The Finest Hours - Movie Review

This is based on a true story and tells the story of an against the odds coast guard rescue of a stricken tanker by a tiny boat.

Firstly the bass is tremendous and will please even the hard core bass heads!
Surround works well and the plot is interesting enough to keep the tension going. The pacing is a little uneven, and the love story doesn't add much to it, and takes some steam off the action..
There's decent chemistry between the leads. And I actually like the way they underplayed the tough decisions and heroism, rather than ham it up in a typical Hollywood fashion.

Not a lot of chick factor, and I felt it was superfluous. In fact I felt the lady was a little annoying. 

But Chris Pine and Casey Affleck did enough to propel it forward. Ben Foster had an odd ride, not doing too much and just giving us weak smiles as he plodded along as the fellow Coast Guard dude in the boat.

The period clothes and cars felt quite real, and kudos to the wardrobe department. 

The more action thirsty fans may crave for more bravado and a Rambo type persona to 'haul ass' and save the day, but I felt it was subtle and the main protagonist was the unforgiving sea. A better show than The Perfect Storm.

Recommended for a watch or rental at least.

Dynaudio Confidence C1 Platinum review: plus comparison with the MK II v& Contour 1.4 LE review

The Confidence by Dynaudio began in 2007 and has garnered multiple positive reviews. The new C1 Platinum is the latest edition, and was launched in 2014 to replace the MK II and the Signature edition.

I had previously reviewed the C1 Signature edition here:

The technical specs off their website :

“The Esotar2 with Precision Coating, Neodymium double magnet and absorbing rear chamber provides the perfect platform for the higher frequencies, while the woofer with its MSP cone, light aluminum wire voice coil and Kapton former is also one of Dynaudio’s best. The 1st order cross-over filter consists of select components and follows a special design achieving a sound radiation slightly directed upwards. The C1 has excellent imaging and staging, while sound reflections from the floor will be considerably less than with conventional monitor designs.”

Armed with an enhanced tweeter, how does it sound?

Review equipment:

Marantz PM 11 S3
Oppo BDP 83 Nuforce Edition

Initially, I had my concerns, about this 100w ‘only’ amplifier driving the trio of 4 ohm bookshelf speakers for this review. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that this amp did a wonderful job of bringing out the best in these speakers without a struggle. I did have to turn up the volume a bit more compared to my B&W 804D.

However this amp did double it’s power into 4 ohms and then again into 2ohms and was able to provide a stable 400w per channel of power into 2 ohms.

It is also a testimony that Dynaudio has been listening, and has been making their speakers more easy to drive and compatible with a wider spectrum of amplifiers.

So how does it sound?

Well I did find out that they can be quite fussy with speaker position. Initially we used a 2.5 m equilateral triangle arrangement, with the speakers 2.5m apart and also the same distance from the listening position.

But this created a rather distance and detached sound, with an odd separation of bass and treble.

I then moved the speakers so that they were about 1.8 metres apart. We did not toe them in, and this was how we listened to all three pairs of speakers.

This did wonders for their sound, and now I could appreciate why these speakers have been lauded in sound journals all over the world.

The main impression was that of a certain neutrality. There is a wholeness of their sound, with no particular emphasis of treble, or mids. But there was a solid bass underpinning that, and it was really impressive. You would be hard put to picture them as bookshelf speakers if you did not see them before listening to them. There is a deep soundstage, with a very revealing sonic signature, neutral, and yet forgiving. The imaging is precise, and three dimensional.

In a small room, you will not miss floorstander speakers, and their simple two way driver arrangement actually makes them easier to integrate into a small room.

The C1 Platinum has an inverted arrangement, which places the tweeter closer to the ear level when one is seated, and the speaker is placed on their own Stand 6.

With this, you will find the tweeter slightly below ear level, and if one is into HT, this puts the tweeter of the front speakers much closer to the height level of their centre speaker.

I also had the opportunity to listen to the older MK II and the new Contour 1.4 LE, which is around half the price of the C1 Platinum.

The Contour actually gives you more: it goes deeper, so you get more bass impact, and the treble is a little more exuberant. But everything just seems a little less controlled. However if you like a more exciting sonic tone, the Contour may suit better, and give you more of the edge of your seat kind of tone. If HT is your game, or you have rather warm and smooth amps, this speaker may give you a little more treble shine. However after the initial impression, I found the C1 sound more easy to live with. The bass is more controlled, and the treble more forgiving, with better definition at all frequencies.

The imaging is also superior with the C1, and you won’t have trouble picking out the differences between the speakers.

With the Confidence MK II, the differences are more subtle. I felt that the MK II had a slightly brighter tone, but that was it. The imaging, the depth of the soundstage was very similar. If you get a good deal on the older speaker, and prefer a slightly brighter sound, then go ahead and score on the MK II. Oh, the MKII has a bit more silver, instead of the totally black faceplate on the Platinum. Since the drivers are the same, I didn't really expect any real difference.

My final thoughts?

USD 6750 for a pair of bookshelf speakers, not including the price of the Stands (another USD 600) is a lot of change, but if you have a smaller room and enjoy listening up close and personal, this speaker will give you a detailed, large three dimensional sound which gives you tremendous retrieval of whatever was on that CD, and yet forgive imperfections on the CD, with a rather impressive amount of bass.

I will start saving up….


 I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Repairing that piece of HT / Hifi kit: tips and info

Since I had my own fair share of experience, just starting a thread to collate info on repairs:

- types of repairs 
- people who do it
- how to go about trouble shooting

When you buy something:


Keep / Scan the receipt

These days, the companies may ask you to fill up an online form

If you don't send it in, the warranty may not work

Second hand:

Check that the warranty is transferable or that your seller is willing to send it in for you - usually it's someone you know or is reliable

For second hand items:

Do check the history of the items, whether parts are available and for how long.

Eg Marant CD players like the CD 63 and it's derivatives have transports that can break down, but parts are relatively easy to find.

Likewise for Oppo transports, although it may be harder for the older models.

Other items require you to go back to the makers, which can be costly.

List of people who do repairs:

Wizardofoz: amps / circuits / Emotiva items

Mivec: CD transports

Speaker cones

Martin Audio, 175, Bencoolen Street, #01-47, Burlington Square
Tel: 3364420

Amps etc

Memory Lane, B1 Adelphi

Adrian (mobile: 92281304)

Memory Lane. No.1, Coleman Street. #B1-11, The Adelphi. Singapore 179803. Email :

For TVs:

There's Mr Ho 93520850 from HWZ in case you need a contact ..

It's not cheap if it's out of warranty, so getting a 5 year warranty is useful..

But if it's an old out of warranty unit, unless it's a simple chip/circuit issue, it may be better to buy new..

For AV amps, these things are like PCs, so resetting the CPU might sometimes work..

Each model has their own sequence of buttons to press, but it's worth a try.


 I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Spooks - movie review

Spooks - movie review

What's the difference between a Hollywood production and one from the U.K. ?

For one, production values for one, and certainly there's a whole lot more explosions in a US film. You are also more likely to have big names in it.

However what the bbc and other UK productions bring is a tighter plot, better dialogue and hopefully enough people who prefer a good yarn to just mega sets and bangs.

The premise is simple : an operation to transport a top terrorist goes south and the top agent in charge seems to disappear or go rouge.

The rest of the movie is a chase to stop the terrorist from bombing London and find the mole.

So does it work ? Sans the big bangs bombs and even babes?

Actually it's pretty alright and its gripping enough to occupy two hours of your life.

A rental.

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Sorry for brevity of message

Dead pool movie review

Dead pool movie review

We have seen an abundance of superhero movies over the past decade, and they have spawned a whole bunch of sequels. Can one more add anything new?

Coming out of a modestly successful Wolverine Origins movie, the character Deadpool did well enough to interest the studios for a spinoff.

We have seen the totally invincible Superman, the brooding Batman and the snarling Wolverine, and now we have the foul mouthed antihero with the power to regenerate - Deadpool.

The studios have tried very hard to make him different and give him a niche. So apart from his super skills, they gave him: a super mouth.

Compared to him Spider-Man is an absolute mute. Not only is he chatty, he is quite fouled mouthed and this plus the bloody fight scenes certainly pushes the movie into the M18 region.

The plot is quite simple and in the two hour plus run time you can expect his origins, a love interest in the form of a very hot Baracchin and plenty of action peppered with snappy dialogue.

The plot is quite by the book and it's all about Ryan Reynolds and his motor mouth. Reynolds had begun his career quite promisingly but falter with a series of duds that threatened to kill his career. This will definitely help to put him back on the A list.

The audience was in stitches and certainly lapped it up. With a 200 million dollar to date box office taking, you can certainly expect a sequel.

Solid bass and good surround will make this a good demo disc.

There's only one babe but she is totally off the charts.

So go ahead, enjoy it, just filter out the numerous F bombs and it's quite a spectacle guaranteed to tickle your funny bone and lust for action.

Just avoid this as the movie to bring your date for a first outing.

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Spectre - Movie Review

Coming after Skyfall, which, in my opinion is one of, if not the best Bond movie, Sam Mendes had a hard act to follow, and does it get it right?

Bond is a delicate balance of action, babes, crazy stunts, and he has been doing this whilst looking totally unflustered with nary a strand of hair out of place. Daniel Craig's Bond changes this, and attempts to put together a more raw Bond, which is more Bourne than traditional Bond. But Sam Mendes is also keen to avoid alienating the traditionalist and there in lies the downfall.

I always admire the impossible stunts, filmed in exotic locations with the most beautiful women in the world. There is a certain misogyny, a certain political incorrectness that just adds spice to the show.

Yet, despite an abundance of all of the above, I guess there is a little fatigue or perhaps it is truly due to the high standards set by Skyfall, that leads to the, well, downfall of this outing.

Bear in mind though, it's still very entertaining fair, and I will still recommend it, or even buy the Blu Ray when it becomes less expensive. However the main Bond girl is not really that hot, and despite her age, Monica Belluci is still smoking hot, which does not say a lot about the choice of a young French actress in this coveted role.

Eva Green or even Gemma Atherton were highly impressive, Brit, and sassy, whereas Michelle Yeoh simply kicked ass. So relatively speaking, the girls in this outing are simply not impressive. 

There is more humour, and Q does have more screen time, and he does an admirable job with plenty of chemistry with Bond. The new M is not bad, perhaps due to his need to maintain the stiff upper lip, the repertoire of expression and acting is necessarily limited or stunted. 

And the villain, in the form of Christopher Waltz, is still sublime, albeit a shade less than the frightful and imposing Javier Badem. Using IT as a villain has been done by Pryce before, but having a physical evil boss always feels more solid.

The gadgets count has gone up, but that is compared to the pathetic numbers used in the last few outings, and pales in comparison to the older Bond movies.

We miss the beautiful cinematography of the previous film director Roger Deakins, and whilst technically the colours are wonderful, the subtle touch is missing and we know that Roger is no longer behind the lens. 

There is plenty of surround action, and certainly this will be a demo-worthy BR discs, so do consider it, and I will too when the price is right.


Not just another Sydney trip - food and more

So who has not been to Oz and in particular Sydney? Blue mountains? Harbor bridge? Koalas? I think most of us have seen them all .. How a...