Category Archives: Gadgets

Blue: Yeti Microphone

We’re going to do something a bit unusual for this site… I’ve been sent this microphone from Blue for review.

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That’s right: a mic! No movie, game, comic book, Star Wars thing-a-ma-jig or some snack. A real professional microphone.
After all, audio is a nerdy thing and I’m sure tons of audiogeeks will agree with me.

After carefully unboxing the Yeti, I set it on the table. There it stood, in all it’s jet-black, bulky glory.

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The mic is made from metal and has a good weight to it. it can be swiveled and screwed tight in any desirable position and can even be detached from its stand and screwed onto a traditional stand. On the front are a mute button and a volume knob for attached headphones. At the back are two more knobs, one for selecting a pattern mode (more on that later) and one that controls gain. All of these function brillantly, with the exception of the headphone volume. The dial feels loose and cheap. As if it’ll break of at any given moment. Weird…

At the bottom are the headphones jack and the mini USB plug. And this is the real brilliance of this mic. You simply connect to your PC’s USB port and you can start recording using any recording soft.

I did just that. I plugged in the mic, downloaded some freeware audio recorder and happily recorded away. First test: blabbering.I put the mic directly in front of me and started talking. it recorded everything very clearly, I could even pick up banter from my wife and son in the next room. While this is pretty impressive, it’s not something you’d want during a professional recording. That’s where the pattern modes come into play.

There are four of them:
-Cardioid mode records sources directly in front of the mic.
-Stereo mode records in (big surprise here) stereo.
-Omnidirectional mode records from all around the mic.
-Bidirectional mode records from front and back.

Choosing cardioid, I recorded another minute or two of inane banter and voilà! No more spousal or offsprung noise to be heard anymore.

Next up: the music test! I picked up an acoustic bass, switched to stereo mode and started plunking. The resulting bassline was recorded nicely, although I needed to turn up the gain ever so slightly.

Last test proved to be the hardest. I took the Yeti along to my band’s rehearsal space. Five Across plays hardcore, and we play it loud. Right off the bat, I suspected the Yeti would be in for a shock…

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Undaunted, the black beast sat in the middle of the space. Drums, PA, Marshall stacks and Crate amps surrounded and dwarfed it. I set gain as low as possible, switched to cardioid (with the recording side facing away from the drum kit) and hit record on the laptop. We blasted into our new tune “Fortress”. This is a snippet from that recording.


A bit muted, but still ok if you ask me. I switched to omnidirectional, hoping for an even better result…

And it worked! Good sound overall, maybe a bit too crisp… I bet if a professional sound person would set this thing up and recorded using a mixing table with a thousand switches, knobs and faders it would sound fenomenal!

So yeah. Pretty satisfied with this impressive little microphone. Does what it advertises, and damn good too!

A++ for Blue!

Jan

Star Wars Topps

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It’s thursday and I forgot about Tusken Tuesday! So you can consider this an official Tarkin Thursday.

And boy, am I excited for this one: trading cards!

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Yes, I know. To you, dear reader, trading cards don’t seem all that special. To me however… Well let’s just say I’m excited. I’ve been collecting Star Wars since I first found the Making Of book in my dad’s library when I was very young (that’s a story for another time). Before that, I was already into collecting. I collected stamps and stickers, a bug I caught from my mom.

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I fondly recall going to the store and getting packets of stickers, then running home and sticking them into the album. I collected everything from WWF to GI JOE, M.A.S.K., Masters of the universe and Young Indiana Jones. I swiftly moved over to trading cards, but, the curse of being based in Belgium hit again. Trading cards are not popular over here, and you have to get them from specialized stores.

And then, yesterday happened. I went to buy a paper, and lo and behold: on the counter sat a box of Star Wars Topps Trading Cards. I grabbed a handful and checked out.

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Oh the joy of opening these.  They have a kind of retro look and feel to them. They tell the story of the Star Wars saga in pictures. Bonus The Force Awakens cards are inserted (I got Kylo Ren!). And there are special foil cards! And that smell…  God, that smell.  If they ever market “trading card printing ink” as a cologne, I’m buying it.

So here I am. Thought to have been cured of the sticker/card-collecting bug, and Disney throws me a curveball. Thanks again Mouse. Your merchandising antics are appreciated.

Jan

Tusken Tuesdays!

1125_star_wars-prevI am a huge Star Wars nerd.  That fact alone already makes it strange I have yet to write anything about the phenomenon (Yes, I am calling it a phenomenon.  Because it is.  And because I really wanted to use the word phenomenon for once.  It’s such an underappreciated word.  I mean, can you recall the last time you said, let alone typed out phenomenon?  Exactly.)

So starting next week, I’m declaring tuesday to be Tusken Tuesday on this site.  Yes, every tuesday  I will go out and try to find something for the collection and report my findings here.

It’ll be fun, I promise!

Jan

Disclaimer: author cannot be held responsible for tardiness, and as such, Tusken Tuesdays could alternatively be called Watto Wednesdays, Threepio Thursdays, Fierfek Fridays, Sith Saturdays, Sebulba Sundays or even Mon Mothma Mondays.

Brand new bomber jacket

Winter is coming.  And I mean it.  That wasn’t a reference to that Thrones-show.  It really is coming.  Snow, sleet, coldness, ice, rain…  And here I am without a decent jacket.  About fifty percent of my clothes are tshirts.  The other fifty percent is a mix of socks, underpants and pants.  Seriously.

Until now.  The good people from Musterbrand have just launched a line of clothing based on Starcraft.  Among the tshirts, bags and jackets was this glorious grey bomber jacket.  I’ve always had a soft spot for bomber jackets, but I’ve never owned one.  Imagine my joy when the Musterbrand people decided to send one over for review!

Nice little logo.

Nice little logo.

The jacket looks really cool.  A soft grey on the outside and a really vibrant blue on the inside.  And when I say really vibrant, I mean it.  Wearing the jacket with the zipper down causes my skin to glow with a blue hue.  That’s how bright and shiny the inside is.  I bet, if worn inside out, I can use it as a safety vest next time I’m parked besides the road at night.

Blue!

Blue!

But aside from that vibrant blue, I’m really liking this jacket.  It fits really nice, and it’s really warm.  It’ll be perfect for winter.  I’ll be warm and as a bonus I’ll look really cool.

This is how cool I'll look this winter! (disclaimer: editor will look nowhere near as cool as this)

This is how cool I’ll look this winter! (disclaimer: editor will look nowhere near as cool as this)

Or really blue, depending on wether I leave the zipper up or down.

Musterbrand also have lines based on other game franchises like Portal and Assassin’s Creed.  You should go and check them out for a bit of that gamer chic!