Sunday, April 26, 2015


Last weekend, I ran my hardshell through Revivex to revive its water repellent layer, and finally "tested" it out on a shower on Saturday. I'm very glad to report that it worked very well!

The rain wasn't super heavy, was only in it for about 10 minutes, but it's heavy enough that you'd want to duck under a building for shelter.   (My jeans and shoes were drenched, of course)

There were several times I had to wait at traffic lights, and the water beaded up quite well. I don't remember ever having been in such a shower when the hardshell was brand new, so I can't say how well it was compared to when it still had the factory coating.

When indoors, what water was on the shell evaporated rather quickly (yay Adelaide's low humidity).

Due to this little experiment, I've been looking at "waterproof" clothing more carefully, and also looking at what kind of clothing people used back in the day before high-tech fabrics. Waxed fabrics were one, as well as super tight weave fabrics like Ventile.

After all this, I think I may actually sell this hardshell and move back to a softshell; I enjoy wearing a shell out on cooler days, and the softshells I've tried before from Arcteryx and Mountain hardware are generally much more comfortable and are wind proof enough. As much as I would love to be toting a "waterproof" garment,  the fact is I am don't need it for my mostly-city usage.

Verily, I'm probably going back to what I was wearing in montreal when the weather was just above 0C, a fleece + softshell (did I wear thermals? I can't remember.... probably need to check my older posts). And.... bring along a super lightweight rainjacket for the times it is really wet.

Or.... use an umbrella. The joke is... I bring an umbrella with my pack... and I have never used it, always lending it to those with me caught in the rain.

Oh well :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Trying out Revivex

Having had the Juho for over half a year now, and the DWR coating that sheds water is kinda gone. Haven't been in a major shower yet - the rain thus far have been quite light, and the Juho, while it does absorb the water, still keeps me dry.

With winter properly coming up in South Australia, I thought it be best to re-coat it. Got some Revivex together with Granger's 30 Degrees Cleaner, and it seems to do the trick. Water definitely beads up, but will have to wait for a real shower to see how it performs :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Fiio X1

First up, no pictures here as there are so many reviews and photos of this MP3 player online.

The MP3 player that has been with me for almost 5 years, a Cowon D2+ has been having hickups lately, not reading the external sd card. Plus it's suffered lots of trials and tribulations - falling off tables etc. and having to be taken apart so as to move the buttons to their original positions etc. It's had a good long run.

While I would love an MP3 player that is top of the line, perhaps one of the Ibasso things, my mp3 player is mainly to be used at work, on trains, on planes etc so while I do want good sound quality, superb sound quality would be a waste. Hence, the X1. It's priced very affordably at USD99 (I bought it for AUD138 with shipping from Minidisk australia), and is touted to have some good quality DACs. So how does it stack up agains the D2+?

First impressions were: detailed, but not as exciting as the D2+. However, after some fiddling with the D2+ and disabling the EQ, I must say the X1 and D2+ are around the same level. Good, but different. I felt that the D2+ was slightly warmer, with a touch stronger bass response.

The X1 on the flip side, sounded sharper, more detailed. This was with my Grados SR80. I tried doing some comparisons on my daily use IEM - the Shure SE215 and kinda gave up as seriously, I find the SE215 so boring compared to the SR80. The lack of highs also put me off so I went back to the SR80s.  I tried fiddling with the X1's EQ to match the EQ of the D2+, but the differences were very minimal to my ears, unlike the D2's EQ that is very readily audible.

The main reason why I use the SE215 on a daily basis at work is because of its good insulation, and that while it is very boring (i.e. detailed), it is not tiring, as it does get with the SR80 after awhile. Also, it packs down into a tiny case around the same size as the D2+.

I'm also wondering if the X1's DAC pushes as much power as the D2+ - the D2+ has my SR80 around 15/100 of the volume, while the X1 needs about 30/100 to get the same levels.

Interface wise, the X1 has this round circular control up front reminiscent of the older ipods. It works ok, though I tend to overshoot the menus. One annoying thing I've found is that when the display is powered down, only the volume control buttons still work. I'd expect the next/prev buttons to work, but I don't think they do with the display off. Very annoying. A setting in the menus allow you to choose which buttons are active when the player has its display turned off.

One other niggle, which is not fair to the X1 as it's not a touchscreen - is that the D2+, and its touchscreen, allows you to jump to any part of the song at a touch - with the X1, you'd need to hold down the next/prev button and wait as it traverses the timeline. There is no A-B function either, so if you are a musician wanting to practice with that, no go. And yes, that's something the D2+ has. And I've only used it like once, so...

The package comes with a silicone cover (great! No need to spend $$$ on extra cases), and has the screen protector already applied. And with 2 extra screen covers too.... were they expecting this mp3 player to be exposed to lots of scratching? Like maybe cat owners? I honestly cannot see the need for 2 extras... Additionally, there are stickers to attack to the player to give it a carbon fiber look, a wood look, or an American flag look. Some kinda warranty thing in the box, as well as a usb charging cable.

What else.... oh, the X1 does not have any internal memory, and uses micro sd cards.

Overall, the X1 suits my needs very well. For the price, it is neigh impossible to complain with what it delivers.

If there is any big niggle, for me it'd be the interface. Having to press the power button just to change tracks is annoying. And the navigation on the D2+ with its touchscreen is just lightyears faster and more accurate. Again, sticker price - the D2+ probably cost twice the price of the X1 when I bought it.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Orico W9PH4

I wish companies would name things better! W9PH4 is soooo descriptive! As bad as Casio and their watch naming. GAH!

Anyways, I realized my usb hub, a tiny Targus portable thing was only USB2, so I thought it'd be nice to step up to a USB3 hub, especially with my USB3 drives.

Visited the usual shops along Rundle Mall, but nothing that was unpowered caught my eye (incidently, I went to the Apple Store to see if they had any nice usb hubs, nada. I did try out the Apple Watch though, it's really a fun gadget! I really like the concept of having a watch on my wrist, so I bought a Casio. But that's another story.)

Made a trek down to MSY, another computer retailer at the edge of the Adelaide CBD and picked up this Orico brand 4 port usb thingy. They actually had two Orico unpowered 4 port hubs, and I basically picked this one simply because it was smaller.

The power buttons are a mystery though, this is the first usb hub i've had that had individual buttons to turn on each port. I really think it's unnecessary, and the mechanical switches add a layer of possible failure. In any case, I'm leaving them all switched on as USB is hot-pluggable.

I hope.

On the flip side, it's very well built (compared to some of the other more flimsy units I saw in store), and the usb cable is permanently attached, and is quite thick. I'm hoping this thick solid cable means its delivers the full USB3 power spec, and being built-in means I won't lose the cable when moving between places.

Did some quick transfer tests with my Touro S and doesn't appear to be much difference when transferring a 1gb file through the hub or with the hdd directly connected to my laptop.  Guess its good!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Touro S

Popped out at lunch to get this little baby. So far, it's proving it's mettle, a 1gb test file wrote in about 7~8 seconds, pretty damned fast for a bus powered portable drive! Writing from the Touro S to my desktop took about the same time.

I still need to transfer my vsl samples - I didn't realize I've got 600gb of samples just from vsl >.>

What a joke, spent so much on vsl and I'm not using them at all. Oh well. I'm sure I'll get back some day or another. Sample lust is a thing.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Harping for a thunderbolt external drive. Nah.

I've been meaning to move my Caldigit FW800 drive that houses all my samples over to a portable thunderbolt drive - mainly to reap the speed benefits, as well as to lose the power adaptor (plus I have 2 thunderbolt ports doing... nothing), and I went down to (probably) the only place in Australia you can buy it - the Apple store. Sadly (thankfully!) they were out of stock. A bit bummed, I ran around the usual suspects, Harvey Norman, Dick Smith, JB Hifi etc. They carried mainly WD and Seagate stuff.

WD portable drives form the bulk of my backups, and the are a damned good bang for the buck for what they are. However, for my sample drive, I want something faster to stream my samples. Now, I'm quite thankful for the thunderbolt drive being out of stock, as I realized that thunderbolt is kinda pointless for a single standalone 7.2k rpm drive. After looking at specs, even usb3 won't get maxed out by a single 7.2k drive.

After some hunting around, it seems MSY has in stock some HGST Touro S drives. 7.2k, usb3, 1tb. Just what I want. Probably going to pick that up over lunch tomorrow. Once I get rid of this Caldigit housing (it's not bad, fw800 + usb3) and move to the bus-powered Touro, I won't have to wait weeks for the sample drive to arrive by post - and save on postage!