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Overview
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Advice: Could be totally worth it especially for a total beginner. You do need some cash to get started with though.
Continue reading below.....
The 12 Minute Affiliate System Review by Real Member – [ULTIMATE GUIDE] 2020
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A PC-User's Purchase "Guide" (it's not...just the ramblings of an idiot) to High Quality Audio on your system.

Hello friends, today I'd like to talk about an aspect of our glorious systems that get overlooked a lot: our audio experience on our battlestations. Thanks to paoper for formatting. Again disclaimer that I am an idiot, so take this post with a grain of salt. Better info and more accurate info from people way more knowledgeable than I am is readily available from /audiophile /budgetaudiophile and /headphones, this is just a start-up guide for the beginner.
NOTE: The monster I gave birth to has become too long. I felt that instead of a short list of things to order, I needed to give context as high fidelity is really all about what sound is like in your experience. Also a fun read if you are interested. Feel free to skip to the actual list (ctrl+f active speakers, passive speakers, headphones, subwoofer, amplifier)!
I have limited the price range of the products, because this is after all just food for thought and not even a proper guide; real audio purchases will require elbow-grease and research from your end to see if the product's sound signature will match your preferences in music and sound. If your product is not here, do not worry. I have put in products that I have had experience with and those that were recommended by multiple reviewers I hold in high regard (with the exception of a 2.1 system you will see later), and I had to consider the endless number of headphones/speakers vs the ones that are worth your hard-earned cash (and products vs how they compare to my current setup which includes both "high-end" and budget options).

Introduction

I've been building systems for myself and others since I randomly took a buildapc course in middle school (currently 28) and enjoy music very much (I grew up on linkin park, dre, biggie smalls, 3 6 mafia, tupac, ac/dc, red hot chilli peppers am fond of electro and dubstep and various genres of music). I have 2 decades of experience playing saxophone, clarinet, and the electric guitar, and have performed in jazz bands, rock bands, and an orchestra. My ear is highly trained from raw musical performance and not just listening to speakers from home, as well as having the nuance to differentiate between good speakers. I have owned many many forms of audio gear (instruments, speakers, headphones, studio monitors).

So wtf is this?

So occasionally while answering questions on this subreddit (mainly on why new builder's systems aren't posting, or what components they should get, or just mourning with fellow builders for systems that have passed on as well as celebrating the birth of new systems and fellow pc builders who take their rite of passage of building their own system with their own two hands) I would come across the occasional "what speakers/headphones are best under $xx" and with the state of pc products being "gaming rgb ultimate series XLR" or w/e, it's hard to discern what audio products are actually worth your money. Note that if you are using just "good enough" cheap speakers, any of the speakers/headphones on this list will blow your mind away. Get ready to enter a new world of audio.

Why should I bother getting better speakers/headphones?

I have owned $20 logitech speakers, I currently own $1500 speakers. I have owned varying levels of headphones. The first half-decent (to my standards) speakers I had was a hand me down stereo set from an uncle. This thing was massive, but this thing was good. It's difficult to explain to you the sensation of music enveloping you with great speakers. Speakers are meant to reproduce sound, as in the sound of the instruments in the song. So great speakers and headphones can literally make you FEEL the music like at a rave or a concert or performance in the comfort of your home. This is why Home Theaters were so popular in the 80s/90s.
Upgrading will GREATLY enhance your music, netflix and gaming experience. In fact with passive bookshelf speakers, you can not only use them for your desktop setup, but also chuck them together with a tv and you've got a fine starter home theater system in your hands. You can even upgrade down the line incrementally, one speaker at a time, to a 2.1, 3.1, 5.1, 5.2, 7.2 Dolby Atmos Home Theater Setup where your movies make you feel like your in SPARTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.
I currently live in a small apartment with my TV right next to my battlestation, and when i want to sit down on my couch and watch TV, I simply move 1 speaker from my desk to next to my TV, turn my AVR on and I have an easy 5.1 home theater in my tiny apartment. Move the speaker, revert back to 2.1 (or 5.1 if i choose to but i dont because of badspeaker placement when I'm sitting at my desk) amazingness at my battlestation. Consider this an investment into massively improving your experience of playing video games, watching netflix, or listening to music. You think those 4k graphics and ULTRAWIDE monitor is giving you more immersion in your game? Shit...having great speakers or headphones can make you feel like you're IN NORMANDY BEACH DURING THE FUCKING LANDINGS

General considerations (or feel free to just skip ahead to the list)

Now, I totally understand using simple logitech speakers due to budget/space/easy-access from best buy or not knowing about the wider audio world. So I am here today to give you a perspective on what audio components are TRULY worth your hard-earned cash. I have owned $20 logitech speakers in college, I have owned guitar amps as well as studio monitors/other speakers ranging from $100-$1500. Do know that all of this information is readily available in /BudgetAudiophile /audiophile and /headphones . I am merely condensing all of it into a single list, and attempt to sort of explain it to the pc builders, or just an idiot rambling.
If you would like more information on specific speakers, I would check out reviewers on youtube like zerofidelity, steve guttenberg, nextbigthing (nbt) studios, and thomas and stereo. For headphones, metal751, innerfidelity, Ishca's written reviews, DMS.
Z reviews is okay and he reviews everything from amps and dacs to speakers and headphones, but he gives 90% of his products good reviews, and has affiliate links to every single product he reviews....so you see where my dislike of him as a reviewer comes from. He is still an expert audiophile , he just chooses to not use his knowledge and ramble on in his videos, plus the shilling. Great place to start for audiophiles, as he is still a professional. I just think many move on to other reviewers.
Also with speakers, speaker placement is extremely important. Get those speakers off your desk and the woofers/tweeters to your ear level NO MATTER THE COST. Stack boxes/books, buy speaker stands/isolation pads from amazon, at worst buy yoga blocks from amazon. Put your speakers on them, get ready for even better audio.
General rule of thumb: dont buy HiFi at msrp. There are ALWAYS deals on speakers/headphones to take advantage of at any given time (massdrop for headphones, parts-express, accessories4less, crutchfield, adorama, Sweetwater, guitar center, etc). Speakers will get cheaper over time as manufacturers have to make room for new products/refreshes of the same models just as with headphones. If theres a particular headphone model you want, check to see if massdrop has it (website where users of the website decide what niche products the website will mass order, and both the website and you the users get reduced pricing).
Now this list is just simple guide. Obviously for $150 budget, theres probably like 10 different speakers to choose from. You will catch me repeat this many many times but sound is subjective, I don't know what genres of music you enjoy and what sound signatures in headphones/speakers you would prefer (warm sounds? bright? aggressively forward? laid back sound signature? importance of clarity vs bass?) So consider this list with a grain of salt, as this is after all, the ramblings of an idiot on reddit.

Categories

So I will be splitting this list into 4 categories:
And before I start, bass depth and low end does not fucking equal bad boomy bass. I absolutely detest low quality boomy bass like in Beats headphones and general "gaming speakers" or w/e. Also the budetaudiophile starter package is the dayton audio b652 + mini amp combo from parts-express. All the speakers that were considered were basically compared to the b652 before making it on here (and whether they justified the price bump over the b652)

Active vs. Passive (crude explanation)

So when a speaker plays music from your pc, the audio is processed by the audio card on your motherboard, which is then sent to the amplifier where the signal is amplified, and then finally is sent to be played on your speakers. Active speakers like logitech speakers that have a power cable running from the speakers directly to the wall socket have built-in amplifiers to power the speakers, whereas passive speakers require a separate amplifier to amplify the audio signal and feed the speakers power. Active vs passive, no real difference as both types of speakers will have good audio quality depending on how they are made and which ones you buy, but in the ultra budget section of speakers (under $300) actives tend to be cheaper than their passive counter parts. This is due to the manufacturer cutting corners elsewhere.
Take for instance the Micca MB42X passive speakers($90) which also have a brother, the Micca PB42X ($120) powered speakers. Same exact speaker, but built in amp vs the amp you buy. Obviously the mb42x will sound marginally better purely from the virtue that the amplifier is not inside the goddamn box. But the mb42x + amp + speaker wire will probably cost you anywhere from basic $130 to $200 with difference in amplifier and whether you use bare speaker wire or banana plugs/cables. Cabling aesthetics and management will be greatly affected, with sound quality affected to a lesser degree, or more (but at what cost?). Amp choice to be explained later.
Now generally speakers should be recommended based on your music/audio preferences and tastes as speakers and in a larger part, speaker brands will have their own unique sound signatures that some will love and others will hate as sound is such a subjective experience. But since this is meant to cater to a wide audience, note that my list is not the ALL inclusive, and again is only the ramblings of an idiot.

BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS

If you want to add bluetooth capabilities to your wires active or passive speakers, simply buy the esinkin W29 wireless bluetooth module, plug your speakers in, connect to your bluetooth on pc/phone/w/e, enjoy.

ACTIVE SPEAKERS

Simply connect to your PC or TV via 3.5mm (or the occasional usb).
Note: you may experience a hissing with active speakers that may annoy you to no end even up to the $400 mark. This is a result of the amplifier being built in to the speaker in close proximity, as well as sometimes the manufacturer cutting corners elsewhere. Passive speakers do not have this unless you buy a really shitty amp. Note that while bigger woofer size does not necessarily indicate better quality/bass, this does more often than not seem to be the case as manufacturers put bigger woofers on the higher stepup model.
Note that while I have included 2.1 systems here, I would always recommend you get good bookshelves first, save up money and buy a subwoofer separate.

Example options

PASSIVE SPEAKERS

These speakers will require you to buy a separate amplifier, as well as separate cables. But the passive route allows you to have a modular audio system that allows you to upgrade parts as you go along in your life (yes I said life for once you dip your toes into high fidelity, you will get hooked onto a great lifelong journey searching for the perfect setup), or even just add parts in altogether (like having a miniamp on your desk for your passive speakers, having a separate dac or bluetooth module for your speakers so you can connect the passive speakers via USB or bluetooth wirelessly, stacked on top of a headphone dac/amp combo, stacked on top of a preamp, etc). Amplifier list to follow later.
Passive speaker specs to pay attention to will be their impedance (measured in ohms) and their sensitivity (measured in xx db/1w/1m). Speaker ratings in wattage are measurements of how much power can be driven to them (higher watts, higher volume...once again crude explanation). A 20 watt x 2 channel amp (measured in 4 ohms) is enough to power 4 and 6 ohm speakers rated at 100 watts to moderate/decently loud listening levels on your desktop. Now the sensitivity thing. A speaker with a rating of 85db/1m/1w means it will produce 85 decibels of noise at 1 meter with 1 watt of power. Now this not linear....to make the same speaker go up to 90 decibels may require 10 or 15 watts of power depending on other variables. Depending on how loudly you play your music and what impedance/sensitivity your speakers have will result in your choice of amplifiers. More on this later.
The thing about passive bookshelf speakers are that you can use them in your desktop setup, AND with your TV as a legitimate starter 2.1 home theater setup (which you can upgrade to 3.1, and then 5.1/5.2, just buy a used receiver from craigslist for 50 bucks, ez)

What you will need for passive setup:

Note that passive speakers and amp require you to purchase speaker wire separately (fairly cheap) and strip them (youtube video will guide you, very easy). Or if you like clean cable management and easy setups, banana plug cables from amazon will set you straight, and while these banana plugs and cable are nice and PURELY OPTIONAL, they will add up in cost as your buy more of them for frankenstein 2.1 cabling. Also a 3.5mm to rca cable will be required. The connection will be your pc -> 3.5mm->rca->amp->speaker wire-> speaker wire->speaker. (replace speaker wire with banana plug if going that route). Subwoofer connection will be explained in subwoofer section.

Example options

AMPLIFIERS

Okay here is where we need to get into specific numbers. Active speakers have built-in amplifiers so they are exempt. But passive speakers will require separate amps and so you will need to pay attention to certain specs. In speakers you will need to pay attention to their impedance (measured in ohms) and their sensitivity (measured in xx db/1m/1w). The typical mini amplifier will be class D (small form factor amps for desktop use) and their wattage per channel will be usually expressed in 4ohms. Take for instance the popular SMSL SA50. This is an amp that delivers 50 watts to its 2 channels, rated at 4 ohms. Speakers will have impedance of 4, 6, or 8 ohms usually. 50 watts at 4 ohms can be 25 watts at 8 ohms, but is probably more like 20 watts at 8 ohms, refer to product specs for specific wattage ratings at specific ohms. Speakers with high sensitivity (85-95 db/1w/1m) that have 6 ohm impedance are easier to drive with lower wattage.
But here's the thing, an the smsl sa50 will not deliver 50 CLEAN watts. Somewhere in the 30-40w range distortion will start to appear. But for reference, 30 clean watts is enough to drive sony cs5s to uncomfortably loud levels in an apartment (the whole apt, not just your room) so listening on your desktop, you only really need 10-15 clean watts (only after turning up your preamp input to maximum volume, which in this case is your youtube/windows10 volume level). Do note that if you have the space, a used $60 AV Receiver that will just shit out watts and have 5.1 surround will be the best, but these things are massive.

Example options

If you need more watts than the AD18, you're gonna need to get a class a/b amp that just shits out watts for cheap, or get a used av receiver. If you want a new one, the best budget option is the DENON AVR-S540BT 5.2 channel AVR from accessories4less.

SUBWOOFERS

Good subwoofers are expensive, and cheap subwoofers will hurt your listening experience rather than improve it (muddy boomy shitty bass). Your best bet may be to simply find a used subwoofer from craigslist or offerup, just dont get the polk audio PSW10, this is a very common sub you see on the 2nd hand market, because it is a shitty sub and so people get rid of it. Now as to whether you need a subwoofer. If you are in a dorm, don't get a subwoofer. Because.... if you live in a dorm, do not get a fucking subwoofer. Now if you live in a small apartment, fear not, proper subwoofer management will save you noise complaints. A good subwoofer will produce good quality low end you can hear and feel without having to turn up the volume. You want to look at the subwoofer's lowest frequency it can go to. That will show you how "tight" the bass will be. Now, low volume levels on a good sub will produce that bass for you without vibrating your walls (though subwoofer and speaker isolation as well as PLACEMENT (refer to the sub-crawl) will do more for getting the most sound out of your speakers without having to turn up the volume....and just turn off the sub after a reasonable time)
Now as to how to add a subwoofer to your system will depend on what setup you have and the available connections. If your speakers or amplifier has a subwoofer output, simply connect that to your subwoofer, set the crossover freuency (the frequency at which the subwoofer will start making sound) to 80hz, or lower depending on how low of a frequency our bookshelves can go down to.
If your speakers/amp do not have a subwoofer out, you will need to find a subwoofer that has high level speaker inputs. You will need to connect your bookshelves to the speaker outputs on the subwoofer via speaker wire/banana plugs, and then run speaker wire/banana plugs from the subwoofer input to your amplifier, ending with rca to 3.5mm connection to your pc.

Example options

HEADPHONES

Okay, I keep saying headphones and not headsets right. But you ask, Kilroy, you're an idiot. You're posting on buildapc for PC gamers and builders but you're talking headphones and not headsets. How idiotic are you? Pretty big, but friends hear me out. Now I used to live in South Korea, where PC Bangs (internet cafes) set the nation's standards for computers. All the places had to get the best bang for the buck pc gear to stay in business and remain competitive (all 100 computers at these places had like i5-6600k and gtx 1080 in 2015 or something I don't remember, along with mechanical BLUE SWITCH FUCCCCCCKKKKKKKK (imagine 100 blue switch keyboards being smashed on in a small underground area in Seoul) keyboards and decent headsets.
So I have tried MANY MANY different headsets, here is my conclusion. Just get proper headphones and get either get an antlion modmic, or V-MODA Boompro mic both available on amazon. (short list of mics later) or get proper headphones and usb mic. Okay, I have seen the headphone recommendation list, and the only one I would give any (if at all) weight to in the usual pc websites that our subreddit goes to, is the list from rtings. These guys mainly measure monitors and tvs (very well might i add) but the writer for their audio section is lacking it seems.
Please dont get Astro AXX headphones or corsair rgb xxxxxx w/e. Please for the love of god, take your good hard earned cash and get yourself a NICE pair of cans my fellow PC users. The mic part is secondary as GOOD headphones will forever change your PC using and music listening experience FOREVER
The TWO EXCEPTIONS that I have observed to this rule are the Hyperx Clouds and Cooler Master mh751/752.

Example options

Now obviously, there's other choices. A metric fuck load of them. But I had to account for how much you should be paying (price range) for upgrades in sound quality and performance.

Example options (Wireless headsets)

Okay. Wireless headsets, now let's think why do you need a wireless headset? Do you want to walk around your house while on discord? Maybe you want to keep the headset on while having to afk real quick for a smoke break or whatnot.

HEADPHONE AMP/DAC (digital to analogue converter)

My knowledge/experience with headphone amps and dacs are...extremely lacking, I'm more of a speaker guy. But, here is a list for you guys.

MICS

Other mics? Yes, but are they worth the extra $$ for marginally better audio recording? You decide.

Concluding remarks

Cool. Stay safe in these dark times brothers. Have a glorious day.
submitted by Kilroy1311 to buildapc [link] [comments]

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[Broadway] West Side Story: The Past, Present, and Future

Background

West Side Story is a Broadway show that originally opened in 1957. It adapts the story of Romeo and Juliet to a then-contemporary Manhattan, New York. Instead of the primary conflict being between two feuding families, the show portrayed the rivalry of two gangs: the Sharks, who are of Puerto Rican heritage, and the Jets, who are white. Otherwise, the show follows the broad strokes of its Shakespearean source material, albeit with singing and dancing.
Of all the shows in the American Musical Theater Canon, West Side Story stands out for a number of reasons. For one, all four of its creative leads went on to become icons of the theater: composer Leonard Bernstein (who wrote a number of beloved musicals and became conductor of the New York Philharmonic), directochoreographer Jerome Robbins (who became a mainstay of Broadway for years, directing and/or choreographing the original productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Gypsy, and the King and I, to name a few of his most famous shows), lyricist Stephen Sondheim (in his first Broadway job, who went on to become one of the twentieth century’s greatest theater composers), and book-writer Arthur Laurents (who is known today as a renowned playwright and director).
Notably, none of these writers are of Puerto Rican descent. As a result, the writing for the Puerto Rican characters can be charitably be described as… less than authentic. Sondheim initially balked at taking the job, since he did not even know any Puerto Ricans at the time, but ultimately agreed to further his career. This results in lyrics such as one that characterizes Puerto Rico as an “island of tropic diseases,” despite people pointing out that Puerto Rico was generally lacking in diseases. Sondheim decided to keep the lyric anyway, because in his eyes the lyric was too dramaturgically important to cut.
This extends to Robbins’ choreography, which today is considered legendary. In the world of theater, normally people associate a musical with its music, lyrics, and script. West Side Story is the rare show where its choreography is also considered essential to the show’s identity. At the time, most Broadway shows used dance to entertain audiences, break up songs, or sometimes further characters’ emotional states. West Side Story not only did this but also used dance to portray the plot, with entire stretches containing only dance to depict the show’s action. This resulted in the show’s choreography being not only hugely beloved but also hugely influential. To this day, it is considered near-sacrilegious to alter the dancing in any way. …But more on that later.
However, as expected by a white choreographer, West Side Story’s choreography fails to engage with Puerto Rican dance tradition at all. Whereas the white Jets get choreography inspired by actual American dances popular with white teenagers at the time, the closest the Puerto Rican Sharks come is… the Paso Double, which is Spanish insofar as it comes from Spain, not Puerto Rico.
The popularization of a film adaptation of West Side Story only cemented these problems, broadcasting the music, the choreography, and the writing to audiences across America. To this day, West Side Story is perhaps the most well-known portrayal of Puerto Ricans in the country, which has come at a cost. This op-ed covers many of these problems and more in additional detail, including how the original production and film both cast White actors as Puerto Ricans or how a number of stereotypes pervade the musical. Even so, West Side Story continues to capture the popular imagination, enough that Steven Spielberg has filmed a remake set to release in the winter of 2020.
Which brings us to…

The 2020 Revival

On July 12, 2018, a revival of West Side Story is announced for Broadway, with a planned opening in 2020. Ivo van Hove is announced as the production’s director. Ivo van Hove is a Dutch director who broke out in recent years directing play revivals that radically altered the staging from the norm. He loves to place large video screens on stage to project close-ups, set productions “beyond time” as though in no discernable time period, or otherwise reinterpret older shows. As such, his production of West Side Story is stated to be a complete re-imagining of the show, including removing the original choreography for the first time in favor of new dances by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, a prominent choreographer in the world of modern dance. Notably both the director and choreographer are White, but more on that later.
Right away, people within and without showbusiness are unhappy. To understand how controversial this was, the response could be compared to that of Star Wars fans and the Last Jedi. This displeasure was only heightened by additional announcements: the production would perform the show in one act without an intermission, rather than the traditional two; it would cut I Feel Pretty, a beloved song that traditionally opens the second act; and it would cast the traditionally White Jets with multiracial actors, as an attempt to represent present-day New York. People had legitimate arguments both for and against these changes. Some argued that the changes could bring new life to a show that had previously been performed near-identically every time, or that the changes could make the show darker and raise the stakes. Others pointed out that casting black actors to play white supremacists seemed to indicate that van Hove did not understand the material, or that the production was trying to fix what wasn’t broken.
Yet even all this paled in comparison to the largest source of drama…

Amar Ramasar

Amar Ramasar is a principal dancer for the New York City Ballet, one of the most prestigious ballet corps in the country. As such, he is a very talented ballet dancer with many years of performances under his belt. In recent years, Ramasar decided to branch out from the world of ballet, taking a leave of absence from the ballet company to perform in a production of Carousel. His performance in a supporting role was well-received, and he was prominently featured in the show’s performance on the Tony Awards. Once the show finishes its run, he returns to the ballet world, and all seems to be well.
However, on September 5, 2019, Alexandra Waterbury, a then-twenty-year-old dancer at a school affiliated with the New York City Ballet, sues Chase Finlay, a dancer for them, along with the entire New York City Ballet. In the suit, she alleges that Chase Finlay, her then-boyfriend, had sent sexually explicit photos of her to two other dancers, one being Ramasar. Finlay then asked them to send photos back, to which Ramasar responded by sending an explicit photo of his own girlfriend, also without her consent.
All three of the dancers implicated are very prominent in the world of dance, making the suit a massive shock. While Finlay resigns in response, Ramasar and the third dancer do not. As a result, the New York City Ballet tries to fire them, until the dancers’ union fights back and forces the ballet corps to rehire them. Ramasar decides to take his job again, but the damage to his reputation is lasting. Even when he resumes performing again, reviews of his performance cannot help but acknowledge the controversy surrounding his actions.
As a result, when the production of West Side Story announces that Amar Ramasar has been cast in a prominent role, many are upset. For much of the production’s performances, protesters gather outside the Broadway Theater, where the show is performing, demanding that Ramasar be fired. While both Alexandra Waterbury, who filed the original suit, and at least one anonymous cast member come out in support of the protests, Ramasar’s girlfriend does not, stating that she has forgiven him and does not see herself as a victim. The producers release a statement arguing that his past behavior does not reflect his conduct during West Side Story and that they will not be firing him as a result. Of course, this does nothing to end the controversy, which continues to this day.

The Actual Revival Itself

West Side Story makes it through rehearsals with some incidents. First, the actor originally cast to play the leader of the Jets injures himself and is forced to back out of the show. As a result, his understudy is given the role full-time. Notably, the original actor was white while the new one is black, resulting in the leader of the white supremacist gang now being played by a black man. This only serves to reinforce the belief held by some that the revival is tone-deaf. Second, many of the Latinx actors take issue with Anne Theresa De Keersmaeker’s choreography, which they argue fails to reflect the dances of their culture. As a result, two Latinx choreographers are brought in to help rework parts of her choreography, until the actors feel that their concerns as people of color have been heard. While these issues were both resolved with relatively little difficulty, they are both indicative of the issues that come with white people creating a show about people of color. When taken in the context of West Side Story’s history, this only emphasizes the problematic nature of the show, as discussed in the op-ed above.
West Side Story opens on February 20th, 2020 to mixed reviews. The New York Times, producer of the most important theater reviews in New York, feels that while the production has its moments, there are too many parts of the reimagining that simply don’t work. The entire backdrop of the stage is a giant screen onto which close-ups of the actors are displayed. Parts of the show have the actors entirely out of view from the audience, with the screen as the only way to see what’s happening. The show’s tone is far bleaker than previous productions, with a sexually violent scene towards the end noted for being particularly brutal compared to how it is normally performed. A traditionally comedic song satirizing the US justices system is played completely straight, with the actors singing seriously as video of real-life police brutality plays behind them. While some critics like the production, the overall critical reception of the show is mixed to negative.
The audience response is not much better, with many disliking the show conceptually, some enjoying it for what it was, some complaining that the screen took away from the feeling of “live theater”, and some incensed about Amar Ramasar’s casting. This controversy might still be going today, were it not for the Coronavirus. All of Broadway is currently closed until at least the fall, and some productions have already announced that they will be closing permanently as a result. While all Broadway producers are of course saying that “they look forward to reopening their shows”, it is currently too soon to say whether or not West Side Story will reopen.
And just as the cherry on top of all this drama, Broadway, like everywhere else in America, has been reconciling as of late with systemic racism in the theater. Of relevance to this post is a statement by an actor of Puerto Rican descent, who discussed how she auditioned for the show and was told by director Ivo van Hove to sing about Puerto Rico like “the slum that it is.” Whatever his directorial intentions may have been with that statement, van Hove still acted insensitive to her heritage and reinforced negative stereotypes about Puerto Rico. Though it may not be clear what will happen next to this revival of West Side Story, it is absolutely clear that the road ahead for it will be filled with drama.
Update 6/29: The Broadway League has announced that all Broadway shows will be shut down through at least the rest of 2020. It is unclear what this means for the fate of the West Side Story revival.
submitted by sakuraban96 to HobbyDrama [link] [comments]

Opinion: Removing the Power Adaptor and EarPods From iPhone Packaging Would Be a Responsible Move - a Designer’s Perspective.

Summary

Apple wants a circular economy for its products, but packaging and accessories are not often reused and recycled like devices. Removing the power adaptor and EarPods could reduce up to 13,454,000 kgs of e-waste while avoiding the manufacture of 160 million sets of non-recyclable plastic and reducing the carbon footprint of delivering every new iPhone.
[Note: rather long read]

Introduction.

In 2017, Apple announced a new initiative to create a "closed loop supply chain”, where products are built using only renewable resources or recycled material. A goal later associated with a circular economy in their environment webpage.
Circular economy describes a product lifecycle model that attempts to mimic nature. Its three most fundamental principles, as proposed by the EllenMcArthur foundation, are to design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate natural systems. The idea is that all manufactured goods should be reused and recycled to the greatest possible extent.
The ultimate goal is to achieve a future where every Apple product would be made from 100% recycled material, where every part of every product—including the product itself, its packaging, products used in manufacturing, as well as accessories—would be reused or recycled. This cycle model is as opposed to the status quo—a linear model—where products, packaging and accessories are made, used, then discarded. At the time, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson, admitted that they did not yet know how to achieve this, nonetheless, pledged to make an effort to work towards such a system.

Existing Progress.

In the years before, and after, Apple has made various steps to improve the recycling and reuse of both their materials and devices. From disassembly robots like Liam and Daisy, to encouraging returns through the iPhone upgrade program and trade-ins, Apple showed progress towards this goal with the promotion of recycling-enabling subscription-like systems also used by other circular economy companies. By 2018, Apple announced that they had started using 100% recycled Aluminium in some of their products. By 2019, 100% recycled tin for solder in the main logic boards of 11 products. They also claimed to have refurbished more than 7.8 million devices and recycled more than 48,000 metric tons of e-waste in the same year.
However, when considering packaging, there are some added challenges.
Unlike the devices they protect, packaging is not often reused, and the materials they use are often not recycled effectively. The rigid structure needed to make the smooth, compact, papers and card used for Apple’s premium packaging necessitate the use of a large percentage, or a sole blend, of virgin paper—“new” paper. This is as recycled paper often loses structure, strength and density; why it’s most often used in soft papers like office paper, toilet paper and receipts or mixed with virgin paper for lower grade secondary packaging like cereal boxes.
While trade-ins and the iPhone Upgrade program require you to return the iPhone, boxes and accessories are not typically returned even though you receive new sets. This prevents them from being recycled effectively. General recyclers cannot recover materials as effectively because they cannot optimise their processes for a specific product or material like a manufacturer can.

iPhone Packaging, Today.

This brings us to iPhone packaging. Observing the packaging I have from the iPhone 4S to the iPhone XS Max, while the width and heights of the boxes have changed dramatically with iPhone dimensions, the depth, or thickness, hasn’t. Apart from the depth of the boxes, there’s one other thing that hasn’t changed significantly. Weight.
With all usable contents removed, leaving only the box and paperwork, the iPhone 4S box weighs approximately 194 grammes. The iPhone 5 box: 203g. iPhone 6 box: 213g. iPhone 7 box (sans paperwork): 192g. iPhone 8 Plus box: 253g. iPhone XS Max box: 240g.
By comparison, the iPhone 5—the lightest in the list—weighs 112 grammes. The iPhone XS Max—the heaviest—weighs 208 grammes. The boxes iPhones ship in, has, for almost a decade, weighed at least as much as the device itself, to almost double what the device it’s protecting weighs. Even the accessories with all their packaging—XS Max ones, none of which were counted in the box weights—only weigh about 82 grammes total.
Inside, there’s a notable transition away from plastics and a shift away from adhesives. Apple’s 2019 environmental responsibility report claims that they have reduced plastic use in their packaging by 48% in three years. However, when looking at the insides of the boxes I have, it’s notable that the deepest holes are for the charging adaptor (Type G plugs). At 40mm in a 60mm box, the adaptor is easily the thickest item in the packaging. The charging cables? They’re only 10mm tall in the wrapped configuration Apple ships them in.

What If?

So, what can be gained from removing the adaptor and earphones from the box? For starters, it reduces the weight of the accessories by over 70%, from 82 to 20 grammes—the weight of the remaining charging cables. Next, it eliminates the need for potentially 30 mm of depth in the iPhone boxes, allowing them to be (almost exactly) half the depth they have been for a decade—presumably also significantly decreasing its weight.
What does this mean? For one, it reduces the shipping emissions of each iPhone, when considering the packaging, due to weight. Taking the estimated number of iPhones shipped in 2018 (217 million), removing the 62 grammes of accessories alone would contribute to the potential reduction of 13,454,000 kgs of e-waste and associated shipping emissions yearly. Moreover, it allows for twice as many iPhones to be shipped in the same volume when compared to before. Seeing that shipping by volume also matters due to the inherent fuel consumption of the transports used, this further helps reduce the environmental impact of the transportation stage in the product lifecycle.
In fact, this has been done before. Fairphone 3 by Fairphone ships with only the phone, a screwdriver, bumper and documentation. They pride themselves on human rights and environmental consciousness, providing their USB cable, earphone and charger separately specifically to reduce environmental impact. Nokia tried something similar in 2009 with the N79 Eco. The effects? A smaller and lighter package when compared to the version that shipped with a charger.
Even today, a large number of popular personal electronic devices are shipped without a power adaptor. Most commonly battery-powered audio equipment like Bluetooth headphones and speakers. Flagship premium Bluetooth headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM3, Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, Beats Studio3 Wireless and the B&O H9 3rd Gen all ship without a USB adaptor. Even B&O’s high-end Beolit 17 wireless speaker does not include a power adaptor in the box.
But what about convenience? Many of you have wondered what would happen when you need to charge your new iPhone. iPhone has used USB cables since the very beginning, and lightning since 2012. In the past 8 years, if you’ve bought an iPhone, you already have a USB power adaptor and a lightning cable. If you’ve been using Android devices, you’ll also have either a USB-A or USB-C power adaptor, if not both. If Apple includes just the lightning cable, you’d likely be able to cover both camps.
In 2020, it is estimated that there are 3.5 billion smartphone users. This is expected to grow by 300 million in 2021. Approximately 1.5 billion smartphones were sold each year between 2016-2019. Assuming a steady rate, 20% of smartphones sold next year will go into the hands of first-time users.
Reversing that statistic, 80% of you possibly already have a compatible adaptor. If evenly distributing the cumulative smartphone sales of the past 6 years, assuming they all included USB adapters, you would have enough adapters for every person on the planet with leftovers. With the maturity of the market, even cars, planes, hotels and new houses have started integrating USB power plugs to respond to our need to keep our electronic devices powered. Besides, this doesn’t take into account the fact that a portion of these new owners will likely be youth. They likely have adults in the family with existing, possibly spare, USB adaptors, especially when you consider that iPhone falls in the premium category and has users that are generally more affluent or enjoy relatively high purchasing power (globally).
And the cherry on top? Transportation is only 5% of Apple’s carbon footprint, 74%, is in manufacturing. Removing the power adaptor has the potential to reduce 80% of Apple’s manufacturing needs for the 200+ million iPhone power adaptors it currently includes in the box. I think that would likely be a non-negligible figure. Also, the casing used for Power Adaptors? It’s a thermoset plastic due to safety reasons. That means it can’t be easily melted, recycled and remoulded. So every extra adaptor Apple manufactures, is one more piece of plastic that will likely not be recycled.

Summary

By not including accessories that many of us already have, Apple stands to reduce e-waste, manufacturing waste, manufacturing emissions as well as iPhone shipping emissions, all playing into the bigger picture of Apple achieving their goal of a zero-waste circular economy.

[Disclaimer, I am not affiliated with any of the mentioned companies or organisations, links are provided only to aid additional reading, many of the mentioned facts can be found in Apple's various environmental responsibility reports, opinions are my own]
submitted by ChristopherLXD to apple [link] [comments]

An Excellent Formulation of Thoughts on AM4 Support

This is not my post. I found this very well articulated comment made by SvD KILLSWITCH on YouTube, and it echoes my own thoughts, so I wanted to share it here.

Okay, here are my thoughts on AMD's current official stance on Zen 3 support. This is a long comment, but I've followed AM4 and Zen since its early inception so I've got a lot of thoughts.

Full disclaimer: I'm an early 1st-gen Ryzen adopter. I purchased a Ryzen 7 1700 and an ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VI HERO towards the end of March 2017. I'm not affiliated with any of the tech companies, I'm just a PC hardware enthusiast who has a few words for AMD.

AMD's official reasoning for discontinuing support for 300-series and 400-series chipsets is a load of bollocks. The size of the BIOS chip is irrelevant - it's entirely within AMD's ability to support Zen 3 on boards with 16 megabyte (128 megabit) flash chips. All that AMD would have to do is provide code for each series of Zen processor and allow the motherboard manufacturers to create multiple versions of their BIOS files as an intermediate step in upgrading from an older AM4-compatible processor to a Zen 3-based one.

For example, my CROSSHAIR VI HERO has a 16 megabyte flash chip, and currently supports the entire range of AM4-compatible processors, from the codename "Bristol Ridge" 7th generation A-series APUs released in 2016 (based on 28nm Excavator), all the way through to the codename "Matisse" 3rd generation Ryzen processors based on 7nm Zen 2. If AMD were to provide the necessary BIOS code for their range of Zen 3 processors and that increased the size of the BIOS beyond 16 megabyte, ASUS could provide two intermediary BIOS versions as part of the upgrade process. One version of the BIOS would support only Excavator-based, Zen 1-based, and Zen 3-based CPUs. The other version of the BIOS would support only Zen+-based, Zen 2-based, and Zen 3-based CPUs. Users upgrading to Zen 3 would select and flash the appropriate BIOS before swapping their old CPU out with a new Zen 3 CPU model.

All future BIOS versions can then contain a subset of the code for the CPUs compatible with AM4. For space reasons, ASUS might decide to remove the code for the older A-series APUs (Bristol Ridge), Ryzen 1000 (Summit Ridge), and Ryzen 2000 (Pinnacle Ridge CPUs and Raven Ridge APUs). That would leave them only shipping BIOS files with support for Ryzen 3000 (Matisse CPUs and Picasso APUs) and Ryzen 4000 (Vermeer CPUs and Renoir APUs).

I understand that currently, AMD has unified their AGESA microcode into one big "ComboPi" version that supports all currently available AM4 processors, but it's likely that with the launch of Zen 3, they will be required to do what they did when Zen 2 launched and fork their codebase while delivering initial support for Zen 3. In fact, that's what AMD will be required to do even if they cease supporting older boards, because they'll have to explicitly keep Zen 3 code separate from the rest so that older boards can't be updated. It wouldn't be a lot of engineering work to provide one version of code for each Zen series to facilitate the one-time BIOS upgrade process on older boards.

On the earlier point of AMD's claim that BIOS size limitations are the main factor in ceasing support for older motherboards, it's worth mentioning that while vendors like MSI released updated versions of their motherboards with 32 megabyte flash chips, there are still brand new X570 boards that only have the smaller 16 megabyte chips (Gigabyte for example), and yet they're obviously receiving support for Zen 3 just fine. Additionally, despite AMD's datasheets specifying that X570 doesn't support Zen 1 processors, the fact that AMD's "ComboPI" AGESA even exists means that most (if not all) X570 boards do in fact support Zen 1 CPUs and APUs just fine. It's the same deal for A320 and Zen 2 - most A320 boards received BIOS updates that allow the use of even a Ryzen 9 3950X on a lowly A320 motherboard.

The more pressing point I want to make though, is that if this was the plan all along and the 500-series was to be the break away from supporting older boards, then why has it taken this long for B550 to release? For months and months now since the launch of 3rd gen Ryzen, the only mid-range option available to buyers was B450. If you weren't buying a higher end Ryzen 7 or Ryzen 9 CPU and didn't need PCIe 4.0, the universal recommendation has been to buy a B450 motherboard and wait for Zen 3. AMD themselves have leaned heavily into the longevity of AM4 as a platform as a selling point, but pushing that point for the past few years is completely disingenuous if AMD aren't going to support the only chipsets that were available for purchase alongside 3rd gen Ryzen.

I've recommended several 2nd and 3rd gen Ryzen systems to friends and colleagues, and one of the reasons I have has always been "better future support than on a comparable Intel system". AMD are going to be shooting themselves in the foot if all the people who I suggested buy a Ryzen 5 3600 and a MSI B450M MORTAR MAX are SOL for upcoming processor support given B550 has been complete vaporware up until this point. Why deal with the uncertainty of AMD processor upgrades when you could instead opt for the consistency of Intel's two-generation support lifetime? At least that way you know when you'll need a motherboard upgrade.

At that point though, if AMD relents and decides to support B450 due to its availability on the market, surely they have to support the sister X470 chipset too, otherwise they'll be screwing over buyers of their high end hardware. And then, both the X470 and B450 chipsets are largely identical to X370 and B350, so why should they be left out? So we come back to the top of the discussion, and have to wonder why are AMD even ending support in the first place?

It's ultimately just AMD trying to cut costs and wash their hands of AM4's long term compatibility promise. It's easy for them to say "it's the socket that's lasted a long time", and be technically correct, but the socket is nothing without the chipsets and AMD has done nothing to correct peoples way of thinking, nor to inform us that 300 and 400-series motherboards would not be supported by Zen 3 in any of their roadmaps.

With the transition to DDR5 so close, all AMD have done is muddy the compatibility argument of AM4 as a platform and throw away much of the good will they've built up over the last few years. Not only are buyers of Ryzen from the last couple of years getting screwed out of future support, but future buyers are left in limbo too, because AMD hasn't committed to either AM4 nor a new socket for 2021. It's entirely possible that if AMD continues ahead with this planned compatibility cut, that buyers of B550 might get one generation of useful support before AMD transitions completely to AM5 for 2021 and 2022. On the other hand, even if Zen 3 turns out to be a big step forwards from Zen 2, good luck convincing existing Ryzen owners to upgrade when we all know that a new socket is coming. What of AM4's longevity then? It turns into the same argument I have against LGA1200 - With DDR5 so close, why lock yourself into only Comet Lake and Rocket Lake when we more or less know that Alder Lake is coming?

If AMD doesn't wake up and smell the roses, my almost guaranteed planned upgrade to Zen 3 will instead turn into a "wait until 2021/2022 to see what both AMD and Intel have in store for Zen 4 and Alder Lake".
submitted by Sh0ckwaveFlash to Amd [link] [comments]

Neumi BS5 Bookshelf Speaker Review

Neumi BS5 Bookshelf Speaker Review
First off, here's the link to the review via my site. There is additional information there that I am not including here. I am just covering the highlights here. If you want more details look at the review page here: https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/neumi_bs5/
Intro
I stumbled on talk of the Neumi BS5 speaker recently in the context of a potential high-value speaker. Out of curiosity, I went to the product page on Amazon to check them out and liked what I saw. I then pulled up the Neumi’s BS5 manual here is the link where I saw placement recommendations, and some other bits of information which all gave me the impression the manufacturer cares about how the user listens to their product rather than the old “sink or swim” attitude low-cost products leave you with. Generally, when this information is laid out for the user it also implies the product is worthwhile. At least, that’s the impression I am left with in those cases.
At any rate, Amazon had them listed for $90/pair (at the time of purchase) and I figured they were worth buying to review and pass the information on to the audio community so you all could either avoid them or feel comfortable spending your hard earned money on. So, I did.
Ultimately, while these aren’t the best performing speakers I’ve tested or heard, I do believe these provide a good value to the budget-limited audiophile. And, with a few engineering alterations, could be made into an even better value. Read on for more detail.
Product Specs and Photos

https://preview.redd.it/uyp1gni4wp751.jpg?width=1504&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=436dbf77633f61c634c699ad633dd3a4ddc0747f
https://preview.redd.it/3ggnpri4wp751.jpg?width=1504&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=9d23636faf4fe4e4e3e46bbdc44bf1116e124c51
https://preview.redd.it/vn861ti4wp751.jpg?width=844&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=8a17ba643db055a2244390afecbf5dd8d154f228
Impedance Phase and Magnitude:
Impedance measurements are provided both at 0.10 volts RMS and 2.83 volts RMS. The low-level voltage version is standard because it ensures the speakedriver is in linear operating range. The higher voltage is to see what happens when the output voltage is increased to the 2.83vRMS speaker sensitivity test.

https://preview.redd.it/2t44fz36wp751.png?width=5000&format=png&auto=webp&s=80db20356e272283aacef4d7a58c237c449e76ce
Frequency Response:
The measurement below provides the frequency response at the reference measurement axis - also known as the 0-degree axis or “on axis” plane - in this measurement condition was situated in-between with the woofer and the tweeter per the product manual. While the manual does do a good job of directing the user how to set up the speakers, I emailed Neumi to ask about listening angle and the grille use. I wanted to make sure I used the speakers the way they were designed to be used. Below is our email exchange:
I purchased your BS5 bookshelf speakers and was wondering:
Are these designed to be listened to on-axis (with the speaker aimed directly toward the listener) or at some angle off-axis? I assume the former.
Are these designed to be listened to with the grilles on or off? I assume off, as most speakers perform worse with the grilles on. Thank you.

Hi Erin, Thank you for your inquiry! The BS5 are designed to be listened to pointed straight forwards. If you like to have a slightly brighter response, you can point the speakers more towards the center position. We also tuned the BS5 without a grill. The grill was made afterwards to minimize its effect on the speaker output. It is fairly transparent but does change the response slightly.

If the speakers are to be aimed facing forward, that would be approximately 30-degrees off-axis in my room. I can toe them in or out if you recommend using a different positioning angle than this.

Hi Erin, Thanks for the additional information. I would start out pointing straight, then try it with 10-15 degree toe-in and see how that sounds to you, more than that, the toe-in would be pretty extreme and is not recommended.
So, per Neumi’s direction I listened to the speakers both on-axis (0°) and off-axis (≤30°) horizontally. I found the best angle to be directly on-axis. Otherwise, the treble was too subdued. When it came time to measure the speaker, I verified that 0° gave the most linear response and conducted the rest of my analysis with the reference axis being at 0° horizontally and between the mid/tweeter vertically.
Also, per Neumi’s direction, the grille was off for these measurements. I do have comparison data of the grille on vs off in my Miscellaneous section below.

https://preview.redd.it/tbf12uztwp751.png?width=5000&format=png&auto=webp&s=c403d03232c8937df57601230d91fc9e53172155
The mean SPL, approximately 84dB at 2.83v/1m, is calculated over the frequency range of 300Hz to 3,000Hz.
The blue shaded area represents the ±3dB response window from my calculated mean SPL value. As you can see in the blue window above, the Neumi BS5 has a ±3dB response from 64Hz - 20kHz but only if you ignore the dip in response around 800Hz. Neumi claims a ±3dB window of 50Hz - 20kHz (typical in-room). I don’t believe their spec is a reach but obviously the notch at ~800Hz throws things off. Unfortunately, this notch is pervasive and is brought on by the port, as far as I can tell (more discussion in the Near-Field measurements portion further down). A tighter window of linearity is provided in gray as ±1.5dB from the mean SPL and this speaker does a decent job of trying to stay within that range but the port noise at 800Hz and ~1600Hz make things fall out of that window fast. The treble above 8kHz also begins dipping/peaking enough to keep it out of the tighter window.
The speaker’s F3 point (the frequency at which the response has fallen 3dB relative to the mean SPL) is 64Hz and the F10 (the frequency at which the response has fallen by 10dB relative to the mean SPL) is 43Hz. For a small, and super light bookshelf speaker with a 5-inch woofer this is on par with what you would expect. You’re going to need a subwoofer if you want low bass and/or decent output below 100Hz.

https://preview.redd.it/wgsppcqhwp751.png?width=5000&format=png&auto=webp&s=098ed79ee00a07be00b08bc8e076587280edcd13
https://preview.redd.it/w7qq6bqhwp751.png?width=5000&format=png&auto=webp&s=6476c6d6a2d2f08a46d04cf6af250f067628ed6d
https://preview.redd.it/8cprzaqhwp751.png?width=3333&format=png&auto=webp&s=4de3016d81d8791c7bec880a7ba855e872d6b1e8
https://preview.redd.it/w5yb0dqhwp751.png?width=3333&format=png&auto=webp&s=e7011a9aa7bf059ddeaa221dbf03ed5459b145a5
https://preview.redd.it/nmqic8qhwp751.png?width=3333&format=png&auto=webp&s=69016a22d7cacadcc790395243c0d8d388f8c97a
https://preview.redd.it/4y5269qhwp751.png?width=5000&format=png&auto=webp&s=e2f551b06cb545d6067fd3a19cae5ecf31dec387
CEA-2034 (aka: Spinorama):

https://preview.redd.it/m9s6taujwp751.png?width=5000&format=png&auto=webp&s=a6914a5c1f86d2135f4a0315f9c82065998746f1
What we can learn from this data is that this speaker has significant directivity problems thanks to the deep nulls at ~800Hz and ~1600Hz. You can see it in the above spectrogram and globe plots as well as in all the measurements in the above graphic. The crossover is stated as 2.1kHz by Neumi and the nearfield data backs this up. Therefore, in this region you can see the directivity mismatch. Looking at 1kHz you see a rising DI until approximately 2.5kHz where the Early Reflections DI dips back down again. This is a sign the transition from mid to tweeter is occurring as the woofer is beginning to beam (radiate more forward than omnidirectional) and the tweeter is taking over, omnidirectional until approximately 6.5kHz (calculated based on dome size of 1 inch). The DI flattens out a bit through here but as the tweeter begins to radiate more directionally the DI increases again above ~7kHz. The tweeter rolls off sharply above 16kHz, causing directivity to increase further. What does this all mean to you? Well, mismatches in what is coming directly at you, on-axis, vs what is reflected around you can cause issues in stage and tonality cues.
Below is a breakout of the typical room’s Early Reflections contributors (floor bounce, ceiling, rear wall, front wall and side wall reflections). From this you can determine how much absorption you need and where to place it to help remedy strong dips from the reflection(s). Notice the strong dips again at 800Hz and 1600Hz.

https://preview.redd.it/dnr8dzomwp751.png?width=5000&format=png&auto=webp&s=2d9ed016da5220dbdbae7502739579014f5fa9b7
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) and Compression:
Using the 93dB measurement tells you the measured low-frequency distortion at about 80Hz is near 3% THD and 6% at 40Hz. Will you hear that? Pure distortion is more subjective and depends not just on the listener but also no the program material.
I typically use distortion to tell me where mechanical failures are because the distortion I hear is typically either a rattle, buzz, plop from a woofer extending too far, or something along those lines. The bass is usually the problem. But in this speaker the midrange exhibits distortion at higher output levels and was also audible in my listening (primarily with male vocals).

https://preview.redd.it/wmgclbfwwp751.png?width=5000&format=png&auto=webp&s=f8e6babdf1b88bb2af527783b9807f6023ad419a
The compression effects shown in the image below are a visual way of seeing just what happens as the volume is increased. This one is straight-forward. Take the legend’s SPL value and add or subtract the data from the graphic. This tells you if you’re losing or gaining output (yes, you can gain output from compression; as un-intuitive as that seems). Mostly, the compression results in a loss due to temperature increase in the voice coil of the drive unit. Let’s look at a specific example. Take the 90dB at 4 meters target listening volume provided above. Again, you need 93dB’s (7.62vRMS) data. At that volume, the highest amount of compression measured is about 1dB at 40Hz and about 0.25dB at 50Hz, decreasing until about 200Hz. At some points the speaker suffered >2dB compression at 40Hz with 14vRMS. Overall, the compression results tell you what common sense would tell you: don’t try to use this speaker in place of a subwoofer at anything other than lower volumes. Otherwise, at louder listening volumes you lose over 1dB of output. And it is audibly present as a very grainy and “limited” sound; there are no dynamics at this output and that’s exactly what I heard in my listening tests when I pushed the speaker to uncomfortable levels.

https://preview.redd.it/475o4icywp751.png?width=5000&format=png&auto=webp&s=064fdedd9cfabeae16ba1861d2c5674092e84f4b
Extra Measurements:
These are just some extra sets of measurements I completed. Some, I didn’t process through my MATLAB scripts so they’re kind of raw. But I know some would like to see them so here you go.

Grille on vs Grille off at 0° and 45°.
The grille on case results in an increase in comb filtering (higher amplitude peaks/dips). Leave the grille off.

https://preview.redd.it/bbyxcf11xp751.png?width=5000&format=png&auto=webp&s=696542e4958025335e1fa448c05ec815d6e19ae8


Nearfield measurements.
Mic placed about 0.50 inches from each drive unit and port. While I tried to make these as accurate in SPL as I could, I cannot guarantee the relative levels are absolutely correct so I caution you to use this data as a guide but not representative of actual levels (measuring in the nearfield makes this hard as a couple millimeters’ difference between measurements can alter the SPL level). Got it? Good.
There are a few noteworthy things here:
  • Port resonance is very, very strong and clearly contributes to the on-axis response dips at ~800Hz and ~1600Hz.
  • The area between 300Hz to 700Hz (just before the 800Hz dip) is elevated slightly. This area also lines up with the increased THD levels I discussed earlier. This could be coincidence. But I believe they are related. Maybe the port is having more of an effect in this region than it needs to?
  • Woofer break-up contributes to a few on-axis resonances we see. Particularly, 4.5kHz.
  • There are other things going on here but I don’t have the time to reverse engineer this speaker. Not that I could.

https://preview.redd.it/257wf855xp751.png?width=5000&format=png&auto=webp&s=3c1722fa7d1d372bf5c34b96bd11c027a2c5b46a

Plugging the port (making the speaker sealed).
To test whether the ports were, indeed, the culprit of the deep nulls I took my socks off and plugged the ports. Don’t worry, I had only been wearing the socks for 3 days. Sure enough, plugging the ports filled in the nulls. But it also decreased the low frequency output by about 2dB below 300Hz.

https://preview.redd.it/sbuex7d8xp751.png?width=5000&format=png&auto=webp&s=7f111cacbd0712f1ad8d13015549f490ff1d6dd4
Objective Evaluation:
Much of what I am about to say I have already touched on under the data. But to recap:
Impedance:
  • Minimum load of about 4.6 Ohms. But mostly > 6 Ohms. Check your receiver or amplifier’s spec to make sure it can drive a 6 Ohm load without issue.
  • Wiggles around 200Hz and 280Hz indicate resonance which also shows up in frequency response.
Frequency Response/Spectrograms/Globes/Spinorama:
  • I measured an average of 84.2dB @ 2.83v/1m.
  • I measured a ±3dB response from 64Hz - 20kHz but only if you ignore the dip in response around 800Hz. Neumi claims a ±3dB window of 50Hz - 20kHz (typical in-room). Buy a subwoofer if you want to listen loud and low.
  • Numerous resonances; most caused by the port. Woofer breakup shows up in a few places as well.
  • Directivity shifts caused by inadequate crossover order and resonances from the ports and woofer.
Distortion/Compression:
  • High distortion at 40Hz but understandable given woofer size.
  • High levels of compression at high output below 100Hz.
  • Elevated midrange distortion (audible at higher volumes).
  • These are both audible effects when listening full-range as I did.
  • Don’t expect much bass below 80Hz out of these speakers. Buy a subwoofer for that.
If more time/money were spent on taming the resonances and break-up modes I think this speaker could be markedly improved. But, for $90, you kind of expect these things. Namely because higher order crossovers are not cheap and take up real-estate.
Subjective Evaluation:

https://preview.redd.it/d41xvse9xp751.jpg?width=1504&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=6dc14f40f174741d903189ec5eeaafe60f0bec51
Subjective Analysis Setup:
  • The speaker was aimed on-axis with the tweeter at ear level.
  • I used Room EQ Wizard (REW) and my calibrated MiniDSP UMIK-1 to get the volume on my AVR relative to what the actual measured SPL was in the MLP (~11 feet from the speakers). I varied it between 85-90dB, occasionally going up to the mid 90’s to see what the output capability was. In a poll I found most listen to music in this range. Realistically, 90dB is loud for long-term listening volume and I find most overestimate their listening volume until an SPL microphone is used to determine the actual level.
  • All speakers are provided a relatively high level of Pseudo Pink-Noise for a day or two - with breaks in between - in order to calm any “break-in” concerns.
  • I demoed these speakers without a crossover and without EQ.
I listened to these speakers and made my subjective notes before I started measuring objectively. I did not want my knowledge of the measurements to influence my subjective opinion. This is important because I want to try to correlate the objective data with what I hear in my listening space in order to determine the validity of the measurement process. I try to do a few listening sessions over a couple days so I can give my ears a break and come back “fresh”. I also want to be as transparent to you as I can be so below are my subjective evaluations made before I began any measurements.

https://preview.redd.it/vfe8iygdxp751.png?width=5000&format=png&auto=webp&s=98c08f0155dedaafcb2613b05dbe6b193ecf389f
Here’s the rundown of my subjective notes (in quotes) and where it fits with objective:
  • Overall, I found the max SPL I could drive the speakers to was around 90-92dB at my listening position, depending on the music. That’s loud. But once I got past this point the compression was very audible and all the dynamics went away. This was most evident on the opening bass notes of Lauryn Hill’s song. It was very evident that I had reached the “brick wall” output here, even though the woofers weren’t mechanically falling apart like I would have expected.
  • In my listening tests the main thing that stood out to me was the high-frequency balance being off. In some cases it sounded about 1-3dB too low. In a few cases I heard some ‘sizzle’ on instruments that I do not believe are correct (I didn’t make the album; I can’t know for sure). The data tends to agree with that in relation to the rest of the spectrum. There are some hot spots here and there discussed previously.
  • I felt room ambiance was lacking in some recordings. For example, I noted this in “Higher Love”.
  • I made a few notes about resonance in lower vocals and questioned if I could “hear cabinet ringing”. I noticed this primarily in “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and “Tell Yer Mama”.
  • I noted midrange distortion at ~ 90dB (at 11 feet) in both Jim Croce’s and John Mayer’s tracks. I wasn’t sure what this was when I listened the first time, but the data clearly shows an increased level of distortion smack in the middle of the midrange. I went back through a final round of listening after I saw the data and on the “He Mele No Lilo” track, at the end, I could hear distortion in the singer’s voice. It seems I noticed this distortion in male vocals.
  • I noted some things that I hadn’t heard or wasn’t used to hearing with other speakers. For example, Chaka Khan’s voice as background singer in Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” was more present. I don’t know what to attribute this to… is it a distortion in the midrange? Is it the breakup from the midwoofer at higher frequencies? Is it a relative thing; the dips at ~800Hz and ~1600Hz causing other areas to be more noticeable than a more flat speaker?
  • The bass was punchy; the harmonics of kickdrums and synth sounded good. But there was no weight to those because the speaker just doesn’t play that well below about 100Hz.
  • The stage width was a weird one. In some songs it didn’t seem wider than 10° outside the speakers (so, about 40° total) where with other songs it was wider than this. Each recording is different, and you do want a stereo system that expands and contracts proportionately with the music. But I believe the variance in this case is more attributable to the directivity changes caused by the crossover and resonances.
I also turned the speakers to be about 10 to 30° off-axis to see if I could get rid of the harsh treble. That didn’t help much at all and when you view the data you can see the off-axis response has low directivity around 4kHz (meaning, the sound is more omnidirectional at this frequency) which indicates the bright 4kHz region would be noticeable through a wider region of angles. I believe this explains the “biting” noise I was hearing as well.
I didn't have a chance to run Dirac Live so I can't speak to what the sound would be post room correction.

Bottom Line
This speaker doesn’t measure perfectly. And, for the most part, I was able to match areas of concern between my subjective listening session and my measurements. Though, I didn’t have any significant gripes about the sound. The one main dislike for me was the reduced treble compared to the midrange. The bass is pretty well blended to the midrange despite the moderate bump in response around 100Hz. There is not much output below this at higher levels, but I can forgive the shortcomings in the bass department because the BS5 isn’t trying to pretend that it can play like a subwoofer. I have seen other 5-inch woofers with higher linear excursion than what these woofers are seemingly capable of but just one of those drive-units alone costs more than this pair of speakers. The midrange distortion is an issue if you’re going to listen at high levels; for me being at 90dB at 11 feet (which is about 93dB at 8 feet per this awesome calculator). These aren’t reference level speakers. But I think anyone buying them understands the implicit output limitations. Under 90dB at 11 feet, the sound is more balanced and undistorted.
Personally, I think these speakers would be better suited as desktop/computer speakers sealed (stuff the ports) and against a wall. The wall would give you a +6dB increase on the lower end to help make up for the plugged ports but plugging the ports would get rid of the nasty resonances that plague this speaker. I would not place these in a corner in a small room, though. Doing so creates a combing effect you do not want. Alternatively, you can use these as small satellite speakers for a budget-minded home theater. However, if you want ultimate hi-fidelity at reference levels on a shoestring budget then these speakers are not it. The frequency response deviations and distortion keep it from that goal. But, when used within reasonable limits, this is a “fun” little speaker that is enjoyable and a great entry into the hi-fi realm at $90/pair. I hate using the “but it’s cheap” argument but, really, this is a $90 pair of bookshelf speakers. More than that, though, there’s no marketing language by Neumi to suggest they are the best speakers ever. Nothing that overstates their capabilities that I have seen. I think Neumi had a target in mind with this price and performance and I believe they hit it.
I’m going to plug my Amazon affiliate link one last time just in case you want to buy these. I know, I know… I’m a sellout.
https://amzn.to/2Abda9w
The End
If you like what you see here and want to help me keep it going, you can donate via the PayPal Contribute button at the bottom of each page. Testing and reporting the data and analysis takes me approximately 8-10 hours each. It’s definitely a labor of love. That said, there’s no fame or fortune in this and all my test speakers are typically purchased and paid for by myself with help from contributions or purchases made through my affiliate links (which is negligible). Your donations help me pay for new test items, shipping costs, hardware to build and test, etc. Even a few dollars is more helpful than nothing. If you don’t mind chipping in a few bucks now and again it would truly be appreciated.
Here's a direct link to contribute.
https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/contribute/
Again, any bit is really appreciated. I would love to be able to fund a remote controlled turntable for my measuring. As it is, I walk about 2 miles (literally) between my computer and the DUT to spin it about 150 or so times (ground plane measurement + free-field measurement) at a distance of 40+ feet one-way which adds up.




Edit: Neumi BS5 Bookshelf Speaker video review is now up! https://youtu.be/NnGbd9hxZe8
submitted by hardisj to BudgetAudiophile [link] [comments]

Beyond Ghislaine: The Maxwell Octopus

Robert Maxwell (born Ján Ludvík Hyman Binyamin Hoch) was born into a poor yiddish-speaking Jewish community in Czechoslovakia in 1923. When Nazi Germany invaded Czechoslovakia during the Second World War, Maxwell fled to France as part of an underground organization ferrying youth out of his homeland. Still a teenager, this would be his first taste of the world of spycraft, an occupation which would define the remainder of his inscrutable life. After several years spent engaged in underground resistance activities which saw him shuttled across Eastern Europe and the Middle East he eventually found himself back in France, now a member of the French Foreign Legion and an active participant in the French Resistance, utilizing the newly acquired pseudonym of Ivan du Maurier.
After participating in the Allied invasion of Normandy, Maxwell (soon to adopt the name of Leslie Johnson) was shortly recruited by British Intelligence. Already a seasoned veteran of international espionage, the young man's multilingualism and underground connections made him a valuable asset to the British government. He continued to work for Britain in the years leading up to the end of the war and in its immediate aftermath, ostensibly as a press attache to the foreign office in Berlin. His actual assignment was to interrogate captured German scientists, work likely done in conjunction with the Alsos Mission, a branch of the American Manhattan Project which cooperated with British forces to collect and classify information on Germany's atomic weapons program. Though the goal of Alsos was primarily to prevent sensitive information from falling into Soviet hands, Maxwell soon also became affiliated with Soviet intelligence due to his desire to seek out surviving relatives who still resided in his homeland, now under Soviet jurisdiction.
He changed his name for the last time in 1945, and as the newly-christened Captain Robert Maxwell married Elisabeth Meynard, a native of France and the future mother of all nine of his children. Still working for allied intelligence, Maxwell began to anticipate the value his work could have on the private market. He started to gather German and Russian scientific documents and research papers which were unknown in the English-speaking world, with the intention of later selling or publishing them for profit.
Meanwhile, in America, a young scientist and child of Czech immigrants by the name of Frank Malina was establishing an international reputation for himself in the field of rocketry and aeronautics. As a graduate student at Caltech, Malina and his longtime friend Jack Parsons founded the research center that would later become the Jet Propulsion Lab. Parsons, himself a brilliant young rocket scientist, was also an avid follower of notorious British occultist Aleister Crowley. Parsons' involvement with Crowley's Thelema movement was so deep that he would eventually become the leader of the California branch of the Ordo Templi Orientis, a Thelemite initiatory organization whose practices included ritualistic sex magic and the summoning of supernatural beings. Thelemites shunned traditional religion and morality in favor of a belief in the supreme power of the will, an echo of Hitler's Nazi philosophy which was itself rooted in the same spiritualist and theosophist ideas as Crowley's. The supreme goal of Thelema, as with all occult practices, is the ultimate union of mind and matter, the combination of the disciplines of science, art, philosophy and religion into a single comprehensible whole. While continuing to work closely with Malina at this time, Parsons also became closely affiliated with Scientology founder and fellow occultist L. Ron Hubbard.
Malina and Parsons went on to form the Aerojet Corporation, a rocket and missile manufacturer from which Parsons was ousted in 1944. In early 1945, Aerojet was purchased by General Tire, a company whose business included contracts with the U.S. military during the second World War. Later in 1945, Malina's research facility was moved to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico where the first Atomic Bomb was detonated that same year.
Leaving the British Army in 1947, Robert Maxwell utilized his military and intelligence connections to go into business as the British and US distributor for Springer Verlag, a Berlin-based publisher of scientific texts which had been taken over by Allied forces after the war. Maxwell soon purchased a majority share of the company, which he re-dubbed Pergamon Press, a reference to the ancient Greek city and center of pagan worship of the same name. During this time, Maxwell also became heavily involved with the newly-designated Israeli intelligence service Mossad, a connection which would arguably remain his primary allegiance throughout the remainder of his life.
In 1947 Frank Malina left rocketry and his native country behind to move to France, ostensibly because he had grown disenchanted with the military applications of his research, although at this time he was also being investigated by the FBI for his undisclosed involvement with American communist organizations in his youth (an ideology Parsons had also toyed with before moving onto more esoteric concerns). Malina took a job in Paris as Secretariat of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), where he worked under famed English eugenicist Julian Huxley, the father of mysticist author Aldous Huxley.
Back in America, Parsons was also increasingly hounded by the FBI. He devised a plan to flee to Israel after he was offered a job working for the infant Israeli rocket program, but a suspicious transfer of documents led to allegations of espionage from the FBI (later dismissed in court). Parsons remained in America until his 1952 death in a mysterious laboratory explosion, the cause of which would never be sufficiently explained.
After his stint with UNESCO, Malina left the organization to pursue his interest in art. In 1968, while still living in Paris, he founded 'Leonardo', an academic journal published by MIT Press which covered the application of science to the arts. The journal remained his primary concern until his death from natural causes in 1981, at which point control of Leonardo turned over to his son Roger Malina.
Maxwell, meanwhile, was busy building his publishing and media empire, amassing a variety of subsidiaries including newspapers, television networks and tech companies. He spent six years as a Member of British Parliament in the 1960s before being defeated in the election of 1970. Though nominally a British citizen, all of his children were born in the wealthy suburbs of Paris, their mother's native land. As his wealth and influence rose, Maxwell remained deeply entangled with MI6, the KGB, the CIA and Mossad.
In the 1970s Maxwell became involved in an intelligence operation centered around PROMIS, a database management software program that could be described as a forerunner to modern internet search engines. PROMIS was groundbreaking in its time, allowing the user to aggregate disparate databases into a single accessible interface. Though initially designed to help prosecutor's offices track and share data, the program quickly caught the attention of intelligence agencies who foresaw its potential for monitoring and compiling information in a variety of fields. In a sense, their plan could be viewed as a nascent version of the information gathering activities which would be exposed by Edward Snowden decades later.
The U.S. Department of Justice hired two men with connections to the Israeli defense forces to infiltrate Inslaw, the company which had produced PROMIS, under the pretense of being potential buyers for the Israeli Public Prosecutor's office. In reality, the men were sent to steal PROMIS and bring it back to their clients in U.S. and Israeli intelligence without Inslaw's knowledge. Their mission accomplished, the thieves soon devised bigger plans for the software than its application to their own systems. They hatched a scheme to sell the software to foreign intelligence agencies with covert back doors, thus obtaining a worldwide database of the intelligence activities of all the major powers in the world. In order to enact this plan they needed a middle-man with deep connections in the global intelligence community, someone who would be trusted as a known quantity by all. Naturally, they turned to Robert Maxwell.
Maxwell used his corporate empire (he had quietly purchased several fledgling Israeli tech companies which served as fronts for the sales) to broker deals with China, the KGB, and anyone else who would be interested in the ground-breaking software. Before long he even began to double-cross his own handlers, helping create new backdoors for China and Israel so that they in turn could spy on the Americans. The software began to find its way into banking systems and government databases worldwide, growing into a vast interconnected network which came to be dubbed "The Octopus". At the head of this Octopus was not any particular state government or intelligence agency, but Robert Maxwell himself, the only man who had been able to game the technology to his own advantage without being taken advantage of in turn.
When Inslaw discovered how their technology was being used they filed a series of lawsuits against the DOJ alleging that PROMIS was illegally stolen from their company. Without these lawsuits, it is unlikely that any of the information regarding PROMIS would have ever come to light. The lawsuits were predictably ruled in favor of the US Government, bankrupting Inslaw in the process. Danny Casolaro, a journalist who was covering the story (the man who coined the term 'The Octopus') was found dead in a hotel room in 1991, his wrists slashed several times in an apparent suicide. Casolaro had complained of threatening phone calls in the days leading up to his death, and his family have long asserted that he was murdered.
Eventually, Maxwell's double-dealing caught up with him. At the behest of China's Secret Service he sold a compromised version of PROMIS to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, birthplace of the American atomic bomb. This modified version of PROMIS installed at the Los Alamos facility was designed to give Chinese Intelligence access to America's nuclear secrets. The affair became the subject of several FBI investigations regarding Maxwell's conduct, documents regarding which have never been made publicly available except in a prohibitively redacted form. Western intelligence agencies, Israel in particular, were incensed at Maxwell's dealings with China, which they saw as a betrayal of his allegiance. For the first time, serious discussion of Maxwell as a potential liability began to take place.
In 1991, while travelling aboard his yacht 'The Lady Ghislaine' (named after his youngest and favorite daughter) Maxwell fell overboard into the Atlantic ocean. His body was recovered the next morning and the cause of his death was officially ruled as a heart attack which led to an accidental drowning. Rumors of his murder continue to persist to this day, occassionally spurred on by daughter Ghislaine herself. Robert Maxwell was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, at a funeral attended by several Israeli government officials and known intelligence operatives.
In the aftermath of his death, Maxwell's empire fell apart. Financial improprieties were discovered and the Maxwell companies were soon bankrupt. The stage was set for a new generation of Maxwells to assume his position.
Twin sisters Isabel and Christine Maxwell moved to Silicon Valley in the 1980s, and despite having no apparent formal training in technology, founded the early internet search engine and e-mail provider Magellan. After selling this company, Christine would go on to form Chiliad, a data analysis company with its headquarters in the Washington D.C. suburb of Herndon, VA. An announcement on the appointment of Christine as the company's interim CEO in 2013 boasts
"The company’s Discovery/Alert big data search tool – operationally proven by the US law enforcement community – reaches across information stored in incompatible databases, documents and applications held in separate departments and organizations to provide the proactive, real-time situational awareness necessary for protection and preparedness."
-A perfectly accurate description of the PROMIS software co-opted by her father a few decades earlier. A 2008 article in Business Wire quotes Chiliad CEO Dan Ferranti as saying "In just a few years, Chiliad will be known as principal arms supplier to the information age."
In 1986 Christine married Roger Malina, the MIT-educated son of Frank Malina, and current editor of his father's 'Leonardo' journal. While it is unclear where and when the couple first met, it would seem that there was no shortage of opportunities for the two to cross paths considering their long shared family histories of involvement in Parisian society, technology, government service, and science publishing.
After two failed early marriages, Christine's twin sister Isabel would herself find love with a man named Al Seckel. Seckel was an avid atheist activist and collector of optical illusions, a self-styled intellectual whose academic credentials were overstated at best and non-existent at worst. The source of Seckel's finances were never entirely clear. He described himself as a dealer of rare books, but those who dealt with him in this capacity described him as a con artist and swindler. Seckel ingratiated himself with the academic society around Caltech and was well known for the lavish parties he threw, often packed with celebrities of academia and entertainment. His primary academic concern seemed to be the field of cognitive psychology, specifically the psychology of perception. It was a subject which surely overlapped with the interests of his brother-in-law, editor of the 'Leonardo' Roger Malina.
Many of Seckel and Malina's interests would also be shared by the longtime companion of their wives' younger sister Ghislaine, the namesake of the boat from which their father fell to his death. This man, Jeffrey Epstein, is likely already well-known to the reader. Ghislaine allegedly met Epstein in the early 1990s, a time when she was still heavily involved in her father's business dealings. Suffice it to say that Epstein would seem to fit right in with the Maxwell archetype- a shady cosmopolite of mysterious origins with unaccountable finances, questionable morality and deep ties to the worlds of scientific academia (especially at Caltech and MIT), technology, finance, French society, and, perhaps most importantly, international intelligence- specifically as related to the state of Israel. In 2010, two years after Epstein's conviction on charges of soliciting a child for prostitution, Al Seckel hosted a "private scientific conference" on Epstein's island which was attended by numerous superstars of scientific academia. As a side note, Epstein's island is known to contain a mysterious temple, the design of which makes use of optical illusions, labyrinthine motifs, a statue of Poseidon and twin golden owls, figures associated with occult and pagan symbolism. The purpose of the temple has never been fully explained.
Al Seckel would eventually be found dead in 2015 near his home in France after having apparently fallen off a cliff. After his death it was discovered that his marriage to Isabel Maxwell was never legitimate, as Seckel had still been legally married to a previous wife. In the last years of his life Seckel was reported as having been trying to sell the personal papers of his late father-in-law Robert Maxwell.
With Epstein apparently dead (typically, under mysterious circumstances) and Ghislaine Maxwell arrested, one might be tempted to feel a sense of closure regarding their crimes. The truth, as outlined here, is far more complicated. In all likelihood, the activities of the youngest Maxwell and her notorious associate were actually just a small branch of a much larger story, one with deep roots in the history of post-WWII academia, society, international espionage, and perhaps even the occult. It is difficult to draw conclusions from such disparate facts, and it is unlikely that the questions which arise can be easily answered. At a bare minimum, it seems fair to suggest that there is far more to the story of Robert Maxwell and his extended family than meets the eye.
submitted by evil_pope to Epstein [link] [comments]

Gaarawarr's Guide to Midsummer - Year 3

Last Updated: Updated Beadle & Grimm's variant tips - July 16th, 2020, at 2pm Pacific
Last Updated: Updated Beadle & Grimm's info - July 15th, 2020, at 3pm Pacific
Last Updated: Initial Post
 

Event Introduction

The Champions arrive in Waterdeep to enjoy the festival of Midsummer. However, upon arrival the party is summoned by the Blackstaff of Waterdeep, Vajra Safahr.
The Open Lord of Waterdeep is missing, and to make matters more complicated, it's the day before Shieldmeet, when the Open Lord reaffirms the rule of the hidden lords...
Midsummer runs from July 15th, 2020, at Noon PST, thru July 27th, 2020, at Noon PST.
You can find the official Midsummer blog post here.
 

General Event Tips

I highly recommend reading my Guide to Event Planning for basic progression information and ways to maximize your gains/efficiency during Events. There is too much information to put here as this specific Event guide is long enough already.
 
Don't be afraid to ask questions in the comment section! Also, I stream the game now and welcome any and all questions there as well!
You can find all of my Idle Champions guides here.
Good luck & have fun!
~ Gaar
 
Note: Event guides are always a work-in-progress and will update over time so check back frequently! I'll note at the top in the revisions area when it's complete.
 

Year One Champion - Xander, the Human Rogue

You can find their Event Guide here.
Feel free to ask questions about them and their formations here in the comments as the linked discussion may be locked to new comments.
 

Year Two Champion - Shandie, the Halfling Rogue

You can find their Event Guide here.
Feel free to ask questions about them and their formations here in the comments as the linked discussion may be locked to new comments.
 

Year Three Champion - Beadle & Grimm, Dwarf Rogue/Wizard and Human Barbarian

You can read their original Champion Spotlight here.
Slot 8: Swaps with Delina, Hitch, Nrakk, Vlahnya, & Walnut.
Good with: Barbarians; Champs with high STR, DEX, or INT
Eligible for Patrons: Mirt, Vajra, & Strahd
 
Class Race Alignment Gender Age Affiliation Role(s) Overwhelm Point
Beadle - Rogue/Wizard Dwarf Neutral Male 91 None Support/Gold 5
Grimm - Barbarian Human Chaotic Good Male 26 None DPS/Support 5
 
Champion Strength Dexterity Constitution Intelligence Wisdom Charisma
Beadle 13 17 12 16 10 8
Grimm 18 12 16 12 9 14
 
Bio: Beadle and Grimm have been best friends & adventuring partners their entire lives. Together, they have faced the most dangerous foes their realm had to offer and built a respite alongside the frozen north's harsh realities: The Giant's Bane Tavern.
 
Base Attack Speed: 6.5s
Basic Attack:
  • Beadle: Magic Wand — Beadle bonks a random enemy with a wand (dealing half damage). This unleashes two magic missiles that fly out and hit two other random enemies for full damage.
  • Grimm: Giant's Bane — Grimm cleaves through the nearest enemies with his two enormous greatswords.
Ultimate: Their ultimate attack changes based on who is currently in play.
  • Beadle — Grimm leaps into the fray, smashing a random enemy and all nearby enemies before leaping back into the formation while Beadle teleports into the shadows to recover.
  • Grimm — Beadle teleports into the center of the battle and explodes with arcane magic, damaging and stunning all enemies. He then slips quietly back into the formation as Beadle leaps away for a brief rest.
 

Interesting Abilities

Get Buff: Beadle and Grimm increase the damage of themselves or the Champions around them.
  • Beadle Increase the damage of Champions within 2 slots of himself by 100%
  • Grimm Increase the damage of Grimm by 100% for each Barbarian in the formation, stacking multiplicatively
Special Order: Beadle and Grimm provide a utility to help the party.
  • Beadle - Whenever Beadle damages an enemy that is not at full health, that enemy will drop 25% more gold when it is killed. Does not stack.
  • Grimm - Enemies damaged by Grimm take 25% more damage until they are killed (except from ultimates). Can stack additively up to 10 times on a single enemy.
Long Rest: While Beadle is active, Grimm's buff increases by 1 stack every 10 seconds. While Grimm is active, Beadle's buff increases by 1 stack every 10 seconds. When a Champion swaps out using their Tag Team ultimate, their stacks are reset, and while they're in-play their stacks reduce by 1 every 10 seconds. Stacks are additive.
  • Beadle — Increase the effect of Beadle's Get Buff by 10% per stack
  • Grimm — Increase the effect of Grimm's Special Order by 10% per stack
Inseparable: Beadle and Grimm are so inseparable that if either one qualifies for an adventure restriction based on their tags, ages, ability scores, then both can be used.
 

Beadle's Specializations

As Quick As Me: Increase the effect of Beadle's Get Buff by 100% for each Champion with a DEX score of 17 or higher, stacking multiplicatively and then applying to Get Buff multiplicatively
As Clever As Me: Increase the effect of Beadle's Get Buff by 100% for each Champion with an INT score of 16 or higher, stacking multiplicatively and then applying to Get Buff multiplicatively.

Grimm's Specializations

Chip Away: Increases the effect of Grimm's Special Order by 100% (up to 50% per stack)
Strongman Contest: Grimm's Get Buff now also adds a stack for any Champion with a STR score of 18 or higher.
 

Equipment

White Green Blue Purple
Slot 1: Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm
Slot 2: Increases the damage of all Champions
Slot 3: Increases Beadle & Grimm's Get Buff ability
Slot 4: Increases Beadle & Grimm's Special Order ability
Slot 5: Increases Beadle & Grimm's Long Rest ability
Slot 6: Increases Beadle & Grimm's Ultimate Attack Damage
 

Feats

First slot is available at 180 while the second is available at 1000.
Gaar's Note: You'll need to level this Champion past their upgrade softcap to unlock their second Feat slot.
Found Name Effect
Default Tavern Brawler Increases the damage of Beadle by 30%
Default Selflessness Increases the damage of all Champions by 10%
Default Lucky Increases all Gold found by 10%
12,500 Gems Grappler Increases the damage of Beadle by 60%
12,500 Gems Fortune's Favor Increases all Gold found by 25%
12,500 Gems Order Up! Increases the effect of B&G's Special Order abilities by 40%
Regular Gold Chest Inspiring Leader Increases the damage of all Champions by 25%
Regular Gold Chest Show of Strength Increases the effect of B&G's Get Buff abilities by 40%
Regular Gold Chest Cooldown Increases the effect of B&G's Long Rest abilities by 40%
 

Level Upgrades

Level Upgrade Effect
10 Tag Team
20 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 200%
30 Get Buff
40 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 200%
50 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 200%
60 Special Order
70 Long Rest
80 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 200%
90 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Get Buff abilities by 100%
100 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 200%
110 Beadle's Specialization Choice
120 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 200%
130 Increases the damage of all Champions by 300%
140 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 200%
150 Grimm's Specialization Choice
160 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 200%
180 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Special Order abilities by 100%
190 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
200 Increases the damage of all Champions by 300%
210 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Get Buff abilities by 100%
220 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
245 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
270 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
280 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Long Rest abilities by 100%
290 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
300 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Special Order abilities by 100%
320 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
330 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Get Buff abilities by 100%
360 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
400 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
410 Increases the damage of all Champions by 300%
420 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Special Order abilities by 100%
440 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
450 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Get Buff abilities by 100%
480 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
490 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Long Rest abilities by 100%
530 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
540 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Special Order abilities by 100%
570 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Get Buff abilities by 100%
580 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
610 Increases the damage of all Champions by 300%
630 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
660 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Special Order abilities by 100%
670 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
690 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Get Buff abilities by 100%
700 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Long Rest abilities by 100%
710 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
760 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
790 Increases the damage of all Champions by 300%
800 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Special Order abilities by 100%
810 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
820 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Get Buff abilities by 100%
860 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
900 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Long Rest abilities by 100%
910 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
920 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Special Order abilities by 100%
930 Increases the effect of Beadle & Grimm's Get Buff abilities by 100%
960 Increases the damage of all Champions by 300%
970 Increases the damage of Beadle & Grimm by 300%
Current max upgrade level is 970
 

Formation & Mission Information

Once you complete the first mission, three Variants and a Free Play show up. There is a new formation that holds 10 Champions. It has an Event-specific format that I've done my best to re-create below.
Back Column 3rd Column 2nd Column Front Column
0
0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0
0
New Player Formation & Specializations:
Back Column 3rd Column 2nd Column Front Column
Hitch - More Daggers
Minsc - Humanoids
Asharra - Elves & Dwarves Celeste - War Domain
Calliope - College of Valor Nayeli - Oath of Devotion
NA Jarlaxle - Leader of Bregan D'aerthe
NA
Bruenor - Shield Master
This formation is for the first couple of runs where you're just not going to get enough Gold to get everyone on the field, let alone level people up into their power curves. At this point, Jarlaxle is focusing on being your Primary DPS while everyone else is set up to support him.
The following formation is for once you can get Hitch up into his power curve for damage and he starts outpacing Jarlaxle. You'll have to figure this out during your runs by swapping him and Jarlaxle around every now and then and seeing who's doing better in that Primary DPS slot.
Back Column 3rd Column 2nd Column Front Column
Hitch - More Daggers
Minsc - Humanoids
Asharra - Humans Celeste - War Domain
Calliope - College of Valor Nayeli - Oath of Devotion
Makos - Dark Blessing Jarlaxle - Leader of Bregan D'aerthe
Tyril - Wild Shape
Bruenor - Shield Master
This formation should get you through the Event as a new player. If you have other options or think a different DPS is geared better, try it out and see what happens! Swapping DPS around like this can help you figure out what works best for you with your specific items.
If you need assistance with formations, ask in the Comment section and be sure to list out what extra Champs you have so people know what to work with.
These are the rough Favor values you need to reach to make a Variant (Second through Fourth missions) show as Easy in terms of Difficulty. Keep in mind that this is just a generic rating system and some Variants may be harder than others, even when they show as Easy.
Mission Favor Level (Normal) Favor Level (Scientific Notation)
Second 20,000 ~2e04
Third 15,000,000 ~1.5e07
Fourth 150,000,000 ~1.5e08
 

Initial Mission: The Missing Lord (Beadle & Grimm)

Cost: 100 Sunflowers
Complete: Level 50
Reward: Beadle & Grimm + whatever Savras' Favor you earned
Info: No restrictions.
 

Second Mission: Arvaiss' Next Trap

Cost: 1,000 Sunflowers
Complete: Level 75
Reward: Gold Beadle & Grimm Chest & whatever Savras' Favor you earned
Info: Every area, a collection of magical monsters attempt to thwart your progress. Once they spawn, their effects are active until they are destroyed.
  • Young Red Dragons(Armored) - No other monsters can be damaged until all the Young Red Dragons on-screen are destroyed.
  • Fire Snake - The base attack cooldown for each Champion is increased by 1 second while this enemy is alive.
  • Giant Fire Beetle - While this enemy is alive, all enemies are increased in size by 20%, deal 300% more damage and move at 100% increased speed.
Gaar's Notes: This is pretty straightforward as long as you have enough Favor (Easy). Having a multi-attack Champion can help get rid of the dragons quickly since they're armored (Hitch).
 

Third Mission: Showoffs

Cost: 2,500 Sunflowers
Complete: Level 125
Reward: Gold Beadle & Grimm Chest & whatever Savras' Favor you earned
Info: Beadle & Grimm are ready to show the Champions how they do things in the frozen north! Beadle starts unlocked and in the formation. They can be moved. Champions can only be used if they meet one or more of the following requirements:
  • Strength 18 or higher
  • Dexterity 17 or higher
  • Intelligence 16 or higher.
Gaar's Notes: Yet another overly-restrictive Event variant. This may be rough to impossible for new players. Here's the list of qualifying Champions:
  • Slot 1 - None
  • Slot 2 - Regis, Korth, Donaar, & Krydle
  • Slot 3 - Binwin & Artemis
  • Slot 4 - Jarlaxle, Stoki, Ishi, & Sentry
  • Slot 5 - Dhadius, Xander, & Pwent
  • Slot 6 - Asharra, Krond, Evelyn, Shandie, & Krull
  • Slot 7 - Minsc, Catti-brie, Black Viper, Jim, and Freely
  • Slot 8 - Beadle & Grimm
  • Slot 9 - Drizzt, Birdsong, Aila, & Morgaen
  • Slot 10 - Tyril, Wulfgar, & Havilar
  • Slot 11 - Jamilah & Strix
  • Slot 12 - Arkhan, Azaka, Zorbu, & Melf
 

Fourth Mission: A Contest, You Say?

Cost: 5,000 Sunflowers
Complete: Level 175
Reward: Gold Beadle & Grimm Chest & whatever Savras' Favor you earned
Info: Beadle & Grimm have started some infighting on which method of attacking is best. It's time to answer the question, but the enemies are not going to make it easy on you!
  • Enemies have 300% more hit points.
  • Enemies attack twice as often.
  • When an enemy is killed by a type of Base Attack (Melee, Ranged, or Magic) the Champions with the same Base Attack type have their damage decreased by 2% while Champions with the other Base Attack types have their damage increased by 1%.
Gaar's Notes: This is a rough variant as enemies are harder to kill, attack faster, and debuff you. Make sure this shows as Easy before attempting.
 

Free Play

Cost: 500-2500 Sunflowers
Complete: Level 50 to earn a random Beadle & Grimm chest
Reward: See above + whatever Savras' Favor you earned
Info: No restrictions.
 

Achievements

Recruit Beadle & Grimm - 1%
Recruit Beadle & Grimm, the Dwarf Rogue/Wizard & Human Barbarian combo
Special Edition - 1%
Complete all three variants of the "The Missing Lord(Beadle & Grimm)" adventure.
Joint Ownership - 1%
Obtain a piece of gear for each of Beadle & Grimm' six equipment slots. (Event Champ gear does not come from regular SilveGold Chests. You can earn Event Champ gear from their specific Event Chests, Time Gates, and other limited-time Chests as noted.)
Many Hands Make Light Work - 1%
Complete area 275 in any "The Missing Lord" free play.
Get Some Rest - 1%
Use the Tag Team Ultimate to bring either Beadle or Grimm into the game with 1000 or more Long Rest Stacks

Adventure Information

Indoor # Outdoor #
11 39

Type Summary

Bosses
Boss Type # in this Event
Humanoids 5
Beasts 2
Drow 1
Fey 1
Ooze 1
Monstrosity 1
Dragon 1
Normal Mobs
Enemy Type # in this Event
Humanoids 24
Beasts 18
Gnoll 9
Fey 8
Drow 6
Monstrosity 2
Construct 1

Type by Level - repeats after 50

Level IndooOutdoor Enemy Type Boss Type
1 Outdoor Beasts
2 Outdoor Beasts
3 Outdoor Beasts & Barricade
4 Outdoor Beasts
5 Outdoor Beasts Beasts
6 Outdoor Human/Humanoid & Half-Orc/Humanoid
7 Outdoor Human/Humanoid & Half-Orc/Humanoid
8 Outdoor Human/Humanoid & Half-Orc/Humanoid
9 Outdoor Human/Humanoid & Half-Orc/Humanoid
10 Outdoor Human/Humanoid & Half-Orc/Humanoid Human/Humanoid
11 Outdoor Beasts
12 Outdoor Beasts
13 Outdoor Constructs
14 Indoor Human/Humanoid
15 Indoor Human/Humanoid Human/Humanoid
16 Outdoor Fey
17 Indoor Fey
18 Indoor Fey
19 Indoor Fey
20 Indoor Fey Fey/Beasts
21 Outdoor Human/Humanoid & Humanoid/Drow/Elf
22 Outdoor Human/Humanoid & Humanoid/Drow/Elf
23 Outdoor Beasts
24 Outdoor Beasts
25 Outdoor Beasts Humanoid/Halfling
26 Outdoor Beasts
27 Outdoor Humanoid/Drow
28 Outdoor Humanoid/Drow
29 Outdoor Humanoid/Drow
30 Outdoor Humanoid/Drow Humanoid/Drow
31 Indoor Beasts
32 Indoor Beasts
33 Indoor Beasts
34 Indoor Humanoid/Drow
35 Indoor Humanoid/Drow Humanoid/Drow
36 Outdoor Beasts
37 Outdoor Beasts
38 Outdoor Beasts
39 Outdoor Gnoll/Humanoid
40 Outdoor Gnoll/Humanoid Ooze
41 Outdoor Fey
42 Outdoor Fey
43 Outdoor Beasts/Fey
44 Outdoor Gnoll/Humanoid
45 Outdoor Gnoll/Humanoid Monstrosity
46 Outdoor Gnoll/Humanoid
47 Outdoor Gnoll/Humanoid
48 Outdoor Monstrosity & Gnoll/Humanoid
49 Outdoor Monstrosity & Gnoll/Humanoid
50 Outdoor Gnoll/Humanoid Dragon

Community Event Discussions

Coming soon!
submitted by Gaarawarr to idlechampions [link] [comments]

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