The Chatterbox => Random Chat => Topic started by: Spectere on July 18, 2020, 01:04:24 AM

Title: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on July 18, 2020, 01:04:24 AM
So I realize that I made somewhat of a tactical blunder when I locked the existing happy/anger threads. I figured that it would encourage more long-form discussion through the creation of new threads, but by in large all it's done is remove a means of minor celebration or venting. While there are some things that have worldwide relevance (hello there, COVID-19) and are more than deserving of their own thread, things like my FedEx escapades really don't need more than a couple of posts to get the point across.

Here, I wish to present you lovely folks with a thread to post your happy thoughts, just like what we had before except…okay, there's nothing different about this one whatsoever. Enjoy!
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: vladgd on July 20, 2020, 12:41:17 PM

You guys know me by now, I don't think I need to say anything. You know what I'll be playing next year.

Spec edit: Resized embeds.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on July 21, 2020, 06:01:04 PM
Man, having a laptop dock is ridiculously convenient. I'm kind of at the point now where I'm strongly considering nuking the Gentoo install on my desktop computer and just using my MacBook as a "serious business" environment instead, since that would give me an extra 1TB for games. It's not like I can't run a Linux VM on my MBP if need to.

macOS deserves praise for how well it handles multimonitor setups as well. In both Windows 10 and KDE Plasma, unplugging monitors and plugging them back in leads to the window manager freaking out and just scattering things everywhere. macOS tries to put windows back where they were before. So, like, the Firefox window I'm using to type normally lives on my right monitor, and is vertically maximized. When I unplugged my laptop it ended up getting dumped onto my main desktop, as expected, in a size that suits that display's resolution. When I plugged it back into the dock, macOS put that Firefox window on the right monitor in the same size and position that it was in before I undocked the system. The same is true with every other window on my system, even hidden ones. I wish more desktop environments handled displays that well.

My work laptop also supports USB-C/Thunderbolt docks, so I can use it for that as well, with the usual asterisks and footnotes that go along with many Dell products, like having to plug one of my monitors directly into the laptop, because hey, why not? I guess that's what $4000 buys you in PC land (thankfully it wasn't $4k of my money…).
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on July 26, 2020, 11:58:26 PM
A couple of my friends got married on Saturday. \o/
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: vladgd on August 14, 2020, 09:54:25 PM

Local convenience store had these, picked em up to try em not expecting too much heat wise.

Not disappointed, 3-4 chips in, had to stop. Quite impressive amount of heat these things put off, comparable to a ghost pepper hot sauce. Recommended from me, will be buying more next time I am at that shop.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Bobbias on August 15, 2020, 05:17:32 AM
I had a ghost pepper burrito from Mucho Burrito a little while back. That was quite an experience. Ghost pepper does not fuck around. I'm actually amazed I was able to finish the thing.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on August 15, 2020, 02:28:57 PM
I love those Paqui Ghost Pepper chips. They manage to capture the heat without skimping on the flavor.

Kinda seems like a lot of companies that make "hot" things just load them down with a ton of pepper extracts, so the food ends up tasting like battery acid. Large wing chains are the worst offenders in my experiences.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Bobbias on August 15, 2020, 11:32:28 PM
The burrito I had had plenty of flavor too. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was tbh. I expected to just die and get nothing in return apart from the experience.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: vladgd on August 19, 2020, 11:58:12 PM
Past week I've been going down a rabbit hole deep. Music, I MOSTLY LISTEN TO 90's rap, pretty much all day every day. Wu (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJk0p-98Xzc), nas (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hI8A14Qcv68), smif-n-wessun (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s6qoeUEouQ), doom (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_3GgAALPkQ), ect (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoYZf-lBF_U).

But in my past, kinda was into the dragonforces and rhapsodys and whatnot, so guitars guitars guitars...need fast...buckethead (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyQJH615KwA) yes, michael angelo batio (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ6oABxbSaM), yes, steve vai (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yw74sDWPH7U), MORE...other genres? not metul? a new god has appeared.

and I fell into another rabbit hole, seeing guitar GOD roy clark with a man Clarence "gatemouth" Brown... (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5d8KtpIoEQ)brehhhhhhh wheres more of this stuff. I don't play guitar, never will, not my main thing, but seeing the skill these men have is jaw dropping.

So in almost no time I went from speed metal to OG country, to blues. I am slightly more open minded than I gave myself credit for. This is after my reggae kick a few weeks ago, but I always enjoyed reggae/dub, blues/og country (not that pop country garbage) is uncharted waters. Still in the rabbit hole, more stuff to find.



If I keep listening to this stuff, I WILL LOOK LIKE WHAT I LISTEN TO, A WALKING STEREOTYPE, NO! I get mistaken for a metalhead all the time, and I listen to rap music all day.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: vladgd on September 08, 2020, 12:35:02 PM
Double posting because why the fuck not.



If y'all are into the vaporwave AESTHETICS, worth checking out. TAD BIT PRICEY HOWEVER...but tempted to put together an entire outfit...

"shoes run small so order a size up" (https://vapor95.com/collections/shoes/products/scanset-high-top-sneakers?variant=388988960769), no us size 13...RIP bigfoot (me)
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Zephlar on September 09, 2020, 01:28:33 PM
I FINALLY got a Nintendo Switch. Actually got it in August just getting around to posting about my elation.

I started looking for a Switch in March for wife bday gift. Turned into a saga of disappointment over the summer. On weekends when I wasn't working I would go into stores early hoping to get one, always sold out. I had zoolerts set up to text and e-mail me when a switch goes up for sale, but still wasn't fast enough.

I discovered around 2AM during the week usually Tuesday or Thursday I would start getting best buy zoolerts, so I started sitting at my computer hitting refresh over and over until they would go up for sale. Even doing that which was going about as fast as I could possibly go, occasionally I would actually get one to add to my cart, but when I hit checkout it would give me a message they were sorry but product no unavailable. I did this for 3 months straight every week I shit you not.

Finally in first week of August I actually land one on Best Buy and make it through the checkout around 2AM. I finally fuckin did it. Then, not even a week later, Switches went up in droves and stayed in stock for like 2 days. Was kind of a slap in the face after all my hard work but at same time I ended up getting a 2nd switch for myself while the getting was good.

Anyway I'm way more addicted to Animal Crossing than I should be. I also discovered I'm shit at Smash Bros some of these guys online are just insane. Haven't really played much since Brawl but so far this has been a great title.

Double posting because why the fuck not.


If y'all are into the vaporwave AESTHETICS, worth checking out. TAD BIT PRICEY HOWEVER...but tempted to put together an entire outfit...

"shoes run small so order a size up" (https://vapor95.com/collections/shoes/products/scanset-high-top-sneakers?variant=388988960769), no us size 13...RIP bigfoot (me)

Usually I'm a black on black on black on black kinda guy but my wife loves this stuff. Also a size 13 I feel your pain.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: vladgd on September 09, 2020, 10:11:40 PM
Animal Crossing is always something I get into pretty hard for about 1 month, then drop off HARDDDDDDDD (with a capital D) after, been this way with gamecube, ds, 3ds, and switch versions. Great games, but...I ain't one of those grandmas who put 5k hours into it, or my ex who put...probably near 1k hours into it.

While on subject. DO check out youtube for "animal crossing 5am, or any hour in a 24 hour day" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hbp_ScEEGT0), each game has different music for every single hour, very good background music. When in game you should notice at the start of an hour the music will change.

You getting that mario collection? Nintendo is pulling a nintendo selling it for 6 months before pulling it off physical AND digital shelves...so...they forced me to preorder...bastards...smart bastards, but still bastards.

Back to fashion, I used to (for a very very long time) wear blue jeans, white t shirt...that's it. Now...blue (skinny) jeans...but sometimes shorts?!, sweats?!, now athletic attire?! With...colorful shirts?!


Iunno, I'm into it. Coming soon as I get my diet in check, as I'm ~10lbs away, MEDIUM SIZE T SHIRTS...bum..bum...BUMMMmmmmmmm (I can already sorta pull off medium shirts...if I skip breakfast and drink no water...but as soon as I put anything in me, nope, pudge town)
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on September 17, 2020, 01:43:13 PM
iOS 14 introduced the last two things that I found myself missing from Android and Windows Phone—home screen widgets, and an "app drawer" analogue (it works pretty much identically to the one in Windows Phone, hence why I brought that up). It felt really great to be able to crunch my home screen down to a single page this morning.

Not sure if they specifically targeted performance, but it feels smooth as hell, too.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Bobbias on September 25, 2020, 09:34:57 AM
So, I've set up wsl and got linux in windows instead of needing to dual boot for everything. I'm enjoying being able to natively run emacs in a proper linux environment. I've decided to try to organize my life using org mode.

Wsl is still a bit janky, but I'm very impressed with the experience so far.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on September 26, 2020, 05:45:29 AM
I fiddled around with WSL2 a bit (Ubuntu: rated E for Everyone!). It's not as impressive to me as WSL1 (which implemented Linux as an NT subsystem, so Windows was able to natively run ELFs!), but the move towards virtualization is much more sane from a functionality and support perspective.

I suspect that if I get into a job where I have to use Windows 10 I'll probably use it a lot more heavily, but I've largely moved toward using a docked laptop (macOS or Linux) for serious work and using my Windows 10 tower for gaming.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Bobbias on September 28, 2020, 08:50:56 PM
Yeah, wsl1 was interesting, but it had a lot of restrictions. Tbh what I'm waiting for is proper virtualized GPU access. Right now the only opengl accelerated stuff is glx, which only supports opengl 1.4. Chromium, for example, uses a bunch of opengl es for rendering, which doesn't work in wsl, and so it has to fall back on software rendering, which performs terribly. And the various options emacs for browsers are unworkable too. Xwidget webkit browser crashes, emacs application framework browser (also built on webkit) crashes. Eww doesn't seem to support javascript, and renders poorly even in the best case. I want to be able to use org capture with a browser in emacs but that will have to wait until the opengl translation layer for directx/d3d (and the paravirtualized GPU stuff) in linux comes out. Ugh
Still, I like being able to use linux stuff without leaving windows. Having to reboot any time I wanted to use linux was a huge pain and I just ended up not using it.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: vladgd on October 02, 2020, 10:35:39 PM
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmight need to stop being influenced by youtube to spend money.



Affordable (relatively speaking) damascus flipper, and I hate myself for wanting another one...

Depending on how loaded you are these things can go for a lot of money (http://www.protechknives.com/product-category/automatic/sprint/), so probably not going off on the deep end...but I might snag another flipper, and maybe an autoknife...



Umm, so...yeah...these things are great to play with while watching youtube or whatever...however in getting the "less fancy" looking knife below(blue), I noticed the action in flipping open the blade is god damn flawless, and on my first knife it's a bit rough. Might need to try oil to get it firing well. There is ONE more model in this product line I kinda want, but im kinda happy with these two as is. Fun to flip open, looks cool, is a practical tool I need access to semi regularly.


aquire torx drivers, and some knife pivot lube = 3/10 flipping action on the damascus knife is now a 10/10, bad boy fires flawless now.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on October 17, 2020, 12:05:35 PM
So I have an Index now. First impressions (when compared to my past Oculus headsets):

Display totally blows the Rift CV1 and Rift S out of the water, in terms of color representation, resolution, and refresh rate. Tracking, as expected, is superb.

The nose piece lets in more room light than the S, but less than the CV1. I might try to find an aftermarket solution to this.

The facial interface is way more comfortable than both the CV1 and S. Feels like it's a light fabric on top of soft silicone rather than harsh foam.

It has hardware IPD like the CV1 (and unlike the S) so there's much less chromatic aberration. Between this and the number of adjustments, it's easier to find the sweet spot and get a clearer picture.

Still working on calibrating the controllers, so the verdict is out on finger tracking. The normal bits are at least as good as both Rifts (the capacitive face buttons and trigger feel more refined, like the CV1, rather than the twitchy implementation the S uses), but I like how they made it harder to press the system buttons. One of my biggest combo killers in Beat Saber was accidentally pressing the Oculus button. :|

While I can't do a side-by-side comparison, the speakers are very similar in quality and volume to the CV1, rather than the tinny, hollow garbage you get from the S. It's at least as good as the CV1.

So far so good!

Edit: Finger tracking works well (for me, anyway) as long as the straps are in the right spot. I was having some pretty major detection issues until I fixed that. Now I can flip people off very consistently.

The grips do kinda fuck with me, though. On Oculus controllers, the grip buttons are located under your middle fingers, so if you want to toss and object you move your hand while releasing your middle finger, gripping the controller with your ring finger and pinky. With the Index controller you have to ignore every instinct telling you that you're about to drop your controller and open up your hand.

It's all muscle memory, though. The straps hold the controller in place surprisingly well without being uncomfortable, so you can do throwing motions without the controllers really moving, even with your hand outstretched. After about an hour and a half of BONEWORKS I had largely gotten used to that.

Another nice thing is that the controllers have fairly minimal bulk, so small arms handling felt a bit more intuitive. I fiddled around with BONEWORKS on the Rift S, and doing dry reloads took a bit of practice due to the tracking rings colliding unless I moved my hands in a particular way. The tracking strips on the Index controllers tend to stay out of the way for actions like that.

It would be nice if BONEWORKS let you operate the mag/slide releases on pistols (since both of the pistols they model%u2014a Glock 22 and a 1911 variant%u2014have thumb controls for both actions), but oh well. At least the game allows you to practice proper trigger discipline.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on October 25, 2020, 11:00:38 PM
Gotta say, I love when games let me do stupid, irresponsible shit like this:

(The game in question is Hot Dogs, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, indoor range scene)
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: vladgd on November 22, 2020, 10:43:15 PM


This guy sells prints over here (https://society6.com/imadreamwalker) and I kinda wanna buy one...this (https://society6.com/product/venturing-into-the-barrens-ii-novel_print?sku=s6-17796863p4a1v3) one in particular. "cough" continuing on my wow kick "cough" classic is pretty good despite the endgame being all fucked up due to the game being figured out and the fun minmaxed out of it THIS ART IS GOOD DOE
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on January 17, 2021, 06:01:11 PM
So I got a thing (click to embiggen).

(https://files.spectere.net/pictures/iPod/iPod7G-t.jpg) (https://files.spectere.net/pictures/iPod/iPod7G.jpg)

iPod classic 7th gen with a purple case and button, black click wheel, and a wine (purple) back with a 2000mAh battery and 256GB of flash storage, purchased premodded by Elite Obsolete (https://eoe.works/). As tempting as it was to just eBay a 7th gen and do the modding myself, the idea of prying open a 6G/7G iPod didn't really appeal to me. It's not that it's difficult to mod them, but since they switched from polycarbonate to aluminum cases they became a bit more rigid in the process.

I'm kind of thinking of grabbing a beat up 4th/5th gen and restoring one of those just for the fun of it.

The motivation behind this was two-fold. While I do like using streaming services, a little incident that happened a couple of months made me realize that having a local backup is a really good idea. I primarily use iDevices so I generally favor Apple Music. It integrates well and is just a fine service all around. I'm also a YouTube Premium subscriber, which includes YouTube Music, which makes for a nice backup. Well, a couple of months ago both services went down at the same time. Whoops. That got me to start buying music that I really like, and gave me the push to rip my CD collection in high quality (specifically, FLAC and AAC TrueVBR q127).

The second motivation is the rise of scam calls. Using your phone is all well and good until your phone starts ringing. While I can silence it pretty quickly with my watch it's still irritating when the music completely cuts off. For whatever reason I didn't even think about getting a standalone music player until I started watching DankPods (https://www.youtube.com/c/DankPods) on YouTube, where he brought up the seemingly obvious fact that with a "dumb" device like an iPod, you're the one that controls the music. With this thing, I can just put it somewhere and it'll play and play and play until I tell it to shut up. It doesn't receive notifications like an iPod Touch, so I never have to worry about anything barring a flat battery interrupting my tunes.

I guess there's sort of a third motivation as well: I've always wanted an iPod. I'm a couple decades late, but here we are. This isn't technically my first iPod as I did have an iPod Touch 4G, but the Touch is just the iPhone without, y'know, the phone. If you wanted to change songs you'd have to use a fiddly touchscreen. With this thing, no matter where it is, I just bonk the right side of the wheel if I want to skip a song.

As an added bonus, this thing drives my ATH-M50x cans (also purple!) very well. It would have been nice if their colors were a teeny bit closer, but oh well.

(https://files.spectere.net/pictures/iPod/iPod7G-M50xPB-t.jpg) (https://files.spectere.net/pictures/iPod/iPod7G-M50xPB.jpg)

It kind of seems as though 38Ω is a pretty sweet spot in terms of impedance for classic pods. I did end up ordering a 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter so that I can try my Focal Elex (80Ω) with it. I suspect it'll sound fine but it's definitely going to be a bit on the quiet side. Kinda thinking of grabbing a pair of Grados so that I can have a pair of nice open-back, low-impedance cans to pair with this sucker.

I'm still trying to figure out how much listening time I can realistically get out of this thing. It's taken eight hours of music playback and a day of idle time for the battery icon to drain one tick, so I'd say that bodes well.

Oh, naturally I had to check to see if it works in my car, and it totally does. It actually works better in my 2019 Civic than it did in my 2012 thanks to the touchscreen (I think my 2019 also has voice recognition?). With the 2012 you'd have to jog the wheel on the head unit for an eternity to find the song you wanted, but with the 2019 it feels more like you're interacting with a decade old MP3 player using a smartphone-style interface.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Bobbias on January 18, 2021, 04:49:59 PM
While I don't have anything decent to compare them to, I really do like my grados. They need a recabling badly (duct tape and zip ties are currently keeping the right ear cable from being pulled out after I had to resolder it) but I really like them.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on January 18, 2021, 06:33:56 PM
The only thing that gives me pause is that I haven't had the greatest experience with on-ear headphones. That said, the only on-ear cans I've used were a pair of Sony Bluetooth headphones that I ended up getting free for putting up with my employer for over five years, so they probably aren't the best example. They had a stiff, non-adjustable band and it felt like they were designed for small felines given how much they crushed my head. I gave them to my dad and he had the same problem with them.

From what I've seen of the Grados, they tend to just rest on the ears, and their band is designed to be bent around the shape of your head. Unfortunately, finding a place that would allow me to try a pair around my area is a long shot, especially during pandemic season, so I'd really only be able to buy on faith.

As far as the two sets of cans that I currently have, I have the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x and the Focal Elex (a Drop-exclusive that pairs the now-discontinued Focal Elear with Focal Clear earpads), both of which are over-ear. The ATH-M50x is a bit on the overpriced side, but it sounds fine and is easy to drive. It's nowhere near as balanced like my old ATH-M40fs, with a bit of texture loss and more emphasis on bass. Since they're closed-back, their soundstage is a bit narrow, but they provide a lot of natural isolation. The earpads are made of leather and memory foam, so they're very comfortable to wear for long periods of time (which is good, seeing as that's the pair I use on the rare occasion that I stream), but they do tend to trap in a bunch of heat. One issue I've had is that they seem to have an issue with mismatched drivers. I have to push the balance slider slightly toward the right on mine, and based on what I've read I'm not the only one with that issue.

The Focal Elex are big, open back cans with a solid metal body. They're a bit on the heavy side, but they're so well balanced that I don't really notice when I'm actually wearing them. They aren't as bassy as the ATH-M50x, but in its place you get a ton of clarity and detail, coupled with a huge sound stage. Obviously there's no sound isolation, but that's kind of a good thing. I've actually held conversations with people simply by pausing the music and speaking normally. They have breathable microfiber and memory foam earpads (in addition to being open-back), so my ears don't get as toasty when I wear them for long periods of time.

Since the Elex's impedance makes it a bit harder to drive, I do run it through an amp: specifically, the JDS Labs Element II (https://jdslabs.com/product/element-ii/). While it's a bit overkill for 80%u03A9 cans, it does give me the ability to drive higher impedance headphones down the road should I acquire them, and it looks pretty cool.

As an added bonus, I decided to try some of my earbuds and IEMs with the iPod. I was actually pretty disappointed when I used my Shure SE215. I get that they're supposed to be neutral, but they just sounded lifeless. I have a pair of SE425s at work (I really, really need to drive out there and pick those up%u2026) and I remember those sounding significantly better across the board. Obviously isolation is fantastic for both the SE215s and SE425s, given that they're IEMs with foam earplugs.

The ones that surprised me were my old Apple EarPods. I don't like wearing them, or earbuds in general, because they don't really feel secure (apparently there are silicone sleeves you can put over them to fix that, but I don't have those), but they actually sound decent in my ears! They aren't super bassy, obviously, but mids and highs actually sound pretty clear. Of course, given their shape, simply having a different ear shape could lead to drastically different results. I have to say, though, for a product that I paid $0 for (I've never actually bought Apple EarBuds or EarPods%u2014they just sort of come with everything they make) I'm impressed. I'd take these (preferably with a sleeve) over the significantly more expensive SE215 any day.

Edit: Just hooked my Focals up to my iPod using a 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter and%u2026wow. I did have to turn up the volume a bit to get the same levels that I do out of my ATH-M50x, sure, but the drivers are sensitive enough that the difference wasn't as extreme as I thought it would be. I sampled a variety of music over about 15-20 minutes and everything sounds crystal clear, and I don't hear any obvious distortion or artifacts.

I imagine the wheels would fall off pretty hard as you neared and exceeded 100%u03A9 (I mean, understandably so), but I could definitely work with this. Hell, I could probably find a 3.5mm cable for these things if I wanted to ditch the dongle.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on January 22, 2021, 08:11:17 PM
I'm kind of thinking of grabbing a beat up 4th/5th gen and restoring one of those just for the fun of it.

So I did this and hoo boy, did I get an interesting specimen.

DankPods has a video entitled "Don't fall for this scam!" where he examines a "new" "in-box" iPod Video (5th gen). Here it is, for reference:

The one I ordered is one of them and it ticks all the boxes. Weird pixelated box art and the cheap replacement shell on the unit itself. The main difference is that the one I ended up with is most definitely second-hand. The case is pretty scuffed up, so it probably got a lot of love.

Originally I figured that only the front shell was replaced, since the serial number on the back matches the one in the unit itself and has the correct drive capacity etched in. After playing with mine for a bit, I noticed one big discrepancy. There are two distinct iPod Video hardware revisions, dubbed "5th generation" and "5.5th generation." The 5th generation came with either a 30GB or 60GB hard drive, while the 5.5th generation came with either a 30GB or 80GB drive. There is one very notable difference in the operating system, however: mine has a search feature. Only the 5.5th gen had that!

I looked up the serial number and found out that the iPod's motherboard is actually from a 30GB 5.5th gen! Kinda seems like the people passing those refurbs off as genuine new products just put together whatever they could using the parts they had available. But, wait a sec. The back of the case has a matching serial number and capacity. It really seems like the group that did this really pulled out the stops to ensure that it would look as much like the genuine article as possible, including laser etching their own back shells.

Good thing they did such a bad job on the box and polycarbonate front, then, huh?

All that being said, I did sync it up and have been playing music through it for the past hour or so. I'm going to be pretty much replacing everything that the refurbishers did anyway, so as long as the guts are good I'm happy with it. Sucks that the person I bought it from probably grabbed the carrot and wound up getting scammed, though. At a distance or from online photos it would have been really hard to tell this apart from the genuine article.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on February 01, 2021, 12:04:41 PM
Snagged a set of Grados, specifically the SR80e, and I have to wonder: how in the hell did they manage to make a $100 pair of headphones so friggin' detailed?

So first of all, let's talk about their build. I wouldn't say that they're cheaply built, but they are definitely practical cans. They don't look as traditionally nice as my Focals, or even my Audio-Technicas, but I would say that their appearance is iconic. Instead of a semi-flexible plastic band, it has a metal strip wrapped in leather that can be easily shaped to fit one's head. Instead of thick plastic or metal arms, it has a single pole that the ear cups can slide up and down with a bit of mild force. On top of that, the ear cups can swivel a full 360 degrees, basically ensuring that they can fit any head and ear shape (unlike my old Sony BT headset, which was painful to wear for longer than an hour). The form earpads are a bit on the spartan side, but thanks to the low clamp force they don't bother me like the gasket on my old Oculus Rift CV1 did (same material, just pressed firmly against your hot, sweating face).

Then there's the weight. My Focals are heavy (not uncomfortable, but you do feel them), and my Audio-Technicas are hot (closed-back, yadda yadda). The Grados are transparent. They're the only headphones I've used where I've actually forgotten that I was wearing them. If you do need to take them off, the rotating ear cups allow you to rest them pad-down on your chest so that they don't end up strangling you.

As far as the sound goes, they are definitely not neutral, leaning towards bright. The bass is definitely there, but it's neutral rather than emphasized or restrained. If you listen to a bass-heavy track you'll hear it, but you don't get that sub-bass slam like you do with some cans (or the moderate to extreme sub-bass saturation you would get with Beats and Raycons). While I would describe them as bright, cymbals and hi-hats never become ear-piercingly loud and tinny. I would say that the emphasis on those frequencies actually makes the music sound more natural. Additionally, the sound is disarmingly detailed and crisp, with even things like guitar distortion having a surprising amount of texture. Percussion consistently sounds punchy and impactful as well, as opposed to the more subdued and darker response I get from my Focals.

The sound stage is impressively wide. My Focals make you feel like you're in the recording booth. The Grados make you feel like you're in an auditorium. I legit don't know how they did it, but if something is panned hard to one direction it sounds like the person playing the instrument is in the room with you. It might be fun to do some gaming with these things for that detail alone.

On top of this, these things are shockingly easy to drive. My iPods can drive my Focals, but you really have to crank up the volume on the player to do so (max volume on my iPods drives them right to the point of being uncomfortably loud). The Grados have such low-impedance that you can drive them with just about anything. If you were to plug them into a phone or music player and max out the volume, they would get dangerously loud. This is particularly great for portable devices, since keeping the volume lower means that you'll get better battery life, but it's also convenient for other devices since it eliminates the need to run them through an amp.

There is some sound leakage due to these being open-back cans, but it isn't horrific. This is hardly a scientific test, but I brought up the noise level meter on my watch and held it about 0.3m away from my face. The ambient noise level in my room is around 36dB. With the Grados playing Disturbed at a comfortable listening volume, the watch showed 54dB, which is around the same ambient levels you'd see in a typical office. I imagine it would fall off pretty harshly as you moved further away from them. You wouldn't want to use these in a quiet library, but it could be worse.

I'd say the two biggest drawbacks I can see right now have to do with the cable. First, unlike both my Audio-Technicas and Focals, the cable is not easily replaceable. While I can sort of understand that on the SR60e and SR80e, given their sub-$100 price tag, I find it hard to justify their upper end models having the same fixed cable design. Even the $1800 GS3000e has a fixed cable, which I find utterly bizarre.

But hey, I'll give that a pass on my lower-tiered set. The other thing is that the cable is quite thiccc. I swear, the cable feels heavier than the headphones themselves. This sounds like a great thing on the surface, but it feels like there's a serious risk of it yanking my light, flash-modded iPod off of my desk or table if the cable shifts around the right way. I'm tempted to slap my heavy, double-platter 60GB drive in one of my pods just something to give it a bit of heft.

So, would I recommend these? Abso-fuckin-lutely. While the ideal headphone is obviously going to depend on personal preference and the type of music one listens to, these are a pretty great set of all-rounders. Their light weight and relatively small size make them easy to use almost anywhere, and their low impedance ensures that you can drive them with anything. If someone were to force me to choose only a single pair of headphones from my modest collection of cans, buds, and IEMs, these would be the ones I'd take.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Bobbias on February 09, 2021, 03:54:20 AM
I'm glad you like them. I still have my old pair of sr80i's from like 10 years ago, though I've since moved up to the 125e model as my daily driver headphones. They have slightly more bass than the 80s, which just makes them feel a bit more balanced in my opinion.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on February 11, 2021, 06:15:38 PM
I thought about going for the 125s or 325s, but when I did some research it kind of seemed like the 80s were the best fit for what I planned to use them for. I might end up trying one of their other models, and if I prefer those instead I can always gift the 80s to someone, as I know a few people looking for a decent set of all-rounders. In the meantime, I've just been grabbing the Focals if I plan to listen to anything bass heavy (and as an added bonus, they're fantastic for DJMax!). My iPods can still drive those things pretty well, surprisingly.

At this point I think I'm going to need to find an audiophile shop in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, or something and swing by after the plague clears up. I'd like to fill in the gaps with a set of reference headphones (probably something like the venerable Sennheiser HD600) and a set of planar magnetic cans, but I'd really like to be able to hear them for myself first.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on February 18, 2021, 01:06:39 AM
and a set of planar magnetic cans

Yeah, so I just got a pair of those. I ended up going with the HiFiMAN SUNDARA, since it's widely touted as the best set of headphones under $500:

(https://i.imgur.com/Hny9OYrm.png) (https://i.imgur.com/Hny9OYr.png)

It definitely has a slightly more neutral sound than my Grados, but the most notable aspect is the bass extension. Bass isn't particularly boomy, but it's very deep and tight compared to my other headphones. My Focals definitely pump out more bass, but the SUNDARA makes for a very nice sweet spot for instances where the Focals are a bit much. As far as I'm aware this is an aspect of the planar magnetic drivers, but I'm also impressed at how the SUNDARAs can manage to play both deep bass and treble with such clarity simultaneously. If I did that with the Focals the treble would disappear and with the Grados the bass tends to get lost.

The treble is slightly emphasized, I'd say, though not as much as the Grados. Live performances and acoustic tracks lose a lot of the brightness and sparkle that the Grados provide. It's still notably brighter than the fairly even, balanced highs I get from the Focals, making for a nice middle ground between the two.

Vocals felt a bit more forward on the SUNDARAs compared to the Grados, particularly on the acoustic tracks I tested. On Joan Baez's Diamons & Rust, I found myself noticing the intricacies in her vocal performance more than I did with the Grados, which seemed to slightly emphasize the guitar.

Build quality feels solid, with a mostly-metal construction. The earpads are soft, fairly breatheable, and comfy. The headphones didn't feel practically weightless like the Grados, but they still weigh in at a good 100g lighter than the Focals. Clamp force is reasonable, feeling similar to the Focals in that regard. The up/down adjustments on the earcups feels a bit stiff, but you can be reasonably certain that they won't move when you lock them into position. The cables are detachable, as one would expect from $350 headphones, and the TRS connectors lock in with a satisfying click. I've read reports that the cable isn't particularly high quality and is prone to breaking. I'm not sure if that's still an issue, but since they use standard 3.5mm TRS jacks for the input it'll be easy to find a replacement.

The biggest downside to these is that they really need an amp. From my iPod, I can drive my Grados like they were a pair of earbuds. It struggles a little bit with the Focals, but at full volume it's still right on the cusp of being uncomfortably loud. With these, maxing out the volume doesn't even bring them to a comfortable listening level, and overall tone felt a bit flat compared to when I drove them with an amp. My JDS Element II can drive my Focals way harder than one could comfortably listen to them on its low gain setting, but with the SUNDARA I had to switch to high gain and crank it to the twelve o'clock position to get it to my normal listening level. That's really not a slight against these headphones, it's just the reality of planar magnetic headphones. To add another scoop of hilarity, these are actually considered easy to drive compared to other planar magnetic drivers.

So, yeah, I'm not going to be able to just lean back in my recliner with my iPod in hand and just chill out like I can with my other headphones, but considering I do most of my listening at my desk anyway it's really not an issue.

As far as specific recommendations go, this is kind of how I rate my three main pairs, in no particular order:

Grado SR80e (US$100): An absolute treat for live performances, acoustic, folk, and rock, and an incredible amount of value for the money. Incredibly easy to drive, fairly low-key, and delightfully bright and detailed.

HiFiMAN SUNDARA (US$350): A good all-rounder. Thanks to it having reasonably bass extension while still having an overall bright sound, I find that it sounds particularly great with modern rock, metal, and IDM. For more bass-heavy tracks, the sub-bass was surprisingly noticeable. It definitely leans bright, though not as much as the Grados. An amp should be considered mandatory with these headphones.

Drop x Focal Elex (US$700): Great for anything with deep, rumbling bass. EDM, rap/hip-hop, dubstep (UK dubstep, anyway--US dubstep works best with brighter cans IMO), DnB all sound sick on these, and stuff like trap really comes to life. While an amp isn't needed for these, their impedance is high enough that I'd recommend getting one.

And the sole entry on the "meh" list:

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x (US$too much): While I wouldn't call these bad, I can comfortably say that I feel like they're overpriced. They aren't really flat enough to be useful for monitoring, with a noticeable bass bump, and inconsistent mids, and I find them to be a bit muddy for critical listening. They're okay for what I occasionally use them for (mic monitoring) but they sound like something that should cost $50, but these sell for triple digits. I would look up the price, but recalling how much I paid for these would probably upset me on a primal level.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Bobbias on February 18, 2021, 01:28:30 AM
That's basically what I would expect out of planar magnetics. Not that I've had a chance to listen to them. I'd say your descriptions of the grados matches my experience pretty exactly, but I'll say that the 124e's were a good step up from the 80i's I had. Much improved bass volume, though still a fair bit lower than you'd wand for super bass heavy stuff. But the clarity on the bass is much more noticeable compared to the cheaper/older 80i's. Basically I'd say they're basically the same sound profile and wide soundstage, but better bass, less of a dip around the mid-range, making them slightly flatter in that range, while they are a bit brighter in the upper end. Not much, but they do feel slightly more clear on the really bright cymbals and such. Luckily it's pretty subtle and doesn't brighten them too much.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on February 19, 2021, 04:07:40 PM
If you already have an amp, I'd suggest looking into the SUNDARAs. Their price isn't bad, especially for planar magnetics, and the more I listen to them the more I like them. The HiFiMAN HE-400i is reportedly a damn good set as well, and they retail for around US$170. They do look a bit more plasticy than the SUNDARAs so I'm not sure how well the body would hold up over time (though they do have removable cables).

I've heard some anecdotal reports that the 80e's ended up getting a bit of a bass boost, but I don't have any 1st/2nd gen Grados lying around to compare them with. I've also heard that the 80 series does tend to benefit from earpad swaps, though I don't really plan to do that since I'm a little hesitant to potentially lose the qualities that make the 80e really shine.

I would really like to take the 125e for a spin at some point, though. Based on how you're describing it, they sound like better 80's, which sounds like a pretty compelling upgrade. I've heard that the 325e, in contrast, does lose some of those sparkly highs.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Bobbias on February 20, 2021, 08:36:49 PM
I haven't had a chance to compare the 325s to comment on that, but yeah, I personally feel like the 125s are just better 80s, very similar profile overall just, better.

I don't have an amp, or a DAC or anything, which is something I'd like to fix at some point, but given my current situation I'm holding off any bigger purchases. I'm planning on quitting my job and going back to college for programming.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on February 20, 2021, 09:55:19 PM
If you plan to stick with the Grados for the foreseeable future, I'd say that an amp would be wasted on them. Based on both personal experience as well as other anecdotal reports it doesn't seem to do much for them, if anything.

That said, if you're looking for a DAC/amp to get around a noisy analog jack (which stillseems to be a common issue with laptops for some stupid fucking reason), I'd recommend one of FiiO's offerings. I used one their E10K when I was still physically going to work and it seemed to do a pretty solid job. I only drove IEMs with it personally, but I've heard that it can handle HD600s with no problem. Not bad for US$76 (looks to be $100 in maple leaf bucks?).
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Bobbias on February 21, 2021, 04:06:19 AM
Well like with keyboards, I'd like to branch out in the future when I can afford it. I haven't had much chance to listen to other decent quality cans. The only other pair I have is these RHA MA390 (https://www.amazon.ca/RHA-MA390-Wireless-Ear-Headphones/dp/B07D7YFV1V/)'s, which I use with my phone. I will say they weren't as bad sounding as I expected, but that was a pretty low bar.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on February 21, 2021, 01:22:55 PM
Yep, definitely makes sense. I guess one bit of silver lining here is that there are a decent number of good cans that can be driven with anything.

As far as your earbuds go, it helps that they support aptX/AAC. Not sure if you've ever had the "pleasure" of hearing SBC, but it's godawful. Nonexistent highs, muddy lows, and compressed mids. Blargh. I'm sure they also sound better than the ATH-M50x (seriously, I prefer my Apple buds over those).
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: vladgd on February 22, 2021, 08:32:04 PM
So like Blizzard is kind of bad now a days, but I just can't NOT be excited for a diablo 2 remaster. I may have reinstalled d2 and completed normal difficulty already...

Just dont fuck it up this time blizzard, we remember war3.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on February 22, 2021, 10:22:27 PM
It looks promising so far, but we'll see...fingers crossed and stuff.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: vladgd on February 23, 2021, 03:33:31 PM
Worst case scenario is at least better than Warcraft 3. (https://www.shacknews.com/article/122892/diablo-2-resurrected-wont-pull-a-warcraft-3-reforged-overwrite-the-original-game)

One of the issues I have gameplay wise, I have probably played a vast majority of my diablo 2, single player offline. There exists very powerful runewords in the game that are LADDER ONLY, not for normal battle.net characters OR for single player characters. I understand locking them behind ladder ONLINE, but offline, that's just straight horseshit. Even more that they doubled down on keeping them ladder only in resurrected to "incentivize" people to play ladder. Which the main incentive to play ladder is to start fresh with everyone online, not to make that runeword or two to play with for a few months before season ends...

(I feel a need to explain why singleplayer and not b.net. Battle.net characters are deleted after 90 days of not logging, I can go years without playing this game so thats one nope. Ladder lasts 6 months afiak, then you're booted to nonladder, so that character you worked so hard to gear, no longer has ladder gear, NOPE number 2. Mueling gear between characters requires trusting other players, so that's nope number 3)

But uhh since they aren't killing the original diablo 2, I found this here mod (http://plugy.free.fr/en/index.html) which is going to make me play even more diablo 2 than I intended. I rarely play mods, but this is more of a QoL update to the base game if anything. Single player only, can craft ladder runewords offline, infinite stash space, a shared stash between characters that is also infinite, amongst other QoL things. So you can play offline, magic find with a character...and transfer those items to other characters that can use that gear...without exiting the game and using an external file reading tool to drag and drop items between characters. IT IS AWESOME HOWED I NOT KNOW IT EXISTED EARLIER.

They also talked about being mod friendly, so theres a possibility that this thing could be ported over to d2r. But even if it can't be ported, the vanilla game aint going anywhere. So if the single player is like vanilla d2, and can't be modded to have ladder stuff, I may just play d2r for multiplayer only, and play this plugY mod on vanilla d2 for my offline characters.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on February 24, 2021, 11:44:57 AM
Yeah, that was my other point of concern. I already have my Diablo II/LoD installer backed up (along with the latest patches) just in case, as well as still owning a copy on CD, just to be on the safe side. Assuming they follow through with those promises, I'm glad they actually learned a lesson from that debacle.

In generally it sort of feels like they're promising less than they were with W3:R, which is probably a good thing in this case. They promised a lot of improvements with W3:R and wound up delivered a product that was inferior to the classic game. With D2:R (getting some real DDR Extreme vibes up in this bitch) it feels like they're advertising it as the original with prettier, upscaled graphics (no small feat given that it's all sprite-based!) and the odd, LCD-unfriendly 25fps cap removed. This may seem like an odd sentiment, but I also like that the upscaled (might be more fair to call them "uprezzed," seeing as it doesn't seem to just be run through a filter) UI graphics are sort of ugly when you look at them from a contemporary lens but they perfectly fit the late-90s/2000 style of D2.

If they make the online system more similar to Diablo 3, I might actually partake in it. I diddled around with D2's Battle.net stuff and...ugh. What a pain. It's still not great that some runewords are online-only, but if they can be modded into the single player game it's not really too much of an issue, I suppose. I'm also kind of curious as to whether D2:R is going to retain the direct TCP/IP multiplayer option of the original. That's becoming less relevant as time goes on, I suppose, but it would be nice to see a LAN-party friendly game come out for a change.

It's a little annoying that it's not coming to macOS, at least not initially, but since they're supposedly still using the original engine that's probably not too surprising (macOS has been pure 64-bit since Catalina and I'm sure the engine still has a lot of little bitness-specific gotchas baked in). I'm sure it'll probably run fine under my Windows 10 VM, but it would have been nice to have a native port.

Also, thanks to the link to plugY! I'll have to check that out later.

I think whether or not plugY will work with D2:R depends on what sort of mods D2:R is meant to work with. PlugY hooks into Diablo 2's internals, so if D2:R changes too much or adds some sort of anti-tamper solution into the mix (and given that we're talking about Activision, I wouldn't be surprised) it's going to make things difficult, if not impossible. It's more likely that their goal is to support stuff like Median XL, which, IIRC, only touches the MPQ files.

The problem is that the term "mod-friendly" is pretty vague. It's just as likely that they're explicitly adding in mod support (like a loader that would allow you to have multiple gameplay mods installed and switch between them) as it is that they're leaving things as-is so as not to break existing gameplay mods. I guess we'll find out more as it gets closer to release.

I did sign up for the technical alpha, so if I get picked (and there isn't an NDA on the whole shebang) I might be able to offer more info later. I do have a history of actually submitting bug reports instead of just treating it as an early demo (especially during the Cataclysm beta cycle) so I guess we'll see!
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: vladgd on February 24, 2021, 08:59:28 PM
I'm also kind of curious as to whether D2:R is going to retain the direct TCP/IP multiplayer option of the original. That's becoming less relevant as time goes on, I suppose, but it would be nice to see a LAN-party friendly game come out for a change.

I'm going to have to guess "probably but not guaranteed" on that one. (https://blizzardwatch.com/2021/02/20/diablo-2-resurrected-game-modes/) I clearly heard it mentioned in the Q and A, but wasn't 100% sure how serious the guy was.

Tell me what you think of plugY after you got a few hours into it. I've leveled at least...40-50 characters, maybe more over level 50 in diablo 2 over the years, and having a mod that let's me just do things is nice. I was playing a sorceress a1 normal using charged bolt, wasn't having a good time...just reset my skillpoints in the UI and went fireball instead, much better. Ohh a piece of gear that is a big upgrade, 50 strength, I only have 20...lemme take some points out of vit, dump into str, GOOD TO GO. Fire staff I was using on my assassin that I no longer need, dumped it into the shared stash easy access for my sorceress to pick up when she hit 19.

Cheating? yeah sure, but who cares, it's single player, I played enough d2 as is, it's just fun. In like 2 days I have a 14 necro, 20 sorc, and 51 assassin...they don't make em like they used to.
Title: Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
Post by: Spectere on February 25, 2021, 02:56:45 PM
Will do! Kinda looking forward to it, honestly. I never really spent much time in classic b.net, so being able to do lag-free, single-player uber hunting and rune word tomfoolery sounds pretty awesome.

And hey, no shame in respeccing. I was thrilled when Blizz patched respecs into D2 and bummed when I saw how limited they were. I'd argue that one of the things that Blizzard really nailed with Diablo 3 was the experimentation aspect (though they went and fucked that up by introducing grossly overpowered sets that demand specific builds).

Besides, we're (sort of) adults now. We don't really have time to scrap an endgame character just because we realized that they weren't tuned well in the middle of a Hell run.