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* Posts by M_W

27 posts • joined 17 Mar 2012

VINYL is BACK and you can thank Sonos for that

M_W

Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

"Nonsense. CDs were originally mastered on high-quality analogue tapes, and then on digital systems. There was some equipment that could record digital audio onto videotape, which was used by some people for portable work and by some small studios, but it was developed long after CDs became common."

Really? I always was told 44.1Khz was chosen because it fitted U-Matic's horizontal sync rate. It could quite easily have been they chose U-Matic because it was convenient.

For AAD discs, very true about Analogue. You'd bounce down from your Multi-Track Analogue (In our case a 48-track Otari) to a 2-track analogue tape (Tascam) and bung it out via courier. But not when people started to insist on DDD mastering.

Initially we used to send masters to DADC Austria on U-Matic tapes. There was a PCM unit linked to a U-Matic video which recorded the PCM mixdown output the mastering team did from the Sony DASH multi-track.

The U-Matic was soon replaced by DAT tapes, and the Sony replaced by Alesis ADAT and ultimately by Hard Disk storage when it was reliable enough.

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M_W

Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings - Laser Turntable

You can get one - it's made by a Japanese Company called ELP. (Not Emerson, Lake and Palmer) and it costs you, ahem, $16,000 plus shipping from Japan. And if you want a wood finish, then it's a bit more. And need to read 78's? Another $3k.

http://www.elpj.com/

It's not digital though - even though it uses a laser. It just measures the reflection angle and converts that to analogue audio. So the downside is unless your record is amazingly clean it does pick up dust and everything else on the record.

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M_W

Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings

I'm not sure that Blu-Ray is even Lossy any more, it's only lossy if you use a legacy decoder.

DTS-MA, for example, is a Lossless encode, but it's clever in that it's a lossy encode (DTS) with a Diff from the lossless added, so a normal DTS decoder sees the lossy DTS stream, but a DTS-MA decoder sees the whole lossless piece.

Dolby TrueHD is also Lossless - it uses the properly good Meridian Lossless Packing (MLP) which used to be used on DVD-Audio but only at 9.6Mbits/s. MLP on Blu-Ray via the TrueHD stream is 18Mbits/s

The given reason for the Red-Book standard being as it was, was partially as you say due to the PCM encoding of video also being 44.1Khz (the masters of CD's used to be stored on Videotapes) and the length was due to the VP of Sony arbritarily setting the length of a CD to 74 minutes because that was the length of a specific version of Beethoven's 9th Symphony - although Philips seem to imply that may be urban legend :)

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M_W

Re: Daft compared to CDs

The "loudness war" is becoming a nightmare. It's all down to the record companies wanting their tracks to stand out when you're scanning the radio. Listen to 'Capital' on DAB vs something like Radio 2 (even Radio 1 does it, but much less than Capital) and you'll see my point. Not only is the track pre-compressed to within an inch of it's life, but then re-compressed again on broadcast, sometimes with a BBE enhancer in the broadcast chain for good measure.

Masterers now don't seem to know how to create masters without it being compressed to within an inch of digital distortion (and beyond in many cases on iTunes). I hanker for the sound of the old Drawmer Valve compressors vs just using a stock Alesis compressor.

Quite a few artists now release different versions of an album if you look around - a loudness war mastered version for chavs to listen to via their iPhone 6 plus speakers on the bus, which the mastering teams push out, and a non-compressedtofuck version which appears usually on Vinyl or via a 96Khz/24bit Lossless Download.

A few that spring to mind that have done this recently were Nine Inch Nails, Peter Gabriel and Daft Punk.

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M_W

C'mon

The technics were great but sound quality wasn't amazing with a DJ cartridge unless you put a decent cartridge in it. I seem to remember them having the Ortofon (whoretofon) concorde cartridges in them.

When it came to Vinyl turntables, the one I always lusted after was the Michell Gyro Dec. When set up correctly, not only did it sound utterly divine (this, a decent japanese MC woodshell cartridge, a rega arm, the HC psu, a decent phono stage, a quad amp and quad electrostatic speakers was the ultimate setup in mind) it looked like a work of art. You can still buy them now for the princely sum of £1500 for the turntable,

http://www.michell-engineering.co.uk/turntables/gyrodec/

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M_W

Re: Thank Sonos for the resurgence of vinyl?

Lol. I inherited a Lenco turntable from my Grandparents - it was actually branded as Goldring, but it had the dustbug along with all the usual accoutriments.

I sold it and ended up buying a Pink Triangle PT-TOO. Never sure it was actually any better :)

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Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch

M_W

Re: Says it is for right handers only

Yep - this was the first thing that crossed my mind when I saw it.

Apparently, Apple say there will be an option to choose orientation when you first boot the watch, so you can have it 'upside down' and the orientation be OK. Also, the straps can be fitted either way, so you can just have the crown bottom left rather than top right.

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Apple's ONE LESS THING: the iPod Classic disappears

M_W

They've already started to go up in price

I was looking the other day, before yesterday's announcement, and it already seems as though the prices have skyrocketed on Amazon and on Ebay.

I suppose the only other option now is a 128Gb iPhone 6 or hammer your 3G/4G data allowance and use iTunes match.

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We need to talk about SPEAKERS: Sorry, 'audiophiles', only IT will break the sound barrier

M_W

Re: Er...what?

Do the BBC still use Rogers LS3/5a speakers?

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M_W

Re: Be careful what you ask for.

That was always the problem with the Yamaha NS-10m's (the white coned ones) - they are amazing speakers, with stunning (and unmatched for a long time) time-domain performance.

However, you listen to them for a while and whilst accurate, they sound really tiring. Too clinical.

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M_W

Re: Er...what?

I remember a pretty famous audiophile magazine doing a blind cable test. They tested all kinds of exotic cables - but the source material and hardware all stayed the same - just the cables were swapped.

The winner?

It was B&Q 13A solid copper mains Twin and Earth - the bog standard 1.5mm stuff.

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Ofcom to BT Openreach: From now on, you'd better kill 70% of gremlins within 2 days

M_W

Re: FTTP - see Verizon, JT, etc

Agreed - although it gets worse than that. If they hadn't been such cheapskates after privatisation in the 80's and put so much aluminium rather than copper underground, it wouldn't be in such a crap state either.

Only way we'll get FTTP now is with govt investment. Openreach will never do it off their own back.

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The enemy of my enemy is my, well, temporary ally: Apple and Microsoft in pact against Google

M_W

Did anyone else see the enormous u-turn here?

Back in 2008, Apple morphed .mac into MobileMe and had a feature called iDisk, which was essentially the same thing as Dropbox but integrated into the OS on both the iPhone and Mac. I used to use it all the time - was quite useful to keep stuff in the cloud at the time. It was the days before Google Drive, and not many people used Dropbox.

Then in 2011 it announced iCloud and killed iDisk in the process. And Google Drive appeared almost at the same time and Dropbox grew and grew.

Now it's announced iCloud Drive. Isn't that Apple just turning back on the iDisk service that it turned off in 2012 when it killed MobileMe?

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E-cigarettes help you quit – but may not keep you alive

M_W

Re: "less tobacco tax and less premature deaths..."

Totally agree. And having a significant other who works for the NHS, the amount of time A&E spend dealing with pissed up people on a Saturday night is unbelievable.

Although the stats are interesting.

Alcohol related issues cost the NHS £3.5Bn in 2011-2012.

Smoking related issues reputedly cost the NHS £5.2bn in 2009

I can't seem to find the stats for the same year, but they must be around.

But even more than that is fixing obese people which apparently costs the NHS £6bn a year. Thus the current campaign on healthy eating.

I do wonder if these may be circles in the same Venn diagram - how much crossover or double or tripe counting is there between these three figures? There's a likely potential that a fat, smoking alcoholic will be counted three times?

Nonetheless, vaping must be much less carcinogenic than traditional smoking. I'm all for it.

I'm also an Ex smoker - smoked around 10 Marlboro lights a day for 14 years, till I quit 14 years ago, almost to the day. I quit by buying 200 fags duty-free after a holiday, sitting at a party, drinking shedloads and binge smoking the entire carton, and made myself very sick. Never touched one again!

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Windows 8.1 Update: Throws desktop drones a bone but still as TOUCHY as ever

M_W
FAIL

Authenticated Proxy Issue for Modern Apps

Is still not fixed in 8.1 Update. If you're using some full screen modern apps (see eBay or Yammer as an example) and you're on a corporate network behind an ISA or TMG proxy which requires AD authentication, they just don't work.

In 8 - many Metro apps weren't even proxy aware - in 8.1 they added proxy support for metro apps, but didn't support ISA/TMG auth proxy and told us they were 'working on it'.

They promised this fix for 8.1 Update but still not there. It's down to some modern apps (in the main) not using the IE back end for proxy like Outlook and other normal Apps do. It's not an app developer thing to fix, though - it's for Microsoft to fix and they know that.

If you wireshark the conversation - you can see the client trying to use the proxy, the proxy request user authentication and immediately the app goes 'pop' and complains about network connection. Dur.

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Plusnet shunts blame for dodgy DNS traffic onto customers' routers

M_W
Big Brother

I know it's contentious in a free internet

But if most ISP's have some rudimentary content filtering enabled now as per the govt's requirements, blocking access to specific websites which are deemed 'unsavoury', why aren't they adding rules to block access to these DNS pharming IP addresses?

I know those of us who are IT savvy are smart enough to sort these issues ourselves, but the majority of the populous who have no idea at all about DNS addresses and patching routers probably could do with a bit of hand holding and this wouldn't be heavy handed.

Agreed - it will increase the level of calls to the ISP's due to people's internet connections stopping working, but in some cases what that might do is force people to actually look at their router config or prompt them into seeking assistance to fix the problem?

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Winklevoss: I have put my MOUTH where my MONEY IS

M_W

Re: You got an ologist

I know that. I remember it being on TV the first time. With the gormless looking lad and Maureen finishing the cake.

Hull is always proud of the fact that she's one of the only famous people to have come from Hull. Her and Joe Longthorne.

Please note that any use of intentional malapropisms may be punished.

:)

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M_W

You got an ologist

You're a scientist.

(cf Maureen Lipman, BT) :)

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Three offers free US roaming, confirms stealth 4G rollout

M_W

Re: York

Yep - York does have 4G although it's quite patchy. You will get it on Coney Street but it disappears halfway down Tadcaster Road. It doesn't cover south-west York, only north and east.

With relation to Weaverthorpe - It's probably because the TX there is very new - I remember TMobile putting the TX up - it's on the top ridge road from Weaverthorpe over the wold down towards Sherburn.

All the locals are on EE - we all knew that Orange/EE is the only carrier that gets service - they almost have a bit of a monopoly there!

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Windows 7 outstrips Windows 8.x with small November growth

M_W

That'll be the sound of the rush

Of people moving off XP and onto W7 before April.

In a large corporate, we have to realise that not everyone who uses a computer will have the skill levels we all have as IT Pro's. It may take us a couple of hours to get used to it, but many regular joe users will find Win8.1 daunting unless you give them lots of hand holding. WinXP to Win7 is less of a leap from a user perspective and allows a business to (I hate this phrase, sorry) have a "quick win".

Once Win8.1 becomes popular in the home environment - self 'consumer' training, and people are used to it, it will be an easier process in the corporate environment.

IMHO Win8.1 is very nice (Am typing this on it right now) but there are some very quirky problems with it due to the consumerisation of the OS. Such as it asking for Windows live accounts even in a corporate environment and the metro apps problem.

So - until Microsoft fix the own-goal apps issue (Metro apps can't use authenticated proxies like Microsoft's own ISA or TMG due to them using the WinHTTP stack rather than the WinInet stack - it is a known bug and was meant to be fixed in 8.1) most large corps will stick on W7 rather than get a deluge of calls saying 'it doesn't work'. Putting in a non-authenticated proxy isn't an option btw :)

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Tracking the history of magnetic tape: A game of noughts and crosses

M_W
Happy

Fascinating

Excellent article and really brings back some memories. Cheers!

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Finns, roamers, Nokia: So long, and thanks for all the phones

M_W
Happy

They totally missed the boat

I remember in 2008 doing a direct comparison between an iPhone 3G which I had just got, and a Nokia 5800 Xpressmusic which one of my friends had.

He said 'Have a look at this, I can play iPlayer on my TV from my phone'.

Correct - he could, but it was shocking quality. Really blocky, very bad quality, very poor frame rate.

I then pulled out my apple AV cable and did the same thing via the iPhone. Perfect SD quality video without any issue, and then when the HDMI cables came out, perfect HD quality via the old iPhone 4.

And that was the simple thing - Nokia's devices were a briliant phone that happened to do things like data or video, but badly.

Apple made a device that was a computer and media content device first, and a phone second. And was easy to use. We all know how sodding bad an iPhone is as an actual phone. It's pants - drops calls all the time and much of the time will sit without ringing and then popping up a notification for a voicemail from the call you never got.

But maybe that is what people want now - a computer with apps in their pocket, not necessarily to make calls on it so much - you only have to look at how tariffs have changed to have unlimited voice and texts but limited data to see how the telco's have spun things 180 degrees.

So the only way that Microsoft / Nokia can get back in the game is to grow the apps side of their business. That is what keeps Android and Apple going.

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Certain people rejoice! AC/DC finally available on iTunes

M_W

Loudness War

Yep, confirmed. They've been Loudness War mastered, or 'Mastered for iTunes' if you like.

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New Mac mini: Business in the front, party at the back

M_W

Re: 500MB hard disk eh?

The Mac Mini's come with a HDMI to DVI adaptor in the box - http://www.apple.com/uk/mac-mini/specs.html

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Foxconn chief: we're gearing up for Apple 'iTV'

M_W

It's pointless for the UK market

As with all Apple things, they seem to fixate on the US market and Apple UK obviously don't have any way of pushing stuff we like over here. So it'll be an Apple iTV with Netflix and iTunes vs a SmartTV with iPlayer, 4OD, Lovefilm, Netflix, DLNA etc.. etc..

I have an Apple TV 2 and it's OK - but it desperately needs the proper UK TV catchup services to be a big seller in the UK and with Apple it's unlikely to ever happen.

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PC World, Currys, Dixons websites all go titsup

M_W
FAIL

Re: Cable Cuts

The phrase that pays is 'Assured Seperacy' - and talking nicely to the Openreach planners when they come to do the surveys.

I think the IT director of DSG will probably be looking at a P45 tomorrow as the amount of money they'll have lost will have dwarfed the amount they would have paid for a proper diverse internet link.

And why don't they have a load balanced Business Continuity hosting site elsewhere in a data centre in case this happens?

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Eight... AirPlay speakers

M_W

Looks nice

But if you want a proper airplay solution, surely a nice set of small Monitor Audio speakers, even a basic Cambridge Audio amp and an Airport Express as the Airplay device would sound 1000% better than any of these one box solutions on test, and potentially cost around the same?

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