Saturday, August 27, 2011

Klipsch Image S4 In-Ear Headphones

Way back in 2007, I did a little review of my then favorite in-ear headphones, the Etymotic ER•6i. These were awesome headphones and served me well for three years. About 6 months ago, they finally gave up the ghost and went to that great big stereo in the sky.

This time I decided to go with Klipsch and their Image S4 headphones. I am really enjoying these little guys. They are a lot more comfortable than my old Etymotics. Keeping them in for extended periods of time is no problem due to their light weight and ergonomic design.

Sonically they are great. They provide a rich full spectrum sound, that lets you hear all the smaller details in the music. They have a somewhat analog style sound profile. The complete opposite of the digital and brittle quality of some lesser quality headphones. The bass response is very warm, full and fat. Great for old school 70's classic rock.

Even though I really loved my old ER•6i's, I think I am going to love these new S4's even more.

But, as it is with new loves, only time will tell:)

Pros: Comfortable, Great Sounding, Warm Bass.

Cons: Limited Sizes of Ear Tips.

List Price: $79.00

Sunday, August 21, 2011

DaVinci Resolve on Smaller Screens

DaVinci Resolve is designed to work on monitors running at 1920x1080 or 1920x1200. For this reason I highly recommend the 24 inch Dell 2407 WFP/2408 WFP series. These are professional quality workhorse monitors. In terms of price versus performance, these monitors are hard to beat.

For those of you who are trying to run Resolve on a smaller monitor, such as a 15-inch MacBook Pro, which has a resolution of 1440x900, you have probably found out that the Resolve interface does not fit on a smaller screen. This causes the interface to become cropped and pretty much makes it impossible to use.

Luckily, there is a workaround, even though it is not officially supported by Black Magic Design.

Go to Applications - Utilities - Terminal

After launching the Terminal, type this:

defaults write -g AppleDisplayScaleFactor 0.75

Hit return.

Then launch Resolve. You will now see that the interface has been resized.

To return your screen back to normal, type this:

defaults write -g AppleDisplayScaleFactor 1

Hit return.

There you go. Now you can run Resolve on any size monitor, just change the amount of the "ScaleFactor" to fit.

Happy Resolving:)

Monday, August 15, 2011

RAID Hard Drive Tests

Recently, I spent the better part of three days reformatting, tweaking and testing my main Hackintosh Mac Pro Tower. It is now the foundation for my new Davinci Resolve/Smoke Suite.

I have a redonkulous amount of hard drives connected to this system. Fifteen to be exact, but who's counting?:) Yet the most important drives to me are the ones that make up my RAID array. If you are going to be doing any serious video work, especially HD or larger, you will want to setup and run a RAID as your primary video playback and capture drive.

I always go with Western Digital's Caviar Black hard drives when building my own systems. These 7200 RPM drives are absolute screamers and offer great performance and reliability at a decent price point.

For my current rig I decided to stripe together three 1TB Caviar Blacks. Since this is a budget build, I am going with a software RAID rather than a RAID card based solution. I have been very happy with the internal software RAID that OSX provides. Super simple to set up and works like a charm.

I decided to do some hard drive speed tests to see what kind of performance I can expect from these drives.

The first speed test was of a single Caviar Black. This one drive produced some very respectable numbers. It peaked out at about 105 MB/s for both disk read and write speeds.

The second speed test was of two Caviar Blacks stripped together in RAID O by using the disk utility. This 2 disk array maxed out at about 208 MB/s for both disk read and write speeds.

The third speed test was of three Caviar Blacks stripped together in RAID O by using the disk utility. This 3 disk array topped out at a smoking 312 MB/s for both disk read and write speeds.

I could have gone for a 4 disk array, but felt that 300MB/s was more than adequate for my current needs. Keep in mind, that these tests are best case scenario. In the the real world as the the drives fill up and start to fragment, performance will take a hit and these numbers will plummet. As long as I can maintain a sustained rate of over 200MB/s for the long term, I will be pretty happy.

So, if you are like Maverick and "feel the need for speed", you better get yourself a RAID.