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April 25 2017

23:47

Q Acoustics M3 Soundbar Review: An Easy and Affordable Home Theater Speaker

So you bought yourself a fancy flatscreen TV so you can enjoy movies, sports and games on the big screen. But you plug it in and are quickly disappointed that the tiny little speakers they crammed in there do nothing to complement the awesome picture. What you want is a home theater sound system. While you could buy a big multispeaker setup, that means wires everywhere, multiple boxes, and generally something that’s not particularly living room-friendly. You need a soundbar.

One of the newer entries into the soundbar market here in the US is Q Acoustics. This popular UK hi-fi brand has recently started to sell their gear here in the states. They sent me over one of their M3 Soundbars for testing, and overall, I think it’s a very solid entry into the space, with an exceptionally good price for its quality.

Priced at $349(USD), the M3 is designed to be the only piece of audio equipment you need in your living room. It sits underneath your TV, inside a cabinet, or on your wall, and features a clean, modern, and minimal design. One thing that’s really nice about it is that if you do chose to mount it on the wall, its base transforms into a wall mount, and they include a template in the box for drilling your wall anchors. A wall mount is often an extra cost with other soundbars.

The speaker measures 39.37″ wide x 5″ deep x 3.54″ high, making it the perfect height to sit in front of almost any display 45″ diagonal or larger. It will stick out just an inch or so on each side with a 40″ display.

Setup is easy. First flip the EQ switch on back to say whether you’re mounting the speaker on the wall, on a cabinet, or in a cabinet. That optimizes the sound quality to match your setup. Then plug in the included HDMI cable to your TV’s HDMI ARC out port, and you’re all set. If you don’t have an ARC port, you can connect it to your TV’s optical output, but you’ll need to buy a cable for that. After that, you go into your TV’s audio menu and make sure to turn of the internal speakers. That’s it. You’re all set.

In addition to being able to connect to your TV, the M3 also has Bluetooth support built in, as well as NFC-pairing if your phone supports it. Connecting to other Bluetooth devices is as simple as switching to that input, and pairing while the blue light is blinking. There are also a pair of analog line in jacks if you need them.

Once connected to my TV, the audio quality was dramatically better with the M3 than with the built-in speakers. It’s capable of pushing out room-filling volume levels, and is especially adept in the mids and highs. Since it doesn’t have an external subwoofer, don’t expect room-shaking bass, but there’s enough low end for a satisfying movie watching experience. If there’s any complaint at all, it’s that the low end does distort just a little bit at higher volume levels. For instance, when a big star destroyer passed overhead during The Force Awakens, there was a little unwanted woofer reverberation in the deepest tones. Dialogue is especially crisp and clear on the M3, but rather than focused in the center, it’s smoothly distributed across the soundstage, which is very pleasing to the ear.

When watching movies, I highly recommend enabling the MovieEQ feature on the remote. I’m not sure of its exact processing algorithm, but it seems to dramatically increase dynamic range as well as the perceived size of the soundstage. I can see no reason to leave this off when watching movies or TV shows, but you’ll want to leave it off when listening to music for the purest imaging. Music in movies and played from a smartphone via Bluetooth sound great too, so this can definitely double as a stereo system.

Overall, the Q Acoustics M3 would be a welcome addition to any living room in need of a bigger, louder sound but without clutter, and without breaking the bank. The M3 is available in the US and Canada from QAcoustics.com for $349.99 or in the UK for £299 from QAcoustics.co.uk.

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19:45

Cookie Mixtape: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. Chew

The Guardians of the Galaxy mixtapes are both pretty awesome, but you know what they lack? Edibility. Rosanna Pansino has now cured this issue. Here is the Guardians of the Galaxy Mixtape Vol. 2, in cookie form.

To celebrate the new movie hitting theaters next month, Rosanna Pansino of Nerdy Nummies shows us how to make cookie versions of Star-Lord‘s “Awesome Mix” cassette tapes. They are even more awesome when you can eat them. These look like a lot of fun to create, but not as much fun as it to have someone else make them while you eat them.

I am Groot! Yeah? Well, I am starving! Move aside tree-man and let me at those cookies while I play the soundtrack.

19:30

Vizio Reveals 2017 M-Series and P-Series Display Lineup

If you’ve been thinking about upgrading to a 4K HDR display, there’s no better time than the present – especially now that Vizio has launched their new 2017 models. I’ve been a big fan of Vizio’s displays for years, and I have the first-generation P-Series 4K display in my living room. I still love it, but I’m really tempted to upgrade to the latest P-Series model, which packs all kinds of improvements since my 2014 model.

The 2017 SmartCast P-Series is a full 4K UHD display, with support for HDR content in Dolby Vision and HDR10 formats. It’s got 128 local dimming zones for impressive levels of contrast, and deep, dark blacks, backlight scanning and a 240Hz refresh rate for smooth action. They’ve also coined a few new branded buzzwords, including “XLED Pro,” “XHDR Pro,” and “Xtreme Black Engine Pro,” all of which I assume are supposed to make their tech sound better than Samsung’s QLED. Bottom line, from my experience, Vizio’s full-array local dimming is enough to do that all on its own.

The SmartCast P-Series comes in 55″, 65″, and 75″ versions, priced at $1299.99, $1999.99, and $3,499.99 respectively. If you’re looking to save a little bit of money, or want a different size display, you should also consider the latest SmartCast M-Series. The M-Series supports 4K and HDR, but only offers “XHDR Plus,” another fairly meaningless buzzword. In technical terms, it supports 32 local dimming zones, and a 120Hz refresh rate, so it won’t be quite as precise with its contrast as the P-Series, and you might see a little more flicker in action scenes. Still, if it’s anything like last year’s M-Series displays, it’ll still be excellent.

The SmartCast M-Series comes in 50″, 55″, 65″, 70″ and 75″ versions, priced at $799.99, $999.99, $1499.99, $1999.99, and $2999.95 respectively.

Both the P-Series and M-Series feature Chromecast built-in, so you can view content from the numerous Chromecast-enabled apps, even 4K and HDR content from Netflix and Vudu. You can even start up your TV using the Cast button on your phone or the remote, and the display will automatically turn on and start playing the content you selected.

18:24

Guy Plays Five Finger Fillet with a Knife-Wielding Robot

Nope. Just nope. You won’t catch me playing the dangerous game of five finger fillet with a robot. I won’t even let a robot hold a knife around me. Are you crazy? Well, this guy must be.


Irfon Automation created this video which shows a subject playing a very risky game of the knife game with their Staubli TX40 robot. The idea is to demonstrate the machine’s speed, precision, and programmability. They also demonstrated how crazy that guy is. Nope. I wouldn’t trust that robot. I don’t care how well programmed it is.

You’ll notice that they didn’t dial up the speed THAT much. Even they don’t trust it fully. I dare this guy to go maximum speed. Just get insurance on your fingers first.

[via The Awesomer via Laughing Squid]

14:30

Baby Groot Figure is Life Size: I am Cute!

Sideshow Collectibles is showing off a Baby Groot figure based on the character’s appearance in the coming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. This particular Groot is life size, which is to say about 10 inches tall.

This collectible has three interchangeable faces, and is expertly painted to look just like the film character. The wood texture, moss, and sprouts are spot on.

He comes with a Ravagers outfit and two pairs of interchangeable hands. One set of hands has pointy attack roots flying out to get the bad guys. The hands have embedded wires to allow different poses.

He might be little and cute, but has a serious price tag of $189.99(USD). The collectible is estimated to be available by spring 2018.

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13:00

Pizza Dress is Perfect for Pizza The Hutt’s Wedding

Costume designer Olivia Mears aka “Taco Belle” aka “AvantGeek” is at it again with a cool dress that looks like a pizza. When she’s standing up in her pizza dress it looks like a ball gown of some sort.

She posted a few pics of the awesome dress, but my favorite is the one where she is standing in front of the throne made out of Dominos boxes, which I shall call The Pizza Throne.

The dress is really cool, and if Ms. AvantGeek was going to get married to say, Pizza the Hutt this would be the ideal wedding gown for the “Red Sauce Wedding.”

I created a dress that dreams are made of. If only I'd had this for my prom. ✨🍕✨ #pizzadress made & worn by me.

A post shared by Olivia Mears, the "Taco Belle" (@avantgeek) on Apr 20, 2017 at 8:02am PDT

Check out the images here, then watch the clip of the gross, but hilarious Pizza the Hutt from Spaceballs, just because.

[via Laughing Squid]

13:00
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13:00

Weaponizing LEGO Bricks: You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out, Literally.

And you thought that LEGO bricks were painful to step on. Imagine getting shot with them. There’s a gun for that. Joerg Sprave’s latest creation is a custom elastic-powered gun that can turn LEGO bricks into nasty projectiles. Of course, he couldn’t just leave well enough alone, and added a nail out of one of the bricks. Ouch.

LEGO bricks have long been the bane of parents who unwittingly step into their kid’s room and onto those pointy corners. Well, wearing shoes around the house won’t help you here. I’m just glad that no one can buy this gun. LEGO projectiles are no joke as shown in the video:

You wouldn’t want to get hit with any of these bricks that he uses in this gun, and I certainly don’t endorse anyone trying to make one of these at home. Leave that madness to Joerg.

[via Sploid]

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