Monday, February 29, 2016

Tweaking Panasonic RP-HC56 Noise Cancelling Earbuds

It was on sale in B&H for $25 so I got a pair (two actually).

Sound is smooth and sweet with strong lows, but too much bass and too dark to be audiophile level like the Philips SHE3010 and Koss KSC/35. However, this type of sound signature should be very suitable for noisy environment where bass usually disappears entirely. Much better sounding than I expected, sound well good enough.

When my Nexus 6 is plugged in to the charger (even charging is stopped), there is a hum noise.

It has a volume slide, but sluggish and the adjustment range is very limited. With it all way down, there is still music come out. Better than without.

The battery holder is very light, but much longer than I thought, double the length of an AAA (see above photo).

It is quite comfortable, because the silicon tips do not apply much pressure and do not go deep. I think I can use even smaller tips that are included, as the bass is already too much. With Philips SHE 3590, the tips must be large enough to provide enough seal to stay and sound good, and thus not comfortable.

The buds are bulky and seem very durable (good). They stay very securely in my ears (good), the most secure buds so far.

The wire between the battery and buds is not long enough to belt it to your hip, must be around your chest and upper stomach. Not a big issue to me, I simply use a clip as showing in this photo.

Went for a bus ride, noise cancelling was ideal, got the engine totally down to the bottom. Those who say the NC was not effective don't know what they were talking about, they were talking about anti baby crying. Or the tips are not big enough for their ears.

I changed the tips to the smallest, sound became perfect and crispy, no more too much bass. However, engine noise became apparent. Totally comfortable though, I easily forget their existence.

I then changed to the large tips, not comfortable and too much bass.

So, it seems the small tips are best for not too noisy situations. Maybe something a little larger would be perfect.

Later I found that the small tips fit my right ear perfectly - good sound, good seal and good NC, but the left side is loose. So I have to use the medium tip for left and small for right to achieve the best result.

Then, I inserted a foam ring into the left tip for a tighter fit:

I then made two small foam tips from ear plugs, but they don't sound good and not even comfortable. I cut the foam tips even shorter and now everything is as perfect as life can be:

More comfortable and much better NC than the stock tips especially on isolating middle and high freq. noise such as baby crying. I might cut off another 1mm, that's about the extreme. At this moment I don't feel excessive bass, but I still wish the sound more bright to give a feel of audiophile level.

The best thing about these buds so far is how steady they hold on. With all other earbuds, I keep pushing them in to retain good sound, like people always raising their eye glasses.

It is extraordinarily windy here today, but these buds are doing a fantastic job on that. So, they must be ideal for my motorcycle riding too; engine, road and strong wind, all of these nasty noises will become a thing of past. See how strong is the wind:

Battery life is excellent. I'm using a 1000mAh NiMH, it works continuously for 18 hours. At the end, the battery shows its end with some popcorn popping and the red light becomes dim. [Note: this is a Duracell battery, a good battery should last much longer] [update: yes, a RayoVac ready-to-use rechargeable played a whopping 55 hours continuously, never buy anything Duracell!]

There is a tiny pimple on the left handle for you to easily distinguish the left bud from the right without looking at them.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Tweaks for iStereo

I bought this iStereo clock radio from Walmart several years ago for only $30. Although priced low to the bottom, it is actually a high-end box with very good material and building quality in and out. The sound is not great but not bad at all.

 Why such a high-end box sold for so cheap? Mostly due to its unique feature or design flaw: it detects input audio level and, if audio level is low enough for several minutes, it turns off the power.

The fix is very simple. You may even add a switch to enable and disable this feature. See this video for details:

Another bad thing, learned from Bose Wave, is that it cannot do anything without a remote. And, the remote uses a button battery that's expensive and does not last long. So I had to do this as well, as always, for anything that uses unnecessarily button batteries:

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tweaking Google Cardboard for Virtual Theater

[This article is still in progress]

In Chinese:

这几天在玩一个很有意思的东西:Google Cardboard (谷歌虚拟实境装置)。名字取的很偏颇,其实这东西除了虚拟实境,也可以做虚拟影院(3D/2D),而且虚拟影院才是这东西目前能实用的功能。




手机最好是5寸或以上的屏幕,分辨率最好1080p以上,2K最佳。比如Nexus 6,6寸,2K,美国卖的很便宜,250美金左右,效果极佳。

最酷的当然是看3D立体电影或视频,比在电影院里的效果还好。网上很多SBS的节目,Side-by-Side,就是视频的每一幅都是由左右两幅画面组成。播放时不需要特殊apps,手机自带的播放器就行,或者MX Player,因为这种立体视频和普通的MP4没有区别,只是画面里左右相同而已。唯一要注意的是,网络上的SBS大多是half的不是full的,看起来纵向变长一倍(人变得很高),用MX Player播放的时候把比例从16:9改成32:9就好了,也就是把横向拉开一倍。


总重8盎司(半磅),比手机重点(一般手机在5盎司左右)。用蓝牙鼠标当然可以,大多数手机支持OTG(on the go),所以也可以用普通的USB键盘和鼠标。


MO3D for Cardboard VR Cinema


8 oz 

Related articles:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Check Engine light and a $5 easy fix

After exactly 10 years, the check engine light turned on. Actually three lights, VSC, TRAC OFF and ENGINE CHECK:

Drove the car to a local auto parts store. The nice man plugged a code reader into the socket near the driver side door:

The code is P0456, meaning slow leak of gas evaporation and 85% the cause is just an old gas cap that can no longer make a perfect seal:

I was going to order a new one from Amazon, but it cost even more than the local store. Drove to the store again the next day and got one for $4.99:

However, the light(s) were back again after 2 or 3 days. I screwed off the negative terminal from the battery for few minutes to reset the lights. Now it's been two weeks and the lights have not come back.

The leassons:
  • Check engine light(s) do not necessarily mean an engine problem. They could mean anything, such as just an old gas cap in this case.
  • Before going to a dealer, get the code from a local store for free. It is a very simple process.
  • If it is a slow leak, try a $5 new cap first, or you might end up paying hundreds of dollars to a dealer.
  • The system does evaporation pressure test every two days or so. Therefore the light(s) may still come back 2 to 3 days after a new cap. Just reset the lights again and if they do not come back after 2 or 3 days, then that's it.
  • Amazon is no longer so cheap, because its CEO is now more interested in burning the last penny on the Blue Origin rocket than rewarding its shoppers.

Related articles:

OBD2 scanner - a must for all car owners

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Chinese Input on Fire TV

Simply install Sougou Input for TV, can be easily found in Shafa Market. Then enable it, or disable it, as showing in this video (near the end):

You may also use adb to enable or it:

adb connect 192.168.###.###
adb shell "ime enable"
adb shell "ime set"

replace "###.###" with the IP of your Fire TV.