Damaged Gears

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Damage Reviews: MDR-XB40

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Damage has a new review for MDR-XB40

Damage had a pair of MDR-XB40

Sorry, no new pithy posts about new year resolutions (way too late for that), or HOPE about change.  I’m getting back to what I do best.  Reviewing the heck out of interesting low to mid-range headphones and DAPs. This time, Damage focuses his laser vision on the MDR-XB40 Earbuds, recently released by Sony in some random fashion to appease the bass head audience.

All 10 of you (I kid, for the 11th self-professed basshead).

Wait, do I still have an audience?

Now that I’ve got you all hot and bothered, should you blow your hard earned $60 for these guys?  Read on.

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Written by Damage

03/7/09 at 10:36 pm

Posted in Headphones

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iPod Nano 4G vs. Other DAPs

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Well, the rumors of his Steveness death was, indeed, greatly exaggerated.  What wasn’t exaggerated, was, the greatness of the 4G Nano.  On the surface, the 4G Nano is bee’s knees (and just as sharp as one).  On the surface, the Nano is set to be one of the most powerful and feature rich DAP to grace the world.

Not. So. Fast. My. Friends (to borrow the parlance of one sportscaster).

The Zune made some noise the day before, and other DAPs has been making noise as well.  Sadly, since they do not bear the beloved fruity logo, those features for the most part went unnoticed.  Let’s review the new features one by one and see where the New Nano stacks up.

1) Accelerometer.  Allows for use of Coverflow.  For the most part, I have no qualms against Coverflow.  However, it has two weaknesses, both of which I noticed on my Touch and on other’s 3G Nanos:

  • Album Art and Tagging.  Let’s face it, it’s heavily reliant upon the coverart being properly tagged along with other tags for it to be a compelling feature.  Without it, it becomes an exercise in fuility when fumbling over to find the right album.
  • Clickwheel.  On the Touch, the Coverflow is very neat with the touch screen interface.  I didn’t find the experience to be nearly the same with Clickwheel.  Optimized software may change this.

The 2D interface used by the Zune and the Sony Network Walkman makes navigation a breese using the D-Pad.  Even on a bloated Zune 30 (80 as well), using the D-Pad, one can easily find the album, song, or artist.  The 4G Nano’s new navigational interface (Browse Album/Artist while playing) now puts it on the level field against other DAPS.  It’s about time.

2)  Genius.  Also known as SensME (Sony’s new generation Walkman), Rhapsody Channel, or Zune’s newfangled Social Community/Personal Picks.  All of these are designed to sell songs over the internet.  Genius can be very compelling with a subscription plan.  If there ever was one for iTunes.  All of these “features” (read gimmick) remains to be seen, though the Zune’s Social is probably the most compelling out of the three.

3)  Shake Shake Shake.  Sansa Shake for kids grown up.

4)  Vertical Base.  Goes back to the well tested and well loved format.

The Nano is a solid DAP to be sure, but it lacks the WiFi of the Zune, the Bluetoothiness of the Sonys, and finally catches up with both of them in features and navigation.  Welcome to 2007.  We hardly missed ye.

And if you are reading this, that means you’ve just survived the Large Freaking Hadron Collider.  Congrats.  The world goes on and on and…

Written by Damage

09/9/08 at 8:51 pm

Posted in Soapbox

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Splash Damage: iPod Shuffle 2G (More Thoughts)

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https://i1.wp.com/davidreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/ipod-shuffle-five.jpgA while back, I had reviewed the iPod Shuffle 2G, and was fairly impressed with the whole deal.  Aside from being dead simple to operate, the overall sound quality and presentation was agreeable.  Sure, it won’t win the best DAP evar prize as awared by whatever committee gives away those prizes these days, but it has made a very compelling case for it to be the best entry level DAP.  This over any other iPods, Sansas, Zens, Nanos, and Touches, which all require at least a bit of (even if minimal) technical knowledge.  The true test of the beginner DAP lies in how well a total beginner (a.k.a. the n00b) handles the Shuffle.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Damage

05/27/08 at 10:06 pm

Posted in Soapbox

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Splash Damage: Damage vs. iPod Shuffle (2G)

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Oops, I did it again.  I’ve broken your heart, and lost in the game.  No, I’m not flashing back to early 2000s, when Britney and Lindsay were nice and pure, a perfect role model for any up and coming teenager idols wannabes. 

However, the iPod Shuffle (2nd Gen, clip on) was intriguing enough to elicit a purchase.  After a month of usage, I have to say that iPod Shuffle is dead simple.  But within that simplicity lies a…  well, a very simple vehicle for playing back your MP3s.  No advanced playlisting, no fancy smart or intelligent shuffle, no videos, no wifi.  Pure and simple MP3 playback.

Sure, the Zen Stone plus had this too.  But it was marred by dumb mistakes here and there (navigation being the key faux pas).  The shuffle is an interesting study of media playback.  Do you let your musical destiny be controled by the fwd button (shuffle), or do you take to predestination (playlist)?  Do you dare let iTunes control your musical discovery like a whimsical muse (autofill) or do you take that predestination concept to the max?

No matter your philosophy, you have a very decent playback device.  Nothing fancy, just you and your music.  And some rather notable hiss, though you do not get any Noise cancellation like you did with other MP3 player (and the only one in the market to do so…  pity).  Aside from that, it’s a serviceable unit.

In a way, it’s more Zen then the “Zen Stone,” if you like to think of it that way.

The Good: Small and compact.  Even a zombie can enjoy it.  While eating brains.
The Bad: No LCD.  Battle with one’s inner self may occur as result of thinking too much about Music and predestination or something.
The Ugly:  The new pastel colors.  Hisses just as loud as a certain Sony unit, but no Noise Cancelling powers like that of said unit.

Grade: B-.  To be honest, there is no way the Shuffle will get anything higher than a B.  The shuffle makes a terrific complementary unit to your main iPod or MP3.  The fact that you can use other programs to sync to it only helps.

Written by Damage

04/22/08 at 9:51 pm

Posted in Soapbox

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Splash Damage: iPod Touch (3 Months In)

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And it’s grown on me. Quite nicely in fact, that I find myself wanting either the 32GB version, or the iPhone.

That’s mostly, however, due to ZiPhone’s Jailbreaking. Out of the box experience is much more lacking. Despite 1.1.3’s and 1.1.4’s ability to save webapps, nothing can replace the goodness of actual applications living and breathing on the device. Even more for games and apps that does not require the constant internet connection they require for even functioning out of the box.

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Written by Damage

04/9/08 at 11:40 pm

Posted in DAP

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