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IMPORTANT NOTICE for MANUFACTURERS & SUPPLIERS

Techmoan never approaches companies to ask for sample products to review. 



    

Pick of the Camera Reviews

(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 

ACTION CAMS

Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K

Sony AS100V

Drift Stealth 2

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)

 

Xiaomi Yi

Dazzne P2

SJCAM M10+
 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
DDPai M6 Plus (My Pick)Vantrue N1
XiaoYi Yi
G1W Budget 1080p Cam

A119
DrivePro 200
Transcend DrivePro 220
Transcend Drivepro 520
MINI CAMERAS
(The Mobius also works as a dashcam)
Mobius
Polaroid Cube+
Mobius
HTC Re

My favourite USB battery power Pack

This is the excellent USB power pack I use when I travel.

2 x 2.1amp outputs. 8400mAh capacity.

Two digit Led display shows battery level

 

What SD CARD should I buy?

If you want an SD Card for your camera - these are the ones I use and recommend. 

I'd strongly recommend not to buy any SD cards off ebay - I've heard about too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. My inbox regularly gets messages from people who bought a £150 camera then cheaped out and bought a £3 memory card on ebay - Then when it doesn't worth they blame the camera! It doesn't make any sense. Good memory is cheaper than it's ever been - see the links above.

A lot of HD cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB (cards over 32GB are usually SDXC rather than the SDHC standard used by 32GB cards. SDXC cards use the ex-FAT system rather than FAT32 - in short they are a different standard). - so don't just buy the biggest card you can afford - read the specs in the manual to see what it accepts.

VERY IMPORTANT. These links go to the product, but Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the going rate for a real item against the price of a fake one that won't work.

As an example of the extent of the problem of fake goods online...In a recent survey by Apple - 90% of the 'Apple' chargers sold by Amazon - using the other the two methods..which includes the "Fulfilled by Amazon" option -  were found to be counterfeit....90%! 

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

RECOMMENDED CARDS

CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)

 

U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)

 

 

 

            

 

Sunday
Jan082017

This is about DAT

Following a collaboration between Sony and Philips, the Compact Disc is launched in Japan in 1982. This new digital music playback format was a big hit, so work then starts on introducing a new digital recording format for the home. This time Sony & Philips go their separate ways.

Philips preferred the idea of a S-DAT based system which would use a Stationary play head as this could be compatible with existing compact cassettes. However significant development would be required to get this idea to work, due to data limitations of the existing tape and head techniology. It eventually emerged in 1992 as DCC, largely owing it’s existence to innovative audio compression techniques that were not possible on a consumer device in the 1980s.

Sony however took a simpler route, eschewing the idea of backward compatibility, and using existing video recorder technology by 1986 they were able to demonstrate prototypes of their new R-DAT based system which used a Rotating head to pack more data onto slow moving tape.  This system didn’t employ any compression…and therein lay the rub.

The Sony DAT system could make perfect copies from Compact Discs…and for the recording industry, that was just not cricket. Watch the video below to learn more about Digital Audio Tape and see some DAT machines in action. 

 

CORRECTIONS
Long Play Mode is 32kHz (added as an annotation before the video went live)

WARNING
This video may contain the occasional redundant turn of phrase...e.g. "DAT Tape" if this is of concern, please do not press play. 

FAQs
Q) Are you going to do a video about Minidisc?
A) Yes
Q) When
A) I don't know

PURCHASING
I bought my DAT Recorders from EBAY - here's a link https://goo.gl/x2k1jX 

NOTE
This video does not go into detail about tape data backup solutions, these were known as DDS. This is a deliberate omission…it’s a video about audio. 

Here's a nice 1986 article about S-DAT and R-DAT.

Friday
Dec302016

Adding a bit of ATMOSphere

One of my big wishes for 2016 was to add Atmos sound to my home cinema...I just about managed to squeeze it in at the end of the year. 

Addendums. 

First I must have done a very bad job in the video of getting across the Atmos experience. So let me try again. 

I really like my Atmos system. It sounds very very good. It's much better than my old system. The sound feels like it's coming from all around. "It feels like I'm in the middle of a bubble of sound". 

Now my comments in the video were about expectations vs reality. I expected to be able to identify exactly where a sound was coming from...imagine someone dropping a coin upstairs on a wooden floor. In reality with just a couple of speakers that type of directional focus just isn't achievable...it also woundn't be achievable with four speakers as sound dissipates like a cone..rather than focusses like a laser. So whilst the sound comes from all around...it won't make you duck. It is though...and I repeat...it is, very good and much better than 5.1

PURCHASING
Marantz NR1607 Slim AV Receiver - AMAZON
   
PSB Imagine XA Atmos Speakers - AMAZON
   
Banana Plug Terminated speaker cable from Amazon
   
Atmos demo disc from eBay
Here's a link to the PSB Website 
Here's a link to the Marantz Website
PSB range also available in the UK from Sevenoakes Sound & Vision 

 

Lots of weird questions and comments on this one...so I best post the info here, so as not to get the same comments again. 

Q) What's my ceiling made of, is it reflective?

A) It's made of plaster - Reflective Atmos needs a hard surface to reflect off...so my ceiling is perfect..but who has a soft ceiling anyway unless you live in a tent (this is an odd question if you think about it).

Q) Wouldn't it be better with four Atmos speakers rather than two.

A) Yes...but probably only a tiny bit (according to a few reviews I've read) and it would add approx £1000 to the cost (an amp with 2 more channels out and two new speakers & stands) - and there's also the small issue of me not having this money, not having room for a bigger amp and and not having room for additional rear speakers. Don't worry too much about my precise situation...I'm demonstrating a technology, not asking anyone to move in.

Q) Some question about cinemas in the uk, or how cinemas are now better etc

A) I don't like the whole going to the cinema process, that's just me, no judgement on your choices, glad you like it. At my age I need to pause every film three times to go to the loo...this would annoy people in cinemas, well it would if they ever looked up from their phones and rustling sweet packets. 

Saturday
Dec242016

Merry Christmas 2016

A quick word of advice...a 100% muppet video. If this is not your bag...don't open the bag 

Thursday
Dec222016

Yi M1 Mirrorless Camera Review

I recently returned from a holiday and had the good fortune to take a new Yi M1 Interchangeable Micro 4/3 Camera along for the trip. Watch the video below to see the full review of the camera... it will take 36 minutes to watch the whole thing.  
      
Purchasing
        

The right-hand image takes you to the official AliExpress store
Here are text links to the same places
All links are affiliated and are also to the official Yi Technology stores. 
    
Other Links
Manufacturer product page:  CLICK 
Full Manual Here: CLICK 
Sample Clips: CLICK 

 

Tuesday
Dec132016

MQS SD - The Last Physical Audio Format?

It turns out that the only thing you need to do to make people crazy is post a video showing a niche micro SD card Music format imported from South Korea. My original mission was to showcase a product that many won't have seen before, but I feel I inadvertently have found a way to turn man against man. I think this video could be weaponised and deployed into enemy countries as a way to destabilise them and ultimately topple governments. 

MQS SD is sold in South Korea & HK for use with the Astell & Kern Hi-Res Personal Audio Players which feature MicroSD card storage slots. 

Astell & Kern use MQS to define HD Audio in a FLAC format with a 24bit encoding. According to their specs the KHz sample rate can vary depending on the source between 48KHz and 192KHz. The Beatles LP seems to be a special case because it’s just 44.1 KHz and I suspect this is because that’s the best source currently available. 

Back in 2014 manufacturers and record companies got together to define a system to code HD audio files. Here’s what they came up with. 

MQ-A - Taken from an Analogue Master Source
MQ-C - Sourced from a 16bit 44.1KHz CD master and upsampled
MQ-D - Sourced directly from a Direct Stream Digital DSD Master
MQ-P - Sourced from a minimum 20bit master with a minimum 48KHz sample rate

I haven’t seen these in use anywhere since, perhaps they were considered too complicated when you then combine them with the filetype AIFF, ALAC, FLAC or WAV. 

So what is MQS? Well as the video shows it’s not exactly nailed down in A&K’s description and I suspect that it’s just a simplification of the existing system. 

If you look at this South Korean music download site http://www.groovers.kr/mqs/chart/dome... you can see they use MQS to identify HD tracks and then use a code like MQS 24/192 to identify the quality. The logo stands out in red on the page and the system is slightly simpler than stating a file is “HD Audio MQ-D FLAC 24/192”

Whether the average human ear is capable of hearing the difference between all these things - I haven't a clue and I don't have a horse in that race...I'm just interesting in collecting formats. 

SNAKEOIL - It's a flippant joke at the vague definition of the benefits of MQS over normal FLAC HiRes audio files...is there really any difference? It appears MQS is just 24 bit FLAC. 
I AM NOT SAYING HI-RES AUDIO IS SNAKEOIL ...just that I can see no discernible technical differences between 24 bit FLAC and MQS. Perhaps there is one...and if so A&K need to do a better job of defining exactly what the specific benefits of MQS difference are.  

Here is a link to all the MQS SD Card Albums. 
http://mall.groovers.kr/front/product...

I bought my Beatles MQS SD Album on ebay - here's a link that should find any for sale https://goo.gl/MMOKDM
Don't overpay though! 

Incidentally there's also another file format called MQA - here's some info on that http://www.soundandvision.com/content... This seems to have no connection to the MQ-A categorisation I mentioned above (which describes the origin of a recording - like AAD or DDD you used to see on CD's) This MQA (without the dash) actually seems to be a separate format that is backwardly compatible with some other formats...it's all very confusing.  

To make things easy, feel free to copy and paste one of the following stock responses.

This won't sell

I won't buy this

This will get lost

I can download music to put on my own MicroSD card

Physical media is dead

This isn't a physical format

This is nothing new

What happens if you delete the files off the card (?!?)

HiRes audio is nonsense

Thursday
Dec082016

Lost Tech: Sharp RP-117

In the mid 1980s you could buy a turntable that played both sides of a record automatically and  would jump to an individual track just like a CD player.

Thirty years later and modern turntables have reverted to containing about as much tech as the basic models from the 1950s. You'll also have to pay through the nose for the privilege of owning a modern stripped down bare bones machines. Something went wrong somewhere. Watch the video below to see retro tech from 30 years ago that has somehow now ended up being futuristic. 

 

Saturday
Dec032016

'Seiko' Executive Talking Egg

Whilst searching for a watch a while ago using the term 'Vintage Seiko' - I stumbled across the Seiko Executive Talking Egg. Unable to determine any more information about the product I picked it up to see exactly what it did and how it worked. You can find out in the video below. 

In the video I mentioned that this product doesn't have the usual Seiko quality that I'd expect. It seems it was branded by Seiko US but manufactured by another company. The base has the word Sekisui printed on it, which likely refers to the Japanese company Sekisui Plastics, a manufacturer that has been around since 1959 and could have produced the outer casing. 

A number of people have suggested it might not be an official Seiko device, but there's no evidence to back up this supposition whereas the box and instructions (copy below) refer to Seiko. It's all academic, it's a rare 35+ year old device you can't buy any more and whether it was made by Seiko or Techmoan Electronics Corp doesn't make a jot of difference to the fact that it is still an unusual product that was very much of its time. 

Seiko Egg Instructions

Monday
Nov282016

Laserdiscs aren't back - but their sleeves are

No one wants physical copies any more, people don't like packaging cluttering up their house...we've all gone streaming now, you don't really own anything, it's in a cloud somewhere....controlled by someone else. At least that's what people like to tell me. 

Well call me old fashioned (because I am), but I like packaging, I like holding the things I've bought and when I do pass on, I want someone to be extremely inconvenienced by all the detritus I've accumulated during my existence.

One of the things they'll have to figure out what to do with, is an ancient silver disc called a blu-ray...but it's not just a normal blu-ray film in a flimsy plastic box with broken catches and a thing that no longer grips the centre of the disc properly because a couple of the teeth got snapped off in the post....no it's in a big cardboard square the size of a vinyl LP. Watch the video below to find out more. 

I really hope this laserdisc style packaging idea becomes a trend, and while I'm 99.98% sure it wont, I applaud Disney for having the guts to give it a try. Purchasing links below.

Guardians of the Galaxy http://amzn.to/2gOT89J
Star Wars the Force Awakens http://amzn.to/2gzKmIu
Finding Dory http://amzn.to/2gbcvZs
Aladdin http://amzn.to/2fsYib9
Beauty & The Beast http://amzn.to/2gzN5RU
Cinderella (Live action) http://amzn.to/2gP6faE

UPDATE: A few people have advised me that there are a number of Spanish releases of blu-ray titles in Laserdisc sized sleeves - click here to take a look