- SONIC BOOM KICK!!!
- I made two discoveries this Holiday weekend; if one of them had been discovered first, the other wouldn't have.
My desktop computer is, unfortunately, irreparable. I'm just going to have to replace it, which is either going to be a January project or a full-on tax refund purchase at the Mac store. The other discovery I made is that my amplifier had deteriorated quite a bit over the years of abuse I've put it through, but that my speakers are fine.
You may ask what the relationship is between the two discoveries, and it is this: I discovered the latter because I was buying supplies to repair the computer and saw a great Black Friday deal on a new Yamaha. It had long been a desire for me to advance beyond the use of the component analog outputs of my player to access the lossless/uncompressed multichannel sound available on Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs and a gorgeous 7.2 system with all of my favorite codecs was sitting there on the shelf for an even more gorgeous price.
A gorgeous price does not mean free, and if I had not gotten the amplifier, I might have re-appropriated those funds to a more speedy restoration of the computer. There are three factors weighing in against that. The first is the most important, which is that the computer itself had some failing hardware on it, and wouldn't have lasted long even if I had propped up its corpse. The second is that it doesn't look like I'm missing any information off of the old computer.
The third is that I had already hooked up the Yamaha and sampled what it sounded like.
I had, for a while, thought that I might need to replace my speakers as the sound on my system had gone somewhat flat over the years, but it turns out the speakers are just fine, and I probably won't have to replace them for a very, very long time. I've gotten excellent sound out of my system before, but I've just achieved a new level. This sound is full and round, with both oomph and clarity. I am highly impressed.
It also has a dock for an iPod or iPhone. You can control the device with a very convenient GUI interface that appears on the television monitor, allowing you to easily scroll through your portable library while sitting on the couch. It will also display the file's ID3 tag information on the screen (including the album cover) while it's playing. This sort of thing is perfect for parties, especially with the "7 channel stereo" function, which plays a standard stereo signal through all seven speakers (left channel to left, rear left and surround back left; right to right, rear right and surround back right, I think the center channel is either a mix or a common matrix).
I've not yet mounted the shelves for the speakers (and to be honest, I've not even hooked up the two surround back speakers since I moved), so until everything is in its permanent place, I'm going to hold off on calibrating it with the parametric equalizer, but given how good everything sounds right now, I'm actually pretty excited.
It's not all strawberries and cream, however. There are two issues with the new system, ones which I should have noted but didn't. The first is the absence of any switched outlets on the back, which will require me to upgrade my power strip very soon (the temporary casualties were the tape deck and the DVD-Audio player) and the second, more damning, is the lack of phonograph inputs. It turns out that newer amps are starting to phase out the phonograph input because they're "obsolete," and newer turntables tend to have pre-amps built in, so if I want to use mine (and I do, they don't make 'em like this anymore) I'm going to have to get a pre-amp.
I also have to admit that the issues on the new Conan the Barbarian recording are much more apparent with the new amplifier as well.
- Work on the Lord of the Rings compilation continues. It does look like I may manage to make my goal of keeping this down to a two-disc set; I've gotten the bulk of the first disc mapped out, with a good outline on the second. Due to the construction of the scores and how I'm following the thematic material, while in no way literally following the story's chronology, there is a progression over the course of the discs from being primarily music from The Fellowship of the Rings to being primarily music from The Return of the King. I have, indeed, had to eliminate some things I was really hoping to include, but I'm finding that I'm missing them less and less as the whole comes together.
- I hate to say it, but I think for the most part that the comic book genre seems to have run its course. After the attempted pyrotechnics of Kick-Ass fell flat for me, I was rather skeptical about Scott Pilgrim Versus the World. The trailers looked like it could go either way, either it was a dull movie they made look witty or a witty movie they couldn't tell you much about.
Okay, how awesome is Scott Pilgrim Versus the World? Amazingly awesome!!! I haven't laughed this hard and this consistently at a movie in a very, very long time. Because of how much of my pleasure came from the sense of discovery, I'm not really going to say too much about it other than that the Universal logo tells you everything you need to know about where this movie is going with itself. Not only is the film endlessly inventive, with each major set-piece topping the previous one, but it also manages to pack in some rather piquant observations about how relationships work (both current and former) despite its seemingly superficial veneer.
THE WIZARD NEEDS FOOD, BADLY