Category Archives: Home Theatre

A Sprinkling Of Clouds

So you have your Synology NAS box setup with all your goodies on it, then you realise you could also backup all your junk from your Laptop, PC etc. to it as well (which is a good idea).

I’ve been doing this for years but using Synology Data Replicator 3 but running it in sync mode and triggering it manually. As good as it is it’s not as elegant as another Synology solution called Cloud Station.

This is what they sell as ‘Hit Save, and It’s Everywhere’:

If you own multiple devices, Cloud Station is perfect for you to have files synced automatically to all of them. Your work will always be up to date among Mac, PC, and mobile devices. Files are always accessible via web and Cloud Station folders on your local computers.

  • Maximum file size: sync files of up to 10GB size
  • Enjoy speedy file transfer when your client device and DiskStation are in the same local area network (LAN)
  • Get mobilized: use the free mobile app, DS cloud, to have your files stay in-sync on mobile devices, even for offline viewing

So, semi snowed in and bored this weekend I set about setting up..

Start by creating a backup account for each device you want to backup to the NAS

Then create Shared Folders for each of the locations you want backed up

Then go and enable Cloud Station.

Add the users you created earlier in Privileges

Go into Sharing in Cloud Station and share out the Shared Folders you created earlier (yes its dumb but you have to do it twice…)

Then install the Windows Cloud Station Client on each PC you want backing up, pick the account you created for the relevant folder sets and point them to the right place on your PC. The folders have to be empty to start with for some stupid reason so in my case I created a ‘FolderName2’ for each of the folders I wanted to sync, moved everything into them, pointed Cloud Station at the original folders that I wanted synching and then moved everything back into them afterwards.

Then site back and wait (several days in my case) for everything to sync across to the Synology NAS.

Oh and it eats a bunch of CPU while its doing it 🙂

Cloud Station Client will just sit in your system tray once everything has done an initial sync and anytime you change stuff on your PC it will get synced across to your NAS automatically.

Cool eh?
It would be perfect if it didn’t have a maximum file size of 10GB (so basically all my big BluRay files don’t get backed up automatically but I can live with that…..I think)

DeathStar – Part One

I started digitising my life over a decade ago as I could see the way things were going, it started with converting all my music to high quality MP3, drifted into digitising TV recordings, DVD’s, movies etc. etc. I like the idea of having everything in one place, at my fingertips so to speak (via a Remote Control) and also the ability to copy stuff to my car, my phone or my MP3 player as I wished.

As a result of this it was only a matter of time before I reached Critical Mass and I ran out of places to store stuff, that time is NOW

My Media Centre had 4TB of storage (1TB for films, 1TB for TV episodes, 1TB for music/photos and 1TB for recording TV) but the problem was I was running out of space AND it was getting too big to backup……enter Project DeathStar or in plain English – Network Attached Storage

I’ve had to wait a while to do this, mainly because I needed technology to catch up with my wishes, and that was for HUGE hard drives to be invented because what I wanted was something L-A-R-G-E. It needed to automatically backup and synchronise my Media Centre, my PC, my Netbook and two Android phones and still have some space for ‘future growth’ so I splashed for a Synology Diskstation DS411. This thing will do all of the above plus loads of other neat stuff like CCTV, Mail Server, FTP etc.

You buy this thing ’empty’ so you can stuff whatever hard disks you fancy inside it. In my world there is only one hard disk vendor and that is Hitachi Global Storage, they are always at the forefront of product design and their stuff never goes wrong (unlike Western Digital or other crap). I can speak with authority on this because I have personally built several hundred PC’s for corporate use that get spanked 8 hours a day and they are all still working years later.

Anyway, I won’t bore you with the techno babble, if you want to find out more about Synology go to their site, they make loads of different NAS solutions to suit every budget.

Here’s some pictures of Part One of my NAS build (Part Two to follow):

Nasty flash shot but I wanted to show you inside

Bags of storage 🙂

Disk Trays

Full of disks

The front panel lights

A Black Box

This little side project is still ticking along and I’m sure you’re bored of waiting for updates but finally some news

I have decided to axe the original Server Cube that currently house my Media Center and go a bit more minimalist and sleek so I will be investing in one of these.

It’s about the same size as my Onkyo 607 so should sit under this just nicely

What this will allow me to do is build the new Home Theatre PC offline and more or less move it into place once its done.



More Power…!!

New delivery today, the CPU for my Media Center rebuild is here

W-A-Y too much power really for what I need but I’m not a patient person so the new system WILL go fast if it wants to or not

Next on the shopping list….a new chassis.

Geeky box shots…

Red Light District…

If you can cast your mind back to February when I bought these toys for my Home Cinema, you might recall me talking about an issue I had with the Kef KUBE-2 Subwoofer….or maybe I never posted this up here .

Anyway, there is a fairly well known issue with Onkyo AV Receivers and KEF Subs, maybe other subs too (just try Googling ‘Kef Kube red light issue’) so I’ve been suffering with this for a few months. Basically you turn all the kit on, the Kef KUBE-2 sits there with a red light on it (not working!!) and about 20 minutes later it realises its purpose in life and starts delivering the deep rumbling bass it was designed to do. I roughly understood what was happening but I didn’t know how to fix it….basically the KUBE-2 was consuming lots of signal and the Onky amp wasn’t giving it what it needed.

Me being lazy just posted up a question on an internet AV forum and forgot about it after adding it to my ‘chores list’. You see, I have a Zen like approach to my chores list, just like every self respecting male should have. My chores list just ‘Is’ (If you have Zen figured then you will understand this phrase ), things appear on the list (normally added my Mrs Billy Goat !) and they just ‘are’ .

Eventually someone replied to my post and this is the official line from KEF:

In the test tone menu of your AV receiver, set the subwoofer output to
maximum, then you can come out of the AV receiver’s menu.

On the back of the subwoofer itself, set the crossover to maximum and
put the volume at a level which you are comfortable with as some people
prefer a bass heavy setup, but some prefer it more subtle, at the end of
the day it is personal preference. Set the phase to either 0 or 180,
whichever sounds the loudest. The ‘Bass Boost’ switch is also down to
personal preference and room conditions. What it will do is give you
either a flat response through the subwoofers frequency range, or give
you a raise of +6db or +12db at around 40hz.

This should then stop your subwoofer from going into standby as the
signal output from the AV receiver will be higher.

On the Onkyo 607 OSD  menu’s you go to Speaker Setup>Level Calibration, scroll down to the sub and up the db (try starting at +10), then drop the volume on the KUBE-2 itself. Well, this works for sure, in fact the way I first had it set was
insane…the whole house was shaking

I’ll tweak the bass levels over the next few days and fine tune it but the problem is now finally over.

Home Theatre Makeover Project 3

I didn’t really want to without studying all the documentation and pondering over it for a while (I’m a bit like that ) but I dived into this on Friday night and got everything lashed together then proceeded to run the Audyssey 2EQ ‘room calibration’ routine on the Onky.

Audyssey 2EQ is used to counter distortion created by walls, furniture, and other objects. This technology detects speaker distance, and then sets levels, delays, and crossovers, while also measuring room acoustics so your speaker system is set up for your specific room. Following from this while you are using the Onky to watch TV, movies etc it uses Audyssey Dynamic EQ to make constant correctional tweaks to the output.

Stunning technology but not if you overlook one small thing. If you are using a 5.1 system then you must ensure you wire up your rear speakers to the Surround Left and Surround Right outputs instead of the Surround Back Left and Surround Back Right Outputs (which would be the logical ones to use ), if you don’t do this then Audyssey 2EQ will throw a Speaker Detect Error which basically means you’re stuffed .
It took me several frustrating hours to find this out so basically I didn’t get the damn thing working until Saturday night. Everything is now roughly in place while I figure out where to actually put all the kit, here are some pix

Home Theatre Makeover Project 2

Sorry to all the Retro/Vintage bike lovers for posting another techy/geeky article, I promise there will be much more bike related stuff in the coming months, I just had to post an update on this long term project

Last time I chatted about getting a bunch of new kit and last night I fetched some nice new shiny toys from my local TNT depot. An online Pro Audio store called A-1 Sound are running a brilliant promotion on Onkyo/KEF bundles at the moment and I couldn’t say no to an offer that saved me £680.00 on the retail price and got me nearly everything I need to complete my project.

I scored myself an Onkyo TX-SR607 AV Receiver, a set of KEF 3005SE K2 Speakers, 40 meters of Chord Campana Speaker Cable, a 3 meter QED Sub Cable, a Chord 1 meter Supershield HDMI Cable and 2 x pairs of KEF HT3001 Satellite Speaker Stands.

The Chord Campana cable isn’t anything too flash but it is 40 strand Oxygen Free Copper and its light and flexible so will suit my particular installation for the time being and be better than the copper bell wire i’ve been using

This little lot weighed in at 61kgs and filled the back of my car, to give you an idea of scale the KEF speaker box below is about the size of an under counter fridge

The Onky was way bigger than I expected it to be so the original plans for sitting it atop the Media Center are no more so I’m contemplating getting something cool fabricated out of Lexan Polycarbonate and standing him on that instead, guess it will kind of ruin the vibe a bit but maybe not as I need something to balance up that big fat sub that’s about the same size as my Media Center.

Sadly this weekend is not going to be giving me much free time but tonight I will be making a start on assembling the speaker stands and measuring up cable runs……will keep you posted of any developments but in the meantime, here’s some pix of my new babies

Boys Toys

Heavyweight speaker stands..

More outputs than you can shake a stick at

Individually sewn soft cloth bags and styrene sandwiches….top packing!!

My (not so) ‘little babies’

Big Daddy – The K2 Sub that my neighbour’s are gonna hate

Home Theatre Makeover Project 1

Apart from bikes I’ve always been a big fan of Microsoft Media Center and have been using it for years and years, in fact I’m still running MCE 2005, having avoided Vista Media Center at all costs. Technology improves however, particularly hardware and this year its time to totally rebuild my Media Center box with some serious horsepower

Currently I have an old Pentium IV with 2gb RAM, 160gb system disk for the OS and 4 x 1TB drives for media content (1Tb for Recorded TV (700 hours capacity), 1TB for DiVX/AVI movies, 1TB for TV Caps and 1TB for Music and Pictures), 1 DVD ROM, 1 X Plextor DVDRW, Card Reader, Gigabit Ethernet, Hauppauge TV-Nova PCI TV card and a 512MB HDMI out graphics card. This is hooked directly into a Samsung Series 9 46″ LCD TV and the sound runs into a fairly low rent 5.1 Surround Sound.

The stuff that’s gonna get changed is as follows:

MotherboardGigabyte GA-EX58-EXTREME which is an Intel Core-i7 X58-Express board with DDR3 RAM.
CPU – Intel® Core i7-920 Processor (8M Cache, 2.66 GHz)
RAM – Kingston KHX16000D3T1K3/6GX DDR3
TV TunerHauppauge PCI Express Dual Tuner WinTV-HVR-2200 MC
AMPOnkyo TX-SR 607 AV Receiver (Full 7.1 HD Audio/HDMI Outputs)
SpeakersKef 3005SE K2’s in gloss black

Acquisition wise I already have the mobo and RAM and hopefully next week will have the KEF’s and Onkyo. Most likely I’ll use the Onky and KEF’s immediately on my current system until I splash for the i7 CPU, at which point I can rebuild my Media Center and reload it with Windows 7 Ultimate. I’ll post up some more pix when there’s a bit more progress but below is some of the kit that’s either coming or already in use at Billy Goat Towers.

KEF ‘Eggs’

Samsung Series 9 46″ LCD (LE46A956D1MXXU)

Onkyo TX-SR 607 – Front

Onkyo TX-SR 607 – Rear

The ‘Onk’ has plenty of future proofing built in, I can add two more satellite speakers and turn it into a 7.1 system or I could add these, plus a second sub and have a full 7.2 system (my neighbours would hate me though ). There’s several extra HDMI inputs here that could be used for Games Consoles, Blu-Ray players etc, it also handles Sirius Satellite Radio too and has fill support for all of the current HD Audio standards!

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