Sunday, April 14, 2019

Gourmia Digital Cut + Dry Compact Food Dehydrator Review

Almost everything available for purchase at all of our local grocery stores have some preservatives in it. It is just the way our society has developed and grown. We are big believers in instant gratification. When we want something, we want it now and we don’t want to have to wait. Preservatives are a natural progression of that process. But so many of us are now understanding that that might not be the best, or healthy at all for us. Many are now actively looking for ways to get the foods we crave in a healthier manner. One of the many processes we can use for this is dehydrating. Up for review today is the Gourmia Digital Cut + Dry Compact Food Dehydrator.


Features and specs:

HEALTHY & DELICIOUS: A more flavorful, preservative-free, and cost-friendly alternative to commercial products.

6 TRAYS: Simultaneously dry a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, or meats.

DIGITAL CONTROLS: LED touch interface allows for easy setting of time and temperature.

TRANSPARENT WINDOW: Designed with a clear door that allows you to monitor the dehydration progress

360° AIRFLOW CIRCULATION: Provides thorough, uniform drying without overheating, no rotation required.



The Dehydrator came in a color printed box, printed with pictures of the product and it’s specs and features. Opening the box revealed the product well protected. It was wrapped in a plastic bag and was held in place by a custom molded Styrofoam casing. Also included was the owner’s manual and a recipe booklet. Materials used in construction was mostly plastic with some metal. Quality of construction was very good, as was fit and finish. This was a very well built product with many years of possible use.

The design of the Dehydrator was wonderful. It is a large box that fits easily on a standard countertop. It came with six removable drying shelves and one plastic protective food sheet for use in more fragile foods, like fruit leather, for easier removal after dehydrating. It also has an easily removable drip pan to catch any spillage to make cleaning easy and effective. 

After we followed the instructions for cleaning the product before first using it, we tried to decide what we wanted to make first. As is our customary habit, we always follow directions to the letter the first time we attempt anything new, and then make changes according to our personal tastes and desires. As we dried bananas and apples, we discovered that, while the dehydrator did an excellent job, we prefer a crisper finish. The bananas and apples turned out chewier and tougher than we wanted, but I don’t think that was an issue, just a person taste preference. So we started to experiment. For my family, we prefer thinner slices and a longer drying time to achieve the level of crispiness we loved. As we experimented further, we found the most wonderful thing known to man, sweet potato chips. Only three ingredients; sweet potatoes, avocado oil and salt and totally satisfied the craving that fried potato chips raise in my soul! We didn’t find a single thing that this dehydrator couldn’t do with some experimentation for taste and texture.

This was an excellent product that we are sure would be an asset to any kitchen. While there’s not much we can do about the instant gratification side of things, a dehydrator takes many hours to finish a treat, but it is infinitely healthier and with just a bit of planning, we can have our chips, and eat them guiltfree.  Based on it’s design, features, quality, and performance, the Gourmia Digital Cut + Dry Compact Food Dehydrator has earned our Highly Recommended Award.  For more info and complete specs, check out their website at www.gourmia.com.


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Saturday, April 13, 2019

2019 Annual Headphone Shootout Part 2: Over The Ear Headphones Review


Now it’s time for part two of the Headphone Shootout: the over the ear models. They come from some great manufacturers: 1More, JBL, Master & Dynamic, Audio-Technica, and E-MU. They include some excellent designs. Some are corded, some wireless. And there’s even one with a multiple driver design; common for IEM’s but rare for over the ear models.  Most of us will be using our smartphones to listen to our music.  To provide a better sound, we used our LG V40 ThinQ as our source unit, which is designed for superior sound with it’s Hi-Fi 32-bit Quad DAC.

First up is the 1More Triple Driver. They feature a unique design for over the ear models. They actually incorporate a multiple driver design. It’s a rare design for over the ear models. Usually multiple driver designs are found in IEM’s. Here 1More uses two active drivers. One is for the highs, one is for the mids and lows, and there’s also a passive radiator. So while there are 3 drivers, only 2 are active. Price is also very competitive at $169.






Features and Specs:

Type: Over-Ear Headphone

Name: 1MORE Triple Driver Over-Ear Headphones

Color: Titanium

Weight: 293 g

Wire: Oxygen-free Copper

Cable Length: 1.35 m

Plug Type: 3.5 mm Gold Plated

Speaker Impedance: 32 Ω

Sensitivity: 104 dB

Frequency Response Range: 20-40,000 Hz

Maximum Power: 50 mW

Implementation of Standards: Q / WMSX 003-2016



The 1More came in a great looking color printed box, with photos and specs of the headphones. Opening the box revealed a well protected product, held in a nice semi-hard zipper case. I was extremely impressed with the packaging, which looks like a significantly more expensive product! Materials used in the construction were actually mostly metal, with some plastic and foam. Quality of materials was good, as was the fit and finish. Also included was the owners manual, soft carry bag, and ¼” adapter. And I liked the fact that it has detachable cables.



Next up is the JBL Everest 7106A. These JBL headphones are a prime example of how products keep getting more and more advanced. Not only are they wireless headphones, they can also connect to other wireless headphones so you can share your music with friends. There’s even Google Assistant built-in that you can access with the built-in mic. MSRP is a very competitive $249.



Features and specs:

General Specifications:

Headphone cable length (ft): 3.93

Headphones jack type: 3.5 mm

Weight (oz): 9.35

Ear cushion material: PU Leather

Bluetooth version: 4.1

Headphone cable length (cm): 120.0

Audio Specifications:

Driver size (mm): 40.0

Number of drivers per ear: 1.0

Driver sensitivity at 1kHz/1mW (dB): 96dB

Impedance (ohms): 32.0

Control and Connection Specifications:

Bluetooth profiles: HFP v1.7, HSP v1.2, A2DP v1.3, AVRCP v1.6

Bluetooth transmitter power: 4 dbm

Bluetooth frequency: 2.402GHz - 2.48GHz

Bluetooth transmitted modulation: GFSK, π/4DQPSK, 8DPSK

Dynamic frequency response range (Hz): 10Hz – 22kHz

Battery Type: Polymer Li-ion Battery (3.7V, 850mAh)

Charging time (hours from empty): 2

Speed Charging time (hours): 2.0

Talk time (hours): up to 25



The JBL Everest 7106A came in a great looking color printed box with photos and specs of the headphones. Opening the box revealed a well protected product held in a semi hard zipper case. Materials used in the construction was mostly plastic with some metal. Quality of materials used were very good, as was the fit and finish. Also included was the manual, charging cable and audio cable.




 


Up next is the Master & Dynamic MW60. They are a premium wireless headphone, with only the best materials used in the construction. And something that is getting rare, is they are actually hand assembled. MSRP is a fair $449 for what you get.



Features and specs:

Dimensions: 200mm x 185mm x 50mm

Drivers: 45mm Neodymium

Impedance: 32 ohms

Weight: 345g

Materials: Premium grain leather, lambskin leather, stainless steel, aluminum

Cable: Detachable 1.25m Standard Cable

Micro USB Input Cord

Headphone Connection: 3.5mm Passive Audio input micro USB charging/firmware update input

Ear Coupling: Circum-aural / Over-Ear

Microphone Type: Omni-directional

Machined Aluminum Antenna

Ear Pads: Detachable lambskin memory foam

Bluetooth Profile: Bluetooth 4.1 with Aptx™ high quality audio




The Master & Dynamic came in a great looking color printed box with photos and specs of the headphones. Opening the box revealed a well protected product held in place by custom molded foam. Materials used in the construction was mostly anodized or PVD coated aluminum and stainless steel, with some leather, and memory foam. I actually did not see any plastic used in the construction. Premium cowhide are used on the exterior side of the headband and earcups, with soft lambskin on the underside of the headband and ear pads. Quality of the materials used was excellent as is the fit and finish. They are a very well mode and durable product! Also included was a cloth zipper carry case, manual, changing cable, audio cable, and ¼” adapter.



Now it’s time for the Audio-Technica ATH-SR9. They are a premium over the ear headphone designed for Hi-Res Audio. They are designed from the ground up for Hi-Res Audio, employing 45mm True Motion drivers. The cables we dual sided with A2DC connectors. With a built-in mic and controls on the cable, they are also designed to be used with your smartphone. MSRP is at $449.


Features and Specs:

Exclusive 45 mm True Motion Drivers, each featuring a bobbin-wound OFC-7N voice coil and diaphragm with DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating, provide extremely accurate audio reproduction with extended high frequencies

Midpoint Mount Technology provides a uniform space in front of and behind the diaphragm to ensure the full performance of the driver inside the limited space of the housing

Acoustic resistor controls airflow inside the diaphragm housing to yield a natural sound

High-rigidity aluminum housings reduce unwanted resonance

Includes two 1.2 m (3.9') detachable cables (one standard, one with mic & controls) with A2DC (Audio Designed Detachable Coaxial) connectors

Ultra-comfortable, soft foam earpads and headband

Fold-flat, swivel design and hard carrying case for easy portability

Type: Dynamic

Driver Diameter: 45 mm

Voice Coil: OFC-7N

Frequency Response: 5 – 45,000 Hz

Maximum Input Power: 1,500 mW

Sensitivity: 97 dB/mW

Impedance: 47 ohms

Weight: 270 g (9.5 oz.), without cable

Cable: Detachable 1.2 m (3.9') standard cable with A2DC connectors, detachable 1.2 m (3.9') cable with A2DC connectors and in-line control and microphone

Connector: 3.5 mm gold-plated stereo mini-plug, L-shaped

Accessories Included: Hard carrying case

Type (Microphone): Condenser

Sensitivity (Microphone): -40 dB (1V/Pa at 1 kHz)

Frequency Response (Microphone): 50 – 4,000 Hz

Polar Pattern (Microphone): Omnidirectional

 
The Audio-Technica ATH-SR9 came in a great looking color printed box with photos and specs of the headphones. Opening the box I found a well protected product held by a semi-hard zipper case. Materials used in the construction was metal and plastic, and memory foam for the soft headband and earcups. Quality of materials used was very good, as was the fit and finish. Also included was the manual and two sets of cables, one standard and one with mic and music controls, and a ¼” adaptor.



Last but not least is the E-MU Teak. This is a model from their wood series. They are Audiophile reference headphones with an eye for craftsmanship, as can be seen with the teak wood earcups. The polished teak wood is absolutely gorgeous. They are a premium headphone and it shows. MSRP is $999.



Features and specs:

Weight: 370 g (Without Cable)

Color: Brown

Frequency Response: 5 Hz – 45 kHz

Cable Length: 3 m

Cable Style: 7N Oxygen-Free Copper, wrapped in nylon braiding with gold-plated connectors, detachable

Driver: 50 mm (1.97 inches) Neodymium magnet with Bio-Cellulose Diaphragm

Wearing Style: On-ear


The E-MU Teak came in a black box. Opening the box revealed a headphone held in place by cardboard and protected by being held in a custom bubble wrapped bag. Materials used in the construction were metal and wood, with soft leather and memory foam. There was no plastic used. Quality of materials used was excellent as was the fit and finish. The large polished teak wood is gorgeous! The cord was also very high quality covered in braided cloth. We must have been provided a previous generation, as per their website the cable is detachable, but the model we were provided did not have a detachable cable.



Now it’s time to hear how they sound. We tried to use a variety of genres, and we wanted to include songs that would be a good test of sound of vocals, piano and other instruments, to test the resolution and sound quality. We’ll start with 1More triple Driver and work up the models according to MSRP, and end with the E-MU Teak, seeing the sound we get as we move up in price. As with March Madness, there are times when we have surprises and a team performs above their seeding. And sometimes we get a surprise when a model performs above it’s price point. Let’s see how they sound.



1More

Disturbed: Sound and Silence –Piano sounded natural, vocals had good texture and timbre. Guitar was crisp and clean. Violin was smooth. Soundstage was surprisingly big. Tympani had decent impact, depth and low end extension.      Adele: Rolling In the Deep – Vocals were smooth with good texture. Guitar was crisp and clean with good resolution of the strings. Kick drum had good impact, depth and played with authority. Piano sounded very natural. Junior Wells: Why are People Like That –Vocals were very smooth with good texture and timbre. Bass had very good depth and played with a ton of authority. Drums were very dynamic, piano sounded very natural. Cymbals were crisp. Harmonica was dynamic and very smooth. Soundstage was very large and imaging was very good. Liquid Soul: Spam Sucker –Bass is tight, has good punch, and authority. Trumpets are crisp and clean, dynamic. Drums have very good resolution of the pad. Sax has very good texture. Cymbals are crisp and clean.



JBL

Disturbed: Sound and Silence –Piano sounded very natural, vocals had very good texture and timbre. Guitar was nice and crisp with good resolution. Violins were smooth with nice low level harmonics. Tympani had good impact and low end extension. Sound stage was pleasantly big, and imaging was good. Adele: Rolling In the Deep –Vocals were smooth with very good texture and resolution. Guitar was very crisp and clean with very good resolution of the strings. Kick drum had very good impact and authority. Cymbals and high had were very crisp and clean. Piano sounded very natural bass had great low end extension and played with a ton of authority. Soundstage was big and imaging was good. Junior Wells: Why are People Like That –Vocals were very smooth with very good texture and timbre. Bass had very good low end extension and a ton of authority. Drums were dynamic, great impact, cymbals were very crisp and clean. Piano sounded very natural. Harmonica was smooth, dynamic with very good harmonics. Soundstage was very big with very good imaging. Liquid Soul: Spam Sucker –Bass is tight, with really good low end extension, and good punch. Trumpets are smooth and really dynamic. Drums have very good dynamics and resolution of the pad. Sax has very good texture. Cymbals are really crisp and clean.



Master & Dynamic

Disturbed: Sound and Silence –Piano sounded very natural. Vocals had very good texture and timbre and very smooth. Guitar was crisp and clean with good resolution. Violins were smooth with good harmonics. Tympani had good impact with great low end extension and played with good authority but was a tad muddy. Soundstage was pleasantly large with good imaging. Adele: Rolling In the Deep –Guitar had good resolution of the strings. Vocals were smooth and had very good texture and resolution, kick drum had very good definition, impact and played with authority. Cymbals and high hat were very crisp and clean. Piano sounded natural. Bass had very good low end extension and played with a lot of authority. Soundstage was big and imaging was also good. Junior Wells: Why are People Like That –Vocals were extremely smooth with very good resolution of the texture and timbre. Bass had very good definition, low end extension and played with a ton of authority. Drums were very dynamic with very good impact and authority. Cymbals were crisp and clean. Harmonica was silky smooth, dynamic, and nice harmonics. Piano sounded very natural, soundstage was large and imaging very good. Liquid Soul: Spam Sucker –Bass is really tight with excellent punch and authority. Trumpets are really crisp and dynamic and not too brassy. Drums have excellent dynamics and resolution of the pad. Sax has really good texture and harmonics, and good resolution for the tonguing technique.



Audio-Technica

Disturbed: Sound and Silence –Piano sounded very natural, vocals had excellent texture and timbre with excellent resolution. Guitar had excelled resolution and was extremely crisp and clean. Violin was very smooth with excellent harmonics. Tympani had very good impact, low end extension, and authority. Soundstage was very big and imaging was also very good. Adele: Rolling In the Deep –Guitar had excellent resolution of the strings. Vocals were very smooth with excellent resolution of the texture and timbre. Cymbals and high hat were extremely crisp and clean. Kick drum had very good impact and definition and played with authority. Piano sounded very natural. Bass had very good low end extension and played with a ton of authority. Soundstage was big and imaging was spot on. Junior Wells: Why are People Like That – Vocals were extremely smooth with excellent resolution of the texture and timbre. Bass played deep, tons of authority and definition. Drums were dynamic with very good impact. Cymbals were really crisp and clean. Harmonica was smooth like honey with excellent dynamics and harmonics. Piano sounded really natural. Soundstage was huge and imaging was spot on.  Liquid Soul: Spam Sucker –Bass had good low end extension, was tight and played with good authority. Trumpets were really dynamic and smooth without being too brassy. Drums had excellent dynamics, impact and resolution of the pad. Sax had excellent texture, harmonics, and great resolution for the tonguing technique, and woodiness of the reed. Soundstage was quite large.



E-MU Teak

Disturbed: Sound and Silence –Piano was extremely clean, vocals were extremely smooth with excellent resolution of the texture and timbre. Guitar had excellent resolution and extremely crisp and clean. Vocals were smooth as honey. Tympani had very good impact with great impact, authority and definition of the pad. Soundstage was huge and borderline holographic with spot on imaging.  Adele: Rolling In the Deep –Guitar had excellent resolution of the strings. Vocals were silky smooth with excellent resolution of the texture and timbre. Kick drum had excellent impact and definition of the head, with authority. Cymbals and high hat were extremely crisp and clean. Piano sounded extremely natural. Bass had excellent low end extension and ton of authority. Soundstage was huge and imaging was spot on.  Junior Wells: Why are People Like That –Vocals were smooth like honey, had excellent resolution of the texture and timbre, drums had excellent dynamics, impact and authority. Cymbals were extremely crisp and clean. Piano sounded extremely natural. Bass had excellent low end extension and played with a ton of authority. Harmonica was silky smooth, had excellent harmonics and dynamics. Soundstage was huge and imaging was on a dime.  Liquid Soul: Spam Sucker –Bass had excellent low end extension, punch and played with a lot of authority. Trumpets were extremely smooth, dynamic, and not too brassy. Drums were extremely dynamic with excellent resolution of the pad. Cymbals were also crisp and clean. Sax had excellent texture and resolution for the tonguing technique, and woodiness of the red. Soundstage was really big and imaging spot on.

There ended up not being very many surprises in this part of our annual headphone shootout. They all performed up to their price points. I was a little surprised at the 1More Triple Driver. They appeared to be aggressively priced for employing multiple drivers. Using multiple drivers however did not provide quite as much detail as I was expecting.  But they still sounded extremely good for their price point, and would give headphones twice their price a run for the money. They provided a sound signature that was just a tad on the warm side.



The JBL’s performed very well for their price point as far as the sound goes. They were more neutral in sound signature. Highs were crisp and clean, vocals were smooth and had great resolution of the texture. And the bass had good depth and good authority. They did not quite sound as good as the 1More, but you have to remember that there was a lot of cost in the wireless features. After all, not all of the cost went into the drivers. And add in the extra feature of Google Assistant, and you get a great bang for your buck!



Master & Dynamics MW60’s also provided a more neutral sound signature. Highs were crisp and clean with very good resolution. Vocals were very smooth with very good texture and timbre. Bass also had very good impact, detail and output. For the extra money, you do get a bit better resolution, and an excellent build quality of all metal and leather that should last for years.



The Audio-Technica’s while not built like a tank like the Master & Dynamics are. Instead the money is put in the technology. Their True Motion Drivers provide an excellent amount or resolution. The sound is taken to a new level. The highs were crisp and clean, vocals smooth like honey with excellent texture, and bass had very good low end extension and output. Resolution and detail was excellent, and the soundstage really opened up, with imaging that was spot on.

 
Last but not least, the E-MU Teak took the sound to an even higher level! Not only is the polished teak wood gorgeous to look at, the aural feast they provide will also leave a permanent smile on your face. And the soundstage they threw was borderline holographic! Unfortunately, they’re not in everyone’s budget based on their price point. But as Ferris Bueller once said…If you have the means, I highly recommend it!



In conclusion, all of these models give a good value for their price point. And the build quality of all of them is good enough to provide a long life, some longer than others. Based on their design, features, quality and performance, the 1More Triple Driver and the JBL Everest 710GA has earned our Recommended Award, the Master & Dynamic MW60 and Audio-Technica ATH-SR9 have earned our Highly Recommended Award and the E-MU Teak has earned our Editor’s Choice Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at: www.1more.com, www.audio-technica.com, www.sg.creative.com, www.jbl.com, www.masterdynamic.com.





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