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By p00lriah. Posted in misc.

portable audio (sort of)

recently i got a chance to play with a pair of headphones. you may not know that i enjoy a good set of ‘phones. i do. it’s quite useful, especially when you don’t wanna disturb people with your music or movie.

you may be familiar with the company Velodyne. in the audio world, they’re pretty famous for their home theater subwoofers. they now design a line of headphones for the consumer market. the one i listened to is the vTrue model. (http://velodyne.com/vtrue-headphones-forged-aluminum.html) the look of the ‘phones is something else. it is made with forged aluminum and leather, & the ear portion is shaped like a teardrop. made to be visually striking, Velodyne is no doubt trying to compete with the likes of Beats and Monster headphones. being quite bulky and heavy, these ‘phones are made more for home use than on-the-go listening.

being Velodyne headphones, people familiar with the brand would assume the bass is outstanding, and the vTrue does not disappoint. these headphones excel at EDM tracks, rap, or any other bass-heavy songs. fans of Tiësto & other trance music will be delighted with these bassy performers. as an added bonus, midrange sounds clean and warm. contralto voices sound particularly rich with the vTrue.

the shortcoming of vTrue is in the treble department. when it comes to reproducing high notes, treble tends to get washed out by the midrange and bass, and the soundstage of the high notes seem to become distant & reverberant. it’s an odd effect, although i can’t say it’s really unpleasant. i think it’s tolerable.

comfort-wise, these ‘phones are about average. the heavy weight of the material can tire your head after a long listening session, but i experienced no discomfort after two hours of listening. the earpads surrounded my ears just fine, but i have heard of people complaining that the earpads don’t surround their ears, but rather sit on them. if your ears are large, you may wanna look elsewhere.

with the sensitivity rated at 95 dB and resistance at 24 ohms, the vTrue is very smartphone- and portable player-friendly. you should be able to drive these ‘phones directly with your mp3 player without any problems. if you decide to use amplification, remember to set the bass boost to zero. these ‘phones have plenty of bass; boosting the lows can make the ‘phones sound muddy.

anyway, the Velodyne vTrue is a swell set of ‘phones. it is not a well-rounded performer, however. if you listen to a lot of bass-heavy music, or if you like deep, clean, and well-controlled bass, give these a listen. like all headphones, the vTrue’s sound is affected by the designers’ biases. you should be a happy camper when you align your musical preferences with the vTrue’s strengths.

reflections

it’s almost the end of the year again. year in, year out, time advances so quickly i feel like i can hardly catch a breath. i’ve been shirking my blogging duties completely but i don’t feel too bad about it, mainly because i’m enjoying the things i do outside of blogging. i’ve been enjoying the company of friends, good meals, and explorations in pool techniques. things are fun for me right now.

as far as blogging goes, i’m not very eager to share what i’ve discovered in pool. not that they’re great discoveries, but i just don’t feel the need to write what i’ve learned. based on my experience, pool players are not a particularly open-minded or appreicative lot. besides, what i’ve learned probably won’t translate to other people’s playing styles, so i’ll let each discover his/her own techniques that best suit his/her individual style of play. i think that’ll work out the best. after all, i’m hardly qualified to teach anyone. a little secret though: i watch a lot of videos. that’s how i learn. maybe that’ll help you.

sometimes i’m astounded at pool players’ mentality. i still don’t understand why the bench warmers, those who never bother to pick up a cue and instead content with just sitting and watching, enjoy making snide remarks about people they’re watching. somehow they feel entitled to talk while never bother to get on the table. takes all kinds i guess. i have noticed that the ones who don’t talk a lot are the ones you should watch out for. you don’t really see efren mouthing off, do you?

speaking of efren, the filipino contingent continues to assault the US soil with their spectacular play. the scary thing is that new champions continue to pop up from nowhere, as if Philippines magically produces world champion pool players from thin air. the truth is probably less mythical than that, but that’s my impression. Taiwan is another place that grows champions by the bushel (e.g., Ko brothers). Korea and China also sprout many champions, but it seems more female champions come out of Korea and China than male champions. i could be wrong though. other Asian and south Asian countries are lagging. if you want to play competitive pool, Asia seems to be the hot spot right now. maybe things will change for the better in the US. i hope anyway.

so have a great new years folks. don’t drink too much, don’t celebrate too crazy, and enjoy your time with your loved ones. that’s really what’s important.

a bunch of reviews

it’s been a long while since i posted anything, so here are some stuff for your perusal.

friend of mine treated me to some ocean delicacy.  behold its glory.

uni

uni closeup

it is sea urchin.  or uni if you’re japanese, or a sushi lover, or a japanese sushi lover.  what, you think all japanese folks are sushi lovers?  you racist bastard.

aaanyway.

for those who love sushi, you’ve probably had uni before (and maybe paid a pretty penny for it).  but it is quite an experience to eat it fresh.  i’ve often heard of food shows talking about getting closer to the source, or having more affinity for your food by gathering it yourself.  for me, a total city boy with no outdoor genes whatsoever, this is darn close to catching then eating something with my own hands.  i can see why people would want to catch and eat a fish, instead of buying one from a market.  it is that understanding of what you’re putting in your mouth that brings you closer to what you eat.

maybe this is a sign that i should go kill something.  that will please some vegans.

the flavor of the uni is pretty hard to describe.  it started salty and slightly briny, but much less than i had anticipated.  about two to five minutes after i ate a piece, a sweet flavor emerged.  even from all that sea water loaded with salt, i still tasted a sweetness similar to crab meat, except deeper.  umami is an overused word now, but in this case the word describes the uni flavor quite well.  it’s just one of those thing you have to experience yourself, because no two people would get the same sensation from uni.  at least that’s what i think.  btw, the uni roe is the reproductive organ of the sea urchin, in case you’re not already grossed out.  just here to help.

on the pool front, i’ve recently had a chance to try out the poison vx break/jump cue.  here’s a picture i snagged from the poison cue website.

poison vx break jump cue

poison vx break/jump cue. image retrieved from http://poisonbilliards.com/.

the vx break/jump cue comes with a phenolic tip as standard equipment.  i think the basic gist of the cue is to give you a more efficient way of transferring power to the cueball.  the hard phenolic surface offers almost no shock absorption, so whatever energy you generate will go into the cueball with minimal loss.  i don’t know the weight of this particular break cue, but it feels quite light in my hands.  unfortunately, this break/jump cue did not immediately give me a magical break, so i declare this product a failure.

all kidding aside, i had to really practice my break to get a feel for this cue.  the phenolic tip worked great for transferring energy, but it was also more prone to miscue than leather tips.  i found that concentration was the key to break well with this cue; when i focused on hitting the center of the cueball, the break worked very well.  when i didn’t, i’d miscue like a total amateur.  wait, i AM a total amateur.  never mind.

just like any equipment i’ve ever used, practice is the key.  no cue will give you a magic break/stroke, and this cue is no exception.  but it does work well when you figure out how to use it.  as far as jump shots, i did find it easier to jump due to the phenolic tip.  maybe that’s cheating, but i like that it made things easier for this lazy azz.

players cues makes the HXTP1 pure x break/jump cue.  the pure x breaks down into four pieces, which gives you more configurations.  if you focus a lot on your jump shots, the pure x may work for you since you can customize the length of your jump cue.  i haven’t used it yet so i can’t say how well it works, but the pure x does look like a neat concept.  try them all out for yourself is all i can say.

aside from work, i’ve had a chance to watch a few movies.  Runner Runner is a movie about online gambling, starring ben affleck and justin timberlake.  the movie was panned by most critics, but i thought it was entertaining.  it’s no oscars effort, but i didn’t think it was that bad.  just don’t buy the dvd.

Seeking a friend for the end of the world is a movie about two people connecting right before a giant asteroid is about to strike the earth.  steve carell and keira knightley headline the flick.  the movie surprised me.  the bond between carell’s and knightley’s characters were very sweet and moving.  if you didn’t watch it yet i think you’d be pleasantly surprised.

i also watched R.I.P.D.  i know, dumb show, but i liked it.  the movie made me laugh, so i don’t care.  at least i didn’t watch Twilight.

that’s it for now.  until next time, folks.