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About Monty

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  1. Camera recommendations ~$1000

    Thank you for your thoughts. I should more seriously consider a flash phone. I've just always baulked at spending so much on something that's nearly a consumable these days (2-3 yrs?). I'm no technophile obviously. I still get the 'I have a computer in my pocket' wow factor for ~$150, despite all sorts of compromises in terms of usability. Pocketability really is the threshold question. Plus I just need to go to a shop and see how different things feel. No options here, but I'll be in Canberra over xmas-new year so can have a look there.
  2. Every so often we float the idea of buying a better camera. We currently have a couple of old compacts kicking around: a Canon 6MP and a Lumix 12MP waterproof. More often we use phones. The squeeze has a decent one (iPhone 6). Mine is a pretty basic Nokia which is okay with full light on still target, but otherwise next to useless. We are living in Timor-Leste for another year and do a fair bit of local travel here. So the main use would be coast and mountain landscape shots, some building/ruin stuff, plus kid shots. (They are growing up fast and we don't have a lot of good photos.) Neither of us are skilled photographers. The squeeze had a film SLR in her teens. But mostly it's just been full auto point and shoot stuff, maybe adjusting for brightness but that's about it. Fair to say that over capitalising on gear is a real risk. I'd put our budget at around $1000, which seems to be a funny, wide-open price point. High performance compacts rubbing shoulders with entry level mirrorless and DSLR. It's also possibly something of a 'no man's land'. Serious photographers spend significantly more than this, and almost everyone else uses a phone. What I glean from a novice scanning of the photo threads here and some camera shop and review sites, suggests we could be looking at all sorts of things: Compact (e.g. Sony RX100 or Panasonic LX100); Mirrorless (e.g. Sony a6000 or Olympus OM-D E-M10 II); DSLR (e.g. Nikon D5600 or Canon EOS 200D). Any input on the pros/cons of general or specific options would be helpful. Thanks.
  3. I was in Melbourne over the weekend, mostly catching up with family and friends, but I made a couple of short visits to the show. Not enough time to really do things justice. And my first time at a show, so there's a lot to take in and at times hard to know quite what to make of it. My favorite sounds were the Osborns and the active SGRs. Now the long trip home.
  4. 'I was so much older then/I'm younger than that now'
  5. Jazz: Currently Spinning

    I recently bought this Arthur Blythe set - four albums on 2CDs - including Lennox Avenue Breakdown (1979), In The Tradition (1980), Illusion (1980) and Blythe Spirit (1981). I have seen him recommended here and elsewhere but this is my first time listening to him. It's fantastic. I love the way the ensembles work a funky groove, but also do a lot of adventurous playing around and against that foundation. Interesting instrumentation too with tuba on three of the four albums. Sousaphone is often featured in early jazz, but I can't recall hearing tuba in a modern jazz setting. It gives the rhythm section a second low voice (with the other sometimes cello rather than bass) - which brings more flexibility and weight to the groove.
  6. @spider™ http://www.orpheusaudio.com.au/products/aurora-2-and-3.html You may have found your way here yourself, but the photos on Orpheus' website show how the curved side panels meet in a narrow plastic rear section which incorporates the reflex ports and binding posts. The veneer in the close up images looks like the Jarrah to me: kind of mid-brown with a reddish hue. Nice finish. The website specs list the height at 950mm, but I make it 1005mm (plus spikes, if using). I've had the same speakers for about 8 years. I think they are very good buying at this price.
  7. Perils of focusing too much on gear

    Interesting discussion. 'Music first' and 'gear is a means to an end'. These lines get thrown around a bit. It's true for most people, I think, maybe even most stereo nerds. I'd say it's true for me. But I don't think it holds that it's the one right way. If some people are more focussed on the gear - sonics, technology, design, measurements, whatever - that's fine too. Neither approach is inherently good or bad. It's all mostly self-indulgent recreation/luxury consumption. I also like the points made about streaming services challenging old ways of thinking about what is the 'right' balance of expenditure between gear and music. I like my largish collection of CDs and records, intend to keep it and will probably keep adding to it. But I think in a lot of ways it would make more sense to do most of one's listening via streaming - exploring far and wide - and augment this with a relatively small personal collection: stuff that's unavailable on streaming services, or is much better mastered, or is just a particular favourite or otherwise compelling package.
  8. currently drinking

    Shouldn't you be listening to some dead drunk mariachi band rather than Billy Holiday?
  9. Thanks aechmea. I think I only spent $150 on the thing, so certainly not worth spending much on parts and labour. Does anyone have suggestions for laser cleaning tools/procedures?
  10. Currently Spinning

    The xx (2009) Aretha Franklin - Spirit In The Dark (1970) I also got these in the latest haul. I have both albums on LP and generally try to avoid duplicate versions and formats. But with records in storage rationality failed and I added them to the cart. I think the xx debut is one of the best albums of the last decade or so. The sparse hooky productions is beautiful and the understated boy-girl vocals just work. And the Aretha is, well, Aretha! Still in her Atlantic prime, maybe a half notch below her very best, but wonderful in its own more laid back way. There's a great line from Robert Chrisgau's review: 'what's lost in soul intensity is more than made up for in a kind of dusky barroom aura--if you can imagine walking into some funky cocktail lounge and finding the greatest singer in the world at the piano'.
  11. Well, I've hatched a plan to get to Melbourne for the show weekend. First order of business is catching up with my sister, and her birthday is the Saturday, so I won't be able to make evil c's dinner. But I will definitely get tickets for the show and hopefully run into a few SNA luminaries.
  12. I bought a Denon DVD-3300 from the SNA classifieds a few years ago. Reasonable quality disc spinner, but must be about 15 years old by now. It has served me well but is getting sketchy with DVD playback - skipping, stalling, pixelated breakup, etc. We get through a few dodgy pirated DVDs here, so it can be hard to diagnose, but the errors are becoming more frequent and manifesting on legit discs as well, so I think it's a hardware rather than software problem. CD playback is fine. Any recommendations for an easy fix? Could this be as simple as a dirty laser? And if so, what is the best way to do this? Buy a laser cleaner kit? Or take the lid off and clean manually (with what - borrow some camera cleaning gear)? And if it's not that simple, what is involved in replacing the laser assembly? Would that be worth doing for this player or am I getting into to 'just buy a new one' territory? Thanks.
  13. Currently Spinning

    Southeastern passed me by, but I will definitely be going back to it on the strength of this latest one. At this early stage it is standing out for me as the pick of the bunch. Just a really mature, accomplished album. Well observed, well written, well sung, well played and well put together.
  14. Currently Spinning

    Dave Rawlings - Poor Dave's Almanack Jason Isbell - The Nashville Sound Randy Newman - Dark Matter The National - Sleep Well Beast I took delivery of a short stack of 2017 recommendations last week, but didn't get a chance to listen to them as we headed off the next day on a school holiday road trip. Cycling through them on return, they're still sinking in but all good and worthy of the praise they've got here and elsewhere.