Computer Build – Part #10 – Accessories

610Rgb0J0xL._SL1001_Happy Canada Day!!!

Ok, now on to Part#10.

When you build a computer, you also probably want some additional things. For example, you’re going to want to buy cables to plug in monitors and such. I highly suggest getting long high-quality cables to connect your monitors, machine and other items together. For example, I bought two DisplayPort to DVI-D cables (10 ft) so that I could run great picture quality to a DVI capable monitor. The picture looks great and I am happy that these cables are not banjo-stringed to the machine. I actually have the computer on the other side of the desk and the monitors mounted to a wall about 6 ft away. I love it.

pi_engineering_x_keys_xk_24_programmable_keypad_p3_1250x640Another accessory that I picked up was a 24-key Xkey device. Basically, it’s a USB keypad that you can program to execute commands. Great for starting programs quickly or if you are doing specific tasks repeatedly. I bought it because I was planning on learning some day-trading techniques and knew that with the push of one button, I could set an order with a preset amount of shares and get out of orders very quickly. I paper traded with it for about a week but didn’t have the chance to really sit down and iron out all the buttons I wanted. The three I got working are amazing and I could sell all positions with the push of a single button. I’m really excited to try it out more – and it has a cool LED background-lit function – which is also programmable. I might try to set it up for a few games too – just to see if I can simplify commands. You can tell it to operate the same for ALL applications or App-specific (so if you change applications, the same keys can be programmed differently for more than one app).

51ClW9xDmGL._SY300_Lastly: headphones. I bought a set of Audio-Technica AD-700x’s which are open-backed headphones — amazing for focused attention listening. They do allow outside noises into the area around the drivers, but they create large soundstages, so if you are playing dynamic games – you can crank them up and hear just about anything at any distance. I love these headphones – plus, because they are open, they don’t let your ears get too sweaty. Also great for movie watching and especially Binaural Audio – like the Verge’s NYC Walk-around. Check it out on YouTube with a good set of headphones. You’ll be amazed.

Anyway, those are the three main additions outside of the computer itself. For monitors, I just use standard 1080p Dell monitors – and they serve my needs well. I am looking to buy 3 and set them up together soon – but that hasn’t happened yet. I’m sure I’ll talk about that when it goes down.

Up Next: The final build!

Audiophile – A Headphone Obsession/Recommendation

I have become a headphone snob. The funny part is – I don’t have the budget to get into the ridiculous headphone realm. My nitch market is affordable (subjective, I know), good sounding headphones for particular listening situations.
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My first recommendation is a classic set of headphones. The Audio-Technica M-50S is a great studio monitor. They are closed-backed headphones meaning that they isolate sound around your ears and eliminate a lot of sound bleeding. They are good for listening to tunes on an airplane, but because they have larger drivers, be careful about how loud you listen to them – at certain levels, the sound will bleed out. I really like the straight cable option with this model which is 10 ft long. There is a newer version out (M-50X) that have detachable cables, but it is the same exact headphone driver, so there isn’t any sound improvement.

I81e77wVkaVL._SL1500_ncluded in this M-50S package there is a carrying case and a 1/4 inch adaptor. The headphones do fold up nicely and fit neatly in the provided case.

The only downside I have about these headphones is that they tend to feel a little heavy on my head over long periods of time AND they tend to make the top of my head sore, again, after a long period of listening. They can also get a little warm too – especially if you use them for gaming – but with that being said – they are great for gaming. I use them for Shadow of Mordor and I can hear a TON of stuff.

71of1MU6zkL._SL1500_My second recommendation is another set of Audio-Technica headphones called the ATH-AD700X’s. The greatest features about these headphones is that they are lightweight, easy to wear and open backed. The first two features are self-explanatory, but the last I want to explain.

 

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Binaural Audio Recording Device

Open backed headphones are used to create large soundstages in listening environments because the sound is able to leave the headphones in all directions. This is particularly helpful when you are listening to Binaural Audio (audio that is recorded how our ears naturally hear sound). For most listeners, you might not care about this feature, but in live audio recording sessions, running sound behind a sound board OR wanting true audio stages – Open backed headphones are the way to go. I really like these headphones and have used them almost every day for over 6 months.

 

Now, the headphone world is one of those places where you can spend as much money as you want to have the latest and greatest. There are even a current set out there for over $30K. Again – you can spend whatever you want – so balance your needs, wants and budget carefully. There are hundreds of options.

Happy Listening.