Archive for January, 2008

Car I would love to own

Posted in generic on January 13, 2008 by prashanteju

I’ve never been obsessed with the cars. And am a mechanical Engineer who works and lives in Germany. However this one is exception.

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14 v/s 11

Posted in Cricket on January 6, 2008 by prashanteju

Anybody who saw the 2nd Test between India and Australia will agree to that. Australia was playing with 3 extra players and cushion of the ‘deal’ between captains. It was a pact with the devil and India paid the price.

Winning at any cost? Shame on you team Australia and cheater that is ponting.

Here is some more food for thought –

overview of the events

One of the respected journalist G.Rajaraman reflects – after the question to Mr.Cheater Ponting –

And what happened to Latif should happen to Mr.Cheater too –

And sad but true, nothing is going to happen really. BCCI will use the strong words, will discuss with ICC, may be (just may be) Bucknor does not stand as an umpire in the next match. (Remember certain Deneness – in SA?)

Sack the cheater – Peter Roebuck

Images that never made it to the website

Posted in Photography on January 6, 2008 by prashanteju

Some of the images I’ve never been sure of offering as fine art prints.

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Audio/Video phile (What?!)

Posted in generic on January 5, 2008 by prashanteju

Which company makes the best audio system?
I also like to see movies, is it possible to get a system which equally good
for the movies (read – that cool surround effect)?

These and similar questions are faced when buying
a audio/home theater system. Few years back the answer would have been ‘well, you see there is a problem’…and some technical jargon that normally follows. Not anymore.
Coming back to the first question –
To me – a good audio system is one which make you feel as if you are listening to a ‘live’ performance. And what makes one such is a little difficult to answer without going into technical details. But I will avoid that. The most important thing one has to understand is this, a good system (audio/theater) is made of different components. Normally these are not for sell in a consumer electronic shop selling items from rechargable batteries to satelite receiver, and that is true of all the shops in whole world.

Clearly such systems are costly as they are better products sold at special shops. However if you are not able to afford such a system at this point of time, is it ok to go with the
‘all in one’ packages offered in most media-stores?! If you ask me I would suggest to invest
your hard-earned cash wisely. If you have ‘smaller’ budget buy the most important components and upgrade later.

Ok, what are these components really?
So we are there. You know most of them. Firstly if you want an audio
system only, then a good CD player with tuner and a pair of speakers. Add an amplifier to that.

What?, only two speakers? Isn’t a 5.1 audio system with those ultra cool satelite speakers sound the best?
This is one of the mis-understood part. To listen to a good audio source all you need is a pair of speakers as ‘acoustically’ it is only a stereo output.
Ok, so which is a better (or shall I best for the price!) CD
player/amplifier in the market.

…There are many. An NAD C521i or their latest in C series, for example.
NA, what? Never heard of it.
Well, that is obvious otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article written by a novice like me. Combined with the new BEE amplifier from NAD this combo is the best buy in the market. One can buy Rotel or something costlier if wallet allows. I tested this combo with DynAudio speakers (40’s). It was the best ‘acoustic’ experience my wallet would have allowed me.
Did I buy it?
Well, almost. Besides listening to audio cds I also watch lots of movies. So the next question was – is there a system which combines best of the both worlds?
You bet!
With the advent of T series of amplifiers from NAD and similar from Rotel and other ‘biggies’ it is now possible to have a single system which works for both audio and videophiles. My constraints led me up buying a T7xx amplifier from NAD and a DVD player. There was simply no other choice for the given price/performance ratio. And it is one of the best decisions. I took time
looking for the right ‘speakers’. There was ‘budget but great’ Monitor Audio bronz series speakers and B&W or DynAudio. After listening to B&W and DynAudio often (Lata, Kishor, RD (All Legend collection from HMV-SaReGaMa, Amitabh Dialogues, Eagles, STARWARs etc) I decided to go for B&W 600 Series.
Oh, but I heard that the Bose makes a great audio system.

It does. But I would say that the Bose systems are more appropriate for ‘movies’ and surround effect. I mean have you ever heard their speakers without their acoustimass?
One thing you should do while testing the speakers is listen to them without any ‘booster’. I listened/watched few favorite DVDs including Eagles with the latest from Bose and only Bronz series front speakers from Monitor Audio and it was no match. And after turning on Dynaudio/BW, I did not even feel like listening to Bose again.

So, does that mean I should not buy Bose system.

NO, I never said that. What you should do is goto the shop and check it out for yourself. Decide what suits you more.

Do you mean that NAD amps, MA/BW/DA Speakers
are the best in world?

I don’t remember saying that but if I did that was a mistake. What I would say is that these are great for a complete ‘acoustic’ experience for the same amount of money you would spend to buy a
‘fancy’ system from a typical media stores (read MediaMart,ProMart and Saturn in Germany for example). My first system was a ‘$60’ local product and many wondered why it sounds better than a 10 times costlier system. (There are many factors including finding optimum placement for speakers that play a role) I then got a pair of BW601 which I hooked to my old CD player from Sharp. Slowly I got a complete 5.0 (Yes, I do not own a sub-woofer yet and will probably not buy one at all) with a NAD amplifier. I would still recommend a better 2.0 system over a fancy 5.1
system. If you want to stay below 1000$s then the combo I mentioned is the best bang for the bucks. Oh, before I say Adios one important thing to mention. After buying a good acoustic sytem do not buy junk ‘cables’ to connect the speakers please!¹


Copyright © 2005 Prashant Khapane.

Last updated Dec. 2007;First published at www.prashanteju.de/randomthoughts.html

¹Whats a good cable – One which does not alter the signal going through it. So ideally no cable is good cable. And cables do not improve the sound quality then only worsen it. You want to buy one which does it least. That is a cableit has a low Resistance and Inductance and moderately low Capacitance. It will ideally employ multiples of very thin round Conductors with individual insulation or use thin Foils. and will minimise both Skin- and Maxwell- Effects.

Disclaimer: The views expressed on the website are based on personal experience and so YMMV rule DOES apply. Author does not cosider himself an expert in audio/acoustic systems. He has been a keen listener and had friends interested in EME, that eventually led him read more about acoustics and do some work in CAA.

An e-mail to Amir

Posted in Movies with tags , on January 2, 2008 by prashanteju

Dear Amir,

I recently saw Taare Zameen par. I’ve always considered you a fine actor, however the one who should be actually behind the lens. And with this film you probably have taken a step towards the goal. You do not need me telling that it is actually a director who is responsible for a fine film experience. A story can be simple but told in a complex way (Memento, for example) and vice-a-versa. It is a good director who can manage to convert that into a cinematic experience. Script, however important, is just something on the paper. Screen-play and making a movie is like taming a different beast altogether.

I remember a discussion with my German colleague when Lagaan was nominated for the Oscar. She was quite amused at the fascination of Indians about this English sport and knew me as an ardent admirer of the sport. I tried to tell her that the movie actually is not about cricket; if a certain Braveheart can get an Oscar so should Lagaan. She did not understand my point. I did not try to press; in my opinion our films do not need an Oscar to prove they are better. Similarly Taare Zameen par is not about dyslexia(In my opinion) neither it is an art film per se; I’m sure many people watching the movie will understand this.

I must congratulate you for a brave effort. I’m happy to see at least one fellow from a crop of so-called superstars daring to be different.

May the force be with you,

Prashant Khapane