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How To Build The Perfect Hi-Fi System For Your Home



how to build the perfect HI-Fi system
Image: Magnolia Home Theater

If you consider yourself an audiophile, or you just appreciate the sound of high-quality audio, then you probably want the perfect Hi-Fi system for your home.

It might seem unattainable, whether it’s the complexity of the setup or astronomical costs. But it doesn’t have to be like that. In fact, building your home’s (high-fidelity) Hi-Fi system can be quite straightforward. So, how can you do it?

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Know The Basics

how to build a hi-fi system for home

To create a Hi-Fi system of any budget, you essentially need three things: the source, amplification, and speakers. The source can be anything from a CD player to a turntable, PC, or even your phone’s music streaming service.

The amplifier simply takes your source’s electrical signal and powers it up until it can drive your speakers. A lot of devices have inbuilt amplifiers—even your phone, believe it or not. However, using a discrete Digital-to-Analog Converter will massively improve your sound quality.

Speakers need no explanation. There is plenty of variety, from wireless to bookshelf speakers.

How Much To Spend

How much should you spend? There’s really only one answer to this: spend what you can afford. This could be several thousand dollars on a state-of-the-art setup. However, it can also be several hundred on something that will sound almost as well.

If you’re budget-conscious, we recommend starting by looking at what you already have. Most of us already have a source, whether it’s a TV, laptop, turntable, or smartphone and you might even have a sick set of speakers that are just waiting to be unleashed to their full potential.

Whatever the case, take note of what you have, then you’ll be able to spend more on what you don’t.

It’s also helpful to make a list of the features that are ideal for you—like Bluetooth or wireless.

If your budget is a bit more mid-tier, we recommend spending it evenly over the components. If your turntable is flawed, for instance, the amplifier will only make those flaws more noticeable.

Plan For Your Home

It makes little sense to get massive speakers if you live in a studio apartment. Likewise, bookshelf speakers won’t be anywhere near loud enough if you live in a massive space.

Similarly, you should consider what you’ll be using your Hi-Fi system for. For instance, if you want it to also be a home cinema and use your TV as the source, a soundbar might be the best option.

Choosing the right speakers also depends on your home. As long as they are a good quality set and will fill your room with sound, you can focus on maximizing their output.

Based on where you place them, stereo speakers will react differently. We recommend placing them away from corners and keeping them some distance from your walls. This will keep the bass from muddying the other frequencies.

It’s always good to measure the dimensions of your room and follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for placement. However, you can always experiment by moving the speakers around until they sound just right.

Plan For Hi-Fi System Additions

We recommend setting aside an extra budget for any additions you might need, like speaker stands, AV racks of quality cables. After all, you don’t want anything to compromise the quality of your sound.

If you want your Hi-Fi system to double as a home theater and give your home cinematic experience, you might want to consider speakers with Dolby Atmos.

Likewise, if you want wireless speakers, it’s a good idea to ensure that they support Hi-Res Audio streaming. This might cost a bit more, but the crisp audio will make them worth it.

Finally, we suggest using a dedicated mains outlet; your system might be more power-hungry than you think. It’s also a good idea to keep your mains cable some distance from your signal cables since they can affect performance.

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The Coolest Smartwatches To Buy This Year



black man wearing smartwatches

The coolest smartwatches have a few things in common: they are reliable, have a good Operating System, and offer plenty of versatility. When it comes to the latter, smartwatches should be able to track your heart rate and let you monitor your health, track where you are with GPS, and use your voice to search the Internet.

Even though some smartwatches can fully function without need of a smartphone, most watches still need to be paired to a decent smartphone for the user to make the most of them.

There are plenty of smartwatches in the market today. However, not all of them are worth the cost. So, we have listed below some of the coolest smartwatches you can buy this holiday season.

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Fitbit Versa 3

fitbit Smartwatches

The Fitbit Versa 3 is one of the best smartwatches not from Apple or Samsung. It is also one of the best watches for users who are focused on becoming or keeping fit. The watch is comfortable to wear, it has a built-in GPS, and the display provides a crisp image which makes it easy to view the display.

At around $200, it’s one of the more affordable smartwatches you can buy. The only significant issue with the watch is that its side button is not the best. But other than that, it’s a great option, especially for fitness enthusiasts.

Fossil Sport

fossil smartwatches
The Fossil Sport is one of the sportiest-looking smartwatches today. And at just under $200, it’s also a bargain. The watch comes with a lightweight design, it’s powered by the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip, and it has GPS. It runs the Google Wear OS, and has numerous watch faces to choose along with apps. When it comes to the OS, the Fossil Sport might actually be better than Samsung smartwatches. In terms of battery life, the watch can last up to two days, which is not bad.

The Fossil Sport doesn’t have any unique or outlandish features. However, it’s a decent and capable device that nails all the basics.

TAG Heuer Connected

Tag smartwatches
TAG Heuer is known for its premium watches. So, it’s a sigh of relief that the brand’s latest attempt at a smartwatch is actually good. TAG Heuer Connected is a great-looking watch. It resembles a mechanical watch, with its sporty case and its round display.

The Connected doesn’t just look good, though. It also has a built-in heart-rate sensor, a GPS and enhanced sports tracking. As a premium smartwatch brand, the only competition it faces is the Apple Watch. However, TAG Heuer has the advantage of looking more like an actual mechanical watch.

Apple Watch Series 6

The Apple Watch is probably the best smartwatch of any kind you can buy today. Its safety features are unparalleled, for one. The watch constantly monitors your heart rate, and if it detects anything irregular, it will recommend you see a doctor. If you collapse, it can even alert the emergency services for you. Potentially life-saving features like these are a major part of why the Apple Watch is such a hit with both users and critics.

Other than health, The Apple Watch Series 6 also has a stellar design, GPS, waterproofing, increased customization options compared to its predecessors, and more.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 is among the best smartwatches for Android users. It has the best features of the Samsung Galaxy Watch but compressed into a lighter and smaller form factor that’s more comfortable.

The watch has a 1.2-inch 360 x 360 display that’s small enough not to feel overbearing, yet it’s still bright and beautiful. It has the Galaxy Watch’s essential features, like a heart rate and ECG sensor, a health app that monitors sleep and stress, 39 workout modes, and a way to monitor the user’s blood pressure.

It’s more affordable than both the Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch 3, but doesn’t sacrifice too many features to make it feel like a downgrade.

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6 Essential Gadgets You Need For Your Home Office



Home office

For some, working from home in a home office is the only way to work. But for a lot of professionals, this is something that takes time to adjust to.

As we get used to working from home, it’s crucial that we rearrange our working space to reflect the office. Whether they are functional or stylish, these essential gadgets are what you need to help stay focused on your daily tasks.

Standing Desk

The hub of your home office is always your desk. It houses most of your essential equipment, after all. But a regular sitting desk might not be the best option, particularly in the long term. We recommend a standing desk; or a stand up adjustable desk, if your budget can allow.

There are tons of benefits that come from standing desks. You can lower your chances of gaining weight, reduce back pain that often comes from sitting too long, reduce your risk of getting diseases caused by inactivity, and even lower your blood sugar levels.

Ergonomic Chair

If you have to sit to get work done—some guys just don’t like the idea of standing desks—then any regular office chair won’t be of much help to you. Instead, opt for an ergonomic chair.

This chair is designed to keep you comfortable and help you remain seated in the proper position for long periods.

It typically has lumbar support, is height adjustable, can swivel, and is shaped in a way that mirrors your body’s natural seating position. By providing additional comfort and support, ergonomic chairs are essential to help you maintain a full workday without tiring your back.

Coffee Mug Warmer

After that first sip of coffee, we usually get down to work, and it often takes a while before we go for another sip. When we remember that we have a mug of coffee right in front of us, it usually is already cool. Hardly anyone enjoys a lukewarm cup of coffee.

That’s where the Coffee Mug Warmer comes in. This is a handy device that you can place your mug on. It will keep your coffee hot—or any other liquid in your mug, really. That way, you won’t have to leave your desk to go reheat your cup.

Noise Canceling Headphones

home officeIt’s extremely easy to get distracted while working from home. There are just too many things that can grab our attention, whether it’s a noisy neighbor, the TV playing in the living room, or something else.

To help maintain focus for as long as possible, noise-canceling headphones are essential. We can use them to play our favorite music or simply to eliminate all background noise. Either way, they help us to get into the zone and lose ourselves in work for long periods.

There is no shortage of decent headphones out there, though we recommend checking out the reviews for each one to know what’s the best fit for you.

 Power Strip

Since your home office needs more devices than you might initially think. And most of these devices need a power outlet. So, it’s important to be prepared by getting a surge protected power strip.

This is an important device for any additional gadget or gear you might get for your home office.

Ideally, look for one with surge protection. Some of your gadgets are not cheap, and you don’t want something like a power surge turning them into useless chunks of metal.

If possible, also opt for power strip with USB ports for your phone and other small devices.

Laptop Stand

home office
Not many guys have desktop computers at home. But a lot of us do have laptops for work. When you’re working from home, it can be easy to hunch over your laptop; even if you’re working at a desk.

This will cause your neck and shoulders to ache, and the longer you do this, the more you turn poor posture into a long-term problem.

One easy solution is a laptop stand. It positions the laptop so that the screen is close to your eye level. It also helps to keep your laptop ventilated, which is a major plus if your work makes the laptop’s hardware do the heavy lifting.

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5 Best Mirrorless Cameras You Can Buy Today



Mirroless camera

Mirrorless cameras have come a long way since their inception. Right now, they can easily rival similar-priced DSLR cameras when it comes to features, versatility and image quality.

They are also superior when it comes to technologically innovative features. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that mirrorless cameras might become enthusiasts’ preference in the coming years.

Of course, we’re still some way from that. But for now, let’s take a look at the best mirrorless cameras you can buy today.

Sony A6100

mirrorless camera

Not everyone is a pro who needs the latest and costliest camera. Some people are just starting out and for them, the less complicated, the better.

The Sony A6100 is the best mirrorless camera for beginners right now. It has the same APS-C sensor used in Sony’s more expensive cameras. It also borrows the autofocus of the more expensive flagship A6600.

This results in a quick and reliable continuous tracking ability for video as well as stills. Image quality is excellent, the battery life is decent, and the camera’s tilting screen is touch-sensitive.

The camera does have a few flaws compared to the flagship models, but it’s an excellent all-rounder for beginners.

Canon EOS RP

Mirrorless Cameras

The EOS RP is Canon’s smallest and cheapest full-frame camera. It’s also a significant improvement over its predecessor, the EOS R.

While the EOS RP is not as abundant in features, it is lighter and smaller, with a much more alluring price. In fact, this is the cheapest full-frame camera which is still a current model.

The camera comes with a 26.2-megapixel full-frame sensor, 4K video, a fully-articulating rear screen, a 4,779-point Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus, and more. And if you already have EF lenses, you can simply use them through a lens mount adapter.

Panasonic Lumix GH5

Mirrorless CamerasIn terms of capturing video, few cameras are as good as the Panasonic Lumix GH5. This is a hybrid mirrorless camera that captures photos and videos with equally good quality and attention.

Most other cameras, whether mirrorless or DSLR, have short video recording limits.

However, the Lumix GH5 has no limits; it will keep recording until either the battery dies or the memory card fills up. It is also the first camera to record in 4K at 60 frames per second.

Other features include a clean HDMI output, 10-bit 4:2:2 recording and the option of a log gamma profile. It also captures impeccable still images, with 4K and 6K photo modes, 5-axis image stabilization and more.

Nikon Z6

Mirrorless CamerasSome people might consider the Nikon Z6 inferior to the more expensive Z7. However, the Z6 matches it when it comes to build quality—it has a magnesium alloy body—versatility and in-body stabilization.

The Z6 also has full-frame 4K video, 12 fps continuous shooting frame rate, a wider ISO range, and a 24.5MP sensor.

The Z6 has a great grip that makes handling convenient instead of a chore. It also has an FTZ adapter that lets you use whichever F-mount lens you prefer while maintaining the auto-exposure and autofocus levels.

Fujifilm X-T30

Mirrorless Cameras

Just being a flagship doesn’t necessarily make a camera the best. The Fujifilm X-T30 is a testament to this.

Costing a mere $900 as opposed to thousands of dollars, it’s an excellent device that is certain to entice photographers of all levels.

It uses the APS-C format instead of full-frame, but that’s not a hindrance. The camera shares some features with the Fujifilm X-T3 like the 26.1MP APS-C sensor as well as a processing engine.

It also has a phase-detect AF system that spans almost the whole frame. The X-T30 is also compact and small, which makes it convenient to carry around and use. Explore more mirrorless cameras here.

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