Douk P1 DAC/Preamp/Headphone Amp review

A few weeks ago I decided to build a fun sound system for my home office (see this post for details). The goal was something that looked interesting, sounded good, and was expandable. The Douk P1 DAC/Preamp/Headphone Amp serves as the centerpiece of the system. After using it for a few weeks, I can say that it is a decent piece of equipment. Pros: Small size Switchable tone controls Good Bluetooth (stable, easy connection, APTX support) Built-in DAC Cons: No optical input Unnecessary bright blue light on power supply Clicks when turning amplification on and off on Bluetooth It has a good build quality. The tone and volume knobs turn smoothly with soft clicks. It feels sturdy and all the connectors are solid. Setup is easy - plug in the tubes, connect to the speakers, plug the PS into the wall, and hit power. The tubes that came with my unit went right in - I didn't have to mess with the pins, but YMMV. Pressed power, flipped the switch to Bluetooth and the unit went into pairing m

Archiving Records with a USB Turntable

About 6 years ago my father gave me a vintage turntable – a run of the mill 1980’s Pioneer model. That rekindled my interest in collecting and listening to vinyl records. A couple of years ago I upgraded my turntable to an Audio Technica AT-LP120XUSB. I didn’t choose the LB120XUSB specifically for the USB connection, but it is a useful feature that offers an easy way to archive my albums. I generally use it for records where the only copy available online (such as the Amazon “auto-rip” files) are in MP3 as opposed to a lossless format like FLAC or WAV. After some trial and error, I came up with the procedure here to archive my records relatively quickly and efficiently. Technology Needs Hardware This post assumes that you have a turntable with USB out, so I will focus on the computer side of things. You can do this process on either a PC or a Mac, as long as you have a USB port. I use a laptop (Surface Pro 7) to get the initial recording as my turntable is integrated into my entertainm

Latest Project: Tube-based Bookshelf System

 I’m back! As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been doing a lot tech-wise since I wrote that article about Windows Phone (RIP), and have a bunch of projects and topics to cover. I’ll start with my current obsession. I’ve been working remotely for the last few years and didn’t have great audio options in my home office. Until last week, it was either “play through the computer speakers” or “play through my smart speaker.” I have a set of Logitech Z323 2.1 speakers connected to the computer, which are decent but not amazing, and a Google Nest Mini, which is ok for music if there is no other option available. I don’t like using the computer speakers because all sounds from the computer go through them by default, so if I turn it up for music I also get loud Windows notifications, etc. as well, and the Nest Mini can only play stuff I could stream and, as I mentioned, is not that great for music.   I didn’t set out with a specific plan to upgrade my office audio. In the last month or s

This is still here?

 I woke up this morning and thought "I wonder if that blog I was doing years ago is still there?" Turns out it is. Wow. I actually have a few things to write about. General topics will be: Computers Home A/V Digital photography So I'll roll up my sleeves, hunker down, and write three or four blog posts then forget about this thing again for another few years. Sounds like a plan!

Windows Phone 8.1 first impressions

Even though I told myself I wouldn't, I went ahead and did it. Did what, you ask? Went ahead and installed the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview on my new Nokia Lumia Icon. I was hesitant at first, since it's basically an unsupported OS and Nokia needs to tweak it to work with their phone, but anyone who knows me well could probably have predicted that I would cave and risk bricking my phone for the allure of new technology. I just installed it last night, so I haven't had too long to play with it, but I am already impressed. Even before the new release, I was a Windows Phone convert... the live tiles and overall polish of the OS really work well for me, plus the performance, even on mediocre hardware, is great. But I really think that the new release has put the Windows Phone OS up there with the big boys. Here are some of my first impressions of Windows Phone 8.1 My Start Screen Look and Feel The Windows Phone 8.1 update enhances the look of Windows Phone by

Things I have on my list to post about

As I mentioned in my post about blog posts, I am trying to get back into updating my blog on a more regular basis. On that note, I have identified a few things that I want to blog about in the near future, and I'll list them here to (hopefully) inspire myself to follow up. Since I forgot to publish this earlier, I already have a post linked!  Yay for me! We'll see exactly how well it works...  anyway, here are the topics I am planning to touch on: Favorite Windows Phone apps Windows Phone 8.1 Windows 8.1 Update (as opposed to Update to Windows 8.1) Windows Small Business Server 2011 Bare Metal Restore (oh the humanity!!) The Web programming I've been doing lately An update on Building a Box I'll update this post with links to the posts as I write them.