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New Sound (Card)

I was missing in action for the pass 2 weeks (not even on FB most of the time) as I was working night shifts consecutively for the last 14 days with only a day of break in between them.  Anyway, I actually bought this headset last week and I was very very happy with it so I decided to write something about it.

I guess some of you might have seen my last entry which was a new PC for my sister (and me :P) and I was getting a bit put off by the internal sound card.  I used to have an X-Fi Sound blaster card in my old system and I was planning to shift it over to my new PC.  But due to minor depression of missing my family in Thailand... I went onto the net (retail therapy again) to look around and saw that Creative released a new chipset... the Core3d processor!  Bloody quad-core processor for voice and sound.  Call it marketing hype or what-so-ever but it looks interesting.  The new Recon3D card costs around $150 each and then I saw an interesting product on theie website.  It's actually a wireless headset called Soundblaster Recon3d Omega Wireless.   It's actually their top range wireless headset bundled with the new Sound blaster Recon3D USB controller.  Whoa... external sound card via USB.  Then it dawns on me to get a USB version.  Why?  It allows me to move the sound (card) processor around!  I could bring it into office and used it on my lousy desktop computer with my earphones! 

The idea excites me and I checked out the price for the recon3d unit alone (without the headset)... bloody $169 for the Recon3d USB version.... more expensive then the PCI-e card leh.  And moreover it only has headset output.  I can't connect it to a normal 5.1 speakers to get the THX surround.  Then I made the silly silly mistake of going down to Marina Square Creative show room last Monday to test out the new gadget.  I brought along my Sony inner earphones to test it out.  The display set is actually the Recon3d paired with the Tactic Wireless headset (the link above).  I ask the saleswoman for permission to test out my earphones and she gladly obliged but a bit blur blur on where the connection is (think need more training) .  Anyway, I managed to figure it out and plug my headphones into the front headphone jack.  No sound came out (they were playing a movie).  Hmm, I thought faulty or wat but another guy came over and explained that the Recon is paired to the Wireless tactic headset so it could not output out.  He asked me to try the headset first and so I stupidly obliged..... Initially I was reluctant as I hated those wireless headsets.  Normally they are just trash to my ears.  This however, proves me wrong. The headset was just fantastic!  I think the technology might have matured over the years but I still could not believe the sound coming out of it.  Anyway, the guy also powered off the wireless headset and I tried my own personal headphone.  Another BIG mistake.  It dosen't sound as good as the wireless headset..... :P  The bass and clarity on the Tactic headset is definitely much better then my Sony ones (which is actually already a very very good inner ear isolated headphones I bought)  I think my Shures would perform better but they are in Thailand....

So in the end I bought the Recon3d Omega Wireless headset ($329).  I couldn't test it straight away as I was working night shift that day so I just charged the headset while I was working and used the Recon3d with my Sony earphone.  Installation was really easy, really just plug and play and you get better sound without running any software!  But for more controls, just install the software provided and you get to tweak the eq and THX surround sound and others.

After a week using the system (watching movies, listening to music and some gaming).  I think it's a good buy.  For those really who are interested in music or wish to have a better listening experience, it's a no brainer.

Yes, it's pricy but for 300++ you can get sound almost on par with a 10k audiophile system is a bargain to me anyway.  And please, although I'm a fan of Soundblaster cards dosen't mean I'm bluffing.  Go try it and you will understand.  :)


New PC

My old PC lasted me for 7 years (I know because I bought it 1 year before my girl was born) and its acting strangely recently.  Instead of reformatting, I asked my sister (who had took over the computer from me since I was away in Thailand most of the time) if she wants a new one.  She replied "It's about time you asked me that computer!"

So I spend a week or 2 to research a bit on the latest hardware and calculated my budget.  I want another system that could last for another 5 to 6 years so my budget would be on the above average end.

so here's the specs for those hardware nuts.

Casing : Cooler Master 912 HAF Advance
PSU: Cooler Master 625W Silent Pro M2
MB: Gigabyte Z77X-D3H
CPU: i5-3550
Memory: 8GB Kingston Hyper X 1600 (2x4GB)
SSD: Corsair T3 Sata 3 120GB
LG 24x DVD-ROM and writer
Xigmatek 5.25 inch 4x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0 front ports, eSATA port and USB 3.0 Card reader. 

I also have my 2x 1TB Sata HDD transferred over to my new system.  Total damage on the new system is around 1.6k SGD.  Pretty expensive but I checked out the DELL Extreme CPU series and its nothing near my system's spec and quality so its a good buy.

Initially I have some concerns of building it myself.  It has been a long time since I did one and technology sure changes.  Nowadays the PSU is actually at the bottom and wow, the fans on the casings were HUGE!  It was an hour job fixing with all the wires and stuff.  Good thing is that the power cables are finally all SATA standards.  Even my DVD drive uses SATA.  No more long ribbon cables!  (Can see how mountain turtle I am :P)

I booted up the PC and ran the bios.  Wat liew!  Now system bios can use Mouse and got 3D interface one leh.... kns... I really missed out a lot of stuff.  Installed Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit and SSD sure delivered its promises.  Blazing fast boot time.  How fast?  Let's just say I turn on the CPU and then followed by my monitor.  Once the screen refreshes, it's already in the login screen... scary. (Its a bit slower now after I loaded more programs into it but still fast compared to a normal HDD.

Tested Lightroom 4.1 and Photoshop CS 6 and pretty satisfied with the speed.   

So now I'm all set and think I will get some 3D intensive games to try out my graphics card :P..  Later..




Frames and Kitty Madness

Today it's an interesting day for me.  I was supposed to meet up with some of my colleagues and ex-colleagues for a hotpot meal in Bugis at around 6pm.  I decided to take my Bessa and VC 50mm 1.1 for a spin at Little India.

Loaded a roll of Tmax and started to shoot around the area.  It's still a great and vibrant place to shoot street photos.  The people over there are less camera shy and actually more willing to let us shoot them.  Try that in Chinatown and you might get the "digusted" look more often.  I didn't actually count the frames I shot but when I started to leave the area and head for Bugis, I stopped by Camera Hospital (the boss Steven's my pal and doctor in fixing my photography gears) and took a look at the frames left.  (See picture on the left)  Wow... 36 shots, on a single day,  same location (well it covers a big area) and within 2 hours!  That's really not like me at all.  I think the 5 months or more of my sabbatical with streets actually helped a bit.  Everything seems to look photogenic and every shots seems to be a possible winner (still need to develop it to see the results though).   I think I will do that again on my off days again :P  Ndroo of Fuzzyeyeball actually wanted to join me but as it was a last minute decision, he couldn't make it (got reserved by his kiddo to cook :P)

The 2nd interesting (and funny) thing that happened today was the Hello Kitty Madness.  You know, SG's McD is now having a Kitty Promotion again (not going to link it here, you can google it here :P)  I saw the Hamburglar and decided to collect all 4 of them for my kids (well actually I quite like it too LOL).  I managed to get the first 2 last week and as I was on night shifts and RT, I didn't have the time to get the 3rd one which was released just last Wednesday.  I did however, went to Bedok Interchange on Friday early morning (around 5am) to get some breakfast and the Kitty but it was all sold out!  After our hotpot meals and desserts,  I actually tried my luck at the Bugis McD.. The sign says sold out.... heart starts to dampen a bit.  Buddy and colleague of mine then suggested the McD just opposite the Rocher center.  Went there, sold out!  Starts to get worried and a bit fustrated.  My buddy friend got all fired up and say "Impossible!  Sure got one!" So we took the trian and stopped by Paya Lebar and it's also sold out.  Ask the fella at the counter and he said Kallang still has it.  Took the circle line and reached Kallang.  Searched and walked 15mins before reaching the drive through McD and also sold out.  Started to get very very low morale.  Took a bus to Siglap Center (ulu place) and I told my buddy friend.  "If here dun have that means all sold out liao, can give up and go home and sleep"  Reached there and to our horror ....

Super low morale.  I was thinking I might missed this little kitty for good.   There goes my collection.   But my buddy mentioned our work place at Bedok Reservoir has an outlet, maybe we can try that one.   If not, Changi Point, followed by Changi Airport, then to Punngol and Pasir Ris... Wa Piang, He more crazy then me.  Well, we were tired after trying 6 outlets (including the one in the morning) so I decided to call it off and went home.  Unable to sleep (bio clock all messed up) , I went to the McD website and was surprised to see all the the outlets has a telephone number.  I decided to call the nearest outlets that runs 24hrs just to try my luck.  The 1st call was Bedok North St 3.  No luck, sold out.  I then called the one at Bedok Reservoir.  Got a fantastic reply from the guy saying that they still have stock but its running out and won't last till next morning.  Wat liew... look at the clock and it was almost 3am.  Took my bike and peddled to the outlet (20 mins ride).  It was on the way to work anyway.  Went in and saw the kitty :P  Happy liao..  Bought a meal and the toy.  Ate and left the place.

 Here's the result.

Was it worth all the trouble to get it?  Well, it was actually quite fun.. Especially the part when my friend and buddy get all fired up in the quest of kitty.... long time no see him like dat liao... LOL

:-This post is dedicated to Mr CSL.  Good Friend, Photography buddy, Ex-colleague and now my BOSS :P