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  1. Oh lordy, you pick your time... I am going on holiday next week! If you can total up this lot and an estimate of postage I will get the money to you and you can send any time in the next month or so. It's a shame your collection has to go, though Let me know what's what and I will get money to you very soon
  2. Well I ended up buying a converter in India (cheaper than I could get it over here, although it is not the Canon one) and was able to get it into the first ground easily enough. Got some nice shots with it, too, both of cricket and of eagles. Definitely the way to go as it is easier to lug around than a big lens and you still get the zoom lens versatility as you said. Down side - it does not autofocus below f5.6 but that isn't a biggie. The results are excellent (good enough for me) - well worth the investment. 600mm lens with a 1.6 crop giving about 1000mm framing - nice!
  3. So I went a little crazy and decided to go and watch some cricket. In India. In December. Since I have a good (enough for me) camera - the EOS 700D with a Canon 15-85 lens as my main use and a 70-300 long one, I was wondering whether to go for a little extra focal length. Cricket is a game played at distance, of course, so I was wondering if an extender is a good way to go. I believe the 1.4x extender drops the f-stop by 1; the 2x by 2, I assume? I kind of figure that as long as it is not monsoon the light in India will not be a problem and the Canon is pretty good at higher ISO anyway, so the loss of a stop or two should be neither here nor there. Or maybe you know differently? Quality - there is always a price to pay. Anyone used them and found extenders to really lower IQ? (Obviously not mine, it is difficult getting that much lower). Would I be better off buying a longer lens and leaving the 70-300 at home? Any hints, advice on pros or cons or general thoughts gratefully received.
  4. If you want to stripe to get terabytes of contiguous data space on line at once, that's fine, although it is difficult to see the need for it in an audio context and even in a photo/video editing environment. Might be useful if you are ripping lots of blurays, I guess, or are doing pro video work. If striping solely for speed then SSDs will be the simpler option, certainly for most. Striping for redundancy needs more than three drives, but you pays your money and takes your choice.
  5. @@davewantsmoore is correct in terms of SSDs and better sound; it is primarily a question of noise reduction and whether you would hear that noise anyway is debatable. Interference - not just from disks, but CPUs. Again, marginal and removable if you are not doing anything other than playing music. RAID systems... I have had one RAID 1 system, a DNS320, which has performed brilliantly since day 1, never faltered. When I got some more money together I bought an N2200 RAID with high hopes. It died within 2-3 years - the electronics in the RAID box, that is, not the disks. They were safe and readable (which is the main thing, after all). Since then, though, the price of HDDs has dropped so much that you can buy two USB drives, store your data on one and a copy on another. A third drive (second copy) can be kept at work or a relo's place for resilience in case of fire or flood. RAID devices have themselves become redundant. If you bought an SSD in place of a whole RAID system then yes, you will get less hassles at a roughly equivalent price. However, it will not do the same job as a RAID, you will have to make copies yourself to another drive (pref. 2) to replicate that functionality. SSD reliability is probably as good as HDD, possibly better. The problem is, when they do fail you cannot use data recovery as you can on an HDD and expect to get data back. You *might* get some; 99.99% certain you won't get all and probably only a fraction of what you can restore from a failed HDD. So backups are essential.
  6. Look at PMC speakers - the floor standers have their port forward-firing, they are very easy to drive and position, although a little time spent with positioning will reap benefits. My OB1 speakers are 34cm deep and they aren't the smallest in PMC's range. You could probably run them tight against the wall if you have to, toe-in or not as you prefer. Put them on your listening list at least.
  7. There are a pair of PMC TB2i on sale here somewhere - these will beat anything in their real price range, never mind the asked-for $1100. The other way you could go is spend $300 on a pair of Usher s30 speakers (also for sale on here). Don't worry about the height of the speakers, you can stand them on something to make them higher. Having had the B&W 685s bookshelves you wouldn't go wrong there either. Forgot to add, the Ushers like a bit of ooomph from the amp so your receiver may or may not do the job. The other two pairs are easy to drive, but will improve if you do decide to upgrade your amp.
  8. Speed is the main reason to switch to SSDs; less noise might be another. For the latter, though, make sure you do back up (twice) or use two of them in a RAID 1 configuration plus an extra one for backup (or just a larger standard disk). The reason? If they fail you are far less likely to get data off it. As long-term storage media I wouldn't bother. As a means of buffering to speed things up - ie copy files you want to play to it or, as in my case, edit files from it - then this speeds the process is considerably over HDDs. For quick booting - great, use SSDs, but keep your valuable data on HDDs (as many as you can afford the space and $$$ for); for running large programs and loading files from - fantastic. For playback? Not so much, since files are copied into memory as you play them anyway. Foobar allows you to increase the amount of on-board memory it can use for buffering music files and direct memory access is much faster than any external drive. I just upgraded my internal 250GB system disk SSD on my Alienware to a SanDisk 960GB for $350 (MSY if you need to know). Essential as editing sound/video eats up disk space for temporary files and I was constantly running out of space. For the price, it was a no-brainer and I have an extra 250GB SSD for external use. The SanDisk isn't the absolute fastest out there but it is fast enough and much more cost effective IMO. 2c.
  9. Neil is somewhat eclectic. Live Rust is my favourite - a bit like Rust Never Sleeps but more of it. It also progresses from acoustic on side 1 to electric on side 2, heavy on side 3 and feedback on 4. Lots of classic songs, too. Harvest is a cracker and I liked Harvest Moon with the single exception of the track "King". True dross. His Buffalo Springfield stuff is all great and the CSNY work is sublime. I have a box set of a large amount of his early recordings which he released a few years ago and there is not a bad track on it. Mind you, I haven't had time to play it right through in a long while so it might be time to revisit it. At his best he is a fantastic songwriter. At his worst he can produce noise. At all times he just follows his nose and doesn't worry too much about what people think, it seems. Saw him live twice - in '86 in the NEC Birmingham and a few years ago at the Entertainment Centre Sydney - enjoyed both, loved the second one. He is growing old disgracefully. Long may it continue.
  10. I have W4S mono-blocks on my OB1 speakers - wonderful combination. I tried both the 250W models and the 500W and either will do the job nicely. To be honest, though, almost anything 100W and over gives great sound with them; they are not difficult to drive. They do sing with more power, though. If your budget is not huge you could do a lot worse than getting some class D mono's, especially if your current amp can do pre-amp duties.
  11. REM - Automatic for the People is a great sound stage, especially on the acoustic tracks; well recorded rock. kd lang - 'Ingenue' is very well recorded and sounds wonderful, particularly "The season of hollow soul" with acoustic bass and gently-rhythmic percussion. Good electric albums for superb sound spinning effects include early Led Zeppelin and Yes' Fragile album (check out Heart of the Sunrise). In the (older) electronic genre, Vangelis, Tomita and Tangerine Dream use stereo separation and channel switching to good effect. Jazz - Miles Davis' "Kind Of Blue" is very good. Lee Morgan's "The Sidewinder is excellent, too, although his "Taru" and "Tomcat" albums are both really well recorded. It sort of depends what you are after - nice effects from the sound mixer or a natural sound of a band (usually acoustic, for who knows what an electric guitar really sounds like?) on stage. I like it all; some prefer one or the other style. But there are things out there to tickle everyone's sound fancy.
  12. Sell the 3-or-5.1 and revert to stereo - use the cash obtained to upgrade speakers.
  13. Well, I got the experimental bug having read this thread so I currently have my PMC OB1 speakers set up for radical-toe-in. The right speaker is set facing the left end of the sofa and the left speaker faces the right end. The sofa is not exactly central between the speakers. I have found that does not matter in the slightest. Wherever one sits on the sofa the sound is pretty much the same. This is the major benefit so far. From the rear of the room the sound is less affected by the side wall (such as they are) so another benefit. Down side: the bass is less pronounced but this could be due to the transmission line design, or it could be that I am not yet used to the position. That said, due to the amount of bass the speakers produce this is not a huge problem; a little tweak upwards on the volume control applies some compensation. Caveat - I have had limited music time with the set up, but for films and TV it sounds good from all sitting areas, leaving aside the (slight) bass problem. I think I will stay with this radical positioning for a while yet. My other half has not even noticed the different position, either visually or audibly. It may all be in my imagination. I agree with another poster in this thread, though, who said it may be easier to spot differences (especially negative ones) when setting back to the original position.
  14. I can only echo the calls to look second hand but before you do listen to as many different systems as you can, especially since you appear to have decided on valves for reasons other than audible. Perceived wisdom is that valves don't rock and you need lots of watts to feed "low" sensitivity speakers (few speakers these days are really low sensitivity, but anyway...) Perceived wisdom can always be proved wrong, though. However, valves may not rock in the way *you* like the system to rock so for this reason alone definitely try before you buy. Monitors... Can be a good buy but can be a little revealing (read cold). Your mileage may vary and, if fed by valves, then this may not matter. But what I said about valves above is your first hurdle. There were a pair of PMC-built active monitors on sale in here a short while ago - definitely worth seeing if they are still available. PMC are speakers well worth looking at ("Professional Monitor Company" but they are not cold like many monitors - more warm than that) and I know as I have two pairs myself (passive rather than active). You generally get best sound spending most on your speakers, although your intent to upgrade speakers later is noted. Amps... You could probably go phono-stage straight into active speakers and get a great sounding system. You could also have an integrated amp with its own phono stage into passive speakers. You could also get an integrated amp that can act as a pre-amp and add power amps later on - even valve power amps if you so choose. The final arbiters are your ears, though. Listen to lots of systems whenever possible, learn what works for your ears and head down that path. There may be more than one path to your audio nirvana, too, remember, so keep an open mind. Enjoy the journey!
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