Kept putting it off. Didn’t want to go there. Must adhere to minimalist principles. It’s the only way to live. Or? Yeah. Oh what the heck! Life’s too short. I broke down and ordered my first blu-ray drive Thursday. It arrived Friday. No player for me, though. It’s an internal LG unit that fits perfectly in the second optical drive bay of my mid-2010 MacPro. Was a little nervous about getting this device because there is no official Mac support from LG for it. So I went ahead and trusted some of the reviews I read. It’s supposed to work out-of-the-box with MacOS, requiring no extra drivers or software. Once I got it installed I fired up the Mac and BOOM! Second optical drive recognised immediately. New icon at top of menu bar provides open/close function for both drives. New keyboard command using “alt” key and disc eject open new drive, as well. Although the drive did crash once where I couldn’t eject disc, subsequent system restart seems to have cleared that up; haven’t had a crash since. But here’s the real kicker.
I’ve been itching to get my hands on Celebration Day, the 2007 benefit concert where Led Zeppelin reunited in London. And I didn’t want the old DVD version this time. I already have Led Zeppelin DVD and The Song Remains the Same. But I’ve put off consuming blu-ray technology because of the massive data storage requirements. DVD, depending on encoding, average around five to seven gigabytes. Blu-rays, on the other hand, average three-times that amount. I’ve also noticed that it’s getting harder and harder to find DVD with DTS. Oh. And remember. Storing data is one thing–backing it up is another. Nuff said there.
Over the years I have accumulated quite a substantial media library. As an Apple household, though, I’m frustrated with Apple’s media products, especially iTunes. Did you know that because of Apple’s bullshit and greed, I am unable to stream movies or music from my MacPro’s iTunes library to my iPad or iPhone? According to some forums and support groups, Apple has programmed a caching glitch in iOS’s video and music app that prevent it from being able to access large iTunes libraries. Can you believe that krapp! And that’s not all. Again. Because of Apple’s greed, the company doesn’t pay licensing fees thereby preventing it from enabling DTS audio on AppleTVs. Can you believe that krapp! Needless to say I’ve been searching for an alternative for sometime.
Enter the Raspberry Pi 2. Bought one a few months back. Ran Raspbian on it for a few days. To my surprise, not only is this little credit card sized device an alternative to the Intel/Microsoft monopoly-cabal but it’s a totally functioning PC. You can browse the web, write a novel on it, or install RasPlex, together with Plex on my Mac, connect it to your flatscreen or AVR and… Get me some iTunes salvation. Not only does the little Pi device deliver incredible high-end audio but the video quality is outstanding, as well. The only problem it has is that it can’t stream the high quality using wifi. Ethernet’s good enough for me.
As far as my first blu-ray experience? You can see the strings of Jimmy Page’s guitars vibrating. You can almost read the writing on Jason Bonham’s drum sticks. Robert Plant has split ends (that’s right, his hair). John Paul Jones wears a pair of boots that look like they might cost ten grand. Oh. And then there’s that sound. The beautiful, luscious sound of every instrument. DTS HD shouting out brilliantly through six speakers, aka 5.1. The .1 is a 700w yamaha subwoofer (behind flatscreen in pic above). Front left and right are B&W DM305’s (yes, the low ends). Rear or surround left and right are Yamaha NS-G25’s. Centre speaker is a Yamaha NS-GC27. All are connected using banana plugs and Oehlbach 2×1.50mm copper to a Denon AVR 3808. Did I mention that you can even ear Jimmy Page’s pick rubbing the coils of his strings?
You know, I’ve even been contemplating getting out of the surround sound bullshit. As you can see from the pic above, I don’t believe in putting the speakers in their 5.1 positions. Reason? Well, I guess, because I haven’t had this level of audio quality yet. Indeed, dear worst-reader. It’s nice discovering alternatives that work and that also make ageing equipment work even better. And one more thing on the Celebration Day blu-ray. I found myself getting a bit emotional watching Jason Bohnam fill his dad’s shoes in such a glorious way. Way to go Jason!
Rant on. -t