Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Mini-Review: Sennheiser MX 365 Earphones

No, you're not misreading that title. This is not gaming related. I've been shopping for replacement earbuds for my SanDisk Clip Sport Plus. It came with earbuds that fit inside your ear canal, which I can't stand. I spent some time poking around Amazon and discovered there are approximately 8 billion headsets for mobile devices and cell phones available. However, most of these have the same design and features I don't want (namely, microphones). I went looking for what I guess I'd call classic earbuds and ended up with the Sennheiser MX 365, which currently lists for $13-15 US on Amazon. I've been using them for the last couple days and here are the highlights:

  • Extra-long, symmetrical cord. I measured it at a hair under 50 inches from the top of the earbud to the audio jack. As a really tall dude, I appreciate being able to stick my music player in my pants pocket without stooping to accommodate a short cord.
  • Right-angle 1/8"/3.5mm audio jack. This is personal preference, but I always find straight jacks catch on clothing.
  •  Foam earbud covers. These fit over the speaker side of each earbud and provide a little cushioning and a better grip than the smooth plastic shell. They were a tight fit and a little hard to get on, so I don't think they'll be coming off.
  • Minor concern: the cord is pretty thin so durability may be an issue. For a product costing about $15, I can live with that.

The earbuds themselves are a bit larger than original Apple earbuds. They fit my ears well snugly but might be a little big for some people. I measured one of mine with the foam pad on and it is approximately 11/16"/17.5mm. Note that these headphones do not have a mic or integrated volume control. They are just earbuds.

For lightweight earbuds, the sound quality pretty darn good. I listen to classic rock, metal, folk, electronica, and ambient music. This headset delivers plenty of volume and solid bass without losing the details of the music. I'd call the overall sound warm, accurate, and well-rounded. Available tech specs are limited:

  • 20-20,000 Hz frequency response
  • 110 dB sound pressure level (1 kHz/1 Vrms)
  • 32 ohm impedance

Bottom line: Thumbs up. I'm pleased with this purchase and, barring sudden failures, would buy Sennheiser's MX 365 earphones again. I chose the white option (easy to spot in a bag), but there are other color options available (the manufacturer's page says six colors, but I've only seen blue, red, and white). These earphones have a 2-year manufacturer's warranty.

Full disclosure: This post uses Amazon affiliate links.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

PBE Games - Belated New Year's Update

Well, I've finally gotten around to providing a year-end wrapup of PBE Games releases. I think this listing covers everything released since the last post I did in December.

I'll start things off with Hexed Places - Dead Rock Spires, which takes its name from the natural pillars and buttes that rise above its barren wastes. Ancient stone piles atop many of these prominences mark the neolithic barrows of an unknown race. Sour Creek, the only water source in this rocky desert, carries a poisonous stew of chemicals that coats the rocks along its banks with black and orange crystalline deposits. Hexed Places include GM and player maps for a 6-mile campaign hex along with descriptions of interesting locales and encounters, extra odds and ends, and a random encounter table. The simple stat blocks provided are easy to adapt to most OSR games.

Next up are three triple packs of Dungeons in Blue geomorphs. Miscellany #1, Miscellany #2, and Miscellany #3 each contain 16 quarter-size tiles, each featuring dead ends, edges, corridor style transitions, or elevation changes. They simplify connections between disparate geomorph types. All three sets are available as part of a discount bundle.

Miscellany #1 Preview
Small Dungeons and Complexes work as standalone maps or as part of a larger geomorph style dungeon. Both include player and GM versions of each style of map. Here's a summary of the six new maps that fall into these categories:
  • Small Dungeons #28 shows a cave complex that hides a small lake. Cages and statues hint at this locale's dark purpose.
  • Small Dungeons #29 is a small mine with twisting passages and a few small, rough-hewn chambers.
  • Small Dungeons #30 shows a traditional dungeon complex divided in two by a deep chasm.
  • Complexes #28 depicts a tunnel or chasm that passed between two sheer cliffs. Rooms and chambers are cut into each cliff face.
  • Complexes #29 is a traditional dungeon with a large central hall, outer fortifications, and many side rooms.
  • Complexes #30 shows a large cavern with several water features. Smaller tombs are carved into the cave's walls.
Small Dungeons Map Pack #10 and Complexes Triple Pack #10 offer the usual discount on the items above. Finally, Small Dungeons Complete pulls all 30 Small Dungeons maps into a single discount bundle.

So there you have it, the end of 2018 wrapped up with a nice bow on top. Except, you know, no wrapping paper. Or bow. Thanks as always for reading. I hope you find something useful here. Happy gaming.

Complexes 29 Preview