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Pick of the Camera Reviews

(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 

ACTION CAMS

Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K 

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)

Xiaomi Yi

Dazzne P2

SJCAM M10+
 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
 
A119 (My recommendation)
Yi Dashcam (also in black)
   
    MINI CAMERAS
Mobius (also works as a Dashcam)
Polaroid Cube+
    HELMET CAMERA
Sena Prism Tube

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.

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

RECOMMENDED CARDS (for action cams - see dashcams below)

CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)

 

U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)

 

 

SPECIAL DASHCAM CARDS

The SD card in a dashcam is re-written over, more frequently than in other types of cameras. Some manufacturers void their guarantee if an SD card was used in a dashcam. So, no surprise, there are special High Endurance SD cards made just for dashcams...here's some.

 

 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however 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 price of a real item against the price of a fake.

To give you an idea of the extent of the fake goods problem. In a 2016 survey by Apple - 90% of the 'Apple' chargers sold through Amazon - using the other the two methods..which includes the "Fulfilled by Amazon" option -  were found to be counterfeit....90%! 

            

 
« Yi M1 Mirrorless Camera Review | Main | Lost Tech: Sharp RP-117 »
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

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Reader Comments (10)

I have a few albums bought in 24/96 FLAC format that were remastered from the analog sources. When compared to the CD version they sound *slightly* better. In that they have a little more of a dimensional soundstage. It is a little less taxing to listen to at high volume. Can I claim the extra data is what makes the difference? Unlikely. And impossible to A/B compare to a CD since they were remastered. But it might help the cymbals and other high frequencies, and it might have a slightly lower noise floor. But someone who knows how to master for CD could probably get similar results with 16/44.1 FLAC too.

December 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterReadyKilowatt

PonoPlayer was going to bring HD music to an MP3 player format. I don't know what happened buy they do not seem to be in business anymore. They seem to still be in stock at various stores. Maybe it is not quite retro tech yet.

https://www.ponomusic.com/

Oh and you know you can't tell the difference between high and low res anyway.

Don't Buy What Neil Young Is Selling
http://gizmodo.com/dont-buy-what-neil-young-is-selling-1678446860

December 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge

This won't sell :-D

December 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

I think this is an interesting concept, but nobody wants to carry around a little SD card sleeve.

Plus, putting them on little 1 GB cards with barely better than CD quality is a joke. I'll stick with my purchases from HDTracks for now.

Where I can see this really interesting, though, is box sets. Why can't I buy a 128GB card with, for example, the entire Radiohead Library complete with videos, hires 192 khz albums at 24 bits or something? This would definitely be an interesting collectable item, although I'm not sure about the degradation of SD compared to other mediums.

December 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSean Perrin

love your reviewing style

December 28, 2016 | Unregistered Commentercassio

Most likely the main difference between the MQ[x] formats and hi-res FLAC files is this:

<quote>
FLAC is an open format with royalty-free licensing and a reference implementation which is free software.
</quote>
(From Wikipedia)

The music industry has been trying for years to revert the status quo to what used to be its golden age, the vinyl era. Back then, if you wanted to get some music you had to purchase a material copy. The music and its support were inseparable.
Now that dematerialization is the next big thing in entertainment and just around the corner, it’s only natural for them to find a way to ... re-materialize it somehow.
No wonder that every music publisher and their dog will emphatically support a standard allowing either some form of DRM, a pretext for selling old material in a new format, new hardware, or all of the above.

January 12, 2017 | Unregistered Commenteranonymous coward

MP3 files are fine as far as I'm concerned, so I'll vote for stock responses 1,2 and 9. Don't really understand why they would release stuff recorded in the 60's and 70's in what is supposed to be a Hi-Res format as the original masters won't be that great. It's like releasing Steptoe and son on a 4K Blu-ray disc.
Another one for the history books. Matt are you going to open your loft as a museum to failed audio formats? If that is there is still room up there.

January 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Interesting one this. Ever since the earliest flash memory card appeared I had it in my mind that record companies would eventually release music on them. I was surprised that that it didn't happen..........But obviously it did!

March 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSebastian Sekinger

Where are the links to the "Special " Dash cam cards?
Every card I buy, I run a continuous read/write test for 3 days, but some still fail. I work for a large IT company that makes memory cards, and even ones in our own supply chain are counterfeit / fail under test.

August 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMr.G

Look to your right...in the column with all the cameras...scroll down until you see the headline "Special Dashcam Cards"

August 2, 2017 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

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