atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#407: Audio hardware and anime

The new speakers? Awesome.

I used to use these rather large tower speakers with 15" woofers. But after moving back to Illinois I didn't have room for them--not with computer, full-size bed, TV, and dresser in my bedroom. My former surround speakers took on the duty of being main speakers despite limited low frequency response. (It rolls off somewhere around 100 Hz in those speakers.)

I got a set of surround speakers (rear and center channel) at an auction for about $10; and when I got the new amplifier--a Pioneer VSX-515, which is a Dolby 7.1 amp--I bought another pair of surround speakers to bring the grand total to seven. (No subwoofer, which is the ".1"--no room for one, and no money.)

But the overall performance of the system wasn't what I would have liked it to be, particularly in "surround" mode; and the bass response, to put it delicately, sucked.

The new speakers roll off around 65 Hz, and the "loudness" setting on the amp ensures that the bass is sufficiently amplified that the lower frequencies are still audible. The thing thumps if I am not careful.

The cabinets are actual wood, not particle board, and the woofer magnets are massive. Each speaker weighs 11 lbs, for crying out loud.

The upper frequency response is so good that I--when listening to MP3 files--thought the speakers were distorting. I made the mistake of playing MP3 files first, you see, and was worried that these speakers (which were, after all, display models) had been abused too much--but when I put in various CDs of mine, the high end was as clean as can be. The specifications claim upper frequency rolloff at 20 kHz but I bet it's higher than that.

MPEG-3 is a lossy compression scheme, by definition, and I can usually hear a kind of "crunchy" sound in the high frequencies of them--especially if they're 128 kbit or less--which is a compression artifact. So, take a lesson: MP3s are not the things to use to test new speakers, especially good ones.

I've always had a good ear for audio; when I needed to repair a cassette deck for my car, I aligned the cassette head by playing a known good tape and listening carefully while adjusting the head position. That stereo always sounded really good to me after that.

Since the new speakers replaced the main speakers, the old mains--a pair of KLH cheapies I got for $40--moved to the "middle surround" channels, and the previous middle speakers moved to the rear. Those are small Pioneer speakers and they're well-suited to that role. The original rear surround speakers are now in storage.

And now the surround system really works well, too. I could actually hear the surround sound, even in some of the downloaded fansubs that I've been watching. I'm going to have to consider watching Lord of the Rings again with this system....

* * *

Yume Tsukai continues not to be all that great. We got some explanation for what is going on, finally, but much remains concealed, and it lacks cohesion. I'm going to watch all the episodes, so we'll see if it gets better or not.

Okay, Hana Yori Dango Returns is not anime--it's the second live-action HYD series--but it's damned good. I've only seen the first episode, which was an hour and 47 minutes long, but it was entertaining and finally introduced Shigeru Ookawahara, a character I liked in the anime. She's great.

I've also got a bunch of the later Urusei Yatsura episodes. These look like fansubs but they might be DVD rips; the translations don't seem very good, though. What really bothers me, however, is the animation quality.

In one episode, in a scene where two characters were walking and talking, one character's mouth kept moving while the other character was talking. That's horrible animation technique.

In Aa! Megamisama!, I am really getting sick of Skuld. I have never really liked her anyway, but her selfish little girl "don't touch my sister" crap is getting really old.

And they're still writing "Marller" for "Mara". *sigh*
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