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The M Way External DVD Drive Teardown

The M Way External DVD Drive Teardown

Hi everyone,

In this post, I will be tearing down the M Way External DVD Drive.

This is a slim external CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo drive that can read and write CDs but can only read DVDs.

Let’s begin with the teardown.

First, we must remove 2 screws that are found on the back to open the drive enclosure:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - 1

We can then open the enclosure:

We can see the DVD drive along with the board and USB Cable. We can also see that it seems that the USB cable is not actually soldered to the board.

Removing the DVD drive from the enclosure, we can see that the cable is in fact a Mini USB cable. This means the cable is not an actual USB 3.0 cable:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - 4

The fact that the cable is not soldered to the board is good news for us since we could replace it if the original cable goes bad or we want to use another cable.

On the back of the drive, we can take a closer look at the USB board:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - 5

Taking it off reveals a nice surprise:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - 6

The board is a USB to PATA/IDE adapter. This is interesting and somewhat makes sense, since the drive is just a CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive, and back in the days, we could see tons of CD writers for laptops. It uses the Initio INIC-1511 IC.

Here, we can see the PATA/IDE conector of the drive:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - 7

I decided to take off the sticker that it has on the top, revealing something more:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - 8

The included TEAC DW-224E-C drive was manufactured in November 2005. This could mean they are recycling old DVD drives or using refurbished drives. If this is true, this is good news for the environment, since they are repurposing drives that are in working conditions.

Here, I have the original drive connected to my computer without the enclosure:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - 9

Because the drive is basically an internal drive on an IDE to USB enclosure, we should be able to use it with other drives. I tested it with an old Optiarc AD-7561A drive. This drive is a CD/DVD writer with Lightscribe technology, which I haven’t used it for years:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - 10

When I connected the drive to the board, and to the computer, it recognized it without any issues:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - Optiarc Device Manager

And here we can see its capabilities as reported by ImgBurn:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - Teardown - Optiarc Capabilities

The Optiarc drive still works after a lot of years of not using it. This also means that we should be able to use other PATA/IDE drives with this particular USB board and exchange the original drive if it ever goes bad.

That’s basically it for this teardown. If you’re interested in getting this CD-RW/DVD drive, you can get it on Amazon here.

The M Way USB External DVD Drive

The M Way USB External DVD Drive

Hi everyone,

In this post, I’ll show you the M Way USB External DVD Drive.

This is a slim External CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo drive, which is quite interesting, given that most units today are DVD writers. This one just reads and writes CD-R/RW, and reads DVD’s, but can’t write them.

The brand is unknown, too, but it was on sale a few days ago and decided to get one, just to have just in case one of my other drives goes bad. While CD/DVD usage has degraded over time, I do have music CD and I listen to them sometimes, so having a drive is handy to listen to them.

Unboxing

Let’s start with the box:

It is pretty colorful, and has a description of what it contains, as well as its features.

Opening the box we find the drive inside a bag:

We then find that the drive is wrapped in bubble wrap, and that there are some cards inside:

We can see that the faceplate of it is generic, with no CD or the actual DVD logo.

Taking off the bubble wrap, we see the DVD drive:

On the back, there is the USB cable:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - 10

The USB cable contains a USB-A 3.0 plug as well as a USB-C plug. Both can be used depending on the device you wish to use this DVD drive.

The documentation included is a manual, a thank you card, and another card telling to send an email to get a free 32GB USB drive.

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - 12

Once the drive is plugged in the PC, I’m able to open the tray:

The drive is detected as a TEAC DW-224E-C drive:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - 15

The following is a screenshot of the capabilities of the drive as shown in ImgBurn:

M Way External DVD Drive - Colorful Flame Pattern - 16

As we can see, it reads most major CD and DVD formats and can write CD-R and CD-RW. Interestingly, it reports that it can’t read double-layer DVD+/-R. I’ll need to test this to confirm if this is in fact true.

I tested the drive with my Music CD collection and it reads and plays them fine. This is really great, and will be my main usage for it.

You can get this External CD-RW/DVD Combo drive on Amazon here.

Unboxing Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield Double Pack

Unboxing Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield Double Pack

Hi everyone,

Here, I will be showing you pictures of the Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield Double Pack, which got released today:

Pokémon Sword and Shield Double Pack - Front
Pokémon Sword and Shield Double Pack – Front

As you can see in the above picture, that is the front of the box. Let’s take a look at the back:

Pokémon Sword and Shield Double Pack - Back
Pokémon Sword and Shield Double Pack – Back

And the sides:

Let’s open the box:

Pokémon Sword and Shield Double Pack - Opened
Pokémon Sword and Shield Double Pack – Opened

And take out the contents:

Pokémon Sword and Shield Double Pack - Unboxed
Pokémon Sword and Shield Double Pack – Unboxed

We can see the Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield game box. We can also see it came with a download code to get some Dynamax Crystals.

Let’s start unboxing Pokémon Sword, taking a closer look at the front of the box:

Pokémon Sword - Front
Pokémon Sword – Front

And the back:

Pokémon Sword - Back
Pokémon Sword – Back

Let’s open it:

Pokémon Sword - Opened
Pokémon Sword – Opened

We can see the game cart. Let’s take a closer look:

Pokémon Sword - Game Cart inside the box
Pokémon Sword – Game Cart inside the box

Now, let’s take the game cart outside:

Pokémon Sword - Game Cart
Pokémon Sword – Game Cart

And that’s it for Pokémon Sword. Let’s start with Pokémon Shield.

This is the front of the box:

Pokémon Shield - Front
Pokémon Shield – Front

And the back:

Pokémon Shield - Back
Pokémon Shield – Back

Let’s open it:

Pokémon Shield - Opened
Pokémon Shield – Opened

And let’s take a closer look at the game cart:

Pokémon Shield - Game Cart inside the box
Pokémon Shield – Game Cart inside the box

Finally, let’s take it out of the box:

Pokémon Shield - Game Cart
Pokémon Shield – Game Cart

And that’s it! We have now unboxed and taken out both game carts. Here is a final picture with both carts side by side:

Pokémon Sword and Shield - Game Carts
Pokémon Sword and Shield – Game Carts

You can buy the games on Amazon using the following links:

What Pokémon version did you get?

The Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 IEMs with their cables and accessories

The Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 IEMs with their cables and accessories

Hi everyone,

Yesterday, I received the brand-new Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 In-Ear Monitors Absolute Kits.

Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 IEMs with their cables and accessories
Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 IEMs with their cables and accessories

The Hidizs Mermaid MS1 is an IEM with 1 Dynamic Driver, while the Hidizs Mermaid MS4 is an IEM with 1 Dynamic Driver and 3 Knowles Balanced Armatures.

Hidizs Mermaid MS4
Hidizs Mermaid MS4

My initial impressions are excellent. These IEMs do a lot to reproduce the music. I found that the MS1, with just the Dynamic Driver, produces a warm sound with great mids and smooth bass and treble. The MS4, on the other hand, improves the bass and treble while having great mids. Since the MS4 uses 3 balanced armatures for the mids and treble, they do a great job, and since the Dynamic Driver is focused on the bass, it also does a great job. The MS1, on the other hand, produces a warmer sound since the Dynamic Driver needs to reproduce the entire frequency spectrum.

The Hidizs Absolute Kits come with a choice of a 2.5mm or 4.4mm balanced cable, USB-C 2-pin cable and an aptX Bluetooth Cable using a CSR8645 chipset. They are also compatible with other 2-pin 0.78mm IEMs and you can also use other aftermarket cables due to their 2-pin connectors.

The IEMs can be driven easily since the MS1 only has an impedance of just 15Ω while the MS4 has an impedance of just 12Ω. However, you can use your favorite DAC like the Hidizs DH1000/Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus and use the balanced output to enjoy an even better sound. You can also use them with the 3.5mm cable with the Hidizs AP80.

Now, here’s my unboxing video I recorded yesterday where I unbox both kits, their cables and accessories:

I personally like the MS4 due to their more punchier bass and their extended treble. The MS1 have more forward vocals, so if you’re looking for that, the MS1 is for you, but if you want the treble and a bit more bass, go for the MS4.

Here’s the review video I also recorded with my thoughts on the IEMs and the cables:

Overall, Hidizs did a great job with these new In-Ear Monitors.

You can purchase these 2 Hidizs IEMs at Amazon using the following links:

Unboxing and Review: Jack by Podo Labs

Unboxing and Review: Jack by Podo Labs

Hi everyone,

Yesterday, I finally received the Jack by Podo Labs, after 2 years of waiting for this Kickstarter project:

Jack by Podo Labs 1
Jack by Podo Labs 1

The project was funded on February 25, 2017, and yesterday was April 8, 2019, the day I received it.

The Jack is a bluetooth receiver that turns standard 3.5mm headphones into bluetooth. The receiver supports Qualcomm’s aptX and uses a CSR8670 chip. It also uses a Maxim MAX97220 amplifier, and it’s stated to handle 2 Vrm up to 600Ohms, according to the project FAQ. The battery size is 300mAh, stated to last up to 12 hours per charge.

The Jack is also one of the few bluetooth adapters that supports headphone inline controls, so you’ll be able to control the volume and play/pause the music using the headphone cable inline remote and also use the Jack’s buttons, whichever method you prefer to use.

Going back to the pictures, the box was a bit crushed when I took it out of the package:

Jack by Podo Labs 2
Jack by Podo Labs 2

Kickstarter Edition! It includes the Jack (Obviously) and a USB charging cable, which where both protected by this bubble wrap:

Jack by Podo Labs 3
Jack by Podo Labs 3

Taking them out of the bubble wrap, here’s the Jack and the cable:

Jack by Podo Labs 4
Jack by Podo Labs 4

I turned it on and connected my headphones, then I paired it with my phone, which was very simple to do:

Jack by Podo Labs - Pairing
Jack by Podo Labs – Pairing

As soon as I started playing back music, the LED turned from blue to green:

Jack by Podo Labs 5
Jack by Podo Labs 5

I’m using my KZ ZS7 IEM’s with the Jack:

Jack by Podo Labs 6
Jack by Podo Labs 6

Unfortunately, the gold clip isn’t in good conditions, but this is purely cosmetic, and of course, does not affect the sound quality:

Jack by Podo Labs 7
Jack by Podo Labs 7

The Jack also came with a simple rubber case:

And that’s it with the pictures. Now, let’s talk about the sound quality.

Sound Quality

The Jack can provide a loud volume, so the amplifier is doing its job. The sound quality is good, thanks to the aptX audio codec. Unfortunately, there’s a noticeable noise that can be heard and can be annoying on quiet tracks. This is pretty common with bluetooth adapters that doesn’t use a dedicated DAC, and is noticeable on sensitive headphones and IEM’s, like the KZ ZS7 that I’m using. Other than that, the sound quality is very good but that noise is annoying. Here’s a place where Podo Labs can improve if they every decide to do another iteration of the Jack.

Music playback showed a flaw, where sometimes the blue LED will not change to green and there will be no audio at all. Sometimes, pausing a music track and resuming it will activate the Jack again and the led will change to Green. Unfortunately, this didn’t worked when I played back music files using my Hidizs AP80 portable audio player, which also supports aptX adapters and headphones.

The best way I’ve found to prevent above’s problem is to use an aptX bluetooth transmitter like the Tunai Wand or the GENKI, where it is continually transmitting the source audio. This way, the Jack is always active and receiving audio and will not have this problem.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I think what stands out the Jack is its ability to handle headphone’s inline control and its battery life. Most other adapters have some 3 to 5 or 6 hours, but I haven’t seen any other reaching 12 hours like the Jack.

The Jack does not have a dedicated audio DAC so the audio quality is comparable to other standard adapters that use a CSR chip, which is acceptable and will satisfy most of the croud, unless you’re using sensitive IEM’s like the KZ ZS7.

The pind StickPad

The pind StickPad

Hi everyone,

Today, I got the pind StickPad:

pind 1
pind 1

Inside that envelope, is a sticky pad that we can use to stick things like portable hard disks to a laptop, among other things.

The packaging is very simple. It’s a simple envelope, and inside, we can find the pind StickPad:

pind 2
pind 2

I took it out of the envelope:

pind 3
pind 3

And separated both ends. There was a card inside:

pind 4
pind 4

That’s the content of it. On the other side of the card, there are useful instructions to handle the pad:

pind 5
pind 5

I stuck one part to my Lenovo Laptop. Here’s how it looks:

pind 6
pind 6

I’m also going to stick the other part to my UGREEN 2.5″ Hard Disk Drive Enclosure. Here’s how the other part of the pad looks:

pind 7
pind 7

And now, here it is stuck to the hard drive enclosure and the laptop:

pind 8
pind 8

I then opened the laptop where you can see the enclosure hanging on the back of the display without issues:

pind 9
pind 9

I feel this pad will be useful for me to better organize myself. It can be removed and used on other machines, so it’s portable. The glue is pretty sticky, and to remove it, you have to apply some force. This also means it will hold whatever item we have stuck pretty well.

This is a produce I backed on Kickstarter.

DJ Digs Main Street Electrical Parade

DJ Digs Main Street Electrical Parade

Hi everyone,

On Thursday, I received the DJ Digs Main Street Electrical Parade Audio CD. This CD was released in 2003 and contains 8 remixes from Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade and it was released exclusively in Japan.

DJ Digs Main Street Electrical Parade 1
DJ Digs Main Street Electrical Parade 1

The remixes included in this CD are really worthwhile. Once you listen to this, listening back to the original Main Street Electrical Parade track may be boring, and you’ll want to continuously listen to this CD.

DJ Digs Main Street Electrical Parade 2
DJ Digs Main Street Electrical Parade 2

The track listing for this CD is the following:

  1. Main Street Electrical Parade. – KONISHI yasuharu
  2. Main Street Electrical Parade. Influence du jazz mix – Sunaga t Experience
  3. Main Street Electrical Parade. Swingle Hoedown mix – YOSHIDA tetsuto
  4. Main Street Electrical Parade. DJ JIN Back-in-the-dayz Remix – DJ JIN (Rhymester)
  5. Main Street Electrical Parade. CAPTAIN YTR mix – YOU THE ROCK & TAKAGI kan
  6. Main Street Electrical Parade. Electro Parade mix – IKEDA masanori (Mansfield)
  7. Main Street Electrical Parade. *cbsmgrfc calypso mix – CUBISMO GRAFICO
  8. Main Street Electrical Parade. yukihiro fukutomi remix – FUKUTOMI yukihiro

Track #4 (Main Street Electrical Parade. DJ JIN Back-in-the-dayz Remix – DJ JIN (Rhymester)) is also featured in another CD called Breaks & Beats Disney, also released exclusively in Japan. That one is another great CD.

I’d love if Disney in the United States release more albums like this, but they seem to be always released in Japan for some reason. That said, you can purchase them at Discogs, where I got this remix CD.

The link to get this CD is the following:

Received Yoshi’s Crafted World!

Received Yoshi’s Crafted World!

Hi everyone,

Today, I received my physical copy of the brand new Yoshi’s Crafted World game for the Nintendo Switch, which got released today, March 29, 2019.

Here, I’ll just show some photos of the box and the game cart. Let’s get started!

This is the box front:

Yoshi's Crafted World 1
Front of the Yoshi’s Crafted World Box

And the back:

Yoshi's Crafted World 2
Back of the Yoshi’s Crafted World Box

When we open the box, there’s a helpful background showing what each button does, and of course, we have the game cart:

Yoshi's Crafted World 3
Opening the box of Yoshi’s Crafted World

A closer look at the game cart:

Yoshi's Crafted World 4
Yoshi’s Crafted World Game Cart in the box

And finally, the game cart out of the box:

Yoshi's Crafted World 5
Yoshi’s Crafted World Game Cart out of the box

I’ll play this game later, at some point, and share gameplay footage with all.

A week with the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus

A week with the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus

Hi everyone,

It’s been actually more than a week with my new Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus, and my experience with this new unit has been very positive.

First of all, I haven’t faced the Blue LED problem again. As I wrote in my teardown article, they changed some components inside that may prevent this problem from happening again, but it also seems to have introduced a problem where the unit main LED turns orange. This happens rarely, and the unit works once the LED turns green again.

The second thing is that the charging speed is back to normal as well. My previous unit was having a slow charge rate of just 0.06A. Here, you can see it’s drawing a full amp, as I also have the unit turned on:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus charging
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus charging

Once the unit finishes charging, the LED turns off, as expected:

Fully charged Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus
Fully charged Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus

The device not only is working great in my Windows PC, with Tidal and Foobar, both using WASAPI for a bit-perfect playback experience, but it’s also working great with my Hiby R3:

The Hiby R3 also has an excellent sound, but I use my Tempotec Sonata iDSD as the sound is more open to my ears, and sounds more natural too.

It’s been several days with the DAC, and I’m really pleased with it. I’m listening to Tidal Masters, which are actually MQA-encoded music files and they sound excellent with this DAC, as a sample rate of either 24-bit/88.2Khz or 24-bit/96Khz, depending on the track being used:

Hiby R3 streaming Tidal Masters to the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus
Hiby R3 connected to the Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus

I hope this DAC work fine for a lifetime, as it’s the most enjoyable sound I’ve ever heard.

The USB cable I’m using with the DAC is the UGREEN USB to 2x Micro USB (Y) Cable, which allows me to listen to music and keep my unit charged at the same time.

New Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown

New Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown

Hi everyone,

Today, I decided to do a Teardown of the new Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus unit I received to compare the internal components to my previous Tempotec/Hidizs DAC. The unit is identical from the outside, so I did the same teardown process I did before for this new unit.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 1
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 1

The best way to open it is to use a sharp object to very careful try to detach the glass. To my surprise, this new unit wasn’t glued entirely. It felt as if the glass was just placed on it, with some simple glued tape behind.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 2
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 2

What I can see from it is a thin tape that covers that metal shield which was holding the glass. Now that the glass is removed, I can remove the 4 screws holding the metal plate to the DAC:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 3
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 3

It’s pretty much identical to the previous Tempotec iDSD Plus unit, except that a quick look reveals that there’s no capacitor at the C46 mark.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 4
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 4

In the above picture, you can see that the old unit (the unit below) has a capacitor in the C46 mark. Let’s tale a closer look:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 8
C46 capacitor missing in the new unit

It’s missing in the new unit, as can be seen in the photo above.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 9
C46 capacitor in the previous unit

And above you can see it in the previous unit.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 5
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 5

Taking a look at the actual DAC printed circuit board, it also look pretty much identical. I didn’t noticed any difference at first sight, but it does has an IC changed.

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 7
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 6

The D4 diode was changed. Above you can see the diode from the new unit, which seems to have been replaced by hand, as it’s not placed straight there. Below, you can see the IC used in the previous unit:

Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 6
Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus Teardown 7

You can see that one is straight.

It seems that these 2 changes have fixed the Blue LED problem for the new units, and that’s great! They didn’t did a new board revision, and instead they just switched the D4 IC and removed the C46 capacitor. Both boards have the same V1.1 revision written in it.

The battery is the same. Ironically, they also have the same dates. I wonder if Tempotec had to fix old units by hand, sealing it, and selling them as new, or if these are returned units which have been refurbished. Either case, the new Tempotec iDSD Plus works fine, charges fine, and has an excellent sound.

I did, however, noticed that the new unit sometimes have both Green and Red LED turned on simultaneously, making it seem to be orange. The unit doesn’t work at all when this happens.

Tempotec iDSD Plus Orange LED
Tempotec iDSD Plus Orange LED

It seems to work again after I charge the unit a bit. It makes me wonder if it may have to do with the battery voltage when it gets low. While this has been happening rarely, it may represent another underlying problem with this DAC.

I’ll, of course, keep using this DAC because it produces an awesome sound that I really like, and I’ll soon be receiving the newest Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 In-Ear Monitors which I’d love to use with this DAC.

UPDATE 3/25/2019: Added closer pictures of the C46 capacitor.