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Tone Malone

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About Tone Malone

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    Sydney
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    Australia

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  1. Is DVD/Blu Ray dead?

    My DVD player is on its last legs after 12+ solid years of use, which forced me to think about next steps. For a while I considered grabbing a cheap replacement for occasional use and relying more on streaming. But then reality hit home over the Christmas/New Year holidays. My Internet cable service once again became patchy, and based on what I've heard I shouldn't hold my breath for the nbn to solve all my streaming issues either. So ... I'll be getting a higher-end universal disc player to enjoy video concerts with decent audio, enjoy my older CDs and maybe even try out the odd SACD. It'll be fun hunting down the odd gem here and there.
  2. Commodore 64's turn - The C64 Mini

    Ahh the memories. Not that *all* the memories were great, especially as I had a cassette tape loader. Remember: * "Turbo load" games needing audiophile-level tape deck alignment skills * Epyx tape games without Turbo load. Dragonriders of Pern ... 25 minutes! * C64 zzap magazine * Trying to win any game with the standard "carpal tunnel" Commodore joystick * The joy of speech on Mission Impossible ... "stay a while ... stay forever!" * Losing about eight months of my childhood playing Elite ... first month getting my ranking from "harmless" to "dangerous", the next seven wondering whether I'd ever make "deadly" (I didn't). Was it all worth it? Without a doubt!
  3. Don't know the seller, but I've heard these speakers and they would knock anything new under $1000 out of the park: Btw. At this total price range subs are often known for doing more harm than good. I'd likewise focus on the two main speakers first.
  4. [email protected], good to hear from you and thanks again for the suggestion. Apart from making the Christmas deadline I was also introduced to a store (Minidisc) with friendly staff and a very tempting range of headphones - although the ones that caught my eye are in a very different price range to the ones we're talking about! I should point out by the way that the Audio Technicas should fit the bill nicely for the recipient. They're light, have aac codec (but no aptx) - so are probably best suited for Apple - and appeared to pair easily and reliably when I tried them. In trying to keep my comments above brief, I did leave out a few details - and it's probably worth noting I was trying them on an *Android* device (I own a Samsung S7, the recipient owns an Apple phone.) My comparison between the Beyerdynamics was a cursory one. Another factor beyond codecs was the possible fit of the ear tips which of course makes a major difference to audio, and I had more time to try out the ATs and get the fit right with those. So I'd take that comparison with a large pinch of salt! It was an interesting learning experience doing the pre-Christmas research. I was concerned about the boomy bass and muffled presentation which afflicts many budget wired headphones, but maybe lack of bass and musical body is the bigger challenge for in-ear wireless phones at this price point.
  5. Hi there ... I thought I'd provide an ending to this story and also some feedback on audio quality of the Audio-Technica ATH-CKR35BT for $99.95, especially as there was no review on the Internet about this new release. As the deadline to Christmas came perilously close, they seemed the best bet from a reputable company and a reputable local store, so I decided to go with them even though I couldn't audition them in advance. I think the biggest learning from trying these in-ears - and also briefly the Beyerdynamic Byron BT Wireless In-Ear Headphone (A$130) - is that you are probably making significant compromises at this price point and thereabouts. Once you throw in wireless Bluetooth functionality and a rechargeable battery - all in such a diminutive package - you're probably really asking quite a lot for the dough. With this major caveat in mind, the Audio-Technica's sound is in some ways admirable, providing decent insight into vocals and other instruments in the mid-upper registers. For folk music and acoustic guitars and pianos especially, they will work fine for casual listening for the average listener. The bass is very light - there's no satisfying lower resonance to be had listening to Lorde's "Royals", but the bass that's there is fairly tight. For most tracks I tried, the treble rolled off cleverly, just short of being too edgy. I think they've engineered the sound quite cleverly to maximise the benefits of the product and mitigate shortcomings. There are exceptions though and as Robbie William's version of Mack the Knife showed, fans of big brass music are probably better off looking elsewhere! I'd be happy to listen to them as background music from time to time, when I needed the convenience of truly light, wireless headphones. They represent a step up, say, from listening to my Sangean DAB+ alarm clock radio. But then they don't come close to matching a pair of $30 Xiaomi Piston 3 wired in-ears, which sound much richer and well-rounded. Overall, I'd consider auditioning the Audio-Technica in-ears if you're in the market for a budget wireless 'phone, and I believe (from very limited comparison) they better the Beyerdynamic Byron BT in audio quality. Whether the ATH-CKR35BT are market leaders at this price point, I'm not sure. In an ideal world, I would've liked to have auditioned the 1More iBFree, and the Brainwavz BLU-100 and BLU-200 phones, which are all generally well-reviewed.
  6. Surprised this is still here. April Music don't seem to have much talent in the marketing and distribution area (at least in Australia), but the Aura Vita integrated I heard was a fine, musical amp. If I was still in the market for an amp I'd be sorely tempted by this one. GLWTS!
  7. Creek too expensive? I tried the Creek 50a, it wasn't quite a match for my speakers (too much in upper mids) and doesn't offer a load of bass but it had a sweet, detailed sound. I auditioned it some time back at a1futureshop, they're a small outlet but were good for instore audition and might do $1500. See http://a1futureshop.com.au/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=486
  8. DVD player not working ... suggestions?

    Thanks for the feedback and detective work. Quick update, I got the player working again last night at least for CDs and for one DVD. I couldn't get the region hacks to work this morning but agree the display message is probably indicating a region reset of sorts - thank JSmith for figuring that out. I think the tracking laser ain't what it used to be, but at least with it running again it'll buy me time to decide what types of disc I'll be spinning in future, keep an eye out for sales, and convince my long-suffering better half of the benefits! By the way, I've noticed the 105/205 series Oppos have 2ch analogue audio out, but the 103/203 don't. Is there any way to plug the audio for a 103/203 into a 2ch amp via RCA, with good outcomes for CDs?
  9. Opinions on Marantz PM 8005

    Really interesting speakers - and I can see why you don't want to lug them around for amp auditions ... I reckon the MF and Marantz are the two best solid state amps around that price (new), but I'm not sure they'll live up to current your pre/power combo. By the way, Len Wallis also has the 8005 at $1499 without trade-in so I think these amps are being run out. Perhaps if they're that keen to turn them over they'll allow a home audition?
  10. Opinions on Marantz PM 8005

    I've owned a PM8005 for about six months now - and let me say I paid a fair bit more for it than $1499!!! I've also compared the PM8005 side by side with a MF M3si. Over the past 6-12 months (and perhaps longer), the PM8005 has been regularly discounted to $1995, but that's the first I've seen it new at such a low price. I have a hunch the sales of this amplifier may have been seriously dented by its little brother, the newer-release PM7005, which retails for less and has a built-in DAC. The Marantz PM8005 has a bit more power and sounds better than the PM7005 (to my ears anyway) but not by a huge amount. It was also a really close call to me between the PM8005 and the Musical Fidelity M3si ... the Marantz had a headphone jack and a slightly warmer sound, but the MF M3si arguably had a slightly sweeter sound. Both are worthy amps and both also helped to bring out the strengths of my speakers (Monitor Audio GX100). Some cheaper amps didn't work so well with the Monitor Audio's ribbon tweeters. I was originally looking in the $1500 bracket for an amplifier and tried quite a few - but frankly I don't remember anything that came close to the PM8005 at that price. Personally, I think it's a great amp, beautiful sound that balances warmth and detail, well built and will likely stand the test time. *But* ... that's to my ears and matching to my speakers. Hopefully you'll get a chance to try one first hand before you decide whether to buy (maybe with your preferred speakers?). PS: The silver Marantz looks impressive, but I ended up getting a black one once the salesperson pointed something out to me - there are *a lot* of shades of silver and gold out there. So while one silver component can look great, 2-3 components, all with slightly different shades of gold/silver finishes, look awful together! So unless you're planning to get the matching Marantz silver components, black might be the one to go for. Good luck, let us know how you go. :-)
  11. DVD player not working ... suggestions?

    Thanks for the replies. JSmith you're right, it owes me nothing and has been a great player. For the record, I have it set up as RCA yellow. Have tried unplugging it and resetting it (holding power button for 10 seconds) but makes no difference. It has a strange 7 symbol on the display (maybe the closest it can show to a question mark?) ... I'm wondering if a power spike has reset it to a point where it is no longer set to a region. Any thoughts on it being set up for RCA vs RGB? Deano, would be keen to know more about your (and anyone's) thoughts on Oppo v Marantz and reasons for avoiding the latter? ... I get the impression Oppo is edging out Marantz in reviews of UDPs but I have a Marantz 8005 amp and it's serving me pretty well. If it's a close run thing I'd probably end up going for matching components.
  12. Folks, My Pioneer DV-373 DVD player is showing most of the icons on the display panel when I turn it on and the tray still opend, but it is otherwise unresponsive. Perhaps after almost 15 years of faithful service it decided to give up the ghost after hearing me talk about replacing it with an Oppo or Marantz universal disc player. Or it could've been the fuse in the house going earlier today ... The manual and an internet browse proved fruitless as to what might have gone wrong. Any thoughts from the more technical folk on whether it is cactus or an easy fix? Despite my thoughts about a new player that plays SACD, it wasn't quite the plan to purchase one first thing in the new year, and as a CD spinner I'm sure the Pioneer still kicks the butt of the budget Bluray players out there.
  13. Need to be in-ear ... Jabra Move looks good but unfortunately doesn't fit the bill. I'm down to the 1more BFree BT headphone or the Audio technica suggested by Neo above. Thanks for the suggestions!
  14. Hi folks, Hoping you can help! I'm looking for a Christmas present: a pair of sub-$A100 in-ear wireless headphones, which will be used with an iPhone 6. Comfort is important, my friend likes folk so I'm hoping to find a pair with balanced clean sound and avoid the "doof doof" bass that seems to be a trait of many budget headphones. Battery life and bluetooth reliability are also factors. And I need them by Dec 25 - just to make it more challenging! Any leads would be great. Thanks!
  15. 5.1 speakers with $1300 budget

    That's a tough budget for a 5.1 system, having helped a friend buy a 5.1 speaker system recently and struggling at $2000. I'm more a stereo (2.0) person but from what I understand the most important thing is to match the centre and front two speakers - the back/side speakers can be different. It looks like you've got a reasonable av receiver and large tv as well, so would be great to have speakers that make the most of it. My gut feel is to go either: * Secondhand. The best sounding system we tried by far was a well looked after b&w set for $1200. Note some hifi shops sell secondhand stuff at quite a premium, others are very keen just to move them. And there have been some great deals online such as here. or.. * Go the front two and centre speaker for $1300, and use the two Sonys as surround until you can upgrade. Good luck!
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