October 23, 2012

Mrs. Ninja’s RMAF 2012 Review

Serenity Acoustics Super-7
Saturday we started in the GR Research room with Danny Ritchie and Serenity Acoustics’ new Super-7. At $20K/pair they are not the price tag of the kits Danny sells but since you don’t have to build cabinets or put anything together yourself…. To me they look like a larger Super V so I don’t love how they look but they do sound great. Especially if you like the Danny Ritchie sound profile. During song one, Alison Krauss' It Doesn't Matter was so realistic, and since I have heard it live I can say it was very true to life. Second song was so clear you could hear the very air between the notes - almost like you could hear the dust in the air of the studio where they were recording the song. Dodd Audio provided their little tubed battery powered amps and PI Audio brought the Uberbus for the Subs (only thing not on battery powered) along with Electra Speaker Cables, and Supra Innerconnects. Plus, they really know room treatments - something other rooms never seem to fully understand as much as the guys.

Room Treatments
Dodd Audio battery Tube Amps

PI Audio Uberbus and Electra Cables
 More fun stuff in the GR Research Room.

German Physiks Unlimited MkII
Next up, one of my favorite rooms - German Physiks. They had the Unlimited MkII at $9,950/pair. These omni-directional speakers with a carbon fiber cone should do no wrong but I was getting tired listening to them. These look awful too… so disappointing the HRS120s aren’t here. I always am talking about source material and the boring stuff played at these shows and walking in this room it was exactly what I hate about these shows. But then they put on some Elvis; however the source material was a burned CD so it was not ideal. Additionally I was sitting in a rather large bass null.  I had to walk around the room to find the bass!  This is supposed to be omni people. Then Pink Floyd’s Money was better but by this third song I was sick of hearing these and the top end started to make my head scream in pain. What a huge disappointment for a company for the past two years I have loved.  To fall so far with me fleeing the room in pain.

TAD Compact Reference (Left) Pioneers (Right)
The TAD room is always the most money for the least amount of speaker. Compact Reference at $45K/pair with stands is ridiculous, especially when they are not the greatest I’ve heard - or have the best finish or design. The room at least had some room treatments; including bass traps and were willing to play some music outside the elevator. Angel Mine by the Cowboy Junkies is something I would really play but it overloaded the room. These need more treatments or to be in a larger room. The Black Bird rendition showed the clarity of notes with the bass and drums but not a great way to showcase the ease of listening of this speaker. The song I didn’t know of a lady singing did show the speakers best features but if you are only going to play ladies high voices these are not for you. The $5k/pair Pioneers also present handled the room better. They have the same beryllium tweeter, along with a Magnesium mid-range, and carbon fiber woofer – all at a much better price.

Salk Sound Scape 8
Would you mind if I say how much I love the Sound Scape 8’s by Salk Sound in Pepperwood Burl?  The amazing veneer work is so beautiful it makes me want to cry. These are works of art and what everyone should strive for if they are worried about the WAF. The Star Wars soundtrack was playing as we started our demo showing how these could easily be used for Home Theater as well as 2-channel listening.  They easily fill the room, even off-axis, there is no degradation. With Dennis Murphy’s crossover design powering these monsters so well, there was not a bad spot in the room. This was all in a large room and these speakers need space so I do not recommend them for very small spaces.  Starting out at $8k/pair and going up to $12k/pair for the Pepperwood burl finish plus any additional add-ons you want to get strait from Salk is money well spent IMO. These are one of my favorites of the show this year.

On to the KT Audio Imports Room (first off I hate the name cause I would never remember it and it so sterile). Neither here nor there, they did have Making Movies by Dire Straits on vinyl playing on a Triangle Art Reference turntable at $16,500 (YEA!) but it seemed to me the Nebula loudspeakers at $65,000/pair did not live up to their potential. Powered by the NAT Audio Magma Monoblock Amplifiers at $44,990 each look amazing but I mean with so much money in this room I should be writing that this is THE room of the show. First off they should have spent some money on room treatments.  Romeo and Juliet began and it lay there like a bucket of dead chickens in the middle of the room; completely uninvolving. Analog should be warm but the playback was flat and the speakers were not dynamic in the least. The bass didn’t hit me in the chest. No twinge from the top end and it seems you could almost miss the speakers in the room altogether. Do these need more time or maybe some Skiing Ninja love to get better?
NAT Audio Magma Monoblock
KT Audio Imports Nebula
 The Odyssey Kisnet Reference Monitors at $3500/pair plus $400 for the stands (ridiculous) made the top of my head hurt.  The owner of Odyssey compared his speakers to the TAD’s so the price should be great for what you get.  Unfortunately, what we have here is complete listening fatigue.  My friend Chris did purchase the GIK room treatments they had in the room so gotta say props to that. Unlike Trenner & Friedl Pharoah which are aesthetically yuck and are $12,500/pair!  I suppose if WAF is what you are worried about these are a small footprint but a plain box that is plain ugly.
Odyssey Kisnet Reference Monitors

Trenner & Friedl Pharoah

MBL 101E without cage
Another favorite of the show this year was the MBL room with their 101E’s. I know my omni-directional love is just a little overwhelming at times but in the past few years I really haven’t paid MBL a ton of attention - at least not like I did this year. Maybe because this year they played awesome music and moved away from the operatic crap/old man stuff they played in past years that I have ridiculed them for so it held my attention. They started off with a little Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana and then a choir rendition of Metalica’s Nothing Else Matters.  They rounded the set with some Blacklight Syndrome. Props for good music this year people! These speakers recreate the experience of live music so well you sit back and you cannot tell it is a speaker in the room because you can move around the room and the music surrounds you always. The bass hit nicely during Blacklight Syndrome. One downside to these unlike my true omni’s of years past is they have a section on the rear that juts out making them not as easy to place in the middle of the room.  However they do throw sound as though they should be able to be. There is no bad spot they look like great art creating a conversation piece in anyone’s home. I know I want a pair in mine but at $70,500/pair I won’t be getting them anytime soon.

Angel City Audio Trinity
Angel City Audio, makers of the Trinity series of loudspeakers and distributor of Melody electronics, love me (thanks Tim) so they play great music when I come in. This great music was being piped into the Trinity LR’s at $2799/pair without stands. The room had some treatments so that helped but these speakers really needed to be placed better in the room. I don’t think I have addressed this before. Besides just room treatments and playing better music, how you set up your system is critical and where you place your speakers in the room makes the room part of the speakers. With Fleetwood Mac and Dire Straits, the sounds changed a lot when moving off-axis. You lose the second speaker when you are anywhere near the other. The sweet spot was really the only place to listen the way these speakers were set up. Next up was Beatles USSR and the Stereoing on this recording worked really well here but the bass was lost and there was no movement in the air during the song. No intensity with a song like this; the music was flat.
Melody Electronics
Evolution Acoustic / Playback Designs did master tape vs a first recording off their equipment in an A/B which was really neat. The Reference 2-way monitors are super and with this kind of source material they really shine. So clean, they pop with every note and space. Voices are clear and clean with a large depth of field. The recording seemed to lose very little though it didn’t seem as enveloping. If I had not heard the master first as an A/B, you would not be able to tell. Bonus for this room’s use of non-conference type music played at demo, showing how one would really use in an “in home” setting. The speakers held up perfectly, something I would play in my house and a show favorite. At $2500/pair with stands not the cheapest bookshelf but tasty.

Playback Design
Evolution Acoustic

Leonardo Ribbon Planar

Sunday was a very busy day with buying new vinyl in the vendor area and then starting in the Laufner Tehnik room to hear a new Leonardo Ribbon Planar from Italy with a price tag of (only) $65k/pair. Historically ribbon planar speakers are not my forte’ and I was of course disappointed the large German Physiks were not in the room. Pushing these large thin pillars were some awesome looking tube amps by Audio Power Labs coming in at $175K/pair. I don’t know about the $2300 dish in the room that was used as room treatment tweek that I never caught the name of however. A rendition of Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side started my demo and it was too harsh for me. A complaint a lot of people who do not like Ribbon Planar speaker usually have is they tend to be tinny. I think putting those amazing tube amps on them helps warm them up on a song that has a lot of harsh highs. Song number two could have really hurt the top end.  Maybe High End Novum’s PMR (Passiver-Multivokal-Resonator) is doing its job of balancing out the higher frequencies that I find hard to handle with these types of speakers.  In this set up, I had no problem. These speakers were not fatiguing as I usually find them. The sound was clean. Song number three was booming and I could feel the tympanis hit in my chest like I would expect with a speaker with big subwoofers in it but this did it on its own. Walking around the room, they could really have used some more treatments; there were some dead spots in corners and next to the speakers. The area in front (the sweet spot) was really only space where the sound was excellent. With how much money was in this room adding in the Memory Player 64 that allows you to input your source material and scrub it clean whose purpose is to create better playback and at $14,900, that pushes this system into the over $250k range  It is not a starter system but these are the best Ribbon Planar speakers I have ever heard - and the most beautiful amps to strive for.

Audio Power Labs Tube Amps
High End Novum’s PMR
Next we have Von Schweikert’s VR44 at $24,995/pair being run off some Jolida tube amps and United Home Audio’s Reel to Reel.  The playback from the system makes clean and clear sound with a big stage. Too bad I can’t stand how these look with the stupid big V on the front and that is a WAF issue if I ever saw one. Musically they fill the big room they were in and you too will need a big room for these monsters. These are very popular speakers however they are not exactly my cup of tea; they are harsh and grating, as well as very brash.  This is all fixable so I wish they would do it or let someone else do it (shameless self promotion). I could not listen for a long time because my ears would start to bleed. Von Schweikert has made speakers I have liked, these just are not them. Try again next year guys.

Von Schweikert’s VR44

Pimped United Home Audio’s Reel to Reel
Next room was Vivid Audio K1 speakers at only $25k/pair powered by Luxman with a bunch of bells and whistles from Tweek Geek. The speakers have woofers on both baffles (front and back).  These four drivers are internally coupled in pairs via screw tensioning units for reaction cancelling. In the song Time after Time, I found the speakers too soft, too loose and very sloppy with the space between notes. These are very relaxed and good for those who want a really easy listening speaker that they won’t really push. Song three was the Funky Butt Drum Club that did push the speakers and got some air moving in the room but it starts to get tinny then and the top end is irritating and the bass is too quick to overload the room. These are not meant to be pushed to limits; they are meant more to ride along nice and easy like a old Cadillac.

Vivid Audio K1

Bob Carvers good looking line sources of 13 ribbon tweeters in front and 11 mid-range on each side creating a quasi omni-directional effect and joining the ranks of just under $20k/pair. For speakers this size they need to be in a bigger room and it needed to have treatments on the walls, corners, everywhere. On the positive side while listening to a little Stevie Ray Vaughn it was easy to have that true to live feel the designers were going for.  Like any line source you gotta keep your distance because too close creates nulls in your response and here is no exception. Take my advice boys; go for a bigger room next year.

Legacy Aeris in Copper Ostrich finish at only $16,900/pair are my last favorites of the show. I don’t even know why Legacy brought other speakers to show like the Focus SE because compared to the Aeris the rest all suck. Aside from the Salk veneer these are awesomely beautiful. They have a nice warm sound that fills the room and hits you nicely in the sweet spot and off-axis. With the right room this could be an easy household speaker to have while you move about in your space. These evoked emotion making them another show favorite. A good demo but could have been better with some room treatments to make these babies shine along with some killer source material and these would be the talk of the show.

Legacy Aeris
Copper Ostrich Finish
To wrap up the end of show on Sunday, we visit GR Research again because rooms always change over the weekend and this room in particular I have found usually sounds its best Sunday at the end of the show. Thank you Dave for changing the music when I came in to something more lively. Song one was a Lean on Me rendition and you could hear the clarity between notes. The silence between notes was deafening. You get so much from the empty spaces as from the notes these speakers produce. Danny does such a great job on his off-axis response, you don’t notice the speakers when moving across the sound stage. Song two’s top end is easy on my head for a song with lots of horns and the bass never overloads the room. A lot of thanks to the whole gang with how well they treat the room and pull it all together.

I have to say that this year was not a rave year for me at the show. It was great to see TONE Audio have a room and celebrate their 10 years in the business and have cake with Jeff. It was nice seeing all my friends from all over the world who come in for this show but it seems it is getting smaller every year. Companies are not bringing their biggest and best, really trying to out-do each other like in the first few years of the show. I doesn’t seem like the people at the show are not enjoying themselves as much as in years past either. I’m not saying the show isn’t fun, it always is. I’m just saying that in years past I have been more impressed with systems, had great after parties, huge dinners out with friends from all over the world and did lots of business. We may blame the economy for our bad year(s) but this is a luxury industry and people will always find a way to pay for their hobbies. Those with the means still have them.  If we don’t keep the industry going with new blood, new ideas, and a ignited passion of years ago I can see this show and lots like it going away in the next few years. No one seems to really want to have this hard conversation about our dying breed but one day soon it will no longer be avoidable.

Mrs. Ninja

Steampunk Cans

October 20, 2011

Mrs. Ninja’s RMAF 2011 Write up

Sorry this has taken so long.... Sunday night I was called away in a covert mission going after the 12 ninja monkeys that had attacked "The Ninja" a few years back. During a basketball game he was attacked and he got away with a broken finger - this time I got away with a similar injury, a broken toe. Now out of my Percocet haze I can tell you my RMAF story.

For the first time in the history of RMAF "The Ninja" and I were not there for set up to tear down. In fact Friday of the show it was an out of body experience having the show going on without us. Bright and early Saturday we arrived and it was like coming home, we were where we belonged. It's nice to have a community that you belong to and that you have friends from all over the world you get to see. It's too bad we don't act more like a community more often. We can come together in crisis when a friend is in trouble and at the same time we can tear each other apart over the forums when anonymity is easy to hide behind.

So last year I complained about the snore fest of music and my cries went unheard. So I will again plead with the exhibitors to play something from the new millennium. The addition of this years SACD Pink Floyd 'Wish you were here' with James Guthrie presentation. Although how many times have we all heard pink floyd at a show? How about next time we get the new Pearl Jam, Pink Martini, Queens of the Stone Age, or the new Red Hot Chili Peppers. All of which come on vinyl or CD or downloadable. Whichever you medium of choice. So this whole idea you have to be living in the past for audiophile sound is crap. They were playing more happening music in the hotel resteraunt "The Lift" than in 99% of the rooms supposed to be playing good music.

First up Voxativ by Schimmel Pianos: Reviewed by Stereophile (August 2011) and thier review of the speaker was quite good. It's a interesting speaker without a crossover, especially for a girl like me who loves tinkering with a crossover. These speakers are really clean. Both "The Ninja" and I liked them to a point. The room needed room treatments but the gentleman running the room said, "I don't believe in them (room treatments)." Which is crap. The hotel rooms are a box of reflective surfaces and room treatments are required for everyone. Anyone who dosen't use them is not showing off the speakers, equipment and all the extras to the best they can. I would give the lack of treatments as a reason why the sound is really focused but go off axis and it became muddled. Not my cup of tea since I feel that unless you can use a speaker for critical listening as well as walking around in a party or cooking in the kitchen its not a speaker I want to spend my money on. Others shouldn't either unless you have enough for 3-4 systems in your home.

Props to Zu for playing something that could keep the dead awake! It drew you in from down the hall, which for a manufacturer it is what you want. Unfortunatally I like last years set up better. This years version reminded me of a old pair of Cerwin Vega's from the 80's we used to have in our garage that we used to play at block parties because you could hear them a half a mile away. They are perfect for men who want lots of power with little performance. Call it the sports car syndrome for men less endowed speaker version.

I also said last year that if you have business to take it outside the room instead of talking over the music in the room. It's rude and it just sucks for the rest of us to hear you behind us. So move it out.

Told by the booth babe at the door it was the "best sound at the show" Coincident was such a disappointment in the sound department. They should keep with the amps because they are beautiful, but I have a thing for tubes and the Einstienian look. However the room sounded bland and watered down. I compare it to the lowest common denomoner syndrome, trying to please everyone, you get nothing wrong but nothing right either. The Kendall Jackson Chardonnay of Speakers is the only way to make an annology. Not good so don't spend your money on it but if someone else brings it to the party it will work.

ESS at $19K had a little Chicago playing so kudos for that. I don't understand these speakers and won't claim to get how the folded something or other tweeter is, or the things in-line create a tuning fork something and why that is supposed to be good. Or how the di-pole woofer firing both forward and back (which I do understand) makes the speaker good or bad. I will just tell you they were overwhelming. The top end hurt my ears and it was easier on my head when off axis than sitting in the "sweet spot." I had a lot of people telling me how I had to hear this set of speakers and I can only imagine it was for the experience and not for the sound. I was supposed to be impressed by the engeneering but since I can't really appreciate it and the sound is the only thing I have to go on, I pass.

I know I am so complainy, so let me just say I was pleased as punch to meet the guys in the Polk room and to find how very nice they are. The Polks sounded great and I was happy to see the crossover displayed cause it means "The Ninja" and I will still be selling Polk upgrades for years to come.

The TAD room did have one of the best diddies playing, something called 'Going away to Ireland' and Andrew Jones is one of the nicest guys so TAD must expect his accent and good looks are what are going to sell these $37K bookshelves, add $3k for the stands. Granted I like the woven Kevlar drivers but pure gold drivers would not make a $37K price tag in my opinion. No matter how much I liked the speakers' sound and think they are one of the best new speakers I had heard this year. They are spendy, so I dub these the Best Overpriced Speakers of the Show.

I was very bummed Laufer Teknik brought the small square German Physics cause they just don't look very good even though they sound fantastic. Still my favorite!

This year was Danny Richie's year. His Super V's sounded and looked better than the past 2 years he had them here. The faux stone treatment looks a million times better than last years yellow ones. The whole system was battery powered on Gary Dodd's 15 watt amp minus the servo subs that had PI Audio Majic Buss power conditioners on them. Dave's treatments in the room plus a late night construction project (the only ones who seem to spend as much time treating the room as the equipment in the room) made this years room the best GR Research, Dodd, and PI Audio has had. Ruben displayed some cabinetry hat had me sold on some of Danny's N3's for "The Ninja" to build as our new system. Gotta keep adding new stuff right? I was happy for the eclectic music played in the room, but that jackass Dave did forget the Pixies in Albuquerque. Tisk. Tisk

But is this all RMAF is about? Rooms and rating them? NO. For some it's business, others it's pleasure, a hobby, time to see friends from around the world, others a chance to indulge in hearing some of the greatest systems that we would never hear otherwise. Is it dinners or drinks after the show where we get to talk openly with like minded in person and not over a forum? Getting to see those who we know only as a screen name and avatar. I am amazed that even though I know many in the industry, I only know a drop of the community. When will this community come together? For its survival moving forward, and recruting a new generation into the hobby? I hope soon. This year I saw us moving backwards. Less women, less children, again like in the begining when RMAF was for those of us who really were dedicated and true audiophiles but not open to outsiders. What a shame not to share what we know with more people so they to can enjoy what we have known and learned. Does it have to be 'you earn the right' to be an audiophile?   Can we not teach it just so we have more people to share it with us? Something for all of us to ponder untill next year. Hopefully next year I will not have to miss any days again and all will be right in my universe.

Mrs. Ninja

August 2, 2011

June 1, 2011

Av Forum, Axiom, Skiing Ninja and More

So we got a little attention lately on AV's Forum with a rehash of the Axiom measurements Danny at GR Research did for us on a few of their speakers that we did not produce an upgrade for and Axiom owners didn't like the results. (Sorry!?!)

Well I posted a response and all has seemed to go back on topic and off us. Thank god.

But now you may be asking what has been going on with Skiing Ninja cause Mrs. Ninja you haven't posted in forever? You would be correct sir. Our forum was hacked (super thanks to the douchbag who has too much time on his hands that he felt he wanted or "had to" do something like that) but not the end of the world. We did wonder whether it was advantageous for us to put up a forum at all. If you have thoughts let me know. mrsninja@skiingninja.com

The audio industry has turned in the last year. Mark Scheifter of AV123 jailed for fraud, several companies have gone under, lost many to death (because as I have said we are a group of old men), and I was asked to write a artical of who I thought the 40 most upcoming people in the industry under 40 were. Sad thing was I could not come up with more than 13. REALLY!!!! Time Magazine has the owner of Facebook on its cover as the man of the year and he's a baby (27) and I can't find 40 people in the entire audio industry that are up and coming or I would have taken doing anything. Everyone is over 40. WE have no new blood and we are dying out. Our sales are slipping and companies are failing. I am so sad right now so yea I have not been posting here, Facebook or Tweeting because who is out there anymore?

We made some new goals this year and one was to figure out a way to bring in new (younger) people, the next generation of audiophiles into the industry and we have not been doing a very good job. Even The Ninja and I are 30 somethings so we too will no longer be who I am looking for.

Lastly, we are cleaning house, and the following products are being retired so we can make room on our site for new and upcoming things. These will be available only until the end of August and then they will be taken down from the site. If you have one of these and in the future you wish to have a upgrade custom made it will be priced out then and we do not guarantee that it will be possible so now is the best opportunity if you have ever thought of upgrading.

ELT LRS, Rocket 450, Rocket 750, Rocket 760, Onix Reference 0.5, x-omni, Strata Mini, TCA WAF1, Emotiva, Insignia, JBL, and SPICA

Mrs. Ninja
Bringing you the next evolution in home audio!

May 20, 2011

New Skiing Ninja Speaker Labels are here!

If you have not received a speaker label for the back of your upgraded speaker with your Skiing Ninja purchase please send Mrs. Ninja an email so we can get you out the new and improved labels today!

May 11, 2011

December 6, 2010

Skiing Ninja's Holiday Gift Giving Guide

We all know that the holidays can be tough but we are here to help with things we love for everyone on your list.

For the men:

Skiing Ninja Shaving Kits $49.95

Skiing Ninja Loungy Pants $19.99

Skiing Ninja Long Sleeve Organic Tee $34.95

"Speaker Mechanic" Short sleeve work shirt $36.50

Skiing Ninja Dampening Material Kits $varies

For the women:

Mrs. Ninja's Forever Beautiful Bath Set $36.99

Skiing Ninja Ladies Full Zip Hoodie $40.00

Skiing Ninja Babydoll Tee $19.99

Skiing Ninja external crossover boxes $varies

For the kids:

Lil' Ninja short sleeve Tee shirts $14.95

Skiing Ninja Ski Beanie $13.56

Skiing Ninja Decal $ 3.98

Skiing Ninja Elite DIY Upgrade Kit $varies

For the Pets: Skiing Ninja Dog Shirts $18.95

For other audiophiles:

Skiing Ninja Pint Glasses $5.99ea or 4/$20

Skiing Ninja Pin $3.95

Skiing Ninja DIY DMK Cutting guides and build kits $varies

With these suggestions you cannot go wrong this holiday season.

Mrs. Ninja

November 16, 2010

Show us your Ninja!

We want to see you in your Ninja wear. Post us a picture of you wearing or using one of the Skiing Ninja Logo items on the discussion board on our Facebook Page. Help us have the "Skiing Ninja" guy represented all over the world. (keep the pictures clean plz)

Got a pic of you from RMAF with your groovy SNS lapel pin? Send it.

Got a pic of you in your Skiing Ninja Tee Shirt? We want to see it.

Got a pic of you drinking from the ever popular Skiing Ninja pint Glass? We have to have it.

Wait you say you do not have any cool Skiing Ninja logo gear? Go here and get some today.

Lets get a Skiing Ninja logo on every corner of the world! 

Mrs. Ninja

November 15, 2010

Really?!? Best Buy. How could you sell this crap?

The Ninja and I are not proponents of the big box store but when Lil' Ninja's Birthday party is in a day or two and your bulb on your projector has gone out and you will not be able to get one until after the party... the 30 day money back return policy from Best Buy is a life saver. (and who knows I might have kept it our is like 7 years old) But not this piece of S**T.

What am I talking about? The Optoma HD20

MSRP: $1299 (OMG! its like not even hot!)
Technology: DLP
Native Resolution: 1080p
Brightness: 1700 lumens (manufacturer's claim, (measured: 996 lumens)
Contrast: 4000:1 (3000:1 with ImageAI turned off)
Zoom Lens ratio: 1.2:1 This gives you just over 2 feet of placement flexibility for a 100" screen (ours is 106") This is not enough play unless your home theater is in a 10' closet.
Lens shift: None
Lamp life: 4000 hours in eco-mode, 3000 hours at full power
Weight: 6.4 lbs. (2.9 Kg)
Warranty: 1 Year Parts and Labor

The key here is there is no lens shift. So it could not be mounted on the ceiling unless it is 8" of more below the ceiling (ah watch your head) or if on a table, 8 inches below the bottom of the screen surface (so on my husbands lap) That not really working for us it had to be moved about the room until we found a place that it filled the screen and was in focus and not askew in anyway. This would be as close as we got below.

Sean would be unable to recline his home theater seat for the next week. Boo Hoo!

I was so happy when we got the new bulb because our 7 year old Panasonic looks as bright and clear and HD wonderful as the Optoma crap one and its about a billion times better because I can move the lens and attach it to the ceiling where a projector is supposed to go in a home theater and not bump our head on it.

When I returned the repacked up thing the guy at Best Buy wanted to know why I was returning it...naturally. I explained the problem with not being able to move the lens as so not being able to put the projector where it was convenient in the room. He asked if I wanted to buy the other projector they sell in the store. (YES they sell only 2 types) I said no my husband had already taken care of everything. He then said that he couldn't believe that the lens didn't move so he proceeded to take it out of the box to check. It says in the manual nothing about not being able to adjust the lens it does on pages 15 and 16 tell you how to adjust the height of the projectors feet and zoom and focus. I read on review that touted the lack or adjustable lens as a feature. I mean good for them but anyone who falls for that is an idiot. Best Buy if you try and sell it as a feature your idiots too.

As soon as I got my refund I left him to play with the projector and figure out why they would sell anything that worthless in the first place. Good Luck to him.

Mrs. Ninja

October 20, 2010

Mrs. Ninja’s RMAF 2010 Write up Part 2

Moving the Hobby/Industry Forward

This was on a lot of people’s minds this year and I was asked how we can get more young people and women interested. “WELL…,” I answered and paused because I wasn’t really sure if they wanted the answer given that the audio world is 95% men over the age of 50 and it was usually them doing the asking. This problem I believe has a few root issues that can be overcome with a few solutions as I will outline for you. (Now if you are over the age of 50 and in the audio hobby I am sure you are as spry as a jack rabbit so you can ignore my generalities an assume I am talking about someone else, unless you own a business in this industry then I am talking about you.)

Root cause number 1: Living in the past
Just for an example let’s look at the Stereophile November 2010 edition available if you don’t already get it at the show. The cover tells us of Manfred Eicher’s 40 years in the biz, Focal’s 30th anniversary, and the Smyth Realiser article has the writer remembering back to the 1960’s. Come on guys. The “when I started in this hobby” stories are fine but to live there in business is just plain irresponsible. Currently the model isn’t killing the industry because the guys with the money are the ones more established (aka older) but in a few years that well is going to start drying up and we have not planted any seeds to replace the crop we have now.

Solution number 1: Futures stock
As children where did your love of big speakers or new music come from? Have you taken the time to teach your own kids about the differences in a MP3 played over tiny ear buds and sitting with a pair of electrostatic cans playing your HDTracks recording or vintage Doors on vinyl? If we do not start educating the next generation we will not have an industry for very long. For example, The Ninja and I have a 13 year old daughter and she as all kids her age has a computer. But, unlike all her friends she has Swan M-200’s as her desktop speakers. Who’s room and for that matter who’s house do they spend the most time? Right the one they can play the music loudest and it sounds the best. Our daughter will never own some crappy plastic speaker that just makes noise because she knows better. I do understand a lot of parents do not want to spend the kind of money involved in the audio hobby on their kids (they won’t appreciate it, or take care of it) but you don’t know until you have tried. If they had to pay part of it I bet they do take real good care of it.

As with our kids our wives and/or significant other should be educated in the hobby and made a part of it. It is sad for the industry too because women have much better hearing then men. It has been proven that we hear more frequencies men can’t and are more sensitive to the top range. We see more color and are in every way more adept at picking out a loudspeaker that would truly fit the family not to mention pick a better “best in show”. Wives are shuffled off on day trips and excluded from learning about the hobby. Many men do not want us in the club, sitting in the room saying how it is (you know we will.) Maybe next year I will hold an Audio for Loved ones 101 seminar and give the basics and start making high end audio fun for the whole family. I mean the High Def TV industry; BluRay and Disney have certainly started banking on the family home theater concept. Two channel music, vintage media, and even high end personal portable audio (the headphone) can go family friendly.

Root cause number 2: Tape and vinyl v/s dreaded MP3
New technologies the young un’s seem the most interested in have teeny tiny files on them to store a thousand songs and still be used as a phone. New artists do not release on vinyl ort (do not even know what they are) and they chop of the tops and bottoms of everything. Where does any of that belong in our world of lossless media and restoration analog projects? It doesn’t until we can find a way to make high quality digital media more accessible/cost affordable. I heard an interesting idea, a music only operating system, seems to me that is something the younger generation could get really into. The more we create products that will make technology retrofit with the past the younger our audience would get.

Solution number 2: it’s here now and proven
In the beginning the old guys (I mean pioneers) of audiophiles were taking things apart to see how they worked, how to make them better and then reached a precipice. Started companies and didn’t want to share anymore in the sandbox. They were modding, tweaking, the loners in basements and garages.

Today modding or tweaking is an activity universal in industries across the board that young people gravitate to that our hobby does not make very assessable (of course you all know The Ninja and I are doing what we can to change that.) But, we cannot do it alone the manufactures also have to realize that they have to give a little to get that new breed of buyers.

Let’s compare high end audio to the computer industry, where building your own computer has become almost the norm for college kids and 20-somethings. They grew up with the tech and now customize to their hearts content. I-apps make it so we can customize our phones, surfers, skiers, snowboarders all can customize their boards, and of course the biggest one has always been cars. In the 1960’s when Shelby started messing around with a Mustang it did not devalue what the car manufacture (Ford) had done. Nor could Ford produce the car on a mass scale, to a public that could afford it, the changes that Shelby had made, as good as they were. But, a perfect symmetry of good design getting pushed to its limit for the people that wanted it was created and the industry has not suffered because of it (other things yes but not because of aftermarket upgrades.) We can make the same synergy in home audio and gain a whole new demographic of buyers and of what we really want …audiophiles.

You could take the last part as shameless self promotion but The Ninja and I are younger than most of you and we know we are right. (Like we are the only modding company out there – PLEASE.)

OK now for something completely different…
So far I have been quite snarky and a little bit a bummer so let’s turn it around. What I liked and didn’t like this year… (Yea I know I said I wasn’t going to do it, sue me)

Liked the sound of the GR Research room, treatments galore thanks to Dave (PI Audio).
Didn’t like the Lamborghini Yellow (aka cat piss yellow) paint job on Danny’s Super V’s. Danny please take the next year and find a cabinet maker worthy of your speaker designing genius.
Liked the German Physiks HRS 120 on the 11th Floor where Laufer Teknik had appropriate sized speakers for the room and some treatments in there.
Didn’t Like the German Physiks Borderland Mk IV on the 10th Floor. The speakers are too big for the room and just placed in there (too close to the back wall) with no treatments or anything. For an omnidirectional speaker it was the worst thing you could have done.
Like Frederik Caroe of Dueland Coherent Audio. Congrats on the new little one, baby at home and the more affordable line of Dueland caps coming out. You have truly earned the name The Mad Capper.
Didn’t Like Vandersteen’s room this year without the cage. Come on guys the 7’s are about the only thing you have done that I don’t hate and you ruined it this year by not treating the room. Now last year you did it right. Make a note for next year.
Well I think that wraps it up for me. If anything else happened I don’t remember because I had one to many scotches at the bar before bed each night.

Mrs. Ninja
Mrs. Ninja Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2010 Write Up Part 1:
I know in years past I have told you all of what I saw and liked and tried not to say too much of what I didn’t like (everyone does) to be PC. Not this year though. This year I need to address a few things… serious things. That is why I would like to start off with a segment I like to call Hit the Mark/ Blew your Watts.

First off it “Hit the Mark” the increase in rooms this year offering free alcohol because it has been scientifically proven that listening to music sounds better with wine or scotch. Chances increase the longer I am in the room drinking and listening of me opening my checkbook. Laufer Teknik you almost got me this year.

Next you “Blew your Watts” exhibitors who felt they didn’t need to actually finish the show at 4 o’clock like everyone else. You seemed to think you could pack up whenever you wanted and the attendees who bought 1 day passes for Sunday be damned. Next year I hope Marjorie sets a rule that if you start packing up before the end of the show you will ensue a huge penalty fine. Huge. Big.

Way to “Hit the Mark” Steven R. Rochlin of Enjoy the Music for your RMAF Friday coverage. I especially like the MIT Cables picture and this quote, “Sure this sounds harsh, but serious guys wake up and realize the newfound technology…” No spring chicken and you get the “move with the times” mentality so lacking in this industry I have to applaud. For those of you who have not seen the picture please go and see what he and I are saying here. Bravo.

Lastly, talk about “Blowing your Watts” and this is universal because this year it was the worst it has ever been. (preface: no I did not go into every room nor could I be in every room all the time to hear every song that was played for the entire 3 days of the show, please get serious.) Turn off the elevator music and play something real. I know you know what I am talking about, real is the stuff that you actually play when you are at home and in the volume you play it at home (the reason why most of you are now losing your hearing volume.) There has been for too long the idea that you must choose music that showcases only parts of your system (best and brightest part) during a show. Reality check: if you want to really move your product make it so when an attendee enters your room what they see and hear makes them say, “That is what I want in my house.”

“Mrs. Ninja,” you say, “but some of that “stuff” people brought in and asked us to play.”

I know and I will address it in the segment titled:

“Mrs. Ninja’s Audio Show Music Do’s and Don’ts.”

I have very simple rules for how one chooses music to play in the audition room.
(For exhibitors but also attendees):
1. The person running the room has the right to veto anything brought forward. So make sure what you suggest is good enough to get past the velvet ropes.
2. If it needs to be explained before it’s played then it’s out. I thought this was a no brainer until I was in a certain room (we will keep anonymous) and had to go through a explanation of (AHEM) Tribal Africans singing acapella southern Baptist gospel music. Oh hell no. Please see last year’s rule on the obscure and strange.
3. If within the first 3 seconds people are starting to get up and leave then make an excuse and change it fast. Everyone cannot be pleased, but a room with one guy enjoying his music or 10 people all listening happily, you do the math.
4. If you want a no holds barred, anything goes, all request jamboree keep it to certain hours, like lunch. Post the times clearly and then when they come in wanting to play something you know will empty the room simply point to your open request hours. Like a radio station you can control what gets sent out over the air waves.
5. Do not hog the room playing only your stuff. Treat each room as if you get only one song so make it the one you really want. There are hundreds of rooms at a show spread your love around.
6. Classical, Opera, Country (no Johnny Cash is not country), Folk, Foreign, Religious, and New Age Instrumentals do have their place among some great made audio but it is to be peppered into the day and not the meat of the day. First off, it is not a universal crowd pleaser and too much of it can exhaust you make listening no longer enjoyable.
7. Always acceptable: (If you have a addition please email mrsninja@skiingninja.com for her consideration and it may be added to the list below because this could in no way be all inclusive)
Before the 1980’s
Allman Brothers
Aretha Franklin
Bob Dylan
Bob Seger
Carlos Santana
Carly Simon
Carole King
Cheap Trick
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Dave Clark Five
David Bowie
Diana Ross
Dire Straits
Donna Summer
Earth, Wind & Fire
Electric Light Orchestra
Elton John
Elvis Costello
Elvis Presley
Eric Clapton
Fleetwood Mac
Four Tops
Genesis (Peter and Phil)
Glenn Miller (Colorado Grown)
James Taylor
Jethro Tull
Jimi Hendrix
Johnny Cash
Led Zeppelin
Linda Ronstadt
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Moody Blues
Nick Drake
Otis Redding
Pink Floyd (Not Syd)
Scott Walker
Simon & Garfunkel
Smokey Robinson
Steely Dan
Steve Miller Band (The Joker is on probation)
Stevie Wonder
Ted Nugent
The Beatles
The Doors
The Eagles (but Hotel California is on probation)
The Everly Brothers
The Four Seasons
The Isley Brothers
The Kinks
The Mamas and the Papas
The Police
The Ramones
The Rolling Stones
The Who
The Yardbirds
Tina Turner
Tom Petty
Van Halen
ZZ Top

1980’s and beyond
10,000 Maniacs
Alanis Morissette
Ani DeFranco
Avett Brothers
Belle and Sebastian
Ben Harper
Big Head Todd and the Monsters (Colorado Grown)
Billy Idol
Billy Joel
Black Crows
Blues Traveler
Bonnie Raitt
Bruce Springsteen
Counting Crows
Damien Rice
Dave Mathews Band
David Gray
Del Amitri
Diana Krall
Fiona Apple
Five for Fighting
Flaming Lips
Foo Fighters
Franz Ferdinand
Gnarles Barkley
Green Day
Guns N Roses
Jack Johnson
Jason Mraz
Joan Jett
John Mellencamp
Jump Little Children
Liz Phair
Men at Work
Michael Jackson
Modest Mouse
Neko Case
New Pornographers
Nine Inch Nails
Nora Jones
Oingo Boingo
Pat Benatar
Pearl Jam
Pete Yorn
Porcupine Tree
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red House Painters
Ryan Adams
Sarah McLachlan (Watch the too slow stuff though)
Simple Minds
Sinead o’Connor
Sonic Youth
Stevie Ray Vaughn
String Cheese Incident (Colorado Grown)
Talking Heads
Tears for Fears
The Bird and the Bee
The Clash
The Donnas
The Lemonheads
Tom Waits
Tool/A Perfect Circle
Tori Amos
Traci Chapman
Velvet Revolver
Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Don’t argue with the list. You may have noticed I mentioned bands but not members of the band who later went solo because it would be redundant. What you want as an audiophile are high quality sources of the above and when you come across an unusual version (ie: live, acoustic, rearranged, etc) … love that.

October 19, 2010

Dueland's Frederik Caroe's new nick name "The Mad Capper"

I am blogging this in hopes it will catch on and everyone will start calling him this as well.

So good seeing you again at RMAF looking forward to a good upcoming year.

Mrs. Ninja

February 24, 2010

How to Know if You Have a Audio Addiction

or is it time for a "different AA?" See below:

  • Do you ever listened to music or watched a movie alone?
  • Have you ever substituted one component for another, thinking that one particular component was the problem?
  • Have you ever manipulated or lied to a significant other to obtain new equipment?
    aka "No honey. That has been here forever."
  • Do you regularly use one of your home music systems when you wake up or when you go to bed?
  • Do you avoid people or places so you can spend more time in your home theater or listening room?
  • Have you ever tried a new audio toy not knowing what it is or how it will effect your space?
  • Have you ever lied about how you treat your loudspeakers?
  • Do you put the purchase of new gear ahead of well... everything?
  • Have you ever tried to stop or control your tinkering to get the best sound?
  • Does using the stereo accompany your sleeping or eating?
  • Does the thought of running out of upgrades to your system terrify you?
  • Do you feel it is impossible for you to live without music?
  • Do you ever question your own sanity?
  • Is your open loudspeakers on the kitchen table or living room floor making life at home unhappy?
  • Have you ever thought you couldn’t have a good time without good sound?
  • Have you ever felt in defense of the phrase "no highs, no lows, it must be BOSE?"
  • Do you think a lot about how to get more from your loudspeakers?
  • Have you ever used music because of emotional pain or stress?
  • Do you think you might have a audio problem?
  • Have you ever had an unwarranted exhibition or overindulgence in what should be a normal discussion of the latest Radiohead CD.
If you or someone you know can answer yes to more than half of the statements above you could be a Audioholic. Warning signs when you or a loved one are in danger include; uncontrollable bouts of DSP, tendencies to give FLAC, thousands of tiny cuts on hands (especially around knuckles), unusual build up of boxes from a "skiing" company, loss of grain, additional coloration, a tendency to go bi (wiring or amping), occurrence of the Haas effect (that has nothing to do with a new interest in Bonanza). If you or someone you know has had these or any other disturbing audio related incidents you may be a audioholic.

Not to worry though, soon there will be a 12 step program for you too.

February 23, 2010

WAF-1 He said/She said

As promised The Ninja and I both listened to the Tweak City Audio WAF-1's and here are our before Ninja upgrade and after Ninja upgrade impressions.

HE SAYS Before impressions:

Straight away I knew these were good speakers. Even cold out of the box! Especially good is the vocal range. That one kills a lot of speakers but not the $229 WAF-1's. The speaker is balanced top to bottom without calling attention to any particular area. Low end is what I expect from a speaker of this size. The speaker exhibits greater transparency, blacker blacks, and greater resolving capability than I expect for the price point. To find out why, I opened them up.

What I found made me smile. The speaker was stuffed with a poly fill material that appears to be Dacron but I could be mistaken. The material was glued to a few areas to ensure it does not cover the port. The cabinet has some atypical bracing - the side walls are ribbed every few inches. It is nice to see this in a small speaker at this price; more often than not you'll find nothing! The outside of the cabinet is a very nicely finished Rosewood. Excellent seaming and corner application. There is talk of satin black coming soon as well.

The crossover is excellent. FR4 board (for durability), one Polypropylene cap in the tweeter circuit and one in the woofer circuit. No electrolytics - woohoo! I also found two non-inductive wire-wound resistors - no sand cast stuff here. Both inductors are air-core - no iron core. This is all contributes greatly to the excellent performance of the speakers (along with the driver and network design of course). Finally, I found a Sonicap G2 0.1uF bypass cap on the tweeter. I'm very happy to find this here! No doubt that contributes to the resolving capability I spoke of earlier.

Overall I am very impressed with the quality of the speaker for $229. I would happily take these over quite a few more expensive monitors that we've had through our lab.

As I tend to get a bit technical, I'll leave it to Mrs. Ninja to provide the rest :)

SHE SAYS Before impressions:

So these are some of the cutest things ever. I mean their size is so that they easily disappear in a room but would also make really nice addition to a desk for computer speakers. These really do have a high Wife Approval Factor, especially this wife who has to get inside them. No bar bracing sticking out and causing all kinds of pain, nothing to scrape down, and though they are small surprisingly easy to work in.

One thing that tends to happen to me is I just get so tired of listening to a speaker (there are exceptions, but few) and these did not tire me out throughout critical listening. Even more important, while playing in the background while working I didn't get sick of hearing them. Some small speakers are just tiring and I did not find that with the WAF-1's. Now I don't know about blacker blacks and vocal range (I thought that was the singers worry not the speakers). What I do know is that although not to be expected to recreate a full philharmonic orchestra it does a wonderful job filling the spaces we had it in.

First Space: The Skiing Ninja workshop - This was the first impressions we got because this is where we opened it and as The Ninja explained they were excellent right away. This rarely happens because many speaker drivers and crossover capacitors don't sound so great without break in time.

Second Space: Lil' Ninja Computer in her room - One thing with computer speakers is the really need to be able to create speech and talking clearly. Lil' Ninja and I both watch the majority of our shows online on our computers and I hate not understanding dialog clearly. To the WAF-1's credit, Lil' Ninja told us "I like these!". She knows how to listen to speakers.

Lastly, the living room where Queen reigns supreme. These did a great job even being put up against our very broken in x-ls's. I don't really think we could improve these too much.

HE SAYS After impressions:

Even with the above, there is always a way to get even better. We swapped out the stock poly caps for Sonicap G1 capacitors. The resistors were changed to Mills 12w units. All components are hand matched for superior focus (meaning the two speakers are closer to being exactly the same - as possible - than before). We also lined the cabinet with NoRez. The upgrade is exceedingly easy with these speakers. The crossover is large and easy to get your hands around. The poly fill material is glued only to the 'ribs' and therefore the job of installing NoRez was one of the easiest we've done in recent memory.

Now that we've hot rodded them, I was ready to listen. The speakers sit atop Ascend Acoustics stands and are powered by an ONIX RA-125 integrated amp and an ONIX CD-15 player. Electra Cable interconnects, speaker cables, and power cords are used.

Finally, all electronics were plugged into a PI Audio Majik Buss (love this thing!) which itself was plugged into a dedicated 20amp line. Within the first few seconds, I could already hear the changes. Midrange clarity leapt straight up, with greater texture too. The speakers are now more transparent and enveloping. Low level detail was snapped into focus and really added to the experience. Bass was taught, controlled, and richly textured. The top end - as before - never calls attention to itself. This is exactly what you want! Upper level detail is excellent - you get a nice, lush sound but don't lose that detail. That is a goal that is achieved by many
but not all speakers and for $373 (WAF-1 speakers, Ninja Elite upgrade, and NoRez cabinet upgrade), these do quite well.

Congrats to Tweak City Audio for an affordable, high quality monitor that is well suited for a wide range of applications in stock and upgraded form.

SHE SAYS After impressions:

This time we did not bring them all over the house so our impressions will be just of the Ninja room system as described by The Ninja. The Ninja completed the upgrade on just one speaker at first, so to have a "can we tell a difference" game with me. He called me in and asked which speaker was the upgraded one. In about 5 seconds of listening I picked it out. Yes I am that good... no I mean yes the upgrade is that apparent.

Once both speakers were finished it was time to really take a listen... I think what I liked first was the apparent tightening of the lower end. It made the speakers warmer and yet the bass was cleaner without becoming sharp. The highs were in my opinion better than the stock because they did seem to show themselves more but never reached the point where it was tiring to listen like before. They just had a larger presence in the room creating a more enveloping experience in the sweet spot.

Such a noticeable difference, I know anyone who opts for these little powerhouses with or without the upgrades will truly be happy. I think I liked them with the upgrades even more than the upgraded x-ls's. Could this be the next winner in the small speaker shootout?

Final thoughts from both of are this is one hell of a little speaker giving you so much for the money.

Want more info on the WAF-1 discussed here? Check out Tweak City Audio's Forum or Skiing Ninja's Forum to hear what others are saying.

Skiing Ninja... The last best hope for speaker revolution.

The Ninja and I are often asked what we think of this or that in regard to how a speaker is manufactured. This is a very tricky question for us to answer because the general rule is "rubbish." What I mean is that most manufacturers spend time on what their cabinets look like and what price point they want to hit (aka how much they want to make) and then find parts to match. The problem is some very expensive (NOT ALL) use utter rubbish parts in their crossovers.

I KNOW! What are they thinking? Honestly we have only one answer to that. $$$$$$
How much more can I make by using crap parts and not really good ones. That said if all manufacturers used the quality of parts we feel they should the after market upgrades we are built on would put us out of business and we would have to start making our own caps, inductors and resistors. Hey... that is a awesome idea.... Skiing Ninja Capacitors, or using our grading system we could have all sorts of different quality parts. (ie: Ninja Master Caps = foil, Ninja = paper/oil, Ninja elite = Polypropylene or some such bullshit) But, they are not going to start doing that anytime soon. [Whew we're safe.]

Back to my topic.... Lets take the following speaker "X" (names have been changed to protect the guilty) The Ninja and I recently did a upgrade on. One day it will come out but for know it is secret. SHHHH... These are over $50,000 and this is our first impressions of the inside build:

1. Hook up wire leads were not tinned
2. Poor solder joints
3. They look like a first timer built them
4. Electrolytic caps found in the mid-range path
5. Super tweeter cancels out with ‘main’ tweeter
6. Two potentiometers in signal path

Why should you care? Well lets look at each one above and I will tell you.

1. When copper is not covered by silver (aka solder) or polyethylene, etc., oxidation occurs and we found oxidation on all the connections. Oxidation changes the molecular structure of the copper at the surface causing problems in the high frequencies which run on the outside of the copper strand. Making the high frequencies lacking in transparency, clarity and mask low level detail.
2. Solder joints are the connections between two pieces of metal in an electronic circuit like the crossover or the wires to drivers and binding posts. Bad solder joints can mean a lot of things: too much solder, cold solders (meaning the metals do not heat thoroughly) all of which make weak points in the circuit and can cause durability issues because they can come loose or break easily.
3. Personally we think if they are going to put out a product, even if it's not going be seen cause it's on the inside, it should not look like it the first time with a solder iron.
4.This causes a slow discharge rate which means smeared presentation in the time domain. So, certain frequencies will launch later than they are supposed to and will hit your ear at a different time losing the true-to-life goal of the loudspeaker.
5. A super tweeter that doesn't have its own discrete network will more often than not cancel out with the main tweeter at various frequencies. Causing nulls and peaks in the high frequency response; some sounds will sound louder, some softer. No longer creating that true to life sound.
6. A potentiometer is a device that allows the end user to make adjustments to the overall sound of the loudspeaker to their liking. Having two within the signal path
introduces noise which masks low level detail, decreases resolution and transparency. Whereas they can be useful for tailoring the loudspeaker within your room you want the least number of components between the source and the drivers.

If you had spend the same amount of money as a down payment on a house for your speakers you would want them to be the very best they could be for the money. Right? Well most likely that will not be the case, sorry. This is why we have a business, smart right? Choosing the right speaker for you can sometimes be a very difficult thing. Your options will depend on the amount you have to spend, the time you have to invest, if you will hear them before you buy them, etc... But for those who are really (and I mean really) into this hobby, like The Ninja, then going into and making the speakers your own is the best advice we can give you. Buy speakers you love to look at (in your price range) but set aside some of your dough to open them up and get the best sound out of them you can (again within your price range). If you already have a speaker you love but are in the mood for a change, going inside may be the best option for you too. Keep what you love and change what you don't.

Finally, yes there are speaker manufacturers that create amazing things with amazing parts in them (most cost more than a car) but they are out there. I have my eye on some (if you read my 2009 RMAF review will know) that are $33K. Not in my price range right now. That doesn't mean The Ninja and I don't have some amazing stuff in our house right now (cause its always changing), because we do. In fact just to name drop a bit we currently finished a TCA WAF-1 upgrade which we have breaking in the SNS room and will soon be having a HE SAID/SHE SAID post on them. You can follow the action on this speaker development on TCA or SNS. My daughter has Ninja'd x-ls for her computer and in the big theater we should have LS6's but that is another post. In house we have had REF3's just leave, Definitive Technology Mythos, some Emotiva, new Onix, and lots more stuff I can't even tell you about. YET!

Remember your loudspeakers are only as good as you want them to be because most everything can be improved,
Mrs. Ninja

January 27, 2010

Coming Soon Fun Stuff

We will soon be opening a brand new fun stuff store with Cafe Press.

This way we can offer more products with the Skiing Ninja Logo that I know you all want. Because, you can never have too much Skiing Ninja gear.

It should be open by the end of January so look forward to my post with all the details.

Mrs. Ninja

January 22, 2010

13 Monkeys...

Mrs. Ninja had a sparring session with 13 monkeys a couple days ago and injured her neck (damn tails) and is taking it easy for a few days. Regular posts will start back up shortly.

January 18, 2010

Avatar = Awesomeness (spoilers)

Don't listen to Mrs. Ninja. She doesn't know what the hell she is talking about.

OK, maybe somewhat but I really enjoyed the film quite a bit more than her.

minionDan and I drove 160 miles round trip to see it at the large IMAX in Denver (there is a closer IMAX screen but their's is little a one :). For the first time in my public theater going history, no one spoke, no kid kicked my chair, no phone went off, and no candy wrappers being...well, unwrapped. The entire auditorium was enthralled. Admittedly I'm sure that was due to the enormous screen and freaking crazy cool visuals but to me, it still says a lot.

Unlike Mrs. Ninja, I was easily able to forget that the Navi were computer generated and I did identify with them on the emotional level that she never quite met (ha!). After the destruction of mothertree, I could't wait until the payback. Sure, that may have been due to the anticipation of how it would play out and the accompanying visuals but who cares? I had a great time watching it.

Crap, did I just make part of her point for her?

I am going to get so much shit for this....

I didn't like the movie AVATAR! (spoiler alert)

There I have said it. Now to explain why...

1) I get it humans are bad. If there is something we want we will destroy anything and anyone to get it. This has been done so many times in Hollywood it seems anyone who has not got the message is probably doing the destroying.

2) If we are going to turn the tides of alien movies and now they are not scary and out to destroy us... I need more alien emotion. I mean they cry but I don't feel it, they have a triumphant victory but I don't cheer. What gives?

3) We don't even have a he was a bad guy and now has realized the error of his ways moment and I thought it was coming a couple times with Giovanni Ribisi. I didn't though, that was depressing.

4) Too much hype of the 3D. Did you know it causes a lot of people (Mrs Ninja included) headaches. So I had to be on a percocet just to get through the movie.

Yes the cinematic part of the movie is fantastic. Visually it is stunning but that is not the part I went to the movie for it was the story and I am not blow away by that.

Bring on the criticism,
Mrs. Ninja