Archive for September, 2005

Sep
25

Report from A&V Festa 2005, part 2

Posted by on Sunday, 25 September, 2005

Moving on with the report from the A&V Festa 2005 in Yokohama, Japan. (First part of the review is in the previous post.)

The most exquisite sound I’ve heard in a long time was encountered in the demo room of German high-end manufacturer mbl. They had an awesome setup of dual monoblocks (mbl 9011), a preamp (mbl 6010) and two extremely beautiful and nice sounding speakers, the mbl 101E. I will try to scan an image of them (did not take a photo) because I’ve never seen anything like them! (They cost 5,300,000 Yen; i.e. $53,000!)

By the way, I got to comment on the visitors too. You could easily distinguish three types of visitors to the exhibition. True audiophiles, regular people (the entrance was free, so I think a lot of people came because of that) and a large number of otakus, whose only purpose, it seemed, was to photograph the cute womean standing in the booths! I swear, most of them didn’t even feign an interest in the acutal product, they just wanted a snapshot of the cutie handing out the pamphlets!! Amazing! But the sheer number of them must mean that it’s common; after all, this was the first trade show I’ve ever been to in Japan, so I don’t have any experience!

[to be continued again…]

Sep
25

Report from A&V Festa 2005

Posted by on Sunday, 25 September, 2005

As noted below, there was an Audio & Video exhibition in Yokohama this past week. I promised a report from it, and here it is.

First of all, it was not such a big exhibition. It was divided into one main hall where the big companies like Sony, Panasonic, Yamaha, and Pioneer were, and then three smaller halls and a few separate seminar and demo rooms. All in all, I covered the whole exhibition in about 1,5 hours. Although, it needs to be noted that I didn’t stay and listen to any demonstration for an extended period of time (and there were lots of them).

First “big” thing I noticed: Both Yamaha and Sony presenting a big front-speaker (about 30-40 inches wide I think) which gave complete 5-channel surround sound (or so they said, I never got to hear a demonstration). I got to see the inside of the Yamaha speaker though, and it was made up of a huge number of small elements. I think the basic idea was that they would produce sound which then bounced of your walls and ceiling to give that surround effect.

Second, I watched two absolutely FANTASTIC projector demonstrations:

Sanyo LP-Z4, an absolutely amazing XGA-resolution LCD projector. It was the best looking projected images I’ve ever seen (at least for home theater use). It’s being release in November, and it will cost around 300,000 Yen ($3000).

Epson EMP-TW600, also an impressive LCD projector. Specs are similar to the Sanyo, although a little bit lower (this one had 10-bit color, to the Sanyo’s 12, and a contrast rating of 5000:1 to Sanyo’s 7000:1).

When I find the products’ respective homepages I will post them. I recommend both of them highly. The Epson did not have a price yet, but I guess it is similar or a bit lower than the Sanyo.

[To be continued]

Sep
22

A note about fonts….

Posted by on Thursday, 22 September, 2005

Well, it took me about a month (since I transferred my blog to WordPress) to figure out that the default font that it’s setup to use (at least with the Kubrick template) does not exist by default in Windows! Nope, “Lucida Grande” is a standard OS X font, but is not shipped with Windows.

All Windows users who are browsing blogs made with WordPress (which are using the Kubrick design, or something based on it, like mine) have seen it with the Verdana font! This was news to me, but maybe everyone else knew….?

Anyway, I managed to get a hold of the font today, installed and finally got to view my own blog in the type face that it was originally meant to be displayed in. I like it! There’s no doubt that Lucida Grande is one of the nicest sans serif fonts out there! A note to Microsoft: include it in Vista!!

[Edit]
By the way, I searched a bit on the Internet regarding this, and it turns out I was not alone (it seems that it is also the case on almost any Mac-designed site, which are great in number, I assume). Check this this link for some points, of which I agree fully! (Although, I will still keep Verdana as a backup font to Lucida Grande, as I don’t have anything against it.)

Sep
21

Lost in Japan — New and Improved!

Posted by on Wednesday, 21 September, 2005

If you thought I had been updating somewhat seldom recently, you now understand why! I have been fairly busy preparing the new design for this blog; and I must say that I am very satisfied with the end result.

A quick rundown of the changes (in layman’s terms):

  • Two sidebars; the left contains mainly navigational items, the right one contains ads and external links
  • New main header image, this one showing the Golden Pavillion in Kyoto.
  • The Mini Movie Blog is now displayed in the right sidebar – this is a list of the recent movies I’ve seen, together with a short (one sentence) review of it.

If you’re interested in a little bit more technical details, I can tell you that the “Mini Movie Blog” is actually another WordPress blog inserted with a PHP include (Thanks to Blogger for inspiring me to do that) into this blog’s sidebar. Yes, it could be done in an easier way, but this way it’s very flexible since it’s controlled completely outside the scope of the main blog. Oh, and a big thanks to Andy Baio from whom I totally stole the idea of having a side-blog (check out his Waxy Links) and also the basic design of it.

Further, getting that left sidebar in place was tricky in IE – I still have to use a conditional CSS statement for IE to place the sidebar correctly to the left of the main content. If you compare the Firefox rendering with the IE one, you will see a slight difference. If ANYONE has a solution to this, so I can use the same CSS for IE, please let me know!

[Edit]
I updated the permalink structure too…. The previous setup was stupid and ugly, now the actual post-title in included in the URL.

Sep
20

A&V Festa 2005 in Yokohama

Posted by on Tuesday, 20 September, 2005

The A&V Festa 2005 will be held this week (Wednesday 21st until Saturday 24th) at the Yokohama Pacifico Exhibition Center. (A&V stands for, if you didn’t guess it, Audio & Video) Entrance is free! You can find more details on opening hours and how to get there at the AV Festa official homepage (link above).

One of the main events seems to be a presentation by a company called Fostex, who are showing a new speaker that doubles as center speaker and stereo speaker; i.e. theoretically you would only need one speaker as front channel and still get true stereo sound. There are not much more details on the homepage, so I guess we just have to go there and find out more, right. It seems very similar to a Swedish invention by the company Embracing Sound Experience.

Other companies participating in the A&V Festa 2005 are (among many others):
Alpine, NEC, Kenwood, Sanyo, Sony, Denon, Victor, Marantz, and Mitsubishi.

Please look forward to a review of the show after the weekend!