An upgrader’s cautionary tale

I’ve got two cautionary tales this week, and why children you need to pause before making purchases. The first story concerns, computer speakers since i do more video editing these days, the 10+ year old the cheapy generic speakers I bought ages ago aren’t cutting it anymore. I’ve been noticing my vids sound funny, and I’m just not a fan of editing using earphones/headphones/cans/etc. After the last payday and wonky audio video I posted, I decided it was time to swap them out, I set my budget to about $50 and a simple 2.1 (two satellites and a subwoofer) system something like this.

Not this actual product just a sample of what I was going to get

However once I was on amazon, and reading various review websites, I had the typical “well if i pay a bit more I can get this” looping reaction happening. Eventually my $50 budget turned into $80 and I was looking at low end of 5.1 speaker systems. These systems are usually good for gaming or movies, but not for music and (from what I was reading) video editing, they are typically too bass heavy (and over emphasize the frequencies normally associated with dialogue) since they’re tuned for gaming or movies (duh). Plus I really don’t have room for a full surround setup around my desktop computer because my home office is best described as my bedroom office(tm).

Again not this exact product, just an example of what I was looking at.

Since it was late, and there was work in the morning I decided to take a break, from my shopping I realized I was in “feeding frenzy” mode. Which meant I had gone away from my original purpose of finding a balanced set of stereo speakers. Flash forward to the next afternoon, I’m back on Amazon and looking at speakers again. Telling myself to stick to my spec sheet:

  1. Stereo speakers
  2. Rated as neutral or balanced for music
  3. Bookshelf size maximum. 
  4. Not a generic name brand.
  5. Under $100 (yah that budget got doubled).

After about an hour, I finally selected a set of speakers and was just about to hit buy when I got an email from Amazon warehouse. If you haven’t experienced Amazon warehouse, it’s basically their “back of the store” section. Where they sell returned items, damaged in shipping items and other things of that sort. You sometimes get a good deal, other times, not so much. Anyway, this email from amazon warehouse said they’d (the system) had noticed I was looking at speakers and there’s a ton of speakers in the warehouse. Ok I thought, head over to the warehouse, I see the usual computer speakers, all of which I had rejected earlier, but then there were these magical pair of Pioneer speakers for $60 original retail $130, according to the listing the items were still new but the box was damaged. So I figured why not? My fault I should have check the specs of the speakers, but once I saw they were the Andrew Jones set of speakers, the dormant former/recovering audiophile in me started screaming “Andrew Jones, the head designer at KEF (high end speaker maker from UK)? That Andrew Jones!? DOOO ITTTTTT!!!” So I did it.

Fast forward a week later, and UPS delivers this. Now the 2.5″ hard disk is there to give a sense of scale to the massive cock up I had just realized I committed. Note the two dings on the bottom of the box? That was the extent of the “damaged packaging.” The speakers were basically new and well are quite a bit bigger than I was expecting. I mean they sound phenomenal but yaaah #whoabig #twss

Now for the second cautionary tale, so the 2.5″ hard disk in the pictures I’ve been using a size guide, is actually one of two drives that I used to archive the previous year’s work raws/outputs/videos/pics etc. The one in this picture is from 2015 and I need another pair to do 2016, since last year is still sitting on my working drive(s). The way I do things is I purchase whatever size drive for around $50 to $60 at the moment, since I have to buy a pair I spend about $120 on archiving a year of work. I do my usual due dillegence of checking the local box stores for drives in that price range and they don’t have any, off to amazon everything normal so far.

However, once on amazon, I saw there was a daily deal sale on solid state drives. Not that I needed a new one, but I do my thing of checking it out because “why not?” Well, good idea bad idea, there was a sale on a samsung 860 EVO 500 gb NVME drive, it was almost $30 off MSRP. If your next question did you buy it? Below are the speed tests from my old drive and new drive (aka that would be a yes). You’d think the speed difference wouldn’t be notice able but for my work load, it seems to be very noticeable (or could be placebo).

Toshiba OCZ NVME

samsung 860 evo

960 box

960 drive

It’s been a great upgrade, and has lead me to suspect there is some kind of lag issue in the Toshiba/OCZ nvme driver because all the microstutters/pauses I used to have are gone from my system. The one downside, I still don’t have the 2016 archive drives lol. Lesson learned? Don’t go to the supermarket hungry. Reviews coming soon, and here’s a teaser of what’s powering the Pioneer speakers, yes those are tubes/valves.

Glowing tubes

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