Rotel RAP-1580 Amplified Processor Review

Rotel is a brand associated with good solid engineering, and is often seen in the company of good stereo equipment, and in some countries, is often marketed with B&W speakers.

Despite moving their manufacturing base to China a few years back, the quality has not suffered.

I have used many of their power amps, and these amplifiers give true power that matches their ratings and more, with plenty of drive and quality.

I have often wonder how it would sound if we could strap one of these power amplifiers onto a Rotel processor, and see how all that power can be directed by a decent 'brain'...

The last processor from Rotel was the well regarded RSP 1098, and many are still in service. So getting my hands on this model was a very inviting prospect. 

Some links :

From the Manufacturer Website:

And the technical blurb:

RAP-1580 is the ideal home theater solution for those who don’t have space for separate components, yet still desire uncompromising per…

Euro 5 Diesel Fuel station locations in Malaysia

PETRONAS The list of Petronas stations currently offering Petronas Dynamic Diesel Euro 5 are as follows:Johor
Lebuhraya Pasir Gudang
Malaysia-Singapore Second Link southbound
Jalan Mawai, Kota TinggiFederal Territory
Mutiara Damansara
Lebuhraya Sprint
Taman Melati
Lingkaran Tengah 2
MRR2 Kepoung-boundSelangor
NKVE Damansara
Technology Park Malaysia 1
KM 0.7 Besraya northbound
KM 305 PLUS southbound
KM 12.3 Lebuhraya Persekutuan Klang-bound
NKVE Klang-bound
USJ 20
Lebuhraya SILK
FAS Federal Highway
Temasya Federal HighwayPahang
R&R BentongNegeri Sembilan

Mercedes W246 - using the turbo

Following on to my initial review:(

It's taken me about 2 months to reach the 1000 miles mark, and I finally got to really drive it in anger over the weekend..
122 horses doesn't seem like much when you mention it like that. Even some Korean and Jap cars have more horsepower, but behind that is a small light pressure turbo and that makes all the difference...
This turbo kicks in early at about 1250 turns, so it does not take a big squeeze of the pedal to invite the whoosh to come on. Then it becomes a lot more frenetic.
The lag time is not too bad, although it's not instantaneous. If you are already moving on the highway at a decent clip, you will find overtaking an effortless affair. You will drop a few gears, down to D4 or D5 and the revs go up, and viola, the car is ahead.
If you are using the Eco mode, it is more reluctant to rev up, but if you step firmly, it will get the job done nicely too.

Logan Movie Review

Logan is a nice homage to fans of the Jackman Wolverine, a franchise which has been with us for more than a decade. It is also different enough from the regular X Men movies that one should approach it with an open mind.
It's a dystopian world that Logan now lives in, no shiny suits, his body is finally wearing down from age, and shows the signs of aging, wounds heal much slower and he just feels like an old man. Something that perhaps some of us and also fans who began following his movies can relate to.
He protects Prof X, and in the midst of his rather pathetic and miserable existence, a new mutant pops up, and it's not just any mutant, but one with the same powers he has, and is, (spoiler alert) - his daughter.
So they take a road trip together and look for a place called Eden, and through the trip, they need to be one step ahead of some bad people who want them dead, her captured and they also have to bond, with Prof X as the grandfather figure.
It's a lot darker, gr…

Four days in Taipei

After you minus of arrival and departure days, you are essentially left with 2plus days.
I recently brought some friends over for the first time: - day one shopping for the ladies and eating - TPE is a place to experience street life, shop for cute stuff, rather than serious retail therapy. They have a lot of small shops for you to check out, see and try cute things. Tea is also nice, look for Taiwanese Longjin Tea. Good on the gut too.For men, the hifi scene is nice if you like Taiwan stuff, like Usher. Otherwise foreign imports are cheaper back home. Plus electronics are 110V.Likewise for Blu Rays, the Jia Jia shop has a wide selection, but amazon prices are better.

- day two Hire a taxi driver, and get him to bring you out. A day out to Jiu Fen and Shi Fen (九份 & 十份)- a must for first timer
- day three Explore town - the 故宫博物院 museum and the Taipei 101 are worth visiting. See the change of change at the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial
- Day Four Yamgmingshan 阳明山 is nice if you have tim…

Using Power amplifiers To Improve The Sound Of Your Home Theatre System

Power amplifiers have come to the forefront again as one means in which HT enthusiasts try to obtain better sound from their HT system.
Well the same points still apply:
- most speakers in a small domestic setting which is less than 5x8 sq. metres will work fine, especially if there is a subwoofer or two to take care of the more demanding bass frequencies  - if you do have more demanding speakers - < 86db, 4 ohm designs, full range speakers etc - if you have a much larger space Then a power amp might help.

Now a power amp is first and foremost, muscle, so it helps to improve the dynamics of your system.  So make sure it has at least 1.5 times the rated specs of your AVR, otherwise it's not going to be much help in improving dynamics If you want sound quality as well as dynamics, then be prepared to spend more.  There are many power amps which give better dynamics, but less will provide better sound. The processor section of your AVR will also determine the amount of improvement…

An introduction to touring China

Just some words for the first time traveller to China:
It's a huge place, more like a continent, so take your time, and avoid those refugee style tours which cover 10 places in five days.
It's a nice thing to sit down, enjoy the airs, sights and smells, meet people, especially since we speak their lingo, and immerse yourself in the place like a local. You will enjoy it more than if you merely sat in the back of a tour bus, seeing everything from the comforts of a bus.
Some places, or rather many destinations require some form of walking, so being fit helps. You will see much more. Food can be very different, especially for those who have only taken Canton food. Try them, be it insects, snakes etc. 
China is very crowded, and no matter where you are, you will see lots of people. If you don't like that, don't go and then complain. Chinese can also be very pushy, and it will take another essay to explain why. When in Rome, do like them and you will be fine.
The toilets, …

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back - movie review

The first instalment was not bad, like a good beef stew, it was a quiet boiler, working it's way slowing through and only reaching it's full taste near the end. It was tiring watching the second instalment.. It felt like Forrest Gump Part II Quite simply, it was a running movie: "From that day onwards, if I was going anywhere, I was running!"
Tom Cruise didn't perform to his usual best, and look like he was dialling it in. I also made the mistake of reading the book first, so all the nuances, the thoughts in his mind were lost.
Here was a movie that didn't know if it was a straightforward actioner, a whodunit thriller or a bit of comedy.
Jack needs to solve a paternity suit, free a prisoner, and absolve himself of crime once again. Cobie Sumlders doesn't smoulder too much here, she also look old and tired here, and there isn't a real chemistry between them. No couple on the run feel. In fact Robert De Niro and buddy feel more 'couply' in Midni…

Skiptrace movie review

Jackie Chan is famous for his slapstick comedy roles that is peppered with nonstop action. Think Project A, Police Story, and you will recall a series of movies with breathtaking stunts, amazing choreography of action mixed with humor reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin. Now I won't put Skiptrace in the same league, but it harks back to his heyday and it's nice to see him back for one more rodeo. 
For the uninitiated, this movie goes at a breakneck pace, and I wish I could watch it in Mandarin and English, just to see the difference. Think of the plot as secondary to the whole buddy scene, and it's a throw back to the Rush Hour franchise, and the plot is a mash of Midnight Run with Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Johnny Knoxville makes a good counterfoil to JC, and they traverse China together, in a funny travel-doco way, that invites you to laugh with or at them, marvel at the various sites and relive some of the old Jackie's action magic.
Don't let the Rotten Tomatoes r…

Mercedes W246 B180 Facelift Review

So after a protracted search which took place when my car reached the last year of it's COE, I decided on this car. A true crossover, with a bit of SUV, MPV and hatchback all mixed into one.

What was my buying decision process?

I have set myself a budget of around 130 but if I can spend less, that will be even better. i.e, with my car thrown in, my outlay should not extend 120.

What are the things I really need, and what are the niceties then?

Reliability is paramount. No 'characterful' cars, a euphemism for unreliable. So most likely a Jap car, that is actually made in Japan, maybe a Korean one, or perhaps a Merc if they are made in Germany and not somewhere else.

Not too low slung - I need easy enter and egress for my mum.

Versatile seats:
Folding rear seats, the ability to carry large objects will be very good.

Fuel economy:
Given the high oil prices, this will be a good thing.

Enough power to merge with traffic. I don't need a speedster, but I don't really want to …