, does it? The lack of an SD slot... Well, Cowon did not market S9 as a media library, hence, I think 16 gig memory is a reasonable amount of musuic to have on the go. As fo the menus, it just takes getting used to. I am sure that this paragraph makes me sound like a Cowon fanboy... Well, I am, and before you blame me - pick up the S9, hook it up to a pair of Grado SR80 and then get back to me.
Oh, and bout those grados, stay tuned as they are getting upgraded to the RS 2's shortly...
I've refrained from posting on the events in Gaza recently. Mostly because I feel that what's going on is obvious and speaks for itself. Unfortunately the reaction to Israel's defensive mission from most of the world is a fine display of how the two world wars were allowed to happen. People just chose to stick their heads in the sand and talk in cliches without taking the reality into account. You know, the whole diplomacy-must-be-given-a-chance shpiel from the peaceniks - never mind that it has been given quite a few chances over the course of decades and has failed. The european peaceniks will sing that song as long as the rockets are not falling on their heads. Anyway, I thought this article from the last week's New York Times encapsulates the Palestinian modus operandi quite well.
1. Hamas are firing from the civilian areas, Palestinian civilians get hurt:
He said Hamas militants next to his apartment building had fired mortar and rocket rounds. Israel
fired back with force, and his apartment was hit. His wife, Albina,
originally from Ukraine, and his 1-year-old son were killed.
The above is from Dr. Awni al-Jaru, a Palestinian surgeon.
2. Palestinian gunmen are using civilian houses: But he insisted. “We are fighting the Israelis,” he said. “When we fire
we run, but they hit back so fast. We run into the houses to get away.”
He continued smiling.
Above is an admission from an Islamic Jihad gunman, and he has another one below.
3. Palestinian combatants don't care about the Palestinian civilians:
“Why are you so happy?” this reporter asked. “Look around you.”
girl who looked about 18 screamed as a surgeon removed shrapnel from
her leg. An elderly man was soaked in blood. A baby a few weeks old and
slightly wounded looked around helplessly. A man lay with parts of his
brain coming out. His family wailed at his side.
“Don’t you see that these people are hurting?” the militant was asked.
I am from the people, too,” he said, his smile incandescent. “They lost
their loved ones as martyrs. They should be happy. I want to be a
Not much concern there - you'ld think that Europeans would be protesting the Hamas (who, by the way, started this conflict by firing rockets into Israel), but I guess Europeans will always be Europeans.
The Executive Chef holds no purview over any of the desserts or pastries served at the White House. The Executive Pastry Chef operates as a separate entity, but coordinates with the Executive Chef for all meals and events.
Well, I guess it was bound to happen. After taking 2+ years of abuse, my mp3 player, Cowon D2, has finally died. Honestly, in retrospect, I am surprised it took this long given that it has lived in my messenger bag (in my pocket when in use) the whole time, sharing its space with a variety of cameras, my Thermos bottle, and a number of books. Its latest brush with death came about two months ago after I dropped it on the subway platform (I am about 6'1" tall). The power switch got stuck, but I was able to fix it by taking the D2 apart and guiding the spring back into its place. I am not sure how exactly the screen got cracked, but as I've mentioned - it was bound to happen, and I bet an Apple product would've croaked into its second week. The LCD still works fine, by the way, but the touch functionality is gone, rendering it pretty much useless.
I am a huge Cowon fan, hence the D2's replacement will be another Cowon. The great thing about the Cowon products is that they are packed to the gills with features. Not gimmicky ones either, but things one would actually use - FM radio, built in microphone, almost every audio and video format support under the sun, mass storage compliance (that's right, no iTunes!) and most importantly - it sounds great! I got my sights set on the Cowon S9, a personal media player with a 3.3" touch AMOLED (lighter, brighter, and better contrast then LCD) screen. The S9 will effectively retire my Cowon A2 as my on the go video player. I am ordering a 16 gig one tonight, so stay tuned for a review coming up in the next few days.
I've been a fan of the Fallout series ever since I played Fallout Tactics back in 2001, so the release of Fallout 3 was something I was looking forward to. Unfortunately (or as it turned out to be - fortunately), I haven't gotten the chance to try it out until friday. Am I glad it's a borrowed copy, cause man, what a disappointment. The game is buggy as hell and the frame rate is super chopppy. There's absolutely no reason why this game shouldn't run smooth as silk on a hardware platform as strong as PS3. We have seen a great line up on the PS3, games like Call of Duty 4 & 5, Unchartered: Dranke's Fortune, and, ofcourse, Metal Gear Solid 4, so obvoiusly it is not the hardware. I am absolutely not buying anything from Bethesda (Fallout 3's publisher) in the near future and I am not too happy with Sony, either. Sony is a premium brand and generally make a good product, so why would they push this one through the door and certify it with it being way less than perfect? The game is virtually unplayable on the PS3 and if SONY starts to dilute the reputation of their brand with antics like these, their loyal customers will start wondering why they are shelling out the extra $ for a SONY.