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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%! 

 
« Bring out the Gimbal | Main | Dashcam Battery pack lets you record whilst parked »
Sunday
Jun052016

Retro HiFi: The DBX Disc

One thing that often comes as a surprise to anyone getting into vinyl for the first time is surface noise. As soon as the stylus touches down on a spinning disc there’s a noticeable background rumble. You could spend thousands in trying to eradicate this, but turn the volume up and you’ll discover that whenever one object scrapes along another, surface noise is inevitable. 
  
The absence of any background noise was one of the things I noticed when I listened to a CD for the first time in 1982. The complete lack of vinyl rumble, or tape hiss between tracks was something that was impossible to miss. A father of a friend who sold BAE aircraft around the world brought a Sony CDP-101 player back from a business trip to Japan. I remember turning the volume way up in order to hear what wasn’t there, just as much as what was.
  
In addition to no surface noise the new CDs had no static cracks and pops, and classical music recordings benefitted from the expanded dynamic range offered by the new format. Other attractions were of course the smaller size, longer playing time, easy track access, and a resilience to dust.
  
It turns out that many of the ‘new’ features available on CDs were already possible with Vinyl, it’s just that most people weren’t aware. Track access, random play and  each side play were all possible with the right turntable. Lesser known is the fact that zero disc noise, CD levels of dynamic range and reduced pops and crackles from dust were all features available on the obscure DBX disc format since the early 1970s.
  
In this video I look at (and listen to) DBX discs for the first time, and I’m shocked with the results. Watch the video below to find out more. 
You can still find old DBX Disc decoders on ebay where you can also find some DBX encoded records. The Discogs marketplace is also a good place to source DBX discs.
  
UPDATE: 
In a (soon to be proved misguided) attempt to placate the angry crowds brandishing pitchforks and flaming torches - HERE IS A DIGITAL RECORDING of the first two minutes of Pramlatta's Hips. 
 
You can hear the needle drop at 2 secs in...the silence after that is the lead in and then the music starts. There has been no manipulation of the recording - it's just phono out from the DBX 224 decoder into the audio in of a Sony HDR-MV1 recording in PCM WAV
  
I still feel that analog audio can only really be experienced in person, not via a digital recording - just like a photo of a oil painting, while all the information is there it's just not the same ...but hey what do I know, I'm just some guy on the internet.

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Reader Comments (38)

Very interesting video as always. As you said, it can be hard to hear a difference on yt. Is there any chance you could upload a lossless sample for download to get a better feeling of how it sounds?

June 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSarki

Enjoyed this video as I have enjoyed all your videos. You've done a great job and hope that some day very soon you'll replace Chris Evans on Top Gear before it's too late!

June 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEric C.

Ah - BSR! :) I had a BSR turntable as a kid back in the late 70's to 80's - lovely machine and did me well till I upgraded to a Dual CS505 - it was still used as a secondary turntable right up to the mid 90's. I remember about 1990 I contacted them to replace the dust cover that had been broken and was pleased to hear that they had had one in stock. By then they had been renamed Astec and no longer made turntables but still had a stock of parts which was nice.

June 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMattyB

I have a dbx model 228, seems about the same except for a slider marked "expansion" which has a range of 1.0 to 1.5. I only used it with a Technics M85 compact cassette deck. It was a nice piece of kit (as you might say), but if you play back a cassette recorded with dbx on a standard system it does sound like crap. It has the "dbx disc" pushbutton, but until now I have never heard of, or seen, such an animal. Thanks for finding and playing these records.

I really enjoy your vids, and just received a 5-pack of those little USB led lights you reviewed a while back.

June 6, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterscott s.

It seems like quite a few people bought the lights - I'll have to keep my eye open for some other cheap gadgets.

June 6, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Matt, that's another excellent video, well done!

I love dbx. I have the 224X and a few dbx discs (the zenya mandatta too) and I love to get the same album in different versions: dbx, standard, cassette, CD...
I have almost every noise reduction system ever made: High Com (AIWA & Nak devices), SuperANRS, Sanyo's SuperD, Toshiba's ADRES and also the official Dolby 422 professional reference encoder/decoder.
I always loved noise reduction systems and wanted to have them all....

I even have the only Panasonic walkman with dbx decoder and a few jewels more ;-)

I totally agree with you that it's not possible to hear the sound quality through Youtube. It has to be heard in person. If you ever come down to Barcelona, please drop me a line; I'll be glad to show you in person all this.

Cheers,

June 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHugo

When I was doing the research for this video I spotted that you'd mentioned DBX discs a while ago on a forum and shared a clip you'd captured from a disc. I'm glad you agree with the idea that this can't be demonstrated adequately via a digital audio file....but it seems like it might just be the two of us that agree on this.

June 6, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Yes, I remember: http://www.stereo2go.com/topic/dbx-vinyl-disc

Well, I don't care so much about youtube comments; most people just don't know how to properly make good/smart comments. 90% of them are rubbish. You explained that very cleverly recently. If they are boring you, I think you may consider in just disabling comments. It's very easy.

Sadly the HI-Fi term and its meaning has gone downhill in the latest years, while convenience has gone up. So many people listen to music in [much] lower standards than 20 years ago.

dbx system is something that has to be heard in person... and in a good equipment; not in an iPod sound bar or a smartphone. After that you may change your point of view. Not about the dbx only, but about analog sound in its whole sense.

So, yes, I totally agree with you. In my post I recorded my first dbx disc not using a mic but with direct RCA from the phono preamp to my semi-pro sound card's RCA inputs. However, I was using a simple Audio Technica Sound burger which has nothing to compare to my actual Technics SL1200 with a high end craftmade phono preamp.
However, dbx has a con: the pumping you can hear in very low passages. But's it's something that normally you don't notice.

Between Dolby B/C and dbx and its 2:1-1:2 compression/expansion I think there are other systems that doesn't suffer from pumping, like ADRES, SuperD or High Com. High Com is one of the ealiest so I think it's one of the less technologically advanced.
Super ANRS is more or less the same as Dolby C.
As I recently got most of them and some needed some servicing I could not do proper testing so I still don't know which one is best, but I'll do a test ASAP.

I also got some very special dbx releases that I think you *have* to buy too. You'll be totally blown-out; I can assure you. But they are very rare and there are just a few copies that I don't want to say which ones are... publicly. Just to keep them available for those few that can really appreciate them.

June 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHugo

Another great video from you, thanks!

I had some dbx stuff in the 80's, but never liked the "pumping" so I got stuck with Nakamichi and their DOLBY C unit, NR-200.
(Still great and working)

Anyway, the dbx record in your video you sampled a bit off with the 'hips' ;) can be bought here (non dbx):
https://www.discogs.com/sell/release/4993088?ev=rb
Would be fun with a A-B test.

June 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMatte

Hugo, you have my email if you want to send me any confidential info - if you've lost it then use the contact form on this page http://www.techmoan.com/about/

June 7, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

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