Hi-Fi

 

 

Design Considerations:

  • Keep 2nd couch usable for guests when projector not being used
  • Skylight above screen (custom double blind installed)
  • Single intuitive remote
  • $pend sensibly
  • Music is #1

DIY 10″ Peerless / BASH 500W “Johannesen” TL Sub

Look at me! I’m an audiophile!  Heh….
Got myself a Canadian made BASH plate amp and Peerless 830452 10″ driver.
Hacked up the cabinet with the labyrinth a bit lower than Johannesen’s 2nd design and a bit deeper.
No I didn’t spend time re-engineering the box… I did however decide to split the labyrinth in thirds so that the 2nd half was half the width.
This sub really impressed me – not boomy and transitions well from the MMGs.
Impressed that it turned out so well.

Carada Criterion 88″ Classic Cinema White screen

Rolled the dice on this purchase, but I’m quite pleased for the following reasons…

  • Well built, wide, black velvet frame
  • Cost
  • Durability (washable if need be)
  • Tone / Gain were exactly what was required
  • …and yes, they provide 2 sets of white gloves for assembly!

I was tempted to try the screen goo solution but messing that up would have been noticeable.

Omega 12-Gauge speaker wire

  • Yes it’s audio-quality cable
  • Made in Canada
  • No it’s not $1,400/ft (more like $1/ft)
  • It won’t be the weakest link in my audio components for a long time…
  • …no I don’t want to get into a discussion of the merits of “pure” cabling.

Magnepan MMG + MMGC + MMGW speakers

Wow! I longed to try something at the low end of “audiophile” and I’m so glad I did…I LOVE THESE SPEAKERS!  The MMGs are amazing at reproducing voice and string instruments.  Everything comes alive.  I was concerned about the cat using them as scratching posts so I hung them upside-down off the ceiling.  I realize “purists” will want to lash me for not have more space behind and beside them, but I’m not seeking perfection …I just want excellence.
The centre channel MMGC is strong with appropriate range but not overbearing or tinny.  The MMGW surrounds are wonderfully subtle: movies with rain and thunder, bats approaching, etc.  They’ve caught my wife off guard a few times – sweet success!  In order to keep them optimally angled away from the wall, I mounted a latch and Velcro which works fine.
I almost went for Axioms (made in Canada!) – which would have been louder – but really needed to try something less conventional and more refined (if that’s appropriate).  I’m now a Maggie-slut like so many others!

Check out my review on www.AudioReview.com under Reviews > Floorstanding Speakers, Review Date: February 14, 2009

Panasonic PT-AR100 projector

I used to own an Infocus X1 DLP projector but sold it with my loft.

As a cult member of www.ProjectorCentral.com I used them for a little research and ended up with the following points in favour of a Panasonic PT-AX200, my second projector…  I had purchased the AX200 for all the right reasons.  Great projector, but IMHO there was a design flaw in ventilation engineering that resulted in the dreaded “yellow” blob (polarizer burn-in).  Since our projector is our TV, it’s on for approximately 2,000 hours per year.  Replacement of polarizing filters became a significant problem after 4 years when it affected the LCD.

Lucky for us, Panasonic had just released the AX200’s successor: the AR100.  Native 1080p.  Extremely bright (meant for living rooms as opposed to home theatres).  $1,100 for Panasonic B-Stock.  Sold!!!!  Didn’t expect to be on my 3rd projector at this point but no regrets – this is a near-perfect projector for our living room!

 

 

NAD T775 receiver

AV is getting more and more complex.  NAD design is all about Performance/Value/Simplicity and they do it well.
I upgraded from a NAD T743 mainly to have more power for the 4-ohm Maggies.
Why I love my T775:

  • Great toroidal power for acoustic sweetness
  • Setup for global, and per source, components is simplicity itself
  • HDMI 1.3 with separate video & audio
  • Designed in Canada

NAD Config – Sweet Setup Notes

1) Ability to define a given “Source” with HDMI video from the PS3, while audio is via an optical line from the PC!
…allows wife to play Final Fantasy will listening to iTunes

2) NAD T775 Front Speakers set to “Small – 80Hz”, Centre and Surrounds “Small – 100Hz”
BASH amp set to LFE (crossover not used)
…this way the NAD manages LFE 80Hz crossover to sub
I downloaded AudioTestFileGen to create 150-15Hz 30second WAV files.
Playback through Audacity – great way to check resonance, very happy with bass crossover (or lack thereof).

Telus Cisco CIS430 HD IPTV PVR

Switched from Shaw a couple of years ago… I’d say there isn’t much different (including the co$t!!!).

That said, Telus offers better features like option to un-list channels that you don’t want to see, or their speed compensation when FFWDing through commercials that jumps you back a few seconds based on the speed of your FFWD (nice!).  However as an owner of a great projector that does great upscaling, the CIS430 passes ALL signals as 1080p – even SD channels, so I can’t upscale lower rez Telus content.  Boo!

NAD PP2 phono stage

Nice clean preamp.  Keeps the source signal fairly pure for using the NAD T775’s “Analog Bypass” through to the Mag MMGs & sub!

NAD C-556 turntable (Rega RP1)

Replaced the old Akai.  NAD’s done a rebrand but they chose a good one!

 

SonyPS3, 160GB “slim” model

  • DLNA compatible
  • Solid BluRay, DVD, & CD playback
  • Linear PCM
  • Soft (internet) updates for BluRay
  • Netflix

 

QNAP TS-219P NAS (Network Addressable Storage)

  • RAID1 mirrored 3TB drives, with SMART drive management
  • UPnP TwonkyMedia server for PS3
  • Folder server for home LAN
  • Effectively silent, extremely low power consumption

 

NAD IPD dock for iPod

Simple dock for direct playback through NAD receiver.

D-Link DIR-655 wireless / Gb router

Gigabit wired for streaming between PC, PS3, and QNAP NAS