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It has been some time that I have been wanting to get back into quality car audio. I finally did and boy am I glad I chose to go almost exclusively Alpine. I have an 02 Ram 1500 quad cap with the Thunderform box with MTX Audio 5510-22 5500 Series Subwoofer. These were an upgrade to what came with the box. In the front I have the Alpine SPR-60C 6.5" Car Audio Component System (Pair) and the Alpine SPR-60 6.5" Car Audio Coaxial Speakers (Pair) in the rear. I was thinking that the setup would be "pretty good" and possibly needing more speakers. Well let me tell you, this system powered by this amp will rip your face off if set up properly. The first comment I get every time after they stop grinning is how super crisp and clear the audio is even at the top volumes. I used to be an installer and I can't say enough good things about Alpine hardware. I did try a Kenwood head unit at first and then replaced it with the Alpine CDE-HD149BT CD Receiver with Bluetooth and HD Radio Built-in. Even that was leaps and bounds better. This amp has a birth certificate that states it puts out close to 1100 watts continuous total power. To be able to power my whole system with a unit this small still boggles my mind. I have had zero issues with this amp and I play the crap out of it for hours and hours on end. I don't throw 5 star reviews out easy but this unit deserves every one....Read more
I was not expecting anything great for the price. But I am quite happy with this item. It installed in minutes. It attached to my existing frame with no issues what so ever and it looks quite nice. As usual with Amazon, the item arrived far sooner than advertised. Good purchase overall....Read more
I should have read deeper into the reviews. I barely use this drive and it is almost never spinning in the 3 months I have had it. With that said, I am already getting Win 8 messages telling me to restart my PC so that it can repair the drive. None of my other drives have had a problem in the 2+ years I have had them (2 Sammys and a WD). So I just paid my $10 so that I can be graced with a replacement that will also fail. Funny how they charge you shipping for a product you just bought that should have lasted more than 3 months. Lesson learned....Read more
If you have a good television, you owe it to yourself to get this movie. The visuals are simply stunning. On top of that , there is an excellent soundtrack. An incredible amount of artistry went into this and it really shows. Two thumbs up...Read more
I will revise this review to be a bit more formal when I have time. I did want to at least get my general impression of this device out there as soon as possible.
In short, the Darblet is revelutionary in my mind. This device works in the following way. It takes a video and basically adds depth by adding defintion and contrast. The best way to describe the effect is to say that it makes images look more "in focus" and it also adds contrast for increased depth. There are multiple settings and how you adjust them is quite important. Of the three setting modes, you have Full Pop, Game, and HD mode. Each can be set from 0-100. I and most others find that HD is really the best mode by far. And setting it between 40 and 80 will yield the best results without introducing anything really in the way of artifacts. It has zero effect on colors and will not force you to recalibrate your set. It simply takes a good picture and makes it better.
Do not listen anyone that says this is a simple sharpening tool. It is nothing of the sort. In short, this little gem is worth every cent I paid for it. You basically set it and forget it. So do not fret about the sorry remote or looks of the unit itself for that matter. It is small enough that you should be able to hide it quite easily. It should be installed at the end of your video chain(closest to the TV). All of my inputs run into my AVR and then from there I go into the Darblet and finally on to the TV.
I use this in conjunction with my Onkyo 818, which has superb upscaling and edge enhancement capabilities. Together they feed my Panasonic 65VT50 which in turn puts out one of the most breathtaking pictures I have laid my eyes on. And this is coming from a previous Kuro 9G Elite owner. If you are a videophile and truly understand what makes up a great picture, you will not be disappointed.
Thanks for your time
In my opinion, this tv is the best to be had at this time. To provide some background for that opinion, I have tried the following sets while I still had my Kuro 5020: The VT30, D7000 and the 80" Sharp 632U LED. The Sharp was something I had to try based on some reviews but it really was quite disappointing and never even made it onto the wall. For further information regarding my opinion of the Sharp, please read the comments section where I have answered a question regarding my expereince with this set. The VT30 was quite good but had color issues, uniformity issues and large bezel syndrome. The D7000 was far better than I had expected after reading the nasty comments about it. But none of these sets allowed me to feel good about sending my 9g Kuro packing.
With much anticipation, I ordered the 65VT50 from Amazon. The entire process was painless and quick as per usual. Delivery was sooner than expected and professional. They did send only one driver, so be prepared for that. But we managed just fine. I quickly inspected the set and immediately mounted it and got things setup. Everything went smoothly.
I did download and install an available update. The only new "feature" I noticed after the update was a fairly long duration banner at TV startup. This is defeatable within the settings, so fear not.
**** A second update had been released and is mentioned at the end of this review.
****** 09/28/2012 update #3 version 1.17 is out. This may effect a calibration
Now for my impression of this television.
This VT50 is simply beautiful. The smaller bezel and overall aesthetics are quite excellent. Gone are the days of "but LCD's are so much slimmer and/or less bulky". This set looks great turned off. I am happy to pay a premium for the single sheet of glass design even if that was the only difference over the GT, but its not.
Some complain about the silver trim, but you will be hard pressed to find an owner that does not like it. Personaly, I really like the look. I think the TV would look rather run of the mill and boring without it.
The touchpad was easy to pair with the television. I do not imagine myself using the touch pad much, but it does work as advertised. If you use your television to browse at all, you may find the touchpad quite useful. I had no issues navigating with it at all.
It is also worth mentioning that this set is also quite a bit lighter than the VT30.
To my eye, the blacks are right there with the Kuro I just sold. A meter may say otherwise but it takes a trained eye to see the difference if not side by side. The blacks are inky and satisfying and do not leave me wanting in any way. My eyes are pretty damn good and all I can say is that I do not miss my Kuro one single bit. And the extra real estate is quite nice as well.
Equally as impressive is the increased brightness of this panel. If you find that you are really drawn to the brightness of an LCD, but prefer the motion of a plasma, this set should fit your bill perfectly. I have two large windows in my living room and never feel like I need more out of my set in terms of brightness. The anti-glare works excellent as well.
If I was forced to come up with a gripe, it would be the red LED that comes on when the set is on. This was poor planning on Panasonics part but I am not losing any sleep over it. A little well trimmed piece of electrical tape takes care of that if it really bothers you.
Everything works as it should. HDMI control works perfectly on mine. I can hit the power button once on my Directv remote and everything turns on as it should (STB, TV, and AVR). ARC (Audio Return Channel) is also nice. This allows the audio from the TV to play through your home stereo while utilizing the same HDMI cable that feeds it content. To utilize this feature, you will need to plug your HDMI cable into HDMI #2 on the television. This is great for when you are watching Netflix or something emanating from the TV itself. All this functionality is assuming that you have an AVR that is up to date and HDMI 1.4a compliant as well as your HDMI cables. I use these cables Mediabridge Ultra Series - High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet - (6 Feet) - Category 2 Certified - Supports 3D & Audio Return Channel [Latest HDMI Version Available]. They have worked perfectly for me every single time and the price is nice. I still feel compelled to interupt when I see an employee at a Big Box store trying to convince an unknowing person to spend over $100 on a Monster cable.
You will notice that the HDMI ports are extremely close to the edge of the set. If you have rigid cables, it can present a problem and possibly cause them to protrude past the edge. There are several fixes for this. The one I chose was to use two of these connectors Cable Matters Gold Plated HDMI Male to HDMI Female 270 Degree Adapter. Together they create a 180 degree bend to allow your cables to be neatly installed.
Bluetooth is a great feature that this TV has. I can place my receiver in standby (bypass mode) and listen to TV at night with my wireless blutooth headset. I will take a quick moment to endorse this headset LG Tone - HBS-700 Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Headset - Retail Packaging - Black/Orange. They work flawlessly on everyting I throw at them from working out, talking on the phone while driving to listening to a TV show while eating a midnight snack. They are ultra comfortable and sound excellent. At any rate, I am unsure why this feature gets such little attention. But keep in mind that you do need to verify that your AVR will pass through sound via HDMI or there will be no sound at all when the AVR is off or in standby mode. This is assuming that you pass your content through a receiver. You can't fault the tv if no sound is getting to it.
I have had many high end TVs over the years but this one takes the cake for me as an overall package. No offence to anyone intended, but you could not pay me to place an LED TV in my living room. Sure the Sharp Elite looks great head on, but try going off to an angle, and not even an extreme angle and watch the PQ fall off a cliff. Looking at a plasma from any angle is like looking through a window. Not to mention that motion is far more natural looking on plasma in general.
As far as sound is concerned, I personally place very little time in this area. Many people may use the built in speakers for night viewing. I would say that these speakers are quite capable for that purpose. If you are looking for this TV to have a capable 24/7 sound system, then you will probably be let down with this and pretty much any other flat screen offering. If you are going to lay down the funds for this beauty, you should also be ready to invest in a descent sound system if you do not already have one.
*** Amended 3D glasses info.
Considering how passionate some folks seem to be about the exclusion of 3D glasses, I will only say this: This set does not come with 3D glasses. I am fine with that. You may not be.
Now lets talk about breaking in your plasma and some of the myths that go along with that. Many people will religiously use what are called break-in slides for the first 100 hours that they own the television. There are good reasons for this and there are misguided reasons as well. These slides are full screen color slides that you would run at 100 contrast for 100 hours as a slide show. This allows the phosphors to age evenly in there more fragile and impressionable state that is the first 100-200 hours. Now it is just as reasonable to simply watch mixed content for the first 100 hours instead of using slides. You just want to be sure to avoid letter box material or leaving stations on with static logos for long periods of times. The only downside of using content instead of slides is if you plan on using offered calibrated settings from someone like D-Nice on AVS. He has been kind enough in the past to offer calibrated settings to folks in an attempt to help out the community. He will break-in a set with the slides and then calibrate it. He will then post these settings for others to get at least close to a calibrated look. The best way to mimic his results is to break-in your set with the slides as he did. He will also be the first to tell you that panels vary and you may or may not benefit from his offered settings. If you do not use the slides as he did, then you will have less of a chance of benefiting from his settings because the panel will have been aged on a far less consistent scale. At this point in time, D-Nice has not posted settings for this particualr set. So keep this in mind, as there are questions as to whether or not he will at all.
Personally, I am not using slides anymore other than for use to inspect my panel for problems. Nobody wants to have a brand new set off limits for 4 days. I know I don't. This time round, I have not used slides and all is well in the world. If I want to get the set calibrated, I will.
Running slides in the hopes of matching the exact characteristics of someone elses panel is a gamble that may or may not pay off, and how would you really know if you were getting the most out of these "Free" settings without meters and training to tell you?
But, it is fair to say that you will have the least chance for any type of IR in the first 100+ hours by running the slides. There are no logos or bars or HUDs to worry about. I stress the point that they will not CAUSE IR but they will not help remove it. So it is a personal choice and there is most definately no reason not to run the slides other than it makes the set unavailable for 4 days.
As a side note, these slides are excellent tools to inspect your new screen for issues such as dead or stuck pixels, micro cracks in the glass and hot spots or uniformity issues. The trick here is to use this tool when you get your set and then leave it alone. If you constantly use these slides to look for issues, you will eventually find one and it will drive you crazy. And in most cases it will end up being something that you will never see while viewing normal content.
Slides can be downloaded by searching for "Plasma Break-In DVD Images" . Just select the "Plasma Break-In DVD Images" link. Once downloaded, unzip and place on thumb drive.
So there you have it regarding break-in. Use slides or mixed content for the first 100 hours or so and relax.
One more thing worth mentioning to those that are unaware. The picture on your set will continue to improve over the first 300+ hours. So please do not base your impression of the set on the picture that comes out of the box. Blacks settle in a touch lower and the picture quality in general will become a bit richer and vibrant.
Another common misconception is that slides should be used to help remove IR or image retention. This is simply not the case.
Here is an excerpt of something I wrote on AVS:
You will never be told to use slides to remove IR. Breakin slides are for breaking in the panel, period. Think about it this way. If you look at your IR while running the slides, you will see that the IR is flashing exactly the same each time. You are simply baking the IR in as far as I am concerned. You are maintaining that exact image over and over again. Now start a pixel flipper or mixed content for that matter. In this case, every pixel involved within the area of the IR is being given it own unique workout independent from the surrounding pixels. This random aging of the pixels will allow the offending pixels involved within the area of IR to hopefully slowly blend in better with the surrounding pixels.
Sure, there is an anti-retention tool that is built into the sets software, but do not let that fool you into a false sense of security. If you leave on a station with a static logo for two days straight, the tool will do no more than make the edges of the logo image blurry rather than defined.
I should also mention that I have had no hint of IR on my set to date (besides on slides). This is after days of watching Discovery channel who is one of the worst offenders of the infamous logo. They should be sued with other channels that wreak havoc on plasmas with these logos. I almost have to think they have stock in LED technology! lol
Settings: The following are the settings that I am currently using post Luminance patch. They are a combination of my own and others. I feel I have struck a very nice balance without having had an actual calibration performed. This is in no way intended or claimed to be professional calibrated settings. I would be happy if they work for you though. So it definitely does not hurt to give them a try. If you find colors to be off on your particular panel, simply disregard the Pro settings and only use the Basic settings.
Picture Mode: Custom
Contrast: 82 "Bright Room" Setting 98
Brightness: 52-54 "Bright Room" Setting 70
Sharpness: 14-24 *If you have an external VP you may want this at zero
Color Temp: Warm 2 (or Warm 1) * Warm 1 will not be as accurate, but you may prefer it anyway as it will spruce up the whites a touch.
Video NR: Off
Aspect adjustments submenu
Screen format: Full
HD size: Size 2 (Size 1 will perform a 95% overscan. Can be good to get rid of scan lines at top of screen for sat/cable content as well as video noise that can be seen on edges of some content)
H size: [grayed out]
Zoom adjustments: [grayed out]
3D Y/C filter: Off [grayed out]
Color matrix: HD [grayed out]
These next two settings may or may not help poor content and should have little to no effect on quality content.
Block NR: Off
Mosquito NR: Off
Weak or Off: For most content. Pans will still be messy but no SOE
Medium: Clean Pans but with SOE. Great for animated content
High: Introduces far too many artifacts and motion issues
1080p pure direct: On
Black level: Light
3:2 pulldown: On
24p Direct in: 60Hz * 60Hz seems to function as 96Hz does without introducing artifacts that may or may not be detected. But 96hz mode does provide slightly better blacks. So use 96hz if you do not perceive artifacts.
Color space: Normal
W/B high R: -1
W/B high G: 0
W/B high B: 0
W/B low R: 0
W/B low G: -4
W/B low B: -1
W/B detail adjustment menu: (listed as Red, Green and Blue gain, respectively)
100 IRE: -1, 0, -1
90 IRE: -2, 0, +1
80 IRE: 0, +1, -1
70 IRE: 0, 0, 0
60 IRE: 0, 0, +1
50 IRE: +1, +2, +1
40 IRE: 0, 0, -1
30 IRE: +1, -1, 0
20 IRE: +2, -0, +1
10 IRE: -1, -0, +1
Red hue: 0
Green hue: +4
Blue hue: 0
Red Saturation: -5
Green Saturation: -4
Blue Saturation: 0
Color detail adjustment menu:
Yellow hue: 0
Cyan hue: 0
Magenta hue: +2
Yellow saturation: -2
Cyan saturation: 0
Magenta saturation: 0
Red luminance: 0
Green luminance: -12
Blue luminance: -2
Yellow luminance: 0
Cyan luminance: +4
Magenta luminance: +4
Black Extension: 0
Gamma adjustment: 2.4
Panel Brightness: Mid
Contour Emphasis: Off
AGC: Off or 0
Gamma Detail Adjustment Menu
100 IRE Gain: 0
90 IRE Gain: 0
80 IRE Gain: 0
70 IRE Gain: 0
60 IRE Gain: 0
50 IRE Gain: +3
40 IRE Gain: 0
30 IRE Gain: 0
20 IRE Gain: -1
10 IRE Gain: 0
Now a closing moment for the topic of BUZZING. All plasmas buzz....period. It is an inherent aspect of the technology. A perfect way to hear how this buzzing is effected by what is on the screen is by using the slides we talked about. Typically, the buzzing will be loudest on an all white or very bright screen. As you flip through the different colored slides, you will notice the buzzing changing in its intensity. Now some sets will obviously buzz more than others. You may have two identical sets that are side by side and one may be louder than the other. So if you have a set that you feel buzzes too much for you, an exchange may be in order. But be ready for no change, less noise and possibly more noise. But please do not base your impression while you are standing in a silent room with your head behind the TV. Listen to the TV sitting in your normal viewing location with volume at what you would consider "normal" or slightly below that. Then see if you can even hear it at all. Personally, I have to have my volume very low to hear it at all. Under my normal listening conditions, I NEVER hear my set buzz. There are many other factors involved that can contribute to the buzzing. Some of which include proximity of TV to the surrounding walls, room acoustics, sensitive hearing, furniture in the room, carpet, etc.....
I hope this information helps you in your decision. I know the feeling of being overwhelmed when you are are trying to make an educated choice amid a sea of conflicting information.
When all is said and done, I feel great about my purchase and highly recommend the television.
Panasonic has released another update. This update resolves the issue with CMS color Luminance not functioning. ;-)Picture settings are reflected and noted above.
In order to put minds at ease, I begrudgingly put the colored slides up after about 750 hours of use to see if I have any IR. I expected to at least see some minor IR but the fact is that I have ZERO IR! If you are worried about IR, stop. Follow my instructions and advice and it will be a non-issue.
And btw, my picture quality has steadily improved over the entire 700+ hours it has been running. What a gem.
I wanted to let people know what my experience has been with this so far. I was skeptical like many others based on the low cost and the couple negative reviews. First let me say that I think a couple of the negative folks may have got a lemon. To the gentleman that has a hard time going through any logs at all, you have a lemon or you work for a competitor! Granted, I only got this yesterday. But let me tell you what this splitter has done thus far. I cleared about a half acre of black birch, oak, maple and some pine. I unpacked this thing and started small and easy. Within 10 minutes I was up to 24" diameter fresh cut oak and this thing was splitting these logs like they were nothing. I kept expecting this thing to at least bog down a little with the big stuff, but nothing. Even knotty pieces were fairly easy. So power is plentiful and a non issue for me. This thing executed splitting very similar to the big gas splitter I rented a couple of weeks ago. So the power is there folks. Do keep in mind that there is a bleed valve nut that needs to be loosened every time you use the machine and then re-tightened when not in use.
I was also concerned about power draw and thickness of power cord and tripping breakers. Well I was again very surprised. I strung two average extension cords together for testing purposed to a regular 15 amp circuit. Now this setup does not and should not meet the manufacturers minimum specs. But guess what? I proceeded to split logs with ease with no power issues at all. I was afraid I was going to have to run a dedicated circuit for this thing. No worries any more on that front.
The draw backs mentioned in some of the other more thorough reviews are right on the money. The throw on this is bit short. Like someone mentioned in another post, it is nothing that a piece of 4x4 as a spacer wont remedy, but it is slightly annoying. The wedge itself could be a little wider as well. So I do find myself having to finish pulling the split apart by hand if there is any material left holding the log together. Not a big deal.
Yes, the wheels are too close together, so be careful pulling it behind you. If the surface is not smooth it will easily tip over. Again, not a big deal.
As far as a stand in concerned, yes you will want one. I can point you to a really cheap one. It's called two upright logs. I placed mine on top of the flats of two 20" logs and it worked flawlessly.
This also comes with a shield to install that forces two-handed operation as a safety feature. I was happy to leave this off and enjoy one-handed operation. That is up to you.
I do hope very much that this product holds up over time. If it does, I feel like I made a great purchase. And that is the feeling we all strive for isn't it? Nothing worse than regret of a big purchase. And that's why I took the time to place this review. Because I almost did not buy this based on a couple of the negative reviews that I see do not paint an accurate picture of this unit.
I hope this helps
My T2i felt too small before I ordered this. Now my camera feels like a "real" camera. It may be the best purchase I have made for this camera yet. Like many, I refused to pay for the Canon grip, so when I saw this, I ordered it right away. The shipping is quite slow, but well worth the wait. The item feels solid and not cheap and it makes the ergonomics of my T2i go from about a 6 to a 10. Highly Recommend...Read more