Posts Tagged ‘Impressions’

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JDS Labs Bass Boost CMoy v2.02 Impressions

March 4, 2010

Headphone amps are pretty much standard equipment in the setups of audiophiles everywhere. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of research on headphone amps and come across a number of different amps in all shapes and sizes but the one type of amp that piqued my interest was the “CMoy” amp. This type of amp, designed years ago by Chu Moy is an unconventional but powerful amp design that can be made by anyone with the right parts and a soldering iron. Well, I don’t consider myself one of the handiest of guys with a soldering iron at the moment so, instead of taking a chance and trying to build one myself, I decided to buy one that had been pre-made from a company called JDS Labs. After a few hours of listening, I’m impressed.

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MEElectronics M9P First Impressions

February 23, 2010

Early last week as I was browsing the forums at Head-Fi, I was alerted to a discount special by MEElectronics, a small California-based manufacturer of various gadgets such as DAPs and IEMs. Having read a few reviews on their more popular IEMs, the $40 M6 and the M9, which apparently uses the same dynamic driver and retails for about $20, I looked over their product lineup and settled on the slightly more expensive M9P, which comes with a built-in inline microphone which I figured I could use for making Skype calls with my iPod Touch. Yesterday (after a few shipping gaffes by USPS), I received my M9Ps and immediately gave them a listen straight out of the box.

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The iPad: Why Does This Need to Exist Again?

January 28, 2010

Before you read, keep in mind that these are my gut reactions and are meant to be taken with a grain of salt.

Earlier today (or yesterday, if you want to get technical) I was in the midst of a History class while Apple unleashed their latest invention upon the world so I missed all of the liveblogs and typical launch fervor that was surely running rampant throughout the internet around 1PM EST but after coming home and seeing just what Apple’s iPad is going to be when it releases in approximately 60 days’ time, I couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed. After the veritable deluge of rumors and speculation that has been spreading through gadget blogs for months now, I was expecting more. I was expecting more or less an Apple netbook (minus the keyboard) running a pared down version of OSX for $500 – $1,000, I was not expecting Apple to unveil what is essentially a giant iPod Touch. Honestly, given its feature set, I have no idea why this thing needs to exist, especially at the prices Apple is charging for the different versions of the thing (and there are a lot of them).

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Race Pro Impressions

February 27, 2009

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Two days ago, I picked up Race Pro, a game I’ve been highly anticipating since its announcement in the form of an Xbox 360 version of the PC racing sim, GTR 2. This title hails from Simbin, a developer that has been heralded as one of the best in the business of creating racing simulators. This is their very first console racing title and the racing simulation community has been abuzz, wondering if they can replicate the notoriously hardcore PC racing simulation experience on a console with little compromise. After investing a few hours in the game, I can say with ease, they’ve done a damn fine job.

As I popped the game into my Xbox 360, I decided to jump into the game by playing it for the very first time with Microsoft’s official wireless racing wheel, which I’d purchased a little over a year ago for Forza Motorsport 2. It seemed fitting to play this title with the wheel in hand. If you own Microsoft’s official Racing Wheel, you owe it to yourself to use it for this game. Racing with the wheel, coupled with the interior view, feels incredibly natural. It can be tough going from racing with the controller to the racing wheel but undoubtedly, it truly is the best and most immersive way to play.

Onto the driving physics, there’s no doubt in my mind that Simbin has created one of the most realistic racing simulators ever, thanks in large part to the physics engine. Even driving something as seemingly mundane as a Mini Cooper (a highly modified version of a Mini Cooper no less) can be very exciting and trust me when I say the Radical SR3 is not to be taken lightly. I have yet to get behind the wheel of the Dodge Viper SRT-10 and Audi R8 (two of my favorite supercars) as of yet, two of the unmodified cars included in the package, but I did get behind the wheel of the Dodge Charger Super Bee, an exclusive download included in copies of the game sold at GameStop (don’t think of that as an ad…). Race Pro does an excellent job of simulating the high weight and power this car possesses, which makes it characteristically difficult to stop at the end of a long straightaway.

Race Pro is one of the rare racers on the market today that is able to blend accessibility with, at times, crushingly realistic physics. The instant you enter the career mode, it defaults to the professional difficulty setting, in which all assists are turned off. For the sake of accessibility, it’s nice that these settings can be changed to your liking. They can all be adjusted in varying degrees, from low, medium to high.

So far, the AI drivers generally make for fairly competent opponents but, on occasion, they exhibit some…questionable behavior. For instance, as the Autodriver lead me out to the track in my Chevy Lacetti, a sequence that you can’t override as far as I can tell, it nicked a barrier while exiting the pits and compromised my aerodynamics. I was essentially forced to restart the session due to my bent front bumper. Hopefully, this isn’t a common occurrence.

I’ve played a couple of online races so far and they all have been free of any perceptible lag, even with as many as ten vehicles on the track at once (the game supports 12 online). Despite the fairly limited options compared to other racing titles on the 360 such as Forza Motorsport 2 and PGR 4, it is nice to have the ability to take to the track in a practice session to play around with vehicle setups before beginning the big race.

Perhaps the only thing I don’t like about Race Pro so far is its incredibly basic presentation. The menus aren’t presented with any sort of visual pizzazz or flair and hardly go beyond the call of duty.  This can be somewhat off-putting, even for me, a person who appreciates what lies under the hood far more than visual aesthetics (which is why the Corvette Z06 has captured my heart more so than the far more visually appealing Ferrari F430).

Overall, after investing just a few scant hours into the game so far, I’ve very much enjoyed Race Pro. It has delivered exactly what I expected to, an involving and incredibly realistic racing simulator. Race Pro may be a little rough around the edges especially concerning the interface and overall presentation but it delivers where it counts. Stay tuned for the full review, which should be posted very soon.

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PlayStation Home Beta Video Tour

December 6, 2008

Part 1

Part 2

I’ve taken the liberty to record some footage with my digital camera straight from my TV screen to give all of you out there a better idea of what to expect once the public beta launches. The video has been split into two parts and I’ll update this post once the second half has been finished and uploaded for your viewing pleasure. Alright, enough talk. I hope you enjoy this brief look into the PlayStation Home Beta!

UPDATE: Part 2 of the beta tour has been uploaded and posted for your viewing pleasure!

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Resistance: Fall of Man Impressions

March 9, 2008
Fall of Man Banner

Over one year later, Resistance: Fall of Man, the most highly acclaimed game of the Playstation 3’s launch, is still regarded as one of the best games available on the system and still one of its best sellers. Resistance: Fall of Man was developed by Insomniac, a developer known best for their work on the popular Ratchet and Clank series. Resistance strikes a sharp contrast to that series, creating a dark and gritty atmosphere, as opposed to the more light-hearted, humorous and colorful universe in which Ratchet and Clank takes place. 

Resistance casts you as Sergeant Nathan Hale, a soldier in the American Army Rangers, sent to aid Britain in the fight against the Chimera, an alien race of unknown origin. The year is 1951 in an alternate reality in which the Nazi’s never rose to power in Germany and World War II never happened. The Chimera have spread across the isolationist Russia, destroying everything in their path and have moved in on England, wiping out much of its population. Of course, in the face of this terrible plight, it’s up to you to stop them.

The single player campaign begins here, thrusting you right into the conflict against the Chimera with nothing but an M5A2 Carbine and your wits. Resistance’s dark and gritty atmosphere is well established through narrated scenes and cutscenes scattered liberally between firefights. Resistance gains points for choosing something other than World War II to focus on, having chosen a historical setting. It’s also impressive that Resistance seemingly blends two separate time periods by thrusting futuristic weaponry and alien technology into your hands throughout the game. I’m not too far into the game yet, but things have been good so far and hopefully things will continue in a similar fashion.

Of course, the aforementioned firefights are most important in establishing the setting as well as keeping the player engaged and this is done quite admirably. Most importantly, these battles are also fun. Despite my personal qualms over the analog stick layout and convex triggers of the Sixaxis controller, I don’t feel hampered by them to any reasonable degree. The controller sensitivity feels right, the numerous weapons are fun to wield and the general mechanics work well. I am disappointed by the tacked on motion controls, which are used to shake off enemies that grab on to you and a couple other functions in multiplayer. 

I’m less enthused about the multiplayer component, which allows you to wage war with up to 39 fellow gamers across a dozen or so maps, not counting the few released as downloadable content. The pace feels a great deal faster than what you experience in the campaign, which can be quite jarring to players heading online for the first time and will have many wishing they could use an input device more precise than a controller. Nevertheless, despite these niggling issues, it isn’t bad at all. It takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of things, it’s quite fun. Latency issues are slim to nil due to the dedicated servers the game utilizes for its multiplayer frag-fests. The most players I’ve seen in any one match were 24 out of a maximum of 32, which was one heck of a match. I would like to play more matches of this size, but it seems players have moved on to other games such as Call of Duty 4 and as a result, there don’t seem to be many people playing the game.

Overall, I am impressed by Resistance, which holds up remarkably well for a launch title (certainly better than Perfect Dark Zero). The single player campaign is interesting, full of exciting shootouts and an interesting storyline and setting. While I had a few more complaints about the multiplayer component, they aren’t enough to put a significant damper on my enjoyment. The game is certainly not perfect but it’s something I can easily recommend to PS3 owners who are fans of the genre or those who just have a passing interest.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the human race isn’t going to save itself…