Tag Archive | Exquisite electronics

2015/2016 New Year wrap-up

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As 2016 is soon to be upon us, I’d like to just have a quick glance back at this years happenings.

All the way back in March I hinted this with a quick post, but I moved out of my parents house and into an apartment for the first time in my life.
I knew some friends and family my age and younger that already had moved out but it took me until this year to do so.

I actually did start looking at apartments back in summer 2014, not seriously at first, but just as last years christmas descended upon us, I had managed to secure a place of my own, which I would get access to early this year. It took a few things coming together successfully, much like a delicate puzzle under a time limit, and quite some help from my parents to make this happen.

It took me longer than anticipated to actually move in but that was pretty much because of me, the apartment itself was actually in good nick and had received a somewhat recent make-over. Not having moved anywhere in my life before, packing things down effectively went so-so and it was only then I realized the full extent of my hoarder personality which had thrived quite well thanks an actual salary.

Also I wanted to wait until the last moment to move my computer, as I didn’t want it sitting in a box more than necessary.
So then when some of the other stuff, like temporary furniture and such was in place, we moved my bed and computer in one sitting. And the moment the bed moved, was when I officially moved out. I also got a few wooden chairs (surprisingly comfortable) and a (not so stable) folding table from a pair that was just cleaning out another apartment. Free stuff!

I remember it quite well. I moved during the weekend so that I would have grown a bit accustomed to things and not spend my entire morning getting ready for work with looking through the wrong cupboards.
The feeling was actually that of staying in a hotel. It was an odd but not all unpleasant feeling.

After a week it did feel like home though. And it really does now.

So yeah, moving out was the really big thing in 2015.

And if words bore you, here are some photos for your amusement:
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I also hope you realize I moved most boxes and crap outta the way when taking pictures. It’s quite much more of a mess IRL 😀

Bonus f00d pr0n:

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Also got me a temporary oldschool gaming setup going now:

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It’ll probably be the way it is for way too long to be called “temporary” but it’s a start. Here in December I actually sat down and played through Snatcher on the PC Engine, which was nice. Otherwise I’ve spent most of my time gaming on PC thanks since I upgraded my PC a little bit and there were indeed some good games out this year. I spent a lot of time with Metal Gear Solid V when that came out, for example.

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I also dabbled more with speakers and hifi-stuff this year. During the late summer I attempted to switch from my Mission 752 tower speakers to something more modern. I first ran the standmount-route and after some comparison made the rash decision to get a pair of Dali Zensor 3s. I demoed the Wharfedale 10.2 and Boston Acoustics A26 before deciding, but looking back those two were probably more in line of my preferences. But I wanted something a bit different sounding and got carried away.

After not really getting along with the sound signature (personal opinion, speakers were quite impressive technically) I went the floorstanding route again and ended up with a pair of Audio Pro Avanto 5.0s. These have been rather good. Chesty if run in full-range or crossed low but as one might expect a bit much in my small living room. So I am once again thinking of maybe getting another pair of bookshelf speakers…we’ll just have to see what I end up doing in 2016.

I also ended up getting a new portable music player, the Sony NWZ-A17. This one (64gb ver) I had to get from Massdrop as the Sony was 1) quite expensive here in Sweden and 2) not available with the larger memory (bit priced almost as high).
It’s been really good. The back/option buttons are slightly mushy though but other than that works well. I’ve been using Sony DAPs since my Creative Zen Micro died and I got a Sony NWZ-A818 instead, which I wrote about long ago.

As for drawing, I’ve been hanging out on /r/animesketch way more than my DA account this year. Fun place, go have a look!

And now I really don’t have time to sit here and write away anymore!
Again, see you 2016! /o/

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Oh hey, kickstarted things…

Back in 2013, before I took a brief lengthy hiatus writing things here, I mentioned two very interesting Kickstarter campaigns. One was for the western release of the original Bubblegum Crisis OVA on Blu-ray and the other was for SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works, a fancy book dedicated to well, the Sega Mega Drive.

As you might know, not only did those successfully finish their fundraising, but also the actual products as well. Neato!
As I don’t have too much experience with crowd funding, and while I can see the same problem as everyone else, it does feel like a fresh way of doing things, and also a way to vote with your money to get what you want. When that works….that is.

If we tackle the book first, it’s a really cool book. It’s big, chunky and absolute eye candy if you have…feelings for Sega’s 16-bit system.
I regret to say I haven’t read the whole book yet, as in with the words, but I’ve looked through it multiple times and it’s just a matter of me finding time to properly wind down with this sleek read.

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With that, we’ll move on to the BGC Blu-ray which, unsurprisingly, is just delicious. I never owned the DVD release or had a high quality rip on my PC, so this was a real step up. No matter how much I love to have the show on LaserDisc, this is just better. Not the biggest fan of the multi colored subs, as they are rather too saturated, but there’s also non-colored subs available so it’s a non-problem really. Video and audio is, as expected, stellar. There are also some interesting extras, such as the Knight Sabers Holiday in Bali, which I can’t watch without cringing uncontrollably – but that might just be me.

Also getting access to a high quality scanned PDF version of BGC manga Grand Mal, among a few other things, is definitively a nice touch.

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Wrapping it up, I’m looking forward to whatever future projects might be next from the creators of both. Robert from AnimEigo seemed quite interested in maybe doing another kickstarter…
Here’s to hoping! /o/

New MiniDisc additions

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My little MiniDisc family has grown with another two members. Joining the collection is two popular Sony recorders.

Presenting the MZ-R50 and the MZ-R900:

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The R900 was, at the time, the player of choice for a friend of mine and the R50, in orange, was one of the very first units that really caught my eye when going to the list in the minidisc.org link he provided.

The MZ-R900 is pretty nice – I like the way I can set the bass. The menu also works well and I prefer the design of this remote to the newer one that came with my MZ-N10. It sounds great, but I haven’t done any serious comparisons with my other units. It came with a battery, but it lacks the charger so I’m running it with the battery cradle attached.

The R50 was bought untested but turned out to be working fine. Also came with a bunch of extras like a dozens of minidiscs and a bag, which alone would be worth the (great) price I paid. My only regret is that it’s the silver version and not the orange one. Nothing wrong with silver, but all my MD portables just happen to be silver units and a bit of color would look great there. And the R50 just looks so stunning in orange. Oh well.

The build quality feels pretty amazing, by the way. People have said it’s built like tank and I can only nod in agreement. Sure, for a portable, it’s a bit heavy (and large) but it sure feels good to touch.

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Speaking of robust MD recorders, sadly, the old MT832 I picked up in April last year just stopped reading the Table of Contents on discs the other day, giving an error message. Strange, as it felt just as sturdily built as the R50.

Luckily, the Sharp MD-DR77 I picked up from Yahoo Japan back in March is still working.
I’d say with this, my thirst for new MD units have been pretty much quenched. Although there are a couple of units out there I still want to play around with.

Oh, and as you can see I also picked up the classic KOSS PortaPro…cheap (well, sort of) and for the price well sounding.

Let’s end this post with just a bit more eye candy : )

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Recent pickups 15/6 2013

Just shoving my face in here for a quick loot post.

Picked up more video processing hardware from a user on the System11 SHMUPS forums: a Vigatec Dune-F.

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In terms of 240p performance, it seems to be essentially the same as my Vigatec FX2+, but I have yet to see it act up like the FX2+ could do when games change resolution mid-game. It looses sync and the image starts jumping. A quick reset fixes that but it’s hardly ideal. So if this works out well, I’ll be mighty pleased just by that. It also seems like it’s quite competent in other areas as well, but I’ve yet to try any new systems with it since I haven’t got the adapter I need yet (and I picked up this thing just yesterday).

Also, some games have made their way into my post box.

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All nice ones. I may already have Ridge Racer 7 but it really feels more right playing RR6 using the 360 controller. Those triggers are great for racing games. The music’s also pretty great, well, some tracks are. Happy to own Gyakuten Saiban on DS, or as we know it, Ace Attorney. I have played most of the games in the series, but through less legal means (sadly) so to get a proper version feels great. I have made it through the Japanese version once before, it shall be interesting to see if I can do it again.

Speaking of JP versions, getting Rockman EXE 3/Mega Man Battle Network 3 has got me absolutely stoked. I have a bit of history with the first three MMBN games and anime series it spawned, so this was a very nice thing to pick up and I’ll be sure to give it a whirl. I actually picked up the second game last year, and I beat it (well, the story mode anyway) so hopefully I’ll be able to repeat that feat. I’m only used to play these games using an emulator, after all.

Snatcher for the PC Engine is another one that I look forward to getting into. I already own the Saturn version, but after comparing the two, I really wanted to play the PCE version instead. Stoked about that one as well, even though the case has got a few blemishes.
Wing Arms for the Saturn I haven’t tried yet but I’ve watched a bit of gameplay and it seemed like fun. Borderlands 2 I picked up to play through with a friend.

And that’s all I got for now. I am waiting for a big package to arrive but it’s going surface post so maybe just not yet.

Got me a new display: AOC i2757Fm

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Whoozah! Going bigger is the trend, aye? Actually, I have been eyeing this particular monitor for a couple of months now while I’ve been saving up. It’s a (relatively) low cost 27″ LED IPS monitor, based on one of LG’s offerings. Cutting quickly to the chase, is it any good? Yes. Yes, it is. It doesn’t feel overly plasticy (only slightly – but I’ve had worse), got a fair amount of connections (however no DVI, sadly) and I really like the aesthetics. Stand maybe is a bit wobbly, but it works. You can place it right on the table without the stand if you wish.

If I had to nitpick, which I will do, it’s that I can’t seem to get the colors to look as good….or rather, as “deep” as they look on my Eizo Foris F2332, which also is a LED IPS display, although smaller with “only” 23 inches. I’ve been using that as my main display since probably last summer and I’ve really been rather fond of it, so naturally, I can’t help but to compare the two.

Especially when gaming or watching movies have I seen the Eizo come out slightly on top with a more detailed image, and with a white balance that somehow feels more white, more neutral, while the AOC, with my current settings at least, have this ever so slightly warm tint. Now, if I didn’t have the Eizo to compare to I would be perfectly satisfied. But I’m no expert, and I don’t have any of that fancy calibration equipment, so I don’t know if my Eizo displays the most “correct” colors, only that I slightly prefer it. It’s also worth mentioning that it lacks VESA mounting features, which may be a deal breaker to some.

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Also please note that this is a 1080p display, and does not, like some of the other 27″ offerings out there, go up to WQHD resolutions (2560 x 1440). This can be both a blessing and a curse. Since I have my Xbox 360 and PS3 living in the PC corner, having a 1080p monitor is perfect. And I think 1080p is totally a-OK for computing as well. For now, at least.

Now that both my PC monitors works in 1080p, I can game on whichever one I want and doing something else on the other – thanks to a cheap HDMI switcher and HDMI splitter solution like this:

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Enjoying some blue skies in Just Cause 2

Oh and please ignore the mess which is my cabling. I’ll get to it…

…eventually.

The early “2013 belated loot & pickup” post

Hi everyone.

Haven’t been much activity around, for which I apologize but…I bet all three of you are used to that by now.
I have been picking things up left to right this past month(s) but maybe one of the most important things I just got must be this:

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The Sony NEX-C3, which will be replacing my ageing Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50 as preferred camera of choice from here on out. The NEX-C3 can also film in 720p so maybe, just maybe, we will get some use out of that for youtube or something. I would very much like to, but I have the refined speech capabilities of a submerged otter.

Now for the rest of the loot.

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There’s a lot of fun stuff in here, but since I’m short on time, let me just highlight the really cool things. First off, new Minidisc player/recorder. It’s one that I’ve been wanting for quite some time. It’s very cool. It would be even cooler if I had some proper 4-pole headphones to make full use of the good sound tho’.
The other, for me, big pickup in there is Bulk Slash for the Saturn. Been wanting this game almost as long as I’ve had the system itself. Properly hyped to give that a spin later.
Moving on, Patlabor OVA LD box. MMmm….what can I say. Patlabor is a really cool show, you ought to check that out if you haven’t. I actually bought another version of this (called the Early Days box) on eBay in summer but it never turned up, sadly. So I was able to pick up another one through Yahoo Auctions. Very classy stuff.

While on the subject of anime, you maybe also noticed the Aika artbook to the left there…yes. Hrm…I still think AIKa is pretty bloody good, for a fanservice show. 99% of the known internet WILL disagree with me but to be honest, there is tons of fanservice shows that are so, so, so much worse. AIKa actually sports some really decent animation values not to mention good character & mechanical design – which is why it’s fun to have the artbooks. This is the second artbook, as I picked up the first one in what might be one of my first posts on this very blog.

Before I have to run, I’d just also like to mention the Dexule ARIEL soundtrack which, not only have the music on a disc, but also comes with a mini novel of sorts and a mini artbook. Very nice stuff. I got the LDs a while back and the soundstrack’s really nice and…not very common on eBay, so another Yahoo find then.

And now I own 3 PC-FX games without owning a console to play them on. Hmm.

And that’s it!
Actually it isn’t. But that’s most of it. There’s a few other bits & bobs that I maybe will make a separate post for, but this will be all for now.

The SHMJ sweet l00t post

OR “How I destroyed my wallet”.

Well. It’s here. After being stuck in some kind of weird shipping limbo, the last package and missing piece has now arrived.
I believe I’ve learned a very important lesson through this whole ordeal, and I will talk about this shortly however, showing off the l00t first might be a good idea.

This is a long a long one, so lean back & get comfortable.
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A box appears! I wonder what’s inside….?

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Ta-daah! Actually, there’s a hint of things to come somewhere in there…

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Taking a closer look at the stuff:

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There’s some really cool stuff in there, especially among the books & LDs. Being able to own both the Ten Little Gall Force OVA as well as Scramble Wars is maybe can be considered a personal milestone for my LD collection. Not sure if they’re actually rare or anything but, it’s something I don’t see very often that I’ve felt would be very cool to actually own, instead of just having them downloaded. Ten Little Gall Force is a sort of bonus episode thing for the original Gall Force OVA-series, in which the now super deformed cast play out some key events from the show as actors were it a live action production. Scramble Wars is a sort of Wacky Racers styled romp which features a lot of characters from popular older shows at the time. The main focus lies on the Gall Force & Bubblegum Crisis cast however.
Getting Burn Up! is cool as well. Not because it’s all that great, but it’s one of the things I watched when I was getting into “oldschool” anime. So, yeah, it’s more of a personal thing.
And last but not least, the Macross-movie. I need to find some time to sit down and watch this sucker again. Absolutely stoked to own it tho’. It’s a beautiful box.

Also picked up some very nice artbooks. Being a big fan of Kenichi Sonoda’s older artworks, I find this “Gallant” artbook to be very cool. Aside from a few original illustrations, it’s mostly Gall Force stuff in here to, both character artwork and mechanical designs – very cool. Also very happy with the Dirty Pair Flash artbook and that book by artist Akitaka Mika, from Galaxy Angel fame, which is filled to the brim with so called “MS Girls”-illustrations. That is to say, illustrations of different Gundam robots depicted as girls, all this done in a very 80s style. Been wanting a real copy of this for some time.

I could talk about the games & music CDs as well but let’s move on to package nr. 2…

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WHAT IS IIIIT?

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BAM!

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Sharp X68000 Ace HD. Pure pr0n. This sucker’s big & heavy, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t one of the coolest looking computers of all time. OF ALL TIME.
Came with a SCSI card installed, which is…cool, I guess? 😀 I really have no clue about these things.
At this point, I should probably also mention that this unit was sold as mostly untested, except that it powered on, and I have no real idea how well it actually works. After confirming that yes, it does indeed power on, I tempted fate by inserting those “Detana!! Twinbee” floppies and it shut down, refusing to power on again.
Disk 1 is still in there ;_;

Ah, well, actually, the power supply is notorious for failing on these units, at least on the twin tower models, so I was sort of expecting that to happen at some point anyway. I spent a bit of yesterday to open this sucker up (it’s only 3 screws per side, but those side panels are some truly tricky bastards). So in less than 24 hours of me receiving it, it ended up like this:

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^ Removed the power supply ^

Ah…well, I’ll look at this like a project of sorts and hopefully will be able to get this bad boy up and running again. Or at least just enough to spit out that Twinbee floppy. 😛
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And now for the serious bit:
I paid through the nose for this. For the items and for the shipping.
So here’s a little piece of advice for anyone wanting to go wild on Yahoo Auctions using Shopping Mall Japan or similar proxy services. Get what you need and get out.
Don’t buy a lot of stuff just because it’s “cheap” – because it isn’t going to be, in the end. Sure, it may just cost 500yen but then it will have to get shipped twice and usually putting down a bid costs a little bit in itself. SMJ takes about $6 if I remember correctly.

In short: it all adds up, and then, if you’re impatient like me and don’t want to wait 3 months or risk shipping all that cool stuff without insurance the shipping charges will hit you like a fist.
Not saying there’s anything wrong with SMJ and the like, but…one should be careful and think things through.

However, the most devastating realization is probably this. I bought a lot of stuff that isn’t especially rare at all – they just happened to be sooo much cheaper then I’ve seen them for on eBay it was almost hilarious. Like, I couldn’t let these awesome deals pass me by, right? Turns out, I probably didn’t save anything at all. Actually it might’ve been cheaper to just get them off eBay.

So…uh, there we have it. I’ll be more careful next time.
Aaand, this might sound stupid after all this but I actually have another piece of hardware coming in, unrelated to this purchase, so that’ll hopefully show up in the coming weeks. See you when that happens. 😀

Room progress – 2012 Game corner update!

I wasn’t wasting money solely on my gaming & anime/manga collection during my absence but I also invested some money in re-doing my little gaming corner. Got me some proper shelving and a TV bench as well as the needed AV switches & selectors, cords and all that other stuff.
I won’t bore you with details so let’s look at some pictures instead! 😀

Before:

After:

Everything is not completely connected yet, as I need a few more cables and the like and some of the solutions are not very elegant, but this works pretty well actually. You might be scratching your chin and wondering, “why is there such a gap between the TV and the shelves?”. Well, I thought that I maybe would like to cram in another monitor or a small TV, like one of those 21″ Bang & Olufsen CRTs, can I find one for cheap. Not everything plays that well with my scaler, my unmodified PC Engine Duo, for example, so having an alternative could be nice. I also need to pick up some RGB cables for my PlayStations and since I’m just out of inputs, another scart box and maybe another RCA selector.

Also need to get rid of that chair and get a proper sofa or something…but that’s for another day!

The “I bought a lot of stuff” Special (part 2)

It’s time to look at what hides deep within the pages of those Newtype issues!
Let’s get started with this little announcement I found where it says that “Sasamoto Yuuichi’s popular novel-series ‘ARIEL’ will get an anime adaption! The OVA is planned to be released this summer”.

Fun stuff to find, especially now that I own the LD release 😀  Really puts one’s possession in historical context…

Here’s some of the rest:

Upcoming is some fun stuff I didn’t want to get lost in the picture flood. First up, model sheets from…yup, Angel Cop! That’s not really something I expected..

Next up is some model sheets & concept drawings from the Patlabor TV-series:

Here’s some (very small) backdrops from Yawara! TV-series:

And what better to end this picture dump with than some super expensive and at the time high-end but now utterly obsolete hardware:
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Actually, I would love to get my hands on those players, as they are looking absolutely gorgeous and much sleeker than pretty much anything I see in stores nowadays… : /

…right, where did I put my time machine?