Thursday, May 23, 2013

Miccus Home RTX Long Range Bluetooth Transmitter

I'm pretty impressed with this little device.

I've been looking at a Bluetooth transmitter that could plug into a HTPC and send the signal to an amp in another part of the house.

The idea behind this is that you could control the media (music mainly) being played back from the Win7 HTPC from an Android Smartphone using MediaCenter Control over WiFi  from anywhere in your house and have it pump out a proper stereo.

To achieve this I first off used a Creative BT-D1 Bluetooth transmitter with a Logitech bluetooth receiver.

I opted for a more expensive transmitter (there's heaps of $10 jobs on eBay) as I figured it would be better quality.

How very wrong I was.

The Creative transmitter was totally piss-ant in terms of transmission power.

To boot, there was no software available to actually control which device it pairs with from Creative.

I thought the Windows Bluetooth controls might magically appear as well but I'm guessing this thing isn't compliant with what Win 7 considers a "real" bluetooth device. 

It supports some creative crap called apt-X which I'm sure is of use to someone.
If this is you, go over to eBay and you will be able to find a bargain shortly...

Anyway, after being bitterly disappointed with the Creative rip-job, I did some proper research.

I needed a bluetooth trasmitter that wasn't crap and could actually send the RF signal more than 10 metres.

This led me to look at the Miccus Home RTX which claimed transmit distances of up to 45 metres.

I took a gamble and ordered it from the only place I could see it for sale (eBay) after seeing generally positive (but not very specific) user feedback on the device.

Well the little thing just arrived and I can happily report that it works as described.

I set this bad boy up at the complete opposite end of my house and paired it up with the Logitech receiver and away it went.

Note in the picture that it actually has an external omni-directional antenna.

Perfect quality audio and super simple to setup.

At $60 it's not the cheapest thing in the world but it's not a deal breaker price either.

I'm so very glad this device exists and I definitely recommend it for anyone in a similar situation.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Coolermaster Elite 120 Advanced - From 70's Toaster to Carbon Fibre Beast

Just a quick one today :)

While updating the post on the Asus mobo used in my latest HTPC build I thought I'd post up some info on the case I went with and the quick mod I did that made a HUGE difference to its appearance.

When speccing up the machine I wanted an ITX case that let me use normal size (i.e. not laptop) components as to keep the cost down (5.25" BluRay drive, standard ATX power supply etc.).

Luckily Coolermaster has recently released the Elite 120 Advanced.

This is a great little case albeit it slightly on the larger size of mini ITX, but still a good fit for a HTPC.

I actually originally specced up this machine with a Bitfenix Prodigy but promptly returned it as soon as I saw it.

It was waaaay to big to look at home in a lounge area...

Anyway, the case ticks all the boxes as far as component support however looks a tad ugly - but we can fix that :)

Here's a picture of what it looked like originally:

Not the prettiest thing in the world right?

Other people have obviously been thinking the same thing and I saw some other attempts people had made to pretty this thing up on various forums.

So I had a quick look on eBay and found a few people selling small individual sheets of 3M Carbon Fibre Di-Noc Vinyl adhesive for less than $10.

All I can say is - wow. What a difference this stuff makes to the appearance:

A quick word of advice if you go down this path.

The case badge is slightly recessed and will leave a divet if you whack the vinyl straight on.

Get yourself some Rapid Filla and smooth it over before you whack it on and you'll get a nice finish like that in the picture above.

Cheers :)