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Brian "bravotangofoxtrot" RSS Feed (Thousand Oaks, CA USA)

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Teac AI-501DA-B Receiver with Integrated Amplifier and High Quality DAC's (Black)
Teac AI-501DA-B Receiver with Integrated Amplifier and High Quality DAC's (Black)

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a quality integrated amp with a DAC in a small footprint, October 12, 2013
I purchase tons of stuff from Amazon but this product wasn't available a month ago so I bought it new from a stereo store on eBay. Too bad, it is $120 cheaper here at this reduced price. Anyway, I have been looking for an integrated amp with a DAC and this one has all the features I wanted. The NAD's are larger and their USB module only supports 96kHz. The Onkyo has some poor reviews, some sort of amp buzzing. Others are so ridiculously expensive I was getting a little disappointed that nothing was in my sweet spot for purchase. I use this unit in my office going bit direct from my computer. The TEAC WASAPI driver is solid. Their software player is really lean, you would probably want to use Foobar 2000 or JRiver MC. However, the player is a really quick way to test if you are truly going bit direct and avoiding the Windows mixer as it is really easy and straight forward to set up so it makes for a nice diagnostic utility if you will. The sound of the amp is excellent. Not for a huge space, of course at 30-40W, but for an office, bedroom or small apartment, you are going to be very happy. The other important thing to realize with this or any DAC for this matter is that when your computer sleeps, or when you switch input sources, etc..., sometimes these units can lock, especially when switching to and from the streaming USB input. My Cambridge DAC would lose link even with the TosLink input. But there is only an electronic on/off button on the Cambridge and many other similar units so when it would lock up you could not reset the unit w/o unplugging it. This TEAC unit has a hard on/off switch so you can "reset" the unit if need be. I've had to do this only twice as the driver is solid, and it is really convenient to just power down and then back up from the front panel. The small footprint is great for a desk setup. Super quiet operation, no amp buzz or anything. When connected to the optical input or the USB, volume at 100%, with music paused, absolutely no amp hiss or noise through the speakers, a very low noise floor. I just think TEAC really got it right here, in fact, check out the whole new reference line from them, some really interesting and innovative quality stuff at good price points. I know Sony is also getting into the whole high res audio space with some new equipment but the TEAC stuff just seems more practical to me for a computer based digital setup. I've been buying stereo equipment for many years and this is the first time in a while I've really been excited for a new unit. Finally, sound quality is excellent, again at super loud volumes you are going to press the amp but at moderate to even somewhat loud levels, it is super clean.


CyberPower CP1350PFCLCD PFC Sinewave UPS 1350VA 810W PFC Compatible Mini-Tower
CyberPower CP1350PFCLCD PFC Sinewave UPS 1350VA 810W PFC Compatible Mini-Tower
Price: $179.95
60 used & new from $179.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You don't have to hook up the internal battery - nice..., January 23, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I found this UPS to be quite useful. I usually only buy APC UPS devices but I decided to take a chance on a new brand. This UPS is pure sine wave so it should work with even the newest power supplies. As noted in other reviews, it is also less expensive than like APC models. However, its greatest feature may be that you do not need to hook up the internal battery once the unit arrives.

With an APC unit, you have to open up the battery compartment and actually attach the positive lead of the UPS to the battery. Not a big deal, but the batteries can be bulky, the leads are always short and difficult to maneuver and the sparking that goes on when you connect the UPS to the battery terminal can be a bit alarming. With this UPS, it has special circuitry so that as long as you plug the UPS into the wall socket first, then you simply turn on the UPS, without having to manipulate the battery. Everything is already connected and ready to go. Quite nice really.

Other than the installation convenience, hard for me to tell it apart from other UPS units. I pulled the plug from the wall to test the device and the UPS came on to battery power quickly and the computer stayed on. Also, I might note that the UPS is completely silent, no buzzing or humming. When it is on battery power, there is slight fan noise but it is at a very low volume. The UPS is well engineered from that perspective as well.


Speakman S-2251 Icon Anystream High Pressure Adjustable Shower Head, Polished Chrome
Speakman S-2251 Icon Anystream High Pressure Adjustable Shower Head, Polished Chrome
Price: $140.63
28 used & new from $91.93

118 of 128 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You may prefer the 6 jet unit?, December 30, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I actually have a number of Santec shower heads in my home, the 6 jet variety that look almost identical to the Speakman but at almost twice the cost. If I had to guess, now that I own the Speakman, the Santec model is a Speakman that has been re-labeled. So first off, these Speakman shower heads are every bit as good as the Santec IMO. Now, to the 6 vs. 8 jet question. I ended up with both models of Speakman and ended up installing them both. And yes, I took out the o-ring water restrictor. My personal opinion is that it adds at least 25% more water flow. So if you are good with the restrictor in, fine, but if you need more pressure, for whatever reason, I would remove it. The 8 jet provides less pressure or force than the 6 nozzle model but the 8 nozzle model gives you a wider spray area. At the end of the day, I prefered the more concentrated 6 nozzle spray. That being said if you like being in a wash of water without focused force then you would like the 8 nozzle. The 8 jet also is bigger and looks more elegant and grand for certain. But again, if you just want a "power" wash, then you may be disapointed with the 8 jet unit. Again, this is just one persons opinion. If you have your water pressure cranked up in your home and are not worried about a pipe bursting while you are on vacation, then the 8 nozzle unit with heavy water pressure would likely be awesome so get the 8 if you have strong pressure. My guess is that with the 8 jet variety, you simply have the water distributed over more nozzles hence less force from each one given the additional distribution points. I had thought originally, hey 8 nozzles, more water flow. The when I actually thought about it, pretty difficult for a shower head to spray out more water than is coming in...
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 18, 2016 6:39 PM PDT


Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones (Black)
Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones (Black)
Offered by Approved Sales NY
Price: $189.95
51 used & new from $114.55

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable and Accurate, November 30, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I found the headphones to be both comfortable and very accurate sounding. I'm using these headphones exclusively with an iPad. Some have noted the that the bass is a bit weak. I haven't noticed that but I also have not compared these headphones to similarly sized headphones. I do have a reference playlist which contains songs that I know very well and, from an listening perspective, I thought the headphones did an excellent job reproducing those tracks.

My guess is that a headphone can only produce so much bass for its size and therefore would have to employ EQ to obtain additional bass. My preference would be to have a headphone which is essentially flat and then use the source to alter the frequency response. Which leads me to my next point.

For iOS devices, I do like some of the EQ curves built into the devices. For example, the Acoustic EQ does a nice job of bringing warmth to the recording and also adds some depth and impact to the bass. I recommend you try this specific EQ and some of the others provided.

Again, I think the headphones are excellent. I find them comfortable to wear for long periods, they do, by nature of their closed ear design, take away quite a bit of the ambient noise and they sound terrific for me, very well balanced.


Speck Products SeeThru Satin Soft Touch, Hard Shell Case for MacBook Pro with Retina Display 15-Inch, Black
Speck Products SeeThru Satin Soft Touch, Hard Shell Case for MacBook Pro with Retina Display 15-Inch, Black

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Case, November 21, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Fits perfectly. The case is very well engineered. This is not a cheaply made case. Super nice feel and finish. No complaints.


Cambridge Audio Azur DacMagic 100 - Black
Cambridge Audio Azur DacMagic 100 - Black
Offered by DEDICATED AUDIO
Price: $299.00
10 used & new from $299.00

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works Perfectly - does not respond to computer sleep wake?, November 21, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Very simple device. The sound is great. I have it configured to ingest a 192Kbps optical feed from my computer sound card. Everything works great except if the computer goes to sleep, the unit loses it's link (to be expected), but when the computer is awakened, the DACMagic does not re-link. In fact, the power light blinks and you can't reset the unit without disconecting and reconecting the power source. Somewhat inconveniant at times, otherwise a very solid unit.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 16, 2013 8:59 PM PST


Synology DiskStation 5-Bay (Diskless) Network Attached Storage DS1512+
Synology DiskStation 5-Bay (Diskless) Network Attached Storage DS1512+
6 used & new from $399.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 2nd Synology NAS - Very Good but no Hibernation?, November 21, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is my second Synology NAS. I also have a DS212+ running. My DS212 after about an hours goes into a deep hibernation. The disks spin down, the fan stops and the power light just blinks in standby mode, very nice. My 1512+ does spin the drives down but the fan keeps going. I have the WD Red drives in it, they have performed w/o a problem. I also have it configured with the Synology Hybrid RAID 5. I don't use any of the media services but the base Synology management software is very solid. So given that I don't use the services and only use the NAS for backups now and then, I do the following. I simply use a freeware WakeOnLAN utility to start the devices when I want to access them. When I'm done, I use the Synology web software to shut them down. Likely not a good solution for someone who wants access available all the time. At least this way I can quiet the 1512+ down when neccesary.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 10, 2012 4:36 PM PST


Nikon D600 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (OLD MODEL)
Nikon D600 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (OLD MODEL)
Offered by eDigitalUSA
Price: $1,448.95
40 used & new from $907.49

15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Upgraded from D7000, pleased so far..., September 24, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I received the D600 a few days ago and I have been very pleased with the camera's performance. I upgraded from the D7000 and I think that has made the transition very straight forward. In my opinion, the D600 is essentially a D7000 with a full frame sensor and the other attributes that go along with the larger sensor such as the additional megapixels and the increased sensitivity. I think the camera feels fine. I know some have commented on it being plastic in some parts and yes, it does not have a heavy metal feel, nor does it have that weight either, which I find nice. I think as composite materials become more common place such as graphite and plastic hybrid materials, people will be more accepting of them. Even with the D600 materials, the camera still feels solid for me. The picture quality is very good. Just the same, I thought the D7000 took excellent pictures too so I wouldn't expect a significant increase in picture quality from the move to the D600. The additional megapixels should help if you find yourself in a position where you have to crop quite a bit. I will update the review as I take more pictures, but my first impressions of the camera are positive.


Transcend USB 3.0 Super Speed Multi-Card Reader for SD/SDHC/SDXC/MS/CF Cards (TS-RDF8K)
Transcend USB 3.0 Super Speed Multi-Card Reader for SD/SDHC/SDXC/MS/CF Cards (TS-RDF8K)
Price: $12.99
161 used & new from $10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Reader Required a Firmware Upgrade Also, September 23, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
When I attached the reader to my Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit machine, all of the Windows drivers for the device did not load correctly. I downloaded the new firmware, version 17, directly from the Transcend USA website. The upgrade was painless and simple and took my reader from version 8 to version 17 without complication. My computer immediately saw the device and installed all of the drivers correctly. I have not done any speed comparisons, USB 2.0 vs. USB 3.0 but it seemed pretty quick and responsive to me. I can confirm that it reads the new SDXC UHS-1 cards without issue. I have dual SanDisk 32GB SDXC UHS-1 cards in my Nikon D600 and it pulled pictures off of them without a problem.


FootFitter Premium Professional 2-Way Shoe Stretcher
FootFitter Premium Professional 2-Way Shoe Stretcher
Price: $44.50 - $48.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Solid Product, August 4, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I found these shoe stretchers to be very well made. They are all wood and metal except for the end knob. They can be a bit difficult to get into the shoe but one trick i learned is once you do get them in, use large mouth pliers to spin the "length" knob so you get the front of the stretcher well into the shoe. It also helps not to rub out your hands by using the pliers. I also used the kiwi shoe stretch spray with good results. I have 11.5 shoes mostly and some get quite tight after a long day. These stretchers size (11-13) really helped to loosen them up.


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