I finally watched "Return of the King"

and it reminded of one thing: War is an ugly thing. Great movie tho.

Modern media has really take a turn for the hyper-realistic in movies and games. This has really brought a vision of things like war that many of us have never seen. The first 20 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan" is an excellent example of this: There are few moments in entertainment history as intense as what was put together by Spielberg in that piece of work. The massive computer rendering of the battles in the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy are another example. Some of the scenes just show battlefields littered with casualties and corpses alike. The aftermath of which I shudder to think of.

On the games front, Battlefield 1942 and Battlefield 2 both give an intensity of experience that I never thought I could have from a box with a mouse, keyboard, and a pair of headphones. I remember the first time I played the Normandy map on Battlefield 1942 on a full 64 man server. It was just insane. Hearing the bullets whiz by while crouched in a landing craft, crawling up a beach to cover, praying that I'm not the guy the German players see from the machine gun nests up the cliff. For a video game, the experience really burned itself onto my mind, and makes me thankful for those who have heard bullets whistling over their heads and seen their fellow officer or soldier fall in the line of duty. I say thanks again for doing what you did so I can speak American English as opposed to American German.

I have met people who participated in the Normandy Invasion, and I sometimes want to ask them about it, but shy away from it, since it may bring back some bad memories. The last thing I want to do to those I respect is to open "old wounds", so to speak. So I experience what they did as viscerally as I can, and remind myself that they had this same experience turned up 1000 magnitudes, with no hope of a respawn. It gives me pause.

So anyway, the movie was great. I shall own it on DVD.

On other notes, my 30 year old Sherwood receiver died last weekend. I am not one to go without some sort of stereo for any length of time, so I went to the local audiophile shop and said "I want a used 2 channel integrated or preamp/poweramp combo for not too much coin, that sounds good." My preliminary analysis on the $325 that I spent there is *very* positive.

Sound Ideas is just around the corner from me. They're the only audiophile location in Gainesville that I know. They've been there for 15 years, so they know what niche they're filling, and how to fill it while making a buck. My kind of store. Dave (the guy behind the counter) knew *exactly* what I was looking for when I told him what I wanted. I threw out a couple of well known manufacturers in my price range (NAD being the one that I remember offhand), and he said he had a preamp/power amp set that would fulfill all of my requirements.

The Parasound P/HP 850 he had a floor piece that had went out to a customer's site for a week. The customer brought it back stating that the entire system that she had purchased was too complex for her taste, and she wanted a wireless remote. The unit itself is pretty simple and straight forward. Turn it on, select what you want, turn it up. Adjust bass and treble knobs to your liking, or bypass for unadulterated sound. My kind of setup. A wireless remote would have been nice, but I was already accustomed to not having one, so I won't miss it.

The Yamaha M4 power amp is a dead simple power amp. Elegant in design, basically 2 monoblocks using a shared power supply in a single box. Very few controls and connections (stereo in, 2 sets of stereo speaker out, gain knobs for each channel, and a switch to allow the amp to pass DC for servo driven speakers, power switch, speaker A and speaker B switches, and an unswitched aux power port), with 120 watts/channel of power. Again, my kind of setup.

Michelle noted that there seemed to be more detail to the music. I immediately noticed when I first put in Pink Floyd's "Division Bell", the first track has a tiny organ pad just floating in the background. What I hadn't noticed before was the fact that it had the "Wurlitzer Warble" on it. Kinda cool.

Anyway, enough for now

Edit: Had to hack the quoted table to get it to work right. The preview mode doesn't work as expected.

Edit 2: Found real data on M4.


Shawn said...

What... you didn't spring for dual tube monoblock amps? You know, you can now get solder-yourself kits for those, for very little coin...

They are generally much lower power than your Yamaha... but it's *tube* power. MMMmmmmm all warm and buttery.

Check out Antique Electronic Supply, where you can get an audiophile-grade integrated stereo (dual monoblock in one case, basically) tube amp for $139.50, or a pair of individual monoblock amps for $89.50 each. For that price, I'd go with the stereo amp.

Of course, you already have an amp... and those I listed above are only 8w per channel.

Shawn said...

Also, check *this* guy's project out... 80w/channel rms all tube dual monoblock amp.

CaptSlaq said...

Price aside, there's a few reasoms for me to avoid tubes.
* Tubes are too fiddly for me and the way I like my life to run. Remember, I'm the quitessential "plug and play" kinda guy when it comes to enjoying music.
* I don't really have space for a pair of HUGE monoblocks.
* Small apt + tube power == heat. While it doesn't bother me much, Michelle wouldn't care for it one bit.
* The PA speakers that I use aren't *that* good to really justify a nice set of tube monoblocks to push them. Plus, they are power hungry.
If a few of these were different from the reality that I have right now (along with the coin, of course), I might have looked for tube power. I'm *very* happy with the setup I have for now. It's a good base to build on when I have the cash to purchase some B&W speakers. I like the amp so well, that if I decide to go multi channel, I will dig for another one of these M4 units. :)