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Seemed like a really good idea and it almost worked...


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Bit of vaguely relevent background:

There are lots of things going on at work at the moment with a series of implications for our networks and computers. For reasons I have not fully fathomed I am responsible for this area.

Main problem is that we have lots of now rather large servers and limited ways to back them up (whatever happened to tape streamers? They seem to have gone the way of all flesh).

Anyway - after thrashing about with various ideas I discovered external drives that connect to the fireware interfaces we have on most of our machines. These things are now big - very big - I found upto 300 Gb units out there.

Now we need storage - but not that much - so I settled on a 160 Gb unit (for around $250).

Works a charm - but not the point of the story.

Whilst queuing up to pay for the device my eye falls on a pair of Sony wireless headphones. Hmmmm - not a big headphone fan but what the hell - these are a princely $60 - I'll give them a go (that's Mr impulse Buyer to you!)

So having sorted out the hard drive I turned my attention to these things.

First shock - they are infra-red units - shoulda read the box - no listening whilst running round the house for me!

Ah well - try them out - plug the supplied cable into the spare outputs from the pre-amp (so that I can listen to any source) - place the infra-red transmitter on top of the TV - put an AAA battery into the phones and off we go.

Somewhat underwhelming sonics - not bad - some parts rather good (violins done reasonably) otherwise patchy. Definitely limited on range - just about get to the back of the living room - with hiss building as you move further away - but OK for the listening position I usually occupy.

Anyway the rest fo the familly are all doing their thing. Daughter watching one of her DVD's in the living room. Wife watching a movie from the satelite in the bedroom.

Under normal circumstances that means I am screwed as both are on the main system.

But wait - the wife's signal is going through the little rat shack switch box that I use to supplement the meagre 2 inputs on the pre-amp. Daughter's signal is passing direct into the TV via Euro-connectors - that means that my pre-amp is free. I cant listen to the main speakers - but I can listen to vinyl over the headphones!!

Yippee. Well yippee-ish.

It does mean that I am freed from listening to the Greek childrens classic "Oh little rabbit" for the 94th time, but this is hardly an audiophile experience. On the other hand - the music is always strong enough to overcome such shortcomings.....just takes me back to the days of listening to a transistor radio under the covers - a bit...

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Well thanks for the responses. In no particular order.

Yes - I suppose the headphones are a backup for the main speakers - I hadnt thought of it in those terms.

A decent set of Cans will be mine at some point I am sure - I do have a pair of Stax on permanent loan to a friend. I am quite keen on the wireless idea - but I am fairly sure none of them yet live up to the sound quality of the Stax - with no proof of course. For now these will do - they were quite good with Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds last night - loud music - what a revelation!!

As for that external disk sub-system - er....no....way too many ducats for me. The appeal of this Maxtor disk is the price / capacity ratio (good name too - come to that) and the performance is fine (on relatively new machines).

Actually the performance is very variable according to the machine it is placed on:

Server (gig of ram - 1,7 Ghz CPU - 2 * 70 Gb SCSI disks) - 450 Mb/minute.

Old Pentium 3 (384 Mb Ram, 500 MHz CPU - 13 Gb HDD) - 30 Mb/s.

Newish Portable connected to server (2.5 GHz CPU - 60 Gb drive) - 250 MB/s - over the 100 MB/s LAN!!

All figures are quoted using the supplied Retrospect Software - this is slower than a drag and drop copy but much more relable - verifies after write - and doesnt crash with long file names in deeply nested sub-folders.

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Wife and daughter use phones extensively enough already....oh...headphones....my bad!!

Currently trying to choose between paying SWMBO's mobile phone bill or settling off the bill for the Athens Olympics. The Olympics were cheaper but the phone company offers payments....

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