Thursday, December 25, 2014

Shure SE535 Initial Review + FiiO RC-SE1 cables

Lately, I have been playing around with some audio gear. After buying a decent good pair of headphones, I decided the default Apple Earbuds weren't doing any justice to the music I was listening to. Went through all the reviews on various In-Ear Monitors (IEM) and after trying various models from a selection of 2 brands, I decided to go with Shure SE535. The SE535 features triple balanced armatures in the configuration of a dedicated tweeter and two woofers to deliver rich bass.

Box design, simple packaging

During the initial sampling of the IEMs at the store, I didn't play attention to "other" fine details other than the sound signature of the earphones. It was only when I took them out of the box and I realised that the default cable (EAC64BK) that came along with the Shure SE535 was 1.6m (64")! Running thru the Internet, I found out that the Shure SE846 was the one that came with a 1.16m (46") cable as an extra in the packaging.

Went with the brozne metallic color. Turns out it will be a big mistake.
With such a long cable, most daily commuters would have to wind up excess cable into their pockets or carry a reel in their hands.

Decent looking, comes with the default soft foam sleeves (size M).

Carrying case for transporting those IEMs.
Decent looking carrying case was included, plus a 1/4" adapter, a airplane adapter and a volume control adapter. Except implanting the volume control would be not practical as the volume control would be near the output port of your device.

Various accessories inside, including soft rubber flex sleeves (S-M-L), soft foam sleeves (S-M-L) and a triple flange.

Another look at the SE535
SE535 with soft rubber flex sleeves.
The default soft foam "olive" sleeves that came with the SE535 was not really suitable for my ears. I was not able to get similar bass performance to the ones that I sampled at the store. It boiled down to lack of sound isolation for the soft foam sleeves, which seemed to be pushing itself outward. Switching to the soft rubber flex sleeves gave a firmer bass, and it will be the choice for my hearing needs. With regards to cleaning, the soft rubber flex sleeves are able to take a few wash cycles in mild warm water, whereas the foam ones are perishable if water comes into contact.

(From top, clockwise) Yellow foam sleeves, soft rubber flex sleeves and soft foam sleeves that look like olives.
FiiO RC-SE1 replacement cables (length 1.2m)
So with the "problem" with the long cable, I decided to look for replacement cables. I found a really cheap alternative in the FiiO RC-SE1. However, the microphonics on this is really horrible. Any movement/rub/collision with this cable would vibrate mechanical noise and it would be most probably be picked up in the IEMs, unless you are listening to very loud music!

Specifications from manufacturer:
Sensitivity119 dB SPL/mW
Frequency Range18Hz – 19kHz
Cable Style64" Detachable (at ear) with wireform fit
ColorsAvailable in Clear or Metallic Bronze
Speaker TypeTriple High-Definition MicroDrivers

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Jersey shopping experience Kitbag (UK) & Premier Football (SG)

Lately, I've been very unlucky to get jerseys not printed properly. 2 companies, one from Singapore - Chelsea jersey with name not aligned properly, one from UK - Netherlands jersey with front number not aligned properly.

Netherlands 2014-15 Home with Robben 11 printed from Kitbag UK

Notice after I folded, the 11 is badly slanted towards the bottom right.

Chelsea 2014-15 Home with Diego Costa 19 printed from Premier Football (Bugis) in Singapore.

Using the white line as the reference and placing a ruler horizontally between the shoulder seems, notice the misprinting starts from letters "GO" and carries on towards "COSTA", such that it already eats into the 1cm space above the ruler. 
Placing the ruler below, aligned and parallel to the first three letters "DIE".

I contacted Premier Football via phone to their head office in Ubi, and told them I had sent images via Facebook messaging about the misalignment in printing. However, pictures were not enough to prove that it was an error in printing and they needed the Chelsea jersey to be sent to the exact shop which I bought from in Bugis, downtown Singapore. When I sent it there (August 13th, 2014), the retail person in-charge said as communicated in Facebook (with the executive in the head office) the jersey would be sent to their head office in Ubi and the management needed two weeks to make a decision if there is a misalignment in the letters. Outcome: On August 18, 2014, Premier Football contacted me and will replace the jersey and mail the replacement to my place. Thanks for rectifying!

Kitbag from Manchester, UK apologised immediately (on August 13th, 2014) after seeing the picture evidence (sent via Facebook messaging) for the mistake and would reprint the name and number on a new Netherlands jersey and resend it to me via express without any charge. Additionally, I do not have to send the misprinted jersey from Singapore back to the UK. Thanks a lot Kitbag and their customer service officer Loti!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

World Cup Jersey Collection

Ok so the World Cup was over, however that did not stop me from buying some World Cup related memorabilia. The biggest dilemma a soccer fan has is when choosing between the replica compared to the authentic version. The replica version is the cheaper of the two, usually more comfortable as it is of a regular cut, while the authentic version is almost double the price of the replica version and the materials used are thinner and lighter. The authentic version is the one the players wear onto the field of play. Nike markets the replica as the stadium version, while the authentic version is known as the match version. Of course the other thing to consider is whether to get the player's name & number set printed, and if the shop selling it is able to print the numbers nice and straight, etc.

Adidas Germany Home Authentic jersey with player name and number printed plus World Cup badges.

Match name printed under the German Football Association crest.

Nike USA Away Stadium jersey.

Nike Netherlands Home Match jersey.

Nike Netherlands Away (L) and Home Match jersey.

Nike Netherlands Home stadium jersey with player name & number with World Cup badges printed.

Netherlands Away jersey classic World Cup finals 1994 by Score Draw

Jerseys that might be kept for collection purposes.

Finally found the stadium version of the Euro 2012 Netherlands Home jersey. Bought the match version way back two years ago.
Bunch of FIFA World Cup badges bought from eBay. Letting them go for S$20.

Friday, May 9, 2014

List of Formula 1 Models I am looking to sell if you live in Singapore

EDIT: MAY 21, 2014 Brawn GP Brazil GP 2009 sold.

The following is a list of Formula 1 model cars in 1/18 scale that I am looking to sell, if you happen to live in particularly the west side of Singapore, you may contact me to have a look at the condition before committing to buy.

Items will be sold on: eBay SG
(NOTE: If item is not available online, please contact me via eBay to check availability of items.)

As of May 10, 2014

Item No
Ferrari F1-2000 M Schumacher
Ferrari F2001 M Schumacher
McLaren Mercedes MP4-17D K Raikkonen

McLaren Mercedes MP4-20 K Raikkonen

McLaren Mercedes MP4-21 L Hamilton 1st Roll Out Silverstone Sept 19, 2006
SOLD 1, left Qty: 1
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-22 L Hamilton
Normal Box
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-22 L Hamilton
w Lewis signature (Not for sale)
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-22 L Hamilton 1st Win Canada GP 2007
Ltd 7,999 pcs.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 L Hamilton
Normal Box
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 L Hamilton
Vodafone Collectors Box
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 L Hamilton World Champion 2008

Scuderia Toro Rosso STR3 S Vettel Winner Italian GP 2008
Ltd 4,999 pcs.
Brawn GP BGP 001 J Button Winner Australian GP 2009
Ltd 4,002 pcs.
*SOLD* Brawn GP BGP 001 J Button Brazil GP 2009
Ltd 4,209 pcs.
Red Bull Racing Renault RB5 S Vettel

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-24 L Hamilton 2009

Red Bull Racing Renault RB6 S Vettel

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-25 L Hamilton

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 L Hamilton

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lego Simpsons Minifigures Series 2014

2014 marks the 25th season of The Simpsons, and with the recently concluded Lego Movie, the creators of The Simpsons teamed up with Lego to produce their 550th episode entitled "Brick Like Me", which was an amazing way to market the Lego Simpsons minifigures. With the recent February release of The Simpsons House (71006) set by Lego, The Simpsons Minifigures Series (71005) are the next in their lineup of promotional material for the 25th anniversary.

The Lego Simpsons minifigures series just arrived at the Bricks World JEM store today (May 7, 2014) and I collected 2 boxes this evening. Thankfully, I had placed and paid for my orders last Friday, because I didn't see any boxes open on display for people to buy.

On the shipping carton, it states "Do not put on shelf before May 1st, 2014". Upon opening the box, you are presented with 3 columns of 20 packets. Since I was distributing 2 sets to friends, I cut a small slit to check for the character in the packet and recorded down the distribution.

The distribution in the box was as follows:


Back Krusty Bart Scratchy

Krusty Itchy Ralf Wiggum

Nelson Itchy Milhouse

Homer Bart Flanders

Homer Marge Flanders

Homer Scratchy Apu

Homer Chief Wiggum Mr Burns

Maggie Chief Wiggum Apu

Maggie Chief Wiggum Flanders

Homer Marge Grandpa

Marge Scratchy Lisa

Marge Itchy Lisa

Krusty Scratchy Lisa

Nelson Itchy Mr Burns

Krusty Bart Mr Burns

Nelson Milhouse Flanders

Grandpa Lisa Apu

Grandpa Bart Milhouse

Maggie Bart Ralf Wiggum
Front Maggie Marge Ralf Wiggum

In total, you get the following quantities in 1 full complete box:
Homer 5
Marge 5
Bart 5
Lisa 4
Krusty 4
Itchy 4
Scratchy 4
Flanders 4
Maggie 4
Apu 3
Grandpa 3
Nelson 3
Mr Burns 3
Ralph Wiggum 3
Chief Wiggum 3
Milhouse 3

Hope this helps. I will post more photos later!


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Lewis Hamilton wins Chinese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton won a dominant Chinese Grand Prix and lead team mate Nico Rosberg to a third consecutive 1-2 finish for Mercedes. Alonso completed the third step of the podium, ahead of Ricciardo and Vettel.

The pace of both Mercedes was amazing as they were almost a second faster per lap. Hamilton had lead at the start and opened a gap to the chasing competitors of Vettel, Alonso and Ricciardo, and was the last of the leaders to pit with a gap of almost 31 seconds when the Brit pitted. Rosberg didn't have the best of starts and got bogged down and was overtaken by Felipe Massa and in the Williams and Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari on the first hundred of metres.

A scrap on the opening lap between Massa and Alonso would lead to consequences for the Williams as they had a problem with the left rear hub during the pitstop which took almost a minute, the end result dropping Massa almost close to last position. Bottas in the other Williams had contact with Nico Rosberg too. As for the Red Bulls, multi-31 was the order of the day as Vettel was told to move over to let teammate Ricciardo pass.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Hamilton & Mercedes dominate 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton dominates race day Sunday at Sepang. Did it come as a surprise or was it expected? No fluke for sure. Rewind back to September 28, 2012 when Lewis Hamilton had just announced that he would be leaving McLaren, the team he had been with since 1995 when he was just a young lad. Questions were asked, why was he not loyal to the team that raised him from a youngster, was he frustrated that after winning his first title in 2008? Bar 2009 when Brawn got a head start with the double diffuser, was Hamilton finally fed up with the prospect of failing to win the drivers championship in 2010, 2011 & 2012? Or was it the money that drew him towards Mercedes? For sure the rumor of a fat multi-million dollar pay check at Mercedes was highly likely to be the reason Hamilton had signed for Mercedes. From another perspective, the prospect of teaming up with Ross Brawn at Mercedes was a good bet, Brawn was the man who helped engineer a team around Michael Schumacher at Ferrari and delivered consecutive titles from 2000 to 2004.

Fast forward to today, Ross Brawn is no longer with Mercedes, but Hamilton having been at Mercedes for a year could have given significant inputs to the development of the 2014 car to suit his style. Looking at the pace he has, setting fastest lap towards the end of the race just showed how much in control he was at the Malaysian Grand Prix, even during the wet qualifying on Saturday showed the Mercedes had a significant advantage. Pulling away in the opening laps and creating a gap to Nico Rosberg in the other silver arrow, he demonstrated that the had the capability to control the pace of the race. Two weeks ago at the season opener, he was forced to retire at the end of lap two in the race because of electronics problems. However, no repeat if such an issue was present at Sepang this weekend.

The only thing that could derail the silver arrow train would be Adrian Newey & his Red Bull. If they eventually get the fuel sensor issue sorted by the time the championship goes back to Europe, they will be a serious contender for the 2014 title. In qualifying, Sebastian Vettel showed that the Red Bull was strong and competitive in sector 2, the section with the twists & turns which traditionally is Red bull's strength.

Game on, the 2014 Formula 1 championship is looking highly probable for Mercedes & Lewis Hamilton. Don't discount his teammate Nico Rosberg as he is also equally quick if he manages to put everything together on race day!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Apple MacBook Pro Retina Display and it's grumblings

Alright, so I got a MacBook Pro 13" with retina display towards the end of 2013. However, some applications do not support running in High DPI (retina) mode. For example, Adobe Bridge CS6 does not support the retina display, hence the text, icons, and interfaces all look blurry and such. Since Adobe Photoshop CS6 does support retina display, I thought this shouldn't be much of an issue.

However, all this is getting very confusing! Here, I show the 100% previews of an image to the dimensions of 960 x 640 pixels. In Bridge, it recognises the "viewed-as" resolution of my screen to be 1280 x 800, which if I was using a similar 13.3" screen of the same size, my image would look exactly like that.

However, in Photoshop, the app recognises the resolution to be 2560 x 1600, hence the image looks half of what it looked like in Bridge! Essentially, in Photoshop, the working space uses 1 pixel to project 1 pixel, while in Bridge, it is using 4 pixels to represent 1 actual pixel on my image!

Unfortunately, as the retina display has been out for more than a year, I don't see anything that developers may do to fix Bridge CS6.

So much for first world problems huh?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Angry Birds Character Mallows

I was at the supermarket the other day and I came across this interesting product from Rovio, the makers of the Angry Birds series. If you loved the Angry Birds, I would reckon that you would want to give this bag of treats a try. It's marshmallows made in the shape and design of Angry Birds characters, or Angry Birds made to look like marshmallows.

Introducting, the Angry Birds Character Mallows! Inside the bag, you get 12 Character Mallows, although there are only 5 designs, the flavours are pineapple, blue raspberry, strawberry and lemon.

So if you do not like the green pigs from the series, you could eat them out! Here's how they look like when they loose parts of an eye and their mouth, etc.

The eyes and mouth are made of hard icing candy, and those with sensitive teeth may find it harder to chew on!

Give them a try, the bag of 12 costs about slightly less than S$7!