Polk Audio Signature S15 Review

Polk Audio Signature S15

At the time of writing (June 2017), there is almost no honest review posted online about these speakers, so I figure I could do some public service by writing one, specially for those considering to purchase. Note that this review is completely voluntary. I did not get payment or favors from anyone so this is as unbiased as it can get.

Let me begin with the end: these speakers are a terrific value at US$220! I’ve been listening to, and looking at, my personal pair for a few weeks now and I still can’t believe I am getting this much sound and build quality for about the same price as adidas Ultraboost sneakers (plus some loose change).

As usual, I will save word count by not enumerating the specs and features; Google will help you with that. Instead, let me tell you what these speakers are like.

Build. For those of you who haven’t seen an actual pair let me confirm that they look as good, if not better than their glorious photos on the web. The cabinet finish is flawless, the binding posts look business, and the drivers look–and feel–premium. Yes, I did touch the woofer lightly: no cheap foam surrounds that disintegrate with humidity here. Only butyl rubber with a deep roll that can probably take some serious excursion. No, I did not dare touch the tweeters, but yeah they look money too. The magnetic grilles are just cloth on a plastic frame. Putting them on is like draping Kate Upton with a bath robe. Just no.

Sound. It almost feels like cheating. No way can $220/pair be this detailed, articulate, snappy and full-bodied. They are overqualified to do mere Spotify streaming tasks. Feed ’em with Hi-Res recordings (mine came from an Astell & Kern AK120II) and it will deliver treble and midrange resolution that you weren’t looking for, at this price range that is. You’ll immediately notice that the tweeter is the star of the show here. They’re definitely over achievers that punch well above their weight. Sometimes, those one-inch wonders are slightly over-zealous, almost as if the 5.25″ woofer is playing catch up. Perhaps the larger models in the Signature line are more balanced as they have bigger and/or more woofers that can keep up with the eager beaver tweeter. Fortunately, even if the tweets seem they had too much caffeine, they never sounded fatiguing or harsh to me. I think they like being fed by warm amplification such as the NAD C316BEE that I’ve paired them with. On to the woofers: they are definitely no slouch. They serve satisfying bass and in most cases you wont crave for a subwoofer. The Powerports are probably doing their share. The midbass can sound a bit boosted, but then, I remember the price tag and forget this complaint. Overall, the speakers are agile, nimble, and if I may use and old school term: they have “attack.” Furthermore, they are equally poised whether in party or sleeping-toddler mode. My guess is that their high efficiency (89dB SPL) has a lot to do with this.

Verdict. These speakers are uber-fun! They cause involuntary head bobbing. They’re like that cheeful friend with a good sense of humor, brightening up the room they’re in. The S15’s are able to deliver regular and ample servings of detail and resolution. They will never leave you wanting. In fact, these speakers will occasionally surprise you and make you say “hey, I didn’t expect these speakers are capable of that!” They’re perfect for the bedroom or the proverbial college dorm. If you’re a Spotify-streaming broke audiophile like me who believes music deserves some level of respect, get these speakers, a NAD C316BEE, and a Google Chromecast Audio and call it a day.

 

Lee 101+ Limited Edition 125th Anniversary Jeans Review (Part 3 of 3)

Welcome to my 100th post on The Geek Lounge! Along with this milestone is roughly 4.5 years of (ehem, sporadic) blogging and 44,475 views. Hooray! This blog is nothing more than sharing my thoughts and experiences, as well as exercising my writing skills (or lack thereof). If you’re reading this right now, you are part of this blog and part of my motivation, so thank you!

On to the subject matter at hand…

In part one and part two of the review of this commemorative pair of jeans, I mentioned how amazing it was from a details perspective. I’m not referring to the contrived distressing and fading which is absent in these jeans, but rather in the subtle (and not-so-subtle) embellishments. For this final part, I will cover the rest of the elements that make this Lee jeans distinct, sophisticated and definitely a collector’s piece of clothing.

Let's have a look at the inner part of the jeans. Typically, there is nothing in there but boring wash and care tags. But this jeans is far from typical. There are silk screened sketches that do not mean anything. They go all the way down to the hem; they will definitely show when the jeans are cuffed!

Let’s have a look at the inner part of the jeans. Typically, there is nothing in there but boring care instruction tags. But this jeans is far from typical. There are silk screened graphics all over the inside that look like blueprints of jeans construction. The prints go all the way down to the hem so they will definitely show when the jeans are cuffed!

This is the back of the waist button. They could've just made this blank. Instead, they designed it to be shiny black and labeled Lee 101+. Again...details!

This is the back of the waist button. They could’ve just made this blank. Instead, they designed it to be shiny black and labeled Lee 101+. Again…details!

The same attention to detail goes to the back of the other rivets, being consistently branded.

The same crazy intricacies were applied to the back of the other rivets; they are consistently branded. Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, “Lee” is embossed while “101+” is engraved. Side note: the pocket pouch is yellow and of thick, quality herringbone fabric that is less likely to puncture with years of use.

Here you can see the size as W30-L31.  I would say it is vanity sized yet consisted with most other brands, as I am also 30 with Uniqlo, A.P.C., Naked and Famous, and Levi's Made & Crafted. The 31 length is odd (pun intended), as the usual length is 34 and 32. I would guess this is a nod to the Asian market who are not as tall. 31 is still a tad long for my 5'7 height, but it should be perfect with a cuff or two. I would be stupid not to cuff this baby, as you will discover a few photos down. ;)

It says 100% cotton and rightfully so. No stretch fabric mixed here. I wish I could find out the source of the selvedge fabric; the Internet didn’t give that away. If anybody does know, please say so in the comments section! The size is indicated as W30-L31. I would say it is vanity sized yet consisted with most other brands, as I am also 30 with Uniqlo, A.P.C., Naked and Famous, and Levi’s Made & Crafted. The 31 inseam is odd (pun intended), as the usual length is 34 and 32. I would guess this is a nod to the Asian market where the people are not as tall. 31 is still a tad long for my 5’7 height, but it should be perfect with a single cuff. I would be stupid not to cuff this baby, as you will discover a few photos down. 😉

To be honest, I was hoping it to be made elsewhere more prestigious, like Kansas USA, the birthplace of the Lee brand! But hey, this is supposedly an Asia-Pacific release. Made in Japan is also a nice cachet! I cannot complain tho, as the finishing and build quality of this jeans is spot on!

To be honest, I was hoping it to be made somewhere more prestigious like Kansas USA, the birthplace of the Lee brand! But hey, this is supposedly an Asia-Pacific release. Still, they could’ve produced them in Japan for a nice cachet. I cannot complain tho, as the finishing and build quality of this jeans is spot on!

Notice anything unusual? Well, it says Do not soak and remove promptly. This goes against the denim head commandment of soaking as a washing/softening method, albeit as seldom as possible.

Notice anything unusual? Well, it says “Do not soak” and “Remove promptly”. This goes against the denim head commandment of soaking as a washing/softening method, albeit as seldom as possible.

Enough of the boring tags, here's the killer: the one that says it is limited to

Enough of the boring tags, here’s the killer: the one that says it is limited to 1250 pieces worldwide! Mine has a serial number of 0095.  It seems that this limited product were all produced in a single day: January 25, 2014. And who the hell is M. Watanabe? Google wasn’t helpful with that. Whoever he is, tip of the hat to him as this 125th Anniversary Jeans is excellently designed!

Going back outside, at the knee area, I found a stitch, that made the legs slightly arch. Not sure if purely aesthetic or if it improves fit. I'm guessing it is a nod to Lee's cowboy heritage, as the jean's arched legs seem perfectly suited for a man mounted on a saddle.

Going back outside, at the knee area, I found a stitch, that made the legs slightly arch. I’m not sure if this is purely aesthetic or if it improves fit. I’m guessing it is a nod to Lee’s cowboy heritage, as the jean’s arched legs seem perfectly suited for a man mounted on a saddle. You can also see here the two tone stitching on the leg using gold and gray colored thread.

Finally, the most important feature:

Finally, the most important feature: the selvedge stripe!!! [Insert glorious angelic music–or wailing guitar riff–here] They didn’t settle for the run of the mill (pun alert!) red line, instead they went all rainbow mode on this one. Consider this: Lee had a bespoke run of 16 0z. selvedge fabric with blue, green and red edge, just for this limited edition jeans! And we meet those silk screened sketches again, definitely an exclusive feature. There is no other way to wear this jeans but single cuffed to stunt not only the selvedge and the sketch design, but the chain-stitched hem too!

Here ends my review of this Lee 101+ Limited Edition 125th Anniversary denim jeans. This pair really changed my perspective of Lee as a brand. Lee is being true to their tagline “Stay Curious”  as recently they seem to be very edgy, daring and innovative. Especially when compared to Levi’s that seem to have gone the conservative, classic and heritage route.

This Limited Edition jeans is most definitely a living work of art. Living, because it will only look better in time as my body’s shape along with the fading, settle into it. I promised to give my first impressions on how they fit and wear but at the time of writing, I haven’t worn them outside of the fitting room! How I wish I had a job that allowed jeans to be worn everyday, instead of drab office clothes. For now I impatiently wait for weekends (casual Friday included) as opportunities to slip into this indigo. I hope to update this post soon on fit and wear notes.

Until then, here’s an extreme close up of the selvedge as a fitting end to this review. It just deserves a second photo! I hope you enjoyed reading this three part series as much as I had fun writing it! Eager to hear your thoughts on the comments section! Cheers!

selvedge stripes

 

 

 

 

Lee 101+ Limited Edition 125th Anniversary Jeans Review (Part 2 of 3)

As I mentioned in part one of this review, Lee seems to have been doing aggressive marketing lately, most especially in Asia. In fact, they did a good job in their 125th Anniversary campaign, complete with microsite, social media app, and even an Archive Exhibit Asian Tour. My online research led me to believe that the driving force to this resurgence is the company’s Asia-Pacific headquarters located in Hong Kong. In fact, the Limited Edition jeans I am fondly reviewing seems to be an AP only product (there is no mention of it in western websites).

On to the jeans and its countless interesting features…

Let's begin part 2 of the review with relatively wide shot of the upper part of the jeans. Here you can see "Appreciate Every Jeans Made" embroidered on the inside part of the waist. I'm doing exactly what I am told. ;)

Let’s begin part 2 of the review with a relatively wide shot of the upper part of the jeans. Here you can see “Appreciate Every Jeans Made” is embroidered on the inside part of the waist. I’m doing exactly what I am told. 😉 You can also see the “+” bar tack on the coin pocket, that is flanking the commemorative rivet.

A nylon patch stitched on the inside waistline adds even more branding.

A nylon patch stitched on the inside waistline adds even more branding.

Zooming in to the fly area, you can see an  inner flap. It is interesting enough for jeans to have a flap but the designer didn't stop there, he also included a selvedge strip on the flap and said strip has 3 stripes of blue, green and red! Absolutely stunning!

Zooming in to the fly area, you can see an inner flap. It is interesting enough for jeans to have a flap but the designer didn’t stop there, he also included a selvedge strip on the flap and said strip has 3 stripes of blue, green and red! Absolutely stunning!

Opening the fly, you can see a 125th Year Anniversary tab bar tacked on both ends...for your eyes only. ;)

Opening the fly, you can see a 125th Year Anniversary tab bar tacked on both ends…for your eyes only. 😉

The custom zipper is marked Lee 101+ as well. You may ask: why is a limited pair of jeans not button fly? It's because Lee was the first brand that made and sold jeans with a zip fly! And they are proud of that heritage.

The custom zipper is marked Lee 101+ as well. You may ask: why is a limited pair of jeans not button fly? It’s because Lee was the first brand that made and sold jeans with a zip fly! And they are proud of that heritage. By the way, the zipper used here is smooth and seems heavy duty.

This pair of denim is just brimming with features! And yet it remains tasteful and restrained. Overall, the jeans let the beholder know that it is special, however, it is far from being gaudy, tacky or overdone. I’ll pause for now, but soon I hope to write the 3rd and final part of this review, where I will share the rest of the features (yes there is a lot more!) as well as initial impressions on how they fit and feel on the body. Follow my blog so you wont miss it, and do drop a line or two at the comments section to share your thoughts on my Lee jeans.

Lee 101+ Limited Edition 125th Anniversary Jeans Review (Part 1of 3)

Recently I have been snorting indigo. I had discovered a world where denim aficionados thrive, with disciples that treat their blue fabric as connoisseurs do to their watches or wine. With this new found interest, I’ve started collecting a few pairs of jeans, specifically the raw and selvedge kind. These two terms refer to jeans with fabric made from old shuttle looms, and left unwashed. To the uninitiated, this type of jeans may look plain. But it’s more of a tabula rasa where one’s body creates the fades–wear and tear marks accumulated in a year or two–that makes the denim truly personal and unique. It is a journey to create an artwork of character. I leave it to you and Google to discover the raw and selvedge melodrama and fanaticism. On to my review of an exciting pair of jeans that I discovered…

Lee is a well known department store staple. Not really a brand you go to when searching cutting edge, fashion forward products. But Lee is seems to be in a resurgence as of late and in the Philippines it recently opened a few boutiques. You could say that I am a Lee snob, but then I gave their Glorietta 2 branch a chance, went inside, and made an awesome discovery:

Lee 101+ Limited Edition 125th Anniversary Jeans

Introducing: the Lee 101+ Limited Edition 125th Anniversary Jeans

At first glance, this pair might look vanilla. But upon closer inspection, the jeans was a basket full of Easter eggs: features hidden to the untrained eye that make it very special. I dare say, it is by far the most exciting pair of raw selvedge jeans I have ever seen (and owned)! This is part one of a 3-part series. The pair of jeans has so much detail, I would need three blog entries to give you a complete tour from waist to hem!

It came with numerous high quality tags. Gold foil was used on some of the printing, giving an impression of quality.

It came with numerous high quality tags. Gold foil was used on some of the printing, giving an impression of quality.

One of the "tags" was actually a customization kit: some sort of pumice and two types of sandpaper, plus instructions on how to distress the jeans using these tools.

One of the “tags” was actually a customization kit: some sort of pumice and two types of sandpaper, plus instructions on how to distress the jeans using these tools.

The fit is of the brand's Zed 724 variety with a "Slim Regular" cut. It fits me well, being roomy in all the right places, but modern at the same time.

The fit is of the brand’s Zed 724 variety with a Slim Regular cut. It fits me well, being roomy in all the right places, but modern at the same time.

The bright yellow hair-on-hide leather patch is prolly the most striking feature.

The bright yellow hair-on-hide leather patch is prolly the most striking feature. Notice that it seems to be overstitched on its 4 corners!

101+ embroidered left of the leather patch.

101+ embroidered left of the leather patch.

Macro shot of the 16 oz. raw denim fabric.

Macro shot of the 16 oz. raw denim fabric, which is bordering on the heavy classification of denim fabric weight. Comfort is thrown out the window.

The back pocket has 3 special features: 1) split fabric at the lazy s, 2) a Lee logo with a stitched over, repaired look, 3) excess stitching at the bottom ob the back pocket and 4) the plus bar tack therefore the "+" sign the 101+ (regular Lee jeans have "x" shaped back pocket bar tacks.

The signature Lee “shovel” back pocket has 4 special features: 1) split fabric at the lazy s stitching, 2) a Lee logo with a stitched over, repaired look, 3) excess stitching at the bottom of the back pocket and 4) the plus shaped bar tack, ergo the “+” in the 101+ (regular Lee jeans have “x” shaped back pocket bar tacks).

The button spells out the jeans model: "101+".

The button spells out the jeans model: 101+.

One of my favorite features: the coin pocket rivet stating that it is a commemorative jean.

One of my favorite features: the coin pocket rivet stating that it is a commemorative jean.

The other rivets are less fancy but still rather special, with custom "Lee 101+" etching.

The other rivets are less fancy but still rather special, with custom “Lee 101+” etching.

Stay tuned for part two and three of this review where I will show the unique selvedge stripe, zipper,  and inner parts with a couple dozen more details and embellishment!

Bespoke

Lee Archive Exhibit

Today I participated at the Lee Denim DIY Workshop. It was the brand’s 125th Anniversary celebration, a brilliant marketing event designed to be deeply interactive with consumers. It was a unique and special experience to customize a blank “canvas” of raw Lee denim jeans and in the process, appreciate what really goes on in making a pair of jeans.

Lee Denim DIY Workshop

The event was held at Robinson’s Place Manila.

I’ve never owned a Lee jeans, so I guess this was an excellent opportunity to have my first pair. To start, I was given a pair of raw jeans. It was without rivets, buttons, leather patch, nor any washing, fading and distressing of any sort. But the blank denim was already special in itself: it had “125th Anniversary” tags and markings at the inside.

A special, limited (with serial numbers) batch of blank Anniversary Jeans was made just for this event!

A special, limited (with serial numbers) batch of blank Anniversary Jeans was made just for this event!

A menu was provided for me to choose the embellishments. This was the part that was most fun! Aside from the mandatory buttons and rivets, there was an option of adding decorative patches and monogramming of initials on the back leather patch.

Image courtesy of Lee Jeans Philippines.

Image courtesy of Lee Jeans Philippines.

And so I had my personalized jeans created by the jeansmiths onsite at the event. They hemmed it to my length for free and even offered a free Seattle’s Best Coffee drink so I can chill while they do their magic on my denim.

Jeansmith

The result is a priceless, one off pair that cannot be bought elsewhere. Rightfully, I chose the “125th Anniversary Celebration” leather patch, a couple of other decorative patches and rivets with faux crystals!

Monogrammed leather patch

I chose the button myself. And the rivets:  faux crystal for some bling!

I chose the button myself.  And the rivets: faux crystal for some bling!

One of a kind

You could say that I went all out on this one. I did skip the artificial fading and distressing; that I will put on myself, slowly and naturally as I wear it.

Tadaa! My very own creation!

Tadaa! My very own creation!

So there you have it, my very first creation of clothing. It may not be at par with what  famous fashion designers do, but it’s definitely exclusive. And I should mention that it fits very well too!

* All photos taken with a Sony Xperia Z1, uploaded without editing.

 

7 Tips for Shopping at Uniqlo

Since its 2012 launch in the Philippines, Uniqlo has quickly become the go to shop of the practical Filipino fashionista. And it’s no surprise, as the brand is well known for churning out affordable, yet quality clothing for men, women, teens and even children! This megachain from Japan is no stranger to Pinoy shopaholics and travelers, who used to fly to other countries just to get their Uniqlo fix.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan, and I can sincerely say that if I had to choose only one brand to get all my clothing, it’d be from Uniqlo. I like that this company offers mostly the basics, with some trendy and Asian inspired pieces thrown in the mix to add some spice. I also love it’s value for money and most of all, the way the clothes fit my Asian frame. Of course, Uniqlo is not without its (minor) flaws.

Uniqlo Ginza

The mothership: Uniqlo’s 10 storey main branch in Ginza, Japan.

This article is all about what to indulge in, and what to avoid, when you’re in one of their stores. If you’re a Uniqlo fan too, read on, and I’ll teach you how to shop like a pro! Note though that these tips mostly apply to the male shopper.

1. Never buy at regular price, at least in Philippine branches. Here, they come up with weekly offers, and your favorite items will eventually get discounted. Just be patient. When they do, that’s the time you grab ’em. Sure, you may miss out on some trendy pieces that come and go and never be on sale, but who cares? It’s not the end of the world. Follow Uniqlo Philippines on Facebook or sign up for their newsletter for first dibs on weekly “Limited Offers.”

2. Avoid their denim jeans and especially their (ugh!) jeggings. I know this may come out as shocking. After all, who can resist prices that go as low as Php990 a pair with free hemming? Simply put, a real man needs real jeans. This statement needs its own blog entry. But for now, if you’re looking for a pair, walk away from Uniqlo and head on over to Levi’s.

3. Get only the basics. I’m not saying their trendy pieces are bad. They are in fact very well executed. Staying with the basics has mostly to do with wallet discipline. It’s easy to lose control on trendy clothes that come and go, and you don’t want to be left with a closet full of clothes that will be “useless” after a while, along with an empty wallet and a mind brimming with buyer’s remorse.

4. Avoid the printed tees. They call this their UT line. Generally speaking they are, well, corny.

5. The Supima line is a must buy. This line of basic t-shirts oozes with luxurious quality and yet priced for everyman! “Supima” is a mark of quality for pima, one of the best types of cotton in the world. They fit better than Uniqlo’s regular tees too!

6. Airism and Heattech are two of Uniqlo’s best products. Durable, well-fitting and very, very comfortable, Airism is daily underwear that’s cool and perfect for our tropical weather. Heattech is for stealthy layering for travels to temperate countries. Their prices seem prohibitive, but you don’t need to stock on them at one go. Build your “inventory” by buying one or two pieces at a time as your budget allows.

7. Bottoms should be a snug fit, at least at the time of purchase. This applies to chinos, shorts and the like, as Uniqlo makes them with stretch fabric which loosens with wear. You do not want to have sagging pants after three washes.

So that’s it. Do you think my tips make sense or do you have some disagreement? Do you have any other tips to add on? Let me know in the comments section. Happy Uniqlo shopping!

The Wrong Ways, for the Wrong Reasons

You use a hammer to drive a nail, a saw to cut wood. You drive a sedan to the office, a farmer uses a tractor to harvest corn. Do you wear sneakers to attend a wedding? Some people actually do, but you get my point. These are obvious, basic examples for using the right tools for certain tasks that even a simpleton would know about. 

 
I wish it were this obvious for social media too.

 
The sad truth is, most people use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in wrong ways, for wrong reasons. And this compels me to write about the basics of social media usage. Plus, I don’t want to start writing about proper hashtag use, that’s another article altogether! Without further rambling, here’s my guide on how to properly use the top three SNS:
 
1. Instagram is all about pictures obviously. I think IG was originally intended to share photos that are beautiful and awe-inspiring. So next time you feel like uploading, don’t just upload anything you want. Ponder on the photo and give it a simple litmus test: is it beautiful or it awe-inspiring? If you answer is yes, then go ahead and upload. I will forgive you for the occasional food shot or sunset, but not for group photos of family reunions.
 
Use Instagram for: a rare classic car in good shape, the amazing view of your hotel room, the best photo from your beach vacation
And not for: blurry and grainy selfies of you and your officemates wasted in a bar, a photo album of your baby, an online storefront, quotes, video (I don’t care what Zuckerberg thinks)
 
2. If Instagram is for pictures that’s worth a thousand words, Twitter is all about broadcasting with a few words. It’s the modern haiku. It’s where your wit and creativity in writing is put to the test. It’s about a phrase that’s worth a thousand words! Another use for Twitter is public service. However it isn’t for chatting with friends.
 
Use Twitter for: your opinion on current events (with tact), something witty or funny (consider your audience), sharing a road accident that is causing traffic
And not for: sharing your mood, ranting about the weather, saying “hi” to a friend you miss
 
3. I saved Facebook for last because I absolutely looove this SNS!!! (I was being sarcastic). Like a public toilet, here you can pretty much do anything!
Use Facebook for: albums of reunions and vacations, selling an old tablet, birthday greetings, sharing your mood, ranting about the weather, saying “hi” to a friend you miss
And not for: passive-aggressively confronting someone, sharing hoaxes (i.e.cancer cures), chain messages (i.e. like and share this prayer and go to heaven), blatant bragging, porn (and other illegal activity)
 
So that’s it, my take on social media guidelines. My key takeaway: I just wasted an hour of my life writing and posting this coz no one will abide by them anyway. Social Networking Sites will always be the most abused and misused medium on the Interwebs today.
 
Happy Holidays!